Probes revealed a ceiling with a white eagle at the centre

Italian archaeologists say they have found the long-lost underground grotto where ancient Romans believed a female wolf suckled the city’s twin founders.

The cave believed to be the Lupercal was found near the ruins of Emperor Augustus’ palace on the Palatine hill.

The 8m (26ft) high cave decorated with shells, mosaics and marble was found during restoration work on the palace.

According to mythology Romulus and Remus were nursed by a she-wolf after being left on the River Tiber’s banks.

The twin sons of the god Mars and priestess Rhea Silvia are said to have later founded Rome on the Palatine in 753 BC.

The brothers ended up fighting over who should be in charge of the city, a power struggle which ended only after Romulus killed his brother.

In Roman times a popular festival called the Lupercalia was held annually on 15 February.

Young nobles called Luperci, taking their name from the place of the wolf (lupa), ran from the Lupercal around the bounds of the Palatine in what is believed to have been a purification ritual.

Read more

Read more

Advertisements