The historic Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor House, considered one of the most beautiful private homes in Greece, is now open to the public for guided tours and visits, thanks to the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
The Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor House is situated in Kardamyli, in the southeast Peloponnesian Peninsula.
Patrick Leigh Fermor, known worldwide as “Paddy,” who lived from 1915 to 2011, was a multitalented British author, scholar, and decorated soldier. He was celebrated as one of the finest travel writers of his generation.
His two best-known books were “A Time of Gifts” (1977) and “Between the Woods and the Water” (1986), which recollected his travels across Europe in the 1930s.
Leigh Fermor also gained fame from the role he played in the Cretan resistance during the Second World War.
The Leigh Fermors bequeathed their home to the Benaki Museum in 1996 with the desire that the house would host scholars, including writers, researchers, artists, and poets, who were looking to work or study in a quiet environment which allowed for inspiration.
The couple also granted the museum the right to lease their property for a period of three months per year in order to cover the operating expenses of the house.
Just a few kilometers from the village of Kardamyli, three traditional stone buildings nestle into the property, which is full of olive and cypress trees and fragrant shrubs and wildflowers, including white oleander.
The exquisite home, designed by architect Nikos Hatzimichalis in close collaboration with the Fermors, was completed in the mid-1960s.
The project to make the house a scholar’s retreat was the last wish of Patrick Leigh Fermor, who passed away in February of 2011, and it became the personal vision of the great Angelos Delivorrias, who was director of the Benaki Museum.
Their vision recently became a reality with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation which, as a major donor, supported the study of the potential operation and sustainability of the home. The Foundation also gave funds toward necessary repair and restoration work, with the main objective of preserving the original character of the building and its gardens.
The renovation of the building was carried out by the Kokkinou-Kourkoulas architectural firm. With the improvements finally complete, the Fermor House is now open to the public, with guided tours every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11:00 AM.
In addition, the House is now ready to host important artists and scholars and to function as an educational center with the cooperation of international academic institutions. Scholars from Princeton University were the very first to be hosted at the Leigh Fermor House.
Pre-booking is required, and can be arranged by emailing the house at the following address: [email protected] You can also telephone the House at 210 3671090, Monday through Thursday.