The grand hall situated on the later added first floor of the Verdala Palace, is embellished with wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. Amongst the scenes feature grand projects which Grand Master Vilhena accomplished over the years including Fort Manoel, which was so much at the grand master’s heart, Casa Leoni in St Venera and also the Vilhena Palace built at Mdina.
The room is further embellished with the use of alternating twin and single pilasters used along its walls. Each doorway features the anagram of the grand master’s initials ‘MV’ superimposed onto each other.
Interesting to note is that for some years after the surrender of the French in 1800, the palace was used as a prison for the French soldiers. Mementos of this period are a couple of chessboards and a ‘solitaire’ game etched in the floors of this hall. These were probably done by the prisoners in order to entertain themselves with these popular games.
Author: Melanie Farrugia