Friday, December 1, 2017

Santa Maria del Priorato

Santa Maria del Priorato (also called Saint Mary on the Aventine) is the monastery church of the Priory of the Knights of Malta and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The original church was built in 939 CE, when Alberic II of Spoleto gave the original Roman palace to Odo of Cluny who converted into a Cluniac Benedictine monastery.

When the monastery was dissolved in the 14th-century, the Knights of Malta acquired it. They rebuilt the church in the 16th century and sought to improve the appearance in the 18th century, adding a piazza with obelisks and stelae with emblems and other references to the military and naval associations of the Knights of Malta and the Rezzonico family heraldry.