The fortress of Selmun was wanted by the Mount of Redemption of the Slaves to finance the ransom of Christians enslaved by Ottomans or Barbary pirates. It was built in 1783, contained a coast guard post and was part of a large plot that also included the Porta di Mistra, the gate to access San Paolo. The land was donated to the Monte di Redenzione by the noblewoman Caterina Vitale to her death in 1619. The palace was used by the knights of the Order of San Giovanni as a place to relax and hunt wild rabbits. This stronghold, designed to withstand sieges, is a shining example of Baroque architecture.
It has a square plan, whose design was inspired by the Verdala Palace and the Wignacourt towers.
The main facade has three entrances and the main door is surrounded by a decorative portal, while a balcony surrounds the perimeter of the entire building. The castle was transformed into a reception building and the particular things worthy of note are the chapel dedicated to the Madonna della Mercede and two rusted armor at the entrance. Adjacent to the fort was a hotel built by an Air Malta sub company.
A moment of hesitation, and then inside. It had changed quite a bit since my visit a few months before and the attempts to restore the structure were visible. Hoping not to meet anyone we head towards the outdoor pool. Here we meet two tilers who were arranging the uneven floor. We head safely towards them: “Bongiu” (Good morning in Maltese). They respond in a whisper, decidedly uninterested.
Confident, let’s continue and get to the window. Nothing had changed, so I opened it again easily and entered the castle. Quick patrol, during which we open the main door, so as to have the excuse ready in the event of a chance encounter with the guardian, who obviously will blame the masons.
After twenty minutes we hear a noise and I immediately understand that it is the caretaker and his usual patrol. Fortunately, I already knew that it would come from a secondary side door, we immediately slip out of the main door. He becomes aware of us, follows us, looks at us, looks at the wide-open door, we smile at him. I ask him when he opens the museum, he looks at us again, looks at the door, Coppari smiles mockingly, I pretend to photograph the view, he tells us something in Maltese, he goes back inside. The time of a blink of an eye and we were already in the car. Surely he must have thought that the door was opened by the masons involved in the internal work. Everything according to plan.
Currently, through a friend, I learned that both the hotel and the castle have been rearranged to the least worst and rented by a Danish production that is shooting us a new reality show.
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