UrbEx Villa Levidi - Athens Greece
It was once known as "Levidi Villa" (Βίλα Λεβίδη) or the "mansion with the 70 rooms". Apart of its high society gatherings it was used extensively as a setting for some of the best Greek cinema movies of the 50s and 60s. Today -whatever is left of it- lays in ruins...
This is the entrance -shortcut- to the hill from Marathonos avenue. The hill is named "Levidi Hill" from the villas name.
You keep on going uphill for like 5-10 min. and you arrive at the entrance of the villa. I was cycling there.
Arriving at the entrance of the villa, the 1st thing you see is the circular tower.
The villa was built in 1935 but the circular tower was already there. There is no information for the tower but it was probably Ottoman and built around the 17th-18th century in order to act as a lookout for the area.
Some of the movies which were shot here include "Το ΛεβεντόΠαιδο", "Μια Ιταλίδα αΠό την Κυψέλη" but the most famous one which really showed a lot of the villas beauty was the blockbuster "Η Αρχόντισσα και ο Αλήτης" in 1968 with the famous actors Vougiouklaki and Papamichail (directed by Dinos Dimopoulos).
The entrance of the circular tower (photo above) and it's interior (photo below).
Built in 1935 by a famous architect of that time (Konstantinos Sakellariou), the villa had 70 rooms or all sizes, wooden stairs, luxurious furniture and Penteli marble.
The information says that in 1936 the villa was granted by contract from the ex-king to his chief gardener of his royal palace in Tatoiu, Dimitris Levidis. He moved there with his family.
Dimitris Levidis wife, Toula Mpotsi, was a popular dynamic woman. She had won the beauty title of Star Hellas and was the sister of the publisher of the newspapers "Acropolis" and "Apogevmatini".
In 1948, Theodoros Kargas, who was back then an officer of the military police, moved to the villa as the manager of security. He worked a lot shaping the exterior grounds of the villa and especially with the gardens.
Dimitris Levidis died in 1963 and the villas financial problems started. It was then that the villa was leased as a production studio for Greek cinema movies. In 1990, Levidis wife Toula died. The only heir of the villa was her son, George Levidis.
In 1991, George Levidis sold the villa to a group of Greek businessmen and it was totally abandoned. The central roof of the building fell due to a fire and all the area was plundered. The extend of plundering is beyond imagination. Walls and even electric cables were ripped off to be sold as scrap. Everything was broken and the remains of the wall were covered in graffiti. People made holes in the walls hoping to find secret hidden treasures of the Levidi family.
Eventually information says that the villa was sold to an offshore Cyprus company at the price of six million euros. The prefecture states that the whole hill is private forest area thus they can't do anything about it. They can't build anything new, the only thing they would be able to do is to try to restore what is already built. The whole case, with what exactly of the area belongs where, is very complicated.
In the past there were many people who were interested into buying the area. One of them was the ex-king Konstantinos. The ex-king had made an offer of 8 million euros to buy the area in order to build the Anna-Maria foundation. Rumors from the local townfolk say that the ex-king had spent a big part of his childhood in this hill...
What is left today of the villa you can see in the photos. Absolute decay, everything damaged and abandoned. You can wander around in the rooms, go up and down the stairs, just need to be careful where you are stepping. Although it is very sad to witness the destruction from the neglect and the looters, it is nevertheless fascinating to be there and explore.
There are abandoned buildings and places all over the world, some of them remembered, others forgotten. But in the case of this villa, especially for the local people, it's hard to forget, as they can see it's former glory today from the numerous movies which used it a setting.
The hill of the villa is full of pine trees and cypresses. It is situated in the center of Pallini, the property is a bit less than 20 acres and back in the times it had splendid views of Athens. I wondered around a bit inside the premises of the villa and then went out at its back side, where the gardens were supposed to be and the remnants of a pool.
There are so many rumors and stories about the villa, but without evidence you can't know what is true or not. For example that during WWII, when the Germans occupied Athens, they used this hill to interrogate, torture and kill hundreds of people from the Greek resistance. Or about the little girl that fell in the empty pool and died there. Or about the satan worship ceremonies which are alleged to have taken place some of the nights in the abandoned villa...
I visited alone back in 2018 and during my time there, I didn't see a single soul. Definitely worth the visit for the fans of urban exploration and the ones who would like to go back a bit in history, although I wouldn't visit the place during the night as there is a weird vibe.
If you would like to see how was the villa back in its glory days please watch the video below, its a series of clips taken from the movies of the 50s-60s which were shot at the villa.
Location of Levidi hill and the villa (GPS coordinates): 38°00'09.0"N 23°52'20.4"E