Top 5 Things to do in Valletta this October by guidememalta.com

A very good article by Melanie Drury at GuideMeMalta about How to enjoy the best Valletta has on offer in October 2018.

Valletta, the capital of Malta, the city of the Knights of St John, and the European Capital of Culture 2018, is a larger than life attraction despite its meagre area of 55 ha. UNESCO describes Valletta as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world” featuring impressive forts and fortifications, wonderful palaces and Auberges of the Knights of Malta, and several more places of interest. Add to that the captivating cultural events in the city and you may become quite overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do in Valletta. Allow us to guide you if you’re visiting this October.

1. Explore the historic elements of the city

The absolute must-sees that highlight Baroque beauty include St John’s Co-Cathedral with its gilded gold walls, mosaic tomb floors and Caravaggio painting of the Beheading of St John; the Grand Master’s Palace, today the office of the President; Auberge de Castille, now the office of the Prime Minister; the National Museum of Archaeology housed in the Auberge de Provence; the Muza museum of art housed within the Auberge d’Italie (opening later this month!); and Casa Rocca Piccola, a historic noble residence that’s now an open museum. And that’s not to mention the wonderful squares, picturesque streets and gardens, oh and the stunning views, especially the one of the Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

2. Relish some extraordinary plays & performances

Entertain yourself with some intriguing performances coming to Valletta this month. A strange amalgam of tragedy and fiercely black comedy arrives in The Jew of Malta, 5-14 October, a fast-moving play by Christopher Marlow that will remind you of a Quentin Tarantino script.  On 19-20 October, in Orfeo & Majnun, we can expect a theatre of emotions of love, loss and longing in the cultural overlap of the Middle Eastern legend of Layla and Majnun and the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice; to this effect, the narration interweaves Maltese, English and Arabic and the score combines oriental and occidental styles. The music-theatre performance of Orfeo & Majnun will further include a parade whereby participants will meet surprises in the form of song, dance, short performances, storytelling, music-making, bands and many other forms of artistic expression on every street corner. And let’s not forget the regular live events happening at the Beer Cave and other locations across Valletta throughout 2018.

3. Enjoy some thought-provoking visual arts

October in Valletta brings us food for thought. See how the film 18 Comidas/18 Meals on 3rd October highlights the human journey related to the most universal of struggles: the search for happiness. In various scenarios set around a table, we gain insight into various relationships in all their fascinating diversity and field of emotions. Thereafter, during the Rima Film Festival on 12-14 October, we embark on a journey of exile and migration told through the diverse and subjective experiences of those who have experienced exile.

Were this not enough, we go a step further in a visual art exhibition that elimintes the ‘visual’ aspect replacing it for ‘tactile’. Tactile takes us into the world of the visually impaired in an exhibition of 12 concealed sculptures which leaves its audience to experience them only through the sense of touch. Now that’s different!

4. Indulge in wining & dining

Remember we said Valletta has a total area of just 55 ha? Within that space, amid all the extraordinary history and culture are also many culinary delights. Here’s our list of almost 150 delightful restaurants in Valletta to choose from, ranging from small hole-in-the-wall establishments that are big in character to fine dining establishments with vast sea views. Don’t miss out on the variety of wine bars that are one of Valletta’s iconic features; you’ll find these hidden in the city’s cellars.

Another ‘must do’ is a visit to the Valletta Waterfront, with its historical 250-year-old warehouses – built by Grand Master Pinto at the height of the baroque period in Malta – converted to chic food and beverage establishments overlooking the picturesque Grand Harbour.

5. Check out these huge special events

On 6th October, the entire city of Valletta comes alive through the night! During the Notte Bianca event, the Auberges, palaces, museums, churches and chapels welcome visitors, while street performers, live music of all kinds and art installations bring spirit to the streets, and retail shops, cafes, restaurants and wine bars are open for business.

For something truly spectacular and photo-worthy, see the start of one of the biggest sailing races in the Mediterranean departing from the seas around Valletta. The Rolex Middle Sea Race follows a course that’s a clockwise circumnavigation of Sicily, including Lampedusa, Pantelleria and the Egadian and Aeolian islands, back to Malta. The starting gun of the 50th anniversary edition of this prestigious race goes off on 20th October.

Now you know where to go and when to go to enjoy the best Valletta has to offer, it’s a whole lot easier, isn’t it?

Rolex Middle Sea Race 2018 – Saturday 20th October

Rolex Middle Sea Race
Rolex Middle Sea Race Start

The 2018 edition marks the 50th anniversary of the first Middle Sea Race which was held back in 1968.

For this year’s edition over 55 yachts, representing 25 countries from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Chile, The Philippines, and the United States, have entered to date. There is nothing unusual in this spread of nations. With entries open until 5 October 2018, the RMYC has every hope of beating the record entry number of 122, set in 2014. The race has always attracted a polyglot fleet and a walk along the dock is a cultural affair.

As usual the best place to view the start of the race is from our Sea View Suites, which are just above the starting line.

For more information you can visit the official site www.rolexmiddlesearace.com

Notte Bianca 2018

Notte Bianca is Malta’s biggest annual arts and culture festival and will be held on Saturday 6th October. For one special night, Notte Bianca lights up the Valletta cityscape with a spectacular celebration that is open to the public free of charge.

Festival goers can expect to experience the very best in music, dance, theater, visual arts, literary events, as well as an exploration into the emerging world of new and digital arts. During Notte Bianca, Valletta’s streets and public spaces are used in innovative, creative ways thanks to a mix of roaming and site-specific projects.

State palaces and museums open their doors to delight patrons with visual art exhibitions and theatre performances. Streets and piazzas are transformed into venues for open-air theatrics and concerts, while many cafes and restaurants extend their hours. Every which way you turn, you are bound to stumble upon another festival treat.

All of Valletta, from City Gate to Fort St. Elmo, comes alive on Notte Bianca, guaranteeing a memorable night that truly holds something for everyone.

Notte Bianca is the night where all of Valletta comes to life. From City Gate to the far end of the peninsula, every street, corner and pjazza will be buzzing with spectacle. Museums, churches and other magical spaces will be waiting for you to pop a visit. From the usual jazz at the Bridge Bar to the grandiose St John’s Co-Cathedral tours, there is definitely something for everyone. So wander around, explore, and soak up the atmosphere.

Visit the Notte Bianca website for more information

 

Mdina Classic Gran Prix 2018

This years Mdina Classic Grand Prix takes place between the 11th and 14th October 2018. This is an event that attracts all classic car enthusiasts from all over the world.

Day One – the Malta Classic opens with the Thomas Smith Hill Climb, a pure adrenaline rush of cars racing to the to the beautiful hills of Mtahleb.

Day Two – the Malta Classic Concours d’Elegance by Mdina Glass, celebrates the power and beauty of classic carss in the heart of Mdina. Select car collectors are invited to unveil true automotive gems for the delight of visitors. Entertainment and period dress make the Concours d’Elegance a main feature of the Malta Classic weekend. This event is free for the public to attend.

Day Three – the challenging circuit outside Mdina’s fortified walls awaits. Cars are put to the test on a track of tight bends and sweeping curves that wind their way through a valley of vineyards and terraced hills outside Mdina. Fast, exhilarating and beautiful —The Malta Classic Grand Prix is loved by drivers and spectators alike. Day Three comes to a close with timed drives to determine the starting order of Sunday’s grid.

Day Four – the real racing begins. Packs of 8 to 10 cars take to the circuit in a thrilling race to the finish line, as the unforgiving nature of this circuit brings out the very best of performance by both drivers and their classic racing automobiles. The Malta Classic Grand Prix draws to a close with an awards ceremony for participating drivers on Sunday evening at the Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa.

For more info please visit www.maltaclassic.com

Victory Day 2018

The Feast of Our Lady of Victories, or in shorter form “Victory Day”, is a Maltese public holiday falling on every September 8th.

Malta’s strategic position in the central Mediterranean Sea has long made it a contested island, and Victory Day celebrates the bravery of those who defended it, besides having its religious significance.

Victory Day was originally known as Il-Bambina (Baby Mary) Day and designed to celebrate the nativity of the Virgin Mary. This aspect of the holiday persists, but today, it also commemorates several victories of the Maltese people over their enemies, which stretch across several centuries of the island’s tumultuous existence.

After the great victory of the Knights of Saint John over the Turkish invaders in 1565, the holiday began to be called “Il-Madona tal Vitorja” (Our Lady of Victories). The knights had come to defend and rule the island of Malta in 1530, after Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, had given them that right in exchange for the annual tribute of a Maltese falcon.

The second victory that Victory Day commemorates is that of the Maltese people over the French invaders in September of 1800. Napoleon had seized the island after Malta’s ruler refused his navy permission to dock in the harbor on their way to Egypt. The British came to the aid of the Maltese rebels and long controlled the island from that point on.

Finally, Victory Day also remembers the heroic resistance of Malta against the Axis bombing campaign during World War II, for which King George VI of the UK gave them the George Cross, which appears on their flag to this day. Specifically, it looks back to the end of the bombings in 1943, after Italy switched to the Allied cause.

The following activities take place in Valletta and you may wish to view them:

  • In the morning, the official military parade and the ceremony of the president inspecting the Honour Guard in St. George’s Square There will also be a ceremonially laying of flowers and a wreath at the Great Siege Monument on Republic Street, Valletta.
  • In the afternoon, see the regatta in the Grand Harbour right in front of the hotel, where boat rowing competitors from all across Malta gather to display the fighting spirit that won the victories of the past in a new, more entertaining context.
  • In the evening you can view the fireworks display over the Grand Harbour once again right in front of the hotel.

Attention to all vintage and classic lovers!

The Valletta Concours d’Elegance, set within the walls of the baroque city of Valletta will host a selection of Malta’s finest historic automobiles.

The Valletta Concours d’Elegance made its debut in April 2017 and it is envisaged that this will become a yearly staple event in the Maltese Islands. The concours, born out of a collective love of vintage and classic cars and their preservation and enjoyment, seeks to fill in a gap in Malta’s various classic car events by giving local enthusiasts the opportunity to showcase their pride and joy in an upmarket event that celebrates their passion within the majestic setting of Valletta, itself a 16th century baroque icon, built by the Knights of the Order of St. John.  

The organizers seek to obtain the participation of a sizeable number of local and possibly foreign entrants in a bid to present an event that will blend automotive craftsmanship and design across a number of decades with the passion of classic car ownership, at the same time capturing the celebratory camaraderie that these events generate. A team of independent foreign judges with vast experience in similar events abroad has been commissioned to lend professionalism and expertise to the judging process. 

Various categories of vehicles will be presented and the onus is on the judges to decide on the best entrant in each category, based on a predetermined set of criteria. The winner of each category will then vie for the prestigious overall winners’ trophy. The overall winner of the Concours d’Elegance will be the entry adjudged to be The Best in Show. The judging panel will focus primarily on originality and authenticity as well as attention to design, styling, elegance and state of preservation, among others. 

Picasso & Miro at The Grand Master’s Palace

Throughout the spring of 2018 the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, which is currently the European Capital City of Culture, will open its doors to a remarkable exhibition confronting the work of two major Spanish artists of the 20th century – Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.

‘Picasso and Miró: The Flesh & The Spirit’ is brought to Malta by Fundación Mapfre in collaboration with Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti and the Office of the President of Malta. Fundación Mapfre strongly believe that culture enriches people’s lives and one of its principle aims is to bring art and history closer to the public through exhibitions, courses and publications. This exhibition is the first of its kind to be displayed in Malta.

This exhibition is part of a major international project titled ‘Picasso-Méditerranée’, an initiative from Musée National Picasso in Paris held between Spring 2017 and Spring 2019. Over 60 cultural institutions have come together to conjure up a programme exploring the Mediterranean work of Picasso and across the places which inspired him, aiming to strengthen ties between all the shores.

Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. He has a worldwide reputation and his works fetch the highest prices at auction houses. The exhibition comprises a suite of a 100 etchings produced by Picasso in the 1930s for the legendary art dealer Ambrose Vollard, as well as over 40 paintings by Miró, in a bid to explore the different possibilities which modern art offered them.

Pablo Jiménez Burillo, director of the Culture Department at Fundación Mapfre and curator of the show, explains: “This project intends to display something more than a show of two of the most significant creators of the 20th century who really shook up traditional art. This exhibition not only tries to delve into the soul of the artists through their powerful passions, feelings and inspirations, but also it will demonstrate the significance of their personal universes, full of symbols, which depict their personalities. While Picasso unties the dark forces of the male obsessions and delights in female beauty, Miró instructs us in pure colours and free gestures, which represent the generosity of nature and the key to attain happiness.”

The exhibition opens daily between 1000 – 1630 (last entry at 1600) as from the 7th April and will run till the 30th June 2018. Tours will be held everyday between 1230 and 1330.

 

Malta Carnival 2018 Official Programme

Malta’s Carnival is one of the oldest historical festivals held on the island, with just under five centuries of credited and documented history which can be traced back to the early 1400’s. It was the Knights of the Order of St John that endowed the national festivities with spectacle and pageantry. New artistic creations are born while traditions are kept alive and revived, particularly with the revival of satire, a fundamental facet to the historical Maltese Carnival.

THURSDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2018
ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 6pm – 7.40pm
Entrance: €5

The programme starts in St George’s Square with the opening ceremony, followed by competitive dancing by Companies C and D and the Costume Parade.

FRIDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2018
ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 6pm – 8.45pm
Entrance: €5

The programme starts in St George’s Square with competitive dancing by Companies A and B, followed by a small defilé featuring the King Carnival Float, grotesque masks, satirical floats and Category A floats.

 

SATURDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2018
ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 9.30am – 11.30am
Entrance: €5

Children’s Carnival programme starts in St George’s Square with the participation of dancing companies from private schools, Companies C followed by a small defilé with the participation of the King Carnival Float, isolated masks and satirical floats along Republic street.

ST JOHN’S SQUARE 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
Entrance: Free

A theatrical production produced by Teatru Malta. ‘L-Għarusa Karfusa’ is the classical tale of banned love – between a fruit and a vegetable.

ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 5pm onwards
Entrance: €10

Another programme starts in St George’s Square with the participation of competitive dancing Companies A, B and D, and Triumphal Floats from Categories A, B and C. Following this, a parade will proceed up Republic Street.

TRITON SQUARE 8pm till late
Entrance: Free

Triton 18 Carnival Ball will take place around the fountain outside the City entrance. All Carnival companies and the public are invited. The event will feature local DJs and a live performance by the Big Band Brothers. The event will carry on till late.

SUNDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2018
MAIN STREETS AROUND VALLETTA 12.30pm
Entrance: Free

Carnival Floats Parade at Castille Place, Valletta. The defilé will proceed via Granaries, Great Siege Road, Floriana to Glormu Cassar Avenue to Castille Place, Merchants Street, Archbishop Street, St John’s Street, Republic Street to City Gate, Tritons Fountain Area to Sarria Road and St Publius Road, Floriana.

ST GEORGE’S SQUARE – REPUBLIC STREET 2.00pm – 8pm
Entrance: €12

The programme starts in St George’s Square and sees the participation of Category C Companies followed by a defilé featuring the King Carnival Float, grotesque masks, Companies D, satirical floats, Triumphal Floats A, B and C and Company Floats Category A. Following this activity a defilé will proceed up Republic Street.

MONDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2018
ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 10am – 1pm
Entrance: Free

A Children’s Parade with the participation of private dancing schools from both Malta and Gozo as well as Category C companies. Starting at St. George’s Square and parading through Valletta, the parade will culminate with a performance by all companies in St George’s Square.

CASTILLE PLACE, MERCHANT STREET, ST GEORGE’S SQUARE, REPUBLIC STREET 3.30pm – 9pm
Entrance: €7

The programme opens with a show by dancing Companies A, B and C in front of Castille. It is followed by a defilé with the King Carnival Float, grotesque masks, satirical floats, Triumphal Floats A, B and C and Companies on Floats Category A. A defilé proceeds up Republic Street.

TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2018
ST GEORGE’S SQUARE, REPUBLIC STREET, PJAZZA TEATRU RJAL 10am – 2pm
Entrance: Free

At 10am there will be a Children’s Parade with the participation of a private dancing schools and groups from St George’s Square through Republic Street. It will end with a show at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, which will also include a performance from Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe from China.

THE GRAN FINALE, FLORIANA 6pm – 11pm
Entrance: Free

The King Carnival Float and his retinue of floats, and dancing companies in costume celebrate around Floriana, culminating in St Anne’s Street, Floriana, for the final defilé. Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe will also be performing.

For more info please visit www.karnivalmalta.org

Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck 2018

This Saturday 27th January 2018 the first of the year’s major feasts is celebrated in the Parish Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck in Valletta and in the streets of Malta’s capital city. It commemorates the shipwreck of the Apostle St. Paul on the Maltese Islands, an event which took place in 60 AD and which is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

According to legend, Saint Paul shipwrecked on the island of Malta on his way from Jerusalem to Rome. Publius, the first Bishop of Malta, cordially received Paul and his fellow travelers. During his stay on Malta, Paul healed Publius’ sick father and the rest of the sick on the island. The islanders paid Saint Paul great honor and brought him the provisions when he eventually set sail. Saint Paul’s shipwreck is considered one of the greatest events in the history of Malta.

 

Program of events:

Friday 26th January – Eve of The Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck

17:15     Solemn Translation of the Relic of Saint Paul led by Archbishop Emeritus Mons. Paul Cremona O.P.

19:00     Solemn Mass led by Vicar General Mons. Joe Galea Curmi.

19:00     Traditional and popular band march by the Societa Filarmonica Nazionale La Valette together with the Beland Band of Zejtun. The celebrations begin from Republic  Street and continue through St. John, Merchants, Melita, and St. Paul’s Streets. The route then diverges for the two bands: the Beland Band continues from St. Christopher Street, while the La Valette Band continues from St. Nicholas, Mediterranean Street and finally both converge to end near the Lower Barracca Gardens. This will be followed by a fireworks display involving pyrotechnics and Catherine wheels near the Great Siege Bell Memorial organized by the Fireworks Commission of the Ghaqda tal-Pawlini

 Saturday 27th January – Feast of The Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck

9:00        Arrival of Archbishop Mons. Charles J Scicluna and the President of Malta Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca at the Collegiate of Saint Paul’s Shipwreck

9:15        Pontifical Mass including a panegyric by Archbishop Mons. Charles J Scicluna

12:00     Salute: the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna will re-enact a full-gun salute from the Saluting Battery at the Upper Baracca Gardens in Valletta

13:00     Traditional band march by the Societa Fil Naz La Valette along the main streets of Valletta

15:45     Mass in English for foreign visitors led by Canon Magister Carmelo Busuttil, Archpriest of Vittoriosa

17:30     Synodal Procession featuring the statue of St Paul (a wooden sculpture by Melchiore Gafa) as well as the relic of St Paul. This procession will be accompanied by the Count Roger Band of Rabat and the St. Sebastian Band of Qormi. The procession begins and ends in St Paul’s Street.

17:30     Pyrotechnics display commemorating the event until 21:30 organised by the Fireworks Commission of the Ghaqda tal-Pawlini

18:30     The Immaculate Conception Band of Hamrun will perform a musical programme on the band stage in St Lucy Street corner with St Paul Street

21:30     Procession Entrance into the Collegiate Church. As the procession dedicated to St Paul re-enters the Collegiate Church, it is greeted and celebrated with the Hymn of St Paul, antiphon Sancte Pauli composed in 1840 by Dr. Paolo Nani and the Eucharistic Benediction

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