A walk filled with surprises in Gozo
As you approach Ta'Pinu Basilica, 700m from the village of Gharb on #Gozo, you really will be mesmerised as it's truly a sight to behold.
Therefore you'd be totally forgiven if you failed to notice the steep hill opposite.
But this is no ordinary hill. This is Ta’ Għammar hill.
The views all the way to the top are amazing! But this hill is also jam packed with surprises!
From the road, with your back to Ta'Pinu, if you look very closely over to the hill, you will spot a marble statue.
This is just one of 14 spectacular marble statues which present the scenes from the stations of the cross, beginning with the Last Supper and ending with the resurrection.
The Stations of the Cross are a 14-stage series (hence the 14 statues) of devotions which commemorate moments during the day on which Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion 2,000 years ago.
Placed in situ back in the 1980’s these majestic statues are monumental in size and are made of the finest Carrara marble produced in Pietra Santa in Italy. Pietra Santa is the world’s capital of marble working, only 16 square miles in size but houses a staggering 55 marble workshops. I’m blessed to have visited and the marble produced and sculpted in this region is just stunning.
Historically, locals and church devotees made their pilgrimages up the steep hilltop as an act of repentance. The path has now been officially established as a Via Crucis which is another term for "the way of the cross".
It also translates as "a lengthy and distressing or painful procedure." which I can totally relate to as I walked this in the height of the summer heat haha.
The first statue, that being the Last Supper can be found not on the hill but on the basilica's Parvis. The first statue you find on the hill is therefore number 2. The hills statues follow the biblical account of the Passion of Christ rather than the traditional Via Crucis. The very last statue is the resurrection of Christ.
But the surprises don't stop here.
This statue is just steps away from the entrance to a staggering amphitheatre, which you really have no idea exists until you get to the top.
There is also a beautiful, petite shrine/chapel on the walk to the last statue. It's hidden in the wall, so easy to miss.
This hill, along with its history and its treasures is very rarely mentioned in any Gozo travel guide.
There are some awesome photo opportunities and the amphitheatre is almost ethereal in its setting. You must linger here for a while, be still, take a breath, and breathe in your surroundings. It's the perfect spot for meditating or to do some yoga. It's magical!
1. This walk is not for everyone. This is a VERY steep hill. You do need to be pretty fit and able.
2. Ditch the flip-flops this is a job for good walking shoes as the path is rough, twisting and uneven and strewn with small rocks and stones.
3. Take water, you will need it!
4. There are some awesome places to stop for a picnic with breathtakingly panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, villages, Ta' Gordan Lighthouse and the sea.
5. This is a walk best enjoyed in the off season. I walked this in the summer, and it was tough work! So tough I was the only living thing up there aside from the snails and lizards!
6. Don't forget your camera!
7. You don't need to be religious or even into art to appreciate the beauty of this walk.
It's such an unusual path that you can't help but be spellbound, there is just so much to see!
I encourage you to add this walk to your list of must do's for your holidays in Malta and Gozo. You really won't regret it.
Until next time my lovelies, take care and stay safe