Bernardo di Puo'

Bernardo di Puo was a knight stationed at the Citadel in Gozo.. In 1551 when an attack on Malta failed the Turks turned their sights on Gozo. They were resolved to make the Gozo garrison pay for the loss of face that they suffered in Malta. They attacked with teeth bared and with full force while the small number of defenders in Gozo anxiously awaited reinforcement from the main island. Unfortunately this help was not forthcoming however and the soldiers in the Citadel though heavily outnumbered had to defend themselves to the best of their ability and courage.

The defenders were aware of the outcome of the fierce battle, they knew that they were all going to die fighting. The brave Bernardo di Puo was not anxious about his own safety because he was ready to sacrifice himself for his country, but he was foreseeing and was tormented by the horrible fate that was to befall his wife and his two daughters. They would either be raped and mercilessly butchered or worse still they would be sold as slaves.

He was decided. Mortified at what he had to do and out of his mind with sorrow, he hugged his wife and his daughters for the last time and as he kissed them dearly he drove his sword in their hearts. Better that than slavery for the rest of their lives.

In the midst of the battle he barricaded an alley as best he could in such a way that the enemy soldiers could only fight him one at a time. He fought bravely with the savage intention of making the enemy pay dearly for the blood of his martyred family. In the end however dead tired and wounded he was overpowered and slain. Bernardo di Puo’ died heroically for his beloved family and country.

At the citadel in Victoria there is today a street named after Bernardo di Puo’, this renownd hero of the Siege of Gozo of 1551.

Knight of Malta in chain armour with helmet, shield and sword ready for battle. Bernardo di Puo' must have been similarly armed at the time of his last encounter with the Turks.

Today pageants are held quite frequently in almost every town and village of Malta and Gozo. Young men wearing knights' uniforms take part in parades and even mock battles against the turks for the benefit of the tourists.

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