Last year I had the amazing opportunity to go on a Mediterranean cruise with my parents and friend. We traveled all over the Med from Barcelona à Nice à Florence and Tuscany à Rome à Naples and Capri à Venice à Croatia à Montenegro. Now I’ve previously been to Rome and Venice, but on this trip, I had the opportunity see many different things with exclusive Italian tour guides set up by my friend, Renee. I HIGHLY recommend Joe Bananas if you’re headed to Italy and would like to use private guides who know the language, the cities, history and the hidden gems at a VERY reasonable price.

Check them out here:

I’ve seen amazing things all over the world, the temples in Nikko, Japan, the White Cliffs of Dover, the Louvre, the Swiss Alps – but this, is a must see in Rome! Our tour guide, Gianni, asked us if we wanted to see something cool.  Well who doesn’t want to see something cool? . So, he drove our minivan through the winding roads of what looked like a regular Roman neighborhood of villas. We just kept going up..up…up the hill. When we got to the top it was basically a large circle with a walled building type enclosure with some big blue double doors. Now there weren’t a lot of people up there, just a few people on Segway’s, but it didn’t seem like anything special. At the top, he told us to get out of the car and go over to the doors and look through the keyhole

Of course, we looked at him like he was a bit crazy, but a couple other people had just done it and well, as they say…….

When in Rome

Perfectly lined up with the keyhole….waaaaaaaaaaay off in the distance is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It was totally amazing, and a little mind blowing.  This architectural marvel is a MUST SEE for your trip to Rome!

I found some information about it here (Excerpt below):

A peek-a-boo view of St. Peter’s dome through the keyhole on the gate to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta on Rome’s Aventine Hill

View of St. Peter’s through the Cavalieri di Malta Keyhole. (Photo by Gary Arndt)

Peek through this keyhole on a piazza designed by Piranesi in 1765, and you will see a garden path that ends with bushes perfectly framing the dome of St. Peter’s in the distance.

What you are peering through are the gardens of the Villa del Priorato di Malta, one of the Rome properties of the famous Knights of Malta (I Cavalieri di Malta)—who are technically and more correctly called the Knights of St. John Hospitaler.

The knights left their late medieval home on the island of Malta long ago, and their headquarters are now here in Rome (if you’re curious, it is at Via Condotti 68, at the corner of Via Bocca di Leone near the Spanish Steps.) This Aventine villa is home to the Order’s ambassadors to Italy and the Holy See.

*Photos not attributed courtesy of Google Images, search Knights of Malta Keyhole