Functional in design but lavishly decorated, the Order of St. John's own church (1578) is Malta's most important treasure. The Knights' colored-marble tombstones on the floor are gorgeous. Each of the side chapels was decorated by a national hostel of the Knights. Many of the paintings and the decoration scheme are by the island's beloved 17th-century painter Mattia Preti (b. 1613). In the Oratory, Caravaggio's only signed work, the dramatic Beheading of John the Baptist
(1607), is the collection's masterpiece. The cathedral museum has illuminated manuscripts and a rich collection of Flemish tapestries. The entrance fee includes an audio guide. Public access (main ticket office) is on Republic St. Narrow heeled shoes such as stilettos are not allowed, but slippers can be purchased at reception.
Pjazza San Gwann, St. John St., Valletta, VLT 1156, Malta