Secluded Siggiewi

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Siġġiewi is one of the lucky ones - one of the lucky few villages in Malta which thanks to its geography and its people’s enduring ties to the surrounding land, has remained relatively intact in its looks and in its principles. But I err in calling it a village - Siġġiewi is actually a città.


Words by Maria Muscat | Extract taken from February's 2023 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here


Grand Master Ferdinand Von Hompesch elevated the village and bestowed it with the honour of his name in 1797 and who are we to take it up with a Grand Master of such calibre. On this island of villages adjacent to towns and overlapping another couple of villages, Siġġiewi remains buffered by stretches of land owned primarily by its locals and passed on from one generation to the next. This humble città stands a kilometer and a half (tops) from its closest neighbours, doing its thing and persevering in its ways because, quite frankly, it could and still can.


Not much has been written about this yellowed-hued village. I haven’t seen it listed in any top 10 things to do in Malta clickbait lists; and what an absolute blessing! On an island so tiny and so historic, every nook and cranny has had so much written about it, its beauty exalted to a fault, and its excursion-worthiness splayed across the pages of travel sites and guidebooks.



To this day, Siġġiewi has thankfully managed to exist happily in a liminal space of sorts. Surrounded by some of the most sought-after and untouched spots on land and sea, its beating heart of a village core still revolves largely around its unmarked square which sprawls downhill from an elegant Baroque church and porticoed parvis built in honour of the patron saint, St Nicholas. To this day, a statue of him stands proudly across from a fuel station, his back to the outside world, his eyes feasting on so grand and towering a gesture in his honour.




Every 6th of December, a procession of children leaves the village school and walks to this very square accompanied by the local band clubs and a firework display. This is, as any local will proudly tell you, but a taster of the more popular June appointment celebrating the beloved saint.


Vantage points of choice (and we suggest the kampnar if you’re lucky enough to get access) give you 360° lookouts onto the imposing and stylishly lit-up old capital of Mdina; the Laferla Cross, atop a hill scaled yearly by candle-lit pilgrims during Holy Week; and Verdala Palace, an official residence of the President’s overlooking Buskett - one of the few woodland areas on the island. A short drive – or – scratch that, make it a pleasant hour-long stroll out of the village core gets you to Għar Lapsi – the locals’ favourite summer spot for a quick dip or a more Mediterranean-paced Sunday by the sea.


By way of a disclaimer, I do not hail from here. Siġġiewi adopted me the second time I ever visited. I had only been once before - hard to believe on an island so small. Siġġiewi’s charm won me over when I came to check on a quaint (read: tiny) house I had come across on a badly designed property site. I fell in love instantly and decided to make it my home. The more I thought about it the more I realised that what I had actually fallen in love with was not the house’s potential (or its attractive price tag – Siġġiewi property prices remained relatively stable for a long time after prices everywhere else skyrocketed). What I fell in love with was a place and a people that, blessed with what I’ve always considered to be the luxury of having the space to roam freely, are too happily occupied with their own lives to be interfering in yours.


Architecturally speaking, compromises have been made along the years – there’s no denying or glossing over these – but Siġġiewi is one of the lucky survivors. Its core has survived relatively untouched, its Parish still active by contemporary standards, its square still alive thanks to charming watering holes and regular fairs and appointments, its traditions practiced and passed on with pride by its residents - natural, adopted or otherwise. The small shops still stand to serve the residents - very few travel here to run errands or do business. Siġġiewi is quiet and those who come do so explicitly as the village itself is not exactly on anyone’s route to anywhere else. What can I say? Do drop by, explicitly or otherwise, and I promise you’ll fall in love in small as well as in big ways.