A taxi or car is the easiest way to tour Stemnitsa, a traditional village in Arcadia, Peloponnese. A late spring day with greenery made this a comfortable excursion. Urban Greeks are rediscovering their roots in village life. Tour buses frequent the town. We had lunch at the café Gerousia, with traditional taverna atmosphere. The Greek feta salad, with country bread and a frappe with grilled chicken was fresh, prepared on the spot. My favorite pastime is having a Greek iced coffee frappe with a view of the Manalo mountains of Arcadia.
Wandering the streets, we saw an old fashion water fountain and traditional village homes on our way to the Silversmith School. Stemnitsa is part of the municipality of Gortynia in Arcadia. Theodore Colocations, the 1821 Greek Revolution George Washington used the town as a protective shelter. The town is southwest of the Manalo mountains, that is treeless. The local viewpoint is that the Turks cut the trees down in the 1821 Revolution.
The Silver & Gold Smithery School staff was pleasant, showing us their exhibits. It was founded in 1976 by Lambis Katsoulis, an accomplished silversmith, awarded for his work by the Academy of Athens. Stemnitsa was a famous metallurgical and silversmith centre since the post-Byzantine period and produced worthy craftsmen up to the recent past.
The School is public and free of fees. It teaches students from all over Greece. It consists of a two-year training course in handmade or productive jewelry. The Silver & Gold Smithery School of Stemnitsa continues the area’s rich tradition but it is also mainly orientated in combining traditional techniques with contemporary design aesthetes-tics. In the past few years, the School is constantly raising its educational standards: by collaborating with exceptional craftsmen and professionals in a seminar basis, by organizing the specialized seminars “Silversmiths’ Spring Gathering” and by participating in numerous exhibitions. During the past years, it has received various distinctions in Greek and International competitions.1
Silver filigree silver necklaces, bracelets, precious stones, gold filigree pins and crosses, belt and rings were in exhibits. Shops were closed in the afternoon. I have a pair of costume, gold tone earnings from 2013 that have not tarnished. Unfortunately, only persons who are affluent can afford fine crafted jewelry. More persons prefer the mass-produced items from China. One Taxi cab driver felt the students were wasting their time, or looking for a boyfriend. The economy is changing the Greek outlook on education. On the other hand, learning a trade is better than being unemployed. The Silver & Gold Smithery School of Stemnitsa is free. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Stemnitsa.
Photo1 – Greek feta salad, with country bread
Photo2 – Stemnista
Photo 3 – an old fashion water fountain
Photo 4 – Jewelry.
Photo 5 – Jewelry.
Photo 8 – Gerousia café
Photo 9 – Frappe, Gerousia Cafe