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Ask any art lover to name the best night to visit Valletta and the answer is as obvious as picking a penguin out in the flamingo enclosure. Their answer would be ‘Notte Bianca’ – the capital’s all-night festival of art and culture.
The White Night, as it translates from Italian, is a relatively new but popular addition to the Maltese social calendar. It’s held in the autumn – usually September or October – and staged across the city centre and in many popular tourist venues. The event began in 2005 and has enjoyed a continually growing reputation ever since.
It’s a designated night when Valletta’s theatres, palaces, museums, historical buildings and art galleries stay open almost through the entire night. Inside they host art exhibitions plus some dance and theatre performances to complete the full cultural mix.
Almost every street and square becomes an impromptu venue for open-air performances and concerts. It’s a memorable experience - a great night to be walking the streets in this most charming and attractive city! You’ll find guided tours on offer too, which is a good way to start to get your bearings and figure out what’s going on that night as part of the extensive programme.
Notte Bianca incorporates artists from home and abroad as the city hosts a festival that aims to provide something for everyone. The idea is also to make use of the entire city from the entrance at the City Gate to the very tip of the peninsula.
To keep the crowds happy, many of the cafes and restaurants remain open late into the night so revellers can get food and drinks in between performances. There’s also an effort to cater for visitors of all ages with child-friendly items featuring prominently on the bill. These include games, puppet shows, storytelling, music and theatre especially for young ones in a specific children’s area.
The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts organises the entire event with support from the Ministry for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Since it was first organised in 2005, there has been a regular growth in attendance numbers.
So if you are knocking around on Malta when it’s time for Notte Bianca then make sure it is firmly written in marker pen in your diary. Alternatively plan your trip to coincide with the event. Temperatures have eased off at this time of year so it’s a great time to visit but be sure to book some accommodation early as it is popular.
Getting to and from Valletta at busy times such as this is never easy, nor is finding a parking space. So make sure you get there early or better still, get the bus. Public transport on the island runs into the early hours throughout most of the year so check the timetables, as this could well be an option.
You’ll find many of the Notte Bianca events are free and a full list of the programme should appear ahead of the night on the official website, which is on the link below.
Address: Malta Council for Culture and Arts, 230 Republic Street, Valletta VLT 1116
Phone: +356 2124 5168
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