Nearby Stella Vineyard studios is the monastery of Sissia, one of the oldest monasteries on the island of Kefalonia. It would have been erected by St Francis of Assisi (San Francisco d'Assisi from which the monastery most probably takes its name) in the thirteenth century and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It later became orthodox and remains as such until today.
One of the oldest procession on the island, which goes back to the Middle age – an epoch in which the capital of Kefalonia was Kastro (St George's castle) and not Argostoli, takes place every year starting from the monastery. Its most treasured icon - ''The Virgin Mary of Sissia'' - dating back to the 15th century, is transported to the church of Evangelistria in the village of Kastro on the Sunday of St Thomas (the next Sunday after Easter- this year on May 8th). It remains there for four weeks and is then returned to the monastery of Sissia again with a procession (this year on May 29th). A big celebration then takes place at the monastery, which most locals attend. A meal is served with plenty of wine. I was there once and remember being served a very rustic ''goat soup''!
Of the old monastery only ruins remain. However, one can still admire the beautiful walls with remains of frescoes and windows with impressive wrought iron. Next to the old monastery are pine trees – an idyllic spot for a picnic. There is also a path going down to a beach (Sissia's beach). I would not recommend that you try going down by car. You might be able to go down but will find it extremely difficult to come back up. Many different variety of aromatic plants grow along the path (such as thyme and sage). A walk not to be missed! Periods of the year ideal for hiking are winter time, spring time and autumn. Contact us for more information. We will gladly help you in planning your trip to Kefalonia.