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Bocca della Veritá, Rome

La Bocca della Verità (in English, the Mouth of Truth) is a renowned image, carved from Pavonazzetto marble, of a man-like face and located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedinin Rome, Italy. The sculpture is thought to be part of an ancient Roman fountain, or perhaps a manhole cover, portraying one of several possible pagan gods The most famous characteristic of the Mouth, however, is its role as a lie detector. Starting from the Middle Ages, it was believed that if one told a lie with his hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. The piece was placed in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 17th century. The Mouth of Truth is most well known from its appearance in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. The film also uses the Mouth of Truth as a storytelling device since both Hepburn's and Peck's characters are not initially truthful with each other. This scene from Roman Holiday was parodied in the 2000 Japanese film Sleeping Bride by Hideo Nakata, with the main characters reenacting it with a replica of La Bocca. It was also replicated in the film Only You staring Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei.