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Report 2012: Five Days in Malta

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 7 of 24: Valletta Churches - St Catherine of Italy

photo by MAW

Painted dome above the chancel

The small Church of St Catherine of Italy is near the Tourist Office in the Auberge d’Italie. It is ignored by the guide books and apart from a few photographs, there is little about it on the web. This is a pity as it really is a hidden gem. It has only recently reopened after 10 years restoration. It serves the Italian community and has a mass on Sunday.

Steps lead up to a porch on the front of the classical facade, which has a small bell tower in the centre and dome behind.

Inside it is a stylish octagonal building with wall pillars with arches above. The walls are painted in panels of grey and white. There are two side altars with silver candlesticks, in slight recesses with fluted pillars with gilt decoration and decorative gold border outside.

There is a painted Crucifixion scene on the left. To the right is Mary with two children. Above the door is a painted balcony with paintings of two cherubs on the underside. The dome has a small cupola and a series of grey grisaille paintings round it separated by decorative grey ribs with gold shells underneath.

The marble high altar opposite the door has huge silver candlesticks with smaller silver models of saints between them. To the left is a small statue of the Virgin Mary with red curtains on either side. There is a smaller dome above the chancel which has a painted ceiling. On the back wall is a large painting of the martyrdom of St Catherine in an elaborate gilded frame. In front is a small mass altar.

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