When Military Engineer Francesco Laparelli was sent by Pope Pius V to help Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Vallette by designing the plans for the building of the City of Valletta, just after the Great Seige of Malta in 1565, he was faced with the biggest problem of all…..space. Mount Xebb ir-Ras, a peninsula jutting out into the sea to form Marsamuscetto Harbour to the North-West and the Grand Harbour to the South-East was an un even piece of ground which had a total area of just 0.8 sq. km (0.3 sq miles). To utilise as much of the available ground as possibile, Laparelli designed the streets all parallel to and crossing each other in the form of a grid, thus making Valletta the first City in Europe to be built off a drawing board. All buildings were not allowed to jut out into the street and front Gardens and spaces between houses were forbidden. Most buildings were erected at least two storeys high with some as high as five storeys. This created a great problem for housewives (like the lady in the picture with clothes-pegs in her mouth) who wanted space to dry their washing . Many could not use the rooftops, so front balconies had to be used as an alternative place.