The “Margiora” of Kythnos “treats” us to experiences

4 mins read

Author: Katerina Parri

Margiora Vlastari was born in 1885 and was a native of Kythnos.If you ask the oldest Kythnians, they talk about a strong woman and personality who the children of the village competed for who would say carols in her house, because she was very generous in giving presents. This house today, is still an impressive mansion that can be found at the entrance of Chora of Kythnos and now its current owner and great-grandson, Fonta Diaelismas together with his good friend Michalis Danessis have created their own “Margiora” there.

In this Margiora named in honor of the woman who once inhabited it, a lot happens, and as eating is the appetite and starting from the stomach, because a hungry bear does not dance, his restaurant is the best suggestion for dinner and breakfast, wine and cocktail bar, the small shop/delicatessen has fine products of small Greek producers to choose the best and its hidden courtyard is open for beautiful moments, not only with music and live performances of favorite artists, since the 1st Margiora Backyard Festival is an event.

©Konstantinos Sofikitis

We spoke with the team of Margiora, Phonta Dialisma and Michalis Danessis to get to know Kythnos better, to find out what they are preparing on the island and what we can expect from the “Margiora” of Kythnos:

How did you find your way to Kythnos? What did you do before and now what is your connection with the island?

Phontas: I come from Kythnos, I have been here since the first days of my life, it is the place of all my childhood summers. In a word: my village. My connection is not only emotional, but also multifaceted and professional. Along with Margiora I work as an architect with several projects on the island. My connection with the island has not changed, it has only deepened.

Michael: I first found myself on the island a few years ago through my introduction to Phonta. I come from a background in business administration and catering but nothing like Margiora. My connection to the island is now absolute. Apart from living here 5 months every year, it is a place I have come to love and want to see develop in a beautiful way.

Phontas Dialesimas | Photo: Nikias Alexandris
Michael Danessis

What do you love about Kythnos?

Fontas: To something that feels so much a part of me and where I have been through so much, it’s really impossible for me to answer in a few words. I think Michael, with his “fresher” view of the island, is the most appropriate person to answer this question. If I have to say something, let me answer with a cliché (which is true though): its beaches.

Michael: I think what I love most is how it never ceases to amaze me. Every time, every day here, every visit depending on the time of year, I always have something new to see. Of course, maybe it’s because, and because of work, I haven’t yet been able to explore every corner of it like I would like to! I’ve never had a place of my own to connect with, but I’ve always wanted to. And I loved the hospitality of the people who made me feel like the island was my “home” in a short time, a sense of belonging.

Tell us about how the idea for Margiora came about?

The idea behind the birth of Margiora was twofold: on the one hand, our desire to create a place like the ones we liked to go to and that we felt was something missing on the island, and on the other hand, my (Fonta’s) anxiety to save from decay a 160-year-old house, a family heirloom, and bring it back to life and its old beautiful days. But in general, I think that above all we wanted to see on the island what we were missing and through the shop and our contact with the people to introduce Kythnos, which we love.

What is your thinking behind Margiora to be not only a very beautiful sophisticated quality restaurant but also a venue for cultural events.

From very early on the character of Margiora showed its intentions to evolve into a multi-dimensional(!). We started with dinner and our emphasis on wine, shortly after came our small delicatessen, followed by cocktails, then brunch and we saw the creation of a space that many people loved just being there and experiencing it as a total experience. At the same time, we felt that in terms of cultural activities the island could offer more and different from what it already offers and as the building helped us with its design, our semi-autonomous backyard became the ideal space to embrace all the different things we organise. Then again, maybe it’s just that if something pops into our heads and we like it, we can’t help but do it!

Photo: Iliana Alexandrou

How is the selection behind the program you are proposing in the courtyard this summer?

First of all, we want the program we propose to be as diverse as possible. That is, we are not organising a festival exclusively of music or film, for example. We want to spread an umbrella of activities that can include – as much as possible – as many friends of Margiora as possible!

We also know the people who come to the shop, most of them personally, so we know what they would like to watch and experience while they are on the island!

What would you like for next summer or the summers to come?

Fontaine: As far as our cultural events are concerned, for starters to see people participating and enjoying them. This is the most important thing that will give us momentum for the next steps. In general, visitors to Kythnos should get to know and love it through the way it really deserves, that is, to see its soul.

Michael: The goal is through the actions and events we organize, the visitor should connect with the island and its people, to get to know and love it as we do, in all seasons.

Photo: Iliana Alexandrou
Photo: Iliana Alexandrou

What would you change in Kythnos? And what you wouldn’t change at all.

Fontaine: I would change certain perceptions and attitudes around certain things here on the island. I wouldn’t change for anything the fact that I can be alone on my favourite beach, even on August 15th.

Michael: I would change the rush to change and move away from people’s “roots” that often sacrifices the landscape, tradition and the small community of locals that inhabit the island. I wouldn’t change the landscape of the island for anything.

Kythnos in one word for you.

Fonta: Sea

Michael: Return

Who was Margiora? Share a story you’ve heard about her life and have kept in mind.

Fonda: Margiora was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet her although I would have loved to. Around her, stories from the oldest Kythonians have reached my ears that have made me admire her. She was certainly a very strong personality, very important in the local community of the time. I most love the stories of how at Christmas, the village children would compete to see who would sing carols at her house because she always gave the richest treat!

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