About San Anton Palace
Sitting almost in Malta’s geographical centre, San Anton Palace has since 1974 served as the official residence of the President. Game of Thrones watchers will better recognise San Anton Palace as the exterior of the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the place where Varys and Littlefinger tell Ned Stark that the Goldcloaks are under his full control.
San Anton Palace history
San Anton Palace was built between 1623 and 1636 by the 54th Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Antoine de Paule. He called the palace ‘Sainte Antoine’ after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua and during the French Blockade of 1798-1800, San Anton was a gathering place for Maltese insurgents.
The palace was used by successive Grand Masters as their official residence and was sumptuously and luxuriously decorated.
San Anton Palace today
However, like Verdala Palace, San Anton Palace remains a private residence and is therefore closed to the public. Alternately, the San Anton Gardens have been open to the public since 1882 and feature stunning walkways, fountains, ponds, sculptures and birds including ducks and swans.
There are 300-year old trees in the walled garden including palm, cypress and jacaranda as well as citrus and avocado trees as well as a beautiful array of flowers from all over the world.
The garden hosts the annual Malta Horticultural Show as well as various open-air theatre and music performances and just inside the main gate is the Eagle Fountain which has been keeping a watchful eye over proceedings since the 1620s.
Getting to San Anton Palace
Within central Attard, San Anton Palace and Gardens are easily reached on foot or public transport. Buses 54 and 106 stop just outside at Palazz or if you are driving there is parking at Wesgha Profs. Guze Aquilina several minutes walk away.