The Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian is located in the very heart of ancient and modern Rome. It forms part of an imposing archeological complex in the midst of an extensive natural park which recalls so many historical events and memories. The building was originally a Roman structure – it’s purpose its not certain, but it belonged to Vespasian’s Forum of Peace, and may have been one of the libraries of that forum.
It was rebuilt and consecrated as a church in the 6th century, probably by Pope St Felix IV in 527.
THE MOSAIC OF THE APSE
This mosaic dates from 527-530 AD. The dominating figure in the center is that of Christ the Judge, who stands above the dramatically colored clouds, clothed in a clasped toga and a stole signifying a learned man. To approach Christ, it is necessary to cross the Jordan River, symbol of Baptism and life giving grace.
The High Altar was designed by Domenico Castelli at the order of Fr. Ludovico Ciotti. It was constructed in 1638 employing the four black and white marble columns which formally supported the Baldachino above the ancient altat in the crypt.
The wooden ceiling was executed in 1632 and is the work of the artisan Francesco Nave. It displays a geometric design with rectangular inserts decorated in alternating red and green backgrounds. In the center of the ceiling there is a large oil painting on canvas by Marco Tullio Montagna (1633) depicting SSTs. Cosmas and Damian in glory under the gaze of the Madonna.
The 17th Century Cloister
The cloister forms part of the friary constructed by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular in the years 1623-1632 according to the design of the Architect Orazio Torriani. Along the walkways one can admire the frescos of Francesco Allegrini da Gubbio representing the life of Francis. At one time, in the center of the cloister there was a well to collect rainwater.