Maltese Language Academy concerned about plans to redevelop historically significant Villa Frere
The Maltese Language Academy notes with disappointment the pending proposal for two villas in Pietà to be developed into homes for the elderly.
“It is so disappointing to see that buildings with historical links to our language are being used for speculation and for wealth generation,” the Academy said in a press release issued this afternoon.
It went on to explain that Mikiel Anton Vassalli – an instrumental figure for his contribution to the Maltese language through his publication of the first Maltese-Italian dictionary as well as multiple grammar books – received assistance from John Hookham Frere who was President of the University Council.
Through Frere’s help, Anton Vassalli became the first Professor of Maltese at the University of Malta.
Furthermore, Villa Frere not only has architectural value but it also has linguistic and literary value after it became known that Frere met foreign public figures such as Sir Walter Scott, Gabriele Rossetti and John Davy.
Well-known Maltese figures also met with Frere, such as Luigi Rigord, Serafino Marmara, Saver Caruana, Vincent Borg Brared and Giorgio Grognet.
Many academics consulted with Frere inside the historical villa, most famously Mikiel Anton Vassalli. The pair certainly walked through the gardens at Villa Frere while formulating the road ahead for the Maltese language.