Santi Cosma e Damiano

(Click on any photo to see a larger version)
1a365429 1b948372 1f847562 1e089321 1d465785
1m567234 1c587904 1p549076 1j793461 1n856734
1g483794 1h529856 1k498654

4j826473 4m456852 4c972943 4k963852 4q456753 4p793182
4a456852 4g813729 4n976413 4d943258 4h369357 4e153927
4f391735 4r123654 4s798258 4t159789

Triumphal Arch Mosaics
5b951478 5d917382 5e137984 5c456837

Sanctuary / Mait Altar / Apse Mosaics
6b456123 6a789456 6c123987 6g648297 6h167943
6e951753 6f468219 6k248635 6i369741 6l412369
6m784652 6t964813 6p913746 6n825467
6q528159 6s482673 6r123697 6d147258

(To see photos of the chapels on the left side click here)
(To see photos of the chapels on the right side click here)

(To see photos of the rotunda/"temple" click here)
(To see photos of the crypt click here)
(To see photos of the cloister click here)

The basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is one of the ancient churches of Rome. The basilica, devoted to the two Greek brothers from Syria, doctors, martyred under Diocletian, saints Cosmas and Damian, is located in the Forum of Vespasian, also known as the Forum of Peace.

For reference, a plan of the church is available here.


The body of the church was built by Vespasian (69-79) as the templum alma urbis to conserve censorial records, municipal street plans, etc. The circular vestibule opening onto the Forum was constructed by Maxentius. Originally, the external wall was clad with about 150 marble slabs incised with a street map of Rome at the time of the Severi (3rd century AD) known as the Forma Urbis.

The hall was Christianized and dedicated to Sancti Cosma et Damiano in 527, when Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, and his daughter Amalasuntha donated the buildings to Pope Felix IV (526-530). The pope united the two buildings to create a basilica devoted to the two Greek brothers and saints. The sacred building was enlarged in 695, under Sergius I and in 772, during the pontificate of Hadrian I, serving as a reception center for the poor and pilgrims. In 1512 Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (future Pope Paul III) entrusted the complex to the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (TOR), who are still in charge.

In 1632, Pope Urban VIII Barberini ordered the restoration of the basilica. The works, which were designed by Orazio Torriani and directed by Luigi Arrigucci, raised the floor level 23 feet, thus avoiding the infiltration of water. Also, a cloister was added.

In 1873 the church was expropriated and confiscated from the state property of the Kingdom of Italy, then it passed into that of the Italian Republic, which still manages it today through the Fondo Edifici di Culto (FEC). In 1947, the restorations of the Imperial Forums gave a new structure to the church. The original access, which took place from the ancient "Via Sacra", through the splendid portal of the "Temple of Romulus", was closed and replaced by a new entrance, designed by Gaetano Rapisardi, with a travertine arch on via dei Fori Imperiali.

Related Links: Roman Churches Wiki

Location: 41° 53' 31"N 12° 29' 14"E

Detailed information and description

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or corrections, please contact me here
Copyright Skip Conde 2012-2022