RHODES , Greece, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- An unused villa built on the Greek island of Rhodes for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini will be leased to help collect money Greece needs to repay loans.
Greece is heavily indebted to international organizations including the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, which have loaned billions of dollars. A number of measures to find methods of repayment, including austerity, have been taken. One is the search for someone to contract to a 50-year lease on an abandoned villa, built in 1936, which was to be used by Mussolini in his retirement.
The two-story villa is in need of repair, although it has a magnificent view of the Aegean Sea from its position above the city of Rhodes on one of the Dodecanese islands, which were Italian territory in World War II, Mussolini's era, but were ceded to Greece in 1947. The island of Rhodes was planned to be Italy's major naval port in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Mussolini never saw the estate, and his retirement plans were cut short in 1945, when he was shot to death, then hung from a lamppost, by Italian partisans as he attempted to escape Italy at the end of the war.
The Greek government has thousands of other properties to sell or rent, including a naval base in Crete and a castle in Corfu.
According to the government's Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, Mussolini's villa "is a historic, two-story building which was built by the Italian occupation authorities. It is of unique architectural value and is located in an area of unique natural beauty, which constitutes a popular tourism destination throughout the year."