The origins of this Marian Shrine go back to the beginning of the 15th century, when the family of Giovanni Calimera raised a church on a knoll in the midst of their property within il-Wied ta’ Għammar, the same spot where it still stands. It was dedicated to the Assumption – and known as Santa Maria ta’ Calimera. It eventually became known as Ta’ Gentile, after Gentile Calimera. In 1615, Pinu Gauci, from whom the chapel took its present title, offered the Bishop to raise it anew. In 1619, he commissioned the present altarpiece of the Assumption, the work of Bartolomeo Amodeo Perugino. 

In mid-morning of the 22nd June 1883, Karmni Grima, returning home from her fields, heard a mysterious voice apparently coming from the direction of the chapel: “Come! Come!”. The voice then invited her: “Recite three Hail Marys in honour of the three days that my body rested in the tomb”, a practice still very popular with Gozitans today. All of a sudden, following this Call of Our Lady to Carmela and eventually also the Francesco Portelli, all roads began leading towards Ta’ Pinu. The constant stream of pilgrimages never ceased to flow. The foundation stone of the present Shrine, built in elegant Neo-Romanesque and Gothic style with local limestone, was laid on 30 May 1920, and the Basilica was dedicated on 13 December 1931. 

In 1935, Cardinal Alessandro Maria Lepicier, the Pope’s Legate, crowned the Virgin’s altarpiece. On 26 May 1990, Pope St John Paul II visited the Shrine and celebrated Holy Mass on its parvis, placing five golden stars around the Virgin’s head in the painting. Pope Benedict XVI, during his Visit to Malta in 2021, at the end of a Mass at the Floriana Granaries, offered the Golden Rose to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu and invoked her as ‘Queen of the Family’.

Scroll to Top