The Bocca della Verità or The Mouth of Truth is a marble carving located in the portico of the Church of Santa Maria de Cosmedin in Rome. It is a popular landmark that is only a short walk south of the Circus Maximus. Legend says that if someone places their hand in the mouth of the carving and then tells a lie that the hand will be bitten off. The Bocca della Verità is a sort of ancient lie detector that even I wasn’t brave enough to tempt. The site became a permanent fixture in popular lore when Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn visited the landmark in the movie Roman Holiday.

The origin of the carving is unknown, but speculation suggests that the carving was originally part of an ancient Roman fountain or the most likely scenario is that it was the rain spout at the base of a Roman temple (perhaps to the god of the River Tiber, Bocca).