The Greek island of Mykonos is almost mythical in its attractions, its mere 33 square miles encompassing some of the most dazzling scenery and alluring entertainments to be found anywhere in the world. And it's portrayed perfectly in Mykonos Muse a gorgeous and lavishly illustrated new coffee table book by Lizy Manola (with Rachel Howard and Michael Skafidas) from French luxury publisher Assouline due out this month and now available for pre-order on Amazon.
In signature Assouline style the book "chronicles the culture and society that has defined Mykonos over the past century," from its days as a laid-back hideout for such luminaries such as Le Corbusier, Aristotle Onassis (below) and Jackie Kennedy to its now thriving party scene, none of which has altered its rich, ancient history, visible in the regal ruins dotting the landscape.
It was Le Corbusier who said that "unless you have seen the houses of Mykonos, you can’t pretend to be an architect. Whatever architecture has to say, it is said here." And while for many that now serves as a mere backdrop for indulgences of all kinds the iconic whitewashed dwellings are instantly recognizable to anyone with a yearning to visit such magical places.
Located in the Cyclades and surrounded by the blue-green water of the Aegean, Mykonos' name means "the island of the winds" and indeed windmills dot the terrain. Its beaches, with names like Paradise and Super Paradise, are justly famous, and as the book notes "the sands of these shores have captured the imaginations and hearts of industry titans, artists, and party-goers from around the globe," making it must-stop on the jet-set circuit.
From Greek gods to poor fishermen – the island is said to have been the site of a great battle between the Titans and Hercules, who killed the invincible giants there after luring them from the protection of Mount Olympus – Mykonos has seen it all. Although these days you're more likely to encounter the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman and Ariana Grande.
Author Lizy Manola, who also took many of the photographs in the book, has had a house on Mykonos for 30 years and has been chronicling the island for nearly as long. Viewing it through her eyes and lens gives an invaluable insider's perspective that will make you feel like a local even if you've never been there.
Or we should say haven't been there yet, because reading this beautiful book will have you frantically looking up flights on Orbitz before you've even put it down.