Pool: Private, Heated
Year of Construction: 2005
Year of Renovation: 2021
Down a quiet lane on the edge of Gharb, celebrated for being one of the most unspoilt villages on the island, yet just a few hundred metres from the church, this exceptional villa benefits from astonishing views of the sea across spring-green countryside from all its main windows, terraces and sizeable gardens.
It’s a 180° panorama that includes both the San Dimitri Chapel standing strikingly alone in sweeping fields and the Ta Gordan lighthouse, an icon in white on one of the island’s tallest flat-topped hills, the Mediterranean stretching between the two.
In this immaculate house, although you’re only 300 metres from Gharb church, you are also, remarkably, deep in the countryside.
And not only does this house bring together the best of being in a village, with shops and restaurants in easy walking distance, with the feeling of rural tranquility on every side - it also incorporates the best elements of slick city-living into a charming, spacious and sleek villa. It’s an unparalleled combination!
Completely upgraded over the last few years to the highest specifications, incorporating underfloor heating, integrated wi-fi in every room, internal security fit for a pop-star, and other technological advances throughout, this house teams the latest contemporary grey and black with dark wood elements, the gentle sandy hues of traditional stone and white-washed walls, a designer’s dream.
The black metal touches are redolent of traditional Maltese ironwork, and with an additional flourish, there is even a black and grey take of Maltese tiles in several of the bathrooms.
Entering through the arched front door, bespoke iron and wood stairs lead you up to the first floor where you’ll find the main living space wrapped in the expansive views.
To one side, there’s a good-sized room – a bedroom, office or snug – currently used as a media space with films projected on the full width of the wall.
Ahead the sitting room opens up, a large airy space with a barely-used double-width wood-burner below limed beams, from which two huge arched doorways open onto both the sea views and a giant modern terrace which has plenty of space for outdoors dining, dancing and sunbathing.
Beyond and at right angles, so that it too opens onto the stunning glass-edged terrace, there’s a state of the art spacious kitchen with a huge island unit. Here one finds a serious cook’s dream including high-end built in oven, induction hob, microwave-grill, plate warmer, and also a built-in steamer. The kitchen is extremely well designed also with sliding matching doors to hide all those appliances when not in use, thus maintaining the minimalist look.
Glass doors on one side open straight onto the terrace; from the other class doors at the far end you can step down onto soft grass that leads down to the swimming pool. With sunshine or a gentle breeze coming in from both directions, and the ever present sea-view, with the doors open you can really have the feeling of being outdoors inside!
On the second floor, both the master bedroom suite and the adjacent bedroom, currently used as an office, enjoy the whole-scale view of the sea from their wide windows and large private terraces, and one of the bathrooms is of particular note because the walk-in shower also has a window with the same vista! The other two/three bedrooms are found on the lower-ground floor (along with three more bathrooms).
It’s a versatile series of spaces, that have been used in recent years as an office, games room and a gym, an annexe for a visiting family and it could equally be employed as staff quarters.
Tucked behind a generously-proportioned garage, there’s an incredible amount of storage space, both here, in the whole house, and particularly in the kitchen which has a big hidden pantry and is cunningly designed so that everything you might need is close at hand whilst the overall impression is entirely clutter-free.
Each of the three double-rooms on the lower ground floor opens out onto a modern Zen courtyard in the centre of which, remarkably, stands a large ancient olive tree surrounded by decking and rimmed with white stones. It's a very cool combination, and from here steps lead up to the swimming pool area and the garden beyond.
And here too this property surprises! Beyond the lush grass that surrounds the heated swimming pool, from which you can enjoy the sea views whilst in the water, there’s a large garden planted with a variety of indigenous plants including figs, pine trees, pomegranate, dwarf fan palms, Spanish broom, holm oak, citrus, lavender, rosemary, aloe vera, and others.
Amongst newer plantings you’ll also find more ancient olive trees, a secluded seating area ripe for a fire pit, a ring of large old boulders that put you in mind of ancient temples, and a gate into an optionally available and recently planted olive grove approximately a third of an acre (1200sqm) in size that stretches out towards the sea, once again bringing together the island’s timeless rural quality with thoughts for a twenty-first century future.
The property comes equipped with all the modern comforts of air-conditioning, ceiling fans in the bedrooms and lounges, and also efficient under-floor heating throughout the property.
The property also benefits from an air-source heat pump for hot water, and 21 Photo Voltaic (PV) panels, making the running of the house very efficient and green, as it is also double-glazed throughout.
State-of-the-art security and access controls and wireless internet points in every room. With 1Gb fibre to the home services, the property is also currently set up for redundant fail-over networking with multiple providers to ensure that whether you are a digital nomad, running your international business from home, or simply want to maximise your connectivity.
A unique property, in a desirable location and with a unique view.
Għarb is a particularly attractive and interesting village and one of Gozo’s oldest. Archaeological excavations have revealed the remains of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements (not visible today). The Phoenicians were here followed by the Romans and Byzantines. The name L-Għarb, though, is Arabic, suggesting the establishment of an organised community here during Arab domination between 870 and 1090 AD.
Għarb is a traditional village. Its character is distinctly rural and until very recently it was populated almost exclusively by people who worked the surrounding fields in this fertile area of Gozo. They retained an old Maltese dialect, with a rich vocabulary of old words and pronunciations long since discarded by the rest of the population. The people of l-Għarb are also renowned craftsmen mostly famous for the manufacture of the unique “l-Għarb blade”, a traditional sharp knife popularly known as the “Sikkina ta’ l-Għarb”. Even today, L-Għarb is home to blacksmiths, locksmiths, cotton weavers and lace makers, carpenters, and masters in cane-work. Gharb is also known for producing able fishermen, while Għarb shepherds produce the best Gozo Cheese on the Island.
This makes it a very appropriate place for the l-Għarb Folklore Museum, which occupies a historic house in the heart of the village. The 28 rooms contain all sorts of curiosities linked with traditional trades, crafts, and daily life. The building that houses the museum was once home to Frenc Mercieca (1892-1967), popularly known as Frenc ta’ l-L-Għarb, a saintly ‘wise man’ who cured many people with a mix of medicinal herbs and prayer to Our Lady. He left doctors perplexed by his successes and his reputation spread rapidly throughout the Maltese Islands and even abroad.
Also open to visitors is the former home of another saintly resident, Karmni Grima, the woman who heard the voice of Our Lady at Ta’ Pinu and began the devotions that have turned it into Malta’s most important shrine. Ta’Pinu, today a large and important church, lies on the edge of Għarb and is well worth a visit. So too is the hill opposite which has a steep but pleasant path leading to the top, adorned with white marble statues of the stations of the cross.
Also close to Gharb is the Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Village, where various handicrafts are made and sold. Visitors can watch craftspeople creating mouth-blown glass, Gozo lace, pottery, and filigree, and of course, purchase the results.
Historically, Gharb played an important role in safeguarding Malta. Gharb’s coastal lookouts were, for example, the first to signal the arrival from Sicily of reinforcements for the beleaguered Maltese under the Knights of St. John in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. During that time of constant threat from the Ottoman Turks and marauding Berbers, the L-Għarb lookouts were crucial, sending smoke signals to Malta to warn of approaching peril.
L-Għarb is the second oldest village parish in Gozo, established in 1679. The old church, known today as “Taż-Żejt”, served as the parish church for fifty years. It is called ‘Taz-Zejt’ (zejt meaning oil) because of a legend that says that an old woman found oil oozing from the side of the church, spread it over her body, and was cured of her ills.
Today’s impressive Parish Church and Collegiate Basilica that dominates the pretty square at the heart of the village was built in 1699 and consecrated in 1729. It is dedicated to the Visit of Our Lady to her cousin St. Elizabeth, popularly known as the Feast of the Visitation. The feast day is on the 31st of May each year and the festa is held on the first weekend of July.
A short and pleasant walk out of the village towards the coastal cliffs is the tiny chapel of St.Demetrius. Legend has it that Turkish raiders once stole the young son of a local lady called Sgugina. After the poor mother wept her distress in front of the sacred altar painting of St Demetrius in the chapel, the story goes that the saint was seen riding his horse out of the painting, charging the Turks and returning Żgugina’s son safely to his mother.
The area around Gharb and St Demetrius’ Chapel is delightful for walking and enjoying the countryside. If you follow the little road along the Wied il-Mielaħ (valley) you will have a lovely meander through the fertile Gozitan countryside before reaching the sea and a dramatic natural rock ‘window’ very much less visited than the iconic Azure Window at Dwejra.
Alternatively, you could just sit peacefully in Gharb’s picturesque village square, admiring the view of the church and the unique hand-carved stone balconies that adorn the village’s oldest homes, and watching the Gozitan world go by.