Plaka – the most beautiful and romantic area of Athens – just under the Acropolis. An attractive approach to Plaka is to follow Odos Kydathineon Kythathineon, a pedestrian walkway that starts near the Aglican and Russian churches on Odos Fillelinon, south of Syntagma. It leads gently downhill past the museum of Greek Folk Art, on a leafy square with one of the few remaining old time cafes on the corner, through cafι-crowded Platia Filomoussou Eterias, to andrianou street , which runs nearly the whole length of Plaka from Hadrians Arch past the ancient Agora.

The Museum of Greek Folk Art ( tue-sun 10 am-2am: 2 EUR) at Kydathineon 17 is one of the most enjoyable in the city. Its five floors are mostly devoted to collections of weaving, pottery, regional costumes and embroidery, which reveal both the sophistication and the strong middle Eastern influence of Greek popular arts. On the mezzanine floor, the carnival tradition of northern Greece, and the shadow-puppet theatre are featured.

The second floor dazzles with its exhibits of gold and silver jewellery and weaponry. Most compelling of all, on the 1st floor, is the reconstructed village room with the series of murals by the primitive artist Theophilos (1873-1934). Theofilos was a rather eccentric character, dressing in Independence war outfits and painting tavernas and cafes for a meal or a small fee.

There is a museum of his work at Varia on Lesvos island, and other paintings- usually scenes from peasant life or battles during the war of Independence- survive in situ in the Peloponnese, on Lesvos and on Mount Pilion.

Most recent works of art are displayed in the Frissiras Museum ( Monis Asteriou str. 3 & 7 wed-fri 11am-7pm, Sat & Sun 10 am-2 pm EUR 1,50). It is housed in two beautifully renovated Neoclassical buildings. It has over three thousand works of art : temporary excibitions, a fine shop which also sells art works and an elegant cafι.

Two other museums are close by. A couple of blocks to the northwest, at Angelikis Hatzimihali 6, the Centre of Folk Art and Tradition (tues-fri 9 am- 1 pm& 5-9pm, Sat & Sun 9am-1pm; free) features costumes, textiles, musical instruments and ceramic plates in another grand Plaka mansion.

A short distance to the east, at nikis 39 the Jewish Museum of Greece (mon -fri 9 am-2:30 pm, Sun 10 am – 2 pm EUR 3) displays art and religious artifacts from the very ancient Jewish communities scattered throughout Greece. The centerpiece is the reconstructed synagogue of Patra, dating from the 1920’s, whose furnishings have been moved here en bloc and remounted.