Prominently located in Valletta, the hotel is at a short distance to the main bus terminus, close to the magnificent parliament designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, and a few steps from the open-air theatre, formally the Royal Malta Opera House. It is also surrounded by the best culinary addresses of the capital city. The stately entrance of the hotel reveals its grandeur once one walks into the reception and restored courtyard area.
Timeless class and elegance
Domus Zamittello is easily discernible by its large arched doorway and a fine extensive balcony terrace on the 3rd level, both original and magnificent examples of the fine workmanship of that era. A ring of the bell and a doorway opens up allowing the visitor into a spacious hallway with four Tuscan columns posted on the corners which carry a wonderfully shaped coved ceiling. Once inside, there is a serene calmness. The fine architectural surroundings and fine pieces of furniture seem like a treasure trove and moving on past an elegant reception desk and into the inner courtyard, there are comfortable armchairs and coffee tables. The hotel even has a distinctive 125sqm open-air terrace on the 3rd floor overlooking Republic Street which enjoys magnificent views of the Gateway to Valletta and Freedom Square.
385 years and counting
This elegant 17th Century home had originally been part of the earlier estate of the Auberge D’Italie, one of the langues of the Order of St John. Recent research dates the palazzo back to 1633 when it was used by various knights of Italian descent. and was then known as Casa Pensa. In 1805, after the departure from Malta of the Knights of St John, the British Governor granted ownership of the palazzo to Sir Giuseppe Nicola Zamitt, for services to the Crown. In recent years, the present Count of Mont’Alto, a descendant of Sir Giuseppe Nicola Zamitt after whom the palazzo is now named, embarked on a project to enlarge it and restore the entire property to its former glory.
A gentleman’s legacy
Zamitt was a Superior Judge of the Law Courts as well as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George. Besides being an acclaimed legislator and man of letters, he was also Pro-Secretary to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the chief secretary to Sir Alexander Ball, Malta’s first Civil Commissioner. Knighted in 1818, Sir Giuseppe Zamitt was held in high regard by Sir Thomas Maitland who at Zamitt’s death commissioned a monument to honour him which still stands in the Upper Barakka Gardens, Valletta. This fine gentleman is one of the very few Maltese gentry to be interred in St John’s Co-Cathedral amongst the Knights and Grandmasters of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Among his other achievements, Sir Giuseppe Zamitt commissioned the construction of the magical Castello Zamittello, an enchanting castle in its own grounds on the outskirts of the quaint village of Mgarr. He was married with one daughter Maria Theresa, who married the third Baron of Buleben and whose lineage later merged through marriage in 1889 with the Count of Mont’Alto family. The palazzo has remained in the family until this present day.
A city of past and future
‘Valletta equals in its noble architecture, if it doesn’t excel, any capital in Europe’, was a quotation made in 1830 by no less a person than Benjamin Disraeli, prior to him becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain. This fortified walled city built on a peninsula surrounded on two sides by magnificent harbours and on the third by the open Mediterranean Sea has served as a fortress throughout the centuries. Today it is the central hub of government, the financial sector and the legal profession, the three engines that have thrust Malta into a successful economic cycle and turned it into a valued member of the EU.