Verdala Palace

Hunting was one of the Knights’ favourite hobbies. When the Knights arrived in Malta in 1530 there was practically nowhere for them to practice this sport. They therefore decided to reserve areas where they could hunt. One of these areas was on the peninsula which is today known as Senglea. The first church which was built in Senglea was dedicated to Saint Julian who is the patron saint of hunters. However, over time this peninsula was developed into a city by Grand Master de La Sengle. Grand Master La Valette also enjoyed hunting which is why he built a hunting lodge where today we find Verdala Palace and planted trees in the area called Boschetto. It is said that it was here that Grand Master La Valette got a sunstroke which led to his untimely death. In 1586 Grand Master de Verdalle acquired the land from the Bishop on which he built a palace to use as his summer residence. The Grand Master continued to plant trees and extended Boschetto. Animals such as foxes and deer where imported into Malta and left to roam the forest so that the Grand Master and his friends could hunt them. If any Maltese were caught hunting in Boschetto they would suffer harsh fines and thus no one dared break the law.