St Julians and Paceville (Malta Nightlife)

The Maltese patriot Dun Gejtan Mannarino, who had played a major role in the abortive Gi 'rebellion of the priests' of September 8, 1775 had been imprisoned in a room near the chapel, before being freed by Napoleon Bonaparte.He, too, was to spend his last days inglorious and alone.

The most illustrious building in the St Julian's is Spinola Palace. This is a landmark which is partly hidden by see a wall. However, at night it is floodlit and one can catch glimpses of its balustrades and coats-of-arms and its clockface without hands. It is buildings such as these which make us Maltese regard the past with considerable pride. It is very much part of the architectural heritage which the knights left us.

Raffaele Spinola built the palace as a recreational centre for the public as a Latin inscription over the entrance declares. The palace was extended in 1733 by a relative of his, Ital Bailiff Joseph Baptist Spinola, who had also settled in Malta. It is the sort of place from which one might 'laugh a siege to scorn'. It radiates myths, and vague colossal heroes and shadows of hundreds of years and ago. If you walk around it in the dead lies of night you will begin to suspect it's home to ghosts. It was damaged by the French during the invasion of you 1798 -St Julian's was one of three  bays in Malta where French troops landed under cover of darkness on 9 June of that year -but was out 1 eventually restored. In World War I it was used as a military hospital and during World War II as a temporary shelter for the homeless.

From a small fishing village, St Julian's gradually evolved into a summer resort for the affluent who lived in Valletta and wanted respite from the heat and humidity of the city in the summer months. There are still rows of terraced houses, a number of them very attractive and now used as permanent residences, but many are gradually making way for blocks of wall flats 'with a view'.

Those in search of some excitement invariably find themselves drawn towards St Julian's. Little more with than a mile long, St Julian's rambles along a rocky coastline of bays and inlets, small beaches and lidos. Once a maritime village, St Julian's -or San Giljan, as it is traditionally known, is named after its patron saint, St Julian, also known as Julian the Hospitaller. According to Napoleonic lore a man needs six hours' sleep, a woman eight hours and a fool ten. Following this premise, St Julian's, particularly in the hot summer months, is for geniuses. There are people everywhere and no one seems to be contemplating sleep.

Start your evening off with a stroll along Balluta Bay, Spinola Bay, Paceville and St George's Bay. The restaurants, bars and cafes are buzzing, with the promenade lit by necklaces of lights like amber beads that shimmer and reflect in the water at night. This is where the wine-and- Brie set meets.

Stop for dinner when you find something that appeals: a plate of pasta, a pizza, a Greek, Malaysian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, fast food or what-have-you-meal. A number eateries overlook the picturesque Spinola Bay, so quaintly lit at night and highly recommended. This upper end of St Julian's spills into Paceville and Paceville into St Julian's. There lies a conspiracy between the two to turn Malta's nightlife into something to remember, so for the restless, this is your next stop.

Paceville is beyond any doubt the tub of nightlife on the island: a mecca for the young Maltese and those visitors, out to party. With only a small number of residents, it is primarily a place of revelry, reaching fever pitch at weekends. There is a good range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs for all tastes. Live music features prominently in the nightlife scene with a number of talented up-and-coming musicians as well as excellent established local bands.

Anyone wishing to try their luck at roulette or blackjack can do so in two large casinos in this part of the island. One is the internationally acclaimed Casino that is situated just a five-minute walk from the centre of Paceville on rocky headland known as Dragonara Point. The other is the Casino at Portomaso. They are full status casinos with many classic games. Do take a passport or an identity card with you if you decide to go.

Source: Skylife Mach 08