Nestled in the embrace of the eastern slopes of Taygetos lies the charming village of Arna. With its elevation ranging from 700 to 850 meters, the picturesque haven is home to approximately 100 permanent residents. It boasts a landscape adorned with verdant planes, walnuts, chestnut trees, and rare aromatic herbs. Arna holds historical significance as the birthplace of Giorgakis Giatrakos, a prominent figure during the Greek War of Independence. However, his legacy is tinged with controversy due to allegations surrounding the murder of Panagiotis Krevvatas, a notable individual from Mystras, in 1822.
Arna is the perfect destination for those who want to unwind and immerse themselves in nature. There are several must-see attractions, including the charming narrow streets, the intricate architecture of the houses, the Agios Athanasios church, and the rejuvenating Agia Marina springs. The municipality is named after the Sminos River, which originates from these springs. The village square boasts a spectacular sight - a thousand-year-old plane tree towering at an impressive height of 20 meters, believed to be around 2,200 years old.
The Papadakos Ottoman defensive tower, a structure steeped in historical significance, can be found within Arna's "Upper Suburb." The village was once part of the region known as Vardounochoria or Bardounochoria. Turkalbanians and local Greeks settled to fortify the borders with Mani during the Turkish occupation from 1715 to 1821. These communities erected defensive towers, a tangible display of their authority. Among these was Salih Dervoukos, a notable aga who owned two towers. These constructions likely emerged after the Orlov Revolt, around 1780. During the Greek Revolution, these towers were inhabited by Greeks under the leadership of the Giatrakos family. Presently, one tower serves as the Giatrakos family residence, while regrettably, the Papadakos tower remains abandoned. The Papadakos tower, standing at around ten meters, boasts a two-story design engineered to withstand heavy snowfall.
The Chestnut Festival, a three-day extravaganza on the final weekend of October since 2004, is hosted by Arna. The village's central square transforms into a hub of artistic performances and an open-air market. Attendees can savour chestnuts cooked in Greece's giant pan, sample local tsipouro, and bask in the festive melodies. The Chestnut Festival has garnered a reputation beyond Laconia, attracting visitors from far and wide.