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Valletta's Spinola Palace to get additional floor

A ceiling fresco by architect Nicolau Nasoni.

A ceiling fresco by architect Nicolau Nasoni.

Lombard Bank said it has conducted a number of studies to identify important features that need conservation and to trace the original plans of Spinola Palace, in Valletta.

An application, together with relevant plans, has been submitted to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa) for the "utilisation of disused property as extension to bank premises and construction of a new floor". A restoration method statement has already been conducted and submitted to Mepa.

While the bank has occupied the Republic Street wing of the palace since the early 1970s it has just acquired the wing in Frederick Street.

The bank said it was sensitive to the building's importance and would ensure the property would be maintained to a high standard with the works to be undertaken respecting its original features.

The bank has also offered to make the ground floor and courtyard of the Frederick Street wing available for cultural activities. The building incorporates various architectural features including vaulted ceilings at ground floor level, beautifully decorated stone columns surrounding the courtyard, together with a ceiling fresco by architect Nicolau Nasoni who was brought to Malta by Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena in 1723.

Palazzo Spinola in Valletta and that in St Julians belonged to Fra Giovanni Battista Spinola, a one-time ambassador of the Order of the Knights of St John to the Holy See.

In 1922, the palace was divided into three parts, probably following a family inheritance. One third, the Republic Street wing, now houses Lombard Bank's head office; another third - the St Christopher Street wing was demolished and rebuilt as a block of apartments.

The remaining third - the Frederick Street wing - was converted into a residence and offices.

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