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Ithaca (Greek: Ιθάκη) is an island of the Ionian Islands and is located to the south of Lefkada and to the northeast of Kefalonia, from which it is divided by the homonymous strait. Its capital is Vathy, a picturesque town with a peculiar bay that closes Lazareto islet and its two Venetian castles. In peak summer months the population is more than doubled. The island took its name from Ithakos, the first inhabitant of the island (son of Pterelaos and brother of Polyctora and Niritos), or in mythology was the son of Poseidon and Amfimelis. According to another hypothesis the name comes from the word Ithi (= cheerful) or from the Phoenician origin word Utika (= colony) or from the word Ithys (= abrupt). Vathy, Anogi, Stavros and Kioni have been characterized as Traditional Settlements, while the whole island has been characterized as a special natural beauty. Characteristics of the island are its barren lands and water scarcity, which hinder the development of agriculture. The island is mainly financed by tourism and fishing. The island's name has been known since antiquity, as it refers to the Odyssey.
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