The High Altar and ‘The Gloria’ (an artefact in carved gilded bronze) underwent restoration in 2000 with the collaboration of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter, the Ministry of Education, the Italian Embassy, The Istituto Italiano di Cultura and St John’s Museum, under the direction of the Museums Department and the National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta.
The High Altar restoration consisted of the cleaning of the miniature angels, gilt bronze statuettes of vine leaves and corn ears as well as an extensive clean-up of the altar’s precious marble. The altar was designed and made in Rome by Gio Battista Contini and assembled locally in 1686. It is considered to be one of the most impressive and opulent altars of the Baroque era. The large marble statue of the Baptism of Christ by Giuseppe Mazzuoli was also cleaned from the accumulation of several layers of candle soot. The gilt bronze Gloria made by the Sicilian bronzaro Giovanni Giardini was also cleaned and re-gilded.