Nafplio is a beautiful town on the Argolic Bay. It was the capital of the newly independent Greece from 1829 to 1834.
It preserves old and beautiful townscape and attracts many tourists, especially Greek from Athens, all through the year. It does not really have ‘off-season’ as other tourist attractions in Greece, so if you are planning to stay in Nafplio, do plan ahead even if it isn’t in summer, especially during the weekends.
Coach Timetable to and from Nafplio (English)
It is alleged that the name Nafplio came from its legendary founder Nauplios, son of Poseidon, but it is also possible that this obscure hero was invented to explain the city’s name.
Palamedes, descendant of Nauplios, participated in Trojan War, but killed by the fellow Greeks being suspected of treason. In ca. 625 BC Naulpion was defeated by Argos and its inhabitants mostly fled to Messenia. Later, Nauplion seems to have lost its importance and when Pausanias visited here in the 2nd century AD, it was in ruins.
Next time we hear about the town is in Medieval period, when it emerged as a trading post. In 1203, governor of Nafplio, Leo Sgouros, occupied Argos, Corinth and Larissa. In 1210, however, Nafplio was lost to Geoffrey de Villehardouin, and together with Argos, was given to Otho de la Roche. In 1388, Venice purchased Nafplio and the fortification of Bourdzi was completed under the Venetians (1470). In 1540, the Ottomans snatched Nafplio. In the next century Venetians recaptured it (1685/6), but never managed to man it enough and in 1715 it was lost again to the Turks.
At the outset of the War of Independence, it was one of the Turkish strongholds, but Theodoros Kolokotronis managed to gain it after a year’s siege. The provisory Greek government established itself in Nafplio and in 1829 Kapodistrias, the first prime minister, declared it as the capital of the newly independent Greece. He was assassinated inside the Church of St. Spyridon in Nafplio in 1831.
It remained to be the Greek capital under the king Otto until, in 1834, the government moved to Athens.
In the photo below is the fortress of Palamidi.
By the way, in Nafplio, there is arguably the best gelateria (Italian style ice cream parlor) in Greece called Antica Gelateria di Roma. Rather expensive, but anything is delicious thanks to the best quality ingredients.
It is conveniently located near the Syntagma Square. Address is as follows.
Antica Gelateria di Roma
Farmakopoulon 3 & Komninou, Nauplio
- Robin Barber, Greece (Blue Guide), London- N.Y. 2001 (Revised reprint of the 6th edition of 1995), pp. 232-236.
Some more photos from Nafplio