About the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin:
Construction started on Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 8th century over the ruins of an ancient temple. It was in the center of what was then the Greek community in Rome. The skull of Saint Valentine was brought there shortly thereafter.
About Saint Valentine:
Valentine was believed to be a physician as well as a priest in Rome (perhaps even a bishop). He was imprisoned for giving aid to martyrs in prison, and while there, he converted the jailer by restoring sight to the jailer’s daughter. This did not save him from the Emperor, however, who had him beaten and beheaded around 269 A.D. and buried on the Flaminian Way outside Rome. Later, his head was recovered and is now kept here in the Basilica.
Note: the rest of his relics are in the Shrine of Saint Valentine in Dublin, Ireland.
An interesting note:
If you have ever watched the 1953 film “Roman Holiday” starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, you may recall the scene where Peck sticks his hand in the mouth of the marble mask, known as “the mouth of truth” in a joke. This is located on the facade of the Basilica and today tourists continuously show up to duplicate that scene.
Finding the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin:
Address: Piazza della Bocca della Verità, 18, 00186 Roma RM, Italy, 060608.it
Tel: +39 06 678 7759