18-century villa in Żejtun given Grade 2 protection status

An 18th-century villa owned by the Testaferrata Bonici family, in an area known as Ta’ Tavlin, in Żejtun has been given a Grade 2 protection status the Planning Authority announced.

The PA said that the scheduling of this building was carried out in close collaboration with the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage and covers not only the residence but also the formal garden, a number of rural structures, a forecourt and an extensive buffer zone. 

The ‘estate’ which is being scheduled for its historical, architectural and social significance was used as a place where the Testaferrata Bonici family retreated to for some rest.

With this property now scheduled as a Grade 2 building the extension of Triq John Borg through the villa’s garden area, in accordance with the official alignment shall not be permitted.

Within the designated buffer zone, any proposed development cannot exceed the maximum building height of 12.3metres.

The Planning Authority explained that although the main doorway is devoid of any decorations apart from a relatively large family coat-of-arms,  the estate has some unique characteristics especially in the formal garden which is unattached to the residence. The garden has an ornate neoclassical entrance gate which lies in-line with the formal walkway leading to the nymphaeum located at the other end of the garden. This formed part of the main axis that continues towards the main doorway of the villa. A forecourt separates the villa from the garden. The residence has a central courtyard with a traditional balustraded parapet wall and a baroque well.

Both the Testaferrata and Bonici families had strong ties with the history of Żejtun.  So much so that the Bonici family had donated the land on which today stands the Parish Church of Zejtun dedicated to Saint Catherine.