The Co-Cathedral of St. John is perhaps the most architecturally amazing building in Valletta. It is the first house of worship in the city and dates back to Valletta’s founding in the 16th century by the Order of Saint John. The High Baroque architecture and lavishly adorned walls and ceilings make it a must-see for any visitor to the island. One of Caravaggio’s most famous works, Beheading of St. John the Baptist, is featured here. The cathedral is also home to an impressive tomb of some famous members of European royalty from the Renaissance and Enlightenment period.

The Grand Masters’ Palace on Palace Square has a beautiful collection of fresco art depicting the Great Siege of 1565 which adorn the Order's Supreme Council Hall and Gobelin tapestries.   Other notable features are beautiful ceiling decorations and other works of  art. It offers visitors a journey through time.   The five State rooms open to the public are truly breathtaking - coffered timber ceilings, priceless furniture, paintings of knightly pomp and an excellent series of  frescos depicting the glorious episodes of the Knights' history.  Remember that the Knights decorated and furnished the Palace in great splendour, partly to show the other nations how powerful and rich the Order was and to impress visitors.  For them, money was no object.  They bought the best and hired the master craftsmen of the time.  Each Grandmaster of the Order was extremely rich and were expected to donate gifts to the order.  The result is that the Palaces and Cathedrals are so splendid.

The Palace also has as an impressive armory .  The Armoury  is considered to be amongst the best  Armour and weapons collections in the world.  This collection is located within the walls of the Palace that was the residence of the Grand Master.  Outstanding examples of splendid parade armour by master armourers command pride of place.  Also displayed are exotic examples of Turkish armour in the Islamic and Ottoman section .  There is an audio tour available in various languages. 

It is worth noting that the Palace is the office of the President of Malta and also has the House of Parliament of the government of Malta. There are now plans for  Parliament to move out to a new building to be built.  This will make room for more exhibitions and display the riches which are hidden away. When parliament is not in session the palace and its State Rooms are open to the public and is really worth visiting.

Further down from the Palace, is Casa Rocca Piccola, at number 74, Republic Street. The entrance is through a well-stocked gift/book shop. Casa Rocca Piccola is the private residence of one of Malta's noble families; today headed by the Marquis de Piro. This 16th century house contains some 50 rooms, including an Archival room with documents dating back to the 1500s; there is also an internal courtyard (a rarity in Valletta), an art gallery, and at 100ft underground one can visit the World War II air-raid shelters. All these are part of the guided tours organised every hour on the hour (10am-4pm) every day (except on Sundays + Public Holidays).  The house has a dedicated website for more information: www.casaroccapiccola.com

Continuing down to the end of Republic Street, one will see the National War Museum entrance to the left, located in a building forming part of Fort St Elmo. The War Musuem covers the military history from the post 1800 period of British Rule.  The most important events covered are WWll.  You will see a recorded history of how the Maltese endured the horrors of the war.  Amongst the many exhibits you will find the Gladiator 'Faith' and the George Cross presented by King George to the people of Malta.

More information may be found on the Heritage Malta website: www.heritagemalta.org/museums...

Lascaris War Rooms

These have recently been refurbished and are one of the most popular attractions for visitors.

During WWll an old communications tunnel was converted into an Operations Room for the RAF. It runs under the Upper Barakka Gardens to the Valletta Main Ditch.  As the war proceeded this centre was also used by the Royal Navy  and also for Radar Tracking

To make more room for the busy activity, rocks were excavated and another large tunnel was joined to the War Rooms

For more information visit www.wirtartna.org 

 Valletta’s National Museum of Archaeology can be found in the old Auberge de Provence, which used to house the Knights of St. John. There are many prehistoric artifacts from around the island in the collections here, including pieces of pottery, sculpture, statues, tools and clothing. The most famous works are probably the Maltese Venus and the Sleeping Lady.   While visiting, observe the beautiful architecture of the edifice.  The musuem is housed within the well-preserved Auberge de provence, one of the finest buildings in Valletta.  The richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling of the large top floor salon are truly remarkable.This museum is open everyday except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Good Friday. Another museum worth visiting is the National Museum of Fine Arts in South street ( second turning on the left on entering city gate). The palace is a splendid example of eighteenth century architecture with a stunning high baroque stair case. The collection includes high-calibre paintings by Mattia Preti and other european artists, silverware including rare pieces, maiolica and splendid examples of fine maltese furniture pieces. The museum also hosts exhibitions by local and foreign artists.  

The National Librarycan also be found in Valletta, though parts of its collection are housed in buildings in Floriana as well. The archives of the Order of St. John and other old city records can be found here. The main reading  hall alone contains 40,000 books stacked from  floor to ceiling.  It is a vast hall in neoclassical flamboyant style and displays important  deeds and Maltese mintage in glass cases.  Visitors are not allowed to linger but it is worth having a quick look around.

Lascaris War Rooms, Lascaris Ditch,Valletta which are recently reopened and renovated will give you a fascinating guided tour, where you will witness how the battle for Malta, and the invasion of Sicily was controlled and won. Follow in the footsteps of the Allied Commanders and re-live life in one of Europe’s most influential secret War chambers. To access the War Rooms follow the directional signs from Upper Barrakka Gardens.

The Saluting Battery, Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valletta is where you can witness the age old tradition of the firing of the Mid-Day Gun followed by a guided tour of The Saluting Battery which was used during the British period to provide ceremonial salutes to visiting dignitaries and ships. You will also marvel at unique views of the Grand Harbour and the 3 Cities from within the Saluting Battery. Entrance is via the staircase towards the middle of Barrakka Gardens. Open from 10am - 1pm every day.

Go to this link and print out your Valletta Map made avaialble by Valletta Living History http://maltaattraction.com/content.as....  This is a 35 minute audiovisual show worth visiting in order to get to get to know all about the city and the history of Malta.