The Grandmaster’s/ President’s Palace: History & Location
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Grandmaster's Palace, Valletta, inner courtyard. By PodracerHH (Own work). GFDL or CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

This is one of two pages about the former Grandmaster’s, now President’s Palace in Valletta. Page two, about the palace structure and interior, is available here.


  • Names: Grandmaster’s palace, Magisterial Palace, National Palace, Governor’s Palace, President’s Palace.
  • Built between the 16th and 18th centuries.
  • When Knights started building the new City of Valletta in 1566 the original plans were to build the Grandmaster’s palace on high ground in the southern part of the city (on or near the site later occupied by Auberge de Castille).
  • On the original site of the palace the house of the knight Eustachio del Monte was built in 1569 and also the first Auberge of Italy was built in 1571.
  • In 1571, Grand Master Pierre de Monte moved the Order’s headquarters to Valletta, and he lived in the house of Eustachio del Monte, who was his nephew. The Council of the Order subsequently purchased the house, and in 1574 it began to be enlarged into a palace for the Grand Master.
  • In 1597 the Italian langue moved to the new Auberge in Merchant street and the original Auberge was also incorporated into the palace.
  • The Grandmaster’s Palace was built to Mannerist designs (visual trickery and unexpected elements that challenged the renaissance norms) of Glormo Cassar.

Emmanuuel Pinto de Fonseca. By Pierre Bernard. CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1740s, Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca made extensive alterations to the building and gave it its present configuration. Pinto’s renovations included the embellishment of the façade, the opening of a second main entrance, and the construction of a clock tower in one of the courtyards.


  • It is the largest Palace of the City occupying a whole central city block.
  • Front façade, facing the North-West, is located opposite the Main Guard in St George’s Square along Republic Street.
  • The back façade, facing the South-East, is in Merchants Street.
  • The left side, facing the North-East is in Archbishop Street.
  • The right side, facing the South-West is in Old Theatre Street.

2nd image:

/ Geofenced smart learning, AR doctoral research, UoM, 2017-20, P Lister.