Palazzo Giannin is representative of 18th century country houses at the edge of the old village of Ħal Għaxaq. Adjoining Palazzo Giannin is an older building, or farm house built in Maltese vernacular architecture. On the rear of the building is a large semi-formal garden with elevated pathways, one having a stone pergola, decorative and fruit trees, a circular pond, recreational areas and a small pigeon loft on the rear.
In the 17th to 19th centuries it was customary for wealthy persons to build their villas or small palazzos on the outskirts of the medieval village in order to have sufficient space for adjoining gardens.
Such gardens usually consisted of areas landscaped and used in different ways such as a formal garden with decorative trees, fountains, walkways and gazebos; fruit orchards; a kitchen garden or field for fresh produce and structures for rearing of poultry which supplied the household kitchen; and recreational areas, later used as tennis courts or in more recent times as swimming pools.
Villa Mekrech and its gardens, is a large 19th Century townhouse. This property is comprised of a ‘formal garden’ with symmetrical disposition located directly behind the townhouse, and grounds which were used as a vegetable garden amongst other purposes. A number of high dry rubble walls are extant within the gardens of Villa Mekrech and around its periphery. The large baroque garden of Villa Mekrech is laid out according to the traditional bi-partite division of formal and informal arrangements. The 'journet' along the path is enhanced by a number of statues of mythological figures, such as Leda. At the congruence of the formal and informal gardens there is an unusual, rustic belvedere formed in the shape of an artificial hillock accessible through a curved flight of stairs which leads to a small viewing platform on top.
During the 17th to the 19th centuries prosperous people considered it more important to have large open areas and gardens than having an overly large building, as living outdoors surrounded by nature was held high while at the same time they could maintain their privacy behind the high walls surrounding their estate.
In the Maltese Islands there are a few surviving examples of these garden palazzos such as the most noteworthy San Anton Palace at Attard, Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar and Villa Bologna in Balzan, Villa Barbaro in Tarxien, Palazzo Dorell in Gudja all scheduled as Grade 1 because of their high historic, architectural and contextual importance but also because of their high social associative value. Some of which have been already featured in out website!
Villa Mekrech and Palzzo Giannin, both in Għaxaq are two other examples recently scheduled as Grade 2 owing to their heritage values and importance.
MEPA HPU 7.12.2013