A Visit to Valletta's Grand Auberges

19 August 2016

The ancient walled city of Valletta holds a lot of historic significance in Malta. Originally built by the Order of St. John in the 1500’s, remnants of the Order can still be found today. The Auberges, stunning structures where The Knights of St. John lived, are excellent examples of their legacy. Book flights to Malta now to experience the grandeur of the Auberges for yourself!

There were originally eight Auberges in Valletta, each housing Knights from different territories around Europe. Out of these eight, only five remain. Two were destroyed during the second world war and the third was demolished to make room for the Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul.

Auberge de Castille


This Auberge was built in 1573 and was remodelled in the 1740s. It is arguably one of the finest architectural works in Malta, built in the Baroque style. Its exquisitely ornate façade features flanked columns that support a trophy of arms and a bronze bust of Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca. Nowadays it houses the office of the Prime Minister.

Auberge d’Aragon


Built in 1571, this is the only remaining Auberge in Valletta to retain its original design from this period. It is also the oldest Auberge in the city. The design of the building is rather plain with no real decorative features. However, the symmetry of the door and the windows offer a simplistic beauty. It currently houses the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Image courtesy of Tadeusz S

Auberge d’Italie


This Auberge was used to house the Knights of Italy. It was renovated in the 1680s to include many Baroque features such as the beautifully decorative centrepiece above the main entrance containing a marble trophy of arms and bronze bust Grand Master Gregorio Carafa. Within its courtyard stands a rather elegant triumphal arch. Down through the ages, the building was used as a military headquarters, a museum and an arts school to name but a few. Today, it houses the Malta Tourism Authority but is expected to host a new National Museum of Arts, opening the building up to the public.

 

     

Auberge de Provence

Like many of the Auberges in Valletta, this building was renovated in the mid 1600s to include grand features that would not have been incorporated in the original design. The interior of the Auberge includes many rooms with wooden beamed ceilings and gilded panels. In the 1950s the building was opened up to the public as the National Museum of Archaeology. It houses a diverse selection of artifacts dating back to the Neolithic period, a must see for anyone visiting Valletta.

Image courtesy of KB

Auberge de Baviere


Image courtesy of KB

This is the latest of the Auberges in Valletta. Built in 1696 as Palazzo Carniero it was converted into an Auberge in 1784. Overlooking St. Elmo Bay, this imposing structure offers some fantastic views of the nearby Marsamxett harbour. It currently houses the offices of the Government Property Department. Often this Auberge hosts cultural events, allowing the public access to its fantastic baroque rooms.

In 2018, Valletta will become the European capital of culture. This highly anticipated event will see the city transformed into a vibrant hub of culture and art. This will surely be an exuberant time for Valletta as the streets and the historic buildings come to life with a burst of colour and sound. This event is not to be missed!

 


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