By Jim Miles
Rome, Georgia, received its name from the fact that, like its namesake, it rests on hills. In 1928 The Cotillion Company constructed a rayon factory, a joint Italian-American project, in the city. Italian President Benito Mussolini, still a good guy for making the trains run on time, sent a marble block from the Forum in Rome to serve as a cornerstone. The words, “From Old Rome to New Rome,” were engraved on it.
The Capitoline Wolf
The factory opened in April 1929 and several months later a unique gift arrived from Mussolini, a bronze statue of the infants Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, suckling from a large she wolf. The original work, an ancient Etruscan piece, is on Rome’s Capitoline Hill in the Pallazio dei Conservatori.
The 1,500 pound reproduction, standing on a pedestal of Georgia marble, has a plaque with an inscription in Italian, which, translated, reads: “This statue of the Capitoline Wolf, as a forecast of prosperity and glory, has been sent from Ancient Rome to New Rome, during the consulship of Benito Mussolini, in the year 1929.”
The Capitoline Wolf had some rough times in north Georgia. One of the twins disappeared in 1933, but was replaced by the Rotary Club. When Mussolini allied himself with Adolf Hitler, threats to dynamite the artwork led to its removal, an exile that lasted until 1952. It rests today in front of Rome’s City Hall, a proud symbol of the city.
Jim Miles is the author of two Weird Georgia books, seven books about Georgia ghosts and eight books about the Civil War. To see all of his books go to the Jim Miles Author Page on Amazon. Order autographed books or contact Jim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org