Located on the heights of Monte Celio, the villa was commissioned by Duke Ciriaco Mattei, who, in the 16th century, transformed an ancient vineyard into a real park. The park was subsequently enriched and renewed until the 19th century when it became an English garden.
In the park, there were also three secret gardens with ancient sculptures, fountains, and bitter orange trees, as well as an Egyptian obelisk from the Ara Coeli area. It had been placed there in the15th century, and then donated to Ciriaco Mattei by the Capitoline magistrates in 1582, as recognition of its merits. In the area, there were also some archaeological remains and a neo-Gothic temple.
When Ciriaco Mattei died, the property passed to his son Gian Battista who transformed the building from the seat of the collection into a private residence and expanded the surface of the gardens with the purchase of neighboring land, inserting a sunburst of sixteen avenues and a hedges labyrinth. The villa's ancient collections of antiquities have gone lost or scattered.
The villa itself changed ownership several times until it was purchased by the state property in 1915 and sold in 1925 for perpetual use to the Municipality of Rome, which opened the park to the public.
Today, the main building is home to the Società Geografica Italiana.
The park, which you can access from via della Navicella, is the ideal place for outdoor breakfasts and walks, as well as a summer setting for concerts and shows.
Open from dawn to dusk