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Having eventually prevailed against the Ottomans in the Great Siege, Jean de Valette appealed to Rome for help rebuilding. Pope Pius V sent his military architect, Francesco Laparelli, to design the new city. He gave it a true Italian feel, with piazzas and grand buildings all laid out along a grid axis. These piazzas are still great spots for people-watching and checking out the most important buildings of the Knights Hospitallers. In the background, you can see the Library for the Order of St. John and a statue erected in 1877 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 50th birthday. By the way, the knights are still in existence and have an office in Malta but are headquartered in Rome nowadays.

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