There is a church near the rose garden in Circo Massimo called the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This church is probably most famous for its bocca della verità exhibit, and you’d always see a long queue of tourists waiting to take a picture with it.
However, did you know that the relics of San Valentino rests here?
While Valentine’s day is now commonly associated with roses and chocolates, Saint Valentine was an actual person – a priest who lived during the Roman Empire.
At the time, the emperor Emperor Claudius II did not allow soldiers to get married as he perceived that single soldiers fought better than those married, for fighting in the impending war.
However San Valentino who believed that marriage was a sacrament, took pity of them, and married them in secret. Eventually he was found out, imprisoned and was finally beheaded on the 14th February.
Such a tragic end.
I visited the Santa Maria in Cosmedin last Friday expecting to see a crowd of people paying their respects and laying flowers to the martyr. While there were a lot of people queuing for the bocca della verità as usual, to my surprise, I didn’t see a lot of people at San Valentino’s relic. Most to most, the visitors gave a glance, took a quick snap and walked off.
Even though I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, I was quite taken aback by the nonchalance. Seems quite strange to me especially on such a popular day.