Extensive restoration work is currently underway on the façade of one of the most important buildings in Valletta – the Auberge d’Italie in Merchant Street.
The work is expected to be concluded in the coming weeks with the aim that instead of the offices of the Tourism Authority, the auberge will host the new arts museum.
A good part of the Auberge d’Italie in Valletta was destroyed during a war air attack in April 1942. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the façade was restored and was rarely given maintenance as in time its colour blackened and various artistic details were lost, as explained by Architect Veronica Bonello from Heritage Malta which is conducting the Auberge restoration.
“As we cleaned the dirt on the façade, more important details were uncovered. We saw things that we did not expect on the statuary up here, which one expects to see in St John’s Co-Cathedral, but the details and work finish one does not expect to find it in this façade”, Architect Bonello said.
Apart from the façade restoration, interior interventions are being done including in the corridors on the central yard that are shedding more light on the 16th Century building, which from a residence of an Italian knight of St John’s Order it will now be turned into the new arts museum.
Heritage Malta’s Sandro Debono said, “We started the voyage to turn the Auberge d’Italie into the ‘Muża’, the National Museum of Arts. The facade work is in an advanced stage and we will continue working on other parts of the Auberge”.
Muża, considered as one of the main projects for Valletta 2018 as the European Capital of Culture, will offer interactive and a different experience in which the public will be invited to participate in exhibitions, while the museum will provide tools for communication and the spreading of ideas.