The small Mediterranean island of Malta, Gozo and Comino, is the ideal place for holiday-makers who combine beach relaxation with rapturous landscapes with a history lesson in the open air.
Malta keeps the Mediterranean flavor, British accent, Arabic details and African aridity as a monument of all the civilizations that conquered it, carrying yourself in a cultural waltz that makes you forget about the division of the world. Its historical depth, which carries you from ancient temples, medieval times, stories with goddesses and saints and knights in armor to the present exotic beaches, leaves you fascinated and thirsty for your knowledge. Valletta, one of the most fortified cities in Europe On a trip along the Maltese islands, we make a first stop in the capital of Valletta, named after its French founder, Grand Master Jean de la Vallette.
The town was built by the Ioannis knights after the Turkish siege of 1565, when Jean de la Vallette asked for help from the Pope to build a fortress city to cope with the Ottoman attacks. The strongly fortified city is a museum in itself, a true masterpiece of baroque style. Valletta is the smallest capital of the European Union, but it offers 320 monuments that you discover at every step. Once you step into the city gates, we stop at Upper Barrakka Gardens, the highest point of the Valletta, which offers a splendid view of the Marsamxett and Grand Harbor natural harbors, and under the terrace, 8 cannons shoot every day at the hours 12.00 and 16.00. Here, on the benches that stand in the shade of the columns guarding the gardens, the elders have their oasis of tranquility, but also their favorite socializing place, where they discuss small daily worries or discuss foreign curiosities with strange eyes, while a young man with long hair caught in a lush queue and wavy ribbons fluttering in the wind, engulfs the atmosphere with Spanish guitar accords. Taking a step at Valletta, you will notice that on both sides of the main street that crosses the city from one end to the other, there are narrow and steep streets that seem sharp, and at the end of them, the sea is blinking seductively.
In a steady stream, the thousands of steps move from one store to another because the main street is a real shopping center where you can find from souvenir shops to clothes, perfumes, jewelery, beauty salons, fast food and cafes. But before you load your shopping nets, St. John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral deserves special attention, for the renowned church, founded in 1572 by the Grand Master of Malta Jean de la Cassière, is regarded by architects as one of the most beautiful and representative buildings in the baroque style of the old continent. The interior of the cathedral is extremely richly decorated with paintings, the main attraction being “Cutting the head of St. John the Baptist”, the famous work of Caravaggio’s artwork. Another great detail is the marble floor, which is made up of almost 400 funerary stones of the knights killed in debt. But to better penetrate the knight’s legendary era near the cathedral, the Grand Masters Palace invites you to a long-forgotten world. The long corridors with painted ceilings, guarded by dozens of armor, and the rooms adorned with art objects and old weapons have always been the home of the governors of Malta, and today the palace hosts the Office of the President. Here, since 1974, the presidents of Malta continue to be listed on a white marble plate. From 2014 until now, in the last line is written the name of a woman, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Malta thus proving that it is as close to the medieval age as the modern one.