Hidden away at the back of a cupboard are boxes of colour slides including one which shows a photograph of me as a young girl in the gardens of San Anton. The image may not be readily to hand but the memory is crystal clear. It was the very first time that I had walked in a garden filled with exotic flowers usually seen growing under glass in England. Curiously many of those very same flowers that I saw growing then now thrive very happily outside in my own garden too!!!
San Anton Palace was built during the late 1620's as a summer palace for Grand Master Antoline de Paule, a French knight of the Order of St. John, who personally supervised the layout of the formal gardens that surround the palace. During the British time in Malta it was used as the Govenor's summer residence, and in 1882 British Govenor Sir Arthur Burton decided to open up the major part of the gardens to the general public, a practice which still continues today. Filled with wonderful paintings and fine decorative works of art, the palace is now the offical residence of the president of Malta.
Naturally the palace itself is 'off limits' but there are no restrictions to strolling around the outer corridors
which shows the white cross on a red background of the Order of St. John on the ceiling
Zantedeschia - arum lily
Hibiscus - family Malvaceae
Erythrina - coral tree, flame tree
As this is the penultimate post I can't leave Malta without showing you the Rotunda of Santa Maria Assunta, Mosta. It is extraordinary that such a small island should be home to the third largest unsupported dome in the world. The Rotunda sits in the middle of the island and when travelling in any direction it regularly comes into view.
Based on the Pantheon in Rome it was built without using any interior scaffolding. During World War ll, a German bomb pierced the dome and fell right through into the church. The fact that the bomb did not explode and nobody was injured was considered by the islanders to be a miracle.
Inside the church preparations were underway for the Good Friday parade through the streets of Mosta when the churches statuary is carried on the shoulders of local men in a similar manner to a post I showed here of Easter processions seen in Spain.