Capuchins Church and Garden

Grand Master de Verdalle proposed to the bishop to invite the Capuchin Order to open a convent in Malta. The first Capuchins set foot in Malta on 10 February 1588. The marble inscriptions on the church façade are quite informative. According to the rules of this Order, their churches and convents had to be built as far away as possible from populated areas so as to maintain the hermitage spirit practiced by the Friars. GM de Verdalle donated this area as it satisfi ed this rule at that time.

The Maltese engineer Girolamo Cassar designed both church and convent. The church is dedicated to the Holy Cross, however, it is popularly known as the Capuchins Church. All the altars in the church are made of wood. The two statues on the façade of the church are those of St Paul and St Publius.

Sarria Church

This imposing dome was originally a chapel built with funds provided by the Knight Fra Martino de Sarria in 1585. The original chapel was replaced in 1676 by a church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Grand Navarro Master Nicholas Cottoner built the church in thanksgiving for the end of the plague of 1675.

The rotunda was designed by the renowned painter Mattia Preti – the painter of St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, and built under the direction of an equally renowned architect, Lorenzo Gafa’. This church is particularly striking for its pleasing proportions and the way it combines the baroque and classical tendencies of the time. The most precious possession of this church is the wonderful set of seven large canvases that surround the interior, painted by Mattia Preti.

Mattia Preti was called to Malta in 1661 to work on the interior of St John’s Co-Cathedral. He successfully transformed an austere interior into the jewelled casket it is today – a work widely recognised in European artistic circles.

St Publius Parish Church

St Publius, one of the first Maltese to be converted to Christianity by St Paul during the latter’s short stay in Malta in 60 AD is Floriana’s and one of Malta’s patron saints. The first stone of St Publis Parish Churchwas laid on 2nd August 1733 in the presence of Grand Master Vilhena. The church went through several transformations and was enlarged as the population of Floriana grew. In 1776 it was given the status of Vice-parish and a crypt was added to the church soon after. The church was solemnly consecrated by Bishop Vincenzo Labini on 28th March 1792. The church was declared a parish by Bishop Caruana in 1844 and was successively enlarged more then once. The church is 164 feet long, 106 feet wide and the aisle is 27 feet long.

On the 28th April 1942, at 8.15am, St Publius Church was severely damaged during enemy bombardment. Sixteen people lost their lives. Works on the reconstruction started on the 28thApril 1944 under the supervision of architect Gustav Vincenti. The main painting showing the martyrdom of St Publius is a work by Favray and completed by his pupil Filippu Vincenzo Pace in 1773. The statue of St Publius is the work of sculptor Vincenso Dimech and completed in 1811.