The Mouth of Truth in Rome: Exploring the Legends and Marvels of Saint Mary in Cosmedin Tours

find your tour

mouth of truth rome

Located in the heart of the Eternal City of Rome, apart from beautiful ancient historical buildings and monuments, you will also be able to find the very suggestive Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin, known in Italian as Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This small church is located in the Ripa rione and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Let’s find out something more about the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin and why you should take the time to visit it!

Saint Mary in Cosmedin: a Glimpse into Byzantine Heritage in Rome

The Church of Saint Mary in Cosmedin was first created in the VI century during the Byzantine Empire and it was made in honor of the Virgin Mary. The actual creation of the Church dates back to the VIII century though, when it was edified on the ruins of the Templum Herculis Pompeiani.

santa maria in cosmedin rome

The Fascinating Tale Behind the Name

One of the most interesting aspects about this Church has to be its name. The word “Cosmedin” comes from the Greek word “kismidion” which means ornamented. This word was attributed to the Church because it was very beautifully decorated with ornaments. Unfortunately today, that’s no longer the case. The Church only retains a couple of ornaments, such as its mosaics on the floor, the baldachin, the enclosure where the choir would be and a few more.

An interesting fact about this Church is that for a long time, there was a problem behind the choosing of this name because there were two Churches in Italy with the same name, one in Naples and one in Ravenna.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Mouth of Truth

The most important aspect about the Church of Saint Mary in Cosmedin that lures tourists in has to be the Mouth of Truth, known in Italy as la Bocca della Verità. The Mouth of Truth can be found near the Medieval façade of the Church, where people queue to see it. It is believed that if you put your hand into the mouth of the statue and you lie, the statue will eat your hand!

The Mouth of Truth was used in the Middle Ages as a way to make adulterous wives confess by their jealous husbands.

Plan Your Visit: Experiencing the Charms of Saint Mary in Cosmedin

Visiting the Church of Saint Mary in Cosmedin today is a great way to get to know more about the Christian Rome that surround the city of Rome. If you want to get to know more about the Eternal City and Italy in general, make sure you check out our other blogs and book a private tour with us for the best experience!