Mouth of the truth in Rome

Mouth of the Truth, Rome

My hand was not chopped off :-)

Mouth of the truth

This is one of the most touristy things one can do, but you know what they say, “when in Rome..”. The mouth of the truth (La Bocca della Verita) is located in the portico of the Santa Maria Church, Cosmedin, in the Lazio region. This is my husband’s birth place and he is still the biggest Lazio football club supporter (Forza Lazio!). Sorry, had to put the plug in there :-) because l have become a fan as well. Inevitable when l get to hear about them a lot..a whole lot!


The legend of the mouth of the truth is that any liar who puts their hand in, gets it chopped off! Lost to the mouth. It’s an old Roman legend about some rich guy who took his wife there because she had been unfaithful. The woman knew she was screwed, but her lover kissed her in front of everyone there. She then put her hand in and said that the only two men she had ever kissed were her husband, and this “mad” man who everyone chased away as she made a fuss. Her honor was saved, as was her hand, but from that time on, the power of the mouth of the truth was gone. Others say that it is a sewer covering. I don’t believe that. I’ve seen the sewers, and the covers do not look like that! I might believe an old drinking water spigot though. That to me is likelier. Did l just start a new legend? :-) .

Most people probably know about the mouth of the truth from the movie Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory peck. I am including a little snippet of the movie. It is a favorite of mine, and shows a few highlights from this beautiful, now chaotic city.

The Santa Maria church itself is quite small when compared to others, but it is still nice inside. It is thought to contain the tomb of Saint Valentine, but that might be another legend. You should know that there is always a line to get your picture taken at the mouth of the truth, and they request one picture per person only, so as to keep the line moving. It is free though, so it’s something one does just to say you have. The bus stop is right out front, and the tour buses are aplenty. Cheesy? yes, touristy? yes again. So what? :-). One doesn’t get to Rome too often.

mouth of the truth church in Rome

Inside the Santa Maria Church

Santa Maria Church, Rome holy water

Holy water.. I needed it.

Across the street, there is the Vesta Temple, house of the Vestal virgins, the keepers of the eternal flame. Some say it was the temple of Hercules, so who knows?. In my opinion, this, along with the mouth of the truth is worth of a visit. This was my second visit there. If you recall, a lot of my old pictures were lost when our computer crashed :-(, so part of our trip to Rome this past Christmas was to play tourist and take photos again.

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Temple of the Vestal Virgins at the piazza La Bocca dela Verita

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Fountain at the Piazza

Anagrafe office Rome,Via Petrocelli

Via Petrocelli Street view from the mouth of the truth 3rd building from the left is the “Anagrafe” office where all birth records are kept.


Have you been to the mouth of the truth? Is this too cheesy for you? or are you like me who poses with gusto?

Fashion Museum in Malaga, Spain

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Fashion Museum

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Placard detailing who wore what..

 Malaga’s Fashion Museum:

A few months ago, Federico and l had visited the Auto museum here in the city of Malaga, which l wrote about here. It is actually a car and fashion museum. I guess the owner, that very wealth man from Portugal, Joao Magalhaes, has a passion for both cars and haute couture. This is  a very smart move in my opinion. You gotta love one or the other. I happen to like both. While he drooled over the cars that l was not interested in, l spent a fair amount of time imagining myself in all these beautiful designer clothes.

Lovely dresses..

Lovely dresses..



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Some of the clothes are paired with cars belonging to the owners or the owner’s girlfriends etc. and they have little placards attached to them with a bit of history. They were written in both English and Spanish, which helped a lot as we did not spring for the cost of headphones. A lot of the dresses and hats belonged to both socialites like Wallis Simpson and Peggy Guggenheim, and celebrities like Eva Peron, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Madonna and Ava Gardner.

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fashion museum hats


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The designers include Balmain, Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Channel and that perennial favorite, Louis Vuitton. This fashion museum is a place one could easily spend a few hours, like we did. The place is available, as are the cars for functions such as weddings. There is actually a chapel inspired by the Moulin Rouge. I think l could totally get into that, a 20’s flapper styled wedding.

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museo automovil malaga chapel

The wedding chapel that gets transformed..

Even l recognized Pucci :-)

Even l recognized Pucci :-)

The car collection is over 25 million Euros. I think it is a safe bet that the collection of fashion dresses, hats, and vintage luggage here, also runs into the millions. The crazy thing is, l don’t think this guy even lives in Spain! If this was my collection, you can bet l would have a penthouse view of it :-), and spend all day saying “my precious” :-) :-) :-)

This fashion museum to me, is a must see if you find yourself in Malaga. The entrance fee is a very reasonable €7.50 for general admission.

Would you care for the fashion museum at all? for the dresses? or would it strictly be cars like Federico?

Nerja Caves of Malaga, Spain




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The Nerja Cave (s) is located in the province of Malaga called Nerja. It is about 40 miles East of Malaga City where we live. It sits up high above the town of Nerja, one of those idyllic beach towns with white houses clustered together and narrow streets that constantly reminds you of Greece. During the winter, it is mostly full of retired folks who enjoy the warmer climate. In the summer, it is host to millions of tourists, most of whom are seeking sunshine, beaches and tapas under the Spanish sky.


We decided to visit the Nerja Cave yesterday. Normally, one would take a bus from the city, but we gave blablacar  a try. We had been seeing the commercials on television. Think of blablacar as paid hitchhiking. A car owner offers up space in his/her car to strangers for a fee. I was further convinced to try it when l saw this review by Jessica over at she dreams of travel. It was quite painless. I went online and searched for someone going to Nerja. We ended up getting a ride from a lovely lady from Holland who had the sweetest little dog. We were joined by a 4th person, a girl from Chile. The ride was about 40 minutes. It gave me a chance to practice some Spanish. The ride was enjoyable, and we definitely plan on using blablacar again. It cost €3 each as opposed to the public transportation cost of €4.50. The best part was that it was direct. We took the bus back, and the journey time was double because the bus had so many stops. A big thumbs up for blablacar :-) .

 Inside the Nerja Cave:

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Nerja Cave image

Inside the Nerja Cave

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The Nerja Cave was rediscovered by five friends in 1959 who had entered through a sinkhole called La Mina. There are actually 3 caves, but only one is open to the public. The other 2 were discovered in 1960 and 1969. Supposedly, they have discovered Neanderthal cave paintings in them, and there are ongoing studies. It would be neat if they were to open those up eventually too.

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Chasing the light so l can be seen :-)

Chasing the light so l can be seen :-)

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The Nerja Cave (s) have been there for about 5 million years!!! At various times, they were inhabited either by people, or by cave hyenas. It is about 3 miles long in total. The cave open to the public is divided into like 10 rooms, with names like Bethlehem, Waterfall, Ghosts and Waterfall. You are allowed to take pictures, but can not use any flash, so you can just imagine how insanely difficult it was trying to take good photos. Hopefully, you are able to get an idea of how immense and truly magnificent this place is.

Inspiration for the Sagrada?

Inspiration for the Sagrada?

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The Stalactite (the ones hanging from the ceiling) and the Stalagmites (the ones rising from the floor) are made from water getting into the fissures of rock and then over the years, with help from landslides etc. forming these incredibly awe inspiring, humongous things. It is easy to see where Gaudi got his inspiration for the Sagrada Familia Church. He was inspired by nature. It certainly doesn’t get more inspiring than this!

Nerja Cave

Kind of spooky.. especially when there are maybe 10 people in the whole cave..

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A visit to the Nerja Cave is absolutely recommended by yours truly if you find yourself in Malaga. The entry fee is €9, and it takes about an hour if you go straight through, without the crowds of course. Another cool thing about the Nerja Cave is the Amphitheater right in there, with free concerts held at various times yearly. Apparently, the acoustics are great. I agree with that. We were alone on the stage, and l sang “Ave Maria” at the top of my lungs thinking we were alone, until we walked past it, and the guard said “Ola” while laughing!!! :-) . That’s how dark it was!!!

Nerja Cave Amphiteater

The stage where l gave my concert!

The other famous landmark close to the Nerja Cave is the Eagle Aqueduct in Maro, which is about 2 minutes from there. It was built in the 19th century and was used to transport water from a spring in Maro to an old abandoned ruin of a sugar factory, which we saw from the top, but didn’t get close to.

Nerja Cave, eagle aqueduct

Eagle Aqueduct of Maro


Does the Nerja Cave sound interesting to you? Is it someplace you would like to see? Does it make you want to visit Malaga?

Papetto Ristorante – Eating like a local in Rome

Papetto Ristorante - Rome

Papetto ristorante interior

We came early..


Ristorante Papetto is a local, out of the touristy area seafood restaurant in Rome. I know what you’re saying “just when you thought you were safe from food posts, l pull you back in”. So sorry, but l would be a total twat if l did not show you the delightful meal that you could have at this insanely good, family run restaurant.

*Not sponsored*

His nephew is ready!!! :-)

His nephew is ready!!! :-)

So are they..

So are they..

There is no menu at Papetto. It is a set price of €35 for adults. They don’t really charge for little kids, at least not any of the times (4) we’ve been there over the years. There are 3 main rooms that seats roughly 200 people combined,  and they are always packed. You definitely need a reservation because it is always full, weekday and weekends. None of the family speaks English, and you certainly won’t hear any around you. It’s a good thing, as they only have to bring you the food. There are about 12 courses in all, and the food depends on the catch of the day. I will let the pictures do the talking. This comes with all the house wine you can consume, (red and white), soft drinks and water.


Seafood salad, and you have to do the “scarpetta”, mop up the juices with bread! Delicious









The best lemon sorbet ever! I always ask for a second..

The best lemon sorbet ever! I always ask for a second..

But l skip the tiramisu always..

But l skip the tiramisu always..


Some of the plates are individual portions, and sometimes you get a platter for the table. You can always ask for more. I wouldn’t recommend it :-). You don’t want to get too filled up before the next course, a mistake l made the first time. As a lover of seafood, l am in heaven here, and we always make sure we dine here whenever we visit his family. I somehow forgot to take pictures of the salmon crostini and oysters (my brother in law had that all to himself, as no one else eats it). You definitely need to go on empty stomach, and the meal will last for like 2-3 hours. I highly recommend Papetto if you want to eat like the Romans. You can take the No. 8 train in from the center, its only about a 15 minute ride, maybe less, and drops you practically at the door.

Are you a lover of seafood? Can you see yourself demolishing this Roman fare? or are you more a meat and potatoes kind of person? Perhaps a vegan?

Alcazaba and Teatro Romano, Malaga, Spain

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Alcazaba in the back of the Teatro Romano


Entrance to the Alcazaba gardens

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Just like that, another one bites the dust! We have said goodbye to 2014 in grand fashion here in Malaga. Yesterday was the last day that the festive lights were lit, so we headed to the center for one last look. It’s been wicked cold for the past 3 weeks or so here. We dressed warmly and headed out to first to visit the Alcazaba, which has free entry on Sundays from 2-6Pm. We stopped for some tapas at the Plaza De La Merced, and got chatting with an Italian guy, so it was quite some time before we made our way to the Teatro Romano, and the Alcazaba, which is directly behind it.

Oranges in bloom

Oranges in bloom

Hobbits live here, but l think these were the lock ups for the maidens

Hobbits live here, but l think these were the lock ups for the maidens

As said previously, the Roman theatre was discovered about 60 years ago in Malaga, and it is a source of pride for the Malaguenos. It dates back to the first century, during the days of  Caesar Augustus. We were running late, and quickly headed for the Alcazaba. Luckily, there wasn’t a line, so off we went. The Alcazaba used to be a military fortress (Citadel) that was built by the Arabic people in the eleventh century. There are three palaces inside it, as well as dungeons where they used to keep the Christian maidens to “rest after their services”. I can’t even begin to imagine what that means, let’s all let our imaginations run wild :-)

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See how low l still am compared to the top?

The Plaza de Toro in the background. We'll do the other half at a later time :-)

The Plaza de Toro in the background. We’ll do the other half at a later time :-)


alcazaba view Malaga

Expansive views..really lovely

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Unfortunately, we did not get to the top before the place closed :-( . I say that as l would have liked to think l would have made it. Truth be told, l was tired! We made it level 9 (Granada Court) of the gardens, and it looked like we were only halfway..yikes! There are several defense towers and double walls. It is definitely a great place to spend the afternoon and is quite impressive.. The higher you go, the more spectacular the view. There are so many places to sit, relax, read a book or do some canoodling as we saw many a couple doing. It was also nice to sit on the benches, people watch and laugh my butt off at the girls in like 6 inch heels navigating the cobble stones and a few falling on their keisters :-). The day turned out to be gorgeous, like 70 degrees, people were sunbathing, and so many of us were frying in our sweaters and coats!

Bird in hand! Get it???? ;-)

Bird in hand! Get it???? ;-)

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That's all she wrote, last night of the lights till next holiday season

That’s all she wrote, last night of the lights till next holiday season

At some point, we intend to go back and get to the top, either by walking (yeah..right..) or by taking a bus that goes up there every so often. Most people take a cab up. It really isn’t for the faint at heart. I’m excited because l want to see all the Arabian influenced artwork and mosaic tiles. It is the distant, little baby sister of the Alhambra, but we’ll take it!

Would you care to visit Alcazaba if you made it to Malaga? or would you prefer the challenge of the Alhambra? which is even more humongous? Perhaps you are a daredevil who would do both, after all, Granada is just about 90 minutes from here!