Qormi Città Pinto is a city in Malta with a population of 16,576 (as of November 2005), which makes it the third largest locality in Malta. The town is located southwest of Valletta, in the centre of Malta.
The bordering towns of Qormi are Marsa, Luqa, Zebbug, Siggiewi, Hamrun, Birkirkara, Attard, Santa Venera and Balzan.
Qormi has two parishes, one dedicated to Saint George and one to Saint Sebastian. There are also two valleys in Qormi, Wied il-Kbir and Wied is-Sewda.
Elder inhabitants of Qormi speak a thick Qormi Dialect, yet this is now in decline.
Qormi is a place with a great history and possesses a rich heritage which we still enjoy today. This is a village situated adjacent to one of Malta’s largest valleys. It is situated rather low and hence its motto “Rising from the low”.
The villagers of Qormi used to earn their living from agriculture, grape pressing to produce wine, bread baking and also from slaughtering and selling of animals.
This village has a lot of bakeries and in the past this fact earned it the title of Hal-Fornaro (the village of bakeries) since Qormi was mostly famous for the best bread, yeast ring-cakes and rusks. The villagers of Qormi became the experts in Maltese bread, which is enjoyed by many foreigners for its good taste.
The greatest honour ever bestowed on this village was when Grandmaster Fra Emanuel Pinto de Fonseca allowed Qormi to be called Città Pinto (a city bearing the grandmaster’s surname), by a decree dated 25th May 1743. It was Parish Priest Fr. Joseph Vella who made a formal request to the Grandmaster so that Qormi would be given the title of City.
In the notorious “Rollo” of Bishop Senatore de Mello, written in 1436, one finds that the church of St .George the Martyr was a Parish and had various incomes from which the parish priest and the priests in the parish used to earn their living. At first there was a small chapel which used to serve as the parish, but in 1456, Parish Priest Fr. Julius Lombardi built a sizeable church as one can see on the old memorial stone with gothic inscription which is still found near the baptistery of the present parish church. In 1584, work started on the building of the new temple which was completed in 1610. Now, the temple dedicated to St. George was rather big but the dome had not been built yet. During the tenure of Parish Priest Fr. John Muscat, between 1680 and 1695, the well-known architect Lorenzo Gafa’ was commissioned to design and coordinate the construction of the new dome.
When the Maltese islands used to face the scourge of infectious diseases such as the plague and cholera, our fathers always turned their prayers towards St. Sebastian and St. Roque as the patron saints of deadly diseases. As proof of this, one finds various statues, niches, altars and chapels dedicated to these saints around the Maltese islands. During the plague of 1813, Qormi suffered a lot of deaths and it was scary to see the Qormi villagers dying one by one.
When this scourge was over, the villagers of Qormi erected a stone statue of St. Sebastian at the far end of their village. Along the years, the area surrounding this statue grew and along developed a sizeable community. This community continued to grow until Bishop Mauro Caruana declared that the Chapel dedicated to St. Sebastian, which faced the saint’s statue, should be elevated to vice-parish and later, on 25th October 1936 it was separated from the parish of St. George which was the matrix parish. The first parish priest was Fr. Alwig Psaila. In 1946, Bishop Michael Gonzi laid the first foundation stone of the new temple to be dedicated to St. Sebastian. The plan of the Church was designed by Arthur Zammit. On 29th May 1982, Archbishop Joseph Mercieca blessed this Church which was subsequently consacrated on 20th January 1986.
The longest reign in the history of the Order of the Knights of St. John in Malta was that of the Portuguese Emanuel Pinto de Fonseca, who reigned for 32 years. During his tenure, Qormi was elevated to a city in 1743 and bears the title Città Pinto. In his 31-year reign, a lodge or arch was built in 1772, and this is found in Narbona Square. It is not known exactly why this lodge was built, but historians argue that from this lodge the Grandmaster used to view the horse races. Some argue that from this lodge, the farmers’ taxes used to be collected. The final hypothesis is that from this lodge, Grandmaster Pinto used to shelter from the sun to admire the fields full of wheat and barley which used to exist in the rural parts of the area.
The coat of arms of this city reflects that of Grandmaster Pinto, with a shield with a silver background with 5 red crescents facing upwards and placed in the position 2, 1 and 2. Above this shield there is a mural crown in gold with a sally port and four turrets representing the fortifications of Malta and denoting a City.