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The Venetian Museum of Naxos: (Permantly closed) The Old Town of Naxos, or Chora, stands at the heart of the massive Venetian castle also called Kastro that was built by Marco Sanudo, the first Duke of Naxos in the thirteenth century after he captured it in 1207. Of the seven towers that were originally built, only one remains as of today. One can also see a Catholic cathedral, remnants of ancient Venetian houses, schools and other magnificent works of architecture.
One of these structures is The Venetian Museum also called the Domus Venetian Museum that is located at the Kastro's north entry. The museum is actually an 800-year-old Venetian house belonging to the Della Rocca family. Walking into the house is like taking a walk back in time. It allows you to truly experience life Venetian style. Mr. Della Rocca has converted his ancestral family home into a museum all by himself and has recently opened it to the general public. He also manages the museum solely on the proceeds obtained from tourists without any assistance from the Greek government.
The tour lasts for about forty minutes and is offered in both English and Greek. The forty minutes allows a guided tour of the entire house including the reception hall, bedrooms, dining room, nursery, gallery, library, chapel, study and balcony with a breathtaking view of the port of Naxos and the Portara or the "Great Door". Once that is done, you are taken down to the vaults to view original paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, and jewelry from the time of the Venetian rule.
The magical tour comes to an end with a visit to the cellars where you can taste excellent wine and other local drinks. You can also buy authentic crockery, furniture, and textiles from the back room as a memento of the Venetian times in Naxos.
The house also has a beautiful, tranquil garden which acts as a fitting venue for many open air, musical concerts in the evening. The music ranges from classical to jazz to traditional Naxos music on Wednesday and Sunday evenings complete with local musicians and dancers in traditional costumes. International artists also perform here from time to time. It is highly advised that you pick a day when there is a musical concert for its one thing you absolutely do not want to miss.
All in all, the Venetian museum allows you to not only understand the island's Catholic rulers but also take a peek into their lives and see how they have influenced the people and culture of Naxos. And there is nothing like some authentic music with an authentic aura to add to the experience. It is an adventure by itself, one that is not only enlightening but also immense fun.
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