The Keyhole View of Rome [Il Buco di Roma]

by Luke Archer

When I was thinking about the things I meant to do in my first trip to Rome, and did not have time for, I recalled this little tourist gem.

Nestled at the top of Aventine Hill is the Piazza of the Knights of Malta, an area that houses a lesser-known third sovereign state of Rome (the second being the Vatican). The Knights of Malta are a celibate, powder-blue-uniform-wearing order; one of the last remaining groups of knights left from before the crusades.

Adding to the curious nature of this setting is one of Rome’s real (free) treasures: if you look through the keyhole of the gates of the Knights of Malta HQ, the view lines up perfectly with a garden path that points directly to the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican city. My hosts assured me that the view was most beautiful at night, which I reckon it is, but it prevented me taking a good photo. Here is a view in the daytime, that I’ve robbed of this site.

Il Buco di Roma


A warning: this is a bit of a walk, and even though I went to the site at midnight there was still a bit of a queue (in February). Not an attraction for the non-leisurely tourist.