There’s so much to look out for as you explore the exterior of the Villa. Here’s our quick pick of favourites:
The Front Façade
This main façade of Villa Bologna is very well-executed, well-proportioned and boasts beautiful carvings. Some of the features here are unique to the Maltese Baroque period but most are similar to what was being built in Sicily or Italy at that time.
The Front Balcony
This type of baroque balcony is unique to Malta, and similar stonework is seen at Selmun Palace in Mellieha. We don’t actually know who was behind the commissioning of the Villa, but it might have had the same architect as that palace.
The Side Façade
This façade is still baroque in style but much less ornate, in fact it can feel a little disjointed from the one facing front, adding to its character. To this day we are unaware why they are so different – especially as the second floor is different to the first too. It is likely that this shows the shift from one fashion to another when neoclassical styles were fast replacing the baroque.
You can see that some of the ground-floor windows are baroque in style, while those at the top are more neoclassical. All of them are painted in light blue, and the story goes that Cecilia De Trafford looked at the summer sky and wanted them to be painted a similar colour!
These stone lions have gone on quite a journey! Back in the 50s, during a party at the house, they disappeared, only to arrive back in a crate a year or so later. It seems that one of the guests took a shine to them and decided to take them with him as he travelled the globe. In Hong Kong they were spotted by a friend of the family who demanded they be sent back – and they were; they even returned with a little note detailing their adventures. Both lions are now firmly cemented to the ground!
The Back Façade
Overlooking the sprawling garden and the Dolphin Pond, the back façade was extended in the 1920s. Lady Strickland, the lady of the house at the time, decided she wanted more space for entertaining; the project means this part or the Villa is distinctly 1920s in style. Interestingly, the stained glass windows that were put in during the extension were damaged when a bomb fell during WWII. They were repaired in Florence after the war and refitted, and now brightly showcase the coats of arms of both the Strickland and Bologna families.