on July 17, 2012
The Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin is a small church in Rome, which has been made quite famous due to a certain scene from the film ‘Roman Holiday’. The church is quite easy to get to although I’m not sure if it is worth the trip or not. To get here, you need to get off at the Circo Massimo metro stop which is on the blue B line. From here, walk down the side of Circus Maximus (the side near the road) all the way to the bottom and then take a quick right. The church is just around that corner. The walk, although sounding quite short, will take about 20-30 minutes as the road is long and straight. The church was a lot smaller than I had been expecting it to be. It is clear to see because of the queues. Entrance to the church is fee, as it is for all churches in Rome. However, there really isn’t that much to see her. The inside of the church is pretty with its painted walls and numerous arch ways. Inside are a few rows of tattered chairs, not the traditional church seating and it looks quite run down. I had imagined the inside of this church to be much more impressive than it actually is and to be honest, the inside isn’t worth seeing. The main attraction of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin is the Mouth of Truth (or La Bocca della Verità as it is also known), which is from ‘Roman Holiday’. The Mouth of Truth dates back to the Middle Ages although it is thought to be a part of a 1st century Roman statue that had been moved at a later date. What makes this piece so interesting is that since the Middle Ages, it has been thought of as a lie detector. It is said that if you tell a lie while your hand is in the mouth then it will be bitten off. I really loved the idea of this as it is so crazy so this alone was the reason for my visit to the church. There was a long line but you are allowed to go up to the mouth, put your hand in and take photos. Luckily, my hand survived. While it was fun getting to see the Mouth of Truth, there really isn’t anything to do here. If you carry on walking down the same road as the church and then turn right, you will end up at the bottom end of the Roman Forum so at least location isn’t too far out of the way. The walk to the church is long though and not quite worth it for what there is to see. Also, just a quick reminder… you will not be allowed to enter the church with bare shoulder so ladies, remember to cover up before going here.
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