During the Middle Ages, politically Malta forms part of the administration in Sicily, with the effective capital of Malta being Palermo. Rebel communities of Italians are exiled to Malta, whilst rebel residents of Malta are exiled to Italy. With the arrival of the Knights of St. John and the adoption of the Tuscan variant of Italian as the language of the administration, the contacts with mainland Italy increase: in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries we not only have the Maltese intelligentsia producing literary compositions in Italian but we also find an influx of Italian artists and architects flocking to Malta and influencing the tastes and the training of the Maltese. In the eighteenth century we encounter the first grammars and dictionaries of the Maltese language. The nineteenth century witnesses the presence in Malta of the Italian Risorgimento exiles who spread the ideals of nationalism and romanticism amongst Maltese writers, politicians and intellectuals. However, the ascent of fascism in Italy in 1922 leads to the elimination of Italian as an official language of Malta in 1936, whilst Italy’s declaration of war on Malta in 1940 puts a definitive seal on Italo-Maltese cultural relations, at least for the time being.
Keywords : Malta, Italy, Culture, Literature, Language