The regeneration of the Villa Rundle garden now provides recreational facilities and an open space for families. This project included the removal of old structures and concrete passages. A new reservoir was built in order to retain rainwater which will then be used for the watering of plants in the Villa Rundle Garden. The Garden also incorporates a playing area, a visitors’ centre and an area dedicated to open-air activities.
It’s situated underneath a private house in the village of Xaghra and the tour is guided by the owner herself. The Grotto was discovered by her grandfather Mr. Anthony Xerri in 1923 when he was digging a well to find water. For a nice cool down during the summer months as the constant temperature in Xerri’s Grotto is 19 degrees. But most importantly for some impressive stalagmites and stalactites that took thousands of years to form, especially considering the lack of water on the island. You will find yourself approximately 7 meters below the surface and the guided pathway is about 17 metres long and the tour takes about 15 minutes. The entrance is €2,50.
The must-see place to see in Victoria is its citadel. True fortified city, completely renovated recently, it dominates the city and offers a 360 ° panorama over the surrounding countryside, villages and Malta just opposite. The view from the ramparts is definitely worth the detour!The entrance to the citadel itself is free, and you can browse its narrow streets in peace. You can also visit the Baroque Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Inside the citadel, you will find several museums that are paying:
The Cathedral Museum presents a collection of objects used by the church such as crucifixes or chalices
The archeology museum traces the history of ancient civilizations until the arrival of Knights of the Order
The folklore museum that illustrates the local way of life
The Gozo Natural History Museum will teach you more about the island’s fauna and flora
The old prison where you can see the cells
For five weeks every year in June/July, Victoria joins the festival cities of the world, with artistes and ensembles from all over the world combining to leave their mark on the soul of the island. That is precisely what the Festival in the heart of Victoria, blending drive, professional ethos and the typical Gozo penchant for laid-back charm, has come to signify for an ever-widening network of patrons and admirers hailing from top music centres all over the world down to the cultural-minded visitor and local music lover. Culture makes places distinctive, engendering pride in the local community. It also makes a practical contribution in terms of sustainability, providing employment, encouraging learning and inspiring people to adopt creative and active lifestyles.
“Undoubtedly, Victoria boasts of a community fully inspired to build two magnificent theatres that have brought to Gozo’s magic shores world renowned artistes from all over the world. This city has developed an irresistible passion for musical culture…the Victoria Arts Festival, under the direction of Joseph Vella, is launched in the middle of June with its glittering musical choices.” The Times of Malta (That Super City of Culture, April 2014)
A summer trip to Gozo would not be complete without a visit to a village festa. These are held between the last weekend in May and mid-September. Each town/village holds its annual feast dedicated to its Patron Saint. A typical ‘festa’ lasts three days or longer. The church and village are decorated with lights and bunting and the colourful festa statues of Saints stand outside the church. The main festa statue of the patron saint is paraded through the streets and local musicians provide extra support to the priest and choir in a special mass.
Gozitan Festas are not only religious in nature however and there is plenty of secular fun as well. Bands march through the streets of the village and fireworks light up the skies as crowds enjoy traditional as well as fast food from the many street stalls. Tourists are always welcome and joining a festa is a great way to get a real taste of local life.
Il-Munxar – Feast of St. Paul – last weekend in May. This festa kicks off the season with week-long celebrations of the shipwreck of St Paul on Malta in 60AD (as described in the bible).
L-Għasri – Feast of Christ the Saviour – includes horse racing along the street.
Għajnsielem – Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.
Il-Fontana – Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Ix-Xewkija – Feast of St. John the Baptist – on the Sunday before or after June 24. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Prekursur brass band and horse racing on the streets.
In-Nadur – Feast of Saints Peter & Paul – on 29th June which is also a national holiday. Includes an agricultural and crafts show, horse race on the street and concerts the local Mnarja brass band.
L-Għarb – Feast of the Visit of Our Lady to St. Elizabeth – Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Viżitazzjoni brass band.
Ta’ Kercem – Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour – includes concerts as well as marches by the local San Girgor (St. Gregory) brass band.
Ir-Rabat – Feast of St. George – centred on St George’s Basilica just off the main square, this festa includes horse racing along Ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s main street and concerts by the local La Stella brass band. La Stella, officially called La Stella Philharmonic Society, is based in one of ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s two opera house/theatres, The Astra. This festa is one of two held in ir-Rabat (Victoria). The other is centred on the Cathedral and takes place on August 15.
Ta’ Sannat – Feast of St. Margaret the Martyr – includes concerts by the local St. Margerita (St. Margaret’s) brass band and horse racing on the street.
San Lawrenz – Feast of St. Laurence – San Lawrenz is the only village in Gozo to be named after its patron saint. The festa statue of the saint is a fine example made by Gallard et Fils of Marseilles and it arrived in San Lawrenz on 4th August 1895. The first feast was celebrated six days later and has been celebrated every year since, even at the height of the Second World War.
Il-Qala – Feast of St. Joseph – first Sunday of August. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Ite ad Joseph brass band.
Ir-Rabat – Feast of St. Marija (St. Mary) – 15th August. Includes horse racing along the main street of the capital as well as the Agriculture and Industrial Show at the Villa Rundle. There are also concerts by the Leone brass band, officially called the Leone Philarmonic Society and based in the Aurora Theatre, one of ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s two opera houses-theatres. This is one of two festas in ir-Rabat (Victoria), the other is centred on the Basilica of St George and takes place in July.
Iż-Żebbuġ – Feast of St. Marija – on the first weekend following August 15. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local band Sta. Marija (St. Mary’s) Band as well as horse racing on the street.
Għajnsielem – Feast of Our Lady of Loreto – on the last Sunday of August. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local San Ġużepp (St. Joseph) brass band.
Ix-Xlendi – Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – first Sunday in September. Apart from the marches and concerts, the festivities include the gostra, a diagonal pole along which competitors attempt to walk to reach the flag at the end and win the competition. Most slip off, of course and splash into the warm sea. There are also paddle-boat races and other water games too.
Ix-Xagħra – Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady (also known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory) – on 8th September, which is also a national holiday known as Jum il-Vittorja (Victory Day). Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Victory brass band and horse racing along the street.
Ir-Rabat – Our Lady of Graces – first Sunday after 8th September.