The Mediterranean island of Malta is awash in color. But its blue details might be the most captivating of them all.
With perpetually-blue skies and a location in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta naturally seems defined by the color blue.
If you’re a fan of blue, as I am (it’s my favorite hue), you’ll be delighted to find that it’s often Malta’s color of choice for much more, including
its classic doorways, wooden balconies, and traditional fishing boats.
We called this southern European country home for twelve months; it’s hard to believe that two years have passed since we left it!
During our year in Malta, there were certainly moments when we were “feeling blue” — whether because of challenging neighbors (who let their children run wild until the wee hours of the morning!), or pollution, or notoriously-bad traffic.
However, in hindsight, it’s the happy memories that we made in Malta that remain at the forefront of my mind, like when we
went sailing, or watched locals harvest sparkling sea salt, or took part in festa celebrations, or met a world-famous diving dog named Titti.
In this piece, I’ve focused on Malta’s blue accents, including the island’s sky, sea, architecture, and other details. I hope you enjoy the series!
Peacocks roam the stately grounds of the San Anton Palace. It is the official residence of Malta’s president.
A tiny traditional boat (called a dgħajsa) glides past the Maltese Falcon, a superyacht. The mighty Fort St. Angelo is in the background, as are the Three Cities.
A heart, crafted out of rugged limestone, overlooks the sea from the island of Gozo. The iconic Azure Window — a natural arch — once stood nearby.
Queen Elizabeth visits Valletta (left), and the bow of a fishing boat (right). Eyes are often painted on Maltese boats, a custom that’s believed to date back to the time of the Phoenicians, who once ruled the island.
Detail of a costume on display in the museum of the Manoel Theatre (left) and the iconic dome of Valletta’s Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (right).
A classic car drives on the coastal road near the scenic Dingli Cliffs.
A dolphin-shaped door knocker (left) and a typical doorway (right).
A weathered set of doors frames a slot for mail on a Valletta townhouse.
Revelers celebrate the feast day of St. Paul in an enclosed balcony in Valletta (left) and an azure-colored doorway (right).
A shuttered bar on Valletta’s once-infamous Strada Stretta (Strait Street). The area was the playground of sailors who were in port (left). A religious detail adorns the front of a home (right). Malta is overwhelmingly Catholic.
The Lippija Tower overlooks Gnejna Bay. This defensive tower was built in the 17th century, during the time of the Knights of St. John. Malta’s sister island of Gozo is in the background.
A colorful boat is reflected in the water of Marsaxlokk’s harbor.
Salt pans on Gozo’s northern coast, on an early spring day. It’s believed that such pans have existed here since Roman times. People harvest the salt during the summer months.
In Valletta, numerous classic storefronts still exist. This shop was once an ironmongery store (a hardware shop).
Cats stow-away in a Valletta truck (left) and a girl reads in a traditional fishing boat (right).
Gingerbread-like balconies in Valletta (left) and a man pilots a dgħajsa, a gondola-like boat, in Valletta’s Grand Harbour (right).
Neon-blue snowflakes are projected onto the exterior of Valletta’s Grandmaster’s Palace as part of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Airplanes fly in formation over the village of Safi during the Malta International Airshow. This event takes place annually.
Titti, a world-famous Jack Russell Terrier who makes synchronized dives with her owner, Carmelo.
The breakwater near Valletta’s Grand Harbour.
A pigeon rests on a monument in Floriana.
Dgħajsas and tugboats take to the water of the Grand Harbour.
Malta’s rugged coastline (left) and a golden-limestone building with blue accents in Mosta (right).
The streetlights of Valletta (left) and a religious statue tucked into a niche (right).
Outside of Valletta’s fortifications.
Checkerboard-like salt pans on Gozo’s northern coast.
A man trains his Harris’s hawk along the majestic Dingli Cliffs.
A Maltese cross (a symbol of the Knights of St. John) adorns a door knocker in Valletta (left). A shoe shop’s vintage storefront (right).
The floor of the Mdina Cathedral is covered in a patchwork like-quilt of colorful tombstones.
Lamp posts in Birgu, near the Malta at War Museum.
Shawn and me, with the Azure Window behind us. The picture was taken about one year before the natural formation collapsed. Despite it no longer being there, there’s much to experience on Gozo.
The uninhabited island of Filfla. Today, it is a peaceful nature preserve, however, Filfla was previously used by pirates as a hiding spot so they could surprise and attack ships. NATO and the British also once used Filfla for bombing target practice.
Close-up of a pyrotechnic display, the day before Malta’s annual Mechanised Ground Fireworks Festival, in Floriana.
Spectators capture the vibrant ground fireworks using their mobile phones.
Three men fish in Valletta’s Grand Harbour. They didn’t seem to be catching much, but appeared to be enjoying soaking up the sunshine.
A vintage-style streetlamp hangs over a hilly street in Valletta.
An enclosed wooden balcony (known as a gallarija) in the town of Mosta.
Sailing past Malta’s sister island, Comino. The island only has 4 permanent inhabitants and it’s named after the cumin spice that once thrived there. Comino’s most iconic structure is the 17th-century St. Mary’s Tower, which was featured in the 2002 film, The Count of Monte Cristo.
Three figures appear to hold up Valletta’s Triton Fountain.
People stroll past Malta’s Parliament Building by night. This Valletta structure was designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano.
Renzo Piano is depicted in a parade float during Valletta’s annual Carnival celebrations. He is holding a miniature version of the City Gate, which he designed.
A float prepares to pass through Valletta’s City Gate during the city’s annual Carnival parade.
A Valletta street is festooned with Christmas lights.
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.