IL LEGAME CON IL GUSTO DOMINANTE TRA XVII E XVIII SECOLO IN TUTTA EUROPA SI ESPRIME SOPRATTUTTO NELLE ARCHITETTURE PUBBLICHE E RELIGIOSE DA SCOPRIRE NELL’ARCIPELAGO DI MALTA, GOZO E COMINO
A gennaio l’arcipelago di Malta celebra la sua identità barocca. Per tutto il mese, ormai da dieci anni a questa parte, Valletta accoglie infatti un programma di eventi diffusi negli spazi più emblematici della città, dall’Auberge de Provence al Gran Salon alla Concattedrale di San Giovanni al Teatru Manoel. Sotto la direzione artistica di Kenneth Zammit Tabona, il calendario del Valletta Baroque Festival (che si è appena concluso) attira estimatori della musica classica da tutto il mondo, proponendo concerti dedicati ad autori di musica barocca (da Bach a Handel a Mozart e Scarlatti), ma anche coinvolgenti ibridazioni di epoche e stili, dal Vivaldi interpretato in chiave rock ai Beatles letti alla maniera settecentesca. Ma un contributo fondamentale al successo della kermesse arriva proprio dalle ambientazioni che fanno da cornice agli spettacoli, tra stucchi dorati, ampollose decorazioni, sculture ed espedienti architettonici di grande impatto scenografico. Per questo, ben oltre la chiusura del festival, è sempre un buon momento per esplorare Valletta e l’arcipelago maltese in cerca del suo passato barocco.
IL BAROCCO A MALTA. LA STORIA
Prima dell’introduzione del Barocco a Malta, lo stile architettonico predominante sull’isola si rifaceva agli esiti manieristi dell’epoca rinascimentale, attraverso l’attività del più quotato architetto pubblico locale, Girolamo Cassar, che progettò molti edifici pubblici, privati e religiosi nella capitale di Valletta, che al tempo si andava costruendo. Tra XVII se XVIII secolo, però, sotto il dominio dell’Ordine di San Giovanni, iniziò a imporsi il nuovo gusto che già aveva conquistato in buona parte l’area mediterranea e l’Europa continentale. Il cambio di passo è tradizionalmente associato alla figura dell’ingegnere bolognese Bontadino de Bontadini, incaricato di costruire l’acquedotto di Wignacourt all’inizio del Seicento: tra 1612 e 1615, Bontadini realizzò un impianto scenografico pienamente aderente alla ricerca di stupore e meraviglia caratteristica del nuovo approccio estetico, tra torri d’acqua, fontane e un magnifico arco. Lo stile divenne popolare tra la metà e la fine del XVII secolo (del 1635 è la Chiesa dei Gesuiti di Francesco Buonamici, altro “testo” ritenuto cruciale per la diffusione dello stile a Valletta) e raggiunse il suo apice nel corso del Settecento, a cui si lega la realizzazione di opere monumentali come l’Auberge de Castille. All’inizio dell’Ottocento, durante il dominio britannico, l’architettura neoclassica sarebbe riuscita a imporsi sulla stagione barocca, capace però di protrarre la sua influenza fino al Novecento, come dimostrano alcuni edifici religiosi commissionati tra XIX e XX secolo, ancora legati a stilemi ascrivibili al gusto settecentesco.
IL TOUR DEL BAROCCO TRA MDINA E VALLETTA
A Malta, il Barocco di grandiose cupole e facciate riccamente decorate, pur contenuto nello sfarzo e votato alla sobrietà, fu esemplato principalmente su modelli italiani e francesi – tra le opere seicentesche si annoverano anche la ristrutturazione dell’Auberge de Provence e l’Hostelin de Verdelin – anche se non mancano riferimenti alla corrente spagnola. Oggi un tour di riscoperta di quella che per l’architettura – principalmente religiosa – di Malta è stata un’epoca d’oro può iniziare dai progetti firmati da Lorenzo Gafà, che nella seconda metà del XVII secolo fu incaricato di guidare molti cantieri sull’isola: il più ambizioso lo vide all’opera per la ricostruzione, tra il 1696 e il 1705, della Cattedrale di San Paolo a Mdina, danneggiata nella sua struttura medievale durante il terremoto siciliano del ’93. Ma Gafà lavorò anche altrove, realizzando la Chiesa di San Lorenzo a Birgu (1681-97; in città ha sembianze barocche anche il Palazzo dell’Inquisitore, oggi Museo Popolare) e la Cattedrale dell’Assunzione a Victoria, sull’isola di Gozo (1697-1711). Nel frattempo anche numerosi artisti furono coinvolti nella ridecorazione di edifici già esistenti: a Valletta, la Concattedrale di San Giovanni, dove ancora oggi si apprezza il ciclo di opere pittoriche realizzato da Mattia Preti negli Anni Sessanta del XVII secolo.
Il passaggio al Settecento fu però segnato principalmente dai lavori di ricostruzione che si resero necessari dopo il devastante terremoto di cui sopra. E fu la città vecchia di Mdina a subire l’evoluzione più significativa: il programma di riassetto urbanistico, che determinò la demolizione di edifici medievali danneggiati e la nascita di nuove opere pubbliche, si espletò durante la reggenza del Gran Maestro António Manoel a partire dal 1722, sotto la direzione di Charles François de Mondion. La Mdina odierna, antica capitale dell’isola, colpisce per la magniloquenza del progetto dell’epoca, ispirato al Barocco francese, tra la Porta Principale (1724) e il portale della Porta dei Greci (1724), la Torre dello Standardo (1725), il Palazzo Vilhena (1726-28) e la Corte Capitanale (1726-28). Tornando a Valletta, data alla seconda metà del XVIII secolo un edificio simbolo della città come l’Auberge de Castille, progettato dall’architetto maltese Andrea Belli, con il portale d’ingresso introdotto da una teoria di gradini e incorniciato dalla monumentale facciata scandita da paraste e chiusa in alto da una cornice aggettante. Oggi il palazzo è la sede del Primo Ministro di Malta. C’è poi il Teatru Manoel, inaugurato nel 1732, con scalinate in marmo e stucchi in stile Rococò. In omaggio al legame con la cultura barocca, persino uno dei più recenti cantieri di architettura religiosa, che nel 2005 ha portato all’inaugurazione della chiesa parrocchiale di Santa Venera, è stato improntato allo stile dell’epoca, com’è evidente nella decorazione della facciata.
IL BAROCCO A GOZO. LA CATTEDRALE DELL’ASSUNZIONE
L’eco di questo gusto contagiò anche Gozo, dove, come già ricordato, fu al lavoro anche Lorenzo Gafà, per realizzare la Cattedrale dell’Assunzione a Victoria, sul luogo dove si trovava un tempio dedicato a Giunone, di cui ancora si ammirano i capitelli conservati nel vicino Museo della Cattedrale. Forte la somiglianza con la cattedrale di Mdina, la chiesa di Gozo si distingue per l’unico alto campanile che svetta sul retro e per il soffitto che finge l’esistenza di una cupola, dipinta in trompe l’oeil. A Victoria si visita anche la coeva Basilica di San Giorgio, ricostruita dopo il terremoto della Val di Noto, celebre per la facciata completamente rivestita in marmo e per il ricco corredo di opere d’arte (torna, tra gli altri, Mattia Preti) custodito all’interno.
Article credits: https://www.artribune.com/turismo/2023/02/barocco-malta-architettura-musica/
25 years of Colours of Malta Mdina Cathedral Museum catering for eclectic tastes
The Mdina Cathedral Museum stands out as an institution that is continuously evolving. It is housed in a magnificent baroque building on the right hand side of the cathedral, in Archbishop’s Square. This imposing edifice was built by Bishop Alpheran de Bussan, with the first stone being laid in 1733. This building was to serve as the seminary for the diocese of Malta.
In the 16th century, the council of Trent had instituted seminaries to provide for the training of candidates to priesthood. Twelve years after the last session of the council, Mgr. Dusina, Apostolic Visitor to Malta had decreed the erection of a seminary. Various attempts were made by the bishops of Malta to have such a purpose built building but it was only in 1703 that Bishop Cocco Palmieri welcomes the first seminarians to a building in Mdina.
In 1723 Bishop Mancini (1722-1727) , transferred the Seminary to Valletta. Bishop Fra Paolo Alpheran de Bussan and Grandmaster Manoel De Vilhena funded the building of the current building. The building’s design is attributed to the architects Giovanni Barbara or Andrea Belli, although Barbara was dead when construction began, leaving Belli as the more likely candidate. The Mdina Seminary was inaugurated on the 20th May, 1742.
The Times of Malta talked to its curator, Mgr Edgar Vella and exhibition coordinator, Joseph P. Borg about its ethos and the recent bequest of the collection of John Bugeja Caruana. You may learn all about it in the article on The Times of Malta.
Read the full article here: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/mdina-cathedral-museum-catering-eclectic-tastes.9831262023 Hosts Global Forum Destination Has Been Announced
Hosts Global, together with Hosts Global Affiliate Colours of Malta, announced they will be heading to Malta in 2023 for the next Hosts Global Forum. Steeped in over 7,000 years of history, and having played host to the Romans, Phoenicians and the Knights of St John, Malta will also play host to the 9th annual Hosts Global Forum in this idyllic archipelago.Why Malta is the Mediterranean’s most underrated destination
Plunked in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta has been squabbled over by empires for millennia. But today its people are fashioning their own story. Conde Nast Traveler’s Rick Jordan recounts his various visits to the island while giving a brief recount of Malta’s fascinating history and how it shaped the Malta we know today.
Read the full article here: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/in-malta-roman-ruins-and-natural-wine-bars-sit-side-by-sideMalta’s Villa Bologna Pottery officially opens London outlet
Maltese pottery store Villa Bologna Pottery officially launched its outlet in London on Tuesday. Located at the elegant Portland Road, Villa Bologna Pottery is in one of the most picturesque areas in West London.
Villa Bologna has been producing iconic handcrafted ceramics since 1924, with its store in Attard emerging as a favourite for several local and foreign customers.
The Attard facility was destroyed during World War Two, yet it was then relocated to the old stables at the de Trafford family’s Villa Bologna, where it is still found to this day.
Villa Bologna Pottery focuses on classical pieces that are based on styles from the 1950s and 1960s, while also working on some more modern designs with international designers.
Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/malta-s-villa-bologna-pottery-officially-opens-london-outlet8 of Malta’s stunning wayside chapels
The Maltese Islands really do have the grandest of churches – we have one for nearly ever day of the year! But often, it’s in the simplest of chapels that we can find tranquillity and peace (not to mention some of the islands’ most spectacular countryside views). Here are 8 of Malta’s prettiest wayside chapels.
1. Chapel of St John the Evangelist, Ħal Millieri, Żurrieq
This chapel is located in the now uninhabited area in Żurrieq known as Ħal Millieri. The chapel was built around 1481 but became quite dilapidated over time, which meant it had to be deconsecrated. The chapel was later reconsecrated and was eventually enlarged in 1961.
2. St Paul the Hermit, Wied il-Għasel, Mosta
Located in a cave in Wied il-Għasel (Valley of Honey), this chapel has legends surrounding its origins and is mentioned in the first history book of Malta written by Gian Frangisk Abela in 1647. By time, the chapel was abandoned due to the challenging paths to get to it.
3. St Mary’s Chapel, Marsa
St Mary’s Chapel, commonly known as Ta’ Ċeppuna, is said to be a spectacular relic of Malta’s late medieval past, and honestly, it’s just that. This gem in the south of Malta dates back to the late 15th century and was used for divine service until World War II, when it suffered extensive damages due to various air raids.
4. St Mary Magdalene Chapel, Dingli
This Roman Catholic chapel is found in the limits of Dingli, overlooking the mighty Dingli Cliffs and, naturally, boasting impeccable views. Commonly known as il-kappella tal-irdum (chapel of the cliffs), this wayside chapel was built in 1646 on the site of an earlier 15th-century chapel.
5. San Pawl tal-Qlejja, Mosta
This wayside chapel is located in the Valley called Qlejgħa or Qlejja, hence the name. It is dedicated to the Shipwreck of St Paul and dates back to 1690. The current chapel stands on the site of an older chapel that was demolished.
6. Madliena Chapel, Swieqi
The Madliena chapel was once the centre of the community in the hamlet of Madliena, but was abandoned for years on end. Two years ago though, the chapel was restored, and mass is currently celebrated every Sunday for locals in the vicinity.
7. Sanctuary of the Nativity of the Our Lady, Mellieħa
It has been said that Saint Luke painted the figure of Our Lady on the bare rock face of a natural cave in Mellieħa. Well, many locals and visitors alike believe this story, with various pilgrims coming from all over the world to visit the shrine!
8. Wied Għammieq Chapel, Kalkara
Wied Għammieq Chapel is one of the more recent ones, having been built in the 19th century. The surrounding cemetery became the resting place for hundreds who died during the cholera epidemic in 1837. Some believe that the area of Wied Għammieq may very well be haunted as tragedy struck in the 70s when two brothers, two girls, and a construction worker lost their lives on separate occasions!
Article credits: https://www.guidememalta.com/en/8-of-malta-s-stunning-wayside-chapels-then-and-nowEaster Sunday In Malta 2022
Easter Sunday Processions Are As Popular As Those Of Good Friday. Easter Sunday in Malta commemorates the Resurrection of Christ reminding us that he rose from death. It is the most important feast in the Roman Catholic church calendar.
The ringing of the Church bells both in Malta and Gozo and the processions with the statue of l-Irxoxt, the Risen Christ brings back many customs that the Maltese have had for centuries. This tradition is repeated every year in a number of villages in Malta and Gozo.
For instance at Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, where a group of men run the last stretch of roads with the statue and people throw confetti from the windows to celebrate.
There are villages where the parish priest blesses the children’s figolli on Sunday morning. You will surely see many children gathering for this blessing in front of the church.
On this day many people enjoy eating the traditional figolli including a variety of Easter eggs. With regards to the figolli, today they can be bought from many confectioneries but there are still many families who prefer to buy their own ingredients and cook them for their families.
Figolli are usually baked before Easter, different sizes and shapes are done with almond paste in between, covered in chocolate or coloured icing and decorated with little Easter eggs.
Large crowds gather to see the l-Irxoxt procession as it’s one of the traditional feast people look forward to see. Children with figolli in their hands. Different shapes and sizes get to eat the delicious Easter eggs and figolli.
During the processions the band clubs, will now also accompany this procession playing joyful and happy mood marches compared to the Good Friday sombre marches.
After the morning procession people either go out for lunch or spend time with their families and have a lovely Easter meal. The traditional lamb, vegetables and potatoes are generally cooked.
Malta offers various sites and beautiful villages to see and knowing that during Easter there is so much to see and do even if you are not religious.
You will have numerous ceremonies at church, impressive processions and decorations to fill up your time. The Maltese people through their faith and devotion and all the traditions that they have inherited from their ancestors can offer you an incredible holiday.
You can savour our traditional food, sweets and lovely warm weather for the time of the year. The evening tends still to be a bit chilly but knowing that there is so much to absurd and enjoy why not see what Malta has to offer around Easter.
Easter Sunday in Malta and all the Holy Week activities are a great time to have a taste of the Maltese culture.
Easter Sunday Processions In Malta
- Birgu | Vittoriosa – 10:00
- Birkirkara – 18:00
- Birzebbugia – 19:00
- Bormla – 09:00
- Gharghur – 09:00
- Gzira – 09:45
- Isla | Senglea – 09:00
- Kalkara – 18:45
- Luqa – 09:30
- Mosta – 18:30
- Naxxar – 08:30
- Paola – 09:00
- Qormi – San Gorg – 09:00
- Qormi – San Bastian – 09:15
- Rabat – 09:45
- Sliema – St. Gregory – 17:30
- San Gwann – N/A
- Siggiewi – N/A
- St. Julians – 10:30
- Valletta – Tal-Gizwieti – 18:15
- Zebbug – 09:00
- Zejtun – 10:00
Easter Sunday Processions Gozo
- Fontana – 10:30
- Gharb – 18:00
- Rabat – Katidral – 10:45
- Kercem – 09:15
- Nadur – 10:00
- Qala – 11:00
- Rabat – San Gorg – 08:45
- Xaghra – 18:00
- Xewkija – 09:30
- Zebbug – 17:00
Article credits: https://www.maltainfoguide.com/The traditional Regatta
The Regatta is a Traditional Rowing Event that has been held in Malta since the middle ages. The first professional Rowing Challenge started in 1955.
The traditional Regatta races are national events held twice yearly, that on the 31st of March on Freedom Day to commemorate the withdrawal of the British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta in 1979, and 8th September known as Victory Day. The latter has several roots as it marks the end of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 and the end of French occupation on Malta in 1800, as well as the armistice of the Fascist regime in Italy in 1943, which saw the close of the Italian bombardment of the Maltese Islands.
The programme offers four to five hours of spectacle, with the best crews forming part of the rowing teams from the cities bordering the Grand Harbour. Cospicua, Kalkara, Marsa, Marsamxett (Valletta), Senglea, Vittoriosa and also Birzebbuga, participate in 10 races under two different categories using typical traditional Maltese boats like the ‘frejgatini’, ‘kajjikki’ and ‘dghajjes tal-pass and tal-midalji’. These boats were traditionally normal working watercraft which plied the local harbour.
Over the years these boats have evolved into racing craft with certain modifications. These are also examined and weighed before the start of and end of the races. The first three placings in each race are awarded a number of points and at the end of the Regatta, the club with the highest number of points, in the respective categories, is presented with the Aggregrate Shield.
In the past small flags in different colours were tied to the forestems of racing boats for purposes of recognition. The colours were allotted by the Collector of Customs. Colours have changed considerably over the years. Today the clubs can be recognised by their traditional colours which include Birzebbuga (Red-White-Blue), Cospicua (Light Blue), Kalkara (Green), Marsa (Red-Blue), Marsamxett (Valletta) (Yellow), Senglea (Red-Yellow), and Vittoriosa (Red).
The 1,040 metre race course is set up in the Valletta Grand Harbour where the magnificent Fort St Angelo provides an imposing backdrop to the sleek and colourful Maltese boats. A good crowd of spectators and supporters converge along the waterfront and the surrounding bastions to watch the races, which is sure to be a colourful and spectacular event worth watching. The races can be viewed from the water edge of the three cities (Birgu, Cospicua, and Senglea) or Valletta.The local village festa
There is no better way to mingle with the locals than at the Maltese village festa (or feast). The Maltese love their patron saints and the village festas, being primarily a religious celebration, are held in their honour every year.
Each village celebrates a different patron saint or two depending on the number of churches in the locality. Each church is dedicated to a different saint. For this reason, some villages celebrate more than one festa per year.
Organised by the village band clubs and the parish members , the village festa is an event that all stakeholders work throughout the year to put together.
The competition between the band clubs can be quite fierce when it comes to the organisation of decorations and the fireworks shows, even if there is only one festa in the village.
It gets even tougher when the locality celebrates two different patron saints, each honoured by an individual band club.
The festas are held over the summer months. This is a time of great merriment for the local community coupled with a lot of traditions and customs and things can get really noisy and loud 😊
View festa calendar : https://www.visitmalta.com/en/village-festas