Behind Closed Doors: Event at Fort St Angelo

fort st angelo

Vittoriosa represents a treasure trove of history and culture waiting to be discovered. Wandering out of Locanda La Gelsomina boutique hotel in Malta, historical relics such as Fort St Angelo, the jewel in the crown of The Maltese Islands’ military heritage can be found. According to legend, the fort stands on the site of a fortified Roman settlement.

Back in 2015 as Fort St. Angelo was being restored, a clay smoking pipe was found hidden in one of the walls, still filled with tobacco, with a matchbox wrapped in the 3rd March 1920 edition of ‘News of the World’, and a handwritten note dated 19th April of that same year.

Written by a stone mason who was working on the construction of the cinema all those years ago, the note revealed the mason had left the pipe hidden there on purpose for it to be found by a lucky antique lover in the future.

This is just one of the fascinating relics you can see in person until September 8th at 'Behind Closed Doors' an exhibition at Fort St Angelo marking the 40th anniversary since the departure of foreign military forces from Malta.

For more information can be found by visiting Heritage Malta: http://heritagemalta.org/whats-on/

Birgu offers a charismatic backdrop to VOGUE Italia's shoot

Image by Stephanie Galea

Image by Stephanie Galea

Birgu’s Easter Sunday procession is infamous across the island, for it marks the culmination of three days of religious events that have been celebrated by the hamlet for centuries.

Earlier this spring, London-based Maltese photographer Stephanie Galea immersed herself in the colours and dynamic energy that characterize this annual event, snapping a series of shots that capture the intensity of the morning’s procession and festivities.

Published by VOGUE Italia, her latest work offers a distinct insight into Birgu’s charismatic corners and age-old traditions that continue to fascinate both locals and visitors alike.

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Images by Stephanie Galea

Images by Stephanie Galea


Mgarr's Strawberry Festival 2019

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Spring has sprung across the island, and with it - strawberry season.

Now in its 11th year, the annual ‘Festa Frawli’ - or Strawberry Festival - is set to take place on Sunday, April 28. in the main square outside the Parish Church in Mġarr. An agricultural village located the north of the island.  Mġarr is renowned for its excellent quality strawberries, which boast a unique sweet taste. As the festival approaches, the Mġarr locals eagerly prepare for the much-awaited event. Thousands of strawberries are picked, prepared and packed. Children rehearse for performances to be staged on the church square and attractive stalls are set up to welcome Maltese visitors and foreigners alike. 

To find out more, visit the event page or drop an email to mgarr.lc@gov.mt

Creative Circuit ep. 02 set to return to Valletta in April

Image courtesy of Te fit-Tazza

Image courtesy of Te fit-Tazza

The Malta Creative Collective has announced the second edition of its Creative Circuit, which is set to take place across Valletta on 5 April 2019 from 6pm.

Bringing together both Maltese and international creative talent as well as well-known and off-the-beaten-track venues, Creative Circuit ep. 02 shall be a celebration of what the collective believes in the most - collaboration.

Who's involved? La Bottega Art Bistro, SON Architecture, Valletta Design Cluster and Cru Wine Bar, along with the creativity of Elsa Allen, Inigo Taylor, Gulja Holland, Daphne Bugeja, Sergio Muscat, JAD, Robbie Mazzaro and Margerita Pulè.

As you stroll across our capital and into 5 different venues, you'll have the chance to discover lesser-known corners of the capital (including one of its oldest surviving bakeries), marvel at live sketching and have a drink (or two).

For further details, visit www.maltacreativecollective.com.

The history of Carnival in Malta

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March has kicked off with the vibrancy of Carnival, which has filled the streets of Valletta with show-stopping outfits and floats of every shape, form and colour imaginable.

The word ‘carnival’ originates from the Italian phrase‘Carne vale’, which literally means ‘meat is allowed’, for during Lent, meat consumption was prohibited by the Roman Catholic church and carnival was a way of celebrating ahead of the austerity.

Historically in Malta, Carnival can be traced back to the early 1400s, where we find the Università issuing directives about the selling price of meat during carnival.

Encouraged by the Grand Masters of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1530-1798), Carnival declined in the 19th century, although it managed to survive the period of British rule (1800-1964) and has thus been handed down in an almost unbroken tradition of about six centuries.

Today, many traditions remain true to their roots – defined by loud, colourful parties in Nadur (in Malta’s sister island of Gozo) and colourful parades and floats through the streets of Valletta.

Valletta hosts the first Malta International Photo Award exhibition

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The recently-launched Malta International Photo Award is a photo award that strives to showcase and promote the very best photography from across the globe. Earlier this weekend, an exhibition showcasing the top 15 submission for the 2018 edition was unveiled.

Currently running at the Malta Postal Museum in Valletta, the exhibition shines a spotlight on the judges’ top picks from the categories of Cities, Nature, People, Abstract and Storytelling.

Running until March 16, 2019. Admissions fee of €5 for adults and €3 for children.

Malta Postal Museum, 35 Archbishop St, Valletta

International Baroque Festival returns to Valletta and beyond

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The seventh edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival officially launched on 11 January 2019; a festival that has in a few short years captured the imagination and support of an ever-growing public.

The Festival will again this year venture out of Valletta to other baroque venues including Mdina, the old Siculo-Norman capital, Birgu and Senglea which lie across the Grand Harbour from Valletta and form part of The Three Cities; and Rabat, Ghaxaq, Qrendi and Zejtun – all boasting exquisite examples of Malta’s baroque heritage.

This is what makes this festival so special. Listening to a great Handel or Bach work in a black box may be edifying enough, however it will never attain the magic of being set in a cathedral that is a heraldic and hagiographic paean to the glory of the most illustrious chivalric order the world has ever known.

The Festival shall run until 26 January 2019.

WICCNA / Our Face exhibition explores multi-faceted spheres of Maltese identity

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WICCNA / Our Faces - an exhibition currently running at Valletta’s BLITZ contemporary gallery and creative space - is an incredible photographic project that shines a spotlight on Malta’s inspiring diversity.

Shot by Yugo-Maltese photographer Zvezdan Reljić, WICCNA is at once an intimate and collective compendium of lith-printed photographic portraits; a quiet celebration of the immeasurable variety of faces that inhabit or pass through the the Maltese Islands.

The project includes an accompanying book of over 200 portraits alongside aesthetic, anthropological and literary essays on aspects of physiognomy, identity and photography, each written in languages that have influenced Malta throughout its history – Arabic (Walid Nabhan), English (Alexandra Pace), French (Philippe Parizot), Italian (Virginia Monteforte), Maltese (Leanne Ellul), and Spanish (Antoine Cassar). WIĊĊNA features portraits of individuals from different backgrounds, generations and ethnicities, accompanied by a caption taken from the individual’s answer to the often complicated question “Where are you from?”

Running until 13 December 2018. BLITZ, 68 St Lucia Street, Valletta.

Magnificent Memories Machine lands in Kalkara

A stone’s throw away from our doorstep, the photographic exhibition A Sense of Place: Kalkara by Magna Żmien is currently running in Kalkara.

Featuring snaps from photographer Emanuel Borg, know for his incredible talent in capturing Malta’s everyday life in a personal and genuine spirit, Kalkara has been chosen as the exhibition’s location for it was the beloved hometown of Borg.

Offering a glimpse of Maltese life of decades past, the exhibition also features an installation by Tiny Island Studio and Robert Farrugia.

The exhibition runs until November 11. Parish Hall, Kalkara.

Modern, classic and jazz music blend into The Three Palaces Festival 2018

Image by Kael Bloom

Image by Kael Bloom

Summer may be behind us and the year is close to wrapping up, however the island is still bursting with a multitude of cultural and musical events across differing venues.

This weekend shall see The Three Palaces Festival kick off, which will bring together lovers of classic, modern and jazz music as an array of concerts will showcase exceptional musical talent within inspiring historical buildings.

Now in its sixth year, the Festival has become an important appointment in Malta's cultural calendar, as it aims to bring chamber music closer to the public.

For further details and to view the full schedule, visit https://www.3palacesfestival.com.

The Three Palaces Festival shall run from 2 to 11 November 2018.

A historic city lit by candlelight - Birgufest 2018

It’s that time of the year, with the ancient city of Birgu alit with candles - Birgufest is happening this weekend! All the streets and houses are lit up with candles, chandeliers hang in the streets, and music ruminates throughout the winding pathways. 

Most of the museums and historical buildings will be open this weekend, which includes the magnificent architectural gem of Fort St. Angelo as well as the Inquisitors Palace.

Locanda La Gelsomina will be celebrating this event with it’s own display of candles. An event that cannot be missed, come join the festivities this weekend starting from Friday the 12th of October and ending on Sunday the 14th.

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Birgufest

Art Moderne architectural beauty of Cospicua's Rialto Cinema

The Rialto Cinema, 1956

The Rialto Cinema, 1956

La Gelsomina is set in one of the oldest hamlets of Malta, and surrounded by architectural beauty that spans the centuries. 

A short stroll away from our doorstep in neighbouring Cospicua - one of the Three Cities alongside Birgu and Senglea - lies the Rialto Cinema. Built in 1956 on the site of an earlier cinema that was destroyed by the bombs in World War II, the building is an incredible example of the Art Moderne architectural movement.

Designed by architect Edwin England Sant Fournier, it included Cinemascope widescreen features and a stereophonic sound system. One of the largest cinemas of the time, the Rialto could hold up to 1,100 spectators and was the go-to place of the time to catch the latest flicks.

The cinema was closed in 1988 and later acquired by the local Labour Party, which has now transformed the venue into a conference hall. Although very little remains of the original fixtures and the hall is not open to the general public, a visit to admire the external Art Moderne façade is an absolute must.

Rialto Theatre, Triq il-Pellegrinaġġ, Cospicua

Views of history from Suite One

Image courtesy of Brian Grech

Image courtesy of Brian Grech

Locanda La Gelsomina is housed in a building bursting with history, and dates as far back as to the 1500s when the Knights of St John had made Birgu their base and the capital of Malta.

On their arrival in Birgu in 1530, the Knights concentrated their main buildings in an area which became known as the Collachio, which Locanda La Gelsomina formed part of.

At the time, Birgu was bursting at the seams with a population of over 3,500, and during their 40-year stay in the hamlet the Knights erected auberges, a state-of-the-art hospital on the outskirts of the Collachio and magnificent palaces, including the Università.

From the balcony of Suite One you can catch a view of the the Università - or Council of Jurors - which at the time was mainly responsible for the provision of essential commodities, mainly grain, for the population of the area. It was established in 1538 after Grand Master D’Homedes did not see eye to eye with the Mdina Jurors.

Step back in time and across 500-years of history. Book your sojourn at La Gelsomina by dropping us an email at info@locandalagelsomina.com.

Diving into Malta's deep blue waters

Locanda La Gelsomina scuba diving

With its unspoilt dive sites, underwater cliffs, shipwrecks and clear waters, Malta is a diver's paradise. The isles are consistently ranked as one of the top dive locations in the world, alongside other hot dive spots such as Egypt and the Maldives, and in 2018, Malta was awarded the Destination Award for diving at the BOOT tradefair in Germany.

Locanda La Gelsomina scuba diving in Malta
Scuba diving

To offer our clients a glimpse into this fascinating underwater world, we have teamed up with dive experts Malta Blue Diving, without a doubt one of the isle's best scuba diving professionals around.

Offering everything from night dives for certified divers to scuba explorations for complete beginners, our unique packages are tailored to all levels and personal preferences. Between them, Malta Blue Diving co-founders Luiza and David speak 5 languages, including French, German and Dutch, making them a truly international team.

To find out more about our customised scuba diving packages, please email us at info@locandalagelsomina.com

On the trail of '111 Places in Malta That You Shouldn't Miss'

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'111 Places in Malta That You Shouldn't Miss' is the ultimate insider's guide to Malta.

Featuring interesting and unusual places not found in traditional travel guides, this guidebook forms part of the international 111 Places/111 Shops series with over 250 titles and 1.5 million copies in print worldwide

Coming up at #37, Locanda La Gelsomina is the only Maltese boutique accommodation concept featured in this fully illustrated guide. Described as offering "out-of-the-ordinary hospitality catered towards an international clientele", Locanda La Gelsomina shines a positive spotlight on a curated, authentic accommodation experience characterized by the personal touch.

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111 Places not to Miss in Malta

Available in Italian, English and German in all good bookstores worldwide, this unique guide  will take you exploring through Malta's historic secrets and little known nooks.

On Malta by Inigo Taylor showing at Studio 87, Valletta

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

The beauty of Birgu is that while it is off-the-beaten-track, immersed within the authentic Maltese way of life, it is just a 5-minute sail across from the cultural heart of Valletta.

Bursting with events, our top Valletta pick for this month is Inigo Taylor's photographic exhibition 'On Malta' that is currently on display at Studio 87.

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Born in England, Inigo Taylor spent countless of childhood summers in Gozo, acquiring a taste for the Mediterranean islands which would later echo in his photographic work. Having now lived in Malta for over a decade, his first solo exhibition 'On Malta' is a selection of photographs that form part of a larger body of work which Inigo started back in 2007.

Studio 87, founded by Justine Balzan Demajo, is a recently opened independent art space where old is submerged with the new. Historically, its structure was used as part of the many stores and stalls of the bustling market area down by the harbour and pixkerija in Valletta. It’s ethos focuses on showcasing widely known artists but more importantly on shedding new light and creating a platform for emerging local and international artists of different mediums, whilst always maintaining quality and aesthetic value.

Showcasing an alternative, direct and honest glimpse into the multi-faceted elements of Maltese identity within an authentic, historical space, this is an exhibition not to be missed.

'On Malta' at Studio 87 shall run until June 14, 2018. Liesse Hill, Valletta. Monday - Friday, 10am to 6pm.

 

Locanda La Gelsomina awarded TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2nd year running

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellent for 2018

Locanda La Gelsomina has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence for a second year in a row by leading international travel website TripAdvisor.

Since 2011, the Certificate of Excellence honours hospitality businesses that deliver consistently great service across the world. 

Humbled and honoured by this award, we wish to thank each one of our guests on behalf of our family and team for having made this possible through your honest and positive reviews. We look forward to sharing our hospitality vision with both returning and new guests in the year ahead, and to continue improving the experience we offer to all who walk through our doors.

Grazzi!

Steven, Rossella & family

Introducing My Barefoot Island passion for hand-picked design

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Our hospitality ethos is rooted in attention-to-detail, and we are passionate about collaborating with Malta-based individuals and brands who embrace this curated vision.

My Barefoot Island is a niche, Malta-based brand run by the talented Luiza Ioana Cimpean that reflects an organic, original and minimal sense of style. Each product that falls within the My Barefoot Island family has been carefully sourced from sustainable producers that - just like us - are incredibly focussed on the importance of quality and authenticity.

We love sharing such passion with our guests, which is why we have partnered with My Barefoot Island to provide guest beach towels that are traditional Turkish peshtemals made of 100% cotton.

Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

These towels are known to be some of the most luxurious in the world. Deeply rooted in tradition, artisans have been crafting these beautiful pieces for centuries. 

Natural, handmade and perfect for those endless Maltese beach days.

 

Discovering the secrets of Maltese honey

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Honey in Malta

Malta was once known by the Greeks and Romans as the isle of Melite, which derives from the Greek word meli, meaning honey. In fact, beekeeping has a long history here, and a variety of rare sub-species of honey bees are native to this sunny Mediterranean isle.

Maltese honey was - and still is - considered a culinary delicacy, and traces of its historic roots may be found dotted across the isle in the remains of some of the oldest apiaries in the world that date back to Punic times.

Today, a handful of expert local beekeepers continue this age-old tradition, and none are more in-the-know than beekeepers Denise Farrugia and Ray Sciberras. Having nurtured a passion for beekeeping across decades, today, Denise and Ray manage over 150 individual hives dotted across all four corners of Malta with dedication and grounded pride.

Beekeeping at San Anton Palace
Beekeeping in Malta

Their honey is loved and appreciated by everyone from Presidents to Michelin-starred chefs from across the world. As they take you into hidden gardens and lesser-known corners of Malta where their hives are located, they will share the facts and history behind the complex honey-collecting process, explaining how it takes almost 30,000 bees up to 3 months to produce a single jar of honey. 

Their hives are patiently maintained with care as they ensure the bees are offered the best possible natural conditions within which to create their magic.

Honey in Malta
Honey in Malta

Offering an incredible glimpse into the natural process that creates the isle's prized golden bounty, a morning spent with Ray and Denise is nothing short of an incredible experience.

Offered as part of Locanda La Gelsomina's bespoke gastronomical private tour, step off the tourist track and drop us an email at info@locandalagelsomina.com to discover more.