Respecting the Masters in Valletta, Malta
Commissioned in 1572 as the church for the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John, St. John's Co-Cathedral (as it is now known) was completed in 1577. The cathedral was a celebration of the defense of Catholicism against the Ottoman Turks on the small island of Malta in 1565. Reminiscent of the spirit of the age, the exterior appears as a fortress protecting the many historic and religious treasures inside. The interior, designed by Mattia Preti, is a rich collection of Baroque ornamentation, much of it depicting the life of St. John the Baptist. The floor of the nave is entirely comprised of inlaid marble tombstones meticulously selected and hand-carved to lend dimension to each individual stone. Works by Caravaggio and tapestries designed by Rubens adorn the halls and abbeys of this glorious cathedral. A word to visitors: women should have covered shoulders; no shorts, please, and photos are allowed. Prepare to be awed.