January 18, 2014 Editor

Of Knights and Inquisitors

In the heart of Vittoriosa, Malta, the Inquisitor’s Palace is one of the very few surviving palaces of its kind which, in the early modern period could be found all over Europe and South America. Many of these palaces simply succumbed to the ravages of time or were victims of the anti-reactionary power unleashed by the French Revolution. Fortunately, the Maltese Inquisitor’s Palace, throughout its 5 centuries of history, always hosted high-ranking officials representing the main powers on the islands, who therefore ensured its survival.

Monsignor Pietro Dusina arrived in Malta in 1574 as the first general inquisitor and apostolic delegate of the Maltese Islands. The Grand Master offered him the unused palace as an official residence. Almost all successive inquisitors sought to transform the palace into a decent mansion. They all shared the same cultural values of clerical baroque Roman society, and by the mid-18th century they had managed successfully to transform the building into a typical Roman palace. The palace also managed to survive through the bombings of the Second World War and the threat of modern development.

It is today the only Inquisitor’s Place open to the public in the world and an architectural gem, representative of the chequered history and European heritage of the Maltese islands.

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The Inquisitor’s Place in Villoriosa is one of the very few surviving palaces of it’s kind, and the only one accessible to the general public.

The Heritage Multisite Pass is a convenient way to visit this and other heritage sites around the Islands.

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