Palazzo Malta

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Palazzo Malta
Palazzo Magistrale
Palazzo Magistrale (Rome) 1.jpg
View of Palazzo Malta
Alternative namesMagistral Palace
Palazzo di Malta
Palazzo dell'Ordine di Malta
General information
Type Palace
Location Rome, Italy
AddressVia dei Condotti, 68
Coordinates 41°54′19″N12°28′50.1″E / 41.90528°N 12.480583°E / 41.90528; 12.480583
Completed17th century
Renovated18th century
OwnerFlag of the Order of St. John (various).svg  Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Palazzo Malta, officially named as the Magistral Palace (Italian : Palazzo Magistrale), and also known as Palazzo di Malta or Palazzo dell'Ordine di Malta, is the more important of the two headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (the other being Villa Malta), a Roman Catholic lay religious order and a sovereign subject of international law. It is located in Via dei Condotti, 68 in Rome, Italy, a few minutes' walk from the Spanish Steps, and has been granted extraterritoriality by the Italian Government. The Palace is a property of the Order of Malta since 1630.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Headquarters Location where an organizations key leadership and coordination functions take place

Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility for managing all business activities. In the United Kingdom, the term head office is most commonly used for the Headquarters of large corporations. The term is also used regarding military organizations.

Sovereign Military Order of Malta Catholic hospitaller order and no-land nation

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, commonly known as the Order of Malta, is a Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalric and noble nature. It has been called "the smallest sovereign state in the world", though it is not recognised as one by the United Nations.



On 12 June 1798, the French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte was seen over the horizon of the island of Malta, Malta had been the base of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also called the Order of Malta. The Order had been given the island by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1530. [1] Napoleon left the island with a sizeable garrison and a handpicked administration. Following a Maltese uprising, the British Lord Nelson was asked and took over Malta on 5 September 1800. Malta was made a British colony on 30 March 1814 by the Treaty of Paris. [2]

French First Republic Republic governing France, 1792–1804

In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.

Malta island republic in Europe

Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km². The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.

Knights Hospitaller Western Christian military order

The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller or the Order of Saint John, was a medieval and early modern Catholic military order. It was headquartered in the Kingdom of Jerusalem until 1291, on the island of Rhodes from 1310 until 1522, in Malta from 1530 until 1798 and at Saint Petersburg from 1799 until 1801. Today several organizations continue the Hospitaller tradition, most importantly the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Plaque at the entrance Plaque at SMOM.jpg
Plaque at the entrance

Thus, the Order of Malta was left without any territory, and it was effectively disbanded. It was restored, however, in 1834, under the new name "Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta", or simply the "Sovereign Military Order of Malta" (SMOM). New headquarters were set up at Palazzo Malta. In 1869, the Palazzo Malta, and the other headquarters of the Order, Villa Malta, were granted extraterritoriality. [3] Today they are recognised by 107 countries as the independent headquarters of a sovereign entity, with mutual diplomatic relations established. [4]

Jerusalem City in the Middle East

Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

Rhodes Island and Municipality in South Aegean, Greece

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece and is also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean administrative region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who ruled the island from 1310 to 1522.

Villa del Priorato di Malta building in Rome, Italy

Villa del Priorato di Malta or Magistral Villa, located on the Aventine Hill in Rome, is one of the two institutional seats of the government of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Along with Magistral Palace, the estate is granted extraterritorial status by Italy. It also hosts the Grand Priory of Rome and the embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Italy.


Courtyard of Palazzo di Malta Interior Palazzo di Malta (Roma).jpg
Courtyard of Palazzo di Malta

The building now called Palazzo Malta was purchased in the 16th century by the Maltese-born Italian archeologist Antonio Bosio, whose uncle was the representative of the Order of St. John to the Holy See. When Bosio died in 1629, he left the building to the Order, and it subsequently became the home of the Order's ambassador to the Holy See. When Carlo Aldobrandini became ambassador, he enlarged the building to its present size. [5]

Antonio Bosio was an Italian scholar, the first systematic explorer of subterranean Rome, author of Roma Sotterranea and first urban spelunker.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment. The word is also often used more liberally for persons who are known, without national appointment, to represent certain professions, activities and fields of endeavor such as sales.

In the 1720s, Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena entrusted Carlo Gimach with the restoration and additional decoration of the palace. This information is retrieved with the letters exchanged by the Grandmaster and the ambassador for the Order in Rome, Giambattista Spinola. [6] Renovations included the addition of a grand fountain in the courtyard. The building remained an embassy until the entire Order moved its headquarters there in 1834. [5]

António Manoel de Vilhena 66th Grand Master of the Order of Saint John

António Manoel de Vilhena was a Portuguese nobleman who was the 66th Prince and Grand Master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from 19 June 1722 to his death in 1736. Unlike a number of the other Grand Masters, he was benevolent and popular with the Maltese people. Vilhena is mostly remembered for the founding of Floriana, the construction of Fort Manoel and the Manoel Theatre, and the renovation of the city of Mdina.

Carlo Gimach was a Maltese architect, engineer and poet who was active in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Throughout his career, he worked in Malta, Portugal and Rome, and he is mostly known for designing Palazzo Carneiro in Valletta, renovating the Monastery of Arouca in Portugal, and restoring the Basilica of St. Anastasia in Rome. He is known to have written a number of poems and other literary works, but these are all lost with the exception of one cantata which he wrote in 1714.

Rome Capital of Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

The building was extensively renovated between 1889 and 1894, but most of the original characteristics were retained. [5]

From 2008, March 11, until 2017, January 28, Fra' Matthew Festing, the 79th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, lived in the building. [7] The majority of governmental and administrative duties are carried out there also.


The building is made of ashlar blocks, and it is crowned with a corbelled cornice. [5]

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The Russian tradition of the Knights Hospitaller is a collection of charitable organisations claiming continuity with the Russian Orthodox grand priory of the Order of Saint John. Their distinction emerged when the Mediterranean stronghold of Malta was captured by Napoleon in 1798 when he made his expedition to Egypt. As a ruse, Napoleon asked for safe harbor to resupply his ships, and then turned against his hosts once safely inside Valletta. Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch failed to anticipate or prepare for this threat, provided no effective leadership, and readily capitulated to Napoleon. This was a terrible affront to most of the Knights desiring to defend their stronghold and sovereignty. The Order continued to exist in a diminished form and negotiated with European governments for a return to power. The Emperor of Russia gave the largest number of Knights shelter in St Petersburg and this gave rise to the Russian tradition of the Knights Hospitaller and recognition within the Russian Imperial Orders. In gratitude the Knights declared Ferdinand von Hompesch deposed and Emperor Paul I was elected as the new Grand Master. The continuous Order was also approved by the Papacy, but due to British fear of Russian taking presence in the Mediterranean and because many knights were Orthodox the Order became de facto the traditional Order but de jure not recognised similar or at par with the formation of the 19th-century Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM).

European microstates European sovereign states having very small population or very small land area

The European microstates or European ministates are a set of very small sovereign states in Europe. The term is typically used to refer to the six smallest states in Europe by area: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. Four of these states are monarchies, with all these states tracing their status back to the first millennium or the early second millennium, except for Liechtenstein, created in the 17th century.

Langue (Knights Hospitaller) Administrative division of the Knights Hospitaller

A langue or tongue was an administrative division of the Knights Hospitaller between 1319 and 1798. The term referred to a rough ethno-linguistic division of the geographical distribution of the Order's members and possessions. Each langue was subdivided into Priories or Grand Priories, Bailiwicks and Commanderies. Each langue had an auberge as its headquarters, some of which still survive in Rhodes, Birgu and Valletta.

Architecture of Malta

Maltese architecture has its origins in prehistory, and some of the oldest free-standing structures on Earth – a series of megalithic temples – can be found on Malta. The islands were colonized by the Phoenicians and later the Romans, who established the cities of Melite and Gaulos. Although these were substantial settlements and are known to have had numerous temples, churches and palaces, few remains have survived apart from some architectural fragments.

Mariano Hugo, Prince of Windisch-Graetz Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Mariano Hugo, Prince of Windisch-Graetz is the current head of the Austrian or Italian House of Windisch-Graetz. A former ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) to the Slovak Republic, he is currently SMOM's ambassador to Slovenia.

Sovereign Military Order of Malta passport

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta passport is a travel document issued to officials and diplomats of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). The order issues biometric passports which are fully ICAO9303 compliant.

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Flag and coat of arms of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

The flag and coat of arms of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta display a white cross on a red field, ultimately derived from the design worn by the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades.

Auberge de Bavière

The Auberge de Bavière is a palace in Valletta, Malta. It was built as Palazzo Carneiro in 1696, and it was the residence of Grand Master Marc'Antonio Zondadari in the early 18th century. In 1784, it was converted into the auberge for the Anglo-Bavarian langue of the Order of Saint John, and it remained so until the French occupation of Malta in 1798.

Palazzo Correa

Palazzo Correa, also known as Casa Correa, Correa de Sousa Palace or Palazzo Hompesch, was a 17th-century palace in Valletta, Malta, located in Old Bakery Street. It was built on the designs to architect Carlo Gimach in the Mannerist style, the very first in Valletta and very unusual to the period.


  1. Velde, François (13 October 2010). "The Sovereign Military Order of Saint-John Napolian was given the keys to Valletta with the Maltese hoping he would help run the country. Instead he started robbing lots of items from the museum (a.k.a. Malta)". Archived from the original on 20 November 2015.
  2. Sainty, Guy Stair (2000). "From the loss of Malta to the modern era". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012.
  3. Cahoon, Ben (2001). "Sovereign Military Order of Malta". Archived from the original on 6 September 2015.
  4. Bilateral relations of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Via Condotti, Northern Side". 1997. Archived from the original on 6 August 2007.
  6. Ellul, Michael (1986). "Carlo Gimach (1651–1730) – Architect and Poet" (PDF). Proceedings of History Week. Historical Society of Malta: 38. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2016.
  7. "Knights of Malta head resigns after dispute with Vatican – Metro". Retrieved 2017-01-25.[ permanent dead link ]