When Paul and I were staying in Valletta for a few nights, at the Vallettastay Casa Zoe apartment… we thought we’d have time to check out Floriana.
So, Floriana is the town next to the capital city of Valletta, which is on its Southern side. Yet, did you know that Floriana was supposed to be a suburb of Valletta back in the 1600’s?
Yet, even though Floriana is much smaller compared to Valletta… it has some important buildings and areas in Malta’s history. And, we’ll go through some of these in this blog soon.
So, the naming of Floriana dates back to 1634… when Grandmaster de Paule, brought over Italian engineer, Pietro Paolo Floriani. And, it was he who helped to build more fortifications in the area, which was how Floriana came to fruition.
So, in this blog post we’ll run through a self-walking tour of Floriana Malta. And, on this journey we’ll discover the rich history this small town has to offer, plus more.
So, most tourists are coming to see Valletta, rather than Floriana. And, the main mode of transport for many is via the Malta public bus… of which a major bus terminal is in Floriana, before the Triton Fountain.
So, let’s begin our self-walking tour of Floriana here.
Now, depending on who you talk to… some will say that Triton Fountain is in Valletta and not Floriana. And, that’s because the debate is that the start of Valletta is where the Valletta City Gate is.
Yet, others would say that the area outside the City Gate still forms part of Valletta and its fortifications.
Hmmmm… we don’t know who’s right or wrong. But, for the purposes of this blog post, let’s include Triton Fountain in our Floriana walking tour.
So, once you’re off the bus, the large fountain will be in full view. And as we’ve found, the water from the fountain doesn’t flow all the time.
So, the designer of this fountain was Victor Anastasi. And, together with Maltese sculptor Chevalier Vincent Apap… the creation of the Triton Fountain was between 1952 and 1959.
The bronze part of the fountain has 3 tritons holding up a large dish… of which water does flow upwards and outwards from. Then, beneath he 3 tritons is another layer made from concrete and travertine. So, water also projects out from this section of the fountain too.
It is a beautiful introduction to Floriana, and even Valletta! So, once you turn away from Triton Fountain in the opposite direction of Valletta, you’ll see this…
Christ The King Monument
The designer of the Christ the King Monument was, Antonio Sciortino. Plus, you’ll notice that on the monument is the year 1913. And, this was to commemorate the International Eucharistic Congress that Malta held in 1913.
Then, as you pass by the monument, you’ll head towards this…
The Independence Monument
So, the designer of the Independence Monument was, Ġanni Bonnici.
And, it was built at the time to commemorate the 25-year anniversary of Malta’s Independence. Thus, the female statue holding onto the national flag… depicts Malta liberating herself from the past.
Then, behind the Independence Monument is this…
The Mall Gardens (Il Mall)
The 400 meter long Mall, was built in 1656, by Grandmaster Lascaris, as a recreation area for the Knights. And, it was termed the Mall, based on the game Palla a Maglio, where a mallet was used to maneuver a ball.
Plus, there were high walls built around the grounds… which were then replaced with lower walls.
And nowadays, the Mall houses tree lined paths, gardens and monuments… in commemoration of important Maltese figures.
Plus, as you wander through the gardens, you’ll see this…
So, this is a shelter for the many stray cats that roam the streets. And, while we were in the Mall we saw about 6 cats sleeping, chilling out or wandering around.
Then, on your left you can cross the street called, Triq Sarria. And, what you’ll see is this…
Pjazza San Publiju (The Granaries)
So, now you’re probably thinking what we were… when we saw these large, circular slabs protruding from the ground. And, what we discovered was that back in the day, these were grain storage facilities.
So, much of the grain was imported from Sicily… as there wasn’t enough grains for the growing Maltese population.
But now, the large area of Pjazza San Publiju is no longer for granaries… instead it’s used for large gatherings such as concerts.
Then, while you’re there, you can’t miss this landmark…
Church of St Publius (Floriana Parish Church)
The construction of the St Publius Church was originally built in 1733… in dedication to the first Maltese Bishop of Malta. Yet, over time there has been reconstruction of the church to what we see today.
And, as you can see from the architecture, it sure is a magnificent building.
Then, after viewing the Church of St Publius, continue wandering down the pretty tree lined street of Triq Sarria…
Then, when you’re at the end of the tree lined area, on your left will be this church…
So, one of the main characteristics you’ll notice with this church is its silver colored dome. In 1585, Knight Fra Martino de Sarria had a chapel built using his own funds. But, in 1676 this chapel was replaced by a church, where the design was by Mattia Pretti.
And, if this name seems familiar… it’s because she was a key designer in the creation of the magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
So, next to the Sarria Church you’ll see this…
Robert Samut Hall
Now, when looking at it you’d immediately think it’s a church. So yes, back in 1883 it was the Floriana Wesleyan Methodist Church… which is said to be the first building in Malta to use electricity.
Then, in 1975, the Maltese government took over the building. And with that, was a changing of the name of the building after Robert Samut… who was the composer of the Maltese national anthem who was from Floriana.
So, now the neo-gothic style hall houses cultural activities… such as orchestral concert performances.
Then, in this area you’ll see this…
Wignacourt Water Tower
The Wignacourt Water Tower was built in the early 1600’s, as an aqueduct system. Thus, bringing water from the hills around Mdina and Rabat… through to Floriana and Valletta.
Then, as you glance around the tower you’ll see a mass of trees and garden area…
Argotti Botanical Gardens
The Argotti Botanical Gardens were originally 2 separate gardens… which were built in the early 1700’s. So, one of the gardens was owned by Knight Don Emmanuel Pinto de Fonseca… and the other garden owned by Spanish knight, Ignatius de Argote et Gusman.
Then, in 1741, Argote bought Pinto’s part of the garden, making it his own. Thus, where the name of the botanical gardens was named.
Yet, back in the 1600’s the Knights of St John grew medicinal plants at St Elmo… which were then later transferred to Floriana in the 1800’s.
So nowadays, there are a variety of local and imported plant species including these…
Yet, as you wander around the gardens, make sure you check out the lovely views of Malta…
So, after visiting the peaceful Argotti Gardens… head back past Robert Samut Hall, towards the corner of Triq Sarria and St Anne Street. Here you’ll be able to see this…
The Lion Fountain
So, when we were on this self-guided walking tour of Floriana… there were workmen all around the Lion Fountain.
Originally, the Lion Fountain had the coat of arms of the Grand Master Vilhena. Yet, it now only has the Floriana’s coat of arms, separating it from Valletta. And, in 1728 the Lion Fountain came to fruition.
Then, during the wars and after them… the Lion Fountain was preserved, until the night of 31st December 1958, when it was re-erected.
So, heading down St Anne Street further away from Floriana and Valletta, you’ll end up seeing this…
Porte des Bombes
So, to see the Porte des Bombes in all its glory, you’ll need to head towards the Bombi bus stops. And, Paul scampered his way into the middle road island to get this photo…
A massive difference compared to the other photo, right?
So, as you can see by the shape of this construction, the Porte des Bombes was the main gate into and out of Floriana.
And, its Baroque style design was by Charles François de Mondion Mondion… with the construction in 1721 by Grand Master Perellos. Plus, you can see that on top of the gate is a coat of arms, which is of Grand Master Perellos.
Yet, originally Portes des Bombes had only a single gate. And, over time there have been many changes, including the addition of the second gate in 1868.
Then, head back onto St Anne Street, in the direction of Valletta.
And, where you see the Lion Fountain is a small street to your right. Then, as you wander down this street, called Pjazza Robert Sammut you’ll see a statue…
Pietro Paolo Floriani
So, this statue is in dedication to Pietro Paolo Floriani. And, as mentioned earlier… he was the engineer who helped build the fortifications in Floriana.
And similar to the Pjazza San Publiju, you can see granaries here too… but, on a much smaller scale.
Then, take the street on the next right, which is F.S. Fenech, and follow the road until it loops round until you see this…
Chapel of the Madonna of Lourdes
When we looked at it we thought it was a cute little chapel… with its yellow, white and reddish dome and tower on top.
Yet, as we researched further, there’s more to this cute chapel from a historical perspective.
So, the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes has an important history for the Maltese… where its dedication is to Our Lady.
It’s said that many apparitions were happening in 1858… so a statue of Bernardina on her knees was built in front of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Yet, during World War II, the statue was put in safe-keeping, then brought back to the chapel in 1946.
So, for those who are believers… this may be a landmark you may like to visit when in Floriana.
Then, only meters away is this…
The Capuchins Church and Friary
The first Capuchins were said to have been in Malta in 1588. And, the Grand Master de Verdalla, was proposing to invite the Capuchin Order to open a convent in Malta.
Thus, the Capuchins Church was erected, and later a friary as well. And, it was interesting to discover that as a result of the Capuchin Order… the churches and friars had to be in more remote areas.
So, this is probably why we didn’t know about the Capuchins Church, and Chapel of the Madonna of Lourdes… until we went exploring. Or, was it someone or something that was beckoning us to come!!!!
So, after your visit here, head back onto St Anne Street, which was and still is a main thoroughfare in Floriana.
Then, at the end of St Anne Street, you’ll reach a major roundabout and see this…
Originally, this War Memorial in the form of a Latin cross… was constructed in memory of those who were killed in World War I. Then, it was later altered to include those who died in World War II.
And, during certain times of the day… there are 2 flames that burn on either side of the War Memorial.
So, as you wander towards Valletta, you’ll see on your right the magnificent Grand Harbour. Plus, you may see grandiose ships like these…
So, in this area is…
Pinto Wharf (Valletta Waterfront)
Now, while Pinto Wharf is in Floriana, it’s also known as Valletta Waterfront! From here, there are paths that lead down to the wharf and gardens.
And, the views here are beautiful of the Grand Harbour, the 3 Cities as well as Valletta…
So, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the serenity and views.
And with that, this is where we end our self-guided walking tour of Floriana Malta.
Yet, most people would overlook Floriana as one of the places to visit in Malta. But from this post, we’d say that Floriana is a significant place in Maltese history.
And, after your visit to Floriana… you may be feeling peckish, thirsty or wanting to see more of Malta.
So, check out our blog about 10 Things To Do In Valletta. But, while you’re in Floriana, here’s some other places to grab a bite to eat…
Where To Eat In Floriana
If you’re after the traditional Maltese cheesecakes, otherwise known as pastizzis… then you can definitely try some in Floriana. And, the other main flavor is pea pastizzi.
Plus, some of the pastizzerias have other options including chicken pastizzis.
So, the pastizzerias you could try include The Original Sphinx on St Anne Street, or for one of our favorites… the Pie Master on Vincenzo Dimech Road.
Need to quench your thirst or have something more substantial? Then, head on over to The Granaries Restaurant, and get a view of St Publius Church too.
And, if you’re a sweet tooth like me or need a coffee zing… then why not check out this place…
Coffee and Sweets
So, while Paul was gorging on pastizzis, I tried one of Tad Dulcier’s sweet treats…
The cute little lemon meringue pie was different to what I’d had in the past, yet, not so much in a bad way. So, the meringue was more crusty than others I’d had, and the lemon was not as tart.
But hey, each to their own. And, if I was back in Floriana I’d still go back to try more of the treats they had on display.
Now, while Valletta is popular for tourists for accommodation, you may like to consider staying in Floriana…
Accommodation In Floriana Malta
Now, Floriana ain’t no Valletta, but because of its convenient location at the major bus terminal near Triton Fountain and the Valletta City Gates… it may be an area to consider getting accommodation.
So, while Paul and I were looking for accommodation in Valletta… we also searched for places in Floriana. That’s partly because we were running out of options in Valletta!
Yet, it helped us to discover that if you’re on a stricter budget, but want to be walking distance to the heart of Valletta… Floriana offers some more affordable and great accommodation nearby.
And, we found that there were some great deals and places on Airbnb.
So, to wrap up our blog post about our self-guided walking tour of what to do in Floriana… if you have time, do go have a look around. It has a rich history that many would overlook.
Enjoy your stay in Valletta, Floriana… or wherever you decide to visit in Malta!
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