"Bocca della Verita" Bocca della Verita ? Mouth of Truth - in Santa Maria in Cosmedin Tip by illumina


The Bocca della Verita, or the Mouth of Truth is in the porticoes of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. It owes its name to a popular attribute: the belief that it will bite the hand of liars.

There are probably as many theories regarding its original purpose as there are years of its existence. Popular ones include that it was a sewer or drain manhole cover or a fountain head. However, in dispute of these particular theories is the fact that there are no evident signs of erosion or wear around the holes where water would have flowed had it been part of a drain or fountain, and the quality of the marble and its size also suggest otherwise. According to the guide leaflet sold at the site, it is now believed to be a symbolic representation of the divine form of the god Faunus, a king who became divine after his death.

There are holes in the sides which indicate the points at which it was attached to a wall, suggesting that it was always intended to be kept in a vertical position.

And of course you have to have your picture taken with your hand in the mouth!

(see the website given below for further discussion of origin theories)

Address: Piazza della Bocca della Verita
Directions: Walk east of the Isola Tiberina, to Piazza della Bocca della Verita, cross the road to the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
Phone: +39 06 678 7759
Website: http://www.dpsusa.com/bocca_verita_history.shtml

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 28, 2006
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