Villa Bologna

25 Feb

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Villa Bologna is a working estate and garden in Attard, a village near Naxxar. This baroque villa was once the seat of the Counts della Categna. Today the sixth great grandson of the last count inherited the house, soon to be open to the public. The day we were there, we were the only ones roaming the extensive gardens of the estate. This gave us a special chance to enjoy the spring gardens in solitude.

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Though the villa is listed as a Baroque style residence, it is a restrained form of that style. The facade and interiors show little of the ostentatious furbelows of the period. However, the garden is another story.

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There are two nympheums among the gardens. A nympheum is a Greek or Roman shrine dedicated to water nymphs with a fountain incorporated in the design.

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Whether it is a chubby cherub caressing a swan or a goddess drinking from a shell, the theme is flowing water in many guises.

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While wandering in the garden we struck up a fortuitous conversation with Vincent, a gardener for the estate. Vincent generously gave us a tour of the closed house. We saw fully decorated rooms as well as those under renovation, one a library with leather wall coverings to be restored, another a fully decorated regency style entrance hall.

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Vincent also took us down, down, down to the World War II bomb shelter that runs under the house. You could feel what it must have been like to thread your way down the dark and narrow steps to the tiny warren of concrete rooms where families huddled waiting for the “all clear” during the German bombings of Malta.

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It was “Banksy,” the beautiful and funny full-time resident of Villa Bologna who introduced us to Vincent. Bansky started following us and began playing with the big, dry palms that littered the ground, snuffling and flipping them for fun. Any object on the ground was fair game for Banksy’s quizzical inspection.

In honor of Banksy

We found this plaque when we exited the Villa and the Garden. A little joke I am sure as Banksy was one of the friendliest dogs I have had the privilege to meet. Talking with Vincent and playing with Banksy made our day at Villa Bologna.

2 Responses to “Villa Bologna”

  1. Martha Farnsworth February 25, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    Wonderful photos, echoing sights Penelope and I saw this week in Rome. Bickley and her partner joined us at the Vatican yesterday afternoon, and later, Pen, Tom, and I met Cherie and Rick for dinner. Their Viking cruise will dock in Valletta for a few hours next week. I tried to talk them into seeing the two Caravaggios that are there. Please see them for me! Marty

    • Jill February 25, 2017 at 9:35 am #

      Saw both of them. You must come to Valletta and see “The Beheading of John the Baptist.” It is spellbinding. This is the only one of his paintings he signed. Also interesting as this only composition contained within the frame. St. Jerome hangs opposite in a separate room within the Cathedral. For someone who loves Caravaggio this is a must see. Next time you are in Sicily? How great you all met in Rome!

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