Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome

4 out of 5 stars 15 Reviews

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  • The Nave (Apr 2009)
    The Nave (Apr 2009)
    by MM212
  • candles in Santa Maria In Cosmedin
    candles in Santa Maria In Cosmedin
    by mindcrime
  • inside Santa Maria In Cosmedin
    inside Santa Maria In Cosmedin
    by mindcrime
  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Bocca della Verita

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jul 1, 2012

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    Bocca della Verita
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    When a boy I loved well-known film "Roman Holiday". The film uses the Mouth of Truth as a storytelling device since both Hepburn's and Peck's characters are not initially truthful with each other. Could I think that I would see the Mouth of Truth with my own eyes…
    La Bocca della Verita ("the Mouth of Truth") is an image, carved from Pavonazzetto marble, of a man-like face, located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The sculpture is thought to be part of a 1st century ancient Roman fountain, or perhaps a manhole cover, portraying one of several possible pagan gods, probably Oceanus. Most Romans believe that the 'Bocca' represents the ancient god of the river Tiber.
    The most famous characteristic of the Mouth, however, is its role as a lie detector. Starting from the Middle Ages, it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. The piece was placed in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 17th century. This church is also home to the supposed relics of Saint Valentine.

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 26, 2011

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin was built in the 8th century during the Byzantine Papacy over the remains of the "Templum Herculis Pompeiani" in the Forum Boarium, which used to be one of the food distrubution centres of Ancient Rome. The church alo used to be called "de Scuola Graeca". Because of its exceptional beauty the church recieved the adjective cosmedin ornate.
    The church has been reconstructed several times and its present look is from 1899. The church has nave, two aisles and portico. Its bell tower is the tallest medieval belfry in Rome.
    Santa Maria in Cosmedin is home to "La Bocca della Verita", located in the portico. The Mouth of Truth is an image of a man-like face, carved from Pavonazetto marble. The sculpture is thought to be one of several possible pagan gods, probably Oceanus. Most Romans, however, believe that the Bocca represents the ancient god of the River Tiber. Mouth is most famous as a lie detector. Starting from the Middle Ages it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture it would be bitten off.

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    La Bocca Della Verita

    by mindcrime Updated Mar 21, 2011

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    La Bocca della Verita(mouth of truth) is a man-like face carved on marble probably part of ancient fountain showing god Oceanus. So, why all these tourists wait in a long line outside the church to get close to it?! Because it is a lie detector and if one tells a like with one’s hand in the mouth of the sculpture it would be bitten off!! So, ask your husband/wife if he/she still loves you and check it out like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck did on the movie “Roman Holiday”(1953).

    The funny thing was that 90% of the people can wait in line for an hour but none of them entered the church to see inside!! (the mouth of truth lies in front of the church).

    We did go inside, the roman catholic church Santa Maria In Cosmedin has a medieval façade, a tall tower (the tallest medieval belfry in Rome) and a simple but nice interior. It’s a minor basilica that was built in the 6th century over an ancient temple that was part of the Forum Boarium. We really enjoyed the interior because as I said most of the visitors come here just for the mouth of truth! The church was decorated by greek monks that escaped iconoclastic persecutions at the end of 8th century but later a lot of additions (even a baroque façade) were made. You can see paintings from 8 to 12th century.

    It’s open daily 9.00-20.00 (off season until 17.00) There’s no entrance fee

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    by MM212 Updated Apr 18, 2010

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Jan 08)
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    A church since the 6th century, Santa Maria in Cosmedin serves the Greek Catholic (Melkite) community in Rome, many of whom originate in Syria. Much of the standing structure, though, dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. This Romanesque-style church is most famous for "la Bocca della Verità", which gave the outside piazza its name and translates to "mouth of truth". It is an old cistern cover carved with a face and an open mouth which, according to legend, closes on the hands of liars. Unfortunately, the image of this beautiful church is cheapened, in my opinion, by la Bocca della Verità, which seems to be an obsession of tourists who queue up just to have their picture taken with a hand in the mouth. Fortunately, one could ignore these tourists and enter the church peacefully without a queue to admire the mesmerising and more important interior with its recycled Roman columns and other ancient materials.

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  • monica71's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church

    by monica71 Written Jan 29, 2009

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    I really enjoyed visiting this tiny church, with very few and simple decorations. The altar is very simply decorated.

    The church was built in the 6th century, but it was damaged in 1084 and most of the original decorations are gone now. It was rebuilt years later, when a bell tower was added.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    A Roman Church with Greek Foundations, Part II

    by von.otter Updated Dec 8, 2008

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    Skull of St. Valentine, S. Maria in Cosmedin, Roma
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    Although the ancient circular marble sculpture, Bocca della Verità commands such attention at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, take time to step inside this sweet little basilica.

    You will find a well-preserved early medieval choir enclosure and the excellent Cosmatesque pavement. The interior space is divided into a central nave and two aisles by four pilasters and eighteen ancient columns, whose capitals are original.

    The main relic enshrined by the church today is the skull and bones of St. Valentine (see photo #1), which are usually on display in a glass reliquary and brought out for his feast day on February 14. The sacristy houses an eighth-century mosaic fragment brought here from the Constantine’s Basilica of St. Peter. A gorgeous Gothic baldaquino (see photo #4) over the main altar is signed by Deodato di Cosma, the Younger.

    Opening hours are Monday through Sunday the church opens at 09:00 and closes at 19:00. It closes at 13:00 and re-opens at 14:30.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    A Roman Church with Greek Foundations, Part I

    by von.otter Written Dec 3, 2008

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Roma, May 2007
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    Here is how the basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin got its name.

    The pope gave this church to Greek refugees who had fled the iconoclastic persecutions in the Eastern Roman Empire. First the church was called the aecclesia Grecorum, “of the Greek church,” or schola Graeca, “the Greek community.” Because of the church’s rich decoration, by the early nineth century, the Greek congregation was calling it Mariae in Cosmedi, Maria in Cosmedin. Cosmedin, the Latin version of the Greek word kosmidion, meaning beautiful, was attached to it. A Greek community had been present in the Forum Boarium for many years, explaining the presence of the Temple to Hercules. This Greek connection continues; the church is maintained by a Greek order of clerics today.

    Built upon the foundations of the Temple of Hercules Invictus in the Forum Boarium, the cattle market of Ancient Rome, originally Santa Maria in Cosmedin was a deaconry engaged in charity distribution to the poor. Two popes were elected here, Gelasius II (who had been Cardinal Deacon of Titulus S. Mariae in Cosmedin) and Celestine III. An antipope, Benedict XIII, was elected here too.

    At the left end of the church’s portico stands, what for many visitors is the main draw at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, the Bocca della Verità. This ancient circular marble sculpture, in the form of a human face, is thought to have been a drain covering at the Temple of Hercules. Another explanation of its origins is that it was part of a wall fountain at a villa on the near-by Aventine Hill.

    The facade of the church has a severe Mediaeval appearance. When the Normans sacked Rome in 1084, the church was damaged; it was rebuilt and the marvelous slender bell tower was added, the tallest Romanesque-style belfry in the Eternal City.

    Opening hours are Monday through Sunday the church opens at 09:00 and closes at 19:00. It closes at 13:00 and re-opens at 14:30.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria

    by keeweechic Updated Aug 13, 2006

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    This fairly unadorned looking church was built on the site of a food market during the 6th century. A Romanesque bell tower and portico were added to the church in the 12th century. In the 19th century a Baroque facade was removed in order to restore the church to its original form. The church features are the mosaic pavement and a canopy over the main altar as well as the raised choir and bishop's throne.

    Set into the wall is the famed Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth). This was in the movie, 'Roman Holiday'. This is thought to have been a drain cover dating before the 4th century B.C. Medieval tradition had it that the formidable jaws of the mouth would snap shut over the hands of those who told lies - which proved to be useful for testing the faithfulness of spouses.

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  • chiara76's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria in Cosmedin.

    by chiara76 Written Nov 8, 2004

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    The inside of the church Santa M.in Cosmedi

    One of the most beautiful churches in Rome , in my opinion of course.
    There is the medieval church with beautiful mosaics inside.
    In the portico there is the relief called "Bocca della Verita" in my free translation the Mouth of the truth. The legend says if the liar put his hand inside of the opened mouth they will close on his hand:) To be honest all people around put their hands inside the mouth. Are there no liars on the world? :)

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  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    by martin_nl Updated Jun 2, 2003

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    This church was built by pope Hadrian I in the 8th century.The distinctive seven storey bell tower and portico were added in the 12th century. Cosmati inlaid marble decorates the floor, high altar and choir.

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  • Packerman's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    by Packerman Written Dec 31, 2002

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    The belltower of this church was built in the early 12C. In the 6C the district between he Aventine and the Tiber was inhabited by Greeks. In the porch is the Bocca della Verita (mouth of truth) and according to popular legend the mouth would snap shut on the hand of anyone with a guilty conscience. Wouldn't that be just about anyone?

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  • svenko's Profile Photo

    SANTA MARIA IN COSMEDIN - just...

    by svenko Written Aug 26, 2002

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    SANTA MARIA IN COSMEDIN - just a nice church from 6th century (belltower was added in 12th century) famous with tourist because of Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth). This may have been a drain cover dating back to before the 4th century BC. Medieval tradition had it that the formidable jaws would snap shut over the hand of those who told lies.

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin

    by Redang Written Feb 18, 2007

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    Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church (Rome, Italy)
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    Beautiful church. If you want to know what is outside the church, visit my things to do tip on Bocca de la Verità.

    Piazza Bocca della Verità.

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    My Favorite Piazza and Church in Rome

    by BarryAir Written Aug 8, 2005

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    Holy Spirit

    You will love this place. The fountain and Church are wonderful. Place your hand in the mouth of Truth and test your luck. Also note the two Temples.

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  • janchan's Profile Photo

    S.ta Maria in Cosmedin

    by janchan Updated Jul 31, 2003

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    details of the interior

    Not only the church with the famous Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) under the front porch. The interior is very interesting and there is also a precious mosaic from the VIII century !

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