The Mouth of Truth

The Mouth of Truth, in Italian Bocca della Verità, is an ancient mask in pavonazzetto marble, which has stood against the wall of the pronaos of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome since 1632.


The Mouth of Truth is considered as one of the true historical symbols of Rome. It is a mask made of marble that depicts an old male face, immersed in the beard, with opened and pierced eyes, nostrils and a mouth.
Let’s discover the main features of this monument, much appreciated by citizens and tourists.
Historical notes on The Mouth of Truth
The history of the Mouth of Truth originates from the era of Ancient Rome, during which the current monument was nothing more than a simple manhole. Since the 11th Century, all around the world there was a rumor about the power to distribute oracles through the mouth itself. Not surprisingly, many people to this day choose to insert their own hand inside the hole corresponding to the mouth, to receive answers to certain questions. Several legends followed one after another with the passage of time. In the 12th century, a German text told of a myth that the Devil himself held the hand of a swindler, Giuliano, for a long time to purify him of all his sins. This name has been attributed since 1485, the year in which the Mouth began to become one of the most interesting curiosities of the entire Roman city. Not surprisingly, it is still reproduced in a long series of drawings and prints.
The exact positioning of the Mouth of Truth
Over the centuries, the Mouth of Truth has undergone several changes to its positioning. Towards the end of the 15th century, the monument was located on the outside of the portico of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, in the heart of the capital in Piazza Bocca della Verità.
However, in 1631, Pope Urban VIII Berberini chose to put into practice a series of restoration works, aimed at modernizing the religious complex. For this reason, the Mouth was moved directly inside the portico, more precisely in the wall of the pronaos of the Church.
The latter simply corresponds to the front of any building with a shape that has different similarities to that of a temple. The square in which the marble sculpture stands is located between Via Luigi Petroselli and Via della Greca, within the popular Ripa zone. Once upon a time, this was the area of the ancient Foro Boario, an old marshy area reclaimed thanks to the work of the Cloaca Massima.

opening time

The monument can be visited when the gate of the church pronaos opens

Winter time: 09.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. (gate closes at 4.50 p.m.)
Summer timetable: 09.30 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (gate closes at 5.50 p.m.)

how to get there

The area that currently includes the Mouth of Truth can be reached by various means of transport that are all very comfortable. There are two stations from which the lines that lead directly to the prestigious monument depart from: Termini Station and Tiburtina Station. Let’s go into details and discover the various opportunities for citizens and tourists.
– Anyone departing from Roma Termini Station can certainly take the bus n.170 for nine stops, before getting off at Bocca della Verità Stop. From the stop, you need to walk about 400 meters before reaching your destination. It is also possible to take the Metro B line, passing Cavour and Colosseum Metro Stations before getting off at Circo Massimo Metro Station. From there, you need to walk for 900 meters to get to the monument. The price for both services is € 2 per ticket. Those who prefer taxis can travel just under 4 kilometers in about 6 minutes at a price between € 8-11. With Uber, the cost rises to around € 35 with similar times and methods. Finally, those who want to keep fit can go on foot, covering 2.7 kilometers in just over half an hour.

– Anyone departing from Roma Tiburtina Station may have even more chances of reaching the Mouth of Truth. With Metro Line B, you need to pass Policlinico, Castro Pretorio, Termini, Cavour and Colosseum Metro Stations before reaching the Circus Maximus and walk 900 meters, with a € 2 ticket.
As for the buses, bus n. C3 will arrive at the Cerchi / Bocca della Verità stop in about half an hour. From there, you need to walk 150 meters to reach your destination. A similar journey is also valid for bus n. 62, which runs every ten minutes and arrives at Municipio stop. Then, you need to walk for 1.2 kilometers. The price is always € 2. There are also Taxis and Uber for € 12-15 and € 35, respectively.
Finally, you can travel 5.7 kilometers on foot, taking about an hour and 10 minutes.

nearby attractions

Roman Forums