Mouth of Truth
Carving of man’s face on ancient manhole cover, a popular attraction due to the myth attached to it. While the Mouth of Truth itself is a relatively simple ancient sculpture, its connection to Roman folklore and its role in modern popular culture make it an intriguing and entertaining stop for tourists exploring the historic sites of Rome. The Mouth of Truth, or Bocca della Verità in Italian, is a famous ancient sculpture located in Rome, Italy. Here are some key details about the Mouth of Truth:
- Location: The Mouth of Truth is housed in the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a medieval church in Rome. The basilica is situated in the area of the Forum Boarium, close to the Tiber River.
- Appearance: The sculpture is a large, circular stone mask with the face of a man. It is commonly believed to represent a river god, and it has an open mouth with eyes and other facial features.
- Legend and Tradition: The Mouth of Truth is surrounded by a popular legend. According to tradition, the mouth is said to be a “lie detector.” Supposedly, if someone places their hand in the mouth while telling a lie, the Mouth of Truth will bite off their hand. This legend has led to a fun and somewhat superstitious tradition among visitors.
- Tourist Attraction: The Mouth of Truth has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors who want to test their truthfulness by putting their hand into the mouth. Many people pose for photographs with their hand in the mouth, imitating the famous scene from the movie “Roman Holiday” starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
- Origin: The origins of the sculpture are not precisely known, but it is believed to date back to ancient Roman times, possibly the 1st century AD. The exact purpose of the sculpture in its original context is unclear, but it may have been part of a fountain or a decorative element in a building.
- Restoration: Over the centuries, the Mouth of Truth has undergone several restorations to preserve its condition. The sculpture has been moved within the basilica to protect it from weathering, and it is now displayed in a location easily accessible to visitors.