Gregory Peck pretends the inside of the Mouth of Truth to be an infernal Dantean cave intent to eat the lying hand while Audrey Hepburn, visibly scared, tries to help him free from the marble predator. It’s Roman Holiday setting, historic film produced by William Wyler (1953), in which the scaring screaming of Anna didn’t seem to be from the script, but due to a sincere terror caused by the funny american actor who, improvising the scene, scared the movie diva. A modern reality in the Fifties. Maybe Hepburn let herself be influenced by one of the countless legends about unfaithfulness or hidden truths put to the test by the oracular mouth, ready to swallow whoever tried to lie hands up. Among the hypothesis about its origin, the most spreaded sustain that the famous bearded icon of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church is an ancient manhole cover, and in the large disc of stone were carved the features of a fluvial divinity. In the inside of the Basilica, the Skull of Saint Valentine, less publicized relic but as much riveting, that lies among the roses in company of the others many memories of the martyrs. The american journalist and the beautiful heiress went across all the most characteristic places of the Eternal City during the film shooting, followed by enthusiastic crazy local fans to whom the director committed to judge every scene, asking them to put their thumb up or down as in the ancient Rome, when the sovereign people decided the unfortunate gladiators’ faith with this symbolic and terrifyng gesture.
Memorable protagonist of the cinematic tour of Anna and Joe , the Trevi Fountain, indecorously sold, years later, to a naive Italian-American tourist in Totòtruffa62 (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1961) from the pretended “owner” Antonio. Thanks to his
entrepreneurial abilities, Totò had probably already committed to the couple Mastroianni- Ekberg, willing to pay exorbitant digit for a love bath in its famous and sung waters, on the strenght of an intense and irregular Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1960). The Trevi Fountain, where according to the legend you throw a coin to come back to Rome, was part of the Acquedotto Vergine, builted by Agrippa to feed his Thermae and named this way because, according to the legend, a girl (virgo), now immortalized in the niche next to the Ocean’s statue, showed soldiers the spring. Old fairytales describe the fountain as an eternal stage for lovers, whom after savouring its tasty water, broke the oblation goblet sealing a faithfulness pact before every parting.
Rome has been the secular scenery of many films, as Il Marchese Del Grillo (Mario Monicelli, 1981), in which a crowd of Swiss army breathless arrays under the Castel Sant’Angelo walls after earing the bells sound that announces the Pope’ death, after the irriverent joke organized by an hilarious Albero Sordi.
Adriano’s mausoleum, fortress, shelter for pontiffs and prison, the monument from immemorial time represents awesome inspiration for works of art left in history, as the Tosca, in which the painter Cavaradossi, prisoner at Castel Sant’Angelo, whom languish for the memory of the intense moments passed with his lover, when in the sky the stars twinkled, the garden door squealed and she came in, passioned and perfumed. Between sweet kisses and languid caresses, him, tremulous, the beautiful features released from the voile. In 590, during a procession for pushing away an unmanageable pestilence, the Pope Gregorio Magno dreamed an angel who put his sword back in the scabbard, symbol of the end of the terrible calamity. The bronze statue of the archangel today stand over the Mole Adrianorum, around which still waft the dramatic notes of the last act of Puccini.
by Roberta Paoletti