Traditionally, tourists start discovering Valletta landmarks from the famous Triton fountain, which is a true symbol of the sea, closely associated with ancient Greek traditions. Located right in the center of a large square near the City Gate, the impressive fountain catches the eye with its spectacular scale, pronounced dynamics, expressive and sophisticated composition. The water element is harmoniously combined with a green area of a boulevard called Maglio Gardens adjoining the square with the fountain. It promises both pleasant rest in the coolness of its clear water jets and a nice photo shoot as a memento of Valletta.
The Triton fountain was constructed in 1959, designed by Vincent Apap, a distinguished Maltese sculptor, who won the national competition for designing a fountain to decorate the main city bus station. He was inspired by famous fountains located in Rome. Travertine slabs were used for the fountain base, while the figures of tritons were casted in bronze in an Italian foundry. The construction took more than 4 years and cost about £70-100,000.
Initially, the fountain composition included only three tritons and a plate they hold without any central pillar, and the water passed through the tritons. Unfortunately, the fountain was used as a stage for various performances and in the late 70s its plate and two of three tritons were damaged. In the late 80s the fountain was repaired by installing a stylized bronze pillar on the plate center. It was designed by the same sculptor and was decorated by sea gulls in the same marine style. The pillar serves as a support to the plate and also hides a new water supply system, due to which the original fountain design was somewhat changed.
In 2011, the fountain nearly changed its location, since it was planned to move it within a large-scale project of reconstruction of the City Gate and the surrounding area. After combative debate between the government of Malta and the concerned community, it was decided to leave the fountain on its traditional place. In 2015, the government announced the decision to spend €500,000 for the fountain restoration, but by the middle of 2016 the work has not yet begun. In the meantime, the Triton fountain continues to delight the eye of both locals and tourists with its beauty, which is especially striking in the light of the evening illumination.