Malta & Sardinia

June 2018


Malta & Sardinia

Malta & Sardinia ~ In June of 2018 after circumnavigating Sicily with a group from OAT, I traveled solo to Malta and Sardinia. During my week in Malta I visited both the main island and smaller Gozo. My 2 weeks in Sardinia I traveled from Porto Torres (far north) to Sassari, Alghero, Bosa, Tinnura (my favorite), Oristano, and Cagliari. Along the way I viewed wonderful sites and museums, and dined spectacularly on the best food anywhere.

Pictures from top-left down, [M]alta & [S]ardinia: Calgiari [S], Postal Museum art [M], Sassari shopping district [S], San Michele Catholic Church Dome [S], National Gallery mural [S], Blue Hole [M], Sassari Street Art [S], 4th Century Martyr Plaque [S], and Boza rainbow hillside houses beneath title [S].

Malta Map

Malta Map & Itinerary ~ Day 1 arrived by air, then bus to Valletta staying at a B&B with view of Grand Harbor. Day 2 explored Valletta by day and saw performance of The Crucible that night. Day 3 by ferry across Grand Harbor to explore Maritime Museum and more. Day 4 explored Valletta especially Postal Museum. Day 5 by bus to Cirkewwa, by ferry to Mgarr, and by bus to Victoria, then explored Cittadella. Day 6 toured Gozo by bus. Day 7 by the bay at Marsalforn. Day 8 by bus and ferry to airport and then to Sardinia. Throughout, dined most excellently often streetside.

Three Cities Harbor

Three Cities Harbor ~ One of days in Malta I boarded the Grand Harbor Three Cities ferry to Sliema. On this side of the bay I explored the Maritime Museum and other sights.

Grand Harbor

Grand Harbor ~ Nighttime view across Grand Harbor to Sliema from the spectacular vantage point of the balcony of my room at the Grand Harbor Hotel.

War Museum Warriors

War Museum Warriors ~ in Valletta, Malta.

Little Big Fish

Little Big Fish ~ Just a sampling of the fabulous street art in Valletta.

1804 HMS Hibernia Bowspirit

HMS Hibernia Bowspirit ~ HMS Hibernia, launched 1804, was a 110-gun ship of the British Royal Navy. She was flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet from 1816-1855 when she became the Royal flagship in Malta. In 1902 she was sold and broken up. Her timber was used to fire bakeries, that sadly leading to lead poisoning in Malta. The figurehead now stands in the Malta Maritime Museum. Reference: wikipedia.

Sengleans to Seafarers and Their Families

Sengleans to Seafarers and Their Families ~ Artwork commorated on 12th of September 2014, located in Senglea (across Grand Harbor from Valletta).

Skull and Wings

Skull and Wings ~ Saint John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta is as much museum as it is church. Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, it was built between 1572 and 1577. The cathedral's interior is extremely ornate, and was decorated at the height of the Baroque period. The cathedral has notable works of art such as The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.

The Cathedral is expansive with 9 rich chapels, one dedicated to Our Lady of Philermos and the remaining to the patron saints of each of the Order's eight langues. Another impressive feature of the church is the collection of marble tombstones in the nave in which were buried important knights. Reference: wikipedia.

Although I found it's interior is facinating, I also found much of its art symbolically dark with displays of skulls and skeletons and death at every turn.


Tombstone ~ An impressive feature of Saint John's Co-Cathedral is its collection of marble tombstones in the nave in which were buried important knights. The more important knights were placed closer to the front of the church. These tombstones are richly decorated with in-laid marble.

Rainy Day on Republic Street

Rainy Day on Republic Street by Madeleine Gera on display at the Malta Postal Museum.

Lady in Red

Lady in Red by Madeleleine Gera on display at the Malta Postal Museum.

Hanging Around

Hanging Around along the streets of Valletta in Malta.

Saint John's Cavalier and Co-Catherdral

Saint John's Cavalier and Co-Catherdral ~ On my 4th day in Malta I traveled by bus from Valletta to Cirkewwa, traveled by ferry to Mgarr, and then on the adjoining small island of Gozo traveled by bus to Victoria. That afternoon I explored Cittadella on the hill above the city. At the Cittadella was Saint John's Cavalier and Co-Catherdral.

Ta'Kola Windmill

Ta' Kola Windmill is in the village of Xagħra, on the island of Gozo in the Maltese archipelago. It was built in 1725 by the Fondazione Vilhena of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena, and was rebuilt in the 1780s. It became a museum in 1992. Reference wikipedia.

Nadur Parish Church

Nadur Parish Church, also know as the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica located in Nadur, Gozo in Malta. The construction of the church was started in 1760 and completed in 1867. The design is attributed to the Maltese architect Giuseppe Bonici. Reference wikipedia.

Qolla I-Bajda Battery

Qolla I-Bajda Battery is an artillery battery in Żebbuġ, Gozo, Malta. It was built by the Order of Saint John between 1715 and 1716 as one of a series of coastal fortifications around the coasts of the Maltese Islands. It retained its original layout until the late 1970s, when it was converted into a discothèque and snack bar known as Rook when major alterations were made to the battery. The building is now abandoned. Qolla l-Bajda Battery is one of only two surviving batteries on Gozo, the other one being Saint Anthony's Battery in Qala. Reference wikipedia.

Blue Hole

Blue Hole ~ Recently at the Blue Hole there was the famous Azure Window Arch. But in March of 2017, with stormy weather, the arch callapsed. The locale is still scenic and (like myself) remains popular with tourists.

Sardinia Map

Sardinia Map & Itinerary ~ Day 1 arrived by air, then rail to Sassari, day 2 visited Porto Torres, day 3 explored Sassari. Day 4 to Alghero with afternoon by boat to Neptune's Grotto, day 5 explored Alghero. Day 6 to Bosa and explored, day 7 visit murals of Tinnari. Day 8 to Oristano and explored, day 9 to ancient site of Tharros. Day 10 to Cagliari and explored for 3 days. Day 13 flight home.


Sassari shopping along Via Turritana on a Monday afternoon. ... Great gelato nearby!


Fountain in the town of Sassari.

Village Life

Village Life ~ This canvas mural is proudly displayed at the entrance to the National Gallery in Sassari.

4th Century Martyrs

Story of 4th Century Martyrs Proto and Gianuario ~ Clockwise from top-left: (1) The first evangelizers disembark; (2) Proto and Gianuario do not abjure, rather they are tortured in prison; (3) Proto and Gianuario are entrusted to soldier Gavion; (4) The barbarian governer calls Proto and Gianuario to court. Panels at Archaeological Museum in Porto Torres.

Aragonese Tower

Aragonese Tower ~ Built in 1325 by Aragonese Admiral Carroz, who conquered the territory. Its function was for sighting and protection of the city center. It stands 14 meters (45 feet) high and 13 meters (42 feet) wide. Reference.

Alghero Harbor

Alghero Harbor ~ Alghero is a town of about 44,000 inhabitants in northwestern Sardinia along the Mediterranean Sea. Part of its population descends from Catalan conquerors from the end of the Middle Ages when Sardinia was part of the Crown of Aragon. Hence, the Catalan language is co-official (a unique situation in Italy) and known as the Alguerès dialect. The name Alghero comes from Aleguerium, which is a mediaeval Latin word meaning stagnation of algae. Reference wikipedia.

San Michele Catholic Church & Sulis Tower

San Michele Catholic Church & Sulis Tower ~ The brillantly tiled dome on the left is that of San Michele Catholic Church. In the foregound on the right is Sulis Tower, one of five towers along the perimeter of old town, the other four being: Tower of San Giacomo, Tower of Saint Elmo, Tower of Porta Terra, and Tower of San Giovanni.

Neptune's Grotto

Neptune's Grotto is a stalactite cave near the town of Alghero on the island of Sardinia. The cave was discovered by local fishermen in the 18th century and has since developed into a popular tourist attraction. The grotto gets its name from the Roman god of the sea, Neptune. Reference wikipedia.


Bosa is a small town along the navagitable Temo River, inland from the Mediterranean Sea by about 2 miles. As shown in the photo, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (with its dome top) sits above the river. Beyond the cathedral on the hillside are many houses painted in rainbow colors. Above these houses, set atop the Seravalle Hill, is Malaspina Castle.


Woman by Melkiorre Melis, at the Casa Deriu Museum in Bosa.

Balancing Youth with Maturity

Balancing Youth with Maturity ~ This sculpture, found in Oristano, was my favorite street art viewed while I was in Sardinia. It is untitled, but the one used for this slide I thought fitting. As I interpret the sculpture, the four women range from youth, who needs to hold on to life's balancing act, to a stoic mature woman with a demeanor of wisdom. The two other women seem to represent maturity at mid stages. Google Map Locale.

Tower of Saint Cristoforo

Tower of Saint Cristoforo, otherwise known as Tower of Mariano II, was built in 1290. It stands 19 metres (62 feet) tall. The tower is striking evidence of the old walls built at the time of the Giudicato. Reference wikipedia.

Oxen Celebration

Oxen Celebration ~ Saint Efisio has been the patron of Sardinia since 1656, while the 1st of May is the time of celebration when a colorful parade of floats, adorned with flowers, are drawn by oxen. Although the Festival of Saint Efisio is extravagantly celebrated in Cagliari, this mosaic is displayed along the streets of Oristano.

Girl and Cat

Girl and Cat ~ More cool street art in Oristano.

Ruins of Tharros

Ruins of Tharros ~ Tharros was an ancient city and former bishopric on the west coast of Sardinia. Excavations show that from the 8th century BCE until its abandonment (18 centuries later) in the 10th century Tharros was inhabited, first by Phoenicians, then by Punics and then by Romans. Reference wikipedia.

Tower of San Giovanni

Tower of San Giovanni ~ Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Crown of Spain built the towers of San Giovanni [located on a hilltop above the ancient ruins of Tharros] and the tower of Vecchia along the coast of the Sinis of Cabras. The towers were part of a coastal defense system against pirate raids from North Africa, built to protect the local population, Reference.


Cagliari is an Italian municipality and the capital of the island of Sardinia. Its Sardinian name Casteddu literally means castle. It has about 150,000 inhabitants, while counting nearby cities has more than 431,000 inhabitants. Cagliari is the 26th largest city in Italy and the largest in Sardinia.

Cagliari is an ancient city with a long history and has seen the rule of several civilizations. Under the buildings of the modern city there is a continuous stratification attesting to human settlement over the course of some five thousand years, from the Neolithic times to today.

Cagliari was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1324 to 1848, when Turin became the formal capital of the kingdom (which in 1861 became the Kingdom of Italy). Today the city is a regional cultural, educational, political and artistic centre, known for its diverse Art Nouveau architecture and several monuments [and also some of the best food anywhere]. Reference wikipedia.

Shrine of the Martyrs

Shrine of the Martyrs ~ One of many martyred memorialized in the Crypt of Cathedral of Santa Maria in Cagliari, likely that of John the Baptist.

Marble Statuette

Marble Statuette ~ Female marble statuette from about 3000 BCE of the Ozieri culture. Displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari.

Clay Mask

Clay Mask ~ Clay apotropaic mask from 6th-4th century BCE. Displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari.


Boxer ~ The Giants of Mont'e Prama are ancient stone sculptures created by the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia. They were found in 1974 and are believed to be from about the 9th century BCE. This statue is the head of a boxer [reference]. Displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari. [Footnote: Is this the 1977 movie Star Wars prototype for C-3PO?]