Casa Rocca PiccolaEdit profile
Casa Rocca Piccola is a palace in Malta, currently occupied by the de Piros, a noble Maltese family. It is situated in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. There are daily tours.
The history of Casa Rocca Piccola goes back over 400 years to an era in which the Knights of St John, having successfully fought off the invading Turks in 1565, decided to build a prestigious city to rival other European capitals such as Paris and Venice. Palaces were designed for prestige and aesthetic beauty in most of Valletta's streets, and bastion walls fortified the new sixteenth-century city.
Casa Rocca Piccola has had tenants since the 16th century, amongst which are a number of notable figures:
Monsignor Fra Gaspare Gori Mancini of Siena
He was bishop of Malta from 1722 to 1728, during the reign of Grand Master de Vilhena. He is buried in the Conventual Church of St. John (Malta), recently renamed St. John's Co-Cathedral. The tabernacle door and altar front with a medallion depicting the martyrdom of St. Catherine in the Chapel of Italy of the same Church were donated by him but later stolen by Napoleon.
Gio Francesco, 2nd Count Sant
Gio Francesco married Chiara Bonici Platamone Cassia, 7th Baroness of Ghariexem and Tabia. He purchased most of the property on the block, including the included Casa Rocca Grande (now split into two): Palazzo Messina and Palazzo Marina. He led the Maltese aristocracy in the burning of their patents of nobility during the French occupation.
Francesco Sant Cassia, 6th Count Sant
Francesco Sant Cassia was only 13 years old when he inherited from his father. He was commissioned in the King's Own Malta Regiment of Militia. He married Maria Manduca and then, on her demise, her sister Concettina, both daughters of the Count of Mont'Alto. He entertained King George V to lunch at his house at St Paul’s Bay. He was one of the first Maltese owner-drivers of a car and he even owned his own bus.
Commendatore Antonio Cassar-Torreggiani O.B.E.
He was founder of The National Bank of Malta. He commissioned the R.M.S. Knight of Malta which, until she was requisitioned for war service, was the principal passenger transport vessel to the Italian mainland.