|Country: Italy||City: Rome||Name of Site: Bocca della Verità – The Mouth of Truth|
|General Info: The Bocca della Verità is probably the world’s oldest tourist trap. Located at the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, it was most likely originally a drain cover. Not exciting. The legend, however, is much more exciting – if you stick your hand in the mouth, and you’re a liar, supposedly your hand will be eaten by the mouth. CHOMP! The legend – and the mouth – are prominent in the Gregory Peck / Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday.
By Dnalor 01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32479024
|Address/Location: Piazza Bocca della Verità|
|How to Get There:
Metro: 10 minute walk from Circo Massimo stop on Metro Line B.
Foot: 10 minute walk south from Piazza Venezia, or very close to the northwest end of the Circus Maximus.
|Days / Hours: Daily 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Adult/Child Cost: Free, €0.50 suggested donation|
|Tips – Line: You get to the outside of the church, and hopefully you haven’t showed up right after a cruise boat excursion arrived. There’s a sign that says something to the effect of “only one picture please” – I’ve taken multiple pictures, but you gotta be quick, so I would have your picture-taking strategy ready to go by the time you’re up there. You’ll get less pushback from the mean/bored-looking guard if you’re quick.|
|Free Wifi? No.|
|Bathrooms- Closest public restrooms that I’m aware of are back at the Capitoline Museums or at the Circo Massimo metro stop.|
|Strollers- All you’re doing here is waiting in a line outside the church and taking a picture, strollers are fine. In fact, they’re really nice for the walk over, depending on the age of your kids.|
|Outside food allowed inside? You could probably snack while you’re waiting in line. Around the Piazza, at Circus Maximus, or at the nearby – and absoutely delightful – Giardino degli Aranci there are some good picnic places – either pack a picnic in the morning or if you’ll have walked from Piazza Venezia, you’ll have passed a Carrefour Express grocery store where you can pick up some things.|
|Is it Worth It? Yeah, I think so. I don’t mind the walk to the church, it’s a nice walk and the nearby Circus Maximus is a good place for the kids to run around. (It might be a little more difficult on a hot/sunny day, but take advantage of shade and make a picnic stop.)|
|How to Get Kids Excited (books/movies/activities): Watching the scene from Roman Holiday should be enough – the concept in itself is enough to get kids excited. Act with care, though – before we went here, when my daughter asked me about the legend, she admitted to me that sometimes she lies and then she broke down and cried. Cute girl. 🙂|
|💡 Things to mention so your family thinks you’re smart: I think the church is pretty cool-looking, it’s rare to find a church interior that is largely unchanged from how it looked in 1100. Also, in a side altar on the left side of the church there is a flower-crowned skull attributed to Saint Valentine, as in Valentine’s Day.|