Malta – South Eastern Region – Valletta – Palace Armoury

The Palace Armoury is part of the huge collection of armour that the Knights of the Order of St. John once possessed. Unfortunately chunks of it were stolen by Napoleon’s troops during the Napoleonic Wars and the storage area has moved to two former stable blocks, but solely because the original room upstairs was taken over by the Parliament of Malta.

Collection of cannons.

There were a lot of the various pointy weapon things attached along the walls. I can quite imagine an invasion requiring the Knights to come into a warehouse like this full of weapons and armour, taking what was appropriate. This is incidentally one of the largest collections of weapons in the world which is still located in the original building.

It’s thought that this suit of armour was designed for the Grand Commander Jean Jacques de Verdelain, who lived from 1595 until 1678 and he was the nephew of Grand Master Hugues Loubens de Verdalle. I suspect there’s an element of guess work here, but it makes the armour feel more relevant when there’s a connection to a particular person.

Some of the wax figures were quite realistic…..

These are morions, or open helmets, which were used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The collection, even in its depleted state, is still extensive in size. Originally the collection of weapons and armour would have been sufficient to arm thousands of soldiers.

A decorative shield.

Chain mail which was worn under the armour and which looks heavy and clunky.

There was a free audio guide available but the staff member forgot to tell me that, and it only became apparent when I reached the state rooms which are in the same building. Not that it really mattered, I’m not that engaged with audio guides and there was plenty of descriptive information on the panels. There are a few negative reviews about this audio guide process and it is a bit clunky.

Overall, it’s an interesting enough museum although weaponry doesn’t overly thrill me and I tend to glaze over displays of guns and armour. However, it was clearly laid out and the highlight was seeing the armour which they had tried to associate with particular military leaders and Grand Masters from the period. The new location of the former stable block is a bit run down though, and perhaps a little bit of modernisation might be useful to the whole arrangements.