Tommaso Dingli

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Tommaso Dingli
Tumas Dingli
Born22 December 1591
Died28 January 1666 (aged 74)
Resting place Parish Church of St. Mary, Attard
Occupation Architect
Notable work
Several parish churches, including those of Attard and Birkirkara
Style Renaissance
Spouse(s)Argenta Dingli
  • Giacobo Dingli (father)
  • Katerina Dingli née Tabone (mother)
Relatives Filippo Dingli (brother)

Tommaso Dingli (Maltese : Tumas Dingli, 22 December 1591 – 28 January 1666) was a Maltese architect and sculptor. One of the last Renaissance architects on the island, he designed several parish churches, most notably those of Attard and Birkirkara. [1] [2]



Tommaso Dingli was born on 22 December 1591 in Attard, the son of the sculptor Giacobo Dingli and his wife Katerina Dingli née Tabone. [3] He was the fourth of ten children, and one of his brothers was the artist Filippo Dingli. Dingli began his career as a scarpellino (stone carver) with his father Giacobo and his uncle, the engineer Andrea Dingli. [4]

Parish Church of St. Mary in Attard Parish-church-attard.jpg
Parish Church of St. Mary in Attard

In his early career as an architect, Dingli assisted the capomastro (master builder) Giovanni Attard during the construction of the Wignacourt Aqueduct between 1610 and 1614. In later years, Dingli obtained a number of commissions and he designed a number of parish churches. [4] In 1633, Dingli is attributed to have designed the second Porta Reale, the main city gate of the capital Valletta. [5]

In 1639, Giovanni de’ Medici was impressed with Dingli's abilities and offered to take him to Italy, but he declined since his service was in demand within Malta. [6] Dingli died on 28 January 1666 at the age of 74, and he was buried at the Attard parish church, which he had designed himself. [4]

Most of Dingli's churches were built in the Renaissance style, and they might have had influences from the Spanish Plateresque. He was one of the last Renaissance architects in Malta, and the Baroque style became popular in the years after his death. [4]

Buildings attributed to Dingli

Parish Church of St. Mary in Birkirkara, which was designed (at least in part) by Dingli Chiesa di Santa Maria.jpg
Parish Church of St. Mary in Birkirkara, which was designed (at least in part) by Dingli
Le Colonel du Regiment des Chesseurs Grand-Fauconnier du Grand-Maitre. Vue de la Porte Reale (NYPL b14896507-120278).tiff
The second Porta Reale of Valletta, which is often attributed to Dingli, as seen in the background of an 18th century painting of a Hospitaller colonel

Dingli is best known for his ecclesiastical architecture. Churches which are known to have been designed by him include: [4] [6]

Most of these were altered or destroyed in subsequent centuries, for example the Mosta parish church was demolished in the 19th century to make way for the Rotunda of Mosta. Only the Birkirkara and Attard parish churches still retain Dingli's original design. [4]

Other buildings attributed to Dingli include the Bishop's Palace and the second Porta Reale, both in Valletta. The latter was demolished in 1853. [5]

Personal life

Dingli married Argenta Dingli from Siġġiewi when he was 60 years old. [6] They had six children, one of whom became a priest. [3]

Further reading

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  1. Gaul, Simon (2007). Malta, Gozo and Comino. New Holland publishers. p. 325. ISBN   9781860113659.
  2. Pullicino, Evelyn (1996). "Tumas Dingli (1591-1666" (PDF) (in Maltese): 95–99.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. 1 2 Mallia, Carmel. "Tumas Dingli". Attard Parish. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Thake, Conrad (2013). "Influences of the Spanish Plateresque on Maltese Ecclesiastical Architecture" (PDF). Proceedings of History Week: 63–73. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2016.
  5. 1 2 "The Many pasts of City Gate". The Malta Independent . 11 January 2009. Archived from the original on 17 April 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 Schiavone, Michael J. (2009). Dictionary of Maltese Biographies Vol. 1 A–F. Pietà: Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza. pp. 731–732. ISBN   9789993291329.