The Villa Amalia has a fascinating history as does the Ambracian Gulf which it overlooks. The entrance to this body of water on the north-western coast of Greece was the site of one of the most important, and unquestionably most romantic naval battles in history. On September 2, 31 B.C. Octavius Caesar decimated the fleet of Anthony and Cleopatra and sent them fleeing to Egypt and into the history books.
The gulf is a lot calmer today and its’ green-blue waters are now traversed by sailing boats and schools of dolphins. In 1976 the parents of the present owner, Konstantinos Rokofyllos, fell in love with the property which sloped down to the sea and with the encouragement of their friend, Lady Amalia Fleming, purchased it, planted 500 olive trees, built a house and named it Villa Amalia.
Lady Fleming was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul) and moved to Greece between the wars. Trained as a physician, she joined the resistance and was captured and imprisoned by the occupying Italian army. After the war she moved to England where she joined St. Marys Hospital, and met the Nobel Prize winning scientist, Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. They were married in 1953. After his death Lady Fleming returned to Greece where she founded the Biomedical Sciences Research Center Alexander Fleming. Joining her in this endeavor was Elsa Agathinikou Rokofyllos, a nuclear scientist, the mother of Konstantinos Rokofyllos.
His father, Christos Rokofyllos, an attorney, became a member of the Greek parliament in 1977 and from 1982-87 was Greece’s ambassador to France and the Vatican. For nearly four decades The Villa Amalia hosted artists, diplomats, scientists, academicians and politicians, including three Greek prime ministers, and became a place to rest and relax in total privacy.
Three years ago Konstantinos Rokofyllos and his parents decided that The Villa Amalia needed to be updated, renovated and offered to discerning individuals who value privacy and serenity. His company, Paleros Dream Homes, had already designed and constructed several villas nearby and he had travelled extensively around the world. He incorporated diverse objects, materials and design concepts into a unique blending of east and west.
After a year of intense work The Villa Amalia is now an Eco-friendly retreat in an unrivalled location. The entire electrical, plumbing,hydraulic, irrigation and heating systems have been totally reconstructed both for the house and the grounds. Although connected to the town’s water system, The Villa Amalia has its’ own cisterns. Electricity comes from the main grid, while solar panels provide hot water. The central heating system is generated by a furnace which uses olive pits as fuel. The house has satellite TV and Internet connections with wifi.
A vegetable garden of 1,000 square meters supplies the estate with vegetables and herbs, while pomegranate, lemon and fig trees are planted throughout the property. A grape arbour provides both shade and fruit. The 500 mature olive trees produce 10 tons of olives every two years which are processed into extra virgin olive oil. The estate also hosts a family of chickens which provide organic, free range eggs every day. Underbrush is “mowed” by a family of deer which graze under the supervision of the caretaker.
The property has natural air-conditioning…in the morning there is no wind making the sea perfect for water-skiing…by mid-afternoon the wind begins to blow cooling the entire area.