Palazzo Santa Sofia

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Palazzo Santa Sofia
Façade of Palazzo Santa Sofia
General information
Architectural styleMedieval
LocationMdina, Malta
Coordinates35°53′11.2″N 14°24′10.9″E / 35.886444°N 14.403028°E / 35.886444; 14.403028
Current tenantsFondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti
Construction started1233
Renovated20th century
Technical details
Floor count2

Palazzo Santa Sofia is a palace in Mdina, Malta, located in Villegaignon Street, across the square from the cathedral.[1] Its ground floor was built in 1233, and it is believed to be the oldest surviving building in the city. The upper floor is of a much later construction, being built in the 20th century.


The ground floor of Palazzo Santa Sofia was built in the 13th century, and the date 1233 is inscribed on the moulding of one of its windows.[2] The upper floor was built sometime after 1938.[3] The building was periodically rented and used as a school run by Roman Catholic nuns.[4]

Today, the palace is privately owned, and it is managed by a local heritage foundation Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. It is not open to the general public,[3] although it can be hired for dinner or cocktail parties, lectures or other events.[5] The palace is scheduled as a Grade 1 national monument, and it is also listed in the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.[2]


The narrow street

Palazzo Santa Sofia originally had a single story, and was built around a central courtyard. The main doorway to the palace was originally through an arched passageway known as a siqifah, which led to the courtyard. The passageway was eventually converted into a narrow street called Triq Santa Sofia (Santa Sofia Street). The façade of the ground floor is rather plain, and it contains two doors with the passageway in between. A two-tiered palline losanghe cornice separates the ground floor from the first floor.[2] This cornice is similar to the one found at the nearby Palazzo Falson.[6]

The more recent upper floor is characterized by four ornate mullioned windows, and a one-tiered palline losanghe cornice is located at roof level. A number of coats of arms can be found on both floors of the façade.[2]


  1. ^ Richards, Brian (2008). Malta (5 ed.). London: New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. p. 84. ISBN 9781845378714.
  2. ^ a b c d "Palazzo Santa Sofia" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b Rix, Juliet (2013). Malta and Gozo (2 ed.). Bradt Travel Guides. p. 220. ISBN 9781841624525.
  4. ^ Cuschieri, Doreen (25 October 2010). "Sisters of Dorothy enter their first 100 years in Malta". Times of Malta. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Private Events". Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016.
  6. ^ Busuttil, Claude (1999). "A Double Act for the 'Norman House': Palazzo Falzon or Palazzo Cumbo-Navarra?" (PDF). Melita Historica. 12 (4): 416. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 January 2016.