Through the Keyhole: A Glance Inside the Order of Malta

Students in Order of Malta Gardens

On Friday, November 15, 2019, Temple Rome was granted the opportunity to a private, English guided visit in the Order of Malta. Traditionally, the Order of Malta is an 11th century Catholic lay religious order, containing military, chivalric, and noble nature. Frequently referred to as a sovereign nation, it holds no official recognition despite issuing passports and currency as well as maintaining diplomatic relations. It is also popular as a result of the Aventine Keyhole, an intersection of two nation states and one country, which offers a perfect view of the Vatican from a distance.

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Historically, the Order of Malta has experienced a tumultuous past, from expulsion during French occupation to the subject of international law. Today, the Order of Malta in Rome prioritizes an emphasis on humanitarian and charitable activities. TUR student Tara Kleponis saw the visit to the Order of Malta as “a unique experience…to be able to stand in a sovereign state between Italy and the Vatican.”. Akin to the Vatican, another prominent humanitarian figure, the Order of Malta aligned their mission with that of the Pope for World Day of the Poor. In Rome, over 4,000 meals were distributed between Termini and Tiburtina metro stations.

In addition to its popularity as a religious order, the beauty of its Aventine Hill location has been a sight to behold. Preetpal Kaur, a Temple Rome 2019 Fall Student saw “the trip as interesting to learn about the history while seeing the beautiful gardens, architecture, and art of Piranesi.”