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A Historic Flight from Malta

A single engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee 9H-FLY with Oliver Bennett, David Polidano, Raymond Ebejer and Ezechiel Busuttil from the Malta Aviation Museum last month attended the fifth annual Historical Aircraft Group’s Fly Party for vintage aircraft at the airfield of Montagnana in the Veneto region, northern Italy.

Piper PA-28 Cherokee 9H-FLY

The local museum’s participation was made possible thanks to main sponsor Mediterranean Insurance Brokers and secondary sponsors Grand Hotel Excelsior, Sky People flying school, Euro Star Garage, Total oils, Mosta Radiators and Splash and Fun water park.

Sponsors for the Historical aircraft group fly party

Mr Polidano thanked MIB for making their attendance to the Fly Party possible: “With your support we have continued to strengthen our friendship with like-minded vintage aviation enthusiasts and operators in Europe. The HAG aims to keep the aviation culture alive and strong in Italy, and preserves and enhances the historical, technological and cultural impact that classic airplanes represent.”

No fewer than 60 vintage aircraft took part, with the Maltese crew being awarded a memento for having travelled the greatest distance to attend the Fly Party.

Vintage aircraft Malta Memento

In its report, Warbirds News (www.warbirdsnews.com) described the two-day event, which hosted airplanes, gliders, helicopters, ultralights and aerobatic teams, as the premier event in the Italian air show season. It also hosted the first meeting devoted to airplanes designed by the legendary aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer, Stelio Frati.

One of his notable planes was the Aermacchi SF.260, and there were four of them on display. During the flight demonstrations of the SF.260s, four planes suddenly fell together to perform a seemingly impromptu precision aerobatics display, carrying out a series of complicated steps and manoeuvres, wingtip to wingtip, garnering an enormous and enthusiastic response from the crowds below, who were not expecting much more than flyovers and some solo aerobatics.

The mystery of the SF.260 display was solved when the planes landed and the pilots were revealed to be four former pilots of the Frecce Tricolori, the Italian Air Force’s aerobatic exhibition team. These pilots, now retired, clearly have not lost a taste for flying, nor an appreciable diminishment of their skills.

The success of this year’s event, the largest yet, was in large part due to the hard work of AvioClub Montagnana through its many volunteers and the tireless and efficient Vittorio Frison. The event director, Sergio Maron, serving as the announcer, was able to masterfully paint a compelling picture, describing the aircraft which flew during the show, bringing tangible emotion to the colourful commentary he provided for the planes, some of which he himself flew during his many years of service in the Italian Air Force.

A spokesman for MIB said: “It is our pleasure to support initiatives to fly our flag beyond our shores. We thank the Malta Aviation Museum for seeking our collaboration and remain devoted to assist in similar events. We take the opportunity to congratulate the Maltese crew for their accomplishment.”

If you are interested in Events in Malta and would like information on Things to do in Malta during your holidays kindly contact the Concierge Team at one of the Leading Luxury Malta Hotels.    

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Valletta – the European Capital of Culture 2018

Collaboration between V18 and the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta

V1817th July 2013 Valletta, Malta – The Foundation for the Valletta 2018 project has just reached an agreement of collaboration with the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta. This is the first of its collaborations with a number of entities from different sectors; with the aim of strengthening the Foundation’s operations.

Mr. Jason Micallef, the Chairman for the Foundation Valletta 2018, said that this agreement will assist the Foundation by strengthening its position and helping it achieve its goals leading to the year 2018. He emphasised that the Foundation needs to ensure that the V18 project will have full participation by all the major stakeholders and this includes the commercial sector together with the communities and the local residents. This agreement together with other agreements will lead to this ultimate aim.

V2018 Partnership Launch

Mr Norbert Grixti, the General Manager of the Grand Hotel Excelsior, also expressed his satisfaction on the achievement of this collaboration with the Foundation Valletta 2018. He pointed out that nowadays the tourism industry appreciates the added value Malta has to offer, especially due to our unique attractions like the capital city of Malta, Valletta. He elaborated on the fact that the works that are being carried out in Valletta will contribute towards an enhanced tourism product and a superior tourist experience for visitors in Malta.

About the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta:

If you’re looking for an enjoyable Holiday in Malta, then stay in one of the top Luxury Malta Hotels which is on the doorstep of Valletta. For a relaxing break enjoy excellent facilities including indoor and outdoor pools, a private sandy beach, a luxurious spa and a fitness centre whilst also being close to museums, churches, restaurants, bars, and shops.

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Do you love Maltese History? The Story of Caravaggio in Malta



Chalk portrait of Caravaggio
by Ottavio Leoni , circa 1621

Michelangelo Merisi was born in the town of Caravaggio (about 30 kilometres from Milan) in 1571. Caravaggio was, in fact, the first great representative of the Baroque movement. He was the archetypal rebellious artist and led a turbulent life. His life, it is said, matched the high-drama of the chiaroscuro style that his paintings became famous for.

In 1606 whilst working in Rome, one of his many brawls resulted in Caravaggio killing a young man called Ranuccio Tomassoni. With a price on his head, Caravaggio fled and headed for Naples where he would be outside the Roman jurisdiction and under the protection of the Colonna family. After just a few months, despite a successful period in Naples where he was given a number of important church commissions, Caravaggio left for Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, arriving on the island in July 1607.

Portrait of Wignacourt

Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt, the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. Caravaggio

Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt invested Caravaggio as a knight of magistral obedience so taken was he at having an artist of such calibre as official painter of the Order. It was during this time that Caravaggio was commissioned to paint ‘The Beheading of St John the Baptist’ and ‘St Jerome Writing’, both of which are on display in St John’s Co-Cathedral. This period of relative calm in his life was short lived, and by late August 1608, Caravaggio was arrested for causing trouble once again, this time badly wounding a high ranking Knight in another fight. Imprisoned at Fort St Angelo, disgraced and unable to paint, he used his inventive powers to plan his escape. Caravaggio’s incredible break-out took place in October 1608 and once again he was on the run. The Council, informed of his escape, immediately expelled him from the Order.



The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608)
St. John’s Co-Cathedral

After a nine month stay in Sicily, during which time he was trying to secure a pardon from Pope Paul V, Caravaggio returned to Naples and the protection of the Colonna family. His style and technique as an artist was still evolving and he enjoyed a productive time in his second spell in Naples. An attempt was made on his life, and an incorrect account of his death was reported in Rome. Although Caravaggio survived the attempt, his face was left seriously disfigured.

In an attempt to build bridges, Caravaggio painted ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist’. He depicted his own head on the platter and sent the work to de Wignacourt as a plea for forgiveness.
In 1610, Caravaggio took a boat north to receive a pardon, thanks to powerful allies in Rome. What happened then is shrouded in mystery. The artist was reported as dead in a private newsletter (an avviso) dated 28th July. Three days later, another newsletter declared that the artist had died of fever. His body, however, was never found.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior is located outside Valletta, the capital city of Malta and offers superior Accommodation in Malta with great harbour views. So if you would like to experience some of the rich history of Malta during your holidays, contact the Concierge Team at one of the top Luxury Malta Hotels and they will help you enjoy a memorable Malta Experience. 

Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com

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