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The Evolution of Valletta's Street Names

© John Cilia La Corte 2008 

Arms of Valletta

The strategic position of Mount Sceberras, on the promontory protected by  the sheltered waters of the Grand Harbour on one side and Marsamxett Harbour on the other, did not escape the notice of the Order of St John when it took up residence on the Maltese Islands in 1530 and a project to build a city thereon was considered shortly after. However, it was not until the end of the Great Siege of 1566 that the plan was put into effect and the foundation stone laid by Grandmaster Jean de la Valette on 28 March 1968 .

The city was built in the form of a grid and the names given to the streets lasted to 1798 when the Order was expelled by Napoleon Bonaparte. During the brief French occupation, new revolutionary names were assigned but, following the uprising by the Maltese and the subsequent absorption of Malta into the British Empire, the names were changed* once more and survive to this day with the exception of a handful. Some were renamed in the 1970s after Malta achieved independence.

The Italian version of the names persisted even during the British period and it was not until the rise of fascism in Italy, followed by World War II, that they were officially discontinued.

*It is worth noting however that three of the names given by the French were accepted and translated into Italian:

Rue de la Monnaie, formerly Strada San Sebastiano, became Strada Zecca (Old Mint Street).

Rue des Fours, formerly Strada San Gio Battista, became Strada Forni (Old Bakery Street) 

Rue des Merchands, formerly Strada San Giacomo, became Strada Mercanti (Merchants Street) 

The French also gave due recognition to the main street, formerly Strada San Giorgio to the Order, by renaming it Rue Nationale. Under the British, this recognition took the form of Strada Reale (Kingsway) and, following the republican constitution, Republic Street by the Maltese parliament.  

 

 

  Ref Order of St John French Occupation British Period (Italian) British Period (English) Modern (Maltese) Modern (English) 
    1     Strada Marsamuscetto Marsamuscetto Street Triq Marsamxett Marsamxett Street
    2

Strada San Michele9 11

Rue des Moulins au Vent9 Strada Ponente West Street Triq il-Punent West Street
    3 - - Strada San Giorgio11 St George Street11 Triq San Ġorġ11 St George Street11
    4     Strada Ingenieri Sappers Street Triq l-Inġeniera Sappers Street
    5 Strada San Michele9 11 Rue des Moulins au Vent9 Strada Scozzese Scot Street Triq MA Vassalli MA Vassalli Street
    6 - - Strada San Patrizio11 St Patrick Street11 Triq San Patrizju11 St Patrick Street11
    7     Strada Soccorso7 Bounty Street7 Triq l-Għajnuna7 Bounty Street7
    8

Strada San Sebastiano8

Rue de la Monnaie8 Strada Zecca Old Mint Street Triq iż-Żekka Old Mint Street
    9

Strada San Gio Battista10

Rue des Fours9 Strada Forni Old Bakery Street Triq l-Ifran Old Bakery Street
  10     Strada Toro Bull Street Triq Gendus Bull Street
  11     Strada Stretta Strait Street Triq id-Dejqa Strait Street
  12

Strada San Giorgio10

Rue Nationale8 Strada Reale Kingsway Triq ir-Repubblika  Republic Street
  13 Strada San Zaccaria9 Rue de la Victoire9 Strada Zaccaria Zachary Street Triq San Żakkarija Zachary Street
  14

Strada dei Francesi 5

  Strada Sant'Anna St Anne Street Triq Sant'Anna St Anne Street
  14

Strada dei Francesi 5

  Strada San Giuseppe St Joseph Street Triq San Ġużepp St Joseph Street
  15     Strada Fontana Fountain Street Triq il-Għajn Fountain Street
  16     Strada Laparelli Laparelli Street Triq Laparelli Laparelli Street
  17 Strada Tesoreria9 Rue de l'Égalité76 Strada Tesoreria Treasury Street Triq i-Teżorerija Treasury Street
  18

Strada San Giacomo10

Rue des Merchands9 Strada Mercanti Merchants Street Triq il-Merkanti   Merchants Street
  19

Strada San Paolo10

Rue de la Constitution9 Strada San Paolo St Paul Street Triq San Pawl    St Paul Street
  20

Strada San Pietro10

Rue de la Barrague9 Strada Sant'Ursola St Ursula Street Triq Sant'Ursla St Ursula Street
  21 Strada San Luigi10   Strada Levante East Street Triq il-Lvant East Street
  22     Strada Batteria Battery Street Triq il-Batterija Battery Street
  23     Strada Santa Barbara St Barbara Bastion Triq Santa Barbara St Barbara Bastion
  24     Strada Pozzi Old Wells Street Triq il-Bjar Old Wells Street
  25         Triq il-Mediterran Mediterranean Street
  26     Strada Regina Queensway Triq Papa Piju V Pope Pius V Street
  27     Strada Ordinanza Ordnance Street Triq l-Ordinanza Ordnance Street
  28

Strada del Palazzo10

Rue du Genie8 Strada Mezzodì South Street Triq Nofs in-Nhar South Street
  29

Strada Pia10/della Falconeria8 

Rue de la Félicité Publique8 Strada Britannica Britannia Street Triq Melita Melita Street
  30     Strada Carri Carts Street Triq il-Karri Carts Street
  31     Strada San Marco St Mark Street Triq San Marku St Mark Street
  32

Strada del Monte10

Rue du Peuple8 Strada San Giovanni St John Street Triq San Ġwann St John Street
  33

Strada della Vittoria10

Rue des Defenseurs de la Patrie9
Strada Santa Lucia St Lucia Street Triq Santa Luċija St Lucia Street
  34 Strada del Salvatore10 Rue de la Fraternité9 Strada Teatro Old Theatre Street Triq il-Teatru l-Qadim Old Theatre Street
  35     Strada Felice Felix Street Triq Feliċ Felix Street
  36 Strada del Popolo/dei Greci10 Rue des Liberateurs de la Patrie9 Strada Vescovo/Arcivescovo 1 Bishop/Archbishop Street 1 Triq l-Arċisqof Archbishop Street
  37

Strada Fontana10

Rue des Droits de l'Homme8  Strada San Cristoforo 3 St Christopher Street 3 Triq San Kristofru 3 St Christopher Street 3
  38     Strada San Michele St Michael Street  Triq San Mikiel St Michael Street
  39

Strada San Marco10

Rue des Patriots8 Strada San Domenico St Dominic Street Triq San Duminku St Dominic Street
  40

Strada San Pantaleone10

Rue des Deux Balles9 Strada San Nicola St Nicholas Street Triq San Nikola St Nicholas Street
  41

Strada Fortuna10

Rue de la Reconaissance9 Strada Ospedale Hospital Street Triq l-Isptar Hospital Street
  42

Strada Sant'Elmo10

Rue de l'Hôpital9 Strada Tramontana North Street Triq it-Tramuntana North Street
  43

Strada San Simone10

  Strada Scaloni Steps Street Triq it-Turġien Steps Street
  44     Strada Sperone Spur Street Triq l-Ixprun Spur Street
  45     Strada San Sebastiano St Sebastian Street Triq San Bastjan St Sebastian Street
  46     Strada San Biagio St Blaise Street Triq San Bjaġju St Blaise Street
  47     Strada San Carlo St Charles Street Triq San Karlu St Charles Street
  48     Strada San Andrea St Andrew Street Triq Sant Andrija St Andrew Street
  49     Strada Molini al Vento Windmill Street Triq l-Imtieħen Windmill Street
  50     Strada Carmine Carmelite Street Triq il-Karmnu Carmelite Street
  51     Strada Aquila Eagle Street Triq l-Ajkla Eagle Street

52

Piazza d'Armi10

Place de la Liberté9 Piazza San Giorgio/del Palazzo St George/Palace Square Misraħ San Ġorġ 2 St George Square 2
  53

Piazza Tesoreria10

Place de l'Égalité9 Piazza Regina Queen Square Misraħ ir-Repubblika Republic Square
  54     Piazza del Gran Assedio Great Siege Square Misraħ l'Assedju l-Kbir Great Siege Square
  55

Piazza San Giovanni10

  Piazza San Giovanni St John Square Misraħ San Ġwann St John Square
  56     Piazza Castiglia Castile Square  Misraħ Kastilja Castile Square 
  57     Piazza Celsi Celsi Square Misraħ Indipendenza Independence Square
  58

-

- - - Misraħ il-Ħelsien 4 Freedom Square 4
  59 Strada San Federico9 Rue de Brutus9 Strada Federico Frederick Street Triq Federiku Frederick Street
  60     Piazza Vittoria Victory Square Misraħ  il-Vittorja Victory Square
  61     Strada Vittoria Victory Street Triq  il-Vittorja Victory Street
  62 Porta San Giorgio9 Porte Nationale9 Porta Reale Kingsgate Bieb il-Belt City Gate

 

 Notes:

 1. The name was changed when Malta was elevated to an Archbishopric in 1944

 2. Although officially St George Square, it is popularly known as Misraħ il-Palazz or Palace Square

 3. This street is also known as just Triq Kristofru or Christopher Street

 4. A new square created following the redesign of City Gate after Independence

 5. St Anne Street and the contiguous St Joseph Street were regarded as one street by the Order and was called Strada dei Francesi

 6. The street name can still be seen, if palely, above the flower kiosk not in French but in the Italian version of "Strada dell'Uguaglianza" 7 lt is likely that the French gave both French

    and Italian names, in keeping with their policy of publishing  their first newspaper in Malta entitled "Journal de Malte" both in French and Italian - two columns side by side.9

 7. I am indebted to Mr & Mrs Walter Camilleri for this information and photo.

 8. V.F.Denaro

 9. Dr J.F.Grima

10. P.P. Castagna

11. West Street and MA Vassalli Street were originally considered one road (Strada San Michele) interrupted by the Manderaggio, a small port later filled in and built over to form a ghetto-like slum. The area was rebuilt in the 1950s when St George Street and St Patrick Street were created.

 

Any correction or relative information will be gratefully accepted. Please e-mail:  

 

Sources:

Castagna, P.P.: L-Istorja ta' Malta bil-Gzejjer taghha, 3 volumes, 2nd edition, Stamperia ta C. Busuttil, Valletta, 1890

Denaro, Victor F. Houses in Merchants Street, Valletta.  Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society v. II n. 3 y. 1958 pp. 158-171

ibid: Houses in Kingsway and Old Bakery street, Valletta. Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society v. II n. 4 y. 1959 pp. 201-215

ibid: More houses in Valletta. Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society v. III n. 2 y. 1961 pp. 1-8

ibid: Still more houses in Valletta. Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society v. III n. 3 y. 1962 pp. 42-58

ibid: Yet more houses in Valletta. Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society v. III n. 4 y. 1963 pp. 15-32

Grima, Dr Joseph F., PhD, MA, BA (Hons), Dip.Educ(Adm.&Mgt), MIM: Malta u Franza 1798-1800 (Kullana Kulturali 2006)