The Inquisitor’s Palace, situated in the heart of Vittoriosa, is one of the very few surviving palaces of its kind which, in the early modern period could be found all over Europe and South America. Many of these palaces simply succumbed to the ravages of time or were victims of the anti-reactionary power unleashed by the French Revolution. Fortunately, the Maltese Inquisitor’s Palace, throughout its five centuries of history, always hosted high-ranking officials representing the main powers on the island, who therefore ensured its survival.
Mgr Pietro Dusina arrived in Malta in 1574 as the first general inquisitor and apostolic delegate of the Maltese Islands. The Grand Master offered him the unused palace as an official residence. Almost all successive inquisitors sought to transform the palace into a decent mansion. They all shared the same cultural values of clerical baroque Roman society, and by the mid-18th century they had managed successfully to transform the building into a typical Roman palace. The palace also managed to survive through the bombings of the Second World War and the threat of modern development.
It is today the only Inquisitor’s Place open to the public in the world and an architectural gem, representative of the chequered history and European heritage of the Maltese islands.
Reasons to Visit
- 1. One of the very few surviving Inquisitor’s palaces.
- 2. The only one accessible to the general public.
- 3. A former centre of power accountable directly to the Pope.
- 4. A unique experience including historic reconstructions of the domestic kitchen area, the sophisticated ambience of the piano nobile and private quarters and the austere setting of the Holy Office Tribunal, prison complex and torture chamber.
- 5. The National Museum of Ethnography with permanent displays on Malta’s religious traditions as consolidated by the Inquisition.