Stqarrija bil-Malti Agħfas Hawn / Press Release in Maltese Click Here

On Wednesday 29th June, at 19:45, the national broadcaster, TVM, will air a documentary about the history of Villa Frere and ongoing restoration works that will give a new lease of life to this 18th century property in Pietà.

Villa Frere: Mitejn sena, elf ġrajja is a Heritage Malta production and will also be featured on Heritage Malta’s Facebook page on Thursday 30th June at 19:30. The documentary is in Maltese, with English subtitles.

Villa Frere was the residence of British diplomat, poet, scholar and philanthropist John Hookham Frere. After his wife’s demise in 1831, he built extensive terraced gardens at the rear of the property, from where he enjoyed wide open views spanning from Mdina to Valletta. He could also look out at the Msida Bastion Cemetery, where his wife reposed.

Villa Frere became a sanctuary for numerous academics, most famously Mikiel Anton Vassalli who reportedly discussed with Frere how to establish Maltese as a written and taught language.

This romantic story and the beauty of Villa Frere’s gardens faded away with Frere’s death in 1846. The site fell into neglect until forty years later, when the villa became the residence of Captain Edward Price. A notable gardening enthusiast, he gave life back to the property, earning it the title of a botanical garden. The place became a prominent attraction, both to locals and foreigners.

Today, just over a third of the original area survives, yet the mystique is still there – largely thanks to the association Friends of Villa Frere, set up in June 2013 with the aim of saving what was left of the historic gardens and, where possible, restoring them to a semblance of what they might have looked like in the past.

In 2019 Heritage Malta became the official owner of Villa Frere and although it handed over the administration to Friends of Villa Frere, it is directly helping to protect the place.

Villa Frere will be open to the public on Sunday 3rd July, between 18:00 and 21:00. Entrance, against a €5 donation, will be through St Luke’s Hospital.

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