Porte des Bombes

Porte des Bombes, originally known as Porta dei Cannoni, is the main gateway into Floriana. This gate, originally had only one porte and was designed by Mondion and constructed in 1721 by Grand Master Perellos. The coat of arms at the top of the gate is that of Grand Master Perellos.

In June 1798, the Knights of St John lost the Maltese islands to the French. One of the few sorties took place here when Napoleon’s troops attacked and threw open Porte des Bombes. This gate passed through various transformations as the traffic into Valletta and Floriana increased. It was Sir Patrick Grant, Governor of Malta 1867-72, who saw the need of adding a second entrance to the gateway. This was inaugurated on 17th August, 1868, at a cost of £900, thus allowing for the passage of two means of transport at the same time. The writing on one side of the gates says: ‘Whilst I fight the Turks everywhere I am secure in my seat’. A second inscription on the other side reads: ‘For the greater comfort of the population – 1868’.

Wignacourt Water Tower

Wignacourt Water Tower is an interesting stone structure with a three metre high circular pedestal and a rounded tower above supported by pilasters. The structure is topped by a floral stone sculpture. From the unusual shape one can immediately surmise that the structure has had nothing to do with defence, habitation or religious worship. In fact, it is a water tower forming part of an aqueduct system which brought water by gravity from high grounds around Mdina and Rabat to Floriana and Valletta. The fountain commemorates the inauguration of the aqueduct in 1615. It is complete with Wignacourt’s coat of arms and a drinking trough for horses.

Christ the King Monument

This is the work of the renowned Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino. It commemorates the International Eucharistic Congress of 1913, which was an important international religious event. Besides the imposing figure of Christ, this artistic bronze monument includes the figure of a lady representing Malta, kneeling in honour of Christ.

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.