Palazzo Santa Sofia

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Palazzo Santa Sofia
Mdina-palazzo-santa-sofia.JPG
Façade of Palazzo Santa Sofia
General information
Status Intact
Type Palace
Architectural style Medieval
Location Mdina, Malta
Coordinates 35°53′11.2″N 14°24′10.9″E / 35.886444°N 14.403028°E / 35.886444; 14.403028
Current tenants Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti
Construction started 1233
Renovated 20th century
Owner Private
Technical details
Material Limestone
Floor count 2

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.

History[edit]

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]

Architecture[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  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.