Sunday, September 24, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Mouth of Truth, immortal legend of Rome

distance from your position km , mi
Working as an old-fashioned lie-detector, the Mouth of Truth attracts thousands of visitors who audaciously stick their hand in its slit to challenge the legend. To make it famous was the unforgettable scene of the film “Roman Holiday” of 1953.

Among the countless symbols of Rome, the Mouth of Truth is an imposing marble mask of almost two metres in diameter that has been walled up in the portico of the early Christian church of Saint Mary in Cosmedin since 1632. Its origins are however shrouded in mystery and to discover them one must go back in time to the first century B.C.: there are different interpretations to this male figure with pierced eyes, nose and mouth. Some of them say it represents the god named Ocean, an oracle or more probably a faun’s head.

What is certain is that it was used in Roman times as a manhole for the city’s sewage system – the Cloaca Maxima – with the effigy of a river god swallowing rainwater. According to legend, this stone had the property of recognizing the truth: whoever told a lie while putting their hand in the mouth of the mask would have lost it because of its terrible bite. The legends continued in medieval times when popular tradition led to the belief that in this place it could be decreed whether a woman had betrayed her husband.

What made this hidden corner of the capital famous all over the world was William Wyler’s film “Roman Holiday”, in which Gregory Peck pretends to have lost his hand in front of a clueless and equally frightened Audrey Hepburn. Since then, this place has become well-known among tourists who like to be photographed as they approach their hand to its mouth… hoping for the mercy of the oracle!

And you, would you dare take the risk?

Go on dreaming

The architectural wonders of Piazza Navona

In Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, every corner hides an unmissable artistical or architectural masterpiece. This Baroque jewel of architecture...

Piazza di Spagna, the set of Roman Holiday

Besides visiting the Colosseum and the most important Roman remains, almost everyone when thinking of Rome dreams of themselves walking down the spectacular staircase...

Rome gelato tour

In Rome, gelato is serious stuff. There are, indeed, plenty of gelaterie offering delicious ice creams to whet your appetite. Come follow us in...