House and Leisure|April - May 2020
The traditional medieval dwelling that South Africa-based entrepreneur Demi Tsouroulis returns to each year is situated just below the ancient church of Agios Constantinos on the island of Serifos in Greece – on the ruins of a 16th-century Venetian castle. Accessed via a maze of cobbled streets, the whitewashed homes of Chora, the hilltop town, seem to cascade precariously down the rocky mountain peak on which it is built, offering up staggering 360-degree views of the inky Aegean sea that lies below. Demi bought the simple three-storey home (a collection of three traditional dwellings) in the mid ’90s as a place where she, and her two then teenage daughters could immerse themselves in their Greek roots.
‘I was born in Epirus on the mainland of northern Greece, but my late husband came from Serifos, so I knew the island well,’ explains Demi. ‘I chose Serifos because it is almost hidden in plain sight. Being just two hours by ferry from Athens, it has managed to retain an authenticity and a feeling of being off the beaten track that is becoming a rarity in Greece.’ Ever the pioneer, Demi’s own life story that took her from Epirus to Serifos is fascinating – not least because of her decision to stay on in South Africa when she was widowed at the age of 28 (with her daughters just toddlers). It was a decision that may have been wholly unorthodox for a ‘Greek girl’ at the time, but stay Demi did, going on to pioneer a hugely successful woman-owned industrial bakery business while making an incredible life for herself and her daughters in the cosmopolitan city of Johannesburg.
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April - May 2020