Messene is a massive ancient city next to Mount Ithomi in the southwest of the Peloponnese, Greece. Ithomi is the name of the mountain that served as a natural fortress for the city. It was renamed Messene after a queen of the region. The area was once under the control of the Spartans and though it is less well-known than other sites, it remains one of the best preserved archaeological sites of ancient Greece.
Classic structures including the city walls and gates, and theater — as well evidence of daily life taking place in a once bustling metropolis: the agora, stadium, gymnasium, Asklepieion, sanctuaries and religious sites — are all very well intact. In addition, remnants of the ancient past from coins and pottery to art and sculpture have been excavated here. Until excavations began in 1895, most of the city lie buried under the earth, undisturbed and waiting to be discovered. No other settlement has ever been built on its site.
Ithomi and the ancient city of Messene are located 30 kilometers from the city of Kalamata and are best visited by car. Set out for the modern city of Mavromati. The site is open daily and costs 4 euros to enter. Hours depend on the season.