A group of islands off the west coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea. The islands were settled in the 9th century B.C. by the Ionian tribe, which had been pushed away from the mainland by war and gave the islands their name (see also Attica). For four centuries, from 1386 to 1797, the islands were ruled by the city-state of Venice, and this Italian influence is still noticeable today. Due to the mild climate, the islands are ideal for viticulture, there is also sufficient rainfall. There are many autochthonous grape varieties such as Agiomavritiko, Areti, Asprouda, Avgoustiatis, Goustolidi, Katsakoulias, Korinthiaki, Pavlos (Malvasia Bianca Lunga), Robola, Skiadopoulo and Theiako Mavro. Vineyards can be found on Ithaca (where the Homeric mythical figure Odysseus was king), Kefallonia (the only one with POP appellation), Corfu, Lefkada, Kythera, Paxos and Zakynthos. The vineyards cover a total of about 8,700 hectares of vines. There are numerous other islands on the east coast of Greece; see Aegean for details.