San-Anton gardens are considered to be the most famous piece of landscape art in Malta. Planted in the 18th century at the direction of Grand Master of the Maltese order Antoine de Paule as surroundings to his residence which is called San-Anton Palace nowadays the gardens attract visitors from all over the world.
During the first century of its existence, the garden was private and no tourists could visit it and only in 1882 it was opened to public. Almost every tree of the garden has its own history. For long periods of time the heads of different states had visited the garden for diplomatic purposes. And Master de Paule established a wonderful tradition that guest that had been to the garden should plant the tree in memory of his visit to the island. Nowadays almost every tree has a plaque indicating the date of its planting and the name of the person who did it.
San-Anton gardens are the real gem in terms of botany – numerous rare species from all over the world grow here: rosewood, Norfolk pines, bougainvilleas, rare species of roses, orchids etc. Some trees are more than 300 years old! Not only the plants attract the visitors: many birds, such as swans, ducks, peacocks and some other exotic species can be seen in the gardens.
The garden decoration is characterized by formality and elegant modesty: antique urns, sculptures, fountains and ponds please the eye, relax and contribute to a pleasant pastime contemplating the beauty of nature.
Nowadays the Annual horticultural exhibition is being held in San-Anton garden. In summer time, the theatrical stage is located at the central site and dramatic performances are being played in the open air – all this can`t leave the tourists indifferent.