The Greek Cyclades island group has long been synonymous with romance. First, Liverpool housewife "Shirley Valentine" rediscovered herself on Mykonos with some help from a handsome Greek taverna owner in the 1989 movie. And then Meryl Streep planned the wedding-of-the-century in "Mamma Mia" (2008) against the white-washed backdrop of what film fanatics say was Sifnos. But every true Grecophile worth her moussaka knows that the most romantic place in all of the Cyclades is Oia, the small artist community on the tip of Santorini where the island rises above the Aegean Sea and moonlight walks along the Caldera are known to inspire Aphrodite -- at least in the playbook of my youth.
So let's raise a glass of Nykteri (Santorini's "wine of the night,") and shout "Yiamas!" (cheers!): One of Oia's most photographed historic guest houses is on the market. The properties known as "The Sea Captain's Villa" is listed at 4,800,000 Euro
--or about $7.1 million U.S. An adjacent house, "The Cave Style House" is included in the sale. The main house, originally built in 1864 as a sea captain's quarters (it was remodeled a few years ago), overlooks the dramatic volcanic sea caldera. Traditional Greek architecture in style, the property has hosted European celebrities on holiday. The white-washed buildings with traditional sky blue trim include seven bedrooms, seven marble baths and two kitchens. Antiques, artwork and an optional hotel license are included. Santorini is said to be the lost continent of Atlantis, an advanced civilization that disappeared under the waves. Perhaps the legend adds to the island's mysterious allure. Modern Greeks simply shrug and repeat an expression which, when translated loosely, says: God created Santorini, and then He stopped. Enough said.