Municipal Art Gallery: The remnants of the city’s biggest romance
© Stratis Sentas
The district of Pyrgon or Exohon, along Pyrgon Avenue was – until the immediate post-war years – one of the most important and characteristic urban districts of Thessaloniki. The area was full of country villas, belonging to the affluent families of the city. Some of these fine houses were built to plans by prominent architects of the period, such as V. Poselli, combining elements of neoclassicism, Renaissance, Baroque and art nouveau.
No one could ever imagine that Casa Bianca, the famous mansion built in 1912 at the district of Exohon, hosted a love story that was built to last.
The protected monument of the newest architectural heritage of Thessaloniki is associated with the city’s biggest romance., between Aline, the daughter of the Jewish industrialist Dino Fernandez-Diaz and the Greek Lieutenant, Spyros Alibertis, in the cosmopolitan Thessaloniki of 1914.
They accidentally met at the city’s tram and it was love at first sight! Their relationship shocked the city’s conservative society due to the fact that Aline was Jewish and Spyros was Catholic. So, the couple eloped and got married after a short while in Athens, causing a huge scandal that reached the local press headlines.
After a few years, the family reunited and the couple returned to Casa Bianca. With the outbreak of World War II, the mansion was confiscated both by the Italians at first, and the Germans shortly after, while Aline and Spyros went on the hide. When the war ended, they returned and lived there until their death. They passed away shortly after one another.
In 1994, Casa Bianca was restored and now houses the Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki.