Girolamo Cassar

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Girolamo Cassar
Native name Ġlormu Cassar
Born c.1520
Gudja or Birgu, Malta, Kingdom of Sicily
Died between 1589 and 1592 (aged c.69-72)
probably Valletta
Nationality Maltese
Occupation Architect
Known for Various buildings in Valletta, including Saint John's Co-Cathedral, the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta and the Auberges
Religion Roman Catholicism
Spouse(s) Mattea Cassar
Children Vittorio Cassar
Gabriele Cassar
3 daughters
Military career
Allegiance Sovereign Military Order of Malta Order of Saint John
Battles/wars Battle of Djerba (1560)
Great Siege of Malta (1565)
Auberge d'Aragon, the only Auberge with Cassar's original design
Saint John's Co-Cathedral, one of the few buildings in Valletta still retaining Cassar's original design

Girolamo Cassar, also known as Ġlormu Cassar, was a Maltese architect and military engineer who designed many buildings in the capital Valletta.


Cassar was born around 1520 in Gudja or Birgu to a Sicilian family who had lived in the Maltese islands since around 1440. He fought in the Battle of Djerba of 1560. Five years later, he was a military engineer during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 when he helped repair some of the fortifications of Birgu and Senglea.

Cassar became assistant to Francesco Laparelli in the building of Valletta and helped him design some of the fortifications. He took over following Laparelli's departure from Malta in 1569 (and his death a year later). Since Cassar had only designed military architecture before, he briefly went to study in Italy where he learnt about mannerist architecture. He returned to Malta within a year and he began to design various buildings, both in Valletta and elsewhere on the island.[1]

Most of these were later renovated or destroyed. In some cases such as Auberge de Castille, the new Auberge was completely rebuilt and the building was completely different from the original design. However a few buildings such as Auberge d'Aragon and the exterior of Saint John's Co-Cathedral retain Cassar's original design.

He also designed various churches, the bakery, the mills and some private palaces and houses in Valletta, some churches in Rabat and Verdala Palace. Other buildings such as the Sacra Infermeria were probably also designed by Cassar although no actual documents or plans survive about these.

Girolamo Cassar lived with his wife Mattea and his two sons at Strada Pia (now Melita Street), Valletta. One of his sons, Vittorio Cassar, later became an architect as well. Cassar died sometime after January 1589, when he made his second will.[2]

Buildings attributed to Cassar[edit]

The following buildings are thought to have been designed by Cassar (in some cases this is just an attribution).[2]


Elsewhere in Malta[edit]


Triq Girolamo Cassar, Valletta

The road leading from Floriana to Castille Square in Valletta is named Triq Girolamo Cassar after the architect. He was featured on Maltese stamps twice, in 1966 and 1974.


  1. ^ "The Maltese Architect Gerolamo Cassar". Malta Architecture. Angelfire. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Schiavone, Michael J. (2009). Dictionary of Maltese Biographies Vol. 1 A-F. Pietà: Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza. pp. 520–521. ISBN 9789993291329.