The Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, which was designed by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78), is a rather curious affair. Situated outside the Magistral Villa, which belongs to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, its walls are decorated with a bizarre series of reliefs.
The piazza attracts numerous visitors; however, most come not to admire Piranesi’s work, but to enjoy the famous ‘keyhole’ view of St Peter’s Basilica! If you look through the keyhole of the door to the garden of the Magistral Villa, you will see in the distance, perfectly framed by a row of hedges, Michelangelo's dome.
In addition to the piazza, Piranesi also designed the church of Santa Maria del Priorato, which stands in the grounds of the villa. The church turned out to be Piranesi's final resting-place.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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