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So who wouldn’t want to be filthy rich given the choice? And if you can’t achieve that goal, then who isn’t interested in seeing how the filthy rich live their lives and decorate their homes? Of course, the answer is that most of us are obsessed with ‘how the other half lives’ and, if we can’t join them, we can at least have a sneaky peek inside their houses by visiting places like Palazzo Parisio.
This very impressive property is to be found in the charming village of Naxxar. It allows you to marvel at the stunning beauty of the lavishly decorated property while also giving you an insight into the lives of Maltese nobility.
The palazzo is a stately pile from the 18th century – a much-cherished family home, albeit belonging to a very wealthy family - it has been opened up to the public. What you’ll find is a treasure trove of elegant rooms, including a magnificent ballroom - plus some rather splendid walled gardens.
The palace has been the family home to the Sciclunas for the three generations prior to the current owner. It was his great grandfather, the Marquis Giuseppe Scicluna, who bought the property from the Parisio family.
The house today has been lovingly restored and enhanced and now represents an exceptional heritage attraction. Among the highlights to look out for is the Scicluna Carriage, which was built in England in the 19th century. There’s also the room called the Sala Lombarda – a fine reconstruction of a typical Maltese noble’s drawing room for the 19th century.
The dining room is another star of the showing influences from Pompei and including paintings by Venuti. But the iconic ballroom takes some beating and really has to be seen to be believed.
While the Palazzo Parisio is a real feast for the eyes, the on-site restaurant that goes by the name of Caffe Luna provides a different kind of feast, as it serves delicious food. It is also child-friendly, and comes with a dedicated kiddie area complete with mini chairs and tables, plus soft toys and a miniature house.
Now we know all that you’ll be able to see why the recommended way to visit the palazzo is to take a leisurely stroll around the house and take in all its splndour, then retire to the Caffe Luna for a posh cream tea, which you can nibble at or wolf down while seated outside in the beautiful gardens. Alternatively, take your tour of the house in the morning and head to the Luna for lunch, which is great and highly recommended.
The café also opens indoors in winter where you swap a seat in the garden for plush sofas surrounded by the magnificent grandeur of the palazzo. Here they serve continental or English breakfast from 9am to 11am, while the traditional English Afternoon Tea – with scones, sandwiches and home-made cakes – is served from 3pm until 6pm. Palazzo Parisio is also home to a renowned, multi-award winning, fine-dining restaurant - Luna Di Sera.
The facilities are open to the public all year round. In the past it has attracted some of the most famous celebrity visitors to Malta, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Jones, Ronan Keating and William Hurt.
Palazzo Parisio is opposite the grand parish church, and Naxxar is easy to get to by car or on the bus service. You’ll find free, short-term parking near the church, or if you’re planning to be there a while, there is some longer-term parking just a short distance away.
Admission to the palace is €12 for adults, €7 for students and €5 for children aged between five and 15 – below that age it’s free.
Address: 29 Victory Square, Naxxar
Phone: +356 2141 2461
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