Spinola Palace Private Garden Opens to Public
Welcome to Spinola Palace (private) back garden! Another beautiful green oasis in the heart of St Julian’s! The garden was closed off to the public for many years, but it has reopened its gates again in June 2019! It’s a small garden, but with a lot of history! Let’s start with the palace itself.
The site where Spinola Palace stands today was originally occupied by a smaller palace – Palazzo Spinola. This was built for Fra Paolo Raffaele Spinola, an Italian knight of the Order of St. John, as a retreat in 1688. It was enlarged in 1733 to satisfy the requirements of his nephew, Bailiff Fra Giovanni Battista Spinola. Today, the palace is owned by the Maltese government.
Let’s briefly talk about the architecture of the palace. The palace is built in Baroque style and considered to be a masterpiece of Maltese architecture. Notice the large elegant sculpted clock in the centre. The palace is the very first building in Malta to have a clock as a central feature. More interestingly the only one to have a clock as part of non-religious facade.
Palace, hospital, shelter even museum
It’s worth to mention that the palace was converted to a military hospital, known as the Forrest Hospital, in between 1860 and 1922. It also served for numerous other purposes, such as a post-WWII shelter for homeless, a Museum of Modern Art or as the Ministry for Tourism. From 2007 it hosts the Headquarters of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.
This is the side entrance to the Spinola Palace back garden from St. George’s Road. When I walked in, I couldn’t believe that something so beautiful, fresh and blooming is in the middle of St. Julian’s. This area is over developed, the traffic congestion is alarming and the noise pollution is quite shocking. So to have at least a small garden like this is a breath of fresh air! We desperately need more of such places!
The Spinola palace was originally surrounded by extensive gardens including a wine yard! Unfortunately very little remains of them. The palace also originally overlooked (and gave its name to) the Spinola Bay. However in the 20th century, the area surrounding the palace started to be built up. Nowadays you can’t even see the palace from the bay!
Today, when you walk though the gardens, there are two (still empty) fountains surrounded by number of wooden benches. The garden is well kept especially judging from the greenery and blooming flowers. And roses!
Restaurant on site
In July 2019 a new restaurant opened within the gardens. Milano Garden – Italian restaurant by L-Ghonnella. Haven’t tried it myself, so cannot review it, but it’s awesome to the option of having a drink or a meal while sitting on a terrace surrounded by such beauty.
Despite the fact that this garden is pretty small, you can still find picturesque corners for the perfect photo for your Instagram feed! Joking apart, this little piece of green paradise in the middle of a busy area is exactly what you need. And I’m so in love with their roses!
If you’re not sure where exactly is this garden located, you can check out the map below. I’m sure you’ve passed by this garden many times, but since the gates were always closed, you might have not even noticed it. Now you have a chance to enjoy it! It has been returned to the public, once again. Thank you! 🙂
Do you love gardens? Would you like to visit other beautiful gardens around the Maltese Islands? Why don’t you visit Villa Bologna’s garden or Chinese Garden of Serenity in Santa Lucija? There is quite a few, you can check the “Gardens” category in my blog for more suggestions!