The Sea of Sapienza. Travel Diary of the Meduproject Summer School of Photography in Greece/Η Θάλασσα της Σαπιέντζας. Ταξιδιωτικό Ημερολόγιο του Θερινού Σχολείου του Meduproject στην Ελλάδα, Introduction by Eugenia CHALKIA/Εισαγωγή της Ευγενία ΧΑΛΚΙΑ, Photo Album by/Φωτογραφικό άλμπουμ των Caterina AGUANNO, Katia BANCI, Dora BARTOLOMEI, A. BORGHETTI, Camilla CROSTA, Chiara DI PLACIDO, Silvia DOCCI, Roberto GULMINELLI, Marta LAGHEZZA, Antonella LAMIA, Laura MAORET, Andrea MISTRETTA, Stefania MELCHIONNA, Claudia PELLITTERI, Alessandro TUSA, and/και Marta VIGNATELLI, Dept. of History and Methods for Cultural Heritage Preservation of the University of Bologna/Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Μεθόδων για τη Διατήρηση της Πολιτισμικής Κληρονομιάς του Πανεπιστημίου της Μπολόνια – 26th Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities of the Greek Ministry of Culture/26η Εφορεία Βυζαντινών Αρχαιοτήτων του Ελληνικού Υπουργείου Πολιτισμού – Forestry Department of Kalamata/Δασαρχείο Καλαμάτας, Meduproject Editions and Editrice La Mandragora, Imola 2009 (Mediterranen Diaries/Μεσογειακά Ημερολόγια, 3).
Until the advent of powered craft, the island of Sapienza had always been a strategic hub on seaways linking the Ionian and the Aegean. This is demonstrated by the wealth of archival records, portolanos and travellers’ journals preserved in European and American archives and libraries. Many sources concur in attesting to settlements dating back to at least the Venetian period (13th-15th centuries). From 2006 to 2008 the students of Meduproject Methoni Summer School (www.meduproject.com), directed by Prof. Andrea Nanetti, completed collection of topographical data from the sources that have so far come to light and now offer, in this publication, the result of that work in the form of a historical ‘touring guide’ to the island of Sapienza. Today the island, uninhabited and still awaiting full archaeological investigation, is a nature reserve that can only be visited with guides authorised by the Forestry Commission of Kalamata.
For a definition of the historical chorography and anthropic geography of the Venetian period of these maritime lands (1207-1500), the main – and often the only – sources are itineraries and travel accounts together with portolanos and nautical charts. These, in agreement with each other, in an uninterrupted interpretational comparative process and cross-referenced studies, add to the reading of the archaeological data not only for the Venetian period but the entire Middle Ages (i.e. in a general sense from Late Antiquity to the fi rst Modern Age). In this work the information drawn from the above sources and the data from the incipient archival documentation have been organized on a topographical basis, with special regard to the acts of Venetian public notaries who offi ciated in situ from the 13th to the 15th century.