More recently, in 1989, at the bar in a Valletta pub called 'The Pub', time was fatally called on Oliver Reed's final hellraising session… Despite these momentous passings, Juliet Rix's
surprising new Bradt guidebook shows myriad reasons to unpackage Malta and discover afresh a much-underrated Mediterranean island nation.
However, Bradt's Juliet Rix suggests, 'It seems to me that Malta has been hiding its light under the bushel of mass tourism for too long… For the main island at least, its USP is surely its history - and pre history - and the remarkable sites this has left behind.' Looking at the facts, her case is pretty strong.
Following the order's success against the Turks in the Great Siege of 1565, as Rix says, 'The Knights were the heroes of Christian Europe… and Christendom was willing to show its gratitude with financial support.' In accordance Valletta was designed by the Pope's own military engineer Francesco Laparelli and progressed to become a showcase of Baroque architecture.
As well as the main island's capital, superlative Grand Harbour, surrounding Three Cities, 'silent city' of Mdina and villages beyond, Rix
explores the contrasting relaxed ambience of neighbouring Gozo, only a ferry or short floatplane flight away.
Across all three islands, activities such as birdwatching, diving, swimming and walking are all covered along with up-to-date hotel, restaurant and practical travel information.
Juliet Rix is a professional journalist and has worked all of her life in print, radio and television.
As well as spending a couple of years as a BBC southeast Asia correspondent she has written on travel - as well as other subjects - for most of the UK's broadsheet nationals.
Title: Malta and Gozo
Author: Juliet Rix
Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides
Publication: May 2010
Tagged: Charity, Dom Mintoff, Faith, Gozo, Hope, Hospitaller, Juliet Rix
, Knights of St John, Malta, Oliver Reed, Valletta.