Valletta as the capital city of Malta has had a long and chequered history. It was conceived as a planned fortified city in the aftermath of the Great Siege of 1565, when the knights of the Order of St John managed against all odds to repel a massive Turkish onslaught to seize Malta (Bradford 1999). The Order of St John was both a military and religious Order. In 1530, eight years after being expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman Turks, Emperor Charles V offered in fiefdom the Maltese islands together with the fortress of Tripoli on the North African coast (Schermerhorn 1929, Sire 1994). In sharp contrast to the fertile island of Rhodes, the Maltese landscape was barren and unattractive. An early sixteenth century account describes the main island of Malta as ‘merely a rock barely covered with more than three or four feet of earth, which was strong and very unfit to grow corn’ (Quintin d’Autun 1536/1982).