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# 61 J A N UA R Y 201 8


VA L L E T TA I N A L L I T S G L O R Y p. 10 A well-deserved focus on the European Capital of Culture 2018. TA L K O F T H E T O W N p. 50 This month take a look at what Valletta has to offer.

We are

Honoured We would like to thank our esteemed guests for their loyalty in 2017. It has been a pleasure to bring enjoyment and entertainment to all. We wish you a very happy and a prosperous new year. May this year 2018 bring you luck and laughter.

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#61 JANUARY 2018

CONTENTS 38 56 10 . VA L L E T TA I N A L L I T S G L O R Y

A well-deserved focus on the European Capital of Culture, 2018.

14 . M A LTA & G O Z O I N N U M B E R S Facts and figures about the Maltese islands.

1 5 . ARE WE THERE YET? Ever wondered how to address your fear of flying? 20 . T H E L O N G E S T K N I G H T A burial fit for a Grand Master.

24 . H I G H F LY I N G D E N T I S T R Y How to keep patients as comfortable as possible at the dentist.


26. A WALK FROM WIED GĦASRI TO BIRŻEBBUĠA The achievable task... another 'Only in Malta' situation.

30. SOMETHING STRANGE THIS WAY COMES A bedtime story for those thick-skinned few. 32 . W H AT ' S H A P P E N I N G I N M A LTA A collection of events to keep you occupied this month.

3 8 . T H E F O U N TA I N S O F VA L L E T TA Penny for your thoughts... throw your lucky coin into these fountains.

4 4 . S I C I LY ' S N E W G O -T O

Discover the secrets of Comiso - our latest route.



5 0 . TA L K O F T H E T O W N

This month we're focusing on Valletta – our capital, with so much to offer.

54. ISL AND HIGHLIGHT S Here’s what not to miss while visiting the Maltese Islands. 56. THE MC ON A MISSION A London-based MC with a soft spot for Malta. 58. A SIGHT TO BEHOLD The most iconic angles and vistas of a city. 6 3 . H A L L O F M I R R O R S

Mark and Nancy - the independent couple.

6 6 . M A LT E S E M A R K E T S A walk around some of Malta's most idiosyncratic markets.

6 8 . THE COLUMNS Inspiration and discovery. A life-long journey.


The concept behind the cultural innovation in Valletta.

92 . R E S TAU R A N T & B A R G U I D E

Thinking about your next meal? Here are this month’s top picks.

8 4 . A I R M A LTA N E W S

A round-up of this month’s news.

92 . F L I G H T A N D C O M PA N Y I N F O R M AT I O N

All you need to know about flying with Air Malta.

9 4 . D E S T I N AT I O N I N F O R M AT I O N

Planning a trip? Take a look at all of Air Malta’s flight routes and code-sharing routes here.

96 . ELEC TRONIC DE VICE INFORM ATION All the information you need with regards to phone, laptop and tablet usage onboard.

70 . B O U T I Q U E H O T E L S

The top chic hotels that give Malta its elegance.

Find the Knight Win a Flight Two readers have the chance to win a complimentary return ticket each to travel on any scheduled Air Malta destination (excluding taxes and charges). All you have to do is find the small Air Malta Knight who stars in the airline’s safety video and is hidden somewhere in this magazine. Send us an e-mail on with the page number where you managed to locate our knight, together with a picture of the competition applicant’s airport boarding card. Closing date is the last day of the month.

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# 61 J A N UA R Y 201 8


ON THE COVER Valletta's Architecture. From the traditional gallerija to the cathedrals in the skyline, Valletta's architectural splendor evokes character and culture. Welcome to V18 - The European Capital of Culture. T H E L O N G E S T K N I G H T p. 20 A burial fit for a Grand Master. TA L K O F T H E T O W N p. 50 This month take a look at what Valletta has to offer.


MEET THE TEAM EDITORIAL AND DESIGN TBWA\ANG EXECUTIVE EDITOR Kristina Cassar Dowling SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Renata Vella CONTRIBUTORS Air Malta Alessia Caruana Andrei Vella Laurenti Christine Spiteri Fiona Mercieca Giulia Privitelli

Helen Raine Jean Paul Demajo Julianne Grima Nikki Petroni Paul Vassallo Richard Borg TCD Valletta Waterfront Veronica Stivala PHOTOGRAPHERS Carl Farrugia Daniel Cilia Ian Attard Michele Agius Tonio Schembri

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE FEATURED ON IL-BIZZILLA? For advertising opportunities and restaurant listings, get in touch with Renata, or Meridith, or (+356) 2142 4924 For anything related to editorial or photography, contact Kristina on

The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights with regards to copyright. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or copied by any means without the written consent of the publisher. Editorial features and opinions expressed in il-Bizzilla do not necessarily reflect the views of Air Malta, the publisher, or the editorial team. Both Air Malta and the Publisher do not accept responsibility for commercial and advertising content. Although the authors and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this magazine was correct before going to print, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Special thanks to the Malta Tourism Authority, Air Malta, Shutterstock and for the provision of photographic material. Printed in Malta by VelPrint Ltd. All magazine rights are reserved by Air Malta PLC.

HEAD OFFICE (+356) 21 31 0800 ST.JULIANS (+356) 21 31 0088 VALLETTA (+356) 21 31 0800

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Welcome to 2018 – a year that will

Valletta 2018 Foundation a successful

January opens the year with high

definitely bring a lot of great news

programme of events.

expectations, enthusiasm and a bucket-

to you, our guests. This year we will

load of resolutions. Whether this positive

see a lot of our developments and

For more information about

mindset will carry on throughout the

initiatives from 2017 come to fruition.

Air Malta and our flight schedules

year is an entirely different story, but, the

Over the last months we have worked

please visit and

determination and clear-set goals that

relentlessly on our growth strategy

we identify in our families, friends and

and this summer we will start to offer

and join our newsletter mailing list

colleagues is quite an inspiring feeling.

a string of new services.

to receive great offers directly in your inbox.

We have secured our ninth aircraft

As for me, January is a month for all the aforementioned, I plan my year on a

that will join our fleet in March. This

At Air Malta we are customer-driven

personal, professional and academic level.

will help us fly around 2,000 additional

and are always keen to know what

My goals for this year are quite ambitious

flights this year over and above what

we could do better to improve your

but I’m set on ticking a few boxes off my

we flew in 2017.

Air Malta flight experience. Visit

list. The obvious ‘eat better’ and ‘exercise to

more’ will probably end up at the bottom

Apart from new frequencies and

answer a few short questions about

of my list - as they do every year but the

destinations we are also working

your flight with us and you can win

rest, I hope, the path will remain clear.

hard on other projects including

one of 10 free return Air Malta flights

upgrading our inflight menu in both

tickets we are offering every month. It

When it comes to Il-Bizzilla, you will see a

our economy and business class and

really only takes 2 minutes!

few changes take place throughout the year,

we are planning to launch this in the next months.

with additional features, varied content and Thank you for choosing Air Malta.

more opportunities for you to advertise with

As our welcomed guest we hope to

us. This month we’ve started off, or rather

January 2018 is a memorable time

see you onboard another one of our

continued, with Valletta as our top location

for Malta as our capital city Valletta

flights soon.

- with V18 in full view, we’re excited to see

has been crowned the European Capital of Culture. It has taken years of hard work, preparations and above all determination to see this

Joseph Galea

what cultural shifts, artistic adventures or theatrical stunts will come about in the coming months.

Acting CEO Air Malta

incredible celebration come through.

I’d like to end my note this month by

Air Malta has been an intrinsic part of

wishing you a Happy New Year full of good

promoting our capital as the European

opportunities, happiness and health. Be true

City of Culture by having one of our

to yourself and always look on the bright side

aircraft appropriately branded and flying with the Valletta V18 livery promoting this occasion across our European network. We augur the

Have a safe flight,


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Call us for an appointment on (+356) 2275 1133 to discover more about our different Wealth Management Services.


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Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is licensed to conduct investment services business by the Malta Financial Services Authority.





alletta 2018 is upon us. What's that you ask? Only the cultural programme that's been in the works since Malta was officially announced Europe's capital of culture for 2018 in early 2012. Anticipation has been building ever since, and everyone's eager to see what the creative minds behind the scenes of the foundation responsible for the programme have in store for all us lucky locals and visiting tourists. Don't be fooled, the title may say Valletta 2018, but this year's jam-packed cultural calendar aims to focus on so much more than just our charming capital city. Participants and creatives have set their sights on all sorts of interesting venues that venture very far from the centre crowned Europe's Capital. So, if you have a f lair for the arts and appreciate a good show, then look no further than Malta for your 2018 go to destination. The programme which is being advertised as an ''island-wide festa� hopes to be a nation-wide celebration of Maltese culture and European life. The year-long calendar will boast festivals, concerts, performances both musical and theatrical, visual arts projects and all sorts of family-friendly outings that range from the extremely innovative to the very expected. But some of you may be wondering what exactly is a festa? The word festa is a term often used in Mediterranean countries to describe a local celebration dedicated to a respective town's patron saint. In Malta we take our festa culture very seriously, whereby more or less every town has their own festa dedicated to their own patron saint (sometimes even having more than one in the same town), all being traditionally celebrated at different times throughout the year. Bands, marches, music, merriment, fireworks and colour, lots and lots of colour. So it comes as no surprise that for Valletta 2018 it was decided that this theme be adopted as it's go to source of inspiration.



If you have a flair for the arts and appreciate a good show, then look no further than Malta for your 2018 go to destination

The opening ceremony, which will take place between the 14 and the 21 of January 2018, promises to be a weeklong celebration drawing crowds to the heart of Malta's capital with all sorts of music and entertainment that will see all four of Valletta's principal squares turned into stages with innovative acrobatic routines by talented and world-renowned Catalan theatrical group La Fura del Baus, while Ĺťfin Malta, our national dance company, will offer a series of varied contemporary dance performances choreographed especially for this magical event. The lines between audience and performer will be blurred, whereby the entire city will come to life throughout each and every one of these well-curated pieces, all enhanced by the use of digital wall projections, video art and multitudes of musical compositions. During the year, we can also expect the return of highly anticipated Maltese festival favourites like: Notte Bianca, The Valletta Pageant of the Seas, The Malta Jazz Festival, Earth Garden and ĹťiguĹťajg to name a few. With the focal point of the 2018 programme of events being the celebration of cultures and heritage in the most of innovative ways possible, it's only expected that one of the many enticing languages used to

bring about such conversation would be… food. Our gastronomic heritage is a pivotal part of the beating heart of us Maltese. The island has all sorts of traditional Mediterranean delicacies that are unique to our culture and will be celebrated alongside those of other neighbouring European countries in projects like Cantina whereby visionary artist Laika has come up with an intriguing interactive and sensory performance which will place food, taste and smell at the centre of her stage in the heart of Malta's Ta’ Qali crafts village in May. If you're more of a fish person and are interested in unravelling the curiosities of local tuna farms, then Tuna Lies Tuna Truth is definitely the show for you. This interactive piece, stitched together by acclaimed design atelier Honey & Bunny promises to bring ''the whole truth'' about local tuna to its audiences. But what about the visual arts? Rest assured that this capital of culture has a couple of wonderfully challenging projects in store for the artistically inclined. Amongst a sea of exhibitions focusing on what one could consider predictable themes and subjects, the piece titled Exiled Homes stands out like a needle in a haystack. The project, curated by Elise Billiard, will

highlight a reality that has been overlooked for some time, namely the dramatic shift in elderly home care in Malta through the employment of Filipino carers and housekeepers. This piece which will be set up in Mqabba's Old Hospital throughout June 2018, aims to explore the stories of Filipino carers and their employers through the artistic direction of Aglaia Haritz and Abdelaziz Zerrou. This all to be done in the hopes of cultivating a sense of compassion, respect and tolerance in all audiences that cross paths with this piece. Another stand-out is the immersive hybrid performance by Elli Papakonstantinou, Każin Barokk. This intriguing performance piece is set to run between the 7 and 9 September 2018 at Birgu’s monumental Notre Dame Gate. Papakonstantinou, with the involvement of local students and artists, will present a fluid pastiche of visuals, text, music and interviews which will explore all the qualities of this so-called ‘’baroque’’ culture that is so intrinsically woven into our Maltese heritage. If you’re as excited as we are, then we hope to see you in Valletta for the programme’s highly anticipated inaugural celebration in January. Welcome to Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2018, please, be our guest.




















28km long/14.5km wide

















ARE WE THERE YET? Psychotherapist and Executive Chairperson of Victim Support Malta Julianne Grima gives us a few pointers on how to address our flying fears.


ver wonder why some people are afraid of flying? Perhaps a better question would be “why aren’t we all afraid of flying”? To the many who have not fared well in the study of physics, have not read a degree in engineering or ever manned a plane, the sheer idea that a metal contraption weighing over 300 metric tons (I had to Google that one and still I’m not sure I understood the answer), can lift off the ground and suspend itself at high altitude for miles and miles, is incomprehensible and quite frankly just plain wrong. That’s generally how people who are afraid of flying think. Fear is a result of anxiety. I find that the easiest description of anxiety is to explain that this carries the same energy as excitement, a shared adrenalin rush with the imperative difference that people suffering the uneasiness of anxiety generally tend to think in loops. A vicious cyclical train of negative thoughts that

commonly focus on situations that are located in the future, over which we have no control. The cyclical nature of this form of thinking is the psyche’s way of attempting to solve the riddle and feel in control. Here’s a relatable example: “I have a flight to catch tomorrow at 8am. What if I don’t hear my alarm and oversleep? OK, I’ve set three alarms now, so that’s sorted. But what if there’s traffic in the morning and I still show up too late to catch my flight? Ok I’ve re-set my alarms to an earlier time. Super! Did I pack my passport? I’m sure I did. I’d better sleep because it’s getting late. OK. I’d better go and double-check that I packed my passport. I just know I’m going to miss that flight. Passport sorted. I can sleep now. Z z z z. Was the flight at 8am or did I have to be at the airport at 8am?” I once did this myself, stressed all night, finally dozed off at 4am, arrived just as the flight was boarding and by the time the plane took off, I was a total anxious mess.




People who are uneasy flying are perturbed with relinquishing control. Being on a plane is all about putting your trust into the hands of complete strangers, pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers to mention a few. An anxiety attack feels to many like the onset of what they imagine a heart attack would feel like. Shortness of breath, nausea, panic, foggy chaotic thinking, sprinkled with a touch of agoraphobia and claustrophobia, you know, that feeling that the space you encumber is too small and the walls are closing in on you. So all this taken into consideration, it’s no wonder people who are afraid of flying start to feel anxious and possibly shift into full-blown panic attack mid-flight. If a fear of flying relies predominantly on a petrification that not being in control can result in death, perhaps equipping ourselves with a reality check will come in handy. In December 2016, Oliver Smith at the Telegraph reported an average of 3.5 billion air travellers annually, he calculated, based on decades of statistics that the average death toll as a result of flying is 1 per ten million, seven hundred sixty-nine thousand two hundred thirty passengers flown. By comparison the World Health Organisation reported in 2015 that approximately 1.25 million people die each year on the world's roads and between 20 and 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries. In a nutshell, apparently we’re safer in the air than on the roads. Not all hope is shot to hell. If your anxiety relates to a perceived loss of control, remember there is already so much you are not in complete control of, and yet, you survive and well enough to catch this flight. Think of all the hardship you have overcome, the traumas, the shocks, and the lesser evils. Remember that time you thought that wretched flu would get the better of you, surviving back pain, end of a relationship, child birth and the more mundane stuff like “will I make it to the loo in time…”? You are stronger and far more resilient than you give yourself credit for. If you’re not buying into my little pep talk, here are a few suggestions stemming from fifteen years experience in the field.


SLOW DOWN YOUR BREATHING When the system starts to hyperventilate (shortness and speed of breath) it is functioning from the sympathetic nervous system with a flight or fight response. We need to shift into parasympathetic nervous system to elicit a relaxed response. Slow down your breathing by inhaling (through the nose) to the count of 5 and exhaling through the mouth to the same count. Do this repeatedly until your heart stops feeling like it is about to pound out of your chest.


You are safe and in the good hands of trained and experienced professionals

NAME YOUR ANXIETY Acknowledging that the symptoms you are experiencing are nothing more than an elevated adrenalin rush resulting in anxiety will help you gain perspective. Anxiety is just a feeling, it is an emotional reaction and just like you are able to harness your rage in traffic and laughter when you realize the person yelling at you forgot his fly open, you can take charge of this too. DISTRACT YOURSELF Watch a movie, listen to music, read this entire magazine, play a game, stretch your legs up and down the isle, investigate the bathrooms, chat with the stewards, chat with a total stranger. The key here is to immerse yourself into an activity that removes the focus from your symptoms and their triggers. USE POSITIVE SELF-TALK Remember that your mind is playing tricks on you. You are safe and in the good hands of trained and experienced professionals. Block your negative self-talk and replace with more positive thoughts. I find that digging into my mental bank of positive previous experiences also makes for a healthy distraction. Think back, what was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen? How many people have you kissed? LIQUID COURAGE If you pre-empted this happening and had the foresight to get a prescribed mild anxiolytic, this would probably be a good time to administer it. One glass of wine will probably have the same effect. It’s one or the other.

Julianne Grima

In conclusion, do remember that this is a time-bound experience and this flight will come to an end. In fact, that is the one factor you can actually predict, how much time you have left. Let the countdown begin.








istorically of great cultural and economic importance, the Valletta Waterfront has been restored and revitalised by the Valletta Cruise Port consortium to suit the ever-changing requirements of a dynamic Grand Harbour. The Valletta Waterfront destination combines food, retail and entertainment outlets within a maritime hub, which for the past 15 years has proved to be a highly popular destination. The small chapel of the Flight to Egypt by the Holy Family further creates a unique ‘village’ ambience. The establishment’s indoor dining areas are situated inside the tastefully refurbished, historical stores, originally constructed by Grand Master Pinto in 1752. Today, ushering in a modern era, the iconic doors have been revived with an artistic impression of colour, representing the storage of goods from days past, with blue for fish, green for produce, yellow for wheat and red for wine. For those in search of a relaxing time with good food and entertainment, the Valletta Waterfront’s many restaurants and bars present a variety of offerings,

catering to different tastes, with dining right at the water’s edge. 12 outlets located along the Valletta Waterfront promenade provide a variety of dining experiences for any type of event or party. From a quick drink to an elaborate meal, Valletta Waterfront offers that perfect venue, with a wide variety of menu options that can be customised to one’s taste and budget. Browse the shops for interesting gifts - from jewellery, books, handmade ceramics, local glass and more. Our little guests can enjoy free activities including: balloon modelling, face painting, crafts, games, colouring-ins, meet & greets with all-time favourite characters, puppet shows, bouncy castles and more, every Saturday evening (from 19.30hrs onwards) and Sunday afternoons (from 12.30hrs onwards). A traditional animal blessing will be held on Sunday 21 January 2018 in front of the Chapel. The activity takes the form of a défilé starting with bigger animals, followed by smaller ones. The afternoon event includes a number of activities highlighting animal welfare and nature.

This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the balmy Maltese winter weather – with inside seating and heated outside areas for colder days, whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of harbour life.

ARRIVING TO THE VALLETTA WATERFRONT • Valletta circular bus (133) from the main bus terminal. • Valletta Waterfront features on most hop-on hop-off buses’ routes. You will be dropped off a few metres away. • The Upper Barrakka panoramic lift. It is also possible to combine the ticket for the lift with the ferry crossing across the Grand Harbour to or from The Three Cities. • Electric cabs are available from just outside Valletta. • Taxis to the Valletta Waterfront are available to and from your accommodation. • Parking is also convenient. One may park on the quays starting from €3.00, in the Atrium parking located in the middle of the promenade, or free of charge on the road itself. • Berthing space for your boat is available at Laguna Marina on request.

For more information visit



THE LONGEST KNIGHT The floor of St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta is a spectacular patchwork of inlaid marble tiles, each one the burial spot for a Knight of the Order of St John. Many of the chapels are lined with even more ornate tombs for the most famous Grand Masters. Beneath each of the 400 or so marble slabs or sarcophagi, lies a man who lived a life of high adventure. Helen Raine presents four of the most swashbuckling stories. PHIL IPPE V IL L IER S DE L'ISL E A DA M Grand Master: 1521 – 1534 Tomb location – Crypt For Malta, it all began with L’Isle Adam, who was elected as Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St John in Rhodes. Shortly afterwards, he was unceremonially ousted from that island by the Ottoman forces of Sultan Suleiman and found himself in the wilderness, forced to island-hop from Crete to Messina, Viterbo and Nice. He’s described by historian Ann Williams as “a strong and able man”, who “guided the Order in the uncertain years of wandering, keeping it independent from Pope and King.” He was eventually granted the islands of Malta and Gozo by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The Maltese Knights were established, and L’Isle Adam sailed in The Grand Harbour in 1530. The annual rent for the Islands was two Maltese Falcons, payable on All Souls’ Day to the Viceroy of Sicily. L’Isle Adam was presented with a symbolic silver key at Mdina with great fanfare, although the local nobility was less than thrilled by his arrival. L’Isle Adam initially set up in Birgu, at the entrance of the harbour. Construction of auberges began and he also oversaw the building of a palace and set up a hospital. The first Grand Master of Malta died of fever on

21 August 1534 in Rabat and was buried in Fort St Angelo. His remains were reburied in the Crypt of the Cathedral towards the end of the 16th century. N ICOL A S COTON ER Grand Master: 1663 – 1680 Tomb Location – Chapel of Auvergne Cotoner was Bailiff of Majorca when his brother died, leaving the position of Grand Master open. During his reign, the siege of Candia (now Heraklion, Crete) was finally won by the Turks. Cotoner became seriously concerned that the Ottoman empire might now consider invading Malta, particularly since the Order had provided help to the Venetians during the siege. To improve the island’s defences, he brought in Italian engineer Count Valperga who designed the ‘Cottonera Lines’. These form the outer defences of the Three Cites - Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua - you can still see them today. They were intended to accommodate 40,000 people in the event of an attack. The first stone was laid at the bastion of St Nicholas in 1670. Work went on for ten years until the money ran out (they were eventually completed in 1760). Cotoner also added to the existing fortifications of Floriana and built Fort Ricasoli at the entrance of the Grand Harbour, naming it after the Florentine Knight who donated 30,000 Maltese scudi (the official currency at the time) to have it built.

Cotoner died in 1680 and was buried in the Co-Cathedral that had been made splendid under this reign

Cotoner was forward thinking. He founded a school of anatomy and medicine; supervised the art work and decoration in the Co-Cathedral; introduced windmills to Malta for grinding corn; and was a good diplomat, increasing the prestige of the order abroad. This Grand Master was also in command when plague broke out in Malta in 1675. He set up a lazaretto (quarantine station) in Marsamuscetto harbour (now known as Marsamxett) and worked hard to try to stop the deadly spread of the disease. Even so, it became the worst epidemic in Maltese history, raging for six months and killing many knights,

priests and doctors as well as the peasants – over 10,000 people died, about a sixth of the population. Cotoner died in 1680 and was buried in the Co-Cathedral that had been made splendid under this reign. You’ll find his tomb on the right side of the main altar in the chapel of the langue of Aragon. GR EG OIR E C A R A FA Grand Master: 1680 – 1690 Tomb Location – Chapel of Italy Gregoire Carafa became Grand Master only after some serious intrigue. He was pitted against two mighty opponents, Adrian de Wignacourt and Bertrand de Moretton Chabrillan but he triumphed, the first Italian to


R A MON PER EL LOS Y ROCC A F U L Grand Master: 1697 – 1720 Tomb Location – Chapel of Aragon

be chosen in 128 years. No doubt his military successes helped - in 1656, he captured eleven Ottoman ships at the Battle of Dardanelles. His first job was to complete fortifications at Floriana and continue work on the Cottonera Lines; he went on to oversee the construction of four batteries at Fort St Angelo (his name appears on a plaque above the main gate) and the rebuilding of St Elmo to protect the Grand Harbour. The Ottoman fleet continued to be a thorn in the side of the Knights and in 1683, Emperor Leopold wrote a letter to Carafa thanking him for protecting the Christian world from the Turks. An alliance soon formed between the

Pope, the King of Poland, the Republic of Venice and the Knights of Malta – the group vowed to rid themselves of the ‘Infidels’ for good. Author Pierre de Kerdu describes the Maltese squadron putting to sea and spreading ‘terror among the infidels’, forcing the Ottoman navy out of the Adriatic, as the islands of Previsa, Santa Maura and Corva fell to the Christians. Unfortunately, the loss of more than twenty Knights and 400 Maltese at Negropont in 1689 and the subsequent failure to capture the fort, was taken hard by Carafa and he died shortly afterwards. His tomb is located in the Chapel of Italy to the top left of the Nave.

The Spaniard Ramon Perellos y Roccaful was sixty years when he was unanimously elected to the position of Grand Master. He pressed forward with naval derring-do, continuing to harry the Turks by sea. His fleet captured a large Turkish man-ofwar with eighty guns but Perelles y Roccaful was still concerned about the threat from the expanding Turkish navy. He commissioned and paid for a powerful new vessel, the San Raimondo, and added another three ships paid for by the treasury, all commanded by the Knight St Pierre. In 1707 one of these vessels, commanded by the Knight De Langon, blasted through the Algerian fleet, which was blocking Oran, and was able to resupply the besieged Spaniards there with ammunition. Perellos y Roccaful also presided over a victory against the Turks in Gozo. In 1708, they landed on the island, but were quickly defeated by De Langon, losing two ships. Over 400 men were taken prisoner including the infamous Tripolitan commander Stamboli. Perellos was also keen on law and order. He tried to curb what de Kerdu called the ‘numerous abuses which had crept into the order’, forbidding the wearing of gold and silver and prohibiting card games such as hazard. The Chapel of Aragon is the most richly decorated in the Cathedral and is located to the top right of the Nave.





any people toil with the idea of having their teeth fixed. Some go ahead with it and others don’t. The main reasons why patients choose not to undergo the treatment are the following. DENTAL PHOBIA This is the most common reason for not visiting the dentist. A history of a childhood or even adulthood experience with a dentist that didn’t go too well may put someone off from seeking dental help for life. Tooth deterioration proceeds and things get worse. Years go by and one day the situation gets too dire and the visit is a must. The phobia can only be overcome with a dentist that understands your fear and one that gives you the necessary time and effort to help you overcome your fear. For those that need some additional help, sedation works wonders. TIME Just like with other body parts, our mouth requires maintenance and at times treatment. Lack of maintenance may lead to breakdown, in this case dental caries, gum disease or worse. A bi-annual visit involving a check-up and scaling may help reduce dental treatment. Nowadays clinics send out reminders and even call you to make appointments. Online booking makes it even easier. Time however is something that only patients can supply dentists with. EXPENSE Dentistry can be an expensive affair. Fillings and cleaning will surely not break the bank but when it comes to tooth replacement or alignment with braces, the expenses can reach four or five figures. Luckily some dentists offer payment plans and leeway for payments. Lengthy treatment plans spanning 6-9 months allow patients to feel more comfortable knowing the payment is not done all at once.

Extra-oral before pre-op

Extra-oral after pre-op

Intra-oral before pre-op

Intra-oral after pre-op

LACK OF EDUCATION If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. Right? Wrong. Nowadays, with so much awareness, we know better. We must start by taking our children to the dentist from a young age and get them into the habit of taking care of their teeth. Don’t allow the first appointment of your child to be one when he or she is in pain. This makes the whole experience a much more enduring one. The above reasons may lead patients to have a very uncomfortable dentition. Lack of comfort on eating and drinking may lead to a lower quality of life. With

Dr Jean Paul Demajo

patient willingness and dedication on both sides of the dentist-patient relationship this scenario can be managed very well. Ask your dentist. A CASE SCENARIO A middle-aged lady seeks to improve her dentition and overall smile. She wishes to replace a few missing teeth and also have her remaining teeth look better. Redoing her old crowns and bridges as well as replacing her missing teeth made her feel more comfortable both smiling and eating.


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ost of us locals know the islands through our car’s windscreen. Even though distances are short, they’re never short enough, and we drive everywhere. So, when I was presented with the challenge of walking across my country, I couldn’t resist. It was a crazy idea, but nonetheless doable, all in a mere 8 hours. Walking from the western village of Għarb in Gozo to Birżebbugia, the south-east point of Malta, provided an alternative perspective, lots of blisters and a chance to connect with my surroundings on a deeper level; walking from point to point was a way to appreciate how diverse and accessible Malta is. If you have the luxury of replicating this walk during your stay here, these are some of the sites you should definitely spend more time in: PHASE 1: GOZO - 13K - 2 HOURS Terrain: Easy / downhill elevation


When I was presented with the challenge of walking across my country, I couldn’t resist. It was a crazy idea, but nonetheless doable, all in a mere 8 hours

TA’ PINU SHR INE, GĦ A R B Malta’s national shrine attracts pilgrims from all over the world. It is unlike most of the churches you’ll see in Malta and Gozo, which are planted in the heart of the village - Ta’ Pinu stands strikingly at the edge of a cliff, surrounded by the countryside in Għarb. No matter your faith, you will be sure to marvel at the sense of serenity this the Basilica holds. V ICTOR I A, R A BAT Get lost within the maze of the Gozitan capital’s narrow roads and tight alleys until you arrive in Pjazza San Ġorġ. Have a seat at one of the bars and relax over a pint of ice-cold Cisk, before emerging back into the main square where the market is usually set up. Across the road, you’ll find the Citadel, a majestic fortress boasting a view of the entire island of Gozo and if lucky, even Comino and Malta.



02. 03.


MĠA R R I X-X INI Nestled between the villages Sannat and Għajnsielem, the once-forgotten bay called Mġarr ix-Xini recently rose to fame after featuring in an Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt movie titled By the Sea. It is a romantic place, and if you’re not brave enough to have a dip in January, you can go for a lovely hike around the watchtower until you reach Fort Chambray.

PHASE 2: MALTA - 32K - 6HOURS Terrain: Elevated MELLIEĦ A Perched on top of a hill, the village most frequented during the summer season is renowned among locals and tourists alike for the largest sandy beach in the country, Mellieħa Bay (or as the locals call it, l-Għadira, literally, “the pond”). One of the most beautiful views you can get is from the little park tucked behind the cemetery. From there, you can admire the beach’s turquoise waters, the silhouette of Gozo and the enchanting Red Tower.



01. Citadel in Victoria, Gozo 02. Mġarr ix-Xini Bay, Gozo 03. Ta' Pinu Church, Nadur, Gozo 04. L-Għadira, Mellieħa 05. Red Tower, Mellieħa 06. Chadwick Lakes, Mtarfa


M A NIK ATA Malta’s farming hamlet is the country’s main source of genuine local products, such as potatoes, watermelon, strawberries, artichokes, honey depending what’s in season. If you’re interested in hiking, you will definitely appreciate Malta’s rural landscape here. Eventually, you’re bound to come across a small unusual building, inspired by circular stone huts ubiquitous in the region, where farmers store their tools. The building, is actually a chapel dedicated to St Joseph, and was designed by Maltese architect, Richard England. CH A DW ICK L A KES Malta’s only freshwater stream, Chadwick Lakes, is situated between Rabat and Mtarfa and flow all the way to the limits of Mosta. They were built towards the end of the 19th century by a British engineer, Osbert Chadwick, to preserve rainwater and create a niche for biodiversity. Nowadays, the reservoir system doubles as a natural park where locals enjoy walking and trekking during sunny winters. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot tadpoles in the stream.


BIR ŻEBBUĠA Located deep in the southeast, Birżebbuġa houses the earliest evidence of human presence on the Maltese Islands. Għar Dalam (meaning ‘dark cave’) contains artefacts dating from as early as 7,400 years, of which experts believe Malta was once connected to continental Europe via land bridge, which broke off during the Ice Age. History buffs should definitely visit the cave and its adjacent museum.






he water at the bottom of the well lies still and undisturbed. Moss and algae grow and flourish in the gloom, an indication that the stony reservoir has not been maintained for a while. With a muffled grunt, the well-cover is manoeuvred aside. Without a lid, sunlight now attempts to pierce the gloom. Over the lip of the shaft, a young face is presented, blotting out the light. A child who has been sent to collect water, barely old enough to lift the heavy bucket. The child’s eyes bulge with curiosity as they peer intently down into poorly-lit profoundness. The pail’s base strikes the surface of the water with a splash and sinks gurgling, swallowed into inky blackness. Using the beam support and crank, the child brings the water vessel sloshing and clattering up the well-shaft again. The child’s arms tire with winding the crank. It takes a moment to rest, propping itself up against the wall and leaning over to check the bucket’s progress. Gazing back out of the gloom is a horrific face, bone-white skin stretched across gaunt, hairless features. Blank sockets where eyes should be nestled, and a lipless mouth which pulls back into a mirthless, toothy grin. Before the child can even express its feelings about this new-found terror, slender yet powerful limbs reach up, clawing and grasping. Long, spider-like toes interlock behind the child’s scalp and damp palms cradle its head, bringing a suffocating stench of humidity and decay. The creature

tilts backwards, slipping off the bucket it was perched on. It tumbles back down into that inky abyss with its prize, disappearing with a splash into the dark void. After a while, the water begins to settle. The water at the bottom of the well lies still and undisturbed. Gently, a red mist rises out of dark depths to settle on the surface. The story of the Il-Belliegħa (‘the one who swallows/gulps’) dates to a time when household running water was a non-existent facility. Houses were either equipped with a personal well in the backyard, or else needed to use the common water pump found at the corner of intertwining streets. Many children would spend their days playing in the backyard and, being children, many would succumb to the temptation of prising open the well-cover and checking out the inside of their well – sometimes with tragic consequences. The solution to this dilemma was to tell children the story of Il-Belliegħa, the Maltese well-monster who hides in water reservoirs and waits to steal away an overlyinquisitive youth. On a more realistic note, people would typically house a few eels in their well to keep the water fresh and clean, as the eels would eat away the algae and vegetation. Nowadays, wells are no longer as extensively used and the story of Il-Belliegħa is lost to the timeless, lurking depths.





this month 15th December 2017 - 7th January 2018 NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION Art Galleries, Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta The Palazzo de La Salle will be hosting the 52nd Malta Photographic Society’s Annual Exhibition at the Malta Society of Arts' newly-renovated Art Galleries upstairs. As in previous years, the Malta Photographic Society’s National Exhibition will showcase photos of participants and winners and works by members of the MPS and local residents.

22nd December 2017 – 2nd January 2018 CINDERELLA MFCC, Ta' Qali The world-famous fairy tale of the woman who loses a shoe and gains a kingdom gets the Maltese panto-treatment in MADC’s 2017 panto, Cinderella. Featuring not one but two Dames, and a whole array of lovable and hilarious characters, this is a show for the whole family!

26th - 30th December 2017 – 2nd - 7 th January 2018 COMEDY KNIGHTS: 5HOW ME THE FUNNY Salesian Theatre, Sliema Returning for their fifth comedy sketch show, the Comedy Knights promise to give you a side-stitch as they sing, act, dance and mime 2017’s most famous (and infamous) cultural and political news stories from Malta!



2nd - 7th January ALICE IN WONDERLAND Teatru Manoel, Valletta Directed by Anthony Bezzina, written by Malcolm Galea and musically directed by Kris Spiteri, Alice in Wonderland is not a pantomime to be missed. This year’s adventure will allow the audience to embark on an exciting and interactive journey through a magical wonderland.

13th - 27th January THE VALLETTA INTERNATIONAL BAROQUE FESTIVAL 2018 Various Locations around Malta Set up in 2013, the Valletta International Baroque Festival is aimed to structure the unique annual event that takes place in January. The baroque city of Valletta as well as other locations around our robust island transform into a showcase of history, culture and a spectacular celebration of art.

14th - 20th January VALLETTA 2018 OPENING Valletta 2018 will be an exciting year for anything cultural - with Valletta as the main hub. With a jam-packed calendar of events, tailored to suit the local necessity and expectation. Opening week will see crowds drawn to the city eager to commence the cultural year. Get ready for music, drama, art, installations and other expressions of art.

15th January FASTI DEL BAROCCO ROMANO St John’s co-Cathedral, Valletta Five extremely talented musicians have joined forces to create an intriguing and idiosyncratic sound, formulated with unfamiliar mis od strings, wind instruments and piano. Returning to the roots of modernism in a concerto at St John’s of the public’s viewing.



16th January BACH’S MUSICAL OFFERING REVISITED Teatru Manoel, Valletta Founder Giulio Prandi and the Ghislieri Choir and Consort are renowned for their period instruments ensemble. The Italian group will perform a selection of Bach’s masterpieces at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta on the 16th January. The esteemed choir have performed in many European festivals and will surely inspire the crowd during their rendition.

21st January ATTARD 10K Attard The 21st January will host Malta’s largest 10K race in Malta. Attard will be transformed into a marathon map where a flat and fast course can be expected. A great activity to get your heart pumping and your keep your family fit. Everyone’s a winner here - every participant who finishes the race will be awarded with a medal of participation.

27 TH JANUARY A HERO'S LIFE Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta Richard Strauss is particularly renowned for his epic tone poems, and none are more epic than his Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), a musical depiction of the life and works of a hero which is typically interpreted as being autobiographical in nature. Under the direction of Dutch-Maltese conductor, Lawrence Renes, the orchestra will be joined by Maltese violinist Carmine Lauri as guest concertmaster and Latvian pianist Inese Klotina who will be the soloist in Rachmaninov’s first Piano Concerto performed in the first half of the concert.



DUTCH-MALTESE CONDUCTOR IN A HERO’S LIFE Internationally renowned Dutch-Maltese conductor, Lawrence Renes, will be revisiting Malta this January to conduct the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Maria Blanco catches up with him in his beloved Birgu to talk about his musical experiences, his Maltese roots and his aspirations for this spectacular concert.


t is not every day that one gets to hear about a young conductor who was asked to step in for the great conductor Riccardo Chailly in a concert with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and it is even less likely for that musician to be half-Maltese. Although 22 years have passed since that extraordinary event, Lawrence Renes still speaks of it with a sense of wonder and gratefulness. “What was even more amazing,” he explains “is that one of the pieces in that programme was Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), which Strauss had dedicated to the Concertgebouw Orchestra when he composed it in 1898." Renes further explained that since then the orchestra has the tradition that only their musical directors get to conduct that piece, “and so for me, the fact that I was able to conduct that piece with that orchestra was really incredible... I have performed it many times since and it has always remained a very important piece in my musical life”. Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben, is a stirring and enlightened piece of work which portrays the life of a human being, with his struggles, intimate moments, harsh criticism and personal triumphs. It requires an orchestra of more than a 100 musicians, and a concertmaster who takes on a soloist role. With this in mind, Maltese violinist Carmine Lauri will be joining the orchestra as guest concertmaster, who together with a conductor who knows the work so intimately, will ensure that our national orchestra will give a truly remarkable national premiere of this monumental work. M A LTESE ROOTS A ND A M A LTESE SPIR IT As we continued to walk through the streets of Birgu, we stop by a few places that are especially meaningful to Lawrence Renes. San Lawrenz Church holds a special place in his heart, with Saint Lawrence being his namesake and the church being the place where his son was baptised. Then there is his maternal grandparents’ house where he spent two months every summer throughout his entire childhood. The enchanting streets of Birgu hold many memories for Renes, and warm-heartedly he

says that although “I spent about 20% of my childhood in Malta, 80% of my childhood memories are in Malta”. Throughout his adult life Renes maintained strong connections with Malta, having bought his own place here and used it as his base for a few years. In more recent times, he visits the island to spend time with his family, to study music and enjoy his sailing hobby. Clearly he is very happy to see how his childhood hometown has become a national treasure and holds a sense of pride in his Maltese heritage. “Funnily enough, when I travel, most orchestras feel that I am more Maltese than Dutch in a way. I think it is because my temperament is more Maltese, and musicians can feel that.” A N ORCHESTR A L CONCERT TH AT SETS OUR NATIONA L STA NDA R DS The spectacular concert that will take place on the 27th of January at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, and will see the MPO perform in one of its largest ever formations with string players from Aremenia complementing the MPO orchestral musicians. The orchestra will also welcome pianist Inese Klotina who Renes describes as an “absolute worldclass musician” who will appear as soloist in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.1 that will be performed in the first half. Encouraging everybody to embrace the challenges on a musical and operational level, Renes explains that “it is important for Malta, its musicians and its audience, to see, to hear and to undertand what the ultimate goal is. “If Malta wants to be a major player in the cultural landscape of the world, its orchestra needs to continue growing and the Malta Philharmonic should permanently have 100 musicians.” With the rate at which our national orchestra has been developing, and the new repertoire is has been performing it deserves nothing short of this kind of challenge, motivation, success and recognition, which will continue to take it and our country to new cultural heights.




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The Fountains of Valletta WORDS RICHARD BORG


f you look around well enough, you will not fail to see the occasional fountain inside buildings and outside in the streets of our capital city.

If you are entering Valletta through St Anne’s street, Floriana, you cannot miss the baroque fountain topped by a lion. The lion was part of

the coat of arms of Grand Master de Vilhena who built Floriana. It has ‘guarded’ the town since 1728. The inscriptions in Latin found on the bottom part of this fountain say: “To the increasing population of this suburb, Grand Master Don Anton De Vilhena, who holds the inhabitants so close to his heart decreed that this fountain is erected – 1728.”





During wartime, the Lion was encased in stone and placed for protection beneath the first arcade in St Anne’s street. The fountain was reconstructed in 1958 and the lion put in place. But let us proceed to Valletta and look at some of the fountains there. They are mostly baroque, ornate and have the patina of age. The first one to be erected was that in St George’s Square in front of the Grand Master’s Palace. Inaugurated in 1615, it was built to celebrate the construction of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt’s aqueduct. This fountain was transferred to St Philip’s Garden in Floriana in the beginning of the 19th century when the British decided to free St George’s Square for military parades. This fountain is a piece of art. It consists of a large circular basin with three basins inside it, each one smaller than the one below it. They are in the form of seashells with dolphins in the middle and the whole structure is supported on a pedestal. In St George’s square too, are two almost identical fountains built by Grand Master Emmanuel de Rohan, who came from 02.

one of the most illustrious families in France. They consist of a triton or small putto spouting water into a basin affixed to the wall between two columns. On top, an eagle with spread out wings also issues water from its upturned head. Being the main and most important square in Valletta, this square has been the most prominent venue when anything of any importance happened on the island. A modern touch are the water fountains where children love to play, chasing each other and getting wet especially on hot summer days. Some important buildings had their own small private fountains. One can be seen in the courtyard of the Castellania in Merchants street, considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the capital city. It served as a knight's court and at present as the Ministry of Health building. Restoration on it has just started. Another fountain can be found in the arcaded courtyard of the Auberge d’Aragon and another in Castille. Palazzo Parisio, in Merchants street, which was built in the 1740s now houses the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It is a beautiful palace but its claim to fame is the fact that Napoleon




01. Triton Fountain at City Gate, Valletta (before restoration) 02. Baroque Fountain topped by a lion, St Anne's Street, Floriana 03. The modern fountain at St George's Square

A modern touch are the water fountains where children love to play, chasing each other and getting wet especially on hot summer days

Bonaparte, commanding an army of the French Republic, lived here for seven eventful days in the history of Malta – from 12 to 18 June 1798. If you pass by the main door and it is open, you can catch a glimpse of the courtyard and its fountain.

damaged when its platter collapsed in 1978. It was dismantled early last year and the bronze parts sent to Italy for restoration. Now we can enjoy this beautiful creation in all its glory.

Another two fountains stand in St John’s square at either end of the block which houses St John’s Co-Cathedral. The basin is marble and the head of a small putto spouts water from a frame surmounted by a lion in the fountain at the Republic street end and by a unicorn at the end of Merchants street. It is claimed that they were erected in 1820.

Water is indispensable but when it is found in public places it brings with it certain problems. A decree of 6 September 1869, forbade the washing of hands, clothes or other things in the fountains. Convicted males were to be whipped while females had to leave Valletta if found guilty. Water for animals or the washing of clothes could be drawn only from fountains indicated for this purpose. This was the principal means of providing water to the population at a time when there wasn’t a domestic water service.

The Triton Fountain at City Gate is an important Modernist landmark. Designed by sculptor Vincent Apap and designer Victor Anastasi, it became operational on 16 May 1959. It was

Today we can enjoy a variety of fountains which grace our city and beautify our surroundings without having to worry too much about water, for the time-being at least.



Discover the Southern Secrets of Sicily through Comiso WORDS FIONA MERCIECA / AIR MALTA


he fact that Malta is so close in proximity to Sicily means that it serves as the perfect place for a short getaway. And I have to admit, I do love a Sicilian adventure every now and then. I’ve explored quite a bit of the island too, however surprisingly enough I’ve never visited Comiso and its surrounding towns and cities... yet. (Which is why I’m secretly ecstatic about Air Malta’s new direct flight.) My only problem now is how to make time in my busy schedule to go, but with that being said, everyone deserves a break, so it won’t be long before I’m there - and as my friends and family read this sentence I’m quite sure they will be furiously nodding their heads in agreement. Anybody who knows me knows I’m a helpless traveller who can’t stay for a long period of time without a trip. Whilst planning my travel escapades I always like to ask around for some personal opinions and first-hand experiences in relation to my choice of destination. This doesn't mean I plan my holidays down to a T - far from it, but you’d be surprised about what you can gain from picking people’s brains. Hence, I also sought out some information on Comiso, though to be honest with you it didn’t amount to much. To my astonishment, not many people I questioned (and I questioned a lot) have explored this part of Sicily, but for me this just makes it all the more exciting. My determination level to visit as soon as possible, and personally uncover what this region has to offer, has positively skyrocketed.

It’s good to have a little background information on the place and nearby areas before holidaying there too, so here come some facts. Comiso is a historically rich town in the south of Sicily well endowed with important monuments, notable churches and exquisite works of art. Apart from it being an attractive locale in itself to explore, Comiso also borders other beautiful Sicilian municipalities; Chiaramonte Gulfi, Ragusa and Vittoria. In addition, Comiso is in the perfect location to discover other towns and villages in southern and southeastern Sicily, such as Syracusa, Noto, Modica and Scicli. Thus, Comiso airport serves as a convenient gateway to unearth this part of Sicily. As just mentioned, since a trip to Comiso presents the perfect opportunity to travel to close by Sicilian places of wonder as well, I’ve decided to provide you with some titbits and to-do’s not only related to Comiso, but on some of the neighbouring must-see spots too. And on that note, I shall commence. ENCHANTING COMISO The main sites in historic Comiso are said to be the impressive Naselli Castle and numerous artistic churches. This may not seem like much but they have been given rave reviews, and will especially satisfy culture enthusiasts. The Castle of the Naselli is found more towards the north of Comiso and has an outstanding historical heritage behind it. It was built up and expanded over a stretch of many years, from the 14th to the 16th



Comiso is a historically rich town in the south of Sicily well endowed with important monuments, notable churches and exquisite works of art centuries, and its foundations happen to be on an older edifice dating back to the classical era. This building was owned by various lords throughout time, and as its name suggests one of them was Naselli himself who bought it in the mid-15th century. The structure of this castle is also captivating and there is much to explore by the sound of it, so it has to be listed as one of the must-see landmarks. With regards to the churches found here, I’m just going to jot down some of the most highly recommended ones as there are a number to choose from, each of which are architecturally imposing and interesting in different ways. There is the the Mother Church of Santa Maria delle Stelle, the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of San Francesco the Immaculate and the Church of San Biagio. Other worthwhile attractions in Comiso are the Natural History Museum and the Fountain of Diana. On a final note (of which I dedicate to all the foodies out there), you’ll be delighted to hear that this Sicilian town has a phenomenal culinary reputation, so much so that it has been placed among the first 30 Italian cities having the best quality food and wine. Whilst there, you must definitely try out some of the local restaurants for a taste of their typical gourmet dishes such as cavati or sweet treat caddureddi. Oh, and I should also mention that Comiso is also home to quite a few Michelin Star restaurants ... I’ll certainly be trying out one of them. PICTURE-PERFECT RAGUSA Ragusa is found in the southeastern direction from Comiso and has the reputation of being one of the most jaw-dropping towns on the island. It was one of the several areas affected by a terrible earthquake long ago, and due to differences in opinion concerning the whereabouts for rebuilding, the town now has two faces; Ragusa Superiore and Ragusa Ibla. Ragusa Superiore is perched at the top of a hill, and is considered to be the more modern part of the town, which features sensible grid-pattern streets. Ragusa Ibla, on the other hand, is etched into the hillside right below it on the original site, as the old aristocrats wanted. This specific area is made up of a maze of alleyways, oddly endearing grey stone houses and baroque-style palazzi which encompass attractive squares, which ultimately lead to Ragusa’s magnificent historic centre. Without a doubt, Ragusa Ibla is the most favourite of those visiting it, and I have to admit that from what I’ve seen in pictures I have to agree with them. I can’t express to you just how much I’m looking forward to seeing this place with my own eyes - the sheer amount of ancient beauty it exudes is beguiling. It is suggested that you just walk around

and admire as you go along. Some of the landmarks you’ll come across are the palm-adorned Piazza Duomo together with the remarkable Cathedral of St John which dominates it. Additionally, there are more than 14 UNESCO World Heritage buildings in the area, and a little tip I read about for a great photo, as well as view of Ragusa Ibla, is that you should climb the stairs leading to the modern town and the church, and look back and take a panoramic shot there. SPLENDID SYRACUSE Syracuse is located to the northeastern side of Comiso along the coast, and it is a city of which truly echoes timeless Grecian beauty that must be witnessed first hand if in Sicily - no excuses. In its heyday it was regarded as the greatest city in the ancient world, and thankfully a vast amount of spectacular remnants from its long history are still present today. Now, I’m not the type of person who continually seeks to get an in-depth understanding of the history behind a place, however, when it comes to Syracuse I was completely drawn in by its past, and I’m actually eager to learn more. It is suggested that you split your visit to Syracuse into two parts; the archaeological park and the island of Ortygia. The archaeological area houses an astounding number of well-preserved Greek remains, as well as some Roman. The most significant attraction has to be the Greek amphitheatre though, which is also said to be one of the largest in the world. Moreover, the site also includes striking ancient quarries which have gracefully developed into a fragrant lemon orchard nowadays. Moving on to the next part, Ortygia is a little island pinching off of the tip of the mainland, also known as the heart of ancient Syracuse. Once again, one of the best ways to explore this location is simply by walking - you’ll practically stumble upon a gem at every turn as there’s so much to see. On the island you will find everything from a stupendous Greek Temple of Apollo to Byzantine, Norman, Medieval, Baroque and Neoclassical palazzi, courtyards and churches. You might even like to know that this part of Syracuse is perceived as having an understated liveliness about it, which means that when I’m there you’ll find me in one of its lovely wine bars sipping on a glass of wine, and enjoying my evening amidst great surroundings. I think I’ve rattled on enough now, despite me not having included a brief overview on all of the places I would have liked to. But there’s just so many stunning places to mention in so little writing space. Southern Sicily is really full of endless surprises.

Air Malta offers a twice weekly scheduled service to Sicily’s Comiso airport, every Friday and Sunday. Oneway prices including taxes and charges start from only €39. Visit for more information.



ISL AND FUN, THIS WINTER GOZO CARNIVAL For most of Europe, February is a month characterised by cold spells as the winter blues seem to bite the hardest. The surrounding Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful clear skies are a different kind of blues that characterise Gozo’s winters. Indeed, mild sunny winters are one of the island’s many blessings. Temperatures in Gozo average 13°C during this time of year making it the perfect winter destination. The island offers a choice of health-restoring activities in spas and health centres that are discreetly tucked in villages, in blissful silence from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’ve got energy to spare and relaxation is not your kind of thing, then Gozo has got plenty of activities to please the adventurer in you. Climbing, abseiling, hiking, biking or even kayaking are ideal activities to practice while on the island. February is also Carnival time, an event that colours Gozo with pure fun for young and old. In the island’s vast cultural calendar, Carnival is indeed one of the most important festivals. This is a time when Gozitans shed their usual customary religiosity to don a more celebrative and colourful attitude. Every village has its own take on this celebration. The organised carnivals in Victoria, Xewkija and Xagħra, among other localities, show off carnival dances, street parades, hilarious sketches, costumes, floats, and the traditional kukkanja. As dusk falls, dance companies call it a day, floats are stored in warehouses for the following day and organised street parades

end, Carnival celebrations take a macabre twist in Nadur. This Gozitan village has become famous for its notorious, spontaneous carnival, that stands out for its creativity. There are no limits as large crowds from all corners of the island throng the usually quiet streets of this village for five days of fun, colours and sounds. No rules apply, everyone can be anyone they want through provocative disguise. It’s time you unearth your creative self and show us what you’ve got. Carnival is celebrated between 9 and 13 February 2018. THE GOZO COASTAL WALK Steeped in cultural and natural heritage, the Island of Gozo has a blend of characteristics that have astounded visitors along the years. The island's dramatic coastline, a habitat to thousands of species, is unique in the Mediterranean and can be best enjoyed in the Gozo Coastal Walk. This 50km route takes you through a variety of landscapes and features of great historical and environmental interest, including dramatic cliffs, tranquil valleys, traditional villages, ancient monuments and sandy beaches. Taking on this walk will make you understand why Edward Lear - a 19th century artist, illustrator, author and poet - ran out of words to depict Gozo's beauty and described the island's coastal scenery as “pomskizillious and gromphibberous”. The Englishman tailored these words specifically for Gozo's coast, as he felt awed and he could not find words to describe its beauty.

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TA L K O F T H E T O W N With so many cities, towns and villages on our little Islands, it’s hard to decide what to see and where to go. Throughout the year we’ll be highlighting our top locations for the season. This month it's Valletta.



The natural harbour in Valletta is an access point for many visitors to enter the capital. With the Valletta Waterfront featuring an array of restaurants on the periphery, evenings out are highly possible. During the war, locals eagerly waited for food and supplies to enter the islands, today the harbour is described as Malta’s most prestigious geographical asset.

Valletta was predominantly built under the rule of the Knights of St John. After The Great Seige, the Knights began to construct the city in a fortified manner. Once safety was ensured, embellishment began through the Baroque Style. Some of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in Valletta include St John’s co-Cathedral, Auberge de Castille and the Grandmaster’s Palace.



The Upper Barrakka Gardens or Il-Barrakka ta’ Fuq can be found on the edge of the capital where a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour can be seen. Built in the 1560s during the reign of the Knights and served as the recreational grounds for the Hospitallers. A replica of Antonio Sciortino’s Les Gavroches is also located in the gardens.

One of Malta’s most vibrant visitor attractions, the Saluting Battery, is where history meets modern life. The spectacular views of the Three Cities are elating while the historical pressures upon this area are moving to any local or visitor to the area. Gun salutes are fired daily at midday, this is not to be missed.

STRAIT STREET Valletta’s Strait Street can be titled the most famous street in the city, if not Malta. Known as Strada Stretta, this street has a name to live up to due to the military men’s visits during the 19th and 20th centuries. Currently a lively location, Strait Street makes for an evening of laughter and good energy within Malta’s cultural hub.

WORLD WAR II During the Second World War Valletta was heavily bombed. In 1942 one of Malta’s most iconic buildings suffered a direct hit by aerial bombing – this building was the Royal Opera House. After many years in ruins, the Royal Opera House was redesigned by architect Renzo Piano. Today’s Pjazza Teatru Rjal acts as Valletta’s open theatre.

CASA ROCCA PICCOL A This magnificent 16th century Palace named after Don Pietro La Rocca, a Knight of Malta is now the ancestral home of the 9th Marquis de Piro. Casa Rocca Piccola gives you an insight into 400 years of Maltese aristocratic tradition and shouldn’t be missed. You can also see the huge WW2 Underground Bomb Shelters cut from the rock foundations. +356 2122 1499

SWISS WATCH CLUB Situated in the heart of Valletta, Swiss Watch Club is an independent dealer selling and trading certified authentic luxury pre-owned watches, diamonds and jewellery, which are sold with original warranty and certificates. Swiss Watch Club is a pre-owned Rolex specialist and HRD Antwerp Diamond Grader. Free consultations provided. +356 2124 5677 | +356 7718 1207






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ISL AND HIGHLIGHTS Despite its diminutive size, the Maltese archipelago is bursting with historic sites, idyllic spots, culture and tradition. The Maltese Islands are like nowhere else. Here you’ll find fossil-studded geo formations, prehistoric temples, intriguing diving opportunities, and a richly woven history of remarkable intensity. Here’s a handy guide on what to look out for during your stay.

VALLETTA , MALTA Colloquially known as Il-Belt, Valletta is the capital city of Malta that was built during the rule of the Knights of St John. The baroque city is speckled with neo-classical and modern architecture and has been declared Europe’s Culture Capital 2018.

THE THREE CITIES, MALTA The Three Cities take on two names for each area due to the influence of the Knights of Malta. Birgu, Bormla and Isla took on the names of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea respectively. This picturesque gem boasts winding streets and an impressive harbour worthy of any local or tourist’s visit.

ĠGANTIJA TEMPLES, GOZO Did you know that the Ġgantija Temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt? Discover Malta’s ancient civilisation by touring the Neolithic temple complex found in the village of Xagħra [Sha-rah] in Gozo. Visit the earliest example of megalithic temples in Malta.

MDINA , MALTA Formerly known as Città Notabile, this fortified medieval beauty served as the island’s capital until 1530. Known as the Silent City since its streets are mainly used by pedestrians, the narrow streets give an interesting mix of baroque and Norman architecture – some of which are private homes till today.

MOSTA DOME, MOSTA , MALTA Colloquially known as the Rotunda, this Roman Catholic Church is currently the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world and the third largest in Europe. Dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, the Mosta Dome is Mosta’s most prominent highlight.



Sat in a cafe, I decided to do some extra research headphones at the ready and Spotify open, I typed in the name of an artist, a passionate lad whose childhood playtime became reality. An eight-letter stage name that’s not to be forgotten: Rhymestar. Meeting with Rhymestar took me on a journey, a moment of educational delivery where new aspects were learnt and some matters were clarified. As he sipped his cold coffee, Rhymestar spoke with passion, a twinkle in his eye about his journey; where he came from and where he aspires to be in the near future. He started from the beginning, where every good story should, and explained the roots and evolution of his music scene, the revolution that brought his career to light. He explained the Drum and Bass scene and talked about how the evolution of Grime and UK Garage led to what he defined as ‘The Culture’. Growing from Reggae sound systems and Acid House beats later evolving into Jungle, the Drum and Bass genre to Rhymestar is clearly etched in the link between the prevailing music sounds that we stomp our feet or bob our heads to and the new music movement that is on the rise in London.

they want is moving, it has you craving love from the crowd. This ability urges you to take control of the crowd and have them feel your passion and understand your message a lot better. This wasn’t the everyday feeling for Rhymestar. Starting off at the ripe age of fifteen, his journey was a long yet exciting one. From innocent London-bound kids kicking it at the record store; mixing and shooting their idols’ lyrics over a new track - just experimental fun at its best. A mix tape of his work was shared with a pirate radio, aired and made public. This push set off fireworks in Rhymestar’s inner creator and triggered something in him – primarily a new stance on music. Taking music seriously was the next step in this young MC’s life; a feat that has been successful and bountiful. MySpace took him that little bit further, when he was asked to perform live in Germany. A challenge that launched Rhymestar’s career to the next level once again, opening a window for international shows with his name on the line-up for shows based in most European countries and even far afield as Canada and Australia.

His heading back to Malta, brought back childhood memories of family visits that he experienced. Rhymestar has Maltese roots but was raised in London, so Malta was ‘his home away from home’, a haven far different to life in London. Returning to Malta as an adult, and might I add a wellestablished performer, his vision is different. No longer euphoric, but factual.

His goals for the year have thus far been achieved. Aiming to produce original music both through external producers and independently – his following is growing. Rhymestar’s music has progressed from airing on pirate radio stations to fully fletched broadcasts on the BBC. He’s now an MC on a Mission, a mission that local D&B fans will surely snap a beat to.

Euphoria has a whole new meaning now, Rhymestar explains that his euphoric moments are achieved when performing. The rush that you feel when on a stage, feeding the crowd with your passion while feeding off your fellow performers’ sound. Being on a stage, giving the people what

Rhymestar’s mission is to create a Drum and Bass scene in Malta by creating a hub for the sound to be followed. He mentioned a great deal of development for the scene, something worth waiting for. So Rhymestar… when’s your next Malta event?







“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testif y to time’s relentless melt” ~ Susan Sontag

A photograph can be a rather cruel thing… necessary cruel, that is. They age, but outlive their source without ever changing. They are immortal. They carry things of the past well ahead into time, refusing to be a mere moment confined to the misty chambers of one’s memory. They remain apparently flawless even in their monochromatic simplicity and nakedness. We look into their faces and all we see is youthful beauty. Confronted by their immortality we are helplessly led to consider our own mortal condition, and of all that surrounds us. And when we do look around us, we are often left wondering where all that youthful beauty has gone.



Even as I sit here writing this article, I can hear the machine’s sharp metallic claws scraping against the tilled earth of what was once Valletta’s main bus station. A few metres away, a relentless drill bores its way down to the massive reservoir hidden beneath the city’s dry-ditch, once home to unruly trees and some much-coveted, albeit unsightly, parking spaces. I am witnessing a moment which is hardly ever photographed, if it were not to document the spoils and rubble of an earth-shattering war (but even then, they seem oddly beautiful). Here I am experiencing a moment that is so easily forgotten, as has been indeed the case for its most recent ancestors: the roundabout-square in front of Castille Palace, the open-air theatre-cum-rubbish dump, and the car park-now-turnedinto-an-architectural-masterpiece by renowned architect, Renzo Piano. Most of us, save for a handful of artists and students, were too busy taking pictures of the before and after look to take too much notice of what the process in between actually looked like. It didn’t look pretty, so why bother, right?

So much can be said of those who recorded the urban and rural history of the Maltese archipelago through photographs, dating as far back as the middle of the 19th century. Sure enough, these first views of the islands were captured by foreigners, captivated perhaps, by the high quality of natural light available. Individuals of the likes of Richard Ellis, Rev. George Wislon Bridges, Rev. Calvert Richard Jones, Frank Mason Good, Felice Beato, James Robertson and several others who set their eyes on Malta, collectively shot thousands of photographs describing its people, customs and environs, most of which have clearly not stood the test of time. They have provided us with a visual legacy of uninhabited coastlines and unpopulated bays (say what now?); of skylines broken only by the bell towers and church domes (do you mean, all 360 of them?); of transport systems which are today wholly unthinkable (oh roads...); of impressive buildings and charming vistas (ah yes, those in between construction cranes); of a vernacular way of life, complete with all its quirks and dubious practical choices, all of which have now



The approach to Valletta now dons a dazzling new face, and any mention of its past self will inevitably try to be explained through photographs

been uprooted and re-potted in a common, rubble wall-less field. Like the scenes they inhabit, rarely do we know how the life of these photographed people has progressed. Some of them, certainly, moved on to greater things. Others, probably, less so.

will inevitably try to be explained through photographs. And little mention, or none at all, will be made to the sometimespainful ageing process that occurred in between – that process which brought on so much change, for better or for worse, in a relatively short span of time.

Yet, all this would be seemingly obsolete to us now – a mere nostalgic yearning for an aesthetic that could not be sustained. Indeed, by the time you read this, the area in front of, and beneath the entrance to Valletta itself, would have probably been all cleaned up, shining in the glory it was always meant to have. The approach to Valletta now dons a dazzling new face, and any mention of its past self

So who can blame us, then, as we gape in awe and disbelief at old photographs of our Islands; as we grapple with the fragments of its past? Who can blame us for wondering where it’s gone, why it changed and in what way it will continue to do so? Photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. I sure hope they will not testify to our relentless indifference towards a place we call home.

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eople mirror and influence each other as human beings. Artistic couples are no exception but their process is much more complicated and less obvious. The history of art is peppered with couples who were both artists. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Yves Tanguy and Kay Sage are perhaps the most famous of such but when speaking to Mark Schembri and Nuntia, the artist couple that kept coming to mind were Diego Rivera and Frida Kalho. Kalho managed to transform her personal traumas and tragedies into sublime art, her husband’s focus lay in the social sphere. Rivera was a committed communist who wanted to expose society’s hypocrisies on his canvases.

At face value Nuntia’s art might come across as very idiosyncratic but her conviction that the personal is universal proves otherwise. When told to elaborate on this seeming cliché, Nuntia insisted that her art focus brings to surface her most personal inner workings. Themes like loneliness, fear of abandonment and a fascination with death are subjects that appear often on Nuntia’s canvases. The artist has stated that people from all social strata approached her and told her that they identified. The personal as universal reverberates with what the Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum says – i am in everyone and am ref lected in everyone. You know others by knowing yourself.


Mark and Nuntia are very similar in their temperaments but when it comes to their artistic process and outlook they speak a different language. They work within close physical proximity but always independently from each other. Their artistic preoccupations are very human and mirror each other resulting in an intriguing world view that is paradoxically at ease and at odds with itself.




Mark and Nuntia are very similar in their temperaments but when it comes to their artistic process and outlook they speak a different language



Nuntia’s art tries to capture the substance of specific individuality that might be in turmoil because of outside forces. A psychological process brought to life by her artistic process. Nuntia’s work proves that there is an art to find the mind’s construction in the face. It is in this context that one should see her universal appeal. One might not like her representation of the world but one is none the less moved emotionally. Mark’s interest is to mirror society. His work explores our shortcomings amplifying them to reflect and chronicle how these manifest themselves in public life. Unlike Nuntia, whose work is more interested in psychological and emotional states, Mark’s art places people within a collective and leaves them there to wrestle with the results of their flaws. He stresses that this is a kind of social commentary that has a didactic element. Like Brecht he makes the familiar strange to make people think. Like George Groz or Otto Dix mark their interest in society and its ills. He doesn’t shy away in exposing the hypocrisy others try to conceal. The traumas and issues of his personal life are given free rein in his artistic process creating an internal language that attempts to mirror the collective. His canvases manage to reflect our troubled era in a playful way. Both artists make it easier to understand the feelings of a painting rather than offering a definite explanation of it. The role of the serious artist is to suggest and hint at things rather than spelling things out. This is why Mark strongly believes that once a painting is executed and exhibited to the public it enters the realm of public discourse and interpretation and ceases to be his. This belief can be applied to any form of art and it is what makes art a fundamentally human activity.


Mark Schembri and Nuntia are painters who are mathematicians, geometricists, poets, musicians and savants, painters who create with a bold and soaring imagination out of a long and loving meditation and contemplation of life. Painters who are deeply emotional under a veneer of cool intelligence and with an infinite cunning to mould their inner visions into highly articulate and conclusive forms.

01. Cage \ Nuntia 02. Cruise of Fools \ Mark Schembri 03. Unrepentant Magdalene \ Nuntia 04. Study in Red and White \ Mark Schembri



M A LT E S E M A R K E T S From kitsch candelabra, to lemon squeezers and sugary doughnuts, Veronica Stivala walks around some of Malta's most idiosyncratic markets.



y mother has a beautiful cotton table runner with white flowers joined by bold, green leaves, which she brings out for special occasions. It often receives compliments from her guests, but it catches my attention every time because it reminds me of the day we picked it out at the Marsaxlokk market many, many years ago, one breezy May morning. Street markets have a special atmosphere to them and to many of us are more than simply the wares they sell.

The Marsaxlokk market is one of the better known of Malta’s markets and indeed is a popular attraction for tourists too. Situated by the sprawling Mediterranean Sea, dotted with colourful luzzu boats, the scene of market venders selling their wares is picturesque. In lined up metal trays lies a variety of seafood on display; from fresh white calamari, to octopus, swordfish, tuna, shrimps and sea bass, these are the fishing village’s prized produce. “Fresh swordfish, very fresh”. Don’t be surprised if an enterprising

hawker calls out to you to entice you to buy her goods. While the market is most renowned for its sea-wares, these are most definitely not the only items on sale and as you walk along the sprawling market, feast your eyes on juicy fruit and sugar delights – from doughnuts, sugared nuts, cream tarts and the seasonal chocolate and candied peel prinjolata. I chat to Lara, who has popped down this Sunday morning to buy a lemon squeezer. She has guests over for lunch


01. A man buying fish at the Marsaxlokk market 02. Il-Monti, market in Valletta 03. Imqaret, date-filled pasties

and hers has broken. “I live just up the road and have been coming to this market for years,” she tells me. In addition to selling lace and tourist merchandise like printed aprons and ‘Malta’ bags, the market is a convenient stop for cheap household goods. You’ll find it difficult not to fall for a bargain, but even if you’re not in the mood to shop, stop for a coffee, or an ice-cream, soak in some sun and enjoy the sea views and bustling market life. Not far from Marsaxlokk is Birgu, an old fortified city also in the south of the island. As any local will tell you, Tuesday is market day and locals and foreigners alike flock to buy their daily needs. But Sunday’s market is magical, because it is more of a car boot sale and you never know what treat you’re going to find. While eyeing a pair of kitsch gold candelabra perched on a laid-out red cloth, I bump into Nicole. She is a bohemian type in paisley trousers and sporting a clock-bag, which actually works, and ticks. It's 9 o'clock on Sunday morning, but she is already on her way home, having been here at the crack of dawn, the ideal time when all the best items have not yet been bought. "I come here to seek treasure," she quips, keen to share with me her loot: a gorgeous copper and glass lamp shaped like a fawn. It is impossible to speak of Malta’s markets without talking about the Monti, in Valletta. Indeed, it is hard to miss the clothes stalls of this street market as you walk through the main entrance of the capital city in the morning – the market is open till noon. While the market is open daily, Sundays are ‘big market day’ and you’ll be spoilt for choice - from a plethora of wares, be they local souvenirs, cheap t-shirts and ties, or some local delights like imqaret (date-filled pastries) or pastizzi (pea or cheese cakes).







The Columns


here he was, waiting for just the right time to climb out of his car and head to the most important meeting of his life. With clammy palms and sweat seeping through his oversized suit jacket anyone would think it were a hot summer’s day. Alister was not used to this, he always thought of himself as a cool, calm, collected kind of guy. One last check in the rear-view mirror of his old Renault 5 Campus, briefcase in hand and off he started, up the stairs of the car park - he’s never been a fan of lifts. Time seemed to be dragging on, he just wanted to get this over and done with. As he made his way through the chaos of what seemed to be a million buses, passing the Triton Fountain he feels a sudden teardrop trickle down his cheek. ‘Come on Ali, what the hell are you so worried about…you’ve got this!’ he encourages himself. Another teardrop, and then another, when he realises that this had nothing to do with him, this was the heavens opening up and letting every single drop of water fall on his tiny little island. With nowhere to shelter, his empty briefcase comes in handy as he runs through, what used to be Valletta Gate, finally hiding under the modern building to the right. He looks down at his wrist only to see the Mikey Mouse character on the face of his grandfather’s watch mocking him. The numbers starring back at him. 10:10. His appointment is in 20 minutes. Soaked to the bone, he wonders how in the world is he going to dry off. As the sky begins to clear and the clouds subside, he makes his way down Republic Street and takes a swift left onto South Street. At last, with 5 minutes to spare, he stands outside the ‘blast from the past’ café to catch his breath and gives himself a mental pat on the back as if to say ‘well done - right on time’.

Stepping into the 1960s furnished café he instantly craves an espresso and a couple of pastizzi. His eyes search down the lengthy room for his guest who he spots immediately. Sat in the corner of the room sipping on a warm beer, oblivious to the world. Ali walks straight up to the middleaged woman, who seems to ooze passion and independence, and introduces himself. A delicate yet firm handshake and a stunning, red-lipped smile makes Ali finally feel at ease. Ms Margaux - twice divorced and now living the dream in a palazzo just off Merchant Street - Berger, was a French born, 50-something year old, retired business woman; and what a woman she was. With two exhusbands, a châteaux on the outskirts of Paris and her current home right here in Valletta, this wonderful creature left nothing to be desired. She was there to meet the great Alistair Walker, who until very recently worked as a computer technician in a fancy gaming company. That is, until he got the call from Ms Margaux, demanding his services. What services had he to offer? He thought. After explaining that she’d seen his masterpiece in the National Photography Exhibition held at St James Cavalier last month, Ms Margaux was absolutely perplexed by his work. Ali never wanted to exhibit, he was the shy and reserved type and never thought much of his photography, actually, he always put himself down and rejected any compliment that came his way. The only reason that he exhibited this one piece at St James Cavalier was because his high-school crush was curating and she was desperate for an architectural photo. Utterly besotted by this plea for help, Ali mustered up


the courage and told the curator that he had taken a nice shot in Rome. Nice. That’s how Ali described his work. Low and behold, Ms Margaux went to the exhibition’s opening night and spotted Ali’s photograph right away. Ali of course was not there, simply avoiding the comments; positive or negative, the useless banter and the nonchalant ‘artitude’, as he called it. ‘So darling, how’ve you been? Have you had the time to take any more fantastic shots. You know I bought your last exhibited piece. Lovely. It’s in my dining room, right above the chaise longue. Everybody loves it, it’s a gorgeous piece, the depth, the contrast, the angle. Wonderful darling, absolutely wonderful.’ Babbled Ms Margaux. She went on and on, showering Ali with compliments that for some reason made him light up a little – he would have usually sunk so low into his shoulders, red cheeks on the rise and sweat beads accumulating on his brow. Before he knew it, Ali was signing a deed. A contract that commissioned him to capture Ms Margaux’s adventures. As a retired woman, she travelled the world and discovered new and exciting locations that through the eye (and lens) of a talented photographer, could make for some splendid shots in Ms Margaux’s Valletta townhouse. Ali was a private photographer. His chivalrous act in trying to impress a girl opened the door to a whole new opportunity that could set him straight for the rest of his life. His inhibitions were still apparent, especially when Ms Margaux boasted of her young talented photographer to her classy friends. Ali never gave up, he accepted his talent and he gave the world what they wanted – all thanks to a black and white photo taken on a Roman holiday.









CASA ELLUL Old Theatre Street, Valletta

With its elegant, tiered balconies overlooking the street, Casa Ellul captures the traditional style of a Valletta townhouse. From the outside, it seems little has changed from the moment the Ellul family made it their home back in the 1830s. Discover a contemporary haven that celebrates this elegant city’s past and take in the tranquil central courtyard, gathered around classical statues and historic Maltese features. Suites are adorned with modern artworks and cutting-edge design, alongside original antiques and period features. +356 2122 4821

CHAPEL 5 SUITES 5, Alley 5, Saint Lucy Street, Naxxar

Set at the centre of the Maltese Islands comes this boutique bed and breakfast. Comfort, style, harmony all rolled into one. Immersed amongst pretty alleyways set in the heart of Naxxar accessible to all other major attractions. Early bird BIzzilla offer when quoting this advert of 10 percent valid until February 2018. +356 7979 3721 | +356 7931 1270

URSULINO VALLETTA 82A, St. Ursula Street, Valletta, VLT 1234

Ursulino Valletta is a luxury B&B housed in a renovated townhouse in the heart of Valletta. Great design, a quiet luxury oasis in the heart of a chaotic but enchanting historic City, and breathtaking views of Valletta’s Grand Harbour from our Rooftop Terrace, where guests can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast and our trademark daily Sunset Aperitivo - the perfect way to unwind after exploring the City and its surroundings. +356 2122 8024

CASA GEMELLI BOUTIQUE GUEST HOUSE 21, Republic Street, Victoria VCT 1012, Island of Gozo – Malta

Casa Gemelli, with its original Maltese architecture, is a townhouse that has been immaculately restored to capture the traditional character whilst giving a new lease on life as a luxurious Boutique B&B. All nine bedrooms are decorated with carefully handpicked antique pieces of furniture. From the back terrace of Casa Gemelli, guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the Citadel. +356 2155 9067 | +356 2155 3630



BLANC BOUTIQUE LIVING 50, Windsor Street, Sliema

Blanc Boutique Living is a small boutique Hotel having eight individuallydesigned rooms, each one boasting its own striking features, from a sunken spa bath to a patio. Each room is ideal for two guests seeking to relax in private and romantic luxury. +356 7703 0667

DAR TAL-KAPTAN BOUTIQUE MAISON Triq il-Fanal, Għasri, GSR 1207, Gozo

Inhabiting a 350-year-old farmhouse with panoramic valley views, Dar tal-Kaptan B&B, features 4 themed suites, a library, open fires in winter, shisha lounge, hammam/sauna, jacuzzi, swimming pool and garden. This tranquil sanctuary exudes warmth and sensuality with its eclectic and quirky collection of erotic art, sculptures, and paintings. +356 9982 9836 | +356 2155 5647

HOTEL VALENTINA Dobbie Street, St. Julian’s

With a sophisticated blend of contemporary style and modern flair, the Hotel Valentina is a luxuriously finished superior boutique hotel, known for its attention to detail and personalised service. The Valentina is situated in the heart of Malta’s renowned entertainment hub, St. Julian’s and just minutes away from top casinos, bars and restaurants, yet situated in a quiet residential area. +356 2138 2232

HOTEL JULIANI 25, St George’s Road, St Julian’s

A family-run boutique hotel where city meets seaside in the heart of St. Julian's. A relaxed ambience and personalised service make Hotel Juliani a firm favourite of discerning travellers. Unforgettable rooftop views, a central location, and a suite of boutique amenities guarantee you’ll want for nothing during your stay. +356 2138 8000



66 ST. PAUL’S 66, St. Paul’s Street, Valletta

66 St. Paul's is located in the heart of the capital city Valletta, on the popular St. Paul's Street. Recently opening its doors, the hotel is a unique 16th century palazzo conversion. The property offers 18 luxurious suites, an exclusive pool bar, a courtyard cafe and a splendid spa in the historical cellar. A perfect hideaway within the walls of the city for travellers seeking a memorable experience. For the spa kindly check with the hotel as it will be available a few months after the hotel's opening. +356 9999 3190

10 STRAIT STREET Strait Street, Valletta

10 Strait Street takes its place in the revival of an iconic quarter of Malta’s capital, Valletta, breathing new life into the soul of 2018’s European Capital of Culture. We offer a collection of six beautifully furnished apartments in a painstakingly restored 17th century palazzo. In keeping with the spirit of the location, 10 Strait Street is at once modern and functional, romantic and traditional. The property’s position in Valletta is excellent. There are numerous restaurants and well-stocked wine bars a stone’s throw away and many places of interest. +356 9943 8881

THE COLERIDGE HOTEL 89, Old Bakery Street, Valletta

The Coleridge Hotel is a boutique townhouse in the heart of Malta’s capital. Designed as a heaven of calm in this otherwise busy city, the Coleridge is a space where you can feel completely at ease whether you are staying overnight or longer. The building which dates back to the 1600’s has been restored to reflect the former glory that the building would have enjoyed from the striking design of the unique rooms and suites to the excellent facilities throughout. +356 2010 5511

LA FALCONERIA HOTEL 62, Melita Street, Valletta

The name of this beautiful hotel was chosen to convey this street’s amazing historical past. Its central location ensures that you are close enough to all the historical landmarks in Valletta, but distant enough to enjoy the peace and quiet of times gone by. Adorned with traditional flooring, our 43 rooms are finished to the highest of standards and in symmetry with Valletta’s style. +356 2247 6600 | +356 9958 3122



SU29 BOUTIQUE HOTEL 29, St Ursula Street, Valletta

SU29 is nestled on the picturesque steps of Saint Ursula, a stone’s throw away from Malta's working Grand Harbour and only a few minutes away from the main streets of the vibrant Capital City of Valletta. SU29 is a peaceful haven to eight luxurious rooms & suites and each carry a unique character of their own, designed to meet the perfect combination of classic charm with modern luxury. The en-suite rooms feature a selection of services to cater for a variety of guests’ needs. +356 2124 2929

VALLETTA VINTAGE 179, Republic Street, Valletta

Located in the most idyllic parts of the capital, Valletta Vintage is a collection of five studio apartments designed & adorned with an eclectic mix of vintage finds, bespoke and contemporary pieces, by its ownerarchitect Chris Briffa. +356 7971 8083

AJKLA MANSION 8/9, Triq l-Ajkla, Valletta

Ajkla Mansion is a small, discreet and well-appointed small palazzo, housing modern, tasteful, self-contained units in a quaint stepped street, in central Valletta. The restored old cellar turned Jacuzzi room is the ideal place where one can enjoy some relaxing time after a hard day out and about. +356 9942 9010

KURSARA PORT VIEW 142A, St Ursula Street, Valletta.

Kursara Port View is neither superficially trendy nor boringly traditional, the rooms here are cool yet timeless, soothing yet spoiling, decorated to reflect the typical palazzo that contains them. The property offers a roof garden complete with Jacuzzi which overlooks the majestic Grand Harbour view where one can enjoy some relaxing time. +356 9929 9791

And so came the Pirates Pick the smarter bird to steer your brand.

+356 2131 0608 \

A R T & C U LT U R E




n a former bordello on Strada Stretta, Prince Calaf proclaims his confident victory for the hand of Princess Turandot with the iconic aria Nessun dorma. At the culmination of the operatic classic, a saxophonist emerges playing a sultry melody filled with pathos. The labours of desire are summed up with this encounter between singer and musician; jazz sounds fill the theatrical air of a story told time and time again over centuries.

This memorable scene from Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci’s rendition of the opera Turandot, performed on 24 November 2017, encapsulates the objectives of the Strada Stretta Concept. With Schembri Bonaci as artistic director, the project, under the auspices of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, has traversed new artistic ground. Adopting an alternative


A R T & C U LT U R E

approach and novel methods of artistic production, Schembri Bonaci’s efforts have brought multiple art forms, genres and philosophies from various cultures and historical contexts together in an exciting urban setting. The 2016 staging of Bizet’s Carmen introduced classical opera to the rural world of Maltese għana; improvised music performed by a band of troubadours. This year’s concerts by world-class jazz and classical musicians, as well as the subversive theatre of Dario Fo interpreted by Mario Pirovano, amongst many other events, filled the street with a vitality that has not been felt since the years preceding the 1970s. Strada Stretta (Strait Street) is one that is both camouflaged yet central. It embodies the past as well as the energy of the present. Old and new cultural forms comfortably coexist in this street, as do diverse languages, nationalities, ways of life. The arts


flourished within this community of professional performers and musicians, and the proximity of the music halls and clubs fostered healthy competition between them. This is why the creative regeneration of Strada Stretta is so important. It must become a common space for both national and international contemporary artists. It is not only Strada Stretta but the whole city of Valletta that is currently undergoing great changes. There are constant developments which are injecting the city with new life. In order to build a new identity for a historically-laden space, one must study the qualities that defined this area and which continue to exist in cultural memory. It was and remains an eclectic street that today hosts commercial and corporate establishments together with bars and restaurants. Strada Stretta’s gentrification is very much linked to its history as a commercially-viable

The arts flourished within this community of professional performers and musicians

A R T & C U LT U R E


area, but the presence of artistic and cultural activity should not be overshadowed by this aspect since the two were very much intertwined in earlier decades. Schembri Bonaci makes the relationship between art and its environment one of central importance to the project. As a native of Strada Stretta, he understands the rhythm of the space and is working to incite innovation from a history both national and personal. Under his direction, Strada Stretta has developed into an experimental hub of high culture that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The 2018 cultural programme of the Strada Stretta Concept features a mixed selection of bi-monthly events, including an evening of Boris Pasternak’s music and poetry this

month, a theatrical adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in February, screenings of films by young Maltese director Chris Zarb, and a version of Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas that deviates from the conventional in November. Not only, a number of music concerts, literary nights, lectures and theatrical performances will be held in Strada Stretta throughout 2018. With the incredible assistance of Melanie Erixon and a team of enthusiastic creatives, this year’s series of events promises many compelling and unexpected surprises.

01. A scene from Turandot \ Emma Micallef 02. Jazz in Strada Stretta \ Elisa von Brockdorff 03. Opera singers Ken Scicluna and Moises Molin \ Justin Mamo



B A R S & R E S TA U R A N T S


& bar guide

B A R S & R E S TA U R A N T S




1 Wilga Street Marsaxlokk


We could tell you about our restaurant but we think you would rather hear from our customers, so we present a small selection of headlines from recent TripAdvisor reviews since March 2017: Original flavours Amazing place – Lovely fresh seafood whilst overlooking the waterfront – A healthy south Italian restaurant – Perfect food – Very good restaurant – A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Highly recommended by TripAdvisor so we invite you to look us up and read the details yourself. Booking recommended. Parking available outside. Short taxi ride from most locations including Sliema/St Julian’s/Valletta.



The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, Misraħ il-Kunsill, Mdina +356 2145 0560 Set atop Mdina’s century-old bastions, within the Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, the de Mondion offers a unique fine dining experience, enhanced by truly spectacular panoramic views of the island. Awarded the runner-up for the best boutique dining hotel in the world and consistently rated amongst the top restaurants in Malta for its cusine, refinement and excellence. Promising discreet yet impeccably-attentive service, de Mondion allows its patrons the time and privacy to savour their cuisine. Group lunches are available on request while bookings for private functions and special celebrations are also welcome.


Palazzo de Piro, 3 Triq is-Sur, Mdina, MDN 1131 +356 2010 0560 / +356 2145 0560

Set within the magnificent 18th century Palazzo de Piro Cultural Centre, located in Malta’s Silent City, Mdina, Xpresso Café and Bistro is an elegant spot for casual dining, snacks, coffee, afternoon tea or simply a get-together with friends. The talented Brigade of Chefs makes use of the fresh produce from nearby valleys and slopes when producing their seasonal menus. Through close co-operation with local growers and producers, Xpresso Café and Bistro seeks to showcase the freshest and best the region has to offer through a menu of healthy dishes. With magnificent views of the Maltese islands, fine architectural heritage and a passion for culture and art, Xpresso Café is the perfect place to enjoy the history of Malta, its rich culture and its culinary delights.



Lose yourself in all of Mdina’s tranquillity and dine in the romantic surroundings beneath the wild flowering Oleander tree in the vine-clustered courtyard during the summer, and by candlelight and an open log fireplace that keeps the restaurant warm and cosy during the winter months. The restaurant is a mixture of ingredients designed to please the most discerning clients. The foundation for our cuisine is solely based upon three principles: the sourcing of local produce, for every single dish to evoke the skill and talent of our chefs and to provide our clients with honest food. The Medina presents a selected à la Carte menu based on Mediterranean and local cuisine, frequently changed to guarantee the pleasure of regular diners.


B A R S & R E S TA U R A N T S

TRATTORIA AD 1530 +356 2145 0560

Misraħ il-Kunsill, Mdina, MDN 10150

The Trattoria AD 1530 at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux in Mdina is a charming eatery that prides itself on serving traditional and tasty food typical of the word ‘trattoria’. Strategically situated in one of the old squares of the Silent City, with the beautiful and imposing Vilhena Palace directly opposite and the magnificent 17th century Palazzo of The Xara Palace on the other side, the Trattoria’s idyllic location is simply perfect for indoor or al fresco dining. Trattoria AD 1530 is the ideal restaurant for every occasion and is open for coffee, lunch, dinner, snacks and afternoon tea.


TA’ MARIJA RESTAURANT – EST. 1964 +356 2143 4444

Constitution Street, Mosta

Awarded Best Maltese Food Restaurant for more than ten years, Ta’ Marija doesn’t just serve Maltese cuisine, but creates dishes with what is locally traditional while adding their own signature flavours of sumptuousness. Head to their Folklore Dinner shows held every Wednesday and Friday evening for a touch of Maltese liveliness. Enjoy your dinner with musicians playing mandolins and guitars, and singers belting out Maltese songs while you enjoy the culinary delights of the evening. After your delicious dinner, the charming Maria Muscat will present the folklore show in a variety of languages, featuring six dancers who lure you into a jovial story of Maltese history told through dance. Ta’ Marija is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Transport can also be arranged.



151, Tower Road, Sliema

+356 2133 5106

+356 9942 4877

Ta’ Kolina is a quaint, family run restaurant on Tower Road (one of Sliema’s most popular spots) and has been open since 1974. Ta’ Kolina is a typical Maltese restaurant with its traditional Maltese limestone interior and décor. A set menu comprising of traditional Maltese food offers a choice of five local starters; five main courses; dessert & coffee for €20. There’s a unique à la carte menu with some 20 starters from €4.50 to €7.50, and 20 main courses from €11 to €24 to choose from. Ta’ Kolina offer a variety of fresh fish, rabbit, steak and many more traditional dishes. A wide selection of the best Maltese wines are available offers ranging from €6.50 to €25 per bottle. All in all this restaurant provides its guests with the true taste of Maltese cuisine at a reasonable price.


80, Fawwara Lane, Sliema

+356 9984 771

Set in one of Sliema’s oldest bakeries, Ta’ Kris is all about providing a genuine mix of affordable Maltese and Mediterranean dishes in a homely fashion and rustic surroundings. Ta’ Kris offers a varied menu of traditional Maltese food such as bragioli, rabbit, octopus stew, bebbux (snails), balbuljata (corned beef hash), baked lamb, two daily specials, pasta dishes, a selection of fresh fish on a daily basis and mouth-watering steaks. Ta’ Kris also offers take away service and special menus can be designed for all occasions. Ta’ Kris opens from Monday to Sunday, from 12.30pm till 11pm. Booking is recommended.

B A R S & R E S TA U R A N T S




The Avenue, Gort Street, Paceville, St Julian’s

+356 2135 1753/+356 2137 8731

This award-winning restaurant has been a household name for over a decade and remains a regular favourite. Its versatile menu, friendly service and well-pitched prices all contribute to The Avenue’s strong appeal. Best known for pizza, freshly-prepared pasta or grills, or you could opt for succulent poultry and fresh fish – the menu is not only versatile but portions are generous. The Avenue started off 30 years ago as a snack bar and today encompasses three different sections, all with different character and décor: the arusticstyled room, the elegant ‘Valentino’ section and the more informal and colourful segment. This venue is popular with locals as it’s good value for money. In fact, looking through the large, glass windows, one can see the place is always bustling with people and life. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Includes two hours free parking at the Portomaso car park all week. Delivery service to the surrounding areas is available.


InterContinental Malta, St. George's Bay, St Julian's, STJ 3310

+356 2376 5064 Paranga is the hotel’s seaside restaurant, set on teak decking adjacent to the rippling Mediterranean Sea. Here one is certain to find an enticing and exclusive atmosphere where the centre of attention is the pristine and unspoiled natural flavour of the cuisine. Chef de Cuisine Claudio Farrugia presents a menu characterised by superb array of stimulating and diverse Sicilian flavours interpreted in both a traditional and contemporary style. Fresh fish and shellfish arrive daily from local fishermen, creating, with certainty, a peak of individual interest or the ideal fare for a special occasion. All of which may be enjoyed with an ideally selected and impeccably paired wine, aperitif or digestif.


Hotel Juliani, 25, St George’s Road, St Julian’s

+356 2138 7600

Opened over 15 years ago as Malta’s first Asian fusion restaurant, Zest’s menu will take you on an exciting culinary journey. Get swept off your feet with delectable dishes from Zest’s signature Indonesian beef rendang, to lobster Phad Thai, 48hour short rib of beef with coconut puree and milk chocolate praline panna cotta with salted popcorn. At Zest, no attention to detail is spared including the décor and design that elevates one’s dining experience from ordinary to extraordinary. Original architectural details and attractive features, including a sea view balcony, open wine cellar and a live-cooking sushi bar, are sure to leave a lasting impression. For an extraordinary dining experience in one of Malta’s most-talked about restaurants, why not add a little Zest?



+356 2131 8801

Ta’ Xbiex Seafront, XBX 1028 Ta’ Xbiex

The Galley Restaurant overlooks the stunning Marsamxett Harbour, enjoying spectacular views of the Valletta skyline. Adjacent to the Royal Malta Yacht Club and yacht marina, this stylish restaurant offers staple popular dishes and seasonal specials, including premium meats, fish, pizza, pasta and light snacks at lunch time. The venue interior emulates a beach house with good, natural light and soft furnishings, and the atmosphere is casual and comfortable. There is ample parking space available, and with good proximity to neighbouring Sliema and Valletta it is well serviced by public transport. The Galley is especially popular during weekends so booking is recommended.




from Malta’s National Airline The following pages will give you an insight on what’s going on at Air Malta. The behind-the-scenes and highlights of past months and forthcoming ones. Malta’s national airline tells it like it is, ensuring all Air Malta passengers are well-informed while soaring high in the sky.



ir Malta presented its Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements for year ended March 2017 during which the operations of the airline company reported a loss of €13.1 million. During the year under review the Airline experienced a decrease of €28.3 million in revenue when total revenue amounted to €192.2 million compared to €220.5 million a year before, mainly driven by a capacity reduction of 20%. The airline’s operational costs decreased by €20.6 million. The decrease in operating costs was driven by lower aircraft leases, fuel costs and related maintenance expenses, efficiency gains and savings on a number of contracts and administration expenses. However, the former fuel hedging contracts were in place for much longer than those of competitors. The Airline was not in a position to benefit from lower fuel prices in the reported financial year commented Air Malta’s



CFO, Klaus Gossler during a press briefing announcing the results. Over the last few months, the airline has been focusing on a revenue growth strategy including a review of its route network; a strategy which the airline embarked upon soon after the appointment of the new Board chaired by Dr Charles Mangion in July this year. The Board approved a new three-year Business Plan which is projected to see break-even by March 2018. Speaking at the briefing, Dr Mangion said that Air Malta must look forward and make a success out of its new growth strategy. He revealed that bookings for the current Financial Year 2017/18 are very healthy with 141,000 additional passengers compared to last year. “The introduction of seven new routes next summer and a confirmed additional aircraft is expected to continue pushing further growth in passengers and revenue. My Board believes that Air Malta has a future only if it grows. That’s why one of our first decisions was to re-introduce a number of new routes, including Frankfurt and actively continue discussions with the Unions, aiming to close all Collective Agreements by end of year,” he said. Acting CEO Joseph Galea, spoke about the airline’s current phase, “…driven by a period of innovation, development and growth”. He explained that for many years the airline has shied away from investments in IT as it was passing through a difficult time. “New technologies, platforms and solutions are being currently discussed and explored which once engaged should put the airline not only on the forefront of technology, but also as one of the topmost innovators in the industry,” he said. “There is a strong drive towards an operational culture shift orienting towards a more agile environment, giving more flexibility and highly focused on providing added value. This is a three-year business plan that will see the airline moving to possibly taking off from a break-even position in the current year of 2017/18; this could possibly be the first time that the airline will not report a negative financial result in a long number of years”, he added. Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi noted that together with stakeholders we will ensure Air Malta will be a success story. He emphasised the importance of publishing the accounts which were

pending. He explained that the current year is a year of transition which focuses on revenue growth and improved yields. This will enable the company to register breakeven after many years. As of next year he augured that the airline will operate with a new Collective Agreement which is fair and provide the company with flexibility. The Minister noted that currently a study is being conducted to examine the increase of further aircraft next year in addition to the one which will come into service in April. Speaking at the briefing, Paul Sies, Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer, added, “The past few months exceeded our budget expectations. Preliminary estimates show that we are

forecasting 25% more bookings than budgeted. Our revamped product offer, that includes our hand luggage only fare, Go Light, was very well received and 148,000 Go Light tickets were sold since September. Since then we have seen internet sessions going up by 41%, sales of seat reservations increase by 61% and ancillary baggage sales increase by 163%.” He added that the unbundling of the product was part and parcel of the new strategy which sees the airline changing from a traditional to a hybrid business model. “This model will also entail the imminent introduction of new catering in economy class, a new business class catering service and a new frequent flyer programme by next year,” he revealed.





he 2017 edition of the Como to Malta Seaplanes Rally – Roberts Cup organised by the Malta Seaplanes Association with the Aero Club Como took place last year from 5 to 8 October. Aircraft setting off from Como included a Lake 270 flown by Antonio Carati and veteran seaplane expert Cesare Baj. A Cessna 172 XP bearing marks I-DROV also made a popular return from the previous year’s edition, commanded by a joint Maltese Italian crew including seasoned ACC pilot Francesco Cereda. Besides having backing from several leading Maltese and international firms, the 2017 edition was again supported by the Malta Tourism Authority and the Ministry for Tourism, which recognise the appeal of these rare flying boats and also appreciate their potential contribution to the upmarket regeneration of inner harbour areas like Marsa where a seaplane base, community centre and museum have been proposed.

speed of seaplanes over a small circuit which defined competitions such as the Coupe d'Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider 1913-31, the Roberts Cup draws pilots to the traditional challenge of longer distance flying reminiscent of the seaplane heyday of the 1910s-40s.

The aim of this annual event is in fact to celebrate the century-old history of flying boats both in Malta and in Como and also to recreate some of the exhilaration of maritime aviation over the last 100 years, with a focus on the Mediterranean where the first seaplane was flown by Frenchman Henri Fabre on 28 March 1910. In contrast to the concern with the

Both the medals and the Roberts Cup itself carry the image of the Short Admiralty Type 135 seaplane - Serial 136 - in which Captain Cecil F Kilner made the first flight in Malta on 13 February 1915, with the background, then as for the present competition, being the wonderful fortifications of the Knights of Malta at Senglea.

Ahead of the first weekend of October participating aircrews must complete an extended flight from the aerodrome at Lake Como in the mountains of northern Italy to the Maltese Archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, also performing a flying display in the magnificent Valletta Grand Harbour of Malta. One of a limited edition of 1000 official medals struck by the Central Bank of Malta at the Royal Dutch Mint is awarded to each pilot completing this feat of maritime flying, with the Roberts Cup itself being conferred in due course to the pilot with the highest number of these medals.

Last year all crews chose the passo dei Giovi through the Ligurian Apennines north of Genoa as the preferred departure from Como to the Tyrrhenian Sea, with some routing via the beautiful island of Elba. After overnighting in Naples due to adverse weather over the central Mediterranean, all aircraft arrived safely in Malta on 6 October to an evening welcome at the magnificent Phoenicia Hotel. On Saturday 7 October, invited guests at the Gardjola Gardens Isla in Senglea were treated to a pleasant reception and an interesting flying display over the Grand Harbour, with ACC Deputy President Enrico Guggiari and Deputy Ambassador of Italy Andrea Marino also committing full support for future editions of this fly-in. As for the Rolex Middle Sea Race that follows this event, participants in the Roberts Cup must expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather and this year proved to be no exception. Trekking back to Como, the conditions indeed varied from the sublimely beautiful to the slightly perilous. The appointment is now set for 4-7 October when seaplanes will also be celebrating Valletta’s well-deserved role as European Capital of Culture.





ir Malta will start flying to Lisbon, the coastal capital city of Portugal and one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, as from the 25th March 2018. The Maltese carrier will fly to Lisbon Portela Airport initially twice a week with flights operating every Thursday and Sunday with one-way prices starting from just Euro39, includes taxes. The Minister for Tourism, Dr Konrad Mizzi stated that this route will allow Air Malta to be connected to the South American region since Lisbon is an important hub for South American passengers travelling to European countries. He mentioned that this is part of Air Malta’s growth and revitilisation strategy which includes a number of added routes and frequencies, as well as connections to new markets around the world. Mr Paul Sies, Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer stated: "We are thrilled to be extending our services to South Western Europe. Our return to Lisbon after an absence of over ten years is not just another milestone for the airline but it represents a strong commitment by the airline to better connect the Mediterranean region to all Europe and beyond. We plan to carry around 10,000 passengers in the first year of operation and generate increased tourism between the two countries. Our geographical position together with the increased routes and frequencies to major airports will undoubtedly help make Air Malta the natural choice when it comes to connecting flights across the region.” The flight schedule will operate as follows: THURSDAY KM594 DEP MALTA
















Lisbon is the largest city of Portugal and regarded by many as one of the greatest cities around the world. Its spectacular landmarks and temperate climate make Lisbon the 7th most visited city in Southern Europe. Visiting Lisbon can only be defined as a true experience of local cultural heritage and art. Being the oldest city in Western Europe numerous enchanting historical monuments, palaces, monasteries, cathedrals and museums adorn this magnificent city. The city is home to a number of UNESCO world heritage sites such as the impressive defence Belem tower which is built on a rock outcrop in the Tagus River. While exploring this outstanding city, one will definitely come across St George’s Castle, a unique landmark of Roman origins which commands exceptional views of Lisbon. The Alfama neighbourhood is regarded as one of the most beautiful spots in the city. Dominated by cobblestone alleyways, it is populated by small coffee shops, lovely churches, intricate public squares and white washed buildings while retaining the unique feel of village life. Living and experiencing a Portuguese way of life is not complete unless you indulge in traditional culinary dishes which are related to the Mediterranean cuisine but heavily influenced by a wide variety of spices. Customers can book flights through, by calling Air Malta’s Call Centre on +356 21662211 in Malta, or from Air Malta sales office at Malta International Airport or from Travel Agents.




Michele Agius



ith our European Capital of Culture tenure commencing this month, preparations are in full swing for what will be one of Malta’s biggest celebrations to date. We are sure that 2018 is going to be memorable, and we can’t wait to kick-off our island-wide festa with you. Four Squares (Erba’ Pjazez) in Valletta will each be hosting an original spectacle on the evening of the 20th of January 2018 – the day in which Valletta 2018 becomes European Capital of Culture. Each display will be 20 minutes long, and will be happening every hour on the hour starting at 7pm, with the last display taking place at 11pm, thus making sure that visitors to the capital during this special evening will not miss out. IL-QAWMA TAT-TRITONI (TRITON SQUARE) The Spanish theatre company La Fura dels Baus will host a spectacular aerobatic choreographed performance featuring a human net above the newly

restored Triton Fountain. The performance will include a pool of local talent, comprising of around 60 people. QALBNA (ST GEORGE’S SQUARE) ŻfinMalta will be hosting a modern dance, choreographed by Paola Mangiola and accompanied by original music composed by Cyprian Cassar. The display will feature dancers interacting with projected visuals. ELFEJN U TMINTAX (ST JOHN’S SQUARE) A brand new choral symphony will be premiered on the steps of St John’s Cathedral. The performance will be accompanied by innovative lighting effects, which will illuminate the centuries old façade. MINN QIEGĦ L-IMGĦODDI GĦALL-QUĊĊATA TALĠEJJIENI (CASTILLE SQUARE) This performance consists of 3D mapping projections on the façade of Auberge de Castille, which combines CGI components, music and visual special effects.

Ian Attard

This twenty-minute extravaganza celebrates the past and prepares for an imagined future. During the week leading up to the opening, those visiting the city of Valletta can experience a programme of activities which includes workshops, exhibitions, literary events, musical and theatrical performances, sports and educational projects, amongst others. There’s something for everyone to enjoy during the week starting from the 14th of January, with celebrations carrying on until the 21st January.

Our festa does not end there – this year will be full of exciting projects, with more than 400 events taking place throughout our European Capital of Culture year. Come and join the festa during 2018! To find out more on what’s going on this January, visit

Carl Farrugia

Visitors to the capital during this exciting week can visit the crypt and war shelters beneath the 500 yearold Agostinian Convent (An Angle on the Anglican), take a walk through Valletta’s football history (L-Iljuni tal-Futbol), participate in the children’s version of the local feast of St Paul (San Pawl taż-Żgħar), watch a performance using theatrical elements to reflect the diverse nature of people’s dreams (Ħolm Butik), watch a traditional Regatta (rowing event) in Marsamxett Harbour (Aqdef, isa!) and so much more.




Fom left: Silvio Falzon - Chief Operations Officer, Mark Galea – General Secretary AAE, Charles Azzopardi - President AAE, Dr George Abela - President Emeritus, Dr Konrad Mizzi - Tourism Minister, Dr Charles Mangion – Air Malta Chairman, Joseph Galea – Air Malta Acting CEO, Roberto Cristiano – Chief Officer HR.


ir Malta has recently signed a five-year Collective Agreement with the Association of Airline Engineers (AAE). This was the first of five collective agreements the airline has concluded and is expecting to sign with more unions representing its workforce in the coming weeks.

employed by Air Malta. "This group of professionals are unique in the country," he said, adding that the company had done well to invest in them and to ensure they are a key part of its operations. Dr Abela also expressed his satisfaction at the "new direction taken by the company since June" when it embarked on a growth strategy.

The collective agreement was described by the airline’s Chairman Dr Charles Mangion as a “landmark agreement”. Despite the company’s challenges we are making sure that we provide workers with opportunities,” Dr Mangion said.

Tourism Minister Dr Konrad Mizzi, responsible for Air Malta, said that the agreement will provide stability in the industrial relations for another five years in a sector that is crucial for the running of the airline. "We have a fair deal, a deal that paves the way for a healthy working relationship that will ensure continuous improvements, new opportunities and further expansion in line with our growth strategy, " added Dr Mizzi.

Speaking on behalf of the negotiating team, President Emeritus Dr George Abela noted the high quality of engineers

The Minister also revealed that with the new signed agreement, the airline and engineering department could now start to consider building a new hangar as well as targeting new niche markets. AAE President Charles Azzopardi praised the agreement saying it shows Government’s commitment that engineers will form an integral part of Air Malta’s future. He added that the majority of the association's members supported the agreement after they were assured throughout the negotiations that the sector would remain a vital part of the company’s operations. The agreement sees the airline’s engineers get a 19% wage increase that would be spread over five years (5%, 1.5%, 5%, 1.5%, 5%).



I have been working with Air Malta for the past two-and-a-half years. THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOUR JOB?

A job that requires a lot of dedication, responsibility and teamwork. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF YOUR JOB?

The biggest challenge I have in baggage services is convincing customers that my role is to help them. Of course it’s natural for passengers to be distraught when their luggage does not arrive or is missing, and it’s my duty to solve that as quickly as possible. DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?

Living on an island where the sea is only 15 minutes away, I’d say that

swimming is easily my most loved hobby during summer, although I also enjoy playing the piano and paint. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION AND WHY?

Most probably it would be Sicily. Both the scenery and also the food are just perfect for my tastes. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SPOTS OR TIPS FOR ANYONE VISITING MALTA?

Malta as a tourist destination has a lot of potential for hiking and swimming activities. I would recommend that you look for the less beaten path, since it gives you a better look at Malta’s nature and also allowing you a bit of breathing space as not so many people tend to visit them.




FLIGHT & COMPANY INFORMATION SURVEY: Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance at Air Malta and we are always looking for ways to improve your experience. Visit our website to answer a few short questions.

NEWSLETTER: Subscribe to our newsletter or like our Facebook page to learn about our promotions, with fares starting from as low as €44 including taxes. Visit for more information.



Alcohol consumed at high altitude can have a stronger effect than usual. Cabin crew are legally empowered to refuse serving any alcohol to an intoxicated passenger and to anyone under the age of 18. In extreme cases, crew may also temporarily confiscate the passenger‘s own drinks so that the passenger would not become a nuisance to the other passengers and crew. Furthermore, Air Malta is bound by international regulations which prohibit embarkation or the carriage of drunken passengers. But once you are reading this article, Air Malta‘s Flight Safety Committee is confident that you are a law-abiding and exemplary passenger. Indeed, the cabin crew may need your assistance to restrain another passenger in the unlikely event that he or she may act irresponsibly during the flight. The consumption of one’s own alcoholic beverages inflight goes against Air Malta policy.

Smoking is prohibited from when you leave the terminal building until you arrive to the terminal building. Smoking is allowed in designated areas only. Smoking is not allowed during any phase of the flight and in any area of the aircraft. Should you be aware of a passenger who has smoked in the toilet during the flight, please inform the cabin crew immediately so that they can check for any undetected fires. The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) not allowed on board Air Malta flights. Similarly, the use of naked flames on and around the aircraft is also prohibited.



ENHANCE YOUR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE At Air Malta, we want our passengers to have everything they need to make their travel experience comfortable in one place. Here are a number of services that we offer.

JOIN OUR BUSINESS CLASS Upgrade to Air Malta’s Club Class for priority service. Members can make use of the special check-in counters for more leisurely and efficient boarding, enjoy access to the La Valette Lounge at Malta International Airport, and get more privacy with a separate inflight cabin area.

AIRBUS 319 CARRY MORE WITH YOU Are you worried about not being able to fit everything you need into your suitcase? Stop stressing out and check out our extra baggage service. Simply book your extra baggage online and get the most out of your trip. Visit www.airmalta. com/excess-baggage-en-gb for more details.


FLY IN COMFORT Enhance your comfort with extra legroom during your flight. This option gives you more space to relax in preparation for your trip. Visit or more information.


GET SPORTY Are you passionate about a sport? We make it easy to travel and take your specialised equipment with you at a very minimal cost. Visit for more details.



We also cater for large groups who want to travel together. If your group is larger than 10 adults, contact our Group Bookings team for special rates that you can’t get anywhere else. Email for more information.


WEB CHECK-IN Skip the line and check-in before you get to the airport. You may check-in online before you get to the airport, up to 24 hours prior to departure up until one hour before your flight. Visit for more information.


destination information

finland SWEDEN


NORWAY • Oslo Stockholm






• Moscow

BELARUS • Bremen

Birmingham • • Berlin Bristol • • Amsterdam • London City London Heathrow • • Hannover HOLLAND • London Gatwick GERMANY • Brussels BELGIUM • Düsseldorf • Dresden


• Paris Charles de Gaulle Paris Orly •

Lyon •

• Frankfurt



Milan • Verona •

Genoa •



• Venice • Bologna

• Otopani


Florence • Pisa •


• Ancona ITALY • Pescara




• Rome Alghero •


• Budapest


• Geneva

• Nice


• Vienna


• Zurich

Turin •

Marsille •


• Prague

• Munich


• Warsaw


• Bari • Brindisi ALBANIA

• Olbia Naples • • Cagliari

• Sofia • Istanbul


Lamezia Terme • Reggio Calabria • Catania Comiso •

Palermo • Tunis •


Larnaca •


Malta Tel Aviv •







Amsterdam Brussels Catania Comiso Düsseldorf Frankfurt London Gatwick London Heathrow Milan Moscow

6 8 14 2 2 3 7 14 7 2



Munich Palermo Paris Charles de Gaulle Paris Orly Rome Tel Aviv Tunis Vienna Zurich

13 2 6 4 13 3 (forthnight) 3 8 6

CODE-SHARED ROUTES ETIHAD AIRWAYS Abu Dhabi Brisbane Melbourne Perth Sydney

ALITALIA via Brussels, Heathrow and Rome via Abu Dhabi via Abu Dhabi via Abu Dhabi via Abu Dhabi

LUFTHANSA Arlanda (Stockholm) via Munich Berlin via Munich Bremen via Munich Dresden via Munich Düsseldorf via Munich Frankfurt Hannover via Munich Munich Oslo via Munich

BRUSSELS AIRLINES Brussels Copenhagen

via Catania via Brussels


Rome London City Frankfurt Pescara Alghero Cagliari Brindisi Catania Amsterdam Nice Geneva Ancona Reggio Calabria Lamezia Terme Naples Bologna Trieste Genoa Turin Venice Verona Cagliari Bari Brindisi Pisa Florence Palermo Milan Linate

via Milan Linate via Milan Linate via Milan Linate via Milan Linate via Milan Linate via Milan Linate via Milan Linate via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome via Rome



Budapest Otopeni (Buc) Prague Sofia Warsaw


MERIDIANA Olbia Naples

via Rome via Catania


via Vienna via Vienna via Vienna via Vienna via Vienna





Any devices that can send or receive data by wireless means, such as mobile-phones and tablets, may be used during all phases of the flight provided their transmit/receive capabilities (e.g. Bluetooth and Wi-fi) are switched off. Alternatively, if the device has ‘Flight Mode’ capability, this must be enabled. Such devices shall be safely secured in the customers’ hand (handheld) or a pocket during taxi, take-off and landing. Larger devices (e.g. laptops) shall be switched off and stowed away safely during taxi, takeoff and landing. Accessories, such as headphones, must not obstruct access to the aisle. If the data transmission capability cannot be switched off (whilst the device is operating), the device itself must be switched off for the duration of the flight.

These could include, but are not limited to, items such as DVD players, electronic games, music players and personal cameras. Such devices shall be safely secured in the customers’ hand (handheld) or a pocket during taxi, take-off and landing. Larger devices shall be stowed away safely during taxi, take-off and landing.

L APTOPS AND NOTEBOOKS Such devices may be used during boarding and during flight but not during taxi, take-off and landing. Any built-in data connectivity such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi must be disabled. These devices must be stowed away safely during taxi, take-off and landing since they could hinder an emergency evacuation.


CAN I USE HEADPHONES? Personal headphones can be used during all phases of the flight. However, we ask you to remove your headphones during the safety briefing. For safety reasons, customers sitting in an emergency exit row must refrain from using headphones during taxi, take-off and landing.

Under certain circumstances, your Flight Crew or Cabin Crew may ask you to switch off all Personal Electronic Devices. This may happen during automatic landings, low visibility takeoff or landing, or during emergency situations.

I SHOULD INFORM THE CABIN CREW WHEN … … portable electronic device is damaged, becomes hot, produces smoke, is lost, or falls into the seat structure. If safe to do so, the device must be switched off immediately.

If you require more information, please refer to the table below which includes a list of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) which can be used onboard Air Malta flights by phase of flight. Please do not hesitate to contact any member of our cabin crew if you have any further questions.



HAND HELD PEDS (e.g. smart phones and tablets)


(e.g. laptops and notebooks)







instructed by Flight Crew or Cabin Crew)





Taxi-out for Take-Off





During Safety Briefing Demonstration















(Cabin Crew PA)










Taxi to Stand





Extended Ground Delay (when

Circa 10 minutes to landing

Safety Notice: The carriage of damaged, defective or recalled lithuim batteries or devices is prohibited on-board Air Malta aircraft.

Pure Fun Gozo Carnival 9th – 13th February 2018

Photo by Hush Studios



“Il-Bizzilla” - Air Malta’s In-Flight Magazine - January 2018  

This month our capital takes the limelight once again. For the start of 2018, we are showcasing the architecture and heritage of Valletta. O...

“Il-Bizzilla” - Air Malta’s In-Flight Magazine - January 2018  

This month our capital takes the limelight once again. For the start of 2018, we are showcasing the architecture and heritage of Valletta. O...