The Pianonobile

Casa Bernard

Just outside the walls of Mdina, lies the sprawling town of Rabat, which once formed part of the Roman capital of Malta. Famous for its grotto dedicated to the Apostle Paul, and also for its maze of labyrinthine catacombs, Rabat now boasts a new addition to its wealth of cultural heritage. The latest jewel in the crown is the newly-restored Casa Bernard, mid-way between Ta' Ġieżu Church and St. Paul's Church, adjoining the Grotto.

Walk down any Maltese street in the town core, with its sheer limestone walls, studded doors and wooden  'gallarijas’, and you will get few clues to what lies on the other side of these crumbling facades. Casa Bernard is a perfect example as its sober and imposing facade in the Mannerist 16th century architectural idiom reminiscent of Gerolamo Cassar betrays nothing of the calm, classic beauty that lies within.

This Palazzino was recently restored to its pristine splendour by Georges and Josette Magri, both teachers by profession, who have made it their home and dedicated their retirement to recreating the interior of this wonderful townhouse. Thus it is not a museum but enjoys the warmth and dedication of a lived-in place, combining beautiful architectural features with a rich historical evolution.

Guided tours take the visitors through the characteristic barrel-vaulted hall to the two sitting-rooms, veritable treasure-troves of antique and contemporary art and priceless antique furniture. The dining room boasts exceptional silver pieces and leads to the private chapel. The old Baroque stone staircase with its sculptured balustrade leads to the grand Piano Nobile drawing room, the library, the study and one bedroom, completely furnished as it would have been centuries ago, down to the last detail.

Visitors are given a full explanation of the important pieces of furniture, paintings by leading artists of the present and the past, silver, weaponry, engravings, curios and objets d'art in the collection. Visits end with a tour of the charming courtyard and walled garden typical of such houses. Step into the past and enjoy an enriching and stimulating experience of the Maltese aristocratic way of life through the ages.

Casa Bernard won an award from Europa Nostra in 2006 for its restoration in the Special Mention Category. "Its restoration is an exercise in restraint and good taste" and the house has been hailed as "one of Malta's hidden gems, full of the charm of bygone days".

Open daily except Sundays and Public Holidays, with tours on the hour, from 10.00 to 16.00hrs, however other tours may be arranged by appointment. Guided tours by either of the owners or a trained assistant.

Besides English, tours of the house can be conducted in Italian or French, however tours in languages other than English cannot be guaranteed unless booked beforehand.
 
 
 
Casa Bernard, 43-46 St. Paul Street, Rabat RBT 1247
Tel No. 21451888 / 99844343 / 79444373
Email : casabernard@onvol.net
Website : www.casabernard.eu



The Facade
The Facade
The Hall
The Hall
Courtyard with fountain
Courtyard with fountain
Detail of Silver Collection
Detail of Silver Collection
The Chapel
The Chapel