Arguably the most famous manhole cover (maybe) in history! I love the colors in this shot. This is the Bocca della Verita, an ancient sculpture located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, also reportedly home to the relics of St. Valentine. It's unclear exactly what its original function was, however. Some think that it's a piece of a first-century ancient Roman fountains, and others have asserted that it's a manhole cover. It may portray a deity, or possibly represent the ancient god of the Tiber river. The origin of its reputation as a medieval lie detector is likewise obscure. The story began some time in the Middle Ages that if one told a lie with their hand in its mouth, it would be bitten off. No report on how many times this actually happened, however! It's also been in this location for quite a long time. It was moved to its present location in the 17th century. The sculpture was just local tradition until it became wildly popular after making an appearance in the 1953 film Roman Holiday, so now, be prepared to wait in line for a bit until your turn to take a photo with your hand in the mouth. Reproductions now abound: there are apparently electronic coin-operated ones in Spain, Hungary, Croatia, the UK and Japan.
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KristinsCamera (2373) 2014-01-23 6:32
hello again ~
this one i really like, and agree with you that the colors are great. even though it is so famous, i was not aware of it, so thanks for the delightful and interesting note (i wonder if you are getting your phd in roman history?) in addition to this great close-up ~ timely as we are coming up on valentine's day :)
a medieval lie detector? how intriguing! thanks for the fun history lesson this morning :)
divail (8288) 2014-01-23 19:14
J'ai vu cet endroit l'année dernière, et je trouve que photographié en plan rapproché, comme tu nous le présente, le personnage semble plus humain. J'aime beaucoup la composition.