The 'Matteiano'Obelisk, which stands in Villa Celimontana, was first erected in Heliopolis by Ramesses II (r. 1279-1213 BCE). Centuries later, it was moved to Rome, where it was placed in the Iseum, the Temple of Isis, which used to stand on the site of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
At the beginning of the 14th century the obelisk was moved to the Capitoline hill. On September 11th, 1582, it was presented by the city fathers to Ciriaco Mattei, a nobleman and collector of antiquities. The obelisk was moved to the garden of Mattei’s villa, the Villa Celimontana.
Only the upper part of the obelisk, which bears the names of Ramesses II, is original.