The Italian Almanac

lupa capitolina

Italian News - February 15

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of Mars, the god of war, who were suckled as infants by a she-wolf in the woods. Now, archaeologists believe they have found evidence that at least part of that tale may be true: Traces of a royal palace discovered in the Roman Forum have been dated to roughly the period of the eternal city's legendary foundation.

Where previously archaeologists had only found huts dating to the 8th century B.C., Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome's Sapienza University who has been conducting excavations at the Forum for more than 20 years, unearthed traces of regal splendor: A 3,700-square-foot palace, 1,130 square feet of which were covered and the rest courtyard. There was a monumental entrance, and elaborate furnishings and ceramics.

Carandini said the residence had "absolutely extraordinary dimensions, dimensions not formerly known" and so "it could be nothing other than the royal palace," adding that during that period the average abode was about one-tenth the size.

Eugenio La Rocca, the superintendent for monuments for the city of Rome, said Carandini's interpretation of the ruins appears to be accurate. "Whoever created the legend did so with the knowledge that behind it there was a historical foundation," he told. "That doesn't mean the story of Romulus and Remus necessarily happened that way, but only that memory as it was handed down by the majority of the Latin writers is much more than a hypothesis."