Situated on the hill overlooking Kalkara Creek with views of Grand Harbour and Valletta, Villa Portelli is the most recent project taken on by Heritage Malta. Today comprising of 4 tumoli of land, the property boasts an impressive building surrounded by majestic gardens and sizable fields on either side. Villa Portelli contains the history of several historical figures who played a prominent role during the British colonisation of Malta. It was named after the property’s earliest known owner, Agostino Portelli, a prominent businessman and government official who acquired it sometime in the early 19th century. Villa Portelli saw Kalkara grow into a village with a bustling naval community before being acquired by the Royal Navy whereby it became the traditional home to a succession of Admirals.
Its last resident, Rear-Admiral Sir Oswald Nigel Cecil, vacated the villa in January 1979 and handed Villa Portelli over to the Maltese government as part of the military run-down programme which marked the end of 179 years of the Royal Navy’s presence in Malta and the beginning of a new era in Maltese history. Under the custodianship of Heritage Malta, Villa Portelli will be restored and opened as a visitor centre dedicated to Malta’s maritime culture and colonial history whilst its gardens will be made accessible to the public.