Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera together with the Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar today presided over the signing of the transfer of Villa Guardamangia which was carried out with an investment of €5 million and hence has become an integral part of our national collection that will undoubtedly continue to shape the heritage of our country, and our society.
“This majestic Villa in Gwardamanga is proof that this Government truly believes in adding more value and unique experiences to our national heritage,” stated Minister Herrera, as nowadays the Villa is scheduled as a Grade 2 building, reflecting its architectural and historical value. Villa Guardamangia is one of the finest examples of Baroque buildings of the time.
Minister Herrera showed his appreciation to Minister Owen Bonnici for the sterling work carried out during the past months for the acquisition of this property and stated that Heritage Malta will now be starting an extensive process of restoration which includes 18 rooms, stables, a large garden, wells, and an underground shelter, so that once this process is finalised it can be enjoyed by the general public.
Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar stated that the transfer of Villa Guardamangia is another important acquisition for the national heritage and Heritage Malta is completing its plans to not only carry out a rigorous restoration process, but to also implement an innovative and new experience for the enjoyment of visitors. Mr Cutajar explained how this experience will be combined with that of Villa Frere which is located a short distance away, whereby we will continue to manifest the importance towards the Maltese language as well as the beauty of these kind of buildings and their gardens. It was also explained that Heritage Malta together with the Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, will continue to work towards ensuring that they continue to exhibit our national heritage and to also preserve what is Maltese and what makes us Maltese.
Minister José Herrera accompanied by the Chairperson and CEO of Heritage Malta, together with Mr Joseph Magro Conti the Superintendent for Cultural Heritage, as well as the Mayor of Pieta Keith Tanti and representatives of the NGO Friends of Villa Frere visited Villa Frere whereby this Villa is now scheduled as a Grade 1 monument. Heritage Malta, together with Friends of Villa Frere, an NGO founded by architect Edward Said, are working to restore these unique gardens, making them accessible to the general public.
Minister Herrera, whilst reiterating his support for the work being carried out inside Villa Frere, emphasized on the importance of the Superintendence of cultural heritage in having more powers to continue its work to protect more important buildings of national heritage importance. Minister Herrera said that this Villa also has direct links with the Maltese Language and reiterated the Government’s commitment to see that this link is strengthened.