North of Mount Ainos, the scenery stays dramatic all the way to the northern tip of Kefalonia.
Affable low-key Sámi, looking out towards Ithaki, replaces ancient Same; on the hills above are the ancient walls, where the citizens put up a heroic four-month resistance to the Romans in 187 BC before their inevitable defeat and sale into slavery.
In 2000, Sámi endured a modern siege for the shooting of the film version of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. A mock-Venetian waterfront façade was constructed to recreate old Argostóli; for the first time in almost 60 years, Italian artillery was seen thundering through the streets.
Many older residents were dewy-eyed at the realistic reconstruction of the island’s architecture, but little remains to recall the filming, outside of a new road to the exquisite pebble beach of Antisámos (or ‘Captain Corelli’s beach’ – the film setting for the Italian army camp) 5km east, set amid forested hills spilling down to the clear water. It has since become so busy that it now has a pay car park.
Images by Andy / Andrew Fogg, Dan Taylor from London, UK, Lubomir Mihalik, Michael John Button, Mike_fleming, Paul Lakin