When I feel like writing a post but don’t have much time I fly to YouTube and its endless city videos. Today, Valletta, the capital of Malta, the island nation just south of Sicily. I visited in the late 1990s when former Providence mayor Joseph Paolino was our ambassador. I found a hotel room with twin balconies overlooking the capital and the harbor, where in 1565 an invasion by an army of 48,000 under the Ottoman Empire’s Suleiman the Magnificant was, after much catapulting of severed heads, repulsed by some 800 Knights Hospitaller and 7,000 Maltese. Today, although like Venice under an assault of mammoth cruise ships, the city of Valletta could not be more beautiful.
Before I left for Malta, my friend and former Journal colleague Irving Shel- don described the island as “Baroque from stem to stern,” and it certainly was. The two videos here, one of just over four minutes and one of less than three minutes, do a fairly good job of capturing its beauty with a minimum of videographic trickster conceits. Going to YouTube to find a good video of a place is tough because of the great variety of choices. Many feature obnox- ious narrators or unlistenable music in addition to bad photography, but you can’t know for sure without cranking them up. These two are nice. The ima- ges, above and below, are all screenshots from either video. Neither, how- ever, spend enough time on the fortifications from which the Knights repelled the Turks. Oh well.