This evening, as the setting sun’s fierce heat diminished to more reasonable temperatures, we toured the so-called Shadowed Coast of the Inner Mani region, driving south from Aeropolis to the southern tip of Cape Tainaro and back. All around are the traces of a once dense population eking a frugal living out of the poor land: crumbling rock walls and terraces, all now deserted, and the ubiquitous Mani tower houses, some now restored as guest houses or as hunting lodges for the autumn quail hunting season. Nowhere was more atmospherically illustrative of the region’s past gory glory and current decay than the dramatic hilltop village of Vatheia. The tower houses that give it its distinctive silhouette (belonging to four feuding clans) are mostly ruins and much of the original village is overgrown with fig trees, cactuses and briars. There are two or three resistors – families who have stayed and repaired and restored, but the ruins of Vatheia badly need some sort of stabilisation programme if they are not to crumble rapidly away. The cape beyond it is broodingly wild, a castle, a tiny cove, looking out over the Mediterranean at its deepest.