Villa Celimontana

San Giovanni & Testaccio

Statue in garden of Villa Celimontana (previously known as Villa Mattei) on the Caelian Hill in Rome, best known for its gardens.


With its grassy banks and colourful flower beds, this leafy park is a wonderful place to escape the crowds and enjoy a summer picnic. At its centre is a 16th-century villa housing the Italian Geographical Society, while to the south stands a 12m-plus Egyptian obelisk.

Legend surrounds this ancient monument with one story holding that the globe on the top contains the ashes of the emperor Augustus. Another tells how a workman lost his arm whilst erecting the obelisk and that the severed limb is buried beneath its base.