Piazza Bocca della Verità is located near the Tiber River, where the river is closest to the Palatine Hill and the Forum Romanum.

Piazza Bocca della Verità was originally the Roman Forum Boarium, the cattle market. The current name is derived from the homonomous tourist attraction in the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, the Bocca della Verità, the Mouth of Truth.

Merchant ships anchored in the bend of the river just south of the Tiberine Island. This made the Forum Boarium one of the most important market places in antiquity, and it retained this role until recent times.

The site was also closely conected with the cult of Hercules, who had several shrines dedicated to him here, including the so-called Temple of Vesta and an open-air altar where the church Santa Maria in Cosmedin now stands.

The Middel Ages saw the addition of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and the palace Casa dei Crescenzi. The Fountain was added in the 18th century.

In medieval and modern times the square was on the outskirts of town, and it had a very rural air to it, as can be seen from many older paintings and drawings. This atmosphere is now completely lost, due to the opening of the Via del Teatro Marcello, which has brought much traffic and noise.

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