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City Spotlight: Dingli Is Malta’s Refuge From The Chaos Of City Life

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Sitting upon one of the highest points in Malta, Dingli offers a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea, beautiful sights of sunset and picturesque walks through the rugged beauty of Malta at any time of the year.

Boasting a population of around 4,000, Dingli is a town that is vastly isolated from others. The closest town is Rabat (and Mdina), which historically have played a vital role for the people of Dingli to be able to reach other parts of Malta.

It was only until post-independence that Dingli began having bus routes that reached the village itself. Before, residents would have to reach Rabat if they wanted to get somewhere.

Despite its isolated location, Dingli is still home to breathtaking views. Looking out to sea, one can see the islet of Filfa. Looking inland, you can see all the way to Buskett Gardens and Verdala Palace.

With the help of Ryde, Lovin Malta has presented an easy guide for the cliffside spot.

 

Humble origins

Like much of Malta’s settled areas, signs of habitation have been noted for hundreds of years. Rock-cut tombs dating back to the Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman periods in Malta have been found around the limits of Dingli.

Yet, Dingli as a village itself finds humble origins in the form of a small village known as Ħal Tartarni. It existed somewhere between Buskett and present-day Dingli and was one of Malta’s original 10 parishes by 1436 which was dedicated to St Domenica.

The population of Ħal Tartarni were employed by the noble family Inguanez who owned much of the land in the area. Yet, over time, people started moving closer and closer to where the fields were located and the village of Dingli slowly grew.

The parish of Dingli was established in 1678, with the site of Ħal Tartarni now being mostly open fields after it was abandoned. Its parish church is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady and is situated at the centre of the village.

In its position, it is able to overlook all the surrounding areas. The church that exists today was built in the form of a Latin cross and was constructed at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Under the rule of the Knights of Saint John, Dingli was considered one of the safer places to live in terms of corsair attacks. This is due to the fact that it was impossible for pirates to land near the village thanks to Dingli Cliffs.

Dingli would see far more development after the mid-20th century. Its population doubled while telephone and public transport services were introduced.

Dingli is also home to the famed Maltese author and playwright Francis Ebejer who called the village home for the early years of his life.

The festa of Dingli

Dingli’s patron saint is the Assumption of Our Lady, whose feast is celebrated on the first Sunday after 15th August.

The statue of Our Lady within the parish church is the fifth one on the island, made by Anton Busuttil in 1861.

Just as Dingli saw changes throughout the mid-20th century, the church was also heavily modified. The building saw a new façade and extensions to the width of its main aisle. The dome also saw development to its dome in the 60s and 70s.

A trove of trails

Dingli Cliffs with Filfa in the distance | Photo Credit: Jonathan Beacom

Dingli Cliffs with Filfa in the distance | Photo Credit: Jonathan Beacom

If you venture to Dingli, be prepared to walk. A lot.

No matter the time of year, you can walk across the scenic, picturesque vistas that make Dingli one of the most breathtaking places in all of the Maltese islands.

Whether you go there to clear your head in the tranquillity of nature after a long day, have a picnic with friends or simply like to walk – Dingli has to be on your list.

Across the cliffs, you can find numerous sites to see, including Dingli’s Radar Tower. Installed in 1939, it is characterised as one of Dingli Cliffs’ most recognisable landmarks.

There is also always the chance to walk through the village of Dingli, its centre especially capturing the feel and vibe of a traditional Maltese village.

Meals with scenic vistas

All of the walking is definitely going to work up an appetite for any sane person. Luckily, Dingli will not leave you hungry or wondering where to eat.

If you want to dine directly by the cliffs the aptly named The Cliffs should be your choice. The restaurant offers spectacular views, especially for a sunset drink and meal. It also doubles as a centre that highlights Dingli’s traditions.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deliciously creative dishes – head over to Barbajean.

Though it is a relatively new restaurant, Barbajean has both the stunning décor and the delicious food that any customer will adore. From Maltese versions of Scotch Eggs to delicious Braised Beef Short Rib, there is something for any flavour.

There is always the chance to enjoy Diar Il-Bniet, offering fresh produce and delicious cuisine that highlights traditional Maltese food. With a passion for food, they handpick each ingredient carefully to ensure that each bite you take offers the sensation of eating a homecooked meal.

What is your favourite thing to do in Dingli?

 

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