AVENTINO, CIRCO MASSIMO, BOCCA DELLA VERITA'

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This tour takes you to some non touristy sites, starting on one of the seven sacred hills of Rome, the Aventine Hill, where we'll peep through the keyhole of the Institute of the Knights of Malta, to discover... something magic!! Then we'll pass by Circus Maximus, ancient Rome's largest circus for chariot races, that could accomodate up to 350000 spectators!

 

Next stop will be the church Santa Maria in Cosmedin (8th century), located in an area that in ancient Rome was called Forum Boarium, the cattle market, where two ancient temples are still standing: the Temple of Hercules Victor (2nd century b.C.) and the Temple of Portunus (1st century b.C.).

 

The church is known for the Mouth of Truth, famous after the American movie “Roman Holidays”: in the Middle Ages it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand inside the mouth of the sculpture, tha hand would have been bitten off. The church was built upon the ruins of the Great Altar of Hercules (2nd century b.C.), the foundations of which are still partially visible. The tour continues by the Church of San Nicola in Carcere (16th century), built upon the ruins of three temples of Republican Age: some of their ruins are still visible in the undergrounds of the churc! We conclude the tour on top of the Capitoline Hill, the most important of the seven sacred hills of Rome, where we'll have an astonishing view over the valley of Forum Romanum!

 

This tour could also include, instead of S.Maria in Cosmedin and S.Nicola in carcere, the Basilica of S.Clement, a three-tiered complex of buildings: 1) the actual medieval church, 2) a 4th century basilica, converted from the home of a Roman nobleman, the basement of which served as a mithraeum, 3) the home of the Roman nobleman.