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


Villa Celimontana

San Giovanni & Testaccio

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Giovanni & Testaccio attractions

1. Chiesa di Santo Stefano Rotondo

0.05 MILES

Set in its own secluded grounds, this haunting church boasts a porticoed facade and a round, columned interior. But what really gets the heart racing is…

3. Case Romane

0.29 MILES

According to tradition, two Roman soldiers, John and Paul (not to be confused with the Apostles), lived in these houses before they were beheaded by the…

4. Chiesa di San Gregorio al Celio

0.31 MILES

Ring for admission to this landmark church standing on the spot where Pope Gregory the Great supposedly dispatched St Augustine to convert the British…

5. Basilica dei SS Quattro Coronati

0.31 MILES

This brooding fortified church harbours some lovely 13th-century frescoes and a delightful hidden cloister, accessible from the left-hand aisle. The…

6. Terme di Caracalla

0.36 MILES

The remains of the emperor Caracalla’s vast baths complex are among Rome’s most awe-inspiring ruins. Inaugurated in AD 212, the original 10-hectare site,…

7. Basilica di San Clemente

0.36 MILES

Nowhere better illustrates the various stages of Rome's turbulent past than this fascinating multilayered church. The ground-level 12th-century basilica…

8. Palatino Entrance

0.37 MILES

About 250m down from the Colosseum, this is the main entrance/exit for the Palatino (Palatine Hill).