19 Rooms is an ideal place to stay for visitors looking for a good dose of Maltese culture and who also want to stay in a stylish boutique hotel in Valletta.
Valletta may be a tiny capital city in comparison to most of the often overwhelming, metropolitan capitals one experiences abroad. Yet, its size is not commensurate to its offer. This is one city which is jam-packed with possibilities and experiences: for those keen art enthusiasts, culture vultures or veritable connoisseurs, alike.
Here are our top 5 picks, with a little something extra, extending beyond the city walls:
I. St John’s Co-Cathedral and Oratory
Listed as the one of top visited cultural venues on the Maltese Islands, St John’ Co-Cathedral, located in the heart of the capital city, was designed by Maltese military architect Girolamo Cassar who designed several prominent buildings in Valletta. An austere, almost military-like façade contrasts fiercely with the grandiose and opulent interior, which boasts an ornate ceiling painted by Mattia Preti. Visitors can also experience the Oratory, which hosts two important works by Caravaggio.
Works are currently underway for an extension of the Co-Cathedral to be constructed, which will house the tapestries of St John.
II. Fort St Elmo
Fort St Elmo – the star-shaped fort, and the National War Museum, are located at the bottom of Valletta’s peninsula. Standing proudly, between the Marsamxett and Grand Harbours, this fort has a long and noble history. Built before the Knights of the Order of St John began construction of the new capital city of Valletta, Fort St Elmo, played an all-pivotal role in The Great Siege of 1565, in which the Knights were victorious. Since 1975, the Fort has also housed part of the National War Collection, whilst In Guardia and Alarme military reenactments are often held within its walls.
III. Archaeology Museum
Located on the busiest road in Valletta – Republic Street – the unassuming entrance to the Archaeology Museum, which was previously the Auberge de Provence, hardly prepares visitors for the contents within. The museum hosts a large range of artefacts which date from the Neolithic period (5,000 BC), till the Prehistoric period (400 BC). On exhibit are numerous figurative works, portraying the famous ‘Fat Lady’ and ‘Sleeping Lady’, also known as goddesses of fertility. The Museum also houses the National Numismatic collection.
IV. MUZA & Spazju Kreattiv
For those possessing a penchant for the Arts, we recommend a ‘double bill’: two spaces dedicated to the Arts which are located within close proximity of one another. MUZA, the Malta National Art Community Museum, formerly the National Museum of Fine Arts, was only recently relocated to the Auberge d’Italie, a larger and more prominent space – in time for European Capital of Culture, celebrated in 2018. MUZA hosts the national collection of visual, plastic and three-dimensional arts from the Byzantine and Mediaeval era to modern and contemporary movements. Spazju Kreattiv, on the other hand, is literally a space that celebrates all art forms; their diverse artistic programme features temporary projects, initiatives and events which are held on a regular basis. Spazju Kreattiv also possesses one of the only Art House cinemas on the Islands.
V. Historic House Museums
Although we acknowledge that we’re cheating a little with this recommendation, we had to include historic houses as part of our line-up. Those we recommend are: Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta; Palazzo Falson in Mdina and lastly, Casa Bernard in Rabat. As diverse as each historic house may be, they offer a snapshot into the lives of their former and present inhabitants. Each of these spaces, whether, eclectic or majestic also gives visitors insight into the ways of life and the customs of their owners. Moreover, we love historic houses, because of the personal touch in each space. Look out for guided tours!
One of our brand values at 19 Rooms is Creating memorable experiences for our guests. Get in touch with us, if you are planning on a culture trip to Malta, and our team will help you put together an awesome and authentic itinerary.