The semi-mountainous village of Filoti in central Naxos is a quiet place that merges three smaller settlements, namely Klefaros, Rachidi, and Lioiri.
On the eastern side lies Panagia (Virgin Mary) Filotissa (or Filotitissa) church. The structure is typically whitewashed, with details in white marble, such as its magnificent triple bell tower atop its roof and the clock tower next to the main church. Panagia Filotitissa is one of the most beautiful ecclesiastic structures in Naxos and the history behind it is equally fascinating.
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Interestingly enough, the building that stands to this day is not the first one constructed in its place; the very first church recorded there dates back to the Byzantine era, between 1071 to 1204. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1544 during a pirate raid. The second structure was completed and officially open to the public by the 1st of August 1718.
The story behind its reconstruction is astonishing and historical books covering it in detail have been written.
Concisely, the Venetian family of Barozzi bought the field in which the ruins of the previous church lay.
The feudal lord Ch. Barozzi declined the villagers' pleas to submit the area for the reconstruction of the church. The locals defied him, though, and commenced works on it.
After a series of judicial battles between Barozzi and the villagers, the locals were granted permission to complete the church of Panagia Filotitissa.
The reason behind the unexpected outcome was the humanity of a Filoti villager named Stefanos Psarras.
Psarras showed compassion to a Turkish child that survived a shipwreck near the Naxian coast. In the upcoming years, Psarras fostered the child until its 18th birthday, when it returned to Istanbul, becoming the Ottoman Empire's top judicial figure. He was in charge of the church's reconstruction trial, and returned the kindness he experienced to its foster parents and villagers of Filoti.
An intricate feature of Panagia Filotitissa is the triple bell tower, not only for its exquisite craftsmanship but also for its carved details; in the central column, it depicts the benevolent Psarras - next to him, the Virgin Mary holds infant Jesus. Depictions of holy figures, flora, fauna, and local beneficiaries' names are carved in the marble of the other two columns.
Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport, or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 22850 25835, 0030 22850 24829, or booking your taxi online.
Car rental: Τhere's the option of renting a car in Naxos and picking it up directly from the airport, port, or your hotel. Using a rental car allows visitors to discover Panagia Filotitissa and many other places of interest at their own pace.
Public transfers: The central bus station of the island is located at the port of Naxos. There are several buses from Chora to Filoti during the day. Lines 2 and 6 reach Filoti. Consider that time schedules might change according to the season. Check the official timetables here. Tip: Since buses don’t always stop at every scheduled stop of their itinerary, our advice to visitors is to inform the driver about their final destination in advance.