February 14, 2013. (Romereports.com)
As Saint Valentine's Day
approaches, Rome begins to swell with enamored tourists, couples that travel all the way to the Eternal City to spend a special day among historic landmarks.
Chief among these, as one of the most romantic in all the city is the Bocca della Verita, the Mouth of Truth.
Each day, thousands of tourists stop by for their shot at becoming Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, in the now famous scene from Roman Holiday.
“I saw this place on the movie 'Roman Holiday,' and I thought that if I came to here, I think I feel like the princess in the movie, so I think it is a lovely place.”
“Rome is a romantic city, and there are several places to discover and enjoy. The Bocca della Verita is one of them.”
According to tradition, the piece known as the Mouth of Truth was the manhole cover for an old Roman well. But the uncertainty over its origin
gave way to the legend surrounding it.
“La Bocca della Verita, the Mouth of Truth, is inside of this ancient Greek church called Santa Maria in Cosmedin. It has an old legend of Rome about if a liar puts his hand inside, he would lose his hand. The motto of the story is that you have to be careful when you tell a lie because it could eat your hand.”
“Part of the tradition says that if you say a lie you will get bit. I heard that for some time, they would actually put a scorpion inside, so someone would actually get bit from time to time.”
But perhaps the most romantic aspect if it stems from inside the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church
. Here lies the relics of a martyr named Saint Valentine.
“They had told us that the relics belonging to Saint Valentine were here. We came because February 14 draws near and it was a good excuse to come.”
The importance behind Saint Valentine's Day is not just about the celebration of love
. It also honors a Roman priest who was jailed for marrying couples during a time when it was forbidden.
Celebrating love cost him his life, and made him a symbol and protector of all the lovers, who are asked each year to keep their love alive.
And as such, saying that you love someone and not meaning it, while at the Bocca della Verita, can cost you more than expected.