San Anton Palace is a palace in Attard, Malta, which is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Malta. It was originally built in the early 17th century as a country villa for Antoine de Paule, a knight of the Order of St. John. It was expanded into a palace in 1623.
It has been the official residence of the President since the office was created in 1974.
The palace is surrounded by the extensive San Anton Gardens, parts of which have been open to the public since 1882.
Grand Master Antoine de Paule, who first built the palace in the early 17th century.
In around 1600, Antoine de Paule, a knight of the Order of St. John from the Langue of Provence, acquired a piece of land in Attard and built a country villa. De Paule was elected Grand Master in 1623, and the villa was subsequently enlarged into a palace in around 1625.
During the French occupation of Malta and the subsequent Maltese uprising, the palace was the meeting place of the rebel National Assembly, which first met on 11 February 1799. In 1800, the palace became the residence of the British Civil Commissioner, Sir Alexander Ball, who died at the palace in 1809.
The palace subsequently became the official residence of the Governor and later Governor-General of Malta. Parts of the palace’s gardens were opened to the public in 1882. San Anton has been the official residence of the President of Malta since the island became a republic in 1974.
San Anton Palace is a two-storey building, with a high square tower which has panoramic views of the surrounding area.
San Anton Palace contains two chapels, one dedicated to Our Lady of Pilar and another dedicated to St. Anthony. The Chapel of Our Lady of Pilar was built in the 18th century. It consists of a barrel-vaulted nave, with ribs dividing the ceiling into six bays. The vault is decorated with the coats of arms of de Vilhena. The altar is set within a chancel separated from the nave by pilasters.
The Chapel of St. Anthony, which is also known as the Russian Chapel, was built in the 19th century as a Protestant chapel. It was later converted to a Russian Orthodox chapel. It is larger than the Chapel of Our Lady of Pilar. The chapel’s denomination is now Roman Catholic, and it was restored in 2013.
Although the palace’s architecture is not that remarkable, the main attraction is the San Anton Gardens. The gardens are laid out in a formal manner, with graceful walkways, sculptures, ornamental ponds with families of ducks and swans, and a small aviary.
The San Anton Gardens contain a number of fountains. One is decorated with a statue.
You can also read more about San Anton Gardens if you click here.
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