"La cosa che depone a favore del fatto che sia davvero il Lupercale e' che, essendo il ninfeo una struttura circolare di cui tre quarti sono scavati nella roccia, fa pensare che si tratti effettivamente di una grotta".
Cosi' Francesco Rutelli, a margine dell'inaugurazione della casa di Augusto, ha espresso la sua opinione sulla veridicita' o meno sul fatto che quello ritrovato, il Lupercale, sia realmente il luogo nel quale la lupa allatto' Romolo e Remo.
Rispondendo in inglese alla domanda di una giornalista straniera, Rutelli ha detto che a Roma "tradizione, storia e fede vanno a braccetto" riferendosi al fatto che definire in termini scientifici i reperti archeologici come il Lupercale e' un'operazione complessa dal momento che mette insieme componenti diverse tra loro. Rutelli e' poi tornato a parlare del Museo della storia antica di Roma che dovrebbe sorgere presso l'ufficio elettorale di via dei Cerchi. Su questo ha dichiarato: "Noi dobbiamo avere un grande luogo di spiegazione al pubblico della citta', perche' esiste un problema di divulgazione di massa". Rutelli immagina il Museo della storia antica come luogo di incontro tra reperti archeologici e divulgazione attraverso le nuove tecnologie cosi' da compiere 'una visita virtuale della Roma antica'. Sui tempi e costi dell'opera Rutelli ha chiuso con una battuta: "Bisogna chiederlo al prossimo sindaco".
I still don't buy it ... if folks are still bugged by this like I am, check out the Italian Culture Ministry's page ... there are maps and plans there (as well as dossiers of all the press coverage, in case you've missed it). Looking at the maps (again) I am beginning to be more in agreement with Adriano La Regina, who was one of the early skeptics of the claim:
But Adriano La Regina, Rome's superintendent of archaeology from 1976 to 2004, said ancient descriptions of the place suggest the Lupercale is elsewhere -- 50 to 70 meters northwest of the cave discovered near Emperor Augustus' palace. "I am positive this is not the Lupercale," La Regina told Reuters in an interview.
Instead, he believes the cave -- which ministry pictures show is decorated with well-preserved seashells and colored mosaics -- was a room in Nero's first palace on the Palatine Hill, which burnt down in 64 AD in the great fire of Rome.
The Culture Ministry had no immediate comment on the statements from La Regina, who pointed to a description of the Lupercale given by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus in his major work on early Roman history, "Roman Antiquities."
Dionysius said the Lupercale, which draws its name from the Latin word for wolf, was close to the Temple of Victory, also on the Palatine Hill, while the cave unveiled this week was found near the Temple of Apollo.
Here's what Dionysius says (1.32, via Lacus Curtius):
As for the Arcadians, when they had joined in a single settlement at the foot of the hill, they proceeded to adorn their town with all the buildings to which they had been accustomed at home and to erect temples. And first they built a temple to the Lycaean Pan by the direction of Themis (for to the Arcadians Pan is the most ancient and the most honoured of all the gods), when they had found a suitable site for the purpose. This place the Romans call the Lupercal, but we should call it Lykaion or "Lycaeum." Now, it is true, since the district about the sacred precinct has been united with the city, it has become difficult to make out by conjecture the ancient nature of the place. Nevertheless, at first, we are told, there was a large cave under the hill overarched by a dense wood; deep springs issued from beneath the rocks, and the glen adjoining the cliffs was shaded by thick and lofty trees. In this place they raised an altar to the god and performed their traditional sacrifice, which the Romans have continued to offer up to this day in the month of February, after the winter solstice, without altering anything in the rites then performed. The manner of this sacrifice will be related later. Upon the summit of the hill they set apart the precinct of Victory and instituted sacrifices to her also, lasting throughout the year, which the Romans performed even in my time.
The Temple of Apollo is practically right on top of the thing they're calling the Lupercal. Even given Dionysius' shortcomings in many areas, it is really difficult to believe that he would neglect to mention the proximity of the Lupercal to the Temple of Apollo, as opposed to the (still uncertain) location of the Temple of Victory. And just in case folks are wondering, the Temple of Apollo was dedicated in 28 B.C.; Dionysius lived ca 60 B.C. to sometime after 7 B.C..