Did you know that the Greeks call the central part of their country “the land of Rome?” That’s what Roumeli means, referring to the craggy stretch of country from Delphi in the east to the Ionian Sea in the west, bounded by the long Gulf of Corinth in the south.
Why do they call it that? It’s because when the Ottoman Turks ruled the place for some 400 years, the Greeks became very conscious that they were pretty much the inheritors of the Roman Empire in these parts, which enabled them to maintain an identity under alien rule.
One look at the proud heights that dominate the whole region, and you become aware of how a people living in these surroundings – rather like the Scots – could keep up an aggressive independence. The local people are still some of the most selfless and hospitable in Greece, and a road trip from one end of Roumeli (also called Sterea Ellada, or “solid Greece”) to the other can be richly rewarding. The province is, metaphorically as well as literally, the heart of Greece.
Recommended destinations in Central Greece: