Balzan is one of the so-called Three Villages, along with neighbouring Lija and Attard that lie at the heart of Malta. Many wealth families built summer residences here in the early years of the 20th century, and the Three Villages are still considered an exclusive urban area. Lying in the sheltered interior, Balzan was ideal for fruit growing and is still characterised by walled gardens. The most impressive is at nearby San Anton Palace, built by Grand Master Antoine de Paule in the late 16th century. It is now the official residence of the President of Malta and used for state functions. The gardens, open to the public, are a baroque masterpiece and oasis of green and calm. A stroll through Balzan’s old village core reveals its other architectural gems – from grand villas to old chapels.