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SOS – Villa Agata, Floriana

This is an appeal to the authorities to save and restore the façade of the late 18th century Villa Agata in Floriana.

This majestic façade is the work of the renowned Italian-Polish architect Stefano Ittar, responsible for the Bibliotheca building, the last major project to be implemented by the knights.

Ittar had come to Malta in 1784 attracted by the prestigious commission of building the Order’s library, a project that would only be completed after his untimely death in 1790.

In 1786, the Noble Gio Francesco Bonici, Baron of Qlejjgħa, an aristocrat with a passion for architecture, had engaged the Italo-Polish architect to build a family summer house overlooking the Argotti Gardens in Floriana. Unfortunately, over time, Ittar’s palatial façade of the Villa D’Agata was engulfed and hemmed in by the development of the surrounding buildings and is totally out of sight to the public.

The late art historian Edward Sammut described it as a “Bibliotheca in miniature”. Sadly, the façade has not only been out of sight for many decades but it has suffered from insensitive interventions and accretions over time. It certainly deserves to be restored to its former glory.

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