The House of the Knights of Rhodes is the result of a stratification of several centuries.
In the 9th century, some monks began the construction of a church and a monastery dedicated to St. Basil on the area of the Forum of Augustus: part of the old wall structures were reused in this occasion, together with those of a Roman insula.
In about 1230, the entire building was then incorporated into a property of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as "of Rhodes" and "of Malta".
The renovations commissioned by Cardinal Marco Barbo, a Roman prior of the Order, dating back to 1466, contributed to give the building the appearance we still see today. In fact, the wonderful five-arched loggia frescoed inside and attributed to Giuliano da Maiano, from which the pope looked out for the blessing of the crowd, dates back to this period.
When in 1566 the Order of the Knights moved its headquarters to the Aventine, Pope Pius V entrusted the building to the Institute of the Dominican Sisters, whose purpose was to convert Jewish girls to Catholicism. The nuns carried out extended works on the structure, based on a project by Battista Arrigoni da Caravaggio, and renamed the church, dedicating it to the Annunziata, whose remains are still visible along Via di Tor de 'Conti.
The Sisters remained in this place until 1930, when the demolition of the convent was carried out for the opening of Via dell’Impero; after that, between 1940 and 1950, major restorations were started by the Municipality of Rome, which made it possible to recover the entire house, which was then granted back to the Sovereign Order of Malta since 1946.
Inside, you can now visit the Hall of Honor, the Byzantine Hall and the Sala della Loggetta, frescoed and equipped with wooden ceilings. In the underground level of the building, you can instead admire the Palatine Chapel, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron of the Order of the Knights.
Photo credits: Sovrintendenza Capitolina
Open to organized groups by reservation only on Tuesdays and Thursdays;
Closed in August.
Phone Booking required: tel. 0039 060608 (daily from 9.00 to 19.00)
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