Villa Celimontana

Villa Celimontana In Rome (History Facts & Things to Do)

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The gorgeous Roma Villa Celimontana is the perfect place for an afternoon or early morning escape.

These carefully restored grounds offer moments of peace and tranquility amongst a hectic tourist itinerary in Rome.

Read on to learn more about its stunning beauty.

The History of Villa Celimontana

Villa Celimontana garden

Villa Celimontana Rome was created from a former vineyard, purchased in the mid 16th century by the Mattei family.

A striking villa – parts of which are still visible – and splendid gardens were constructed at the family's behest.

The family maintained the land and villa until the 19th century, and it eventually ended up in the hands of the Italian government in WWII.

Is Villa Celimontana Roma Worth Visiting?

The Parco Villa Celimontana is oddly often overlooked in favor of more famous gardens such as the Villa Borghese.

However, we definitely recommend popping in if you are visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on a hot day. There is a cool obelisk, fountains and even the ruins of an old basilica.

Things to See at Villa Celimontana

best things to do in Villa Celimontana

Thinking about a quick visit to the Villa Celimontana in between attractions?

Then check out this list of things to see and do in the park during your trip to Rome.

1. The Egyptian Obelisk

Villa Celimontana Egyptian Obelisk

Believed to have been constructed in 1250 BC the obelisks journey from Heliopolis in Egypt to Rome is not well documented.

However, we do know that this Ramesses II era obelisk did at one point stand on the Capitoline Hill – and was rumored at one point to even contain the ashes of Augustus atop of its height.

It wasn't until the later decades of the 16th century that the obelisk made its way to its current location.

However, it was also moved around a bit even within the Villa Celimontana – and during repositioning it actually amputated the arm of a worker!

2. Basilica Hilariana

In the late 19th century – as often happens in Rome – archaeologists found ruins.

They turned out to be the ruins of the Basilica Hilariana, a temple thought to have been linked to the goddess Cybele.

Original mosaics have been uncovered here, as well as evidence to suggest the usage of the temple later centered on the worship also of Attis who was the son of Cybele.

Legend has it that Attis – the god of vegetation – bled to death after castrating himself.

3. Fontana Del Fiume

Fontana del Fiume sculpture

One of the remaining fountains from the time of the Mattei family dynasty is the Fontana Del Fiume.

Known as the River Fountain, it is the backdrop or wall behind the fountain itself that sparks most interest. It holds a marble statue of a man in the reclining position, holding a wineskin.

Weirdly, the head of the statue was stolen in 2005! And even more bizarrely, it was found and put back to its rightful place a couple of years later.

4. Little Playpark and Pony Rides

Along with the pleasant trees and flowers along pathways, there is also a small playpark available for kids which is open to the public.

On top of that, on pleasant days in the high season there are also horse and trap rides on offer for the kids for a small fee!

It's a great way to break up a long day of sightseeing if you are traveling with kids in Rome.

And since the park is not that big and relatively uncrowded, it's a safe place to let them run free.

Events at Villa Celimontana

If you take a look at any review of the Villa Celimontana you will find that the jazz in the park is constantly mentioned.

Usually running from June through to September, the Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival consists of up to 100 events which are open and free to the public.

Bring along your own little picnic, sit back and relax. The Villa Celimontana festival also features swing concerts too if that is more your thing.

 Tip – The festival gets rave reviews not just for the music but also the laid-back and local atmosphere that will allow you to witness Roman life. Food stalls and refreshments are typically available too.

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider A Visit to Villa Celimontana

Reasons to visit Villa Celimontana

Check out our three main reasons you should visit the Villa Celimontana in Rome!

1. It Breaks Up a Long Day of Sightseeing

Anyone who has visited Rome will agree that it's often stressful, sometimes hot, and the queues are long.

Stopping off at the Villa Celimontana gives you a quick 30 minutes in between sights to clear your head and process what you have seen so far.

2. It Is Completely Free

Another bug bear of many visitors to Rome is that the expenses quickly add up.

The Villa Celimontana is one of Rome’s free attractions that can help you ease the expenses on your wallet without feeling like you aren’t experiencing Rome.

3. You Can Experience a Slice of Local Rome

An unknown attraction for many, this quiet little park allows you a sneak peek into Roman life.

Local families walk their dogs here and watch their kids run free away from Rome’s infamous traffic. Join along and if you fancy it, bring your own picnic.

3 Places to Eat Nearby

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Fancy a bite to eat instead of making your own picnic and eating in the park?

Then check out these three great local restaurants:

  1. Il Bocconcino – Rustic and traditional Roman atmosphere, great pasta and meat.
  2. Romolo e Remo – Dine with locals in this traditional trattoria that serves pizzas and pasta.
  3. Ristorante Leon – One for the meat lovers! Steaks, burgers and great wine on offer here.

3 Hotels In the Area You Can Book Today

Hotel Romano in Rome

Rest your weary head after a long day sightseeing at these three Villa Celimontana hotels:

  1. Via Del Corso Home Roma – Great breakfasts and gorgeous parquet floors can be found at this centrally located hotel, situated right off the Piazza Venezia. Rooms from €300 per night.
  1. Hotel Romano – Rooms starting from just €250 here are comfortable and dressed in traditional Italian style. You will have a leisurely 1km walk to the Villa Celimontana the next day.
  1. Il Monastero Collection – Treat yourself to this hotel that gets fabulous reviews. Located just 1km from the Villa Celimontana, Il Monastero is stunningly renovated and features a charming courtyard.

Do You Need a Ticket?

Visit Villa Celimontana in Rome

No ticket necessary to visit the Villa Celimontana!

To be honest that's a good thing, because we wouldn’t say that this attraction would be worth paying for. It is however a pleasant place at which to spend a little down time during the day.

Villa Celimontana Hours

The gardens are usually open from dawn until dusk, or from 7 am to dusk in the summer months.

That means you can pop in whenever you fancy!

Tip – Of course, it is best to visit the Villa Celimontana between June and September when the jazz festival is on!

Villa Celimontana Map & How to Get There

How is this place just an 8 minute walk from the Colosseum yet barely discovered?

Take a look at our map so you can plan a visit to the Villa Celimontana in between the big attractions!

We recommend stopping in between the Roman Forum and the Colosseum for a bit of down time.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions faq visit colosseum rome

Here are some of the questions readers have been asking about the Villa Celimontana in Rome.

What are the nearest famous Roman attractions to Villa Celimontana?

You are literally a stone’s throw away from some of Rome’s biggest attractions, including the Roman Forum as well as the Colosseum and the Baths of Caracalla.

Who is responsible for maintaining the Villa Celimontana garden?

The Villa Celimontana is cared for by the city of Rome, as the gardens have been property of the Italian state since it was taken over during the time of Mussolini.

How old is the Villa Celimontana and who built it?

The gardens date back to the mid 16th century and were constructed by the Mattei family. Prior to that, the land on which the Villa and Gardens stand was a vineyard.

What is Villa Celimontana famous for?

The Villa Celimontana is home to the geographical society, but the park and gardens are most famous as being a tranquil place to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Rome.


Don't get overwhelmed by the noises, mopeds and crowds in Rome – seek a few quiet moments shelter in the Villa Celimontana before you go on your way.

And remember, you don't need tickets to enter this peaceful oasis – just step in and enjoy the calm before continuing your journey through the Eternal City.

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