The government seat of the Sovereign Order of Malta
Situated in the heart of Rome’s historical centre, on Via dei Condotti, the Magistral Palace has been the residence of the Grand Master and seat of the Sovereign Order of Malta’s government since 1834. The beating heart of a global institution, the Order’s diplomatic, religious, humanitarian and administrative undertakings are overseen at this central hub, which is granted extraterritorial rights by the Italian Republic.
The Magistral Palace was left to the Order of Malta in 1629 by its representative in Rome, Fra’ Antonio Bosio, a scholar widely considered to be the founder of Christian archaeology. At first, the Palace served as the seat of the Order of Malta’s ambassador to the Papal States. Two centuries later it became the Grand Master’s residence and government seat, when the Order arrived in Rome in 1834.
An operational centre
Two flags of the Order of Malta fly at the entrance of Via dei Condotti. One is the flag of St John – the State flag – and the other is the flag of the Order’s hospitaller works. The personal flag of the Grand Master is raised when he is in residence. Heads of state, ambassadors and senior members of the Order’s worldwide entities are received at the Palace, where its governing bodies also meet. Every morning mass is said at the chapel, which is dedicated to the Order’s patron St John the Baptist. The Magistral Library and Archives is the cultural point of reference on the Order of Malta and is housed in the Palace. Following the tradition of the Order to establish a hospital wherever it settled, a day-care centre operates on the ground floor. The Magistral Mint and Post Office is also located here: correspondence bearing the Order of Malta’s stamps can be sent to any of the 57 countries with which postal agreements have been signed. A newly-opened Visitors Centre provides curious passers-by with an opportunity to learn more about the Order of Malta. The Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Hospitaller, Finance and Communications departments of the Order’s government are based in the Palace.