Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin), Rome

Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin), Rome

Built in the 6th century, this charming and unadorned church occupies the site where the ancient city's food market once stood. Over the centuries, it has undergone architectural additions and restorations that have shaped its current form. During the 12th century, an elegant Romanesque bell tower and portico were incorporated into the structure. However, in the 19th century, the Baroque façade was removed, allowing the church to be restored to its original simplicity. Within its walls, visitors can admire the exquisite craftsmanship of the Cosmati work, prominently displayed in the mosaic pavement, raised choir, bishop's throne, and the canopy adorning the main altar.

One notable feature can be found set into the wall of the portico—the Bocca della Verità, or the "Mouth of Truth". Its origins can be traced back to ancient times, possibly as a drain cover predating the 4th century BC. According to medieval tradition, the fearsome jaws of the Mouth of Truth would close upon the hand of anyone who told a lie, making it a peculiar yet intriguing tool for testing the faithfulness of spouses.

***Movie "ROMAN HOLIDAY"***
The Mouth of Truth ("Bocca della Verità"), considered the funniest scene in the movie 'Roman Holiday', is where Joe Bradley puts his hand into the sculpture's mouth. In the film, Audrey Hepburn's reaction to the nipped Gregory Peck's hand was not an act, as he decided to pull a gag without telling her beforehand.

Why You Should Visit:
Most people come here to see the "Mouth of Truth" (for a fee), but do take some time to visit the interior as well – you'll be amazed by the skill and beauty of the mosaic of tiles under your feet. On the other hand, the exterior has a rather unique look, with its porches and slender bell tower.

Tip:
Across from the church you'll find more ancient architecture in a grassy park with a fine fountain.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rome. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin) on Map

Sight Name: Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin)
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Rome Shopping Streets Walking Tour

Rome Shopping Streets Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Heading down from the Vatican along the River Tiber, one is bound to find yet another city hidden within the city – Trastevere. This name translates literally to "across the Tiber". Indeed, crossing the picturesque Ponte Sisto (Sisto Bridge) to the west bank, you will find yourself in a charming neighborhood with a distinct character that sets it apart from any other part of Rome.

...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Food Tasting Walking Tour

Food Tasting Walking Tour

Whether it’s a long lunch or a stop-off for an ice cream on an evening stroll, eating in Rome is a very social activity. Culinary traditions run deep here, and it may well be one of Italy’s most pleasurable cities in which to eat. Deli shops, prosciutterias, pizzerias, fornos (bakeries) and caffès are also very popular and offer a great alternative to a restaurant meal.

On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

A movie beloved by generations of people, "Roman Holiday" (1953) was filmed entirely in Rome and starred two of Hollywood's greatest icons: Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The romantic comedy would go on to earn three Oscars, including the best actress trophy for Hepburn, who is entirely sympathetic in a role that could have been off-putting. The main storyline centers on a day of...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 Km or 5.6 Miles
Hidden Art Treasures in Rome

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Rome is one of the world's top living museums, replete with some of the most iconic pieces of art on the face of the planet. Famous artists, such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini, to mention but a few, had lived and worked here and left indelible marks in the city.

Needless to say that the abundance of masterpieces makes Rome crowded with tourists anxious to see them, causing...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles

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