A keyhole on Rome's Aventine hill contains a glorious surprise.
On the summit of Rome's Aventine hill, near the Giardino degli Aranci or Orange Garden, lies the Church of S. Maria del Priorato.
The church is owned by the Knights of Malta, an ancient religious military order, whose property enjoys extraterritorial status.
Peering through the peephole of the unassuming church door provides a magical view of the dome of St Peter's, framed by trees, allowing the viewer to see across three countries: the sovereign territory owned by the knights, then Italy, and in the distance the Vatican.The church door can be visited at any time of day or night but expect a large queue during day-light hours, particularly in the summer.
One of the most magical times to peep through the keyhole is just after sunrise.
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Unexpected Rome: view through Aventine keyhole
Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, 00153 Roma RM, Italia