The area adjacent to the Tiber, where the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin stands, was also called Ripa Greca because of the important colony of Greeks that had settled in Rome and occupied this bank of the river.
This colony was infiltrated by monks who arrived from Greece, fleeing from iconoclastic persecution.
In the 8th century, the Pope entrusted them with the management of this church, erected in the 6th century, whose name, from the Greek kosmidion (ornament), remains the same to this day.
The church had been built on the remains of a Roman silo, between the Circus Maximus, the Tiber River and the current Testaccio.
In addition to the portico, there is a beautiful tall Romanesque bell tower decorated with coloured majolica. Inside the church, visitors can admire the mosaics and marbles in the floor protected by a wooden ceiling. The Schola cantorum, the gothic canopy of the high altar and the altar of red granite at the end of the apse are quite beautiful.
Below the portico on the left is the famous Bocca della Verità – Mouth of Truth. A legend says that it is endowed with the power to punish anyone who tells lies, if they are so bold as to put their hand inside the mouth hole of this sculpture.