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Villa Celimontana Is A Tranquil Park With Views Of Rome

Villa Celimontana is a true hidden gem of Rome that offers tired visitors a chance to relax and take in the great views of the historical center of the city.

villa celimontana - Geographical Society

Geographic Society of Italy

The Villa Celimontana History

The current Villa Celimontana is all that remains of the original garden, which was built at the end of the 16th century and has been subjected to multiple transformations that have completely changed its appearance.

The architect, Ciriaco Mattei, transformed the vineyard into a garden full of statues and fountains by bringing in architects, artists and workers. The Villa remained the property of the Mattei family until the death of the last male of the family at the beginning of the 19th century. After several changes of ownership, the Mattei building was handed over to the Royal Italian Geographical Society in 1926 and became a public greenery open to the public in 1928. In fact, after World War I, the Villa was actually confiscated by the Italian State which confiscated it as an enemy property, being that the owners, the Hoffmann family, were of German nationality.

What Is In Villa Celimontana?

The grounds of the villa are a popular spot for dog walking, jogging and during the summer you can enjoy evenings of Jazz, and of course food. There are fountains scattered around the park, benches for resting and a WC if you feel the need.

Villa Celimontana - Park Entrance

Park Entrance

The Obelisk Of Villa Celimontana

The Obelisco di Villa Celimontana, also known as the Obelisco Matteiano, is yet another authentic obelisk, discovered in the 16th century, and can be seen in the park known as The Gardens of Villa Celimontana, near the Colosseum. The original part of the obelisk is 5 feet high, but with the plinth and globe, it reaches more than 40 feet. It is decorated with hieroglyphs relating to the pharaoh Ramses II and it comes from Heliopolis and in Roman times it was located near Iseo in Campo Marzio.

Play Area For Children

In one corner of the park there is a kids play area that is fantastic for families. During one of my visits to the park, I was surprised to see a huge birthday party taking place on the tables that surround the play area.

What Rome Attractions Surround Villa Celimontana?

The Church of Santa Maria in Dominica

When you are walking up to the entrance to Villa Celimontana, to the right is the beautiful church of Santa Maria in Dominica (a.k.a. Santa Maria in Navicella), which is a Roman Basilica established in 678 by Pope Agatone. The church has gone through a number of rebuilds, but the first version was recorded in the year 499 A.D., and rebuilt in the 9th century with restorations done in the 16th and 19th centuries.

If you are in the area, stop in the church and check out this beautiful Basilica, but make sure you first notice the Fountain alla Navicella just out front. 

The Basilica of Saints John And Paul

The Basilica of Saints John and Paul (San Giovanni e Paolo) is a beautiful church that highlights St John and St Paul, who lived and were martyred on this site. The church also promotes itself as a great place for weddings, which people reviewed as:

“This beautiful church stands on the suggestive Celio hill near the Celimontana villa. The oldest structure, recognizable from the outside thanks to the portico and the bell tower, actually occupies an area very rich in pre-existing Roman buildings. Inside, however, Baroque additions are predominant. The basilica, known above all for the crystal chandeliers placed in the central nave and for this reason called: the church of the chandeliers, is a coveted location for weddings.”


“One of the most beautiful basilicas in Rome, a true architectural jewel not to be missed. The chandeliers add just a little. of elegance to unabashed beauty. If you happen to attend a wedding”


“The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Rome contains within it the tombs of Saints John and Paul. Couples can choose this Church for the spectacular light effects, chandeliers and spotlights that enhance the coffered ceiling of the Basilica. These and other features make the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo one of the most suitable locations to celebrate a wedding in Rome.”

villa celimontana - Basilica of Saints John and Paul

Basilica of Saints John and Paul

The Monastery of San Gregorio In Celio

Gregory, of the noble Petroni Anici family, after having reached the highest civil office in Rome of Praefectus Urbis, left his office and became a monk. He then began the transformation of his father’s house into this beautiful monastery located close to Circus Maximus.

The monastery for the Camaldolese monks offers a few unusual things that you might be interested in checking out. For example:

  • They have a guesthouse where monastic hospitality is embodied and guests are welcomed as a brother and sister according to the Rule of San Benedetto. All guests have the opportunity to share prayer, silence and/or the search for God with the monks. Peace, fraternity and listening are gifts that the community offers to those who ask for hospitality.

  • At the entrance of the monastery, you can find an exhibition of natural products from the Ancient Pharmacy Of Camaldoli.

Villa Celimontana - Monastery

A Monastery

The Roman Houses Of Celio

The Roman houses of the Celio (Case Romane del Celio) represent a fascinating place in underground Rome due to the presence of original decorations in an extraordinary state of conservation. The frescoed rooms of a very high artistic value and religious interest make the Roman houses of the Celio a fundamental stage in the knowledge of ancient Rome.

Unfortunately, they don’t allow pictures.

Other Rome Sites Near Villa Celimontana

Villa Celimontana is centrally located, which means that you are a short walk to a number of other amazing sites. Once you are finished with the park, be sure to check out:

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