One of the most beautiful squares in Rome, it owes its name to the famous "Bocca della Verità", a manhole cover in the shape of a mask, housed in the portico of the adjoining church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. According to tradition, anyone who did not tell the truth by introducing the hand would have been mutilated with a clean cut.
The square stands where the "ox market" of the Foro Boario was located: according to ancient legends, the area was patronized by people from Greece and Asia even before the town was founded. The archaeological finds of Greek ceramics from the eighth century BC and Mycenaean fragments confirm the tradition.
The square contains a series of monuments of great historical and artistic value. In addition to the mentioned church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, there are the Temple of Hercules wrongly identified with the Temple of Vesta and the Temple of Portunus, divinity of the river port, both of the 2nd century BC.In front of the two temples stands the Fontana dei Tritoni, built in 1715 by Carlo Bizzaccheri commissioned by Pope Clement XI: with an octagonal base, it represents two tritons supporting a large shell from which water flows. Here, until 1868, death sentences were carried out.
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