If you happen to see the curator of the Botanical Garden within the Argotti gardens, make sure to ask him for a tour. He is usually more than happy to oblige. The Argotti gardens are also home to many great open air summer events.
The Argotti garden, in Floriana, was laid out in the 18th Century by Portuguese Grand Master Pinto de Fonseca, and later much embellished and cared for by Baliff Igantius de Argote et Gusman, which probably accounts for its present name.
Immediately on entering you will get the impression that the gardens are very formal in their layout, with box hedges and enclosures around some very old trees. While the garden is pretty and a peaceful haven from the busy city outside its gates, the real attraction is the breath-taking view to be had from its further side. The garden's location high on the bastions of Floriana offer commanding views over Marsamxett Harbour as well as an impressive view of the Malta skyline as far as Mdina and Verdala Castle.
From St Philips Garden, which is set on a ravelin (a triangular fortification) next to Argotti, you can get an even better view. The main attraction of these gardens is the Wignacourt Fountain, which was built in 1615 by the Knights as a monument to the completion of the Aqueduct project which channeled water from Rabat to Valletta using gravity. The fountain was originally located in Palace Square. Access to St Philips Garden is from 07:30 hrs until 13:00 hrs.
Once you've had your fill from looking, stop and listen! Sit on a bench under the shade of a Ficus or an Olive and enjoy the sound of nature... the song and chirping of the birds, the wind rustling through the leaves and water trickling from the fountains and water towers into the ponds.
However, if you want to make the most of Argotti's best kept secret, ask the curator to show you around the Botanical Garden. Entrance to this area of the garden is controlled but accessible, and contains a marvellous collection of trees, shrubs and many cacti, both indigenous and foreign. The botanic collection is so unique that it has earned Argotti special recognition even overseas.
Visit also the small horticultural museum which is housed in part of the villa, and look at the unusual exhibits of seeds, plant pressing equipment, gardening maps and records. A gazebo dating to 1741 is open during office hours only. For the rest, you may visit Argotti Gardens from 07:30 hrs until dusk and entrance is free.
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Best For Whom
- Families With Children
Best For What
- Off The Beaten Path