At rex sollicitus monstris oracula Fauni,
fatidici genitoris, adit lucosque sub alta
consulit Albunea, nemorum quae maxima sacro
fonte sonat saevamque exhalat opaca mephitim.
hinc Italae gentes omnisque Oenotria tellus
in dubiis responsa petunt.
The traditional view from the time of Servius onwards has been that this passage refers to a shrine in the neighbourhood of Tibur, and that the waters described are those of the sulphur lakes of Albula, white and strong-smelling, which lie two miles away in the open country. This view was first challenged by Bonstetten in 1805, and his theory has been further developed by Carcopino. The main objections to the old view are, firstly, that Albula lies about thirty miles north in the Sabine region, well away both from the district in which is set the action of the last six books of the Aeneid, and from the home of Latinus, whether the latter was at Laurentum (the existence of which is now doubted by some scholars) or at Lavinium; secondly, the difference in name, for that the springs near Tibur were called ‘Albula’ is well attested by ancient notices; and thirdly, the difficulty of access. Both Bonstetten and Carcopino are in agreement in locating the oracle at the sulphur springs near Pratica di Mare, the ancient Lavinium : neither, however, seems to have investigated the site as fully as was desirable, and it may be of interest to give the results of a further exploration.