The President’s Message


The fourth Ball of the August Moon to be held under my Presidency is this year coming back in full swing. I am pleased to note that the annual Ball’s organising committee, vigorously led by the Chairperson Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata, has once more been working intensely to ensure a magical atmosphere and an enchanting experience under the stars.


My wife, Miriam, and I look forward to hosting you on 5th August 2023 at the Verdala Palace. We invite you to share with us a memorable evening of culinary excellence and joyous entertainment. Our collective goal is that of helping the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation to be of tangible assistance to those among us who are most in need.

Message from the Chairperson, Organising Committee


The local entertainment scene has developed impressively over the past decade or two. The quality of the product we are offered has improved dramatically, with our islands providing a good number of deluxe events meeting international criteria.


Yet in this commendable drive to modernise everything we do, some things stand out for the classical themes they preserve. A wonderful marriage of the old and the new, giving us concepts that have stood the test of time, brilliantly blended to today’s standards.


The Ball of the August Moon is one such gem. Presented to us in the magnificent setting of Verdala, surrounded by the verdant trees of the magical Buskett, which remains cool even in the height of summer, accompanied by deliciously contemporary food and wines, all to the beat of popular tunes that straddle the ages.


We look forward to welcoming you to the 2023 edition of the Ball of the August Moon, in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.

The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation


The Malta Community Chest Fund’s aim is to improve the quality of life and care of individuals and society in general, without any form of discrimination by providing financial, material and professional support to people experiencing difficulties because of severe chronic illness, including cancer. The Foundation also supports persons with disability and social issues.


Verdala Palace

Verdala Palace is the summer residence of the President of the Republic of Malta. The Palace was built in 1586 by Grand Master Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle (1582- 1595) to serve the purpose of countryside retreat. Plans were drawn by Maltese architect Gerolamo Cassar (1520- c. 1592) inspired and informed by French castle-like palaces of the time. Verdalle’s legacy still survives in the choice of name for this Palace – Verdala. The square-shaped palace built by Grand Master Verdalle was originally a two-storey structure with the ground floor accessible from a dry ditch partly hewn out of the rock surrounding the building. Four towers, one at each corner, give the Palace the looks of a fortress also informed by French architectural treatises of the time. The third floor was added later, during the magistracy of Grand Master António Manuel de Vilhena (1722-1736) who also built the attendants’ quarters, stables and coach-houses forming the perimeter of the main grounds in front of the Palace.


Visitors to the place during the times of the Order of St John describe it as covered with silks and precious furnishings. Indeed, the place was rightly acknowledged as a work of art in itself, built to provide an enjoyable and relaxing experience to its visitors and residents. An inscription right above the entrance to the main hall reads cedant curae loco – a literal invitation to the visitor urging him to surrender himself to the care of the place.


In the eighteenth century, Verdala Palace seems to have fallen in disrepair and was subsequently used as a prison during the French period. British Governor Sir Frederick Ponsonby (1827-1836) and, later, Governor Sir William Reid (1851-1858) undertook restoration works to use Verdala Palace, yet again, as a country residence. The Palace became one of three sites assigned to the Office of the President when Malta became a Republic in 1974.


Verdala Palace also features works of art of great artistic relevance. Suffice to mention the decorative scheme of the main hall which is the work of Verdalle’s very own court painter, the Tuscan painter Filippo Paladini (1544-1614). Episodes from the life of Grand Master Verdalle are depicted at each end of the barrel-vaulted hall with allegories featured on either side of each
ceiling bay. The Palace complex also includes a chapel dedicated to St Anthony the Abbot extensively patronised by Grand Master Nicolás Cotoner (1663-1680). The titular painting of the chapel is by the Italian artist Mattia Preti, and dates to the early years of his permanent relocation to Malta in the 1660s when the artist was painting the vault paintings of St John’s Co-Cathedral, then the Conventual Church of the Order of St John.


Verdala Palace has been a residence to Grand Masters and British Governors. It hosted royalty and visiting dignitaries throughout its history and welcomed presidents and heads of state as guests of successive Presidents of the Republic.

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