Bishop Pietro Dusina, who visited Malta in 1575 mentions in his report having visited a church in Wied Qirda dedicated to the Visitation of Our Lady.
In 1675 Fr Bartolomeo Magro rebuilt the church and this date is carved on the façade of the church. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was a place of pilgrimage. Pastoral visits confirm that the church was regarded as a sanctuary and place of pilgrimage. Under the church aisle floor there is the tomb of Fr Bartolomeo Magro who was murdered during a robbery in 1722 as the inscription states.
The Church Today
The façade of the chapel has Doric pillars and a cross at the top. The door is rectangular, in the same frame, topped with an elaborate pediment. The door frame is decorated with a sculpted ribbon with, “Magnificat anima mea Dominum” (from the Magnificat, the praise of Mary upon meeting her cousin Elisabeth).
The façade also has a number of ex-voto graffiti of vessels mainly from the 17th and 18th century. Some are very clear in the detail of oars, stern, bow, masts and cabins. In one case there is also the hoisted flag of the Order of St. John and a lantern on a decorated cabin.
The interior of the church is rectangular and the altar has two Corinthian columns. There are doors to the sacristy on both sides of the altar.
The original titular painting is in the parish church of Żebbuġ. The church in Wied Qirda holds a copy, painted by Sr Maria de Dominicis (a student of Mattia Preti).
Other paintings in the church are of St. Bartholomew, St. John of the Cross, St. Paul, St. Anna, Our Lady of Graces and The Crucifixion.
The church also contains a statue of St. Anthony. The church was sometimes called “the church of St. Anthony” by residents because of the great devotion that people from Żebbuġ had for St. Anthony. Newborns were often blessed in front of the statue of St. Anthony.
From the church of the Visitation we retrace our steps beneath the Mikiel Azzporadi thoroughfare to Wied Baqqiegħa and Wied Hesri to continue our walk towards the parish church of St. Nicholas of Bari. Where Wied Hesri intersects with Triq l-Mdina, in the valley itself, there is a bridge onto Triq l-Mdina. We take this, starting a short ascent, immediately turning right into a path between fields towards the Siġġiewi Basketball and Football courts. From Triq N. Vassallo we turn left into Triq il-Mitħna, walking through Triq il-Paroċċa in the direction of the Siġġiewi parish church of St. Nicholas of Bari.