Tag Archives: valletta

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

 

caravaggio

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.

 

St._John's_Co_Cathedral

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

Share Button

How to Enjoy a Traditional Feast in Malta

Feasts in Malta – A unique feature of the holiday season on the Maltese Islands.

Malta Fireworks Display After the rainy winter months, by end of May, both locals and tourists would be looking forward to the much awaited ‘festa’ season in Malta.

Summer time in Malta is well known for its village feasts. Almost every weekend a town or a village is celebrating its patron saint’s feast. And as is typical with feasts they bring a lot of joy and positive vibes for both locals and tourists alike.

Maltese Feasts Preparations

Malta Feast Procession
A week before the feast the statue of the patron saint is placed in a prominent place in church. Religious functions are organised in church leading up to the feast day.

Malta Feast Decorations

Nothing, not even the summer heat, stops the village enthusiasts from decorating the main streets with decorative banners. All the preparations for the feast are carried out by a group of local volunteers who sacrifice a lot of their free time in order to make sure that their town or village celebrates its feast in style.

Locals also get into the festive spirit by decorating their balconies with lights and pictures of their Patron Saint. House rooftops are also lit up with coloured festoons. From way in advance band clubs start practising the musical programmes and marches which will be played during feast day throughout the streets of the locality.

Feast Celebrations in Malta
On feast day the Maltese village is packed up with traditional and fast food stalls ranging from food kiosks selling burgers, hot dogs and quick snacks; to delicacies and toy stalls. In this lively atmosphere you are sure to witness children rushing around eating sweets and playing with toys their parents bought them from the stalls.

At the traditional stalls you will find typical Maltese nougat – ‘qubbajt’ made following traditional recipes from past generation. Other traditional delicacies also include the delicious “mqaret”. “Mqaret” are pastry stuffed with a concoction of dates fried in oil.

Local Band

In the evening the feast celebrations start with the statue of the patron saint leaving the church accompanied by aerial fireworks. The statue together with the devotees is accompanied by the local band club playing hymns dedicated to the Saint.

As an end to the evening and to the festive celebrations fireworks illuminate the skies saluting the patron saint on its way back to the church. Ground fireworks are also displayed giving the night a spectacular display of colour and sound.

Land Fireworks Malta

All in all Maltese feasts are a great experience for tourists to enjoy. Great food, beer, wine, music, fireworks and great weather… What more can you ask for!!

And for the month of JULY the Grand Hotel Excelsior is offering a Special July Malta Deal bookable by end of June 2013. Book a Deluxe Inland Room and get a FREE upgrade to a Deluxe Partial Sea View Room with a 10% discount.

There are so many Things to do in Malta during your holidays especially in the summer months. So if you would like to enjoy a great holiday in Malta stay in a centrally located hotel near Valletta that offers excellent Accommodation and Facilities. 

Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com

Share Button

How to find time to Stay Fit & to Relax during Your Working Week

Fitness Centre - Le Grand Spa Malta 

So what’s so great about going to a gym full of sweaty and smelly people to try and get fit? There’s so much hype going on about leading a healthy lifestyle.

A few years ago magazines and billboards used to portray images of skinny people in their advertising campaigns and people used to believe that being skinny is beautiful. Nowadays the emphasy is on leading a health life. Everywhere you look, whether it being surfing the internet, using your preferred social media platforms like Facebook, or simply going to your favourite book store there are images of people exercising and eating healthily. With all the awareness being provided by the health authorities and the attention given by the media, whether you are a youngster or a middle aged person, you are surely influenced in one way or another.

Health experts and doctors recommend that we stay active throughout our life. Doesn’t it feel great to wake up in the morning full of energy and ready to hit the road and face a new day with its pleasure and challenges.

Ok, enough with the excuses. It’s true that some gyms are packed with women exercising on treadmills and men lifting weights, however if you find a small gym in your locality or near your workplace, or simply build a small gym at home you can get started and reap some great benefits. However you definitely don’t need to be a fitness freak to enjoy a work out at the gym. With a short 30 minute workout a few times a week you can be on the right track to a better life. You will feel better, look better and be more energetic to enjoy life.

Spa Membership

With this in mind the Le Grand Spa Team at the Grand Hotel Excelsior is offering the opportunity to a few individuals to enjoy An Exclusive Spa and Fitness Centre Membership Package. By becoming a member you will enjoy top quality leisure and fitness facilities through exclusive, personalized service and product innovation. Enjoy our luxurious Spa in the heart of Valletta, and indulge in some much-needed pampering. Work-out in our fully-equipped technogym, or treat yourself to a dip in our pool. Membership is exclusive and is subject to the Hotel Management discretion.

View Our Le Grand Spa and Fitness Centre Membership Package

 

So if you work in Valletta and would like to enjoy our spa facilities during your lunch break or after work this is an ideal opportunity for you! Give yourself a special treat and enjoy the benefits of a healthy life.

Le Grand Spa Malta is managed by a team of professional therapists, and offers a range of services from beauty to specialized spa treatments. Our therapists have a wealth of experience in local and international spas, and are committed to creating the perfect ambience, ensuring that each treatment exceeds our clients’ expectations. If you are interested in Our Exclusive Malta Spa and Fitness Membership, Le Grand Spa is offering you the opportunity to try our product prior to purchasing the membership. Simply contact Our Spa Manager, Donna Doyle at Le Grand Spa on spa@excelsior.com.mt or on +356 21250520 and she will fix an appointment for you.

Share Button