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Villa del Priorato di Malta

Villa of the Priory of Malta – The keyhole

The Villa of the Priory of Malta is a complex of buildings with a garden located in Rome, on the Aventine. The place, historical seat of the Grand Priory of Rome of the Knights of Malta, now the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, throughout the Middle Ages has been an important strategic point overlooking the Tiber emporium and already in the tenth century was occupied by a fortified Benedictine monastery. It then passed to the Templars and, after their suppression in 1312, to the Knights Hospitallers who established their priory.

The entrance to the priory was renovated in 1765 by the architect and engraver Giovanni Battista Piranesi. The result, the only architectural work of the author, was the extraordinary eighteenth-century square, an original example in Rome of Rococo urban setting, decorated with war trophies that allude to the exploits of the Knights of Malta and with the coats of arms of the Rezzonico, on which opens the entrance portal to the villa.

This square is known to the Romans, however, especially for the keyhole of the front door. In fact, if you approach the keyhole of the main door, you can see a wonderful shot of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. This is probably the most famous and suggestive Roman view of the building, framed by the hedges of the Priory gardens. A breathtaking view that leaves you stunned for its beauty.

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