We’ll never see Cythera,
We’ve missed the last ship of the line
Lyrics from a popular 70’s song
Cythera is an island lying opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. Geographically, it belongs to the Ionian Islands administratively however, it is part of the Attica region.
Cythera is the birth place of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love. She is thus often called Cytherea. In the western tradition the island was perceived as a transcendent promise land.
In his painting, “Pilgrimage to Cythera” (1717) as well as in its variation “The Embarkation for Cythera” (1718), Antoine Watteau creates an idyllic place where Parisian ladies and gentlemen are about to engage in a “fête galante” under the watchful eye of Aphrodite’s worshiped statue. “Fêtes galantes” were playful gatherings of the aristocracy, in the countryside.
In the movie, “Voyage to Cythera” (1984), Theodoros Angelopoulos unravels the story of a communist political refugee who returns to Greece after 32 years in the Soviet Union. The sense of rupture between desire and reality runs throughout the movie.
Practical Information about Cythera accommodation options, discounted rates and travel here here