Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano
The Basilica of Saints Cosma and Damiano, located in the Forum of Vespasian and adjacent to the Temple of the Divo Romulus, is one of the oldest in Rome. It was built by adapting two pre-existing Roman buildings, the Temple of Peace: a rectangular chamber, and the Pacis library, requested by the Emperor Vespasian, and a roundabout with the monumental entrance to Roman Forum, from Massenzio era (IV BC). In 526 AD Pope Felice IV, with the permission of King Teodorico, converted these buildings to Christian use, making the Basilica the first place of Christian worship in the area of the Roman Forum.
The church is dedicated to SS Cosma and Damiano, martyrs of the 4th century: Greek brothers and doctors who provided medical assistance to the needy. Refusing to worship the pagan gods, they were killed in 303 AD. Their relics are currently kept under the lower altar of the basilica.
The current appearance dates back to the 17th century by Pope Urban VIII, who ordered the restoration, with explicit care to not affect the original shape of the structure, he had the floor raised by 7 meters, thus creating a lower church and a higher one, due to the waterlogged land.
The church can be accessed from the cloister of the adjacent convent, embellished by a characteristic fountain, an ideal place to gather guests before and after the wedding. Immediately to its left is the window from which you can see the remains of the charming Temple of Romulus.
The Basilica, which follows the rules of the Counter-Reformation, has a single nave alongside three chapels on one side and a large apse. The area can accommodate up to a hundred guests.
The coffered ceiling with golden stuccoes, the large central fresco and Barberini’s coat of arms (three Pope Urbano bees), the frescoed walls and pillars make this basilica unique in its kind. The bright colors and the gold of Byzantine mosaics make the room radiant and gives it a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Ever present during the ceremony are the mosaic of the catwalk with a scene representing two saints being accepted into the Heavens.
The Basilica of Saints Cosma and Damiano is the extraordinary combination of classical components and Roman traces. The current appearance of the Basilica dates back to more than three hundred years ago, with unmistakable Byzantine ingredients, starting with the golden mosaics.
The Basilica is basically the ideal sacred place for an intimate and refined ceremony, immersed in the history of ancient Rome.