f. The Aventine. ROME. IH- Southern Quarters. 327
who were succeeded by Benedictines, and after the recovery of the
relics of St. Alexius, who gradually superseded the originai patron-
saint, it was re-consecrated by Honorius III. in 1217. In the neigh-
bouring monastery a blind asylum (Istituto de' Ciechi) has been
established. We enter the court, and, if the church is closed, ring
at the door to the left (fee 25-30 e).
The Interior was modernized in 1750, and again recently. The N.
aisle contains a well and a wooden staircase belonging to the house of
the parents of the saint, which formerly stood on this site. In the choir
are a bishop's throne and two small columns adorned with mosaic, ac¬
cording to the inscription the remains of a work of 19 columns by Jacobus
Cosmas (p. lxiv).
The Via di Santa Sabina next reaches a small piazza embellished
with obelisks and trophies in stucco. The brown door No. 40, to
the right in this piazza, with the arms of the Knights of Malta
above it, is the entrance to the —
Villa of the Priorato di Malta (PI. Ili, 17; adm. on Wed.
and Sat., from 9 a.m. till dusk). Visitors ring, and while waiting
for the door to be opened may enjoy the celebrated *View of the
dome of St. Peter's at the end of the principal avenue of the garden,
to be obtained through the brass-bound aperture above the keyhole.
The garden contains one of the finest palm-trees in Rome, injured
by a cannon-ball during the siege of 1849. The second floor of the
Priory contains a large saloon with portraits of ali the grand-
masters (75) from Frater Gerhardus (1113) down to the present
Grand Master Count Galeazzo of Thun and Hohenstein. From the
garden we enter the church of —
Santa Maria Aventina (PI. Ili, 17), also called del Prio¬
rato. This church, founded perhaps as early as the 9th cent.,
belonged successively to the Benedictines and the Knights Templar,
and on the suppression of the latter order carne into the possession
of the Maltese Order. It was remodelled by the Grand Prior Card.
Giov. Batt. Rezzonico from plans by Piranesi in 1765.
To the right of the entrance is an ancient sarcophagus, on which the
deceased (head unfinished), surrounded by Minerva and the Muses, is
represented; the remains of a Bishop Spinelli were afterwards placed
in it. Also a statue of Piranesi (d. 1778), and the monuments of several
knights of Malta: Grand Master Rie. Caracciolo (d. 1395); Gio. Diedo,
Grand Prior of Venice and nephew of Pope Eugene III. ; the 'bailli'
Bart. Carafa (d. 1405), by the Magister Paulus (beside the aitar, to the
right), and Sergio Seripando (first recess to the left of the entrance), of
the 15th century. The third recess to the left contains a remarkable
marble réliquary of the 13th cent., roughly wrought after the pattern of
an antique funeral urn.
On the W. brow of the Aventine rises the huge international
Benedictine seminary with the handsome church of Sant' An¬
selmo (PI. Ili, 17), consecrated in 1900. The muddy Via del Prio¬
rato passing to the left of it descends in 10 min. to the Via della
Marmorata (p. 328).