26 Aug The Elafos – Elafina Complex
The Italians briefly occupied Rhodes, but they certainly left their mark, both in Rhodes town and in the countryside. The Elafos – Elafina complex and Villa de Vecchi sit high up on Mount Profitis Ilias on Rhodes, near the Byzantine church of the same name. It is closer to the West coast of the island, but the east coast is only 40 minutes away via a charming mountain route.
Elafos – Elafina
Named after the local deer, the Elafos (the male deer) was built in 1929 during the Italian occupation, to accommodate army officers. The Elafina (female deer) was added for women a few years later in 1932. After that it was converted into the Elafos-Elafina Hotel. Today only the Elafos building is operating as a hotel, though due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is currently closed. Work started on the restoration of the Elafina building, but was put on hold during the economic crisis. Although the hotel is currently closed, it is worth visiting the site to admire the architecture of the various buildings on the site and to escape the summer heat. There is a small cafeteria on the site for refreshments, a children’s playground and plenty of shady trees.
The Villa de Vecchi
Above the Elafos-Elafina complex sits the Villa de Vecchi. Abandoned and in a bad state of repair the Villa de Vecchi was supposedly meant to be the holiday home of Benito Mussolini, though he never visited it. Instead, Count Cesare de Vecchi, an adviser of Mussolini and governor of the Dodecanese, lived there during the Italian occupation.
A large chapel for de Vecchi’s use stands a few metres away from the villa. It is also in a state of disrepair, although the stained glass windows are still intact.