/Literature Journeys On The Steps Of Lorentzos Mavilis – Mantzourani K. / Karagianni M.

Literature Journeys On The Steps Of Lorentzos Mavilis – Mantzourani K. / Karagianni M.

Mantzourani K. / Karagianni M.

  1. Mantzourani K.(kleomantz@yahoo.gr) Pedagogical Department of preschool teachers,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), MeD in Educational.Evaluation, NKUA.
  1. Karagianni M.(tour986@uniwa.gr).Student of Tourism Management at the University of  West Attica

Abstract:This study refers to one of the most important Greek lyric poets of the 19th century, Lorenzo Mavilis. The purpose of the work is to promote a particularly important poet for Greece, who devoted a part of his life to the creation of lyric poems, “sonnets”. In this text, we are studying how Mavilis helped with his creations  Greek tourism, through some literary journeys that we are going to carry out in various parts of Greece where he grew up, lived and fought. Our goal is to highlight these places, where the poet is honored until these days as well as to motivate the reader to visit  places and monuments to get to know better not only the poet who left in his country an amazing cultural legacy, but also his work, and Greece in addition to the well-known tourist attractions.

Key words : poet , Mavilis , monument, bust, literature tourism

Literature routes and literature tourism

The phenomenon of literary tourism is something that has appeared mainly in recent years. Literary tourism was created through the need and the curiosity of the reader to explore the geographical places he encounters in the texts or poems of his favorite authors. Every reader seeks to travel mentally with each hero, but we see that this is no longer enough since nowadays reading and engaging with books has become a trigger to actually travel to places and lands he/she has imagined (Manola ,2020b). Nevertheless, we see that the reader not only visits the place for which he read and envisioned but he also visits the house where the author lived if it is well-preserved and that it has to do with him even his grave if it exists. In addition, it is remarkable that the extension of literary tourism are the literary paths that follow the internal need of a man to connect even for a while, the real world, with the world of his imagination. Towards the middle of the 20th century, monuments, places, houses and even tombs of great writers and poets began to be used in Greece. Since then, many efforts have been made to improve these places and monuments as well as museums that have become sought after by many visitors, not only tourists but also intelectuals or people of the academic community. (Manola, 2019).

Lorentzos Mavilis (1860 – 1912)

He was born in 1860 in Ithaca, where his Spanish-born father Pavlos Mavilis served as president of the Ionian State courts. He was the last representative of the Ionian School in the genre of poetry, while he lived most of his life in Corfu. Nevertheless, the island of Ithaca was not just a place for Mavilis, but the place from which he received his first stimulus and formed his own character (Manola, 2020a), that he imprinted in his works, while the mediocrity was not enough for him, on the contrary, he sought perfection in each of his creations. Through his studies and moral principles, clearly influenced by Kant’s philosophy and Schopenhauer’s[1] pessimism, he shaped his personality. His work and contribution to Greek literature is large and numerous. He was one of the warmest fighters and supporters of the vernacular, typically saying the phrase: “There is no vulgar language, but vulgar people”[2].

The imprint of the poet in Corfu and the family tomb

The poet grew up in Corfu and after completing his studies he returned to the island. What there is today, is only what has been left of his house, which is a center of interest especially for lovers of literature and is located in the area of Porta Remounta. Through the study of Alberto Savinio, we have a graphic description of the poet’s house. It doesn’t leave anyone unmoved by the fact that in this house were written his greatest works that adorn Greek literature. (Alberto Savinio, 1935)[3].

Picture 1. The sign that is built into the poet’s house in Corfu.

In addition to the poet’s house, in the park of Spianada (Bosketo) in Corfu, a monument is erected in his memory with the characteristic inscription „to the poet and patriot Lorenzo Mavili“. The Corfu Studies Society, the Corfu Reading Society as well as various associations of the island that are lovers of poetry, very often organize in the park in front of his statue, poetic gatherings, where the poet is honored and excerpts are recited or all his works with special mention in the sonnet.

We could not, of course, omit a reference to the tomb of the Mavili’s family that is kept in the catholic cemetery of Corfu. On the occasion of the centenary of his death in 2012, and on the initiative of the Corfu Studies Company, a memorial service was organized in the memory of the family, even if the poet is a dead man, there was not a moment he was missing of the thoughts of the crowd that attended the symbolic act of memory.

The monument and the bust in honor of the poet in Ioannina

The poet, nurturing a great love for his homeland, fought and was sacrificed for it. Just outside Ioannina, in Drisko of Epirus[4], there is still a magnificent monument, at the exact spot where he died, dedicated to the memory of the poet where his bones are preserved. Every year, various events are held in his honor at the monument of the poet. Visitors lay wreaths, while important speeches are made by great historians and writers. Also is remarkable the event that took place a few years ago when 100 years have passed since the poet’s death in 2012.

Picture 2. The historical monument in honor of Lorentzos Mavilis in Driskos, Ioannina.

In the central square of Ioannina, known by the name of the poet[5], is the marble bust of Mavilis from 1914 until today, a work created by Petros Roubos [6]. His bust was one of the first public monuments for the liberation of the city. Today this place is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the poet’s death but this is not the only day that attracts people to Mavili Square. It is a place where events and exhibitions take place due to its size, which allows it to host a lot of people. In addition, it is a place of entertainment and an important reference point for the city with a strong touristic character as from the past[7], until today it is surrounded by various companies and activities of great interest to the public.[8] (Souliotis,1975).

Mavilis in Athens and the various events in his memory

In Athens today there is another marble bust of him in the center of Mavili Square[9]. Crowds of people pass by the square every day due to its location while at regular intervals various gatherings and events are organized. Mavili Square today is surrounded by several internationally renowned hotels, while right next to the square it is housed the Athens Concert Hall, which is worth mentioning that it has hosted speakers and various events in honor of the poet.

Below are presented some indicative speeches, writings and events that have taken place in the past to honor the memory of the poet and his admirable work:

  • Speech by Michalis Pantoulas „Lorentzos Mavilis and the Greek Voluntary Corps of Garivaldinis in Drisko“, Ioannina 24/11/2019 (Manola,2020a)
  • Lecture on Mavilis dedicated to the memory of the poet on „Lorentzos Mavilis: from form to sacrifice“.[10]
  • The reading of Mavilis sonnets at a commemorative event in Paris, 2011.[11]
  • “Two concerts of works”, Petridis P. Petridis‘ concert took place in Athens in 1934 with an extensive reference to the sonnet of Lorenzo Mavilis “H Lithi” (1923).[12]
  • Advertising Campaign for the promotion of Greek tourism. TV commercials have been created by organizations in the communication industry, which are dominated, among other things, by the phrase from the historical sonnet of the poet “Patrida”.[13]


So through the study above, we noticed how literary tourism flourishes and evolves over the years focusing on the face of the poet L. Mavilis. Therefore we conclude that a kind of tourism is developing in Greece and we realize how much it would help Greek tourism if more moves were made to exploit and promote the great historical figures of Greek literature who left their own history.


  1. Manola,M.(2019),“Logotexnia-Tourismo-Politismos”,Published by Tsotras, Athens.
  2. Manola, M.(2020a),”Viomatiko Odoiporiko stous logotexnes tis eptanisiakis sxolis”, Published by Tsotras, Athens.
  3. Manola,M.(2020b),”O Logotexnikos Tourismos os fainomeno—Paradeigmata se Ellada & Italia”. (Online) Available at: Online conference 27/11.INTEREEG GREECE ITALY.POLYSEMI. https://bit.ly/3746TZT
    [Access 27 November 2020].
  4. Savinio,A.(1942), “Narrate,uomini,la vostra storia”, Adelphi.
  5. Souliotis,G.(1975),”Giannina – Odigos Dimotikou Mousiou kai Poleos”, Private Edition.
  6. Antonopoulou, Z.(2003), “ Ta glypta tis Athinas”, Publishing by Potamos, Athens.
  7. ToBHMAteam (2008), “Dialexi gia ton Mavili”, To BHMA tis Kiriakis, Politismos, November 2008. Available online: https://www.tovima.gr/2008/11/24/culture/dialeksi-gia-ton-mabili/
  8. ΤοΒΗΜΑteam (2011), “Fillelinismos sto Parisi”, Το ΒHMA tis Kiriakis , Books, February,2011.Avaliable online : https://www.tovima.gr/2011/02/06/books-ideas/filellinismos-sto-parisi
  1. Online available : https://digital.mmb.org.gr/xmlui/handle/123456789/10583
  2. ΤοΒΗΜΑteam (2010),”Oi poihtes gia ton elliniko tourismo”, Το BHMA tis Kiriakis,Society, July 2010. Available online: https://www.tovima.gr/2010/07/25/society/oi-poiites-gia-ton-ellinikotoyrismo/
  3. Pictures from personal file and Google Images.

[1] Schopenhauer’s pessimism influenced the poet and as a result led him to study, among others (classical literature, linguistics) and Indian literature (Sanskrit).
[2] This phrase was uttered by him on 16 February 1911 as a member of the revising assembly on the linguistic article 107 of the Constitution where he passionately defended the beauty of the vernacular.
[3] Alberto Savinio was an Italian writer who published his study of Lorenzo Mavili in an Italian magazine in 1935. Later it was translated by Nikokavoura A., in the Ionian Anthology, 1938, issue 120, pp.28-35. Nevertheless, the author, along with other studies, formulated and published his book in its final form in 1942.
[4] In Drisko of Epirus, a heroic fighter gave up his last breath, Mavilis on November 29, 1912, fighting as a volunteer with the Garivaldinis against the Turks for the liberation of Ioannina.
[5] The city of Ioannina, wishing to honor the poet, turned the old pier in the area of Livaditi into a square and gave the name of the poet.
[6] The bust is based on a portrait where the poet himself posed to the Greek sculptor Roubos, shortly before he set off for Epirus. Apart from Mavilis, the sculptor created other portraits, busts, burial monuments and heroes. (Antonopoulou, 2003).
[7] In the past, in the late 70’s to the mid 80’s there was a large amusement park in Mavili square which hosted a large crowd and especially in the summer months attracted a significant number of tourists in addition to Gianniotes.
[8] The area has entered dynamically in the life of all the people of Giannioton, but at the same time it attracts many tourists. People regardless of gender and age visit Mavili square which is further away from the city center. It is very popular, while we could say that it is even better known than the largest square of Ioannina, Pyrros Square. Plenty of space, greenery and various cafes and restaurants are some of the reasons why the square is never deserted.
[9] The square was named Mavili from the poet. The Municipality of Athens placed its bust in Mavili Square in 1938, while the same bust exists in three other copies in Corfu, Ioannina and the Offices of the Society of Greek Writers.(Antonopoulou, 2003).
[10] See : https://www.tovima.gr/2008/11/24/culture/dialeksi-gia-ton-mabili/
[11] See : https://www.tovima.gr/2011/02/06/books-ideas/filellinismos-sto-parisi
[12] See : https://digital.mmb.org.gr/xmlui/handle/123456789/10583
[13] See : https://www.tovima.gr/2010/07/25/society/oi-poiites-gia-ton-elliniko-toyrismo/