Italian architecture in Rhodes

The Italian architecture of Rhodes town

hotel-of-rosesThe architectural work in Rhodes town, both at the level of buildings and urban and spatial interventions and plans, which was produced in the during the period of the Italian occupation, is impressive in morphology, completeness and volume.

It is characteristic that all the Italian colonies (Abyssinia, Libya and others) belonged to the Ministry of Colonies of Italy, while the Dodecanese was administratively autonomous, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy and was called “Governo dele Isole Italiane Dell Egeo”, i.e. Government of Italian Islands of the Aegean.

From the first moment of the occupation, by decree of the Italian general Virginio Porta ( 28/4/20), the area around the walls of the old city was declared “zona monumentale” i.e. “monumental zone” with the result of the strict control of any construction and other right-of-way as well as the right expropriation.

the-prefecture-building

The first political commander, Mario Lago, was a very capable diplomat who issued a decree (April 11, 1924) by which it was possible to order the expropriation of all lands and buildings which were almost entirely owned by Turks. According to this decree all the lands around the walls of Rhodes were expropriated for reasons of public utility.

pucini-theaterIn 1926, the Regulatory Plan of the city of Rhodes was made, similar to those that exist in all the states of the West, but not in Greece. Rhodes therefore had an urban plan from 1926 that determined the expansion of the city and the uses of the land. This is how the monument of the Old Town emerged. Until then there were Turkish cemeteries around the walls. The protection decrees of 1920 and 1924 were pioneering urban planning, even for Italy itself.

As time passed, this decree was also applied to other parts of the city of Rhodes, such as the area of the Academy, the National, the City Hall, and thus private lands were also expropriated after they had planned to build up to the area of Ai Giannis, Nireos and up to Venetocleo. They start making infrastructure: roads, water supply, drainage, lighting, and administrative and military buildings.

The architectural styles that followed were Renaissance, Baroque, Venetian, Gothic and Arabesque and the architects were Armando Bernabiti and Florestano Di Fausto
Buildings with an eclectic style are: the Post Office, the Bank of Italy (Bank of Greece today), the Central Barracks (Police Building i.e. Department of Order), Command Office (District), Kallithea, Elli, the Naval Club and the Academy.