The name Ancient Messini is used to refer to both the historic site and the village, a geographical and literal gateway to the ruins. Locals lobbied to drop the original name of Mavromati, which derives poetically from the fountain in the central square whose water gushes from a hole that resembles a black eye (mavro mati). Many, including bus schedules, still refer to its original name. This cluster of attractive houses and a taverna, 25km northwest of Kalamata, overlook the extensive, and very impressive, site of Ancient Messini itself.