Marmari

From the watershed above Styra, the main road descends with wide views of the gulf of Petalii­ and its scattered is lets, through an area still extensively quarried—this time not for the hard grey limestone which is extracted at Styra, but for a softer, crystalline, more translucent, veined marble, known since the Renaissance as ‘cipollino’, which enjoyed immense popularity in Rome throughout the last four centuries of its history. The cutting of the road itself reveals the marble—albeit dusty and opaque—mostly grey and white in undulating veins, sometimes blue-grey, and sometimes (the type most prized by the Romans) in a beautiful sea-green and white. It is found in varying quality over the whole area which stretches from here through Marmari to Karystos and beyond (see box below). Marmari (12km) takes its name from the commerce in this marble. Strabo mentions a temple to Apollo Marmarinos nearby. Today Marmari is a quiet resort, served by the most convenient crossing between the south of the is land and the Attic mainland near to Athens: services run to Rafina, typically every three hours, four times daily, with increased frequency at the weekends.

From Marmari a road leads into the interior of the island, to the attractive village of Paradi­si (12.5km) which has many stone houses in local vernacular architecture and pleasantly shaded tavernas. The road continues below the western slopes of Mount Ochi, past Aghios Dimitrios (where there is also a good taverna), and down the deep Poprhyras Valley, emerging onto the steep Aegean coast at Kallergou.

Euboea Island, Greece

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