Santa Maria della Cosmedin
You’ve probably never heard of it but does the Bocca della Veritá ring any bells?
This is one of those things that are famous “just because,” there no real historical significance. The stone is an ancient Roman drain and a legend developed that if you put your hand in his mouth and told a lie it would be cut off. So that’s why it’s famous. Like a good tourist, I stood in line to take my picture with my hand in a stone mouth…
I really make the trip to Santa Maria della Cosmedin because there were two Roman temples right across the street and one I particularly studied in class: Temple of Venus and Temple of Fortuna Virilis.
Fortuna Virilis is an interesting temple because it is a mix of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman styles. Greek for the ionic columns and deep porch; ionic columns can be recognized because they have a base, fluting, and decorated capitals with the curls (no idea what the “official” name is); Etruscan because of the high platform and only one flight of frontal stairs; Roman because it is a pseudoperipteral temple, which means, it has engaged (attached) columns of the sides and back.
By this time I was famished! I decided to splurge and take a longer (aka more expensive lunch) in the old Jewish ghetto.
Yummy gnocchi, arugula, roasted cherry tomatoes, & pine nuts and green tea with mint leaves & peanuts. After lunch I wandered around some ruins: the Portica d’Ottavia, built by Emperor Augustus for his sister.
So far the day was going well, here’s where I kind of messed up. I still had one big thing on my list: the ancient (and famous) catacombs. The sky was getting dark and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to trek out of the city with the weather so I strolled and then decided aw heck just do it…on foot. I didn’t realize it was 40 minutes outside the city and I got lost. Getting frustrated, I turned around (only later that I wasn’t that far off at that point). So, I went to the cathedral of Rome instead.
San Giovani Laterno
Nope, it’s not the Vatican! The cathedral of Rome is San Giovanni Laterano. TADA! Never heard of it? No worries, you are not alone. Compared to St. Peter’s in Vatican City, San Giovanni isn’t entirely spectacular. There’s a chair lit up in the dark, which I’m assuming is the pope’s “official” throne and great statues, but it is devoid of much of the over the top decoration I’m used to in Rome.
At this point, I still had the catacombs on my mind. Attempt #2 and another 40 minute walked before I realized I was totally off track and lost again…sigh. It was time to go back to the hostel, take a shower, and call it a day.
You may be asking: why did I take a picture with a towel on my head? Well, I didn’t. I forgot my hostel did not provide towels, that is a sweater I used to dry off 🙂 awkward…
Monday is finally done!