Valletta is Europe’s most diminutive capital and also its most southerly. Bang in the middle of the Mediterranean, ravaged by extremes of weather and world war, Malta’s small jewel of a capital defies belief. Today it is alive and kicking, punching above its weight as it has done for centuries.
Despite all its grand titles (in 2018 the city will become the European Capital of Culture), one thing is clear: Valletta today is thriving, alive with cosmopolitan voices even more than when it was a major port. There’s a sense of anticipation as old palaces and neglected streets are repurposed for twenty-first century living. Valletta’s small but crucial population is being heard despite the pace of change around it.
My advice is to hit the back streets once you’ve seen Valletta’s glittering facades. Away from the shoppers and sightseers, you’ll begin to decipher this isolated but worldly-wise city that’s dead set on reinventing itself for the next 450 years, titles or not.