• Flourishing civilizations since the 4th millennium BC

    with flourishing civilizations

    since the 4th millennium BC

  • Demeter's Temple

    impressive monuments

    that recently came to light

  • The museum at Apeiranthos village

    with finds

    of the early cycladic period

  • Faneromeni monastery

    monasteries and churches

    of historic and architectural importance

  • Development of modern Naxos

    bringing naxos

    to its glorious present


Venetian rule of Naxos took place between 1207 and 1537. Around 1207 AD, the Venetian Marco Sanudo landed with his men at Agiassos and after a siege conquered the island and occupied the islands of Naxos and Andros, whereupon he founded the Duchy of the Aegean Sea with Naxos as the capital. This event ushered in the Latin dominance in the region which lasted for centuries till 1537, 84 years after the fall of Constantinople, today’s Istanbul (1453). Sanudo gradually subjugated all the Cycladic islands, except Mykonos and Tinos which were controlled by another Venetian family, the Ghisi family.

The subjugation of 18 islands in the Aegean, places Sanudo in a position to found the Duchy of Naxos, with the island as its seat, thereby creating a small feud. The capital was moved from Apaliros to present day Hora, whose hill forms a natural position for an acropolis (a fortification). On this site, Sanudo built the fortified castle we see today, using materials from the ancient city. The island's nobility and feudal rulers built their towers around the castle and outside it for extra protection, for summer housing or to exercise better control of the populace. On the island's northern coast, there are also a number of more recent towers. One such is the Agia Pyrgos (Holy Tower) which dates from the 17th century and was at some stage destroyed by fire, another is on the outskirts of the village of Galini. It is the fortified monastery of Panagia Ypsilotera.

The Venetian Occupation of Naxos

Despite their Venetian origins, and due to their geopolitical status, the Sanudo’s acknowledged the Latin Emperor of Constantinople as superior authority rather than Venice. Venice being much further away, they chose to follow a policy of independence via distance and an alignment with a nearby power. However, friction with Venice on this policy grew, and the Duchy eventually became a Venetian protectorate.

According to the tradition of feudalism, Sanudo divided the island into the various feuds which were allocated to the nobility he established as his court.

The period of the Sanudo ascendancy was marked by turbulence. The Sanudo’s were forced to be on a continuous war footing to deal with the rival Ghisi family, various pirates roaming the Aegean, interventions from Venice, including the Byzantine fleet of Emperor Vatatzes of Nicaea who had never abandoned his claims on the Cyclades.

The Sanudo dynasty produced seven dukes whose last one, Niccolo Dalle Carceri, was murdered in 1383 by Francesco Crispo, ruler of the island of Milos, during a hunting outing near the village of Melanes. Francesco Crispo was apparently pro-Venetian.

Francesco had married into the Sanudo family. He took over the Duchy and the Crispo dynasty he founded, produced a line of 12 dukes.

By the time the notorious Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa conquered the Cyclades in 1537-38, the Aegean Sea Duchy was already in a state of administrative disarray and decline.

The Duke of Naxos, Giovanni IV Crispo, was permitted to remain in charge of his territory on condition that he paid heavy taxes to the Ottoman treasury. The enforcement of these taxes exacerbated the dire economic situation the duchy was already in. Giovanni’s son, Jacopo IV Crispo, succeeded him upon his death in 1564. Two years later he was imprisoned by the Turks, following complaints for greater fairness in the administration to Sultan Selim II (1566-1574) by local Greek notables.

The end of the Crispi dynasty, marked the ushering of new Latin feudal lords. Prominent families, like Barozzi, Della Rocca, De Modena, Grimaldi and Justiniani, created larger estates either by purchasing land or acquiring it through marriage.

The new order of feudalism, brought about intensified the adverse conditions of serfdom for the local populace.

Inside the Venetian castle of Naxos Town

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The highlights of Naxos

The beaches of Naxos

The secluding beaches of Naxos

More than 30 beaches !!!

Yes, it is true. The island of Naxos offers the greatest variety of beaches you could ever hope to find & endless opportunities for explorations.

The villages of Naxos

The traditional villages of Naxos

Traditional or modern Naxos villages, inhabited or abandoned, one thing is for sure, you won't ever get bored.

The various activities

Naxos activities

A wide variety of activities during your holiday

Taste new experiences during your holiday on Naxos. You may enjoy surfing, walking, snorkelling, sailing, horseback riding, cooking and so many more ...

Family holidays on Naxos

Naxos holidays

Naxos is mostly a family destination. It is ideal for families with small children.

Top Naxos Beaches Photos

The best beaches of Naxos
Naxos.net friends have selected the most wonderful photos of Naxos beaches. Have fun ...
The historical periods of Naxos
Prehistoric times on Naxos
Naxos goes a long way back, with various civilizations flourishing on the island since the 4th millennium BC and it is speculated that the first inhabitants ...
The classical period of history of Naxos
Naxos’ importance and influence declined in the Classical age as did for most of the islands. In the face of the Persian invasion in 490 BC, Naxians adopted ...
Byzantine times on Naxos
With the rise of Rome, after 41 BC, Naxos was part of the Roman province of the islands which was governed from Rhodes. The Romans often utilized the island ...
Venetian history of Naxos
Venetian rule of Naxos took place between 1207 and 1537. Around 1207 AD, the Venetian Marco Sanudo landed with his men at Agiassos and after a siege ...
The history of Naxos during Ottoman occupation
Turkish rule of Naxos lasted from 1537 to 1829 when Naxos joined the modern Greek state. The Turks chose not to colonize Naxos and the other ...
The history of Naxos during modern times
True to feudal society, Naxian society was divided into three classes: the feudal lords and “masters” who lived in mansions, the peasants ...

the best of naxos

What's new (or old) on Naxos, from our blog articles.