"Into the past........." Top 5 Page for this destination Vittoriosa by leics

Vittoriosa Travel Guide: 112 reviews and 254 photos

I like Vittoriosa. It's not big.....only around 800 metres by 400 metres....a butter-coloured warren of narrow streets and alleyways.

Its original name was Birgu, one of Malta's 'Three Cities', and it is still called that (as well as Vittoriosa). It was renamed 'Vittoriosa' after the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, for it was Birgu where the Knights held out against the Turkish attack until their final victory. Valletta, Malta's capital, was not created on Mount Sciberras until after the Great Siege.

Vittoriosa has massive defensive walls, and vast ditches, and gun emplacements. Inside its walls are some museums, the Inquisitor's Palace, the Sacra Infirmia (the hospital built by the Knights), their Armoury, the 'auberges' where the Knights of various countries were based......all from the time of the Siege, although many no longer in their original form.

Inside the walls now lies an ordinary Maltese town (really a village...there are very few shops etc) where narrow and winding streets (no grid pattern here) shade inhabitants from the harsh sunshine and cold winter winds. Few of the enclosed balconies one sees in Valletta....the buildings are not as tall...the streets are narrower and there are pot plants outside people's doors. Birgu/Vittoriosa feels like somewhere to live, somewhere to come home to after a day's work elsewhere.

So I like it.

You can still see bits and pieces of Siege-era Birgu, although a huge amount of damage was done during that time by the Turkish bombardment. The Infirmary is now a convent, so you'll only see its enormour walls..........the Inquisitor's Palace now holds the Museum of Ethnography (and yes, you can visit the cells if you want).....the Auberge d'Angleterre (base for the English Knights) is now a library.

I didn't go into any of the museums. I just wandered, seeking out the buildings which I knew existed and enjoying the exploration.

I was especially pleased to find the 'Norman House', which dates from the 13th century and has a rather lovely decorative frieze (cornice?).

The good citizens of Birgu are clearly proud of their 'city'. Pot plants abound in the streets and alleyways of 'Il Collachio', the area which has the oldest buildings. I enjoyed seeing the sign from the local council in the photo.....well deserved praise, imo.

Time spent wandering around Vittoriosa is well worthwhile, I think, even if you do not want to visit the museums. As well as its history there are fantastic views of Valletta, Senglea and the harbours.

But, really, it's just a nice place to while away an hour or two.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:So much history in sch a small place
  • Cons:None that I came across
  • In a nutshell:A butter-coloured warren of narrow streets and alleyways
  • Last visit to Vittoriosa: Aug 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (3)

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Perhaps I should re visit Vittoriosa... Ciao!

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit the Three Cities. Only saw them from the harbour cruise boat. Like the tip about the executioner's house.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    Places like Vittoriosa have such character and to be able to roam the lovely cobble stone streets must have been amazing. Nice page and have a wonderful day!


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