Villa Bighi was designed by Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafà. It was built in 1675 by Fra Giovanni Bichi, the grandson of Pope Alexander VII. A year later, the unfinished palace was inherited by his nephew Fra Mario Bichi, due to his sudden death. The Villa was abandoned during the French blockade. In 1827 King George IV decreed that the Admiralty transform the building into a naval hospital.
In 1829 four Ancient Egyptian stelae were found during the excavation for the foundations. The foundation stone was laid on the 23rd March 1830 by Vice Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm. The hospital complex was severely damaged during the Second World War. RNH Bighi closed its doors in September 1970. Today the building houses ESPLORA – the national interactive science center, and the offices of the Malta Council for Science and Technology.