Useful Information

Location: Rome center. Below the ruins of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine hill.
Open: not open [2007]
Fee: not open [2007]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: n/a.
Dimension: Ø=6.5 m, H=7.1 m, D=16 m.
Guided tours:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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21-APR-753 BC Rome founded by Romulus and Remus.
494 ceremonies at cave stopped by Pope Gelasius.
2006 Lupercale rediscovered.


Lupercale is the cave where a she-wolf nursed the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. They were the sons of the war god Mars and mortal priestess Rhea Silvia. The two small children were abandoned in a cradle in the swamps along the Tiber river, and saved by a female wolf. Later they where found and raised by a shepherd named Faustulus. When grown up, they founded Rome at the same place. The swamps were dried and the city, now covering seven hills, became the center of civilization.

Obviously this cave, so important for the city, was a sort of temple during Roman times, but it was lost, and never rediscovered. Ancient reports tell that the Lupercale is located close to the Emperor's palace. Recently a huge cavern has been discovered beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine hill. Archaeologists from the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Rome Municipality were surveying the foundations of the building when they discovered a cavern. They took some photos with a probe which show a richly decorated vault.

The name Lupercale is derived from the Latin word for wolf, lupus. The place was used as a temple, where once a year on 15-FEB the Lupercalia celebration took place. The priests killed a dog and two goats and smeared the sacrificial blood on the foreheads of two boys from noble families. But in 494 AD Pope Gelasius put an end to the tradition and the cave was forgotten.

We added this page, because Lupercale is an important cave of world history. At the moment this new discovery is not open to the public, it is not even explored. But as an location of great historic importance we are convinced it will soon be explored and probably will be open to the public in a few years. Part of the emperor's residence is planned to be opened to the public in a few months.