Welcome to Valletta, the capital city of Malta. Malta is a small country located between Africa, Asia, and Europe. With architecture from the 16th century onwards, impressive fortifications, and a large collection of Baroque palaces, gardens, and churches gave this city the nickname of Superbissima (Most Proud) by the ruling classes of Europe. This is a sightseeing paradise with history, intrigue, and contemporary beliefs that all help make this an incredibly popular destination.
Built on a peninsula, with a hilly topography, this city was the original concept proposed by the Order of Saint John back in 1524 and the first structure was Fort Saint Elmo. But, in the Great Siege of 1565, the Fort fell to the Ottomans, but the Order won the siege, eventually. They set out to build a new city and received assistance from Pope Pius V, who sent his architect to design the city and Philip II of Spain who sent a fortune to help with its completion.
With two natural harbors, Marsamxett and the Grand Harbor, the cruise line terminal is located along the old seawall of the Valetta Waterfront. Visitors immediately appreciate the climate, considered Mediterranean with mild temperatures, and the architecture that ranges from Baroque to Modernism. As a principal cultural center, there is an impressive collection of churches, palaces, and museums to visit.
You'll have the opportunity to see St. John's Co-Cathedral, formerly the Conventual Church of the Knights Malta. It contains the only signed work and largest painting by Michelangelo. Visit the National Museum of Fine Arts and you'll also be inside a Rococo palace that dates back to the late 1570s. Stop by the Manoel Theatre that is one of the oldest working theaters in Europe, built back in 1731. Maybe visit the fortifications of the port built by the Knights Malta and you'll see an impressive series of bastions, cavaliers, and curtains, approximately 330 ft. high, which certainly adds interest to the visual quality of the city.
With natural beauty, impressive architecture, and incredible history, there's much to do while visiting Valletta. Excursions are the preferred method of visiting cities as complex as this one so that one can focus on a particular area of interest and learn further information from knowledgeable guides. Check to see which excursion will be right for you. But, whatever you choose to see, or do, we're sure you'll enjoy your visit to Valletta.
Fun fact: The Manoel Theatre, built in 1731, was completed in just ten months, quite a feat for those days.