The architecturally diverse home of the Inquisition in Malta bears the many changes made by the 62 Italian Inquisitors who occupied and amended it to their tastes. Most of them went on to glorious careers in the Catholic church - Fabio Chigi, for instance, became Pope Alexander VII, and Antonio Pignatelli Pope Innocent XII.
Originally constructed as civil law courts in the 1530s, the Palace was given to Pietro Dusina, the first Inquisitor in Malta, in 1574. The Inquisition was on the island for over 200 years, often acting as a mediator between Bishops and Knights, until Napoleon’s arrival on the island ended the Order’s reign in 1798.
This is among the few Inquisitor’s Palaces in the world which survived reprisals and revolts against the Catholic church in the 18th century. The Palace is currently undergoing extensive and painstaking restoration, and it is now home to the Museum of Ethnography, which focuses on the religious beliefs in Maltese culture. Restoration work is already complete on the tribunal room, the prison complex and the kitchen. The Palace also features a permanent exhibition about the impact of the Inquisition on Maltese society.
- The ‘Camera Secreta’ (tribunal room) where Caravaggio was called as a witness in the case against a Greek painter accused of bigamy.
- The peaceful garden at the centre of the palace.
- The dark and poignant prison cells bearing the original graffiti of their former occupants.
Main Gate Street, Vittoriosa, Malta. Tourist Information Office: Inquisitor’s Palace, Main Gate Street, Vittoriosa. Tel. No. +356 21800145.
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- Bus 2 from Valletta bus terminus to Vittoriosa.
- Mon - Sun from 9am to 5pm. Last admission 4.30pm. Closed on 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday.
- Tourist Information Office: Opening hours Mon-Sat from 9am to 5pm. Sun from 9am to 1pm. Closed on 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday.
- €6 adults, €4.50 concessions, €3 children.
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