On a recent European tour, we spent eight glorious days in the beautiful country of Malta. It was an amazing journey and we found the Maltese people and culture to be so very wonderful. In anticipation of a glorious time, we booked an apartment in the oldest part of Valletta, here is the view from our windows……yes, stunning 180 degree panoramic sea-views of Marsamxett Harbor and Manoel Island, all the way out to the open Mediterranean sea!!!
Perfect for a leisurely dinner with beautiful Maltese wine….
While searching for places to stay, I found this photo and decided I had found the perfect place!!
The Tin Man has many stories to tell about the travels in Malta; however, let’s begin with the Church of the Ship Wreck of Saint Paul…..
It all started with a shipwreck, as told in the book of Acts, about 60 AD while the apostle Paul was en route to Rome.
Boarding an Alexandrian grain freighter on the isle of Crete, a fierce Nor’easter blew the ship off course.
The tiny ship was tossed, it looked like all was lost.
(you should now be hearing the theme from Gilligan’s Island in your head)
The Books of Acts describes the scene as such:
“On the fourteenth night, they were still being driven across the Adriatic sea when the sailors sensed land approaching. They took soundings and found that the land was 120 feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found that it was 90 feet deep. Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, the sailors dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for daylight,”
“When daylight came, they did not recognize the land. But they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea,”
The anchors were discovered by Ray Ciancio in the 1960’s and are on display at the National Maritime Museum
A Shipwreck’s Impact
With the storm still raging, the ship struck a sandbar, and began to break apart. With the vessel and her cargo a total loss, the nearly 300 men on board swam for their lives. Miraculously, everyone survived.
“Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta,” the story reveals.
And so began a Christian influence in Malta that has continued down through the centuries. Today, it is the most religious nation in Europe — 98 percent of its citizens are members of the Catholic Church.
Saint Paul is memorialized throughout the island, no where more than in Saint Paul’s bay, today tourists come to the Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul to see relics of the Saint who was cast ashore on this marvelous island nation….
While we had planned to visit this church during our stay in Valletta, on this particular day we were in search of Piadina Caffe, the number 2 rated restaurant in Valletta…
This wonderful Café is owned and operated by a wonderful woman named, Giada….
There are only 3 chairs inside the tiny place and guests are invited to stand or sit on the sidewalk outside
Here is the interior of the entire place…..
Delightful and Fresh Creations
We had such a delightful time and returned every chance we had to this very bohemian culinary paradise.
To our delight, we sat on the sidewalk and there directly in front of us was the entrance to the
Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul!!
When we finished our delightful luncheon we stepped across the street to explore the church…..
The church hosts fine artistic works, including the magnificent altarpiece by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio
The Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, also known as simply the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, is a Roman Catholic parish church and is one of Valletta’s oldest churches.
St Paul is considered to be the spiritual father of the Maltese. His shipwreck is popularly considered as the greatest event in the nation’s history. For this reason, St Paul’s Collegiate Church is one of the most important in Malta.
The church is incredibly large compared to its humble entrance across from the café. The inside is packed with all sorts of marvelous art and sculpture.
Here is part of the column on which the saint was beheaded in Rome; you see, he lost his appeal to Caesar and was executed, but his Roman citizenship spared him crucifixion, granting him a more humane beheading instead.
The choir and dome of Lorenzo Gafà, the paintings by Attilio Palombi, and Giuseppe Calì
The wooden statue of Paul the Apostle was carved in 1657 by Melchiorre Cafà, the brother of Lorenzo Gafa who remodeled the church in 1680
The statue is paraded through the streets of Valletta on the feast day of St Paul’s Shipwreck, February 10
One can also view the treasured relic of the right wrist-bone of St Paul……..
What a delightful time we had wandering these ancient streets……..now it was time to go back to our marvelous apartment, after a few stops at the local markets to buy ingredients for dinner……….oh yes, and more wine!
It was a day rich in history and discovery…..just the beginnings of an adventure that would lead us into the bowels of the earth to a Neolithic city over 5,00 years old
we sat and watched the sun set over our beautiful Malta and wondered what tomorrow would bring…..