The auberges were buildings belonging to each of the seven divisions of the Knights of the Order of St John. They date from the late 1500s.
The stately Baroque style Auberge de Castile et Leon is the residence of the Prime Minister of Malta.
General Post Office
Opposite the Palazzo Parisio is the Auberge d'Italie, built by Gerolamo Cassar in 1574 and altered at the end of the 17th C. in the time of Grand Master, Gregorio Carafa (1680-90), whose coat of arms appears above the doorway.The duty of the Italian knights was to defend the immediate bastions of St Peter and St Paul; the post of admiral of the fleet was traditionally the sinecure of their pilier. The Cassar designed this auberge as a single-story edifice and it displays a typical example of his one major architectural hallmark, the use of massive and rusticated quoins - the eternal corners of walls. The Italian Grand Master Cerafa added a top floor in 1683, as well as an ornate relief above the main door. The relief is a bust, which includes trumpets, Roman armor, flags, escutcheons, weapons, and ornamental drapes.The building once housed the law courts and a museum.
Church of St Catherine
Adjoining the Auberge d'Italie is the Church of St Catherine, originally the church of the Italian Knights and now a parish church, with its south side flanking Victory Square. On the other side of the square is the Church of Our Lady of Victories. Here the foundation-stone of Valletta was laid in 1566.Cassar designed this church for the Italian knights. The facade and porch were added in 1713 and the octagonal church is still used today by the Italian community. The main altarpiece of the Martyrdom of St Catherine is one of Mattia Preti's favorite subjects.
Facing the cathedral is the Auberge d'Aragon, now occupied by the Ministry of Education and Culture. This is the oldest of the seven auberges built by Gerolamo Cassar, and one of only two (the other being the Auberge de Provence) which have survived in their original condition.Externally plain, it contains fine Renaissance rooms.The "fat" moldings around each of the three windows are typical, as are Cassar's chunky quoins. Through the 19th century portico the intercommunicating rooms encircle a peristyle courtyard.
lmmediately adjoining the Auberge d'Aragon, in Archbishop Street, is the Archbishop's Palace, an imposing edifice of 1624.This building was designed in 1622 by Tommaso Dingli and is still used by the church. The second story was added in the 1950s.
Auberge de Provence
The Auberge de Provence on Republic Street was the third of the French auberges and was designed by Cassar in 1571. The size of the building is deceptive, subtly hidden in the decoration of the facade; it actually spans from the heavy rusticated quoins, through four shops on either side of the portico, beneath the alternating triangular and segmental pediments.From the mid-1820s to 1954 the auberge housed the Union Club of the British armed forces.
Auberge de Bavière
Opposite the Jews' Sally Port in Valletta is the Auberge de Bavière (1696), originally built as a private palace, which from 1784 was used for the accommodation of Bavarian and English knights.From here the English Curtain can be followed east to St Nicholas Street, which runs into Republic Street. Turning right along this, we return by way of Palace Square and Queen's Square to Great Siege Square.
Auberge de Bavaria
This auberge was built in 1629 as a private house, the Palazzo Carnerio, and subsequently purchased for the newly instituted Anglo-Bavarian langue in 1784. It has been an army officers' mess, a school and it is now the government housing ministry.
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