Valetta: Around the Laparelli Bastions

This was a Harrison Lewis group walk led by Andy and Jenny. We circumnavigated Valletta, for most of the way keeping close to the original city bastions.

In addition to a great deal of money, Pope Pius V sent to Grand Master Valette the great military architect, Francesco Laparelli of Cortona to oversee the plans and building of the fortified city of Valletta – the first city in Europe to be build entirely from the drawing board.

Francesco Laparelli 1521-1570

We met at the car park outside the Msida Bastions Cemetery and embarked on a clockwise journey round the city. We descended below the bastions to walk alongside Marsamxett harbour with the great walls towering above us.

The Laparelli Bastions on the Marsamxett side.

We rounded the outside of Fort St Elmo at the end of the peninsula and were fortunate that the workmen allowed us a brief excursion onto the new, as yet incomplete, bridge to the Grand Harbour breakwater.

The new bridge replaces the one destroyed in WW II.

 

The bridge is not yet complete.

The route from St Elmo to the Lower Barraka Gardens is presently unsafe so we had to detour back round St Elmo.

Lower Barraka Gardens

We then walked up to the Upper Barraka Gardens where we missed the Noonday Gun by literally a few seconds! After dropping down by the Malta Central Bank on St James Bastion we had lunch in the lesser-known Herbert Ganado Gardens, formerly the Kalkara Gardens but renamed for the Maltese writer and politician.

We crossed Floriana and descended back to the Msida Bastions Gardens and Cemetery. This was the main Protestant cemetery in Malta from 1806 to 1856. The majority of the graves were of British servicemen, officials and businessmen and their families. Mikiel Anton Vassalli,”the father of the Maltese language” was buried here in 1829, because he was out of favour with the Catholic church, partly because he had translated the New Testament into Maltese.

Mikiel Anton Vassalli Memorial

The cemetery has been lovingly restored in recent years from its previously ruined state and is now managed by Din l’Art Ħelwa. We were fortunate to have the two people mainly responsible for the restoration on the walk today and able to give us a very informative tour!

The peaceful Msida Bastion Garden of Rest

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