Best Of 2019

Best Gift from Mussolini: Capitoline Wolf statue in Eden Park

Yep, the rumors are true: The Capitoline Wolf statue in Eden Park was a gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini — and that’s not even the strangest part. The bronze sculpture depicts a she-wolf nursing two young boys, and it’s every bit as intriguing to witness in person as you would imagine. Intended to honor Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Roman statesman, farmer and namesake of our dear city, the two thirsty boys represent Romulus and Remus, twins whose story relates to the founding of Rome — in fact, various images of the boys suckling a she-wolf have served as symbols of the Roman people since ancient times. So how did it get here? Mussolini sent it over for a Sons of Italy convention in 1929… sort of: He gave us an exact replica of one in Rome’s Musei Capitolini, but it was switched out for a larger one in 1931. And that is the one that has remained in place ever since. Inscribed with “Il Governatore di Roma alla Citta di Cincinnati 1931 Anno X” — “from the governor of Rome to the city of Cincinnati in 1931 (year 10 of Mussolini’s reign)” — it sits at Twin Lakes, a former quarry that now boasts two lakes and views of the Ohio River. Eden Park, 950 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com.