Places of Interest

Granmaster Pinto’s Lodge
Pinto's Lodge is situated in the square near the St. Sebastian parish church in Ħal Qormi, where according to tradition the Grand Master Fra Manuel Pinto de Fonseca used to shade himself during horse racing. The lodge, (Tribuna ta’ Pinto) was built in 1772, when Pinto celebrated his 31st year as Grandmaster of the Order of St. John. This lodge is made up of four columns which are roofed, and on it there is Pinto’s coat of arms and the inscription in latin stating: ‘Celebrating 31 years as Grandmaster’. This lodge formed part of a greater building which housed the stables of the knights. This building was demolished and the adjacent square was rehabilitated and named ‘Il-Kortil ta-GranMastru’ The Grandmaster Square. Every year on the 25th of May, Ħal Qormi Day, the Council organises a music-literary evening, with this lodge as background. This lodge was restoed in 2002 and it has become the symbol, or landmark of Ħal Qormi.
The Ħal Qormi Windmill
The Maltese Windmill is in structure and layout similar to that of the Balearic Islands. This association is not surprising, as it was the Majorcan Grandmaster Cottoner who encouraged their construction. The windmill consists of a central tower around which a number of rooms form the rectangular base of the windmill itself. These rooms served as the storage area and the living quarters of the family operating the windmill. The grinding apparatus lies in the upper part of the circular tower.
The windmill at Ħal Qormi has been out of use for a number of years and can still be located near the Mrieħel bypass. A similar windmill, found at Tax-Xarolla in Zurrieq, has been restored.
Stagno Palace
Stagno Palace (Palazzo Stagno) was built in 1589 but not much is known about the family that lived here. The Stagno family came from Messina in nearby Sicily, and judging by the size of the palace, must have been fairly wealthy. During the period that it was built, Malta belonged to the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who came here in 1530 and stayed for over 200 years. In fact, it is said that the palazzo was the country residence of one of the Knights who was next in line to succeed the Grand Master. A plaque outside the palazzo was erected by Ħal Qormi (Citta' Pinto) local council testifying to its status as one of the oldest houses in the area. The palazzo is an imposing building. Its large, airy rooms surround a huge internal courtyard on the ground floor which allows access to terraces overlooking an orchard. Upstairs, the palazzo has a chapel and birth room and even a spiral staircase leading up to a turret affording distant views of Mdina and Valletta.
In his book “The Building of Malta during the period of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem 1530-1795”, Quentin Hughes says that “the carvings on the facades of the Stagno palace are most original and interesting. The triple rolls of the Melitan mouldings are even fatter and more bulbous than usual, but they are strangely combined with delicately carved leaf decoration on the consoles which support the window pediments. These consoles rest upon grotesque heads and tall narrow panelled pilasters which lie against the architrave of the windows. The frieze is richly carved with a flat strap decoration and all the mouldings are unorthodox by any but Maltese standards. The carving of these friezes is more reminiscent of Spanish colonial work from Peru or Mexico than anything usually associated with Malta. The heads have an untamed appearance strangely disquieting.”
Apart from these strange carvings, the palazzo boasts several other intriguing architectural puzzles and wonders. The windows and doorways are haphazardly placed just as they occur with no attempt at symmetry and none of the 167 apertures are the same size. The garden was dug out of the bedrock and the quarried stones were used to build the palazzo as well as, it is said, the nearby church of St. George. The garden is served by 3 wells, amongst which is one of the largest dome-shaped wells on the island. Various legends surround this mysterious palazzo. One of the most well known is the story of how the church of St. George came to be built in its present location, instead of the village centre.
Stanislaw Gatt - The Mayor’s House
In the end of the eighteenth century a system of local administration was set up. In 1773 the Grand Master Ximenes de Texada listed the duties of the Mayor, the Jurors and the Kattapani in each of the nine districts in Malta and Gozo. The Kattapan was an official responsible for the public’s health who was vigilant for abuses in the inns. Ħal Qormi formed the first district, together with Luqa. The Mayor and the Jurors were responsible for public order, tax on shops, and had to make sure that whoever could work would not lazy around. The Mayor was authorised to hear cases which amounted tofive skudi (one skud = 20 pence). The sentences of the Ħal Qormi Mayor could be appealed in Imdina’s ‘Kapitanali’ Court.
List of Mayors of the eighteenth century:
1773-1775 Gio.Batta Farrugia
1776 Emanuel Casha
1777-1780 Antonio Schembri
1781-1780 Stanislaw Gatt
1784-1791 Ħieronymus Camilleri
1792-1796 Ġużeppi Casha
1797-1798 Stanislaw Gatt
When in 1798 there was the uprising of the Maltese against the French, locals knew well their leaders, in fact Stanislaw Gatt lead the qormi people against the French and he represented them in the Maltese Congress.