Cittadella’s bastioned enceinte was built from around
1600 to 1622, replacing the southern and most vulnerable section of an earlier
medieval perimeter. The new ramparts were designed by the Italian military
engineer Giovanni Rinaldini and consisted of a central bastion linked by
curtains two demi-bastions and stiffened by two small cavaliers. Externally,
the enceinte was enveloped by a low ditch, a covertway and a very steep glacis.
With the exception of the glacis, all the original elements have survived
largely intact, making the Cittadella one of the most complete and authentic
early-seventeenth century bastioned fortification systems to be seen in the
Maltese islands. Built largely of hardstone, the masonry fabric was nonetheless
consumed through erosion and other pathological factors and required restoration,
while the ditch was engulfed in rampant vegetation and the covertway and
counterscarp badly damaged and consumed.