The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

Former PM Enrico Mizzi house among 10 properties given protection status

Monday, 12 August 2019, 12:18 Last update: about 5 months ago

A number of buildings considered to have special heritage features have been scheduled by the Planning Authority as Grade 1 or 2 buildings, the PA said in a statement today. The architectural and historical significance that these buildings carry vary in both their historical period as well as location. In consultation with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the Authority gave special protection status to these ten buildings to ensure that the architectural and historical value that these properties have is retained and celebrated.   

In the capital Valletta, the Authority gave the highest protection status to the private residence of Dr Enrico Mizzi (photo) which is located in Triq San Gwann. The residence is a typical 17th century Valletta townhouse and was lived in by Rev Fortunato Mizzi up until 2002. The building which is being converted into a house museum still contains the original furniture and archives. Dr Enrico Mizzi, better known as Nerik Mizzi, after the 1950 elections, was asked to form a minority government and in September 1950, he became Prime Minister, only to die three months later at his residence in Valletta.

In Qrendi, the Authority protected a property in Triq il-Kbira which is a typical 18th century single-storey palazzo having a main central entrance overlain by an open stone balcony. Internally, the property has a lavishly decorated entrance hall with frescoes and ornately sculpted garden door. The central garden includes a number of structures generally datable to the modern period.

In Triq San Pawl, Bormla, a three-storey townhouse characterised by an exceptional decorated Baroque double-front was scheduled as a Grade 2 property. In Birgu, two other residences have also been scheduled – the original Bishop’s palace and an imposing austere Baroque three-storey palazzo, possibly dating to the 16th century in Triq Hilda Tabone.   

The Bishop’s palace which dates back to 1542, retains late medieval and mannerist architectural features and is similar to the architecture adopted by the knights when constructing their Auberges in Birgu. The building acted also as the Inquisitor’s palace and remained the official seat of the bishop up to the mid-17th century, playing an important role in the political development of the island during the rule of the Order of St.John.

An 18th century corner townhouse in Balzan was also given protection status. The property, in Triq il-Providenza corner with Triq it-Tliet Knejjes, is characterised by two high storeys having a very rare high baroque/rococo ornate open stone corner balcony supported on seven finely sculpted scrolled triple corbels. The building was the residence of the Spanish knight Fra Giacomo Rodrigues, who is buried in St John’s Co-Cathedral.

In Triq d'Argens, Gzira, a double front dwelling built in the interwar period by architect Prof Joseph Colombo, as his private residence, was given Grade 2 protection status. The elevation of this building is exceptional in the way that the traditional townhouse is reinterpreted in a modernist style making use of strong geometric motifs. The townhouse was shortlisted for the first architectural awards held in 1936.

In Lija and Naxxar, two other residential properties were declared Grade 2 buildings. The one in Lija is a late 19th-early 20th-century villa while that of Naxxar is a rural building on the outskirts of the village. The villa, in Triq Annibale Preca, is constructed in an eclectic romantic style with Gothic revival elements. The villa is enclosed by a high garden wall furnished with crenelations and turrets. The main building and gardens have been divided up to form three separate residences.

The only non-residential building to be included in this list of new scheduled buildings is the Old Parish Church of Manikata, dedicated to St. Joseph. This church was constructed in 1920 in a purely traditional style.

Over the past years, the Planning Authority through the Irrestawra Darek scheme has provided generous financial incentives to assist property owners of Grade 1 & 2 residential scheduled buildings to upkeep their property’s unique architecture and heritage value. 



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