Mediterranean Cruise 2012







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Monte Carlo

Livorno (Florence)

Civitavecchia (Rome)




Day at Sea 1

Piraeus (Athens)

Day at Sea 2



Valletta, Malta

Thursday, 22 March

Thursday morning was relaxed as we arrived in Valletta around noon. We slept in a bit and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.

As we neared Malta we decided to go up on deck and watch as we sailed into the harbor. Valletta looks as it did 500 years ago or more and is quite the medieval city. History of the island includes a significant investment and time (over 250 years) by the Knights of Malta, Order of St John of Jerusalem. The day was hazy but still a magnificent arrival.

Arriving to Malta - Valletta
Beginning to see the buildings
Pilot Boat
Pilot boat
Coming into the harbor
Looking across the point
View of the War Memorial
You can see the tops of the church
As we dock, looking back out towards the entry
Our captain watches the docking
Windy day! But we're in Malta!
Maltese Boat
Maltese boat
Fort St Michael
Fort Sant Angelo
View of the waterfront where we will dock
Forts seen in the harbor
Panoramic view of the harbor

We departed the ship a little before noon to take our ship tour "Treasures in the Fortress City". The tour was a wonderful walking tour through the city with stops at certain key sites and visits to the National Museum of Fine Arts, St John's Co-Cathedral, and Casa Rocca Piccola. This provided us an opportunity to really see the city and the architecture. Many of the buildings were built in the 1600's by the Knights as they established their churches and homes for each country they came from originally. The city is a World Heritage site and a marvel to wander through. Now that we are back we see that this is another place you could spend a number of days visiting and exploring. Could be another trip if we win the lottery!

As we began the walking tour after being driven up to the top of the city in a van (thank goodness!) we went to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and looked out over the harbor at Forts St Michael and St Angelo on the opposite site of the harbor. We had just missed the ceremonial firing of the cannons at noon, but we did get to see one of the cannons being cleaned! The gardens is a lovely place to just sit and enjoy the breezes. Then it was on down through the town heading to the museum, our first stop.

Horse carriage waiting for a fare to go up the wall to the city
Upper Barrakka Gardens
Memorial in the gardens
Ceremonial battery - we just missed the 1200
Battery Cleaning
Cleaning the cannon
Cat in the garden
Les Gavroches
Bust of Winston Churchill - honors his support of Malta and the Malta Conference in 1945
Les Gavroches - "Street Urchins" expresses the great hardship experienced by the Maltese people at the turn of the 20th century. Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino (1879-1947)
Lord Strickland
Lord Strickland - 1st Baron Strickland, (1861 – 1940) - a Maltese and British politician and peer, who served as Prime Minister of Malta
Panoramic view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens
Sant Orsia
Looking down San't Orsia
St Catherine of Italy church
Maltese Balconies
Republic Street
Maltese Balconies
Republic Street - one of the main thoroughfares
Merchant Street
Mickey D's
Merchants Street
McDonald's - Even in Valletta!
Carmelite Church
View down Old Mint Street and the Carmelite Church
Beautiful Fresh Produce
Auberge de Provence - Now the National Museum of Fine Arts
Built in 1575 by the Knights of St John from Provence
Crystal Sword
Valencian Sword and Dagger
Information about the sword and dagger
Sedan Chair
Sedan chair
Modelli by Melchiore Cafa
Colllection of watches, fans, and combs
Painting by Maltese artist
To learn more about the National Museum of Fine Art in Valletta - click the name for link to the brochure and site
Painting from collection of a Knight of Malta

After we completed the museum we walked through town to St John's Co-Cathedral. As there are two cathedrals on the island, this one was named a "co". The church was commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the conventual church of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John. The cathedral is magnificent and also houses a treasure we were not expecting. Caravaggio painted his famous "The Beheading of St John the Baptist" while in Malta and the painting hangs in the church. We were not allowed to take pictures in that area, but it is truly magnificent. It had recently been returned after an extensive renovation.

Additionally the Knights and Grand Masters are buried in the floor of the cathedral and each has an inlaid marble tomb. Most of the area could not be walked upon, but we located the official website for the church and it has an interactive map for the church, chapels, and all the tombs. If you are interested, you should really go look at their site here - St. John's Co-Cathedral. We've learned a lot about what we saw that day!

Here is a video of the pictures from inside the cathedral.


We continued to our last stop and passed by the palace of the Grand Masters. The Casa Rocca Piccola is the home of the de Piro family, an ancient Maltese lineage. Their home was originally one fourth of a home owned by Knights of St John and was given or sold to the family. The 9th Marquis de Piro, Baron Nicholas de Piro, and his Marchioness live in the home and give tours. Our tour guide was in fact the Marchioness. She is witty and very informative of their family history, even though she is English. We only took a few photos inside as we were listening very carefully to her describe their collections of buttons, fans, Pope's shoes, furniture, and much more. After a glass of refreshment we headed to the van, waiting outside, and returned to the port. A little shopping and we were back on the ship.

Anniversary memorial
On Old Bakery Street
Worker's Memorial
Q Victoria
Palace square
Queen Victoria statue
Grand Master's Palace Square
Looking through to the Grand Master's gardens
Statue of Neptune
Palace Guard
Sign for Casa Rocca Piccolo on Republic Street
Collection of Fans
Marchioness provided our tour through her home
Collection of antique fans
Book Back
To learn more we bought their guide book!
Book was written by the current Marquis

Our departure from Valletta provided some wonderful evening pictures of the island and city lights

Sunset arrives
Leaving the harbor as the light fades away
Quite a view
Illumination of the wall
Last clear view

We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Valletta, but looked forward to our first Sea Day the next day.



Postings before the Trip:

We are scheduled to arrive in Valletta, Malta Thursday, 22 March 2012 at 12:00 pm.


From Wikipedia - "Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt (English: The City) in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta and the historical city has a population of 6,098. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's principal administrative district. However, Valletta, like many historical city centres, forms part of a larger continuous urban agglomeration; this is often referred to as "Greater Valletta." According to Eurostat, (Greater) Valletta has a population of 368,250 at the city level.

Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller. The city is essentially Baroque in character, with elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture in selected areas, though World War II left major scars on the city. The City of Valletta was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.

The city is named for Jean Parisot de la Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from an Ottoman invasion in 1565. The official name given by the Order of Saint John was Humilissima Civitas Valletta — The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The bastions, curtains and ravelins along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname Superbissima — 'Most Proud'."


Update 22 January 2012: We've scheduled an excursion for our day on Malta. We arrive around noon so we will also enjoy a relaxing morning and leisurely breakfast.

From the Silversea Website Tour List -

"Treasures in the Fortress City

22 Mar 2012 | 4 Hours | Afternoon

Discover the splendid beauty, architecture and history of Malta during this scenic, Silver Shore Collection half-day excursion through Valletta.

National Museum of Fine Arts

Depart the pier for the brief drive to Valletta, and a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts. The museum offers a multifaceted overview of the art and artistic expression in Malta from the late-Medieval times to present-day. Highlights from the collection on display include paintings by leading local and internationally-acclaimed artists, precious Maltese silverware, statuary in marble, bronze and wood, fine furniture, and splendid majolica pieces.

St. John's Co-Cathedral

Next, proceed on-foot down the main thoroughfare en route to St. John's Co-Cathedral. Upon arrival, a visit is made inside the church, which is renowned for its striking interior and a staggering collection of Malta's finest art treasures, including Caravaggio's famous work, The Beheading of St. John. Leaving the church, your stroll continues on to Casa Rocca Piccola.

Casa Rocca Piccola

Casa Rocca Piccola is home of the 9th Marquis and Marchioness de Piro. The owners greet your arrival, and take you on a guided tour of the property, which offers a unique historical insight into the customs and traditions of Maltese nobility over the last 400 years. View a superb collection of furniture, silver and paintings that embody the aesthetic riches of this country. Weather permitting, refreshments are served in the courtyard before commencing the brief drive back to the pier."




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