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Discover the City of the Knights – Your own private tour of Valletta

St. John's Co Cathedral Interior (38)

Live the splendour of the City and learn all about the prestigious buildings of the Knights, as you are taken back in time to the Era of the Order of the Knights of St John. Imagine being transferred in a Chauffeur driven car to the gates of the Capital City of  Valletta accompanied by your own private guide proficient in any language of your choice …

Let’s start at St John’s Co-Cathedral, Malta’s most impressive church –  You will experience the beauty of this Cathedral designed by the architect Gerolamo Cassar, built between 1573 and 1578, taking over from the Church of St Lawrence in Vittoriosa as the place where the Knights would gather for communal worship. The interior was revamped in the 17th century in exuberant Maltese baroque style, and it’s an astounding surprise after the plain facade. One of its greatest treasures is a huge painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio. The nave is long and low and every wall, pillar and rib is encrusted with rich ornamentation, giving the effect of a dusty gold brocade. The floor is an iridescent patchwork of marble tomb slabs, and the vault dances with paintings by Mattia Preti that illustrate events from the life of St John the Baptist. Beyond here, the Oratory contains two paintings by Caravaggio, and the Cathedral Museum houses the beautiful 16th-century Graduals of L-Isle Adam, illuminated choral books and a magnificent collection of 17th-century Flemish tapestries based on drawings by Rubens.

Next it’s onwards to visit the Grand Master’s Palace, the original building was the house of Eustachio del Monte, nephew of Grand Master Jean de la Valette, founder of the city. In 1572 the Knights commissioned architect Gerolamo Cassar once again, to convert the house into a Palace for the Grand Master of the Order of St John. Over the years, successive Grandmasters enlarged and the developed the palace. During the British period it served as the Governor’s Palace. The Council of Government and the Malta legislative Assembly. The building currently houses the Office of the President and until very recently the House of Representatives. The Grandmaster’s Palace & The State Rooms are built around two courtyards, one of which features a statue of Neptune. Inside is the famous Council Chamber, decorated with priceless Gobelins tapestries featuring tropical scenes set in South America, the Caribbean, India and Africa woven in France especially for Grand Master Ramón Perellos y Roccaf. Despite being almost 300 years old, these tapestries are still very well preserved.

The other rooms and passages of the Grand Masters Palazzo are splendidly furnished with artefacts and armour. The Palace armoury is also located here and deserves a visit. The Throne Room or former Hall of the Supreme Council of the Knights deserves special attention with top quality frescoes that show impressions of the Great Siege, while portraits of Grandmasters and other rulers hang in the Hall of Ambassadors. Known also as the Red Room, this hall is decorated in crimson with furniture from Louis XV and a high fresco explaining episodes from the early history of the Order of St. John.

And last but not least the a pre- Dinner Champagne Tour of Beautiful Noble Home of Casa Rocca Piccola,  a 16th-century palace in Malta, and home of the noble de Piro family.The Palace contains over 50 rooms, the majority of which are open for viewing. Over the years new rooms have been opened to visitors . The World War II Air Raid Shelters have provided a dramatic and exciting addition to the tours of the house and we hope that in the newly opened Gallery local painters and artisans will exhibit their works. The value of Casa Rocca Piccola lies in its ability to provide unique historical evidence into the customs and traditions of the Maltese nobility over the last 400 years. You can also see a collection of furniture, silver and paintings that add to the aesthetic riches of this country. Tour starts at 19.00 hours with an exclusive guided tour by Marquis De Piro followed by a glass or two of Champagne in the courtyard or one of the historical rooms.

Learn all about these master pieces, the design and history behind their construction, the details of all the art displayed and more …

An afternoon of History followed by dinner in one of Valletta’s Gourmet Dineries…

For more information about your own private tour of some of  Valletta’s most magnificent sites, contact Colours of Malta. Click here to view their partner profile.

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