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Camilla Verdacchi

The cave where it all began ...

It is believed that the mythical cave where the twins Romulus and Remus were nursed by the she-wolf is located in the deep of the Palatine Hill, on the south-west side.

However, the exact location has remained a fascinating mystery for centuries, and scholars determined to find it have meticulously and passionately sifted the hill.

We know that, as early as 1526, the Roman antiquarian Bartolomeo Marliano descended into a tunnel on the Palatine, telling that he had seen "a temple adorned with sea shells and stones composed together ..." where, at the top of the vault, it was possible to recognize the image of a white eagle.

We also know that in the nineteenth century the famous archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani was convinced that the site seen in the sixteenth century was precisely the Lupercale.

However, it must be said that there has always been a lively debate around the topic.

Some scholars are perplexed, and believe that this cave is nothing more than a splendid nymphaeum, or perhaps a triclinium.

From here, in ancient times, the Lupercalia festival began, linked to the totemic symbol of the city, the she-wolf.

From here the wolf priests started running around the hill, whipping the ground, the women and any person who came within range.

An ancient print depicting the Lupercalia

This fertility rite dedicated to Luperco (ancient Latin god identified with the wolf sacred to Mars) took place on February 15.

But now let's come to the present day, or almost.

In 2007, during the restoration of the House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill (reopened to the public in 2008), a sensational discovery was made: the Italian archaeologist Irene Iacopi claims to have found the Lupercale, the mythical cave we are talking about.

But how does the find happen? Thanks to a technological tool that has only been in use for a few years, a probe equipped with a laser scanner that, penetrating the belly of the Palatine, is able to transmit data of exceptional importance to the surface.

On that occasion, 27 feet below the ground level a golden dome emerges, decorated with a mosaic with glass paste, pumice stone and exotic shells.
The dome is relevant to an environment that sinks up to sixteen meters underground.

The hundreds of photos recorded and reworked by the computer also show us, on the vault of the dome, a white eagle on a blue background, exactly like the one described by Marliano in the sixteenth century!

One of the most beautiful photos sent to the surface by the probe that archaeologists have managed to send into what appears to be the Lupercale cave

But while Marliano descended into the cavity personally, through a tunnel that he had found, today archaeologists are still forced to use the technologies described above, since they still have not managed to find the entrance to the site.

It seems, therefore, that it is precisely the cave of the she-wolf (but will it have been a she-wolf? I'll talk about it soon), origin of Rome, a sacred place, revered and decorated for centuries, apparently up to the fifth century.

In the aftermath the abandonment, the Christianization of the city and, in the same place as Lupercale, the construction of the churches of San Teodoro and Sant’Anastasia.

I look forward to seeing you on the Palatine Hill for an unforgettable tour dedicated to the origins of our beloved Rome!

The exciting moment when the probe lowered into the belly of the Palatine Hill by archaeologists began to reveal the presence of what appears to be the Lupercale

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Some reviews of people that I have had the pleasure of guiding on my tours

Daniela L.
Daniela L.
The tour I wanted
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The tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill that I have wanted to do for a long time. Camilla was a perfect choice. Prepared, friendly, patient with my many questions. I will recommend her to my friends. Thanks Camilla!
Fabio T.
Fabio T.
The squares of Rome are very interesting
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My wife and I went on a tour of Rome's squares with Camilla. Although I was a little skeptical at first and took this tour by suggestion of my wife, I must say it turned out to be spectacular, and that Camilla was simply a fantastic guide.
Gianna B.
Gianna B.
Vatican exploration to remember
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I had always tried to imagine what was behind the Vatican doors. This tour finally introduced me to a reality that had intrigued me all my life.
Roberto R.
Roberto R.
Rome in a Day
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Without straining we were able to see in one day all the most famous glimpses of Rome, also recognizing many places seen in the great films of Italian cinema. A day that I would suggest to anyone who goes to Rome.
Cristina C.
Cristina C.
Forum and Palatine
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We all know the Colosseum, but perhaps we know less about the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Camilla has a perfect way to make you "travel" in Imperial Rome, among historical data, curiosities, secrets ... Not only a great day, but also useful, very useful!
Luigi Z.
Luigi Z.
As a teacher I tell you: do it!
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All my life I taught History and Letters in high school, and I thought that a tour like the Colosseum could tell me little, and in fact I had organized it mostly for my wife and my daughter. Actually, this guide has been able to illuminate some aspects of the life of Roman citizens that were completely unknown to me. We never know enough about Rome.
Emma G.
Emma G.
The Sistine Chapel is an incredible emotion
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Before doing this tour of the Vatican I knew that the Sistine Chapel is one of the most important and famous works of art in the world, but I would never have imagined the emotion that entering that place caused me. There are no words to describe it. Thanks Camilla, for your expert and complete guide.
Mara K.
Mara K.
How nice the tour of the squares!
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When we think of the squares of Rome we always imagine the most famous ones, such as the Spanish Steps or Piazza Navona. But those who are not from Rome, like me, often do not even suspect how beautiful many other squares of this incredible city can be! I recommend you do this tour with Mrs. Verdacchi, you won't regret it!
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