March 14, a day that began for us in Athens and continued with stops in Corinth, Mycenae and Epidaurus, ended in Nauplia. It was the busiest of our days in Greece.
Nauplia is a seaport town, known for fishing and shipping. With several splendid beaches, Nauplia is also a resort town, known for tourism, the town’s leading industry in recent years.
The town occupies a peninsula situated on the Argolic Gulf. Nauplia was occupied, for centuries, by Venetians and Ottomans. The Venetians and Ottomans fought over the port city for almost 400 years, passing the town back and forth between them until the collapse of The Venetian Empire. (France also controlled Nauplia from 1212 until 1388, using the port city as a way station during The French Crusades).
Centuries of Venetian and Ottoman rule are reflected in the town’s architecture, a mixture of Byzantine and Italian influences.
Nauplia, from 1829 until 1834, served as the first capital of independent Greece.
Towering over the town is an ancient fortress that protected the port city and guarded its waterways until modern times. The fortress, reputed to be one of the most fascinating on the European continent, now serves purely as a tourist attraction.
We did not attempt to visit the fortress.
We spent ninety minutes walking around the center of Nauplia, exploring the narrow streets, until we returned to our hotel to have dinner.
Nauplia struck us, most of all, as an Italian outpost set amongst Greek towns and villages.
Nauplia has charm to spare. Its charm probably accounts for the fact that the town is a popular vacation spot for Germans and Scandinavians (although we did not encounter any Northern Europeans during our stay) as well as a favored weekend destination for wealthy Athenians.