Walking Tour: Vittoriosa
- Start Misraħ ir-Rebħa
- End Waterfront
- Length 1km; one hour
Start at Misraħ ir-Rebħa with its two monuments: the Victory Monument, erected in 1705 in memory of the Great Siege; and a statue of St Lawrence, patron saint of Vittoriosa, from 1880. You'll notice a magnificent building (from 1888) on the eastern side of the square; it's home to the Band Club of St Lawrence.
From the square head east on Triq Hilda Tabone, then take the first left (Triq Santa Skolastika) towards the massive blank walls of the Sacra Infermeria, the first hospital to be built by the Knights on their arrival in Malta. It's now a convent. Turn right down an alley (signposted Triq il-Miratur) and walk along the wall's perimeter. The stepped ramp descending into a trench in front of the infermeria leads to the Bighi Sally Port, where the wounded were brought by boat to the infirmary under the cover of darkness during the Great Siege.
Next, head back onto Triq Hilda Tabone. To your right lies a small maze of charming alleys, collectively known as Il Collachio, with some of the city's oldest surviving buildings. Wander up Triq it-Tramuntana to the so-called Norman House at No 11 (on the left) and look up at the 1st floor. The twin-arched window, with its slender central pillar and zigzag decoration, dates from the 13th century and is in a style described as Siculo-Norman. Also in this area are the first auberges built by the Knights in the 16th century – the Auberge d'Angleterre on Triq il-Majjistral, the auberge of the English Knights, is now occupied by Malta's health department.
From here, turn back to Misraħ ir-Rebħa, from where you can walk down to the waterfront. Turn left into the nearby chapel where the little Oratory of St Joseph contains relics of Grand Master la Valette, and continue down past the Church of St Lawrence. Built on the site of an 11th-century Norman church, St Lawrence's served as the conventual church of the Knights of St John from 1530 until the move to St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta.