The Vatican Keyhole: the secret view in the Villa of the Sovereing Order of Malta

Rome is a city offering unlimited possibilities to its tourists. Monumental works of art, historical buildings and tourist attractions of any kind decorate the Italian capital.

St Peter’s Basilica
Certainly, during a visit to Rome, you can't miss the Vatican City, to admire the majestic St. Peter's Basilica. This colossal building overlooking St. Peter's square with its immense dome, leaves tourists speechless. The massive facade is made of columns of giant order, and it hosts the lodge of Blessings, where the election of a new Pope is usually announced.
The basilica has five entrances, covered by a portico along the whole facade; as soon as you get in the hall, you immediately take advantage of two works of art: two equestrian statues representing Constantine and Charlemagne. Also the five doors to access the basilica can be considered works of art themselves, each one by the great hands different artists.
The boundless space inside is divided in three giant naves, separated by round arches on strong pillars. Also the marble floor is an unmissable wonder. There are also some elements of the previous basilica, as the famous Egyptian red disc, where Charlemagne knelt when he became king. Every corner of this nave is wonderfully decorated, making a mosaic of works of art by several artists. The right nave hosts several chapels. In the first one, there is the famous "Pietà" by Michelangelo Buonarroti, who realised the dome, too. The sculpture is obviously protected by a crystal box, but you can anyway admire its magnificence. Along the nave, there are several monuments, such as the one dedicated to Pope Innocenzo XII, until the chapel, where you can see the famous Blessed Sacrament tabernacle. Also the left nave is full of sculptures and works of art, but one of the most interesting attractions surely is the internal view of the dome.
The magnificence of this "detail" isn't just this: you can go upstairs to discover it till the top. It is not exactly an easy climb, as there are 300 steps in a very narrow space, but you completely forget it as you reach the top and discover the breathtaking view of the city. Don't forget to visit the four organs in the basilica, still played by three musicians nowadays. The main organ is made of two parts, and it is not only a musical instrument, but a work of art able to touch the souls, because of its beauty and its music.
The dome of the building is supported by the square plant, offering a wonderful landscape and beautiful corners to be discovered.

The lock of the Villa of the Sovereign Order of Malta
Taking advantage of a so wonderful view really is a great experience, but you don't have to forget there are several hidden treasures you can discover. There are wonders in every corner of the city, not only in the most famous places.
A very one-of-a-kind example of this is the famous lock of the Villa of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Also called Villa Magistrale, the building is situated on the Aventino hill, and it is far from the chaotic places of the city, but not less beautiful than them.
The greatest attraction of this place actually is one of the most peculiar but simple treasures. If you look inside the keyhole of the door, you will discover the most touching view of St. Peter's dome you have ever seen, surrounded by the Giardino degli Aranci. This secret view makes you breathless, and you can take advantage of it by day and by night, but if you can see it at sunset, you will get astonished. As it is not well-known, you will never find long queues, so this experience will remain in your mind as one of your best memories of your Roman trip.
But the keyhole is not the only attraction of the Villa! The building itself actually hosts the Italian embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta. The square inside of it is a delicious Roman Rococò style example, and it hosts several war trophies from Malta's Knights. You can also visit Santa Maria del Priorato church, inside the garden, decorated by extremely elegant stuccoes. A wonderful work with a Roman architecture appearance, and a Baroque style interior.

The Giardino degli Aranci
Once there, it would be a pity if you missed the visit of the Giardino degli Aranci, in Parco Savello. The garden is called in this way because of the several bitter oranges trees. An historical place situated where the ancient Savelli's family built the fort. There is a very suggestive fountain in the garden, made of a Roman thermal tub, and a marble mask dating back to the end of the sixteenth century. A place where you can quietly walk a few steps from the busy city.

Circo Massimo
Near the Aventino hill, there are several hotels because it is an area visited by many tourists. Between the Aventino and the Palatino hill there actually is the ancient hippodrome, the Circo Massimo. A legendary place, where the rape of the Sabine women took place and where many special events such as exhibitions and concerts take place nowadays.

Do you want to stay in Rome?


For this location we recommend Hotel Ariston, the ideal starting point to discover Rome!

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