Hidden treasures

The ancient headquarters of the Knights of Malta in Venice

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The ancient headquarters of the Knights of Malta in Venice

Venice was always home to orders of knights, in many cases related to the Crusades. Templar, Teutonic and Malta Knights were therefore a fundamental part of the social fabric.

Today almost nothing remains of this ancient medieval world, but there are still the Knights of Malta. This order was founded with the name of the Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in the first half of the 11th century. With the fall of Jerusalem they fled to Rhodes and then in Malta at the beginning of '500, and were expelled from here by Napoleon in 1798.

The Knights of the Order of St. John have been recorded since 1263 in Venice, a city where this community later received by the Venice Republic the ownership  of some buildings and land that had been owned by the Templars, recently suppressed. Their headquarters consisted of a convent, a church dedicated for years  to St. John the Baptist and a hospital and a barracks (they were a military order).

After the fall of the Republic, in 1806, the palace and the church were confiscated by the State; in 1841 the Austrian Emperor returned to the Order the Church and the Convent and today the Knights of Malta still carry out here activities of assistance and philanthropy.

In the old hospital dedicated to St. Catherine, fourteenth century frescoes with stories of the Saint were found and the church was refurbished with altars from the demolished church of St Geminiano; the main altar houses a canvas from the Bellini School depicting the Baptism of Christ.

Do you want to discover other unknown places in Venice or listen to stories and legends in the places in which they took place? Thanks to our tour Your Own in Venice, you can agree with Francesca, our brilliant tour guide who writes a column entitled 'Anecdotes and curiosities', a private tour, in line with your interests!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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