The Olive Press
The Olive Press is our traditional, stone house complete with the old press in the former machine room. It is located in the heart of Megali Mandinia, a friendly village on the Mani peninsular near Kalamata, in southern Greece.
It has stunning views over olive groves and hills to the sea and is a lovely place to discover the easy pace of rural Greek life. When we're not working in London or skiing, this is probably where you'll find us.
A brief history
The Olive Press was built in the 1850's and consists of two adjoining buildings – a three-story house plus a milling room where the olives were pressed and processed. Living accommodation was on the upper floors whilst the ground floor contained storerooms and the engine that powered the belt driven presses. It served the village until the mid 1990’s by which time farmers had vehicles that were too wide for the narrow lanes leading to the property and newer co-operative mills were serving the district.
A crumbling corner of Megali Mandinia
When we found the house it was dilapidated and in serious need of attention. As with many Greek village houses, the previous owners had left for the city and none of the surviving family members wanted to live there or devote the resources needed to renovate it. The owners, three generations of women from the same family, had put it up for sale some years earlier.
The moment we saw the property we knew it was something special and although we looked at other houses, nothing compared. We agonised briefly about the wisdom of committing to such a renovation project before deciding to go ahead in October 2001.
Nine months later ...
We worked with a local businessman who is passionate about renovating old buildings. He managed the work, sourcing local materials and craftspeople, and we visited periodically. Nine months later it was ready for our first stay. Of course being Greece the paint was still drying and there were a few hitches along the way… but we’re convinced we made a good decision and are still enjoying the adventure.