Forum Boarium and Mouth of Truth

The Foro Boario was a sacred and commercial area located along the left bank of the Tiber River and took its name from the cattle market that was held there in Ancient Rome.

In modern Rome it corresponds to the area around Piazza della Bocca della Verità, where the Temple of Portunus, the Temple of Ercole Vincitore and the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin are also visibleThe Temple of Portunus was built at the beginning of the 2ndcentury BC and was dedicated to the god Portunus, the Roman god of ports and doors.

The Temple of Hercules Victor was built around the second century BC, it was the second marble building to be built in Rome and the oldest marble monument to have come down to today. The Temple has a cylindrical shapesurrounded by 20 columns with Corinthian capitals. The building was restored and convertedinto a church in 1132.

In this square there is also the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin built in the sixth century AD above the remains of some Roman temples including the Altar of Hercules (Ara Maxima Erculis Invicti) dedicated to the legendary killing of the Giant Caco by Hercules. One of the main treasures preserved in the church is the glass reliquary with theskull of St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers.

In the external colonnade of the Church there is the the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità), a sculpture from the 1st century BC. This large mask has the appearance of a bearded male face in which the eyes, nose and mouth are pierced and was probably a manhole in the Cloaca Massima, one of the greatest from all over Rome.

The Mouth of Truth is the protagonist of many legends. Romans and tourists associated with the medallion the property of decreeing the truth and, in ancient times, the stone wasrequired to pronounce on the suspected marital betrayal.

To increase its notoriety was also the scene of the film “Roman Holiday” in which Gregory Peck, in front of Audrey Hepburn, pretends to have lost his handinside his mouth.

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