Houses of character can be found all over Gozo and some date back hundreds of years and are therefore full of historic features due to generations of continued occupancy. All are executed in traditional building materials such as limestone and their design style are almost always a conglomeration fused together over many years.
Houses of character were constructed to accommodate larger families and usually had anywhere from two to four bedrooms, most of them on the upper levels. Favourable distinctions of these homes were their inner or back courtyards, offering respite and shade during the hot summers. Easy access was afforded to nearly all the rooms, as many have external staircases to access the upper levels.
Houses of character are usually spread over several floors and many may have their own basements and even wells. These homes have become national treasures and symbols of Malta’s past. The general layout of rooms were traditionally separated and intended for specific use, such as bedrooms with separate bathrooms, a dining room, separate kitchens and large, separate landings on each floor and the stone floors, some overlaid with traditional tiles, have a hard-to-resist allure for many a city dweller. These homes have often been described as places of tranquillity and refuge, providing a sharp contrast to the busy and frenetic pace of city life and this makes houses of character extremely sought-after as second or main residences.
As always in the case of historic buildings, sympathetic renovation is key and one may have to improve and upgrade essentials such as ventilation, plumbing, waterproofing and electrics when buying unrenovated.
Houses of character are ideally suited to those who want to live in a home that offers space, unconventional layouts, incorporate historic features and are reminiscent of yesteryear’s time-honoured craftsmanship.