Valletta, the smallest capital of the European Union, is now Malta's major commercial centre and is visited daily by throngs of tourists eager to experience the city's rich history.
Valletta's streets and piazzas contain architecture ranging from early 16th century Baroque to Modernism. The city serves as the island's principal cultural centre and its unique collection of churches, palaces and museums attract visitors from around the world.
When Benjamin Disraeli, future British Prime Minister, visited the city in 1830, he described it as "a city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen," and remarked that "Valletta equals in its noble architecture, if it does not excel, any capital in Europe," and in other letters called it "comparable to Venice and Cádiz"
The Upper Barrakka Gardens is a public garden in Valletta, Malta. It offers a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour.
One of Valletta's most beautiful parks, it was created in 1775 on the bastion of St. Peter and Paul. In the park there are several statues, including one from Sir Winston Churchill, and a sculpture by the Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino, entitled "The street boys."
The Palace was one of the first buildings in Valletta, erected in 1571. Dominating Palace Square, the Grand Master's Palace has always been the house of government in Malta, first by the knights, then the British and now hosts the President's office. When parliament is not in session you can visit the palace for free, and there is an awful lot to see in here. Today you can visit both the rooms of the palace and the armoury museum inside.
You should especially not miss the Hall of the Supreme Council of the Knights. On the outside walls you can see mural plaques dedicated to the country's independence.
The severe exterior of the Cathedral, built immediately after the ending of the Great Siege of 1565, is reminiscent of a military fort.
The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art.
The marble floor is covered with richly inlaid tombstones, every wall is intricately carved with flowers and garlands, and the vaulted ceiling is splendidly painted with frescoes by Mattia Preti (1613–99). The Cathedral's treasures include a magnificent painting of St John the Baptist by Caravaggio as well as a series of exquisite tapestries with designs by Rubens and Poussin.This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. It is also a venue for cultural events. It is spectacular and a must-see if you visit Valletta.
Casa Rocca Piccola is located in the heart of Malta's capital city, Valletta. It is an interesting attraction, often described as a 'living museum'.
This beautiful palace is now owned by the 9th Marquis de Piro, and is the only private palazzo open to the public in Valletta. The value of Casa Rocca Piccola lies in its ability to provide unique historical evidence into the customs and traditions of the Maltese nobility over the last 400 years.
You can also see a collection of furniture, silver and paintings that add to the aesthetic riches of this country.
The Valletta Waterfront, in Floriana, Malta, is baroque wharf built by Manuel Pinto de Fonseca in the 18th century. It boasts a majestic setting within the Grand Harbour, a natural deep water port, for many thousand of years the epicentre of Malta's maritime activity, a truly exceptional and outstanding backdrop.
It has been thoroughly renovated by a private consortium who run the Waterfront and offer management overseeing for Malta's cruise liner business. It is also being used as a venue with a concentration of bars, retail outlets and restaurants, as well as for concerts and events, including the Malta Jazz Festival, the Malta Fireworks Festival, the Perfect Wedding Fair and other themed events.
The National Museum of Archaeology in Republic Street displays an exceptional array of artefacts from Malta's unique prehistoric periods, starting with the first arrival of man around 5200 BC.
The collection is housed in the Auberge de Provence, one of the first buildings to be erected after the Great Siege in the late 16th century. The museum is also worth visiting as a building in its own right. Many of the collections are housed in magnificent, baroque palaces built by the Knights of the Order or St John.
The National Museum of Archaeology is in the Auberge de Provence, an inn of residence of one of the eight 'langues' of the Knights. Its richly-painted, upper salon is an architectural gem.