Century after century, she has stood watch over the Roman Forum, looking down from the Capitoline Hill. Many tourists walk right by her without a second glance. But, she is the very symbol of Rome. And to this day, she is very much beloved.
The Capitoline She-Wolf, also know as La Lupa, stands on a column next to the Palazzo Senatorio in Piazza del Campidoglio, on the top of Capitoline Hill. If you stand with your back to the giant steps leading up to the piazza, look beyond the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. La Lupa is off to the left, on the side of the building, near a set of small stairs government officials frequently use to enter and exit the palazzo.
The side of the wall is filled with various plaques, detracting from the little statue of Rome’s “First Lady.”
So, who is the Capitoline She-Wolf? It’s a bit of a long story.
However, like Moses, the twins somehow made it safely to riverbank, where they were found by the She-Wolf, who suckled them with her milk until they were found by a herdsman who raised them.
Later, like Cain and Abel, Romulus slew his brother in a fit of rage.
While we can’t be sure of the rest of the story, it is indeed true that the first settlement of Rome occurred on the Palatine Hill, above the oft swelling Tiber, where small round huts were built around 750 B.C.E.
The statue on the column is a copy of the original, which is now housed in the Capitoline Museums, and has been dated to the 11th Century. The twin baby boys, which clearly have a different design, were added later.
The She-Wolf was the symbol of Rome even in ancient times:
Today, if you look, you’ll find representations of her scattered throughout Rome. Here’s one I spotted when running an errand:
Today, she’s the symbol of the venerable soccer team, A.S. Roma: