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Symposion by La Ponta
In Ancient Greece, a symposion (to drink together) was a part of a banquet that took place after the meal, during which drinking was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, and conversation. Symposion is inspired by the 9 muses – Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomeni, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania, and Calliope, and is committed to preserving Greece’s cultural heritage. The center immerses its guests in mythology, music, and ancient instruments with a range of performances, presentations, and activities.
Since 2018, Symposion has been housed in the traditional village of Megalochori, within a late 18th to early 19th-century winery built by Zorzis Ioannis Saliveros. Prior to this, from 2012 to 2017, Symposion was located at the Venetian castle at the peak of Akrotiri. La Ponta means “peak” in Latin, hence the name Symposion by La Ponta. Despite relocating, the center kept its original name.
Argy Kakissis is the co-founder and managing director of Symposion along with her husband, Yannis Pantazis, who is also the center’s musician, instrument craftsman, and musical director. The outgoing and hospitable Argy, with her public relations and communications background, acts as the “behind the scenes” partner, whereas the passionate and creative Yannis is “the face” of the cultural center. Yannis has a keen interest in mythology and the role music played in shaping Greece. He has been composing music and performing across Greece and internationally for over twenty years and is a respected instrument craftsman. Inside the building, Yannis has a workshop in which he makes an array of traditional instruments that are featured in the musical presentations and evening performances.
Instruments are on display inside the center and are available to purchase at Symposion or online; Yannis offers a free introductory Skype music session with every instrument purchase. Symposion’s permanent collection showcases Greek bagpipes (tsabouna) from around the Aegean and traditional Santorinian instruments such as the lyre (small U-shaped harp), tsabouna, doubaki (Cycladic drum), and the lute (plucked string instrument similar to a mandolin). The other main exhibit on display is a visual narrative of the renovations to the historic site.
The center’s interactive tours, hands-on workshops, wine-tasting, and musical performances provide a uniquely educational and entertaining experience. The Mythical Music Presentation & Historical Tour explores the history and architecture of the former winery. Clio’s Tales (the muse of history and guitar) performance takes place in the courtyard and is an original composition on string and wind instruments. Odysseus Returns is Yannis’s signature show and takes place in the Saliveros chamber where the workshop and exhibits are found. It is made up of 10 original compositions each featuring a different instrument. Odysseus is a hero in Greek mythology, the king of Ithaca island, and the main inspiration for Homer’s epic “Odysseus”. This performance recounts the hero’s journey as he returns home to reclaim his kingdom and free his people from their oppressors. The performance has a theatrical spirit and is sporadically narrated in ancient Greek. Yannis translates in English.
The gorgeous courtyard, Mythological Botanical Garden features a bar and plenty of outdoor seating, shaded under the trees and umbrellas. The Homeric Wine Cafe also sits in the courtyard and offers a good selection of Greek wines along with Greek coffee, tea, fresh juices, and traditional local meze (small shared plates).
Wine tasting is available upon request. Four Greek wines are offered, decanted in traditional ways, and served in clay cups with traditional meze plates. Prices vary depending on the wines. Private bookings available for groups.
Symposion by La Ponta Hours and Information
- Season: Open March to October.
- Hours: Hours of operation differ depending on time of year: March, April, and October 10am-7pm. May to September 10am-8pm. Open on performance evenings til 11pm. Open Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays.
- Website: symposionsantorini.com
- Location: Megalochori, Santorini 847 00. Located less than 100m from the main square. Turn onto the alleyway beside Raki restaurant and follow the signs.
- Telephone: +30 228 608 5374
- Email: [email protected]
- Admission Fee: Free admission to the grounds but not the presentations, performances, or workshops.
• Workshops – Tuesday through Sunday from 1:30pm to 2:30pm. Price: €20 for adults, children (ages 6-13) €15. Reservation required.
• The Mythical Music Presentation & Historical Tour – Explores the history and architecture of the former winery. Performed daily Tuesday through Sunday from 12pm to 12:45pm. Adult – €12 and children (age 8-13) – €10. Not recommended for children under 8. Reservations required.
• Clio’s Tales – Performance about the the muse of history and guitar. Friday nights 9pm to 10:30pm. Adults – €15 and children (age 10-13) – €10. Not recommended for children under 10. Welcome drink included. Reservations recommended.
• Odysseus Returns – Yannis’ signature performance. Every Wednesday night; May 8:30pm to 9:30pm, June to September 9pm to 10pm, and October 8pm to 9pm. Adults – €15 and children (age 10-13) – €10. Not recommended for children under 10.
- Bus: The bus stop for Megalochori is on the main Fira-Perissa road, outside The Family Bakery and Canava Antonis Arvanitis. Symposion is about a 6-minute walk (500m) away.
- Parking: There are 2 free public parking lots within walking distance to Megalochori, both by the entrances to the village. One entrance is located by The Family Bakery and the other is by Earth and Water Pottery Studio, both on the main Fira-Perissa road. Coming from Perissa, turn right just after the pottery studio. Coming from Fira, turn left just before the bakery. The 2 entrances are about a kilometer apart.
- Nearby Wineries: Gavalas Winery (350m) • Venetsanos Winery (1 km) • Boutari Winery (1.5 km) • Santo Winery (2 km)
Symposion by La Ponta