Santorini Paradise Cave Houses brandname and firm is a creation of Maria Economou.
Maria, a Greek sculptor and painter, came to Santorini in 1984 and she instantly felt a deep connection with this awesome piece of land in the midst of the Aegean. She literally fell in love with the unique, breathtaking beauty and serenity of the island´s landscape. She knew that she belonged there, that this was her homeland. And there was a good reason, for this was not the first time she came here. She was brought to the island in 1957, as a newborn. Her father, an army officer, and her whole family was transferred there to help with the devastating situation created by the earthquake that hit the island the year before. She stayed in Santorini only for a year and has no conscious recollection of the calamity, but her soul took in the vivid images, which were deeply engraved into her mind and heart.
Now, as an adult, all these memories came back to life, together with so many new incredible impressions and feelings for her to take in. With her artistic nature, which she hadn’t consciously recognized yet, she witnessed the island´s beauty as a sensitive, curious child, absorbing every color, every smell, every flavor. She could stay for hours gazing at the sea of the Aegean, which seemed to her like a field with sheaves of blue straws swaying in the wind. With this feeling of wonder and awe, she came to Oia wanting to take in its very essence. The cave houses were for her the most wondrous of all sights. Not only for their beauty and quaintness, but also for their unique architecture. These small houses built centuries ago, literally carved into the rock, kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer, ages before heating, let alone air conditioning. Maria decided then and there to have one of her own. The house she bought in 1986 she called it “Paradise”.
She renovated it with every respect to its original traditional form and bioclimatic qualities. And then, as she helped the workers with the renovation, as she immersed her hands in the mixture of the building materials, feeling their texture, sensing their possibilities, she realized for the first time her artistic nature and that there was nothing else that she wanted to do with her life but creation! And so she did. Three months later, she took the difficult examinations for enrolment in the School of Fine Arts, in Athens, and passed with distinction. She studied and worked avidly and became a prolific painter and sculptor. Her inner need was always to express the contrast between the devastation of destruction and the exultation of rebirth; the vicious circle of life and nature. This is the reason why her favorite raw material for her works is lava, directly taken from the heart of the island’s soil. Now, many of her works decorate her Santorini Paradise cave houses.
Maria created an accommodation unit that is different from any other. Respecting her quests. Respecting tradition. Respecting the landscape, the island itself. Her cave houses offer her guests the opportunity to stay in traditional houses with no artificial architectural interventions, while enjoying every modern amenity and comfort. Maria takes care of her guests in every possible way, offering them traditional delicacies, giving her tips for visiting hidden gems that only the locals know and enjoy. She helps them immerse themselves in the locale’s natural beauty, see and feel the island with the passion and joy she herself feels. In other words, she makes her guests enjoy their stay as locals, not just as tourists. These cave houses are a heaven, a home away from home, with a beautiful, comfortable interior, with stunning views of the village, the Caldera, the surrounding cities hanging at its edge and the world famous Oia’s sunset and with excellent service, ideal not only for romantic couples but also for families or a bunch of friends.
Maria has made hosting an art – no wonder she has been praised again and again by official travelling sites as an excellent hostess. Being the artist she is, how else could it be?
A few more words about Maria Economou
Maria was born in Athens. She studied in the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens, and graduated from the Department of French Literature. She also studied the English language in the Stanton School of English, London (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English). In 1998, she passed the exams for enrollment in the Athens School of Fine Arts. There, she studied painting, drawing and sculpture under famous masters of these arts, up to 2004, when she graduated.
In 1999, she was a doctoral student in the School of Philosophy, with the subject “Ideological trends in France from 1950 to 1970 and associated effects on Greek artists.” From 2002 to 2004, she lived in Paris and studied “Aesthetics and Art Theory” in the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux Arts de Paris, with Professor Alain Bonfand. 2004 graduated from the High School of Fine Arts, Athens and in 2005 she got her doctorate degree in the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens. Her book, under the title “Ideological trends in France from 1950 to 1970 and associated effects on Greek artists”, published in 2008 by LIVANIS editions, was based on her doctoral research in France and Greece. She has presented her works in many solo and group exhibitions.