Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), writer, scholar and World War II veteran, was one of the most important British travellers of the 20th century. He led a life of adventure and spent much of it in Greece, which he loved as his second homeland. The house he built at Kardamyli in Messinian Mani in the 60s is considered one of the most beautiful homes in the Mediterranean.
Paddy, as he was known to his friends, or Michalis, as his Greek comrades called him, played an important role in the Battle of Crete in 1941 and lived more than two years on that island where, disguised as a shepherd named Michalis, he took part in the Resistance and belonged to the small group of officers who kidnapped the German general Heinrich Kraipe in 1944.
That beautiful man, a mix of Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene, as the BBC described him, lived for many years in Kardamyli with his wife Joan (they were married in 1968) in this house, which was his great love. Designed by Greek architect Nikos Hadjimichalis, this unpretentious dwelling sits right above the sea and is where he wrote so many of his books and hosted so many of his numerous friends from all over the world.
The exterior of the house is deceptively simple, constructed in the local hewn stone. Thanks to the plot which slopes to the south, it appears to have two storeys and is surrounded by roofed outdoor corridors with marvellous views.
Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor bequeathed the house, while they were still alive, in 1996, to the Benaki Museum with the provision that it would be used to host scholars, writers or artists who were seeking a quiet, hospitable place for inspiration and creativity.
Today, subsequent to a donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to the Benaki Museum to cover expenses of repairs and preparation of the house for such guests, Patrick Leigh Fermor ’s residence will be entering a second life in the near future.
- AddressKalamitsi, Kardamyli