Castle of the Knights of Malta, Magione

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, owner of the Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione, was founded about nine centuries ago in Jerusalem with the aim of protecting the Holy Land. Originally called the “Order of St. John of Jerusalem”, it is one of the most ancient institutions of western and Christian civilisation. The castle dates back to 1150-1170 and was meant as a shelter for pilgrims going to Rome or to Jerusalem, also being conveniently located close to the Via Francigena which was used for travelling to Santiago de Compostela. The present structure is the result of several changes during the centuries. The courtyard where the concerts are held dates from 1471. In the oldest part of the castle, there is a Romanesque-styled church with a rounded vault honouring St. John the Baptist. Inside are two precious frescoes of the school of Pinturicchio, dating from the early sixteenth century. In 1502, the castle was the seat of a conspiracy organized by some Italian noblemen against Cesare Borgia, known as the “dieta alla Magione nel Perugino” and which Machiavelli refers to in The Prince. Today, with its headquarters in Rome, the Order carries out its activities in 110 countries and succeeds in engaging volunteers all over the world for humanitarian assistance and social activities. The Order has diplomatic relations with 92 countries as well as with European organisations and a seat at the United Nations. It is neutral, impartial and non-political, which is why it can successfully act as a mediator. The farm of the Castle of the Knights of Malta produces 100,000 bottles of wine each year, with production rising steadily. It also produces extra virgin olive oil. Placed in the restored ancient rooms of the castle, the cellar is a beautiful example of tradition and innovation.