A Modern City in Valletta
Laparelli had a unique opportunity to create the perfect city. Valletta may not strike you as a modern city, but it is one of the first examples of town planning based on a grid pattern of streets.
The city catered well for all strata of society, from the Knights to their servants and trades people. Laparelli's design provided for fresh water to be piped in, and for sanitation; both advanced concepts for the time. The grid of streets allowed for fresh air from the two harbours to circulate easily in the narrow streets – a kind of city-scale air-conditioning.
Valletta is a fine example of a planned, 16th century city: unusual for the times, since urban centres mostly evolved from earlier settlements. The rocky Mount Sceberras on which it was built was not an easy location: it took considerable levelling before construction could begin. La Valette died in 1568, before the city was completed. By 1571, enough of the city was built to allow the Knights to transfer from Birgu.
Laparelli left Malta in 1570, but work was continued by the Maltese Architect
Gerolamo Cassar. Cassar was responsible for most of the major early buildings
from the Cathedral of St John to the Sacra Infermeria, the Auberges or Innes
of Residence of the Knights and the Magisterial Palace.