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Villa Rundle Park highlights

October 29th, 2007

gozo villa rundle-5A half-block north, the Aurora Theatre has a snooker and billiards club with a bar and sandwiches where you can get a snack and cold drinks for just a few dollars or euros. A half-block south, a small café beneath a marquee serves light snacks and cold drinks. Both these places—and there are more up and down the street—are good spots to get take-away picnic gear for the park.

Outside Villa Rundle
Rabat sits on a hill at the center of Gozo. Its attraction—its landmark—is The Citadel, a 17th-Century fort that has 360-degree views of the island’s shoreline. It needed this view: Gozo (and Malta) have been conquered numerous times in recorded history, the most violent and oppressive of which happened around 869, when the Aghlabid Arabs attacked from North Africa and enslaved every inhabitant of Gozo to present-day Tunisia.

Rabat is also known as Victoria, in honor of Britain’s Queen Victoria when that nation held control of Malta. It’s more of a ceremonial name, and Gozitans speak of their capital as Rabat. This city of 6,000 people has busy roads and narrow shopping alleys which give the city the quality of a bazaar. The Citadel holds much of the history of Gozo. You enter it after a long walk up a hill (or take a taxi). Its museums of archeology, folklore, and natural science are small but interesting looks at a history predating the Egyptian pyramids. For an inclusive price of around 7 euros ($9), you can walk through them all in about two hours. I highly recommend the Folklore Museum, presented in an original Siculo-Norman townhouse from Medieval times. Decorated with historic furniture, tools, utensils and storage vases, the feel of life during that era comes through pretty well. gozo villa rundle-6Thoughtfully, they haven’t made up the rooms with cheesy mannequin dioramas. Most of the Citadel is accessible, and you can walk around its topmost stone walkways overlooking the island. On a clear day, using binoculars, you can spot Sicily some 80 kilometers to the north. A café is open during the summer season on its northwest platform.

As you walk down from the Citadel, cross busy Triq ir-Repubblika and through Independence Square, you enter the Old Quarter. This is a system of housing alleyways and storefront shops. Some great bargains can be found in along the streets and in cellar shops, so don’t settle on the first item you see on Independence Square. Lace is particularly valued by Gozitans and Maltese, who pass the craft down through the generations. For a full list of tourist sites in Rabat and around Gozo, and hotel and restaurant recommendations, jump to the Rabat city page.

gozo villa rundle-3Directions to Villa Rundle
The Villa Rundle is on Triq ir-Repubblika, Rabat’s main north-south roadway, two blocks south of Triq Putirjal. If you take the bus into town from any of the outlying villages, the terminus is almost behind the park. The main municipal parking lot for the city is just north of the park is just behind Villa Rundle. With few trees in this close-quarters city, it’s hard to miss this oasis as you walk the main drag of Repubblika street.

(return to the Villa Rundle Park main page)

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