The Mouth of Truth, Rome

La Bocca della Verità, or the Mouth of Truth, is a marble sculpture located in the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin church in Rome, Italy. The circular disc has a face carved with open eyes, nose, and mouth.

The mouth of Truth
Dare to Lie?

The origin of the sculpture is unknown. Some say it was a drain cover while others assert that the face in the sculpture is of the God of the sea—Oceanus. There’s also an account claiming that it was used as a drain pipe to drain the blood of the sacrificed cattle.

The allure of the sculpture is due to the medieval myth associated with it. If you have watched the movie, Roman Holiday, then you might be familiar with it. (And if you haven’t watched the movie yet, do watch it. It’s really a beautiful movie.)

The sculpture was used to ferret out the liars. If you speak a lie with your hand inside the disc, the mouth is supposed to snap shut cutting off your hand.

Hordes of tourists, who visit Rome put their hand in the sculpture’s mouth to test out the theory.

At the La Bocca della Verità

You guys know me—I always speak the truth, and nothing but the truth 😀 So, I had nothing to prove. But I had gone to Rome with my parents, and it’s always better to have outside testimony about your honesty 😛

Reasons you should check out the Mouth of Truth when you visit Rome:
  • The peculiar sculpture is worth looking even without the myth.
  • You definitely want a picture of you with your hand inside the sculpture’s mouth. Such memories are the reason we carry cameras.

So, when you visit Rome, do check out La Bocca della Verità.

Have you visited Rome? Do share your experience with me.

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14 thoughts on “The Mouth of Truth, Rome

  1. Strange beliefs! But, as you told rightly, it’s a beautiful artwork. Imagining the height of artist’s creativity/craftsmanship in that wide and super thin disc.

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