Last Updated on January 20, 2021
We loved Rome so much that we took the time to find additional ‘attractions’ that were beyond that of the most popular such as The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, and Vatican Museum.
Here are three interesting pieces of history we found:
St. Peter in Chains
The church of San Pietro in Vincoli has an outstanding interior with breathtaking artwork all around you. It also hosts the chains of Saint Peter that he allegedly had to suffer from.The alter with Saint Peter’s chains was beautiful, but it was a sad object to look at with the sufferings Saint Peter went through for his beliefs about Jesus Christ’s miracles and sacrifice. Also featured is Moises by Michelangelo, a stunning piece of art that it depicts the Biblical figure Moses with horns on his head.
This was a perfect place to step out of the Italian sun and enjoy some quiet time in a wonderful site. However, do be mindful that the church closes during the middle of the day. You’ll need to plan a morning or afternoon visit to San Pietro in Vincoli.
The Holy Steps
Opposite the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran), the Holy Stairs are said to be those walked up by Christ, as he was condemned to death by crucifixion. The Holy Stairs were brought back from the Holy Land by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The stairs are marble, but today are covered in wood to preserve them from the thousands of pilgrims who climbs them on their knees. The rate of progress as you move up each step is very slow and is suitably punishing as it is extremely hard and uncomfortable on your knees. Every few steps you will see small holes cut through where supposedly the Blood of Christ dropped. The faithful often bend down and kiss these spots, or reverence them in some way. The stairs are not allowed to be climbed on anything other than one’s knees. For those who do not wish to participate, there are two other stairways on either side that can be climbed as normal to gain access to the chapel at the top of the stairs.
Like so many religious sights, the building is closed for at lunchtime.
The Mouth Of Truth
The Mouth Of Truth is an ancient Roman marble disc with a relief carving of a man’s face. The mouth is located outside on the left wall of the beautiful Paleochristian church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The massive marble mask weighs about 1300 kg and probably depicts the face of the sea god Oceanus. The eyes, nostrils and mouth are open. The Mouth Of Truth has maintained such fame for the legend associates with it: People believed that the mouth of the marble face would close if anyone put his hand in it and told a lie. Therefore it was used as a lie detector. The legend is thought to originate from Roman times and the legend goes on to state that the rich wife of a Roman noble was accused of adultery. The woman denied the accusations, but her husband wanted to put her to the test by making her put her hand inside the stone mouth. Those who were accused of committing perjury or adultery were brought to The Mouth Of Truth. They had to swear under oath and then put their hand into the mouth. According to the legend it was even used during the Middle Ages as a trial by ordeal. An executioner would hide behind the disc with a sharp sword ready to strike.
The thrill of the risk makes many not able to resist putting your hand inside this harmless, but unsettling stone face, as you quickly close your eyes and hope for the best. We were sure happy nothing happened to our hands!
What are some ‘attractions’ you have stumbled across in Rome that you enjoyed witnessing?