Saturday, 30 August 2014

Malta in focus

WITH news that Angelina Jolie has chosen Malta as the location for her forthcoming film with Brad Pitt, the spotlight is once again on this Mediterranean island, now a firm favourite with movie-makers. 

Saint Paul's Bay, Malta  via Wikimedia Commons 

The favourable tax rates might be one reason (the Malta Film Commission offer various incentives to attract overseas film-makers) but it's the architecture, scenery, beaches and historic sites that have secured its status as an ideal setting for blockbusters and top TV series.

Many of the films have used multiple settings across the island; including The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and Casino Royale, but if you're looking for some recognizable locations, here's a film buff's guide on where to visit:
  • Valletta
Must-do: Visit the Lascaris War Rooms, used in the Malta Story (1953). This is the secret bunker where the defence of Malta and later the invasion of Sicily were managed. It has been faithfully restored using the original equipment. Admission and tour costs €10, open daily from 10 am-5pm.
  • Mdina
Mdina, Malta
via Wikimedia Commons
Once the capital of Malta and a settlement of Imperial Rome, the tiny walled city of Mdina is known as the Silent City and is made up of winding cobbled streets and mesmerizing views thanks to its strategic position on high ground. You'll find a mix of medieval and baroque architecture.

Films: Gladiator and The Count of Monte Cristo are two of the best-known films that have used this setting.

Must-do: Take a carriage-ride around the cobbled streets in a traditional karozzin, departing from the city gates which Game of Thrones fans will recognize. The tour costs €30 for one hour.

  • Mellieha
In the north west of the island, Mellieha's long beaches with shallow water make it popular with families. It's also home to many rare and protected species of wildlife, as well as Malta's only natural national park, Il-Majjistral Nature and History Park.

Films: Troy was filmed here.

Must-do: Those with families might like the Popeye Village. Built as the set of the 1980 film starring Robin Williams, it was later turned into a tourist attraction, complete with lido and play pool. Entrance costs around € 14 per person.
  • Vittoriosa
Vittoriosa (Birgu) one of the „Three cities“, Malta.
© Plamen Agov •
via Wikimedia Commons
Known as one of the Three Cities, together with Cospicua and Senglea, Vittoriosa is steeped in history, dating back to prehistoric times.

Films: The Da Vinci Code used Vittoriosa as well as other settings on the island.

You can fly to Malta from 16 UK departure airports with airlines including Air Malta, British Airways, easyJet, and Ryanair.

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