Villa Celimontana: A Little Slice of Heaven Hidden in Plain Sight
Perhaps it is because of its location, surrounded by some of Rome’s top attractions (the Colosseum, the Forum, Circus Maximus), but the area around the Celio Park is a frequently overlooked part of Rome. Located in centre of Rome on the Caelian Hill, the area is made up of sites and attractions that include the beautiful Celio Park, the ancient Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo dating from 398 (underneath of which are the ruins of several richly decorated Roman houses, a highly worthwhile site to visit), and the picture-perfect 16th-century Villa Celimontana, along with several other treasures, including a nearby view over the Colosseum.
The traditional rumour is that the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, met his nymph counselor and consort Egeria on the site of the present Villa Celimontana, a story that is especially easy to imagine given the beauty of the area. Today the region is the site of several music festivals and the villa is the home of the Italian Geographic Society. The Celio Park area offers both impressive history and a cool shaded respite from Rome’s crowds, but the most simple reason to visit is to enjoy a stroll and picnic in the gardens in the glorious springtime weather.
Piazza della Navicella
Bus 714 from Termini Station
Open from sunrise to sunset