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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Floriana

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FLORIANA

 Citta' Vilhena

As rumours of an impending Ottoman attack reached Malta in 1643, Grand Master de Paul decided to further protect the Capital by building additional lines of fortifications around it. This project was entrusted to military engineer Pietro Paolo Floriani from the Italian town of Macerata. Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena encouraged the conversion of the area demarcated by Floriani's fortifications and Valletta into the residential town of Floriana, named after Architect Floriani. The town's nickname – Borgo Vilhena, gratefully acknowledges this Grand Master's pivotal role in transforming Floriana into the bustling town that it is today.

Entrance to Floriana is through a triumphal arch known as Porte des Bombes or Bieb il-Bombi in Maltese. The original gate was built during the reign of Grand Master Perellos in 1721. This would undergo extensive modification during in 1868 during British rule, converting the previously single-arch gate to a double-arch structure. This was necessary to accommodate heavier traffic in subsequent years.

Beyond Bieb il-Bombi is St. Anne Street prominently lined with arches on either side. Its iconic de Vilhena Lion Fountain is named after the Grand Master who commissioned it in 1728.