The Maltese Palazzo

  • 13.February 2018
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The romantic palazzo is reminiscent of old stories of gallant gentlemen, beautiful dames and prestigious family history. Malta enjoys its fair share of antique palazzos situated in village cores, old towns, hidden alleys and historic squares. Large, bright and beautiful, many of these Maltese palazzos become cherished and sought-after real estate properties that are in high demand by local and international buyers alike.

The word ‘palazzo’ is an Italian word which the Maltese softly twirled around to become ‘palazz’. So when a Maltese person speaks of a ‘palazz’ the connotation is of a grand building, synonymous with splendour, wealth, style, nobility and elegance. Indeed, the oldest type of Maltese ‘palazz’ was constructed hundreds of years ago, as in the case of the several ‘palazzi’ lining St Paul’s Street in Valletta, most of which were constructed close to the birthdate of Valletta itself.

Palazzos in Malta

An example of an incredibly beautiful palazzo is Palazzo de la Salle on lower Republic Street, again in Valletta, constructed in the late 1600s. This building has been the seat of the Malta Society of Arts since 1923. A curiousity connected with this building is the fact that it has its very own private chapel, the oldest of its kind in Valletta. Casa Rocca Piccola is another such example, located just a few metres away from Palazzo de La Salle.

Casa Rocca Piccola

Other examples of a beautiful palazzo are Palazzo Testaferrata on Valletta Road, Paola, and Palazzo Bettina in Gudja. Mdina is literally teeming with old palazzos such as Palazzo De Piro or Palazzo Falson. Palazzo Fremaux in Zejtun, Palazzo Abela in Tarxien, Villa Violette in Marsa… the list could go on indefinitely since there are so many other palazzos, vacant and available on real estate property lists. Just waiting for the right owner to come along and breathe new life into them.

Whether restored and used as a private residence, or transformed into embassies, company seats, banks, boutique hotels… The options are endless.

Palazzo De Piro

Features of Maltese palazzos

So, what are the features and characteristics most likely to be found in these Maltese palazzos? While the list hereunder is a great indicator of what to expect once you view an old palazzo in Malta, you may find other unique and peculiar characteristics which belong to a specific palazzo just because their previous owner/s wanted to include them to suit fashion, personal taste or family tradition.

  • Large facade with stone sculptured detailing on columns, balconies, window frames, stairways.
  • Impressively large front doors with huge brass knockers.
  • Side or back entrance traditionally used to allow servants and delivery men in and out of the house.
  • Beautiful balconies which may be open stone balconies or closed traditional wooden balconies.
  • Large sprawling back gardens or huge central courtyards that light up all the house rooms encircling it. Fountains or water fonts were typically fashionable.
  • Deep bell-shaped wells beneath the house, garden or courtyard.
  • Majestic stone staircases.
  • Traditional ‘garigor’ alias spiral stone staircase typically found at the back of the building or leading up to the rooftop.
  • Beamed roof and very high ceilings.
  • Huge and ample ‘piano nobile’ which was the entire first floor being one expansive hallway divided into rooms by means of a number of doors.
  • Older palazzos may still have retained traditional floor tiles of the superbly coloured and decorated ones. Another possibility is finding a palazzo with frescoes on its walls.
  • Wooden doors and wooden louvres on wooden windows.
  • Larger palazzos would typically have had outhouses or stables at the end of the garden or close to a back entrance.
  • Birthing chambers.

Step into the world of Maltese palazzos, check what is available with your trusted RE/MAX agent, pay a visit to a property that tempts your whim. But be warned – a palazzo can be hauntingly beautiful, too exciting to forget about and you may very well find yourself owning one if you happen to fall in love with it.

Palazzos for sale in Malta

Palazzo in Attard

€2,950,000

Palazzino in Valleta

€1,800,000

Palazzo in Floriana

€995,000

palazzo for sale in Floriana

Palazzo in Rabat

€4,100,000

rabat palazzo

Palazzo in Wardija

Price on request

palazzo in wardija

Palazzo in Zebbug

€4,000,000

zebugg palazzo

Unconverted palazzino in Zabbar

€1,000,000

Palazzos for rent in Malta

Palazzino in Sliema

€15,000/month

Palazzo in Lija

€14,000/month

lija palazzo

Marika Azzopardi
Post by Marika Azzopardi

Marika Azzopardi is a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.

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