Parisaina 1976 - photo courtesy of the Benaki museum archives
The ‘Dream House’ is a listed historic mansion built in 1905 by the wealthy local landowning Pandos family. They, like many Greeks, moved their base to Alexandria, Egypt, where they had their main business, but retained close ties to their land of origin. The mansion, one of several family houses, was conceived as a secondary residence and built in an extraordinary location atop a rocky promontory surrounded by blue waters.
Apostolos and Marigo Pandos 1883
The Dream House is a rare example of a seaside holiday home of that period. Holidays by the beach were not popular amongst locals in Mainland Greece until the second half of the 20th century and seashore land was not considered of much value. Villages and homes were traditionally built higher up in the mountain to protect against pirates.
The ‘Dream House’ was built by highly skilled Egyptian stonemasons with stone extracted from the rocky promontory itself. It is very interesting architecturally, as the form is typically neoclassical, but the decorative elements on the other hand are sober, in simple traditional village style. The lower level of the main house was devoted in part to the storage of olive oil from the family press, and in part to processing agricultural goods. Ships would anchor at the beach of ‘Parisaina’ at the foot of the house, to load produce headed to Egypt. The upper level was residential, with a large north facing living room and three smaller south facing bedrooms. The picturesque terraced front yard was created by building the heavy stone retaining walls that can still be seen today.
The house was used by the family up until world war II, when it was apparently requisitioned by the German army as an observation post. The family did not return and it remained virtually abandoned until 2001 when it was bought by its current owners as a ruin. Careful restoration works started in 2005, one hundred years after its construction, and were finally completed in the summer of 2016.
Stories and unverified rumors about the life of the house abound, both before it was abandoned and after… it was the romantic setting where Seferis and his future wife Maro stayed as their love affair blossomed, it was where a buried treasure of eclectic objects was discovered by some local boys who then sold it for a pittance on the black market, and many more tales…
Today it is to be enjoyed as a holiday home in one of the most exceptional settings Greece has to offer.