Opposite the famous Trastevere quarter, on the other bank of the River Tiber, is one of the seven hills upon which Rome was founded: Mount Aventine.
There’s a track leading to the peak and Roman couples wander up there on warm summer nights, just as the sun starts to set. First they stop to take in the citrus and pine-scented panorama from Giardino degli Aranci (The Orange Garden), one of the best, most intimate viewing points in the city.
A few minutes later, the path brings them to the quiet Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta (The Knights of Malta Square) and, at number three, the Villa del Priorato, the palace which serves as the Order of Malta’s embassy. Since the 11th Century, the Knights have been considered the custodians of the Catholic faith and nowadays the Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law.
Although they’re not able to go inside the villa, many people queue up at the entrance. The reason is a small keyhole through which it is possible to see the stunning dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, framed by the cypress trees of the palace garden. The Order of Malta, Vatican City and Italy all in a glance through Il Buco della Serratura.