Ancient Messini is a pleasant historical surprise that rivals the Acropolis, Epidaurus and Mystras. It is only a forty minute drive landin from Kalamata, and not yet fully packed with tourists like the other famous sites. Picturesquely situated on a hillside below the village of Mavromati, the site comprises a large theatre, an agora (marketplace), a sizeable Sanctuary of Asclepius and one of the most impressive Ancient Greek stadiums. The area is beautiful and quiet, the site offers an amazing view over the surrounding land. The site is still undergoing excavation. Entry includes the small museum at the site turn-off: The Arcadian Gate is one of the highlights of this site, but you could wander on for at least half a day, admiring all the amazing well preserved buildings. Loads of mosaics, engravings and restored buildings and theatres that help you visualize history. Lots of people indicate ancient Messini exceed their expectations.
Ancient Messini was founded in 371 BC, after freeing the Messinians from almost 350 years of Spartan rule. This new Messinian capital was one of a string of defensive positions designed to keep watch over Sparta. Ancient Messini was favoured by the Gods. According to local myth, Zeus was born here – not in Crete – and raised by the nymphs Neda and Ithomi. It is one of the best preserved Greek cities of the Hellenistic period.
The drive to the site (it is quite remote) is also wonderful. In the villages you pass small restaurants can be found.