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About Fontana

 

Fontana, a suburb of the city of Rabat, which is itself a suburb of the Citadel, has developed into a village in its own right. It lies on the Rabat--Xlendi road strained between the historic capital of the island and the spectacular bay of ix-Xlendi. People began inhabiting the place attracted by the several fresh water springs in the area.

Fontana, simply known to the people of Gozo as It-Triq tal-Għajn, the way to the spring, took its name from a bountiful spring at the bottom of the main road of the village known as Il-Għajn il-Kbira, the principal spring. The spring flows close to the spot where three valleys, Wied il-Lunzjata, Wied Siekel, and Wied tas-Saqwi, converge into Wied ix-Xlendi. Wied is Maltese for valley. The village is thus very aptly called the village of valleys and springs. The name Fontana is Italian for spring.

 

 

 

 

The Fontana Parish Church was built in 1892 and was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1905. It became the parish church 6 years later in 1911.

The first houses of Fontana were built on and around the 16th Century il-Għajn il-Kbira, the principal spring. This early settlement is now known as ta' Wied Siekel on one side, and as ta' Għajn Tuta. Wied Siekel is very probably derived from that of the town of Scicli in Sicily. A family from Scicli, possibly Gozitan emigrants who returned home, took residence near the fountain; the family became known as "ta' Scicli" and the valley where they lived as Wied Siekel. Għajn Tuta literally means the mulberry spring and the name is derived from a spring with mulberry trees in the vicinity.

The village did not develop further until the middle of the twentieth century when a triq il-Ġdida was opened to join it-triq tal-Għajn with triq Santa Dminka. In the 1950s this became Triq il-Kappillan Ġużepp Hili, the first parish priest. In the 1960s, triq Santa Dminka, was eventually also built up and included within the confines of the village. Santa Dminka was the dedication of a chapel referred to further on. In the 1970s, another development from it-triq tal-Għajn, now known as triq il-Qalb ta' Ġesu', joined the principal street of the village to an area adjacent Fuq it-Tomba known as ta' Wara Santu Wistin. Its name is after the dedication of the parish church. In the 1980s, a large area off triq Santa Dminka was built up and four new streets were joined to the village: triq San Martin, after the dedication of a chapel also referred to further on, triq il-Kardinal Alessandro Franchi, triq il-Gvernatur Sir Gaspard Le Marchant, and triq l-Isqof Mikiel Franġisk Buttigieg. These three gentlemen played an important role in the establishment of the diocese of Gozo. Two new streets were opened in the same decade: the first, between triq l-Isptar San Ġiljan and it-triq tal-Għajn and aptly named triq is-Sajjieda, after the fishermen of Fontana; and the second, triq ta' Mulejja, in the area of the same name.