Floriana was not constructed because the backyard for Valletta as was claimed in a specific opinion article. The truth is, following the inspiration of Valletta simply after the Nice Siege, the world generally known as Floriana was barren land.
I’m writing close to the article that was written by Kristina Chetcuti on the Sunday Instances of Malta on 24th January 2021, entitled ‘’Floriana’s Champs-Élysées ‘’. While putting all of the political arguments apart, I want to right the gross historic inaccuracies and the disrespectful tone used to explain our beloved metropolis and its’ valiant residents.
Following the Siege, the Knights wished to construct a fortified metropolis, Valletta, which was the very best by way of the army engineering of the day. Although the bastion partitions of Valletta had been extraordinarily sturdy, the Knights by no means appeared to have the ability to put their thoughts at relaxation and wished to repeatedly strengthen and enhance the fortifications of the brand new metropolis.
Within the early 1700s, following years of discussions, Grandmaster Perellos launched into the development of the Floriana Strains. These fortifications designed by the Italian Army Engineer Pietro Paolo Floriani had been to create a double buffer line of fortifications, along with the already present bastions of Valletta. Principally, a Glacis was created: an empty area between the Valletta partitions and the Floriana Strains, the entry by way of which was Portes des Bombes. Had the enemy tried to assault Valletta by land, it might have needed to first make its manner by way of the Floriana Strains. Although these fortifications had been very sturdy, there was an extra in-built security characteristic: the glacis. The truth is, if the enemy really managed to make its manner by way of the Floriana Strains, the Knights would have been in a position to spherical them up on this massive yard, closing down on them and stopping them from attacking assault Valletta. The glacis virtually was to behave as a entice, the place the enemy is helplessly rounded up and attacked from all sides.
St Anne’s Gate which used to face the place the area of interest of St Anne is at present.
The glacis needed to be barren: no bushes and buildings had been allowed to be able to make sure that visibility from the bastions of Valletta was unobstructed and any enemy intrusion was detected instantly. As soon as Valletta began turning into over-populated, there have been discussions to construct some buildings within the glacis of Floriana. There have been a lot of arguments for and in opposition to. Extra buildings to be able to remedy the over-population drawback had been essential. Nonetheless, these had been going to destroy the effectiveness of the glacis.
Sir Filippo Sciberras: the daddy of the primary Structure granted to the Maltese in 1921
On the 9th of Might 1724, Grandmaster Vilhena formally gave permission for the constructing of the town of Floriana. Up until that date there solely existed the Wignacourt Water Tower, the Mall Gardens, Sarria Church and the Capuchins Convent. Although the constructing permission was granted, sure circumstances needed to be revered. Buildings in Floriana couldn’t exceed one storey in peak. Streets needed to be in grid-form so as to have the ability to detect enemy intrusions and make it troublesome for the enemy to cover amongst the buildings in winding streets. Additionally, a smaller glacis needed to be left unbuilt. The final row of buildings permitted in Floriana, going through the Valletta bastions, was to not exceed the current web site of the Floriana Church, all the best way laterally throughout the town from Marsamxett to the Grand Harbour. That’s the reason there are huge unbuilt areas between Floriana and Valletta to the current day, such because the granaries and the Independence Enviornment. Different areas had been additionally beforehand vacant and had been constructed by up the British, such because the barracks which now homes authorities departments. Additional developments nearer to Valletta, such because the Catholic Institute had been additionally constructed on the glacis after the conflict. This, resulting from the truth that the authorities of the day felt that there was no additional army use for this glacis.
The Glacis: the vacant web site on the left is at present occupied by Sir Paul Boffa Hospital
It’s attention-grabbing to notice that regardless of its’ wealthy historical past, to Ms Chetcuti, ‘’Floriana doesn’t exist for anybody’’…. Actually? I’m positive Ms. Chetcuti can be astonished to find that Malta is what it’s at present because of Floriana. Personalities equivalent to Sir Filippo Sciberras who gave us the primary structure, Prof. Sir Luigi Preziosi who invented the Preziosi Operation which was practiced worldwide, Bishop Mauro Caruana, the composer of our Nationwide Anthem Robert Samut, Dr. Herbert Ganado, Profs. Henry Frendo and the late Prof. Oliver Friggieri had been all from Floriana. These people, along with an limitless listing of different personalities, formed the fibre of Maltese society. Coincidentally, even Mgr. Mikiel Azzopardi, the founding father of Dar tal-Providenza lived in Floriana, exactly in one of many ‘’hideous block of flats’’ overlooking St. Anne Avenue Ms. Chetcuti referred to in her article.
Sir Luigi Preziosi who found an necessary operation for the therapy of glaucoma
What in regards to the occasions held within the large areas in Floriana? Popes, Kings, Queens, Heads of States, the 1913 Worldwide Eucharistic Congress, Live shows and Political Occasion occasions: all these visits and occasions had been hosted in Floriana. What in regards to the granting of our independence which occurred in Floriana, the numerous gardens, the majestic harbour views, the limitless listing of monuments and historic buildings that grace our streets? Is that this the respect that Floriana deserves in return for all that it has supplied to Maltese Society?
Porte des Bombes as initially constructed with one archway inbuilt 1721
With out going into the polarised political arguments expressed within the stated article, I undoubtedly approve of the proposed venture, to the extent that I would love it to be prolonged. The underground tunnel for the passage of autos, in my view, ought to begin from outdoors Portes des Bombes. This is able to allow the rebuilding of the bastions flanking Portes des Bombes that had been demolished by the British. Ought to this proposal be put in observe, on coming into Floriana, one would have the ability to see Portes des Bombes connected to the bastions from either side, because it was initially. One would then discover the massive Floriana backyard main into Valletta. All of the visitors would go underground. We might therefore not solely be restoring greenery to our metropolis and bettering air high quality, however on the similar time we may even restore our heritage to its unique glory.
Porte des bombes with two arches, enlarged in 1868
I’m proud to be from Floriana. Ms Chetcuti may also have an interest to notice that I’m additionally proud to have been introduced up in a kind of hideous Mintoff Flats. These flats are large, with a flooring space of over 160 sq. metres, and rooms measuring 36 sq. metres every. Although in precept I disagree with the classist and prejudiced tone of Ms Chetcuti, I’ll use her personal language in order that she may perceive my final level higher. The ‘’tal-Pepe’’ folks of Sliema, of their seafront pigeon-hole flats which price thousands and thousands, and the folks residing within the winding roads in provincial Ħal-Lija, would solely dream of getting the snug and comfortable lives we had in these ‘’hideous Floriana flats’’! It’s clearly troublesome to check a Ħal-Lija lane to the widest road in Malta: St Anne’s Avenue. Such lanes can be extra corresponding to the hall in our hideous Floriana flat. Likely, the latter can be wider.
Historic wrought iron greenhouse in Argotti Gardens
Till the very finish of the article, Ms Chetcuti acquired her historical past info fallacious. Portes de Bombes was initially constructed as a one-arched doorway into the bastions, topped with a coat of arms with a set of Pears: the coat of arms of Grandmaster Perellos. It was the British who determined so as to add the second entrance on the left within the 1868: Advert Majorem Populi Commoditatem – to make it extra snug for the visitors to circulate by way of.
Hopefully with this venture, eventually Floriana might be given the eye and respect it deserves. I additionally hope that individuals would begin doing a little analysis previous to writing, whether or not within the papers, within the media or on social media. It’s unfair to the readers when one propagates inaccurate data.
Stephen M. Camilleri
CPA(laptop), FIA, B.Com, B.Accty (Hons), PGCE, MA