PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR JUSTICE, CULTURE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: 18,800m2 of Floriana Lines are being restored with a total final investment of Euros 1,600,000

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici announced that through an investment of Euros 1,600,000, a total of 18,800m2 of the Floriana Lines Fortifications overlooking the Marsamxett Harbour will be restored once works are completed.

Speaking during a visit to the site of the fortifications, Minister Bonnici highlighted the importance of continuing to enhance our local cultural product through the strengthening of our heritage, which forms an intrinsic part of the basis of our identity as a country. Thanks to this investment, we are restoring this formidable site to its former glory for everyone to appreciate. As a government, we are committed to keep on investing within the culture sector, for the benefit of the members of our community, as well as younger generations.

The stretch of fortifications known as the Floriana Lines were conceived in order to provide further protection to the land in front of Valletta at the neck of the promontory. They were designed by Italian engineer Pietro Paolo Floriani during the Magistracy of Grand Master Antoine de Paule.

Later on during the 17th century, Italian military engineer Antonio Maurizio Valperga designed the ‘ritirata’, which was built within the San Salvatore Bastion as a solution to correct defects in the fortifications. Valperga also projected the La Vittoria Bastion to provide some form of enfilading defence. In order to protect the new bastion, Valperga created a large vault arcone within the side of the San Salvatore Bastion known as Barbara’s Arch, after the Maltese architect who built it. This large vaulted and skewed arcone presents one of the most interesting features of the area’s fortifications.

The deterioration process experienced by the Floriana fortifications are the result of a number of factors. These include exposure and orientation, salt contamination, biological attack on material properties of the stone, lack of maintenance, vegetation and the roots of trees within the masonry, structural defects and installation of superfluous accretions. Bombing of the area during World War II was another factor inflicting damage to the fortifications as can be witnessed by a concentration of shrapnel marks and the loss of material.

Works started towards the end of 2015 and are envisaged to be completed by June 2019 and focus on the restoration of the faces, superior slopes and platform terraces. They generally commence with cleaning, including the removal of vegetation within the bastion walls, the opening of joints and the removal of defective pointing and renders, especially that which is cement-based, cleaning carefully through the use of various methods to remove black crust and biological growth. The next step includes the treatment of deteriorated fabric, the pointing of joints, the stabilisation of detached masonry facings, and the reinstatement and reconstruction of missing or deteriorated sections of the limestone fabric.

Rock bolting, by the insertion of stainless steel rods, is being utilised for the stabilisation of the structure.

Source: Government of Malta