Month: January 2019

History By Pictures – 5. The Church Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.

History By Pictures – 5. The Church Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.

Almost everyone knows this church because in its porch there is the famous Mouth of Truth. Very few people enter the church and visit it. Tourists prefer to be photographed while shoving their hands into the most famous detector of lies in Rome.


A tourist and the Mouth of Truth (Credits:


Yet this church is a real masterpiece!

Born behind the ancient Forum Boarium (the oxen market of ancient Rome), was transformed by Pope Hadrian I in the eighth century AD and delivered to the Greeks escaped from persecution of the East. And it was they who called it “Schola graeca” or “Santa Maria in Cosmedin” (cosmedin = ornament).


The area of the Forum Boarium, whose remains are located in front of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Credits:

Don’t miss a visit to the underground crypt.

“Hidden” under the floor of the presbytery of the church, was built by Pope Hadrian I (772-795 AD) by digging the large tufa base of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Ceres.


The crypt of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


The central nave ends in a small apse with an altar carved into a Roman stone that contained the relics of St. Cyril.

The crypt also housed other relics, as evidenced by the sixteen niches arranged along the side walls and on the inside of the entrance wall.


Some of the niches that open along the aisles of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


All you have to do is come to Rome and admire this splendid masterpiece of medieval art!



See you next Tuesday with a new episode of History by Pictures!


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in CHURCHES & HOLY SITES, ROME, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 4. The Water Source of Feronia in Terracina

History By Pictures – 4. The Water Source of Feronia in Terracina

Once upon a time there was a nymph. Her name was Feronia, she lived on the outskirts of Terracina and she lived cultivating flowers and plants. Despite her beauty, she disdained the company of all her suitors. But Jupiter, who fell in love with her, took on the appearance of a child and made it his own. From that day on she became one of her lovers and gave her immortality. Feronia then began to be venerated as a goddess, making the cities and fields of her devotees rich, prosperous and flourishing. Juno, Jupiter’s jealous wife, however, discovered her husband’s infidelity and, coming down from the sky, drove Feronia out of her lands, asking the rivers Ufente, Astura and Ninfeo to help her in her vengeance. They broke in and transformed Feronia’s happy world into the sad and unhealthy Palude Pontina.


Sketch reproducing the sources of Feronia and the head of the goddess found near the sanctuary (Credits:


This story is told to us by the poet Vincenzo Monti in the poem “Feroniade”, inspired by the hunting trips around Terracina organized by Prince Luigi Braschi – Onesti, nephew of Pope Pius VI, promoter of the work of reclamation of the Pontine Marshes at the end of the eighteenth century.


The poem “La Feroniade” written by Vincenzo Monti (Credits:


In fact, at the gates of Terracina, exactly in “Le Mole”, there is a place called “The water source of Feronia”. The place, near the “Punta di Leano” and along the route of the Appian Way, is rich in vegetation and water sources. This must have been the habitat of Feronia, or rather the seat of its sanctuary mentioned by Horace in the V Satire and of which today almost nothing remains.


The Water Source of Feronia in the place called “Le Mole” at the entrance of Terracina.


Goddess of Sabine origin, Feronia was the protector of fields and crops. Her bond with the libertines was also strong. In the Lucus Feroniae of Terracina, in fact, the ceremony of liberation of the slaves took place and, according to the sources, there was a stone seat with the inscription: “The slaves who have well deserved, follow here and stand up from free men”.


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 3. The Roman Forum of Terracina

History By Pictures – 3. The Roman Forum of Terracina

The Roman Forum of Terracina (also known as the Emilian Forum from the name of the magistrate who paved it), is one of the few in the world to preserve such a large portion of the ancient Roman pavement.


Reconstruction of the aspect of the Emilian Forum in Roman times (Credits:


The function of the square has also survived.

Fulcrum of the political, religious and social life of Tarracina – Anxur, Piazza Municipio (this is the actual name of the ancient square) confirms itself as the religious heart of the modern city, hosting the Cathedral (from whose porch I took the picture), but also the political one, given the presence of the town hall.


The Piazza of the Roman Forum of Terracina (now Piazza Municipio) photographed from the porch of the Cathedral of Terracina.


Have you ever been to Terracina? Discover the wonders of this seaside town just 100 km from Rome!

Come for a walk with Sara! 


The Piazza of the Roman Forum of Terracina (now Piazza Municipio) in a current photo.

Posted by Sara Pandozzi, 0 comments
History by Pictures – 2. Constantine

History by Pictures – 2. Constantine

He is one of the most fascinating characters of ancient Rome. Some historians say that he was the illegitimate son of an innkeeper. What is certain is that his father was the general of one of the four parts into which the empire had been divided.

When the father died, he was acclaimed emperor in York and while Maxentius declared himself emperor, he reunited all the north-western lands in his hands and established his headquarters in Trier.

The decisive clash with Maxentius took place in the famous battle of the Milvian Bridge, then just outside Rome.

Constantine, the absolute master of the West, entered Rome as a triumphant man, exhibiting Maxentius’ head on a lance.

He was depicted in a giant statue (now in the Capitoline Museums) once located in a civil basilica, a kind of prefecture built by Maxentius.

The colossal statue of Constantine is a kind of visual example of a message that was to be strong and clear: “I am the emperor!



Posted by Sara Pandozzi, 0 comments