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Chiesa dei Santi Cosma e Damiano, Rome

4.6
#75 of 249 in Historic Sites in Rome
Religious Site Church
The basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is a church in the Roman Forum, parts of which incorporate original Roman buildings. The circular building at the entrance onto the Forum (not used today) was built in the early 4th century as a Roman temple, thought to have been dedicated to Valerius Romulus, deified son of the emperor Maxentius. The main building was perhaps the library of an imperial forum.It became a church in 527 and contains important but much restored Early Christian art, especially in its mosaics.Today it is one of the ancient churches called tituli, of which cardinals are patrons as cardinal-deacons: the current Cardinal Deacon of the Titulus Ss. Cosmae et Damiani is Beniamino Stella, created Cardinal on 22 February 2014. The basilica, devoted to the two Greek brothers, doctors, martyrs and saints Cosmas and Damian, is located in the Forum of Vespasian, also known as the Forum of Peace.HistoryThe Temple is traditionally held to have been dedicated by Emperor Maxentius to his son and co-consul Valerius Romulus, who died in 309 and was given divine honours. The temple building was probably part of a rebuilding program of "incredible intensity" undertaken by Maxentius in the area, following a disastrous fire in 306; the project was only part-complete at his death. The temple's identification with Valerius Romulus is tentative, based on the spot-find of a coin dated to 307 AD showing the distinctive shape of the building, and a nearby dedication to Valerius Romulus as a a divinised mortal. The temple has also been speculated as a rebuilding of the original temple of "Jupiter Stator", or one dedicated to Penates, restored by Maxentius.
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Where to stay in Rome

For easy foot access to most of the city's main historical sites, consider staying in Rome's old town center. The area is conveniently placed for public transport, only a walk away from the city's main railway station. Accommodations here span all hotels sectors, from cheap hostels to luxury brand names. To avoid the steep prices and overcrowding of the town center, explore the hotels in the inner suburbs of Rome. They offer comfortable rooms and excellent food at a fraction of the price charged by the centrally located hotel chains. Another affordable option is the area around Vatican, which boasts a good selection of family-owned B&Bs.
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4.6
  • We loved this interesting church right up the main road from the Colosseum. It has a 1700 built nativity set which is enormous and accessed opposite door to the church entrance. The church has a glass...  more »
  • On our mission to see Nativity Sets in as many churches as we could at Christmas, we knew we could not miss this church. Saint Cosmas and Damien Church sits in one of the most beautiful settings. You ...  more »
  • This church immediately next to the Forum Romanum .. actually on top or inside of the temple of Romolus is worth a visit . There is a large glass front in the back of the church where you can look dow...  more »
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  • A beautiful basilica in the midst of the Forum. Incredible mosaics.
  • Early Christian church built in 6th century on top of earlier roman structures - one the basilica dedicated to emperor Romulus who was designated a god other the library of the forum of vespasian. Temple of Romulus is vestibule of Church and well preserved. 6th century mosaics in apse depict second coming of Christ.
  • It is breathtaking experience staying in front of a more than thousand year old curch
  • Built in the early 6th century AD, the Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano (Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian) is the oldest church in the Imperial Forum in Rome. It adjoins an ancient Roman temple (which can be viewed through a glass wall in the back) and features original early Christian mosaics in the apse. The church is entered through an adjacent convent on Via dei Fori Imperiali, a major road running alongside the Imperial Forum and ending at the Colosseum. The side walls of the basilica are original from the 4th-century Roman hall, but they are not visible due to the convent buildings that surround them. From the Forum, you can see the round Temple of Jupiter Stator (3rd-century BC) with its original bronze doors (early 300s AD). The original key still turns in the door, but visitors may not enter the temple. Its excavated interior can, however, be clearly viewed from a full-length glass wallin the church above. The 6th century apse mosaic in the Byzantine style is original and justly famous. It is illuminated by a coin-operated light in the left aisle. It provided inspiration for many later mosaics. It depicts the Parousia or Second Coming of Christ "on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). The manner in which Christ is depicted is Roman rather than Byzantine, despite the obvious Byzantine style of the work as a whole. The mosaic features Christ standing on red clouds (representing the dawn), dressed in golden robes labeled with the monogram I. He holds the scroll of the Law in his left hand.
  • Nice minor basilica near the Colosseum.