The gateway to the Mani on the Messenian side is Kardamyli, 31 km (19 miles) southeast of the market town of Kalamata. It is considered part of the outer Mani, an area less bleak and stark than the inner Mani, which begins at Areopolis. Here the foothills of the Taygettus range are still verdant, and the sun is more forgiving. The quiet and attractive stone town has become a tourist destination for travelers attracted to its remoteness, stark beauty, and the hiking paths that surround it. Kardamyli's most famous resident was for many years the late Patrick Leigh Fermor, an Anglo-Irish writer who wrote extensively on Greece and on the Mani in particular. The old section of Kardamyli, northwest of the modern town, is on a pine-scented hillside dotted with small clusters of tower houses, some of which are being restored; stone-paved paths cut through the enclave.
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