The Gentilini estate has been in the family since 1770’s a dowry brought to Demetrio Gentilini by his young bride, Diamantula Volterra, The land, much of it lying outside the present-day perimeter, was well protected by the encircling hills and in close proximity to the Castle of St George, seat of the Venetian government and defensible stronghold against pirate raids and enemy attacks. The monumental size of some of the olive trees bear witness to continuous cultivation since antiquity. The cypress grove, on the other hand, is a modern feature, planted at the beginning of the 20th century by Spiridon Focas Cosmetatos, who married the last descendant of the Gentilini family.
A brief history of the estate
The original two-storey house was not meant for continuous habitation. The owner would take up residence only during harvest time, to ensure that his part of the produce would be paid in, the land being farmed on a share-cropping basis. The house was of typical plan and construction. Indeed, the oldest part of the property consists of the remains of the ground floor storerooms for agricultural produce: oil, wine, fodder. An external staircase led to the living quarters: a succession of rooms opening on a central space. The stone masonry was always plastered, except for the vault under the staircase. The flat wooden ceiling upstairs created extra storage space. The more recent structures were erected after the devastating earthquakes of 1953 to house seasonal pickers from mainland Greece.