The rOME cHRONICLES: …and so it goes the tale of ‘the Mouth of Truth’.

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A Roman with very broken English quietly explained the tale of the Mouth of Truth to me with a stern look of seriousness.I was mesmerised, not only because it was difficult to understand him so I clung to each word but also because the story was creepy…

…If you are to place your hand in La Bocca Della Verita’ and you are an untruthful sort of character who tells fibs or even petty white lies then the mouth will chew off your hand, I mean rip it off, bite off fingers one by one as blood trickles down the corners of the giant mouth. The Roman actually played out the biting of fingers with his own hand shoved unpolitely down his throat. It was an unusual scene.

But don’t laugh I actually fell for this… So, having heard the horrific tale from someone who lives in Rome, I was genuinely petrified when it came time for me to visit ‘la bocca’. A teenager, about three people ahead of me, plunged his hand into the cavernous hole. His smile quickly receded as he struggled to retrieve his hand. I gasped, as the onlookers laughed raucously. The teenager pulled out his hand, still wholly intact, waved it to the crowd and moved away.

I felt a little ill, ‘I don’t think I’ll have a turn, non posso…’ I backed into the line of eager tourists, whom with a sense of camaraderie stopped my regression.

‘Tu puoi’, my boyfriend urged me forward. The line forced me onwards.

Crazy thoughts invaded my head ‘Well, we’ve all lied before…but what if I was the unlucky one and my hand really did disappear…what if it was true and a bunch of people I didn’t know watched my hand get crushed,eaten and blood oozing…weeping…?’

I approached dubiously and with my eyes scrunched up tightly, I placed my right hand into the ominous mouth. I’m left handed and I needed that one if anything did happen.

The line of queue waiters stared intently at me and my hidden hand and my boyfriend waited patiently to the side…I managed a small breath…

I survived the ordeal and I still have two hands to show for it, I guess it really was only a tale…it had me going though…and thousands of other tourists too…

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