This view of Valletta, Malta, by urbanist Dhiru Thadani, drawn from a peninsula that extends out to in the harbor, doesn’t seem to have changed much in centuries. A photo of the same view, easy to find on the Internet, reveals a few telecommunications towers, some motor vehicles, and splashes of modern color not visible in the drawing. Otherwise, the city could pass as a premodern port.
Valletta is the capital of the archipelago nation, located 50 miles south of Sicily in the Mediterranean. In case you have a hard time picturing that location, Thadani also drew a helpful map.
I love a skyline where churches are the tallest buildings. That signals a city with a long history and deep cultural roots, where living is truly on the human scale. Also, the city itself is an art form—accessible, because it is built by common people; sustainable, because it has lasted for centuries.
Thadani was on vacation there in November, celebrating a wedding anniversary. What a magnificent place to explore, and if you have the talent, draw.