|peeking out a window onto Merchant Street, Valletta|
|Maltese balconies & festa decorations|
|Merchant Street, Valletta|
I took my mum and sister to St. John's Co-Cathedral during their visit this month. I hadn't been since our first trip to Malta in 2008. Since then, a museum has been added to the Co-Cathedral, which is a 'Co-' because it shares cathedral duties with St. Paul's Cathedral in Mdina.
St. John's is truly splendid, and not to be missed if you're visiting Malta, or making the island your new home. It is an integral part of Maltese culture and history, where the Church and State have grown up alongside each other. Inside it's like a little jewel box - sparkling gold with deep blues and reds, and a flurry of paintings and sculpture everywhere you look. Even the floors are opulent marble tomb stones of the Knight's of St. John's former grand masters. You literally cannot stand within the church's confines without trotting on a little piece of history.
The museum is nice, with a good sized collection of tapestries and textiles, and a choral book room with illuminated song books my art historian brain was drooling over. But, strangely, the best part was the view of Merchant street from the museum's Maltese balcony. And of course, the Caravaggio's - St. John's is home to both The Beheading of St. John the Baptist and St Jerome Writing. Some of my favourite Baroque pieces ever. They have been recently restored and haven't looked more glorious in four hundred years.
Before you go:
Admission: €6/adult, €4.50/seniors, €3.50/ISIC holders, free for 12 and under (including multilingual audioguide).
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:30am to 4:30pm, Saturday 9:30am to 12:30pm. Sunday: services only.
Dress: No short shorts, skirts, hats, or bare shoulders. Shawls are provided to those violating the dress code. Backpacks must be worn on the front at all times.
There is no photography in the museum and Oratory. Photography is permitted in the church.