Bocca della Verità: the legend of the Marble Sewer Cover

There are sights in Rome not so huge or imposing. There are also hidden treasures and curios things. One of them and maybe the most known is a marble giant mask sets in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, not so far from the Circo Massimo. There are many legends about that mask, but there’s also a fundamental thing to say: it was just a sewer cover named “Bocca della Verità” (Mouth of the Truth)

Bocca della Verita Roma

Ancient Romans used to depict human and divines figures everywhere and using any surface. This is the reason why a simple but monumental sewer cover could have the appearance of a giant human mask, with the huge mouth opened. Why is this marble mask so famous? And why is there usually a long queue? Because that mouth represents a famous local myth. According to the tradition the mouth will closed on the hand of a liar human being, cutting his limb. This legend came from the ancient Roman tradition. This is the reason why today tourists desire to try this shiver…

la-bocca-della-verita mito

Bocca della Verità has a peculiarity: it is infallible. But there’s also a story counting the only moment in which it was avoided. The legend claims that a Roman woman was a lover. The problem was that her husband had some suspects. For this reason he found the solution, organizing an official procession from his home to the Mouth of the Truth. Only it would be able to find the truth…But we know how the clever of a woman could be powerful. She found another solution. During the procession a madman, screaming and speaking with strange words, embraced and kissed the woman. Men, but especially the husband, managed to push away that man, without tortures or similar things. After all, he was just a madman… But he was also the lover of the woman… So, when she claimed with her hand inside the mouth of Bocca della Verità that she had never kissed anybody, except her husband and that madman, everybody trusted her, and her hand wasn’t cut!