The Evolution of Valletta’s Street Names

© John Cilia La Corte 2008

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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.

 

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RefOrder of St JohnFrench OccupationBritish Period (Italian)British Period (English)Modern (Maltese)Modern (English)
  1Strada MarsamuscettoMarsamuscetto StreetTriq MarsamxettMarsamxett Street
  2Strada San Michele9 11Rue des Moulins au Vent9Strada PonenteWest StreetTriq il-PunentWest Street
  3Strada San Giorgio11St George Street11Triq San Ġorġ11St George Street11
  4Strada IngenieriSappers StreetTriq l-InġenieraSappers Street
  5Strada San Michele9 11Rue des Moulins au Vent9Strada ScozzeseScot StreetTriq MA VassalliMA Vassalli Street
  6Strada San Patrizio11St Patrick Street11Triq San Patrizju11St Patrick Street11
  7Strada Soccorso7Bounty Street7Triq l-Għajnuna7Bounty Street7
  8Strada San Sebastiano8Rue de la Monnaie8Strada ZeccaOld Mint StreetTriq iż-ŻekkaOld Mint Street
  9Strada San Gio Battista10Rue des Fours9Strada ForniOld Bakery StreetTriq l-IfranOld Bakery Street
10Strada ToroBull StreetTriq GendusBull Street
11Strada StrettaStrait StreetTriq id-DejqaStrait Street
12Strada San Giorgio10Rue Nationale8Strada RealeKingswayTriq ir-RepubblikaRepublic Street
13Strada San Zaccaria9Rue de la Victoire9Strada ZaccariaZachary StreetTriq San ŻakkarijaZachary Street
14Strada dei Francesi 5Strada Sant’AnnaSt Anne StreetTriq Sant’AnnaSt Anne Street
14Strada dei Francesi 5Strada San GiuseppeSt Joseph StreetTriq San ĠużeppSt Joseph Street
15Strada FontanaFountain StreetTriq il-GħajnFountain Street
16Strada LaparelliLaparelli StreetTriq LaparelliLaparelli Street
17Strada Tesoreria9Rue de l’Égalité76Strada TesoreriaTreasury StreetTriq i-TeżorerijaTreasury Street
18Strada San Giacomo10Rue des Merchands9Strada MercantiMerchants StreetTriq il-MerkantiMerchants Street
19Strada San Paolo10Rue de la Constitution9Strada San PaoloSt Paul StreetTriq San PawlSt Paul Street
20Strada San Pietro10Rue de la Barrague9Strada Sant’UrsolaSt Ursula StreetTriq Sant’UrslaSt Ursula Street
21Strada San Luigi10Strada LevanteEast StreetTriq il-LvantEast Street
22Strada BatteriaBattery StreetTriq il-BatterijaBattery Street
23Strada Santa BarbaraSt Barbara BastionTriq Santa BarbaraSt Barbara Bastion
24Strada PozziOld Wells StreetTriq il-BjarOld Wells Street
25Triq il-MediterranMediterranean Street
26Strada ReginaQueenswayTriq Papa Piju VPope Pius V Street
27Strada OrdinanzaOrdnance StreetTriq l-OrdinanzaOrdnance Street
28Strada del Palazzo10Rue du Genie8Strada MezzodìSouth StreetTriq Nofs in-NharSouth Street
29Strada Pia10/della Falconeria8Rue de la Félicité Publique8Strada BritannicaBritannia StreetTriq MelitaMelita Street
30Strada CarriCarts StreetTriq il-KarriCarts Street
31Strada San MarcoSt Mark StreetTriq San MarkuSt Mark Street
32Strada del Monte10Rue du Peuple8Strada San GiovanniSt John StreetTriq San ĠwannSt John Street
33Strada della Vittoria10Rue des Defenseurs de la Patrie9Strada Santa LuciaSt Lucia StreetTriq Santa LuċijaSt Lucia Street
34Strada del Salvatore10Rue de la Fraternité9Strada TeatroOld Theatre StreetTriq il-Teatru l-QadimOld Theatre Street
35Strada FeliceFelix StreetTriq FeliċFelix Street
36Strada del Popolo/dei Greci10Rue des Liberateurs de la Patrie9Strada Vescovo/Arcivescovo 1Bishop/Archbishop Street 1Triq l-ArċisqofArchbishop Street
37Strada Fontana10Rue des Droits de l’Homme8Strada San Cristoforo 3St Christopher Street 3Triq San Kristofru 3St Christopher Street 3
38Strada San MicheleSt Michael StreetTriq San MikielSt Michael Street
39Strada San Marco10Rue des Patriots8Strada San DomenicoSt Dominic StreetTriq San DuminkuSt Dominic Street
40Strada San Pantaleone10Rue des Deux Balles9Strada San NicolaSt Nicholas StreetTriq San NikolaSt Nicholas Street
41Strada Fortuna10Rue de la Reconaissance9Strada OspedaleHospital StreetTriq l-IsptarHospital Street
42Strada Sant’Elmo10Rue de l’Hôpital9Strada TramontanaNorth StreetTriq it-TramuntanaNorth Street
43Strada San Simone10Strada ScaloniSteps StreetTriq it-TurġienSteps Street
44Strada SperoneSpur StreetTriq l-IxprunSpur Street
45Strada San SebastianoSt Sebastian StreetTriq San BastjanSt Sebastian Street
46Strada San BiagioSt Blaise StreetTriq San BjaġjuSt Blaise Street
47Strada San CarloSt Charles StreetTriq San KarluSt Charles Street
48Strada San AndreaSt Andrew StreetTriq Sant AndrijaSt Andrew Street
49Strada Molini al VentoWindmill StreetTriq l-ImtieħenWindmill Street
50Strada CarmineCarmelite StreetTriq il-KarmnuCarmelite Street
51Strada AquilaEagle StreetTriq l-AjklaEagle Street
52Piazza d’Armi10Place de la Liberté9Piazza San Giorgio/del PalazzoSt George/Palace SquareMisraħ San Ġorġ 2St George Square 2
53Piazza Tesoreria10Place de l’Égalité9Piazza ReginaQueen SquareMisraħ ir-RepubblikaRepublic Square
54Piazza del Gran AssedioGreat Siege SquareMisraħ l’Assedju l-KbirGreat Siege Square
55Piazza San Giovanni10Piazza San GiovanniSt John SquareMisraħ San ĠwannSt John Square
56Piazza CastigliaCastile SquareMisraħ KastiljaCastile Square
57Piazza CelsiCelsi SquareMisraħ IndipendenzaIndependence Square
58Misraħ il-Ħelsien 4Freedom Square 4
59Strada San Federico9Rue de Brutus9Strada FedericoFrederick StreetTriq FederikuFrederick Street
60Piazza VittoriaVictory SquareMisraħ  il-VittorjaVictory Square
61Strada VittoriaVictory StreetTriq  il-VittorjaVictory Street
62Porta San Giorgio9Porte Nationale9Porta RealeKingsgateBieb il-BeltCity 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.