Grandmasters Palace

Grandmasters Palace

Situated at the heart of Valletta, the capital city of Malta, the Grandmasters Palace is the largest palace in the city built by the Order of St John. In 1571, after Grandmaster Pierre del Monte relocated the Order in Valletta, he lived in a house were today stands the palace. In 1574, this house was earmarked to house the Grandmasters Palace which eventually was improved upon, enlarged and embellished by successive Grandmasters. The present structure was reached by the mid 18th century.

In 1800, when Malta fell under British rule, the Grandmasters Palace became the official residence of the Governor of Malta which became known as the Governor’s Palace.

The Grandmasters Palace has two main entrances facing St George’s square, which leads to two internal courtyards, one named after Prince Alfred, son of Queen Victoria and the other after Neptune. Today, the Grandmasters Palace is the President’s Palace and run by Heritage Malta

Palace State rooms

Situated in the piano nobile, the State rooms were the official rooms of the Order of St John and the state apartments. The main corridor was richly decorated by Nicola Nasoni and it depicts lunettes of naval battle scenes, Trompe l’Oeil ceiling and portraits of Grandmasters.

Tapestry chamber

This hall was used by the Grandmasters together with official Knights to discuss the administration of the Order and of the Maltese islands. In 1921 it housed the first Maltese parliament. It is adorned with ten tapestries from the famous Teintre des Indes collection produced by the Gobelin Royal factory in France and commissioned by the Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful.

The original designs were after the voyages to exotic countries by Dutch Prince Moritz of Nassau which were presented to King Loius XIV of France in 1679 which had them produced as tapestries at the Gobelin factory. They represent exotic scenes of Africa, India, the Caribbean and Brazil. This is the only set of Tapestries from the Teintre des Indes still complete in their own original place.

A coffered wooden ceiling  and wall paintings which depict various sea battle victories of the Order against the Ottoman empire continue to embellish this hall.

Palace Armoury

Inside the Palace Armoury one finds one of the finest collection of artillery like, swords, spears, bronze cannons and guns which were used by the Knights to defend themselves and the islands against mainly the Ottoman empire. The armoury today is housed in the former stables of the palace and consists of two halls, one which showcases the original suit of armours of the Knights and in the other swords, guns and cannons. Of particular interest are the personal suit of armours of the Grandmasters, notably the one owned by Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt, inlaid in gold, a German made very rare sword and gun and a 17th century airgun.

Contact us to include the Grandmasters Palace in a private tour