One of the hallmarks of the Longworth McGuire death march of fun that we subject anyone that comes to visit us here in Rome is a trip the Aventine hill to peek trough the keyhole at the door of the Villa del Priorato di Malta. The Piaranese designed view of Saint Peter’s basilica perfectly framed by a long row of cypress trees is always a thrill. Did you know that a fews day a year you can go behind that green door?
Last spring we got to spend a few hours ruining peoples's pictures exploring the manicured gardens and the order's church, Santa Maria del Priorato and learning a little bit about this sovereign entity and it's history.
The order has been in the news recently for butting heads with the Pope, but Sovereign Military Order of Malta has been around since 1099. Made up of Catholic members of Europe's noble families the order operates hospitals and charity works around the world. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) is a (quasi) soverign state. It has it's own post office, currency, stamps and passports.
This year you can visit this extraordinary place too. There are guided visits on three Fridays this spring. March 17, April 7 and May 12. Visit the website Romeguide.it to book your visit. The cost is 25.00 euro.