Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bocca della Verita, Rome

A famous landmark in Rome is the Bocca della Verita, located in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. The fame comes from the medieval tradition that the mouth would snap shut on the hand of whoever told a lie (Bocca della Verita means "Mouth of Truth"). The tradition is depicted in the movie Roman Holiday, where Gregory Peck pretends to lose his hand. Here's the famous scene in a different language:

J and L were dying to try it out. They came away with all their fingers intact.

J worried

L worried

The large circle is thought to be a drain cover dating back to the 400s BC.

Across the street are some other ancient works, the Temples of the Forum Boarium. These temples date back to the second century BC and have survived thanks to having been converted into Christian churches, though they no longer function as such.

The rectangular temple was dedicated to Portunus, god of rivers and ports, as well as keys, doors, and livestock.

Temple of Portunus

The circular temple was dedicated to Hercules, though it is often referred to as the Temple of Vesta since it is similar to the one in the Roman Forum.

Temple of Hercules

The area also has a nice fountain where J and L practiced magic tricks. The tricks consisted mostly of turning one small pebble into a fistful of pebbles. Usually their other hand was "off stage" so we wouldn't notice the switcheroo.

Fountains are magic!

Since coming home, L has taken to playing "Bocca della Verita" with me. The game consists in me putting my fingers in her mouth and then saying something. She'll bite if she thinks I'm lying. Apparently, I always lie.

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