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Slide item 1

Selected Monuments of the Italian period in the city centre of Rhodes.

Photo: Atrium Archive

Slide item 2

Mercato; today: central Market with cafeterias and tourist shops.

Photo: Atrium Archive

Slide item 3

Banca d’Italia; today: Bank of Greece.

Photo: Atrium Archive

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Teatro G. Puccini; today: still used as a public theatre.

Photo: Atrium Archive

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Photo: Atrium Archive

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Albergo di Rose; today the Casino of Rhodes

Photo: Atrium Archive

Rhodes, Greece

A monument of fascist modernism

In 1923, one year after Mussolini’s seizure of power in Italy, he sent Lago to take over the administration of Rhodes. He used geologists and cartographers to apply his vision to make the island of Rhodes a trading centre, a tourism hub and the base of the spirit of Italian culture and civilization. In 1926, the Regulatory Plan of the city of Rhodes was pioneering even for Italy as it defined the construction of roads, water supply, drainage, lighting networks, as well as administrative and military buildings. Urban planning, architectural, and construction initiatives aimed at the growth and modernization of the existing urban centre and new rural settlements were to express the ideological need for a direct morphological reconstitution of the space. Rhodes was gradually presented as a real monument of fascist modernism and the imperial abilities of Italy. In 1934, Mussolini declared that future relations between Italians and the peoples of the East were not based on "territorial conquest", but on "natural expansion’ so the Italians followed the policy of constructing buildings to influence the inhabitants. The architectural styles used in the buildings constructed by the Italians can be distinguished in various categories:

  • eclecticism, whose models are found in architecture of Northern Italy, mainly of Venice, with renaissance elements baroque elements and themes,
  • mixture of "oriental" and of "Arabic" elements, with main features the domes, the arches, the "ripples" on the outer walls and
  • combination of the two previous rhythms and the creation of particular morphological expression with "Arabic Mediterranean" characteristics of Itali an eclecticism
  • architecture, where buildings are distinguished by their cubic volume, the strict lines of views and their general imposition on surrounding area.