From the terra cotta and ocher of the Ionian Islands to the brilliant blue and white of the Aegean, the beautiful villages of Greece and its islands are incomparable. The variety of village life and building springs from a multitude of histories and influences, yet these towns are all, in their separate ways, quintessentially Greek. Here, then, are the loveliest villages created by the indomitable Greek spirit, all set in a landscape of overwhelming magnificence. We begin with the mountains of the mainland and areas such as the Pelion peninsula, where stone walls and wood-framed balconies betray a Turkish influence. In the southern Peloponnese are the Maniot villages and their characteristic tower houses, built by warring families the better to pursue their vendettas. From north to south through the mainland and the Peloponnese, from west to east through the islands, the mixture of intimacy and grandeur continues. The Ionian Islands are home to belfried churches, pitched tile roofs, porticoes, and colonnades, reflecting years of Venetian rule. The flat-roofed white houses of the Cyclades, startling against the blue Aegean sea, seem to express the very essence of Greece. Other villages mirror an international trading and shipping tradition, such as Chios whose substantial country mansions were left by the Genoese. And there are many other gems as well, with ancient temples, sandy bays, and cobbled paths. Complete with appendices of useful information for the traveler, this book is a celebration of the inimitable beauty and spirit that have entranced visitors to Greece through the ages.