Messina Palace


Credit for information: The following is  information taken from the German Malta Circle website 

Messina Palace

Messina Palace – corner between Triq Reppublika and Triq San KristofruThe Messina Palace (No 141 and 141A Triq San Kristofru), in Valletta was built by Fra Pietro La Rocca, Prior of Santo Stefano, towards the end of the 16th century and formed part of a larger magnificent palace called Casa Rocca Grande which had two entrances in the same style of the Magisterial Palace of the Grandmaster.

The French Republican Government sold the house to Citoyen (Count) Francesco Sant on the 14 Fructidor year 6 of the Republic (21st August 1798). It is not known exactly when Casa Rocca Grande was divided into two separate houses – No.141 (Palazzo Messina) and No.143 (Palazzo Marina), St. Christopher Street. According to Muir’s Malta Almanac, No.141 was between 1845 and 1863, occupied by Nicholas de Ataliottis (Merchant and Agent for Anglo-Grecian Insurance Co.). In 1864, merchant Count Rosario Messina (1796-1875) who had settled in Malta from Bagnara in Calabria, and his wife, Maria de Ataliottis, together with their five children, moved into this house. It is assumed that it was around this time that this house was named Palazzo Messina.


The coat of arms of the family Messina is still prominently inlaid in marble in the Main Hall of said Palace. It is of interest to record that according to A. V. Laferla in his book “British Malta”, the brigantine which transported the exiled Jesuits from Sicily to Malta in 1860 was owned by Rosario Messina.
Following the death in 1875 of Count Rosario Messina, the house passed on to Count Dr Giovanni Messina. Giovanni (President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce 1894-1911) and his brother Francesco (both lawyers) ran their own bank “Messina & Sons, Bankers” from 141A, St. Christopher Street. They both resided in Messina Palace even after they were married. Upon the death of Count Giovanni Messina in 1911, Messina Palace was bequeathed to his daughter Maria and to the children of his sisters Giuseppina and Concettina. In 1932 the house, still the residence of Countess Lucia Messina (neé Bentivoglio), wife of Francesco, who had benefited through the usufruct of the Palace, was purchased by Noble Liliana Stilon DePiro. When Countess Messina, an Italian national, left the Island at the outbreak of the Second World War, Messina Palace was requisitioned for public use by the Government of Malta to be used as a school and after the war, as a Department of Education and later as the Ministry of Education.

The Palace was leased to the German-Maltese Circle in 1975 until it was purchased by the Circle with the financial assistance of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1989 from the heirs of the Noble Liliana Stilon DePiro.



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