Zakynthos, also known by its Venetian name, Zante, is perhaps the greenest of the Ionian Islands. Beneath its notorious cheap tourism, Zakynthos is a beautiful island. All you need is to make a determined quest for its western and central regions of lush, forested mountains, dropping off to unreal turquoise waters to find out for yourself.
The Venetians used to call Zakynthos the “Fioro di Levante” (Flower of the East), as there are over 7,000 species of flowers on the island!
A bit of history
Zakynthos has been inhabited since the Neolithic Era, based on archaeological findings. Ancient poet Homer first mentions the island in his Iliad and Odyssey poems, stating that the first inhabitants were the son of King Dardanos of Troy, called Zakynthos and his men around 1,500-1,600 BC.
During classical antiquity, Romans occupied the island. For Zakynthos and its inhabitants, the Roman times were a period of significant cultural development and the island produced many colonies, as far as Spain.
In the Middle Ages, the Ionian Islands were constantly under Venetian domination. The Venetians promoted the island’s cultural heritage, and that was an era that many important Greek poets and writers were born here. This list includes renowned poets Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos (Greece’s National Poet) and theatrical writer Antonis Matessis.
Zakynthos and the other Ionian Islands joined the Greek State on the 21st of May, 1864.