Itilo at Mani
Itilo village, from which the Municipality takes its name, lies a mere ten kilometres from Ktima Karageorgou in the direction of Kalamata. One of the largest villages in Mani, Itilos is built on the side of a fortified hill northeast of Itilo Bay. This vantage point gives it an excellent command of Messinia pass and the whole bay below, making it an important location in anything going on in the history of the area from the time of Homer to the present day. Itilo is mentioned in Homer’s epic poems as being part of the realm of King Menelaus, and by Pausanius as being one of the major cities in the League of Free Laconian Cities. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire eminent families including the Comnenus (Stephanopoulos) family, and the Medici and Yatrian clans settled in Itilo. And it was here in 1770 that Theodoros Orlof and members of the Mavromihalis clan started the Orlof uprising. The agreement for the uprising was signed in the impressive, seventeenth-century church of Dekoulos that stands imposingly in front of Itilo. The grand Medici-Yatrian festival is celebrated in Itilos on 25th December to commemorate the rebirth, instigated by the fathers of the clan, of the ties of Love that bind all its members. Every year the men of the clan gather in a special room and recite Kyroula’s Secret.