The present version of the San Cosimato Church in Rome was built in 1475, but as early as the 10th century there are already existed a convent dedicated to the Saints Cosma and Damiano at the site. It became known as the Church of San Cosimato because the names of the two saints were joined together.
San Cosimato Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza di San Cosimato – Rome. The church is only open during mass (07.00 on weekdays and o8.00 on holidays).
History and description
The church was consecrated by Alexander II, in 1609. It had yellowish golden color because sand taken from the nearby Janiculum hill was used for its construction.
Between the years 1230 and 1234 the church was in the hands of the Camaldolesi, who later were forced to give it to the Clarisse order when the Pope found that they had misbehaved in some way. Despite a number of reconstructions the San Cosimato Church deteriorated in the following centuries until Pope Sixtus decided to have both the church itself and the convent rebuilt from scratch.
In 1643, when the Mura Gianicolense were constructed, it was decided to break the church down again, but after stubborn resistance of the nuns living there it was decided not to touch San Cosimato.
in 1870 the Italian State confiscated San Cosimato in order to turn it into a rest-house for the elderly. At present some sections of the Ospedale Nuovo Regina Margherita are housed in the convent and only the 12th century gate still reminds the visitor of its former function.
The Piazza San Cosimato used to be used by the Emperor Augustus as a naumachia (a site where the Romans fought mock sea battles). Nowadays this square is famous for the number of restaurants and trattorie.
The facade of the San Cosimato church mixes Gothic and Renaissance styles. The wooden door has wood-cuttings referring to the Franciscans. The church has two cloisters, the first one of which stems from the 13th century and is characterized by a Romanesque style, whereas the second one, from the time of pope Sixtus, shows a Renaissance influence. In the garden there are fragments of the former church and several inscriptions.
Works of art in the Chiesa di San Cosimato:
- The Renaissance altar with relics of several martyrs.
- The tabernacle (which used to be in the Church of Santa maria del Popolo)
- Paintings by Pinturicchio
- “Madonna with Saints” by Antonio da Viterbo.
- “Madonna with Child between San Francesco and Santa Chiara” by Antonio del Massaro aka Il Pastura.