Spread the love

The Evolution of Valletta’s Street Names

© John Cilia La Corte 2008

image

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.

 

image

 

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” 7lt 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.