Valletta is an unusual beast. It’s Europe’s smallest capital. It’s also, as a former Valletta resident told me, a village, a town and a city all rolled into one; showing faces of each at different times of the day. Early morning, its residents are out buying veggies, milk and bread, the hawkers call out, the shutters roll up on shops. Later, in come the suits (lawyers, public servants, bankers and more) and tourists; and then, as evening draws near, the city is left alone, the domain once more of its 6,500 residents, now the 60,000 visitors have gone.
Valletta is becoming more lively in the evenings in the past year or so. Visitors linger to dine and locals from elsewhere come for arts events and decamp to wine bars after. There’s still a way to go before Valletta has an evening vibe like most European capitals. So it’s little surprise that the Malta Arts Festival opens this year with an attempt to get us active in Valletta: the Strada Wine & food festival that takes place along South Street and Strait Street 1, 2 & 3 July from 19.00.
It’s a popular dairy date: this year sees the 6th Festival Strada, one of the most sought-after events of the arts festival and a summer precursor in a way to October’s Notte Bianca. Strada is known for its relaxed atmosphere which encourages us to sup and sip as we stroll along enjoying open-air music and visual arts. When Strada is over, we need to think of more reasons to go to Valletta in the evening; that would be the real legacy of Strada, which is another of those annual one-off events.
Entrance is free. More information, see Malta Arts Festival.
Photo: by Rene Rossignaud courtesy of Malta Council for Culture & the Arts.