Originally designed in 1733 by António Manoel de Vilhena, a Portuguese Grand Master of the Knights of St John, this enchanting palazzo changed hands in the 19th century and was given a decorative facelift by its aristocratic new Maltese owners – who still live there today. Today the estate is open daily for tours of the lavish public rooms and the glorious formal walled gardens, landscaped in Italianate style with box hedges and fountains. In summer the Orangery is awash with the soft smell of citrus from the orange and lemons planted there.
The interior of the palazzo is amazingly ornate with gilded ceilings and walls covered in paintings, huge dripping chandeliers, marble, stucco work, and elegant period furniture; a tour includes the stately ballroom, the Scicluna family’s private chapel, bedrooms with four-poster beds, and the vast banqueting hall.
Palazzo Parisio has a series of dining options, including an upmarket café and cocktail bar plus a sophisticated gourmet restaurant open in the evening.
Palazzo Parisio is in Naxxar, about a 20-minute drive north of Valletta and also on several bus routes including 31, 35, 36, 37, and 43 from Valletta bus terminus.
The palace and gardens are open daily; multi-language audio guides are available and guided tours for groups and individuals can be arranged in advance; they take place in the morning and last 60 minutes.