Opulence in Malta
Malta is a nation that has endured many rulers throughout its history, but perhaps none quite so prevalent as the Knights of St John who came to the island in 1530. Traditionally a peaceful order of monks tending to the sick of St John’s Hospital in Jerusalem, they later became a military faction defending crusader territory in the Holy Land. The knights were recruited from rich families and, as such, provided a pool of wealth for the Order as a whole. Later, this penchant for all things sparkly, led them to plunder the seas they were sworn to protect and saw them ousted from their home in Rhodes by the Turks, who’d suffered significant loss of riches to the Order. Thus, the Knights ended up, along with their wealth, on tiny Malta – and there they stayed for over 260 years transforming the ‘rock’ into an opulent oasis in the Mediterranean.
Palazzo’s and PosturingHaving learnt nothing of the consequences of greed, the Knights continued to recruit aristocracy into their ranks from across Europe, including France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and England. Their collective wealth went to creating not only grand island defenses but stunning palaces and homes for the Grand Masters and Knights.
Despite successfully defending Malta in two great sieges, the Order was ultimately overturned by Napolean in 1798 after they had become steeped in lethargy and greed. When French rule ended, the Order was restored to Malta but the islanders had had enough and turned to the British for help. So ended the rule of the Order once and for all. However, their grand architecture remained, endowing Malta with some of the finest and most eclectic ‘stately homes’, combining the best of many European cultures with the indigenous raw materials of this small island.
A Legacy of Wedding Venues
The Knights may have been of questionable morals but you can’t fault their handy work. All across Malta, from the capital of Valletta to the small villages of Naxxar and Qormi, and busy towns of Sliema and Mosta, you’ll find palazzo’s of unique character and pedigree. Today, these stunning buildings of heritage are generally open to the public for viewing or dining and, of course, as perfect venues for weddings. Magnificent palatial ballrooms, decadently adorned dining rooms, secret cellar rooms, sweeping staircases of marble and paradisaical walled gardens springing up like oases await you to provide the most picturesque back-drops for your big day. The problem is not deciding if you want to get married in a Maltese palazzo, it’s deciding which one you want to get married in.
Malta’s Most Popular Wedding Palazzo’s
1. Palazzo Parisio
This internationally acclaimed Maltese Palazzo hails from the 18th Century and has been carefully restored as the home estate of the Scicluna family. Pompeian dining rooms, gold-clad ballrooms, baroque inspired lounges and marble halls open out to breath-taking, fountain-studded lawns, scented orangeries and secret walled gardens. A highly recommendable choice for an elegant wedding.
2. Xara Palace
Located in the charmingly medieval ‘Silent City’ of Mdina, The Xara Palace is actually a top quality Relais & Châteaux, 5-star boutique hotel. However, as a restored 17th Century Palazzo, it does feel more like a palace than a hotel. The architecture of the building is ornate and full of baroque grandeur which is rivalled only by the stunning view across Malta from high up in the ancient bastions, in which an award-winning restaurant is nestled. Xara Palace is experienced at holding full-service weddings including accommodation, catering and Civil Ceremonies in the courtyard Atrium.