[WATCH] Subterranean tour explores Valletta's hidden underbelly

We take the plunge into Valletta’s underground network, as a guided tour explores what lies beneath our capital city.

Damp and cramped: Underneath Auberge d'Italie • Photo by Ray Attard
Damp and cramped: Underneath Auberge d'Italie • Photo by Ray Attard
Going underground in Valletta • Video by Ray Attard

Though it was a bright summer day of the kind Malta has been missing of late, yesterday a group of around 50 decided to take the plunge into Valletta's underground network of tunnels – a combined endeavour of the Knights of Malta and the British during WWII – for a fully-booked tour organised by Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA).

With a spirited commentary by Nick Ripard of Foundinmalta Guided Tours – with interjections from FAA’s Astrid Vella – the tour spanned from the undercroft of the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants’ Street, with visitors then emerging from the 16th century cellars of Castille for an additional ‘over-ground’ commentary on select spots of Merchants’ Street, ending with a visit to Casa Rocca Piccola’s wartime shelter in Republic Street.

The rock-hewn tunnel of the Auberge de Castille links to the Auberge d’Italie, where the knights’ passages and cellars were incorporated into Valletta’s World War II network of tunnels, built by the British in 1941. Sealed for almost six decades since the 1950s, the tunnels’ thick rock walls are etched with dates, masons’ marks and graffiti symbols. Standing in crammed single file, droplets of water descended from the low ceiling, hewn into tiny stalactites over the years.

Read more in today's edition of MaltaToday