San Anton Palace
The official residence of the President of Malta, San Anton Palace, is situated in Attard. The Palace was originally built in the early 17th century to be utilised as a summer residence by the Knight Antoine de Paule. When he became Grand Master of Malta in 1623, he enlarged the original building and the gardens.
The grandeur of the palace greatly reflects the aristocratic life that the Knights of St John were used to, one of many riches. The palace was a meeting place of the rebel National Assembly during the Napoleonic occupation and the subsequent Maltese uprising, with its first meeting being held in February 1799. Following the Napoleonic rule, it became the residence of the British Civil Commissioner, Sir Alexander Ball, and subsequently all British Governors until 1974.
The Grand Masters’ Hall within the palace is adorned with various works of art depicting various Grand Masters who ruled Malta. One can find portraits of Grand Master de Paule himself (in the most prominent area in the hall), Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, Grand Master Emmanuel Pinto, Grand Master de Rohan and Grand Master de Vilhena, amongst others.
A part of the vast gardens of the palace has been open to the public since 1882. The gardens are laid out in a formal manner, with graceful walkways, ornamental ponds, sculptures, and a number of fountains, surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers and trees, some of which are over three centuries old.
This venue is only accessible by a staircase.