Taking pride of place at Valletta’s highest point, the Auberge de Castille sits at the top of the bastions overlooking Floriana and the Grand Harbour. It’s a splending building, majestic and dignified, and like many of the older buildings in the city, it bears the fingerprints of the knightly order that once called Malta its home.
The original building was built to house the knights from the language of Castile, Leon and Portugal in around 1574. Then, in the 1740s, Grand Master, Manuel Pinto da Fonseca decided the Order needed something a little more flamboyant, and had the building dismantled and rebuilt in the Spanish Baroque style.
Because Pinto paid for the majority of the redesign, his coat of arms features quite prominently throughout the building. However, there are nods to its original purpose, with the coats of arms of the Language of Spain and Portugal carved into the building’s facade.
Auberge de Castille today
Since 1972, the Auberge de Castille has served as the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, and administrative headquarters of the Maltese government.
If you’re a fan of art and culture, then just across the square from the Auberge is Spazju Kreattiv, housed in the 16th century St James Cavalier. You can hop from there to the Currency Museum at the Central Bank of Malta, or take in the splendid views of the harbour from the Upper Barrakka gardens.
If you’re looking for a sit down and a nibble, there are several small eateries nearby. Cafe Castille on the corner of Castille Square, is something of an institution, and the ideal spot for a coffee and a bit of people watching.