Museums in Mdina and Rabat

Cathedral Museum

Archbishop Square, Mdina (21454697). Open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri; 9am-3.3Opm Sat Admission Cathedral & Museum Eur2.33; children free.

This fantastic museum set in a former seminary contains disparate displays; religious artefacts such as embossed choir books and paintings acquired by the Cathedral over the ages. Also on display are works of art bequeathed to the Cathedral by a private collector, including a series of copperplates and woodcuts by Albrecht DUrer -the woodcuts are outstanding in their detail and emotional resonance. Other exhibits comprise the original indictments of the Inquisition, genealogical tables of the Knights, Roman and Punic pottery, and a rare coin collection ranging from 400 BC Carthaginian coins to modern examples.

Domus Romana

Museum Esplanade, Rabat (2145 4125/ Open 9am-5pm daily. Admission Eur5.82; Eur2.91 students; Eur1.74

This museum collates important Ro- man remains found in Malta on the site of the largest Roman house excavated in the islands, built. AD 50. Among the priceless exhibits are marble statues of famous imperial personalities, a selection of domestic Roman artefacts such as amphorae, perfume bottles, weaving looms and glass objects, as well as various finds of domestic, funerary and agricultural use. Of special interest are the fine mosaic floors, as well as the original peristyle of the house.

Museum of Natural History

Vilhena Palace, St Publius Square,
Mdina (21455951/www.heritagemalta. org). Open 9am-5pm daily. Admission Eur2.33; Eur1.16 students; EurO.58 children.

The large baroque Magisterial Palace built by Grand Master Vilhena in 1724 and converted into a hospital during the British rule, houses the natural history museum. It holds exhibits on Malta's geological formation over 10,000 rocks and minerals, a vast collection of Maltese flora and fauna, as well as local and exotic shells and insects. There is also a reference library on natural sciences for enthusiasts.

Wignacourt Museum

St Paul's Square, Rabat (21451060). Open 10am-3pm Mon-Sat. Admission Eur2.33.

The former hostel for pilgrims visiting St Paul's Grotto is now a museum that displays the religious artefacts amassed by the local parish over the i ages -a somewhat disparate collection of wooden sculptures, vestments and .other works of art including a series of sombre paintings by Francesco Zhara.