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About Us

Refined, Elegant, Distinguished

 

I am proud to be the Butler of Rosselli – AX Privilege, the first 5 star luxury hotel in Valletta. It has brought together the superb hotel services of the AX Privilege and the skilled construction and architectural work of the AX Group to rejuvenate a palatial residence in this gem of a walled Capital city. Once the residence of a well-established goldsmith and philanthropist, the Rosselli house is a clear example of living history.

 

Built in the first decades of the 1600’s Casa Rosselli-Massa is a clear example of a transitional building, incorporating the classical lines of Renaissance architecture and the more florid early Baroque styles. Should you wish it, I would be happy to show you how the house has been respectfully restored to bring out the elegance, sophistication and good taste which its original architects strove to pass on. Without reneging on comfort in any way, Rosselli will take you back in to a time less complex but infinitely more distinguished.

 

We at Rosselli do not skimp on the hotel’s services and facilities. As soon as you step inside the hotel, you become Pietro Rosselli or Alusietta Massa, you become the master and mistress of the house. Rosselli – AX Privilege is luxury service at its finest and I am here at your service.

Our History

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We all love a good story, especially if it is true. I dug up this information, researched in the archives of the Knights of St John, a few steps away from this palazzo. Let me tell you about this family.

 

Pietro Rosselli was born in Valletta on the 23rd February in 1607. He married Alusietta Massa (1613-1682) who was the daughter of the Master of Mint, Mastro Antonio Massa. I have it on good authority that, unusually for that time, this was a love match. The couple, who celebrated their vows in St. Francis Church, Valletta on the 29th April 1634, had a son whose name was Maruzzo and lived at Casa Rosselli-Massa, at 167, Merchants Street, Valletta, a palace in all but name. Today, this beautiful building has been renovated to impeccable standards as the 5-star boutique hotel, Rosselli – AX Privilege.

 

A goldsmith of high standing and a contemporary of the Fontainbleu School, Pietro Rosselli’s portrait shows a confident gentleman, proud of his association to the Order of St. John. In his portrait, he is seen wearing the Mezza Croce (Half-cross) badge. This badge was a result of the Order honouring him by making him a Donat, a distinction awarded to few, and rarely to Maltese.

 

Additionally, both Grand Masters Jean Paul Lascaris Castellar and Martin de Redin appointed him Jurat of the Valletta and Harbour Cities Università in the decade between 1649-59. This was an extremely prestigious and influential position, given only to those considered to be the leaders of society.

 

All my research shows that Pietro and Alusietta enjoyed huge respect amongst many. They were renowned philanthropists and it is said that they have paid for the building and decoration of the Oratory of the Goldsmiths’, that of St. Helen, and for the embellishment of the Confraternity’s Chapel in St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church in Valletta. They also endowed the chapel of San Pietro ad Vinculis in the Jesuits’ Church in Merchants Street, just across the hotel, giving it damask wall coverings, silver lamps and oil paintings by Mattia Preti, then the court painter to the Grand Masters. The couple’s ability to commission Mattia Preti to work for them, further indicates the wealth and standing of the family.

 

Massa and Rosselli’s portraits may be found in a chapel of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Charity and dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Siggiewi. The word “Founder” is inscribed beneath their names in this chapel.

 

Pietro Rosselli passed away in April 1676, possibly as an early victim of a terrible plague in Malta during that year. Alusietta joined him in August 1682.

 

Their will is yet another testament of both the wealth and refinement of this family. It included very rare items such as ivory and ebony devotional crosses, bed drapery and armchairs covered in damask, golden rings with diamonds, copper walking sticks, sugar bowls made from tortoise shells, frames made from walnut, amber and solid gold rosary beads, porcelain coffee cups and sottocoppe (saucers) and flatware made from silver.

 

Today, the couple lie in their chapel in the Jesuits’ Church in Merchants Street. The tombstone bears an inscription that highlights how Pietro Rosselli wanted to distinguish the worthiness of his soul from the money he held. It is also adorned with Rosselli’s crest which includes the distinctive Mezza Croce and three herons.

 

The herons, the initials of the couple, P.R and A.M and the badge of the Arcikonfraternita tal-Karità have been restored and may still be found today on the facade of the hotel.

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