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Title: Letters of an Architect, from France, Italy, and Greece, Volume 2 (of 2) - In Two Volumes
Author: Woods, Joseph
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters of an Architect, from France, Italy, and Greece, Volume 2 (of 2) - In Two Volumes" ***

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FRANCE, ITALY, AND GREECE, VOLUME 2 (OF 2) ***



                           Transcriber’s Note


When italics were used in the original book, the corresponding text has
been surrounded by _underscores_. Superscripted letters are preceded by
^ and when more than one character is superscripted, the chacarcters are
surrounded by {}.

Some corrections have been made to the printed text. These are listed in
a second transcriber’s note at the end of the text.

[Illustration:

A. B. Clayton del from Sketches by J Woods W^m. Miller Sculp.

RUINS ON THE PALATINE TOWARDS THE CIRCUS MAXIMUS. ]



                                LETTERS

                                 OF AN

                               ARCHITECT,

                                  FROM

                       FRANCE, ITALY, AND GREECE.


                                   BY

                   JOSEPH WOODS, F.A.S. F.L.S. F.G.S.

                        AND CORRESPONDING MEMBER
               OF THE SOCIETY OF GEORGOFILI AT FLORENCE.

                            IN TWO VOLUMES.

                                VOL. II.



                                LONDON:
                              PRINTED FOR
                  JOHN AND ARTHUR ARCH, 61, CORNHILL.

                                 1828.



  J. M‘Creery, Tooks Court,
  Chancery-lane, London.



                           TABLE OF CONTENTS.

                                VOL. II.


                              LETTER XXXI.

                                 ROME.

Wall of Tarquinius Superbus, 1.—Circus of Sallust, 1.—Temple of Venus
  Erycina, 2.—Villa by Milizia, 2.—Fontana di Termini, 2.—Santa Maria
  della Vittoria, 2.—Bath of Dioclesian, 3.—Church of San Bernardo,
  3.—Santa Maria degli Angeli, 4.—Convent, 5.—Agger of Servius Tullius,
  5.—Church of Santa Bibiena, 5.—Temple of Minerva Medica,
  5.—Columbarium of the family Aruntia, 5.—Temple of Venus and Cupid,
  6.—Arch of Dolabella and Silanus, 6.—San Stefano Rotondo,
  6.—Navicella, 7.—Church of Santa Maria di Navicella, 7.—Church of
  Santi Giovanni e Paolo, 7.—Nymphæum, 8.—Church of San Gregorio,
  8.—Chapel of St. Andrew, 8.—Septizonium, 8.—Circus Maximus,
  9.—Aventine, 9.—Church of Santa Saba, 9.—Monte Testaccio,
  9.—Burying-ground, 10.—Pyramid of Caius Cestius, 10.—Arch of San
  Lazzaro, 10.—Strada Marmorata, 10.—Madama Lucrezia, 10.—Church of S.
  Marco, 10.—Palazzo di Venezia, 11.—Rinuccini, 11.—Altieri, 11.—Doria,
  11.—Sciarra, 11.—Monte Citorio, 12.—Solar obelisk, 12.—Palazzo Ghigi,
  12.

                             LETTER XXXII.

                           TRASTEVERE—WALLS.

Church of San Carlo nel Corso, 13.—Gesù e Maria, 13.—Palazzo Rondadini,
  13.—Mausoleum of Augustus, 13.—Ripetta, 13.—Palazzo Borghese,
  14.—Church of Sant Agostino, 14.—San Luigi de’ Francesi, 14.—Palazzo
  Madama, 14.—Piazza Navona, 15.—Portico of the church of San Pantaleo,
  15.—Palazzo Braschi, 15.—Pasquin, 16.—Church of Santa Maria dell’
  Anima, 16.—Church of Santa Maria della Pace, 16.—Cloisters, 16.—Chiesa
  Nuova, 17.—Oratorio of San Filippo Neri, 17.—San Giovanni de’
  Fiorentini, 17.—Bridge of Sant Angelo, 17.—Mausoleum of Hadrian,
  17.—Hospital of Spirito Santo, 18.—Porta di Spirito Santo, 18.—Church
  of Sant Onofrio, 18.—Palazzo Corsini, 19.—Fontana di Ponte Sisto,
  20.—Church of the Trinità de Pellegrini, 20.—Monte di Pietà,
  20.—Botanic garden, 20.—Fontana Paolina, 20.—San Pietro in Montorio,
  20.—Tempietto of Bramante, 21.—Santa Cecilia, 21.—Isola Tiberina,
  22.—Temple of Æsculapius, 22.—Palazzo Mattei, 22.—San Carlo a’
  Catinari, 22.—Santa Maria sopra Minerva, 22.—Statue of our Saviour,
  23.—Porta del Popolo, 23.—Walls, 23.—Muro torto, 23.—Porta Pia,
  23.—Prætorian camp, 24.—Porta San Lorenzo, 24.—Porta Maggiore,
  24.—Aqueducts, 24.—Anfiteatro castrense, 25.—Porta San Giovanni,
  25.—Porta Latina, 25.—Porta San Sebastiano, 25.—Porta San Paolo, 26.

                             LETTER XXXIII.

                         NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ROME.

Scenery about Rome, 27.—Casino of Raphael, 27.—Villa Borghese, 28.—Villa
  Poniatowski, 28.—Villa Giulia, 28.—Acqua acetosa, 29.—Monument to St.
  Andrew, 29.—Ponte Molle, 29.—Torre di Quinto, 29.—Tomb of Ovid,
  30.—Villa Madama, 30.—Monte Mario, 30.—Valle d’Inferno, 30.—Porta
  Angelica, 31.—Villa Albani, 31.—Ponte Salario, 31.—Ponte Lamentano,
  32.—Mons Sacer, 32.—Aqueducts, 32.—Torre Pignattara, 35.—Degradation
  of Roman architecture, 36.—Ruins composed of reticulated work,
  36.—Torre degli Schiavi, 37.

                             LETTER XXXIV.

                         NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ROME.

Baths of Caracalla, 39.—Great Halls, 39.—Tomb of the Scipios, 40.—Arch
  of Drusus, 41.—Sepulchre of Mars, 41.—Church of Domine quo vadis,
  42.—Church of St. Sebastian, 42.—Catacombs, 42.—Spoliarium, 43.—Very
  ancient sepulchre, 43.—Circus of Caracalla, 43.—Temple of Honour and
  Virtue, 44.—Temple of the Tempest, 44.—Temple of Bacchus at the
  Caffarelli, 45.—Grotto of Egeria, 45.—Temple of Rediculus,
  46.—Sepulchre of Cecilia Metella, 47.—Appian Way, 48.—Roma Vecchia,
  48.—Roman roads, 48.—Roman Temples, 49.—Tre Fontane, 49.—Villa
  Pamfili, 49.—Workshops (Canova), 50.—Thorwaldson, 50.—Fragments of
  Veii, 51.

                              LETTER XXXV.

                                TIVOLI.

Campagna, 52.—Lago de’ Tartari, 52.—Lago di Solfatara, 53.—Ponte Lucano,
  54.—Plautian monument, 54.—Sepulchres of the Sereni, 54.—Hadrian’s
  villa, 54.—Stage to Tivoli, 57.—Figures of Saints and Gods, 57.—Temple
  of Vesta, 57.—Opus incertum, 57.—Church of St. George, 59.—Waterfall,
  59.—Villas, 60.—Villa of Horace, 61.—Villa of Q. Varus, 61.—Cyclopean
  Walls, 62.—Villa of V. Bassus, 64.—Vetriano, 64.—Quarries of
  travertine, 64.—Aqueducts, 65.—Cascatelli, 66.—Acqua Aurea, 66.—Temple
  of the World, 67.—Temple of Tosse, 67.—Villa of Mæcenas, 67.—Temple of
  Hercules, 67.—Portico of Hercules, 67.—Villa d’Este, 67.

                             LETTER XXXVI.

                          SUBIACO—PALESTRINA.

Aqueducts, 68.—Road to Vico Varo, 70.—Villa of Syphax, 70.—Vico Varo,
  70.—Rocca Giovane, 70.—Licenza, 71.—Fons Bandusiæ, 71.—Villa of
  Horace, 72.—Convent of San Cosimato, 72.—Valley of the Anio,
  72.—Subiaco, 73.—Baths of Nero, 73.—Convent of Santa Scolastica,
  74.—Convent of St. Benedict, 74.—Road to Palestrina, 75.—Genezzano,
  75.—Palestrina, 76.—Temple of Fortune, 76.—Cyclopean Walls, 77.—Temple
  of the Sun, 77.—Villa of Constantine, 78.—Roman pavement, 78.

                             LETTER XXXVII.

                         TUSCULUM—ALBANO—OSTIA.

Procession to obtain rain, 79.—St. Peter’s toe, 79.—Frascati, 79.—Grotto
  Ferrata, 80.—Tusculum, 80.—Mondragone, 81.—Sepulchre of L. V.
  Corvinus, 81.—Rocca del Papa, 81.—Monte Cavo, 82.—Via triumphalis,
  82.—Villa of Domitian, 83.—Villa of Pompey, 83.—Lago di Albano,
  83.—Emissario, 84.—Baths of Diana, 84.—Thermæ at Albano, 85.—Tomb of
  the Curiatii, 85.—Remains of the Appian way, 85.—Aricia, 85.—Lake of
  Nemi, 85.—Nemi, 86.—Velletri, 86.—Cross-roads, 87.—Cora, 87.—Temple of
  Hercules, 87.—Temple of Castor and Pollux, 88.—Vases found at Marino,
  88.—Ostia, 90.—Mal aria, 90.—Port of Trajan, 91.—Sea-shore, 92.—Veii,
  92.—Gabii, 93.—Sylva sacra, 94.—Nettuno, 94.—Antium, 94.—Ardea, 94.

                            LETTER XXXVIII.

                          JOURNEY TO FLORENCE.

Companions in journey, 95.—Church at Monte Rosi, 96.—Nepi, 96.—Cività
  castellana, 96.—Poetical labourer, 97.—Otricoli, 97.—Narni, 97.—Terni,
  97.—Cascade, 98.—Somma, 102.—Spoleto, 102.—Temple of Clitumnus,
  103.—Foligno, 104.—Perugia, 104.—Thrasymene, 105.—Cortona, 106.—Grotto
  of Pythagoras, 106.—Arezzo, 106.—Church of the Pieve, 106.—Chapel in
  cathedral, 107.—Effects of slender supports, 108.—Murder, 108.

                             LETTER XXXIX.

                      MODENA—PARMA—MANTUA—FERRARA.

Boboli gardens, 110.—Cascine, 110.—Comparison of Florence and Rome,
  110.—Walk to Bologna, 111.—Volcano, 111.—Boiling spring,
  112.—Cathedral at Modena, 113.—Italian Gothic, 113.—Reggio, 113.—Santa
  Maria di Consolazione, 113.—Parma, 114.—Cathedral, 114.—Baptistery,
  114.—Paintings of Coreggio, 114.—Church of the Steccata, 114.—Academy,
  115.—Palace, 115.—Language, 115.—Po, 116.—Mantua, 116.—Cathedral,
  116.—Palazzo del Tè, 117.—Church of St. Sebastian, 117.—Sant Andrea,
  117.—Fish-market, 118.—Ponte di Lago Scuro, 118.—Ferrara,
  119.—Cathedral, 120.—Echoes, 120.—Journey to Imola, 121.—Faenza,
  121.—Raphael, 121.—Agriculture, &c. 122.

                               LETTER XL.

                                RAVENNA.

Ravenna, 124.—Church of San Vittore, 124.—Spirito Santo, 125.—Church of
  Santa Agata Maggiore, 125.—Monograms, 126.—San Giovanni della Sagra,
  126.—San Francesco, 127.—S. Apollinare nuova, 127.—S. Apollinare at
  Classe, 127.—Baptistery, 128.—Santa Maria in Cosmedim, 129.—S. Vitale,
  129.—Sepulchre of Galla Placidia, 130.—Sepulchre of Theodoric,
  131.—Palace of Theodoric, 132.—Library and museum, 133.—Tomb of Dante,
  133.—Cathedral, 133.—Campanile, 133.—Pine wood, 133.—Rimini,
  134.—Bridge of Augustus, 134.—Arch of Augustus, 134.—Cathedral,
  135.—Want of patriotic feeling among the Italians, 136.—Senegaglia,
  137.—Ancona, 137.—Arch of Trajan, 137.—Cathedral, 138.—Santa Maria
  della Piazza Collegiata, 138.—Loreto, 139.—Piazza, 139.—Church,
  139.—Holy house, 139.—Apothecary’s shop, 140.—Sermon, 140.—Miracles,
  142.—Journey to Macerata, 142.—Theatre, 143.—Apennines, 143.—Return to
  Rome, 144.—Roman amusements, 146.

                              LETTER XLI.

                               ACADEMIES.

Scheme of English academy, 147.—English academy, 148.—Roman academy,
  149.—Milizia, 149.—Instruction to a young architect, 155.

                              LETTER XLII.

                         SPECULATIONS AT ROME.

Use of bricks, 163.—Republican edifices, 163.—Progress of ornament,
  165.—Character of the Italians, 168.—Division of employment at Rome,
  169.—Rome, the capital of the world, 169.—Purgatory, 172.—Present
  state of Italy, 172.

                             LETTER XLIII.

                                NAPLES.

Feeling for art in Italy, 174.—Journey to Naples, 174.—Postillion
  murdered, 175.—Terracina, 176.—Fondi, 177.—Itri, 177.—Sepulchre of
  Cicero at Mola, 177.—Capua, 177.—Inn at Naples, 178.—Palaces,
  178.—Royal palace, 178.—Theatre of San Carlo, 178.—Castello nuovo,
  178.—Palace of the Studii, 179.—Cathedral, 179.—Church of Santa
  Restituta, 181.—Chapel of San Gennaro, 181.—Gerolomini, 182.—Church of
  St. Paul, 182.—Sangro chapel, 182.—Church of San Domenico maggiore,
  183.—Santa Chiara, 183.—Trinità maggiore, 184.—Annunziata, 184.—San
  Pietro ad aram, 184.—Santa Maria del Carmine, 184.—Blood of St.
  Januarius, 185.—Neapolitan life, 186.—Coins, 187.—Comparison of Rome
  and Naples, 189.—Toledo, 190.—Views from Naples, 190.—Chiaja,
  190.—Capo di Monte, 191.—Albergo Reale de’ poveri, 191.

                              LETTER XLIV.

                        NEIGHBOURHOOD OF NAPLES.

Grotto of Pausilippo, 192.—Pozzuoli, 193.—Temple of Jupiter Serapis,
  193.—Temple of Neptune, 196.—Amphitheatre, 197.—Solfatara, 197.—Lake
  of Agnano, 198.—Grotto del Cane, 198.—Villa of Cicero, 199.—Monte
  nuovo, 199.—Arco Felice, 199.—Cuma, 199.—Amphitheatre, 199.—Lake of
  Acheron, 199.—Stufe of Tritola, 200.—Baths of Nero, 200.—Lucrine Lake,
  200.—Lake of Avernus, 200.—Bridge of Caligula, 201.—Bases of columns
  in the sea, 201.—Campanian way, 201.—La Mergellina, 202.—Santa Maria
  del parto, 202.—Hill of Pausilippo, 202.—Tomb of Virgil,
  202.—Excursion to Baiæ, 203.—School of Virgil, 203.—Capo Miseno,
  204.—Dragonara, 204.—Elysian fields, 204.—Piscina mirabile, 204.—Cento
  camarelle, 204.—Tomb of Agrippina, 204.—Temple of Hercules,
  204.—Temple of Venus genitrix, 205.—Temple of Mercury, 205.—Temple of
  Diana, 205.—Ruins at Baiæ, 205.—Camaldoli, 206.—Excursion to Pompei,
  207.—Herculaneum, 208.—Torre del Greco, 208.—Torre dell’ Annunziata,
  208.—Pompei, 208.—Ponte della Maddelena, 209.—Old Capua, 209.—Caserta,
  210.

                              LETTER XLV.

                           JOURNEY TO ATHENS.

Journey to Bari, 211.—Robbers taken into service, 212.—Foggia,
  214.—Bari, 214.—Cathedral, 215.—Church of San Nicola, 215.—Norman
  church at Bari, 215.—Residence at Bari, 216.—Journey to Otranto,
  216.—Lecce, 218.—Style of architecture, 218.—Otranto, 219.—Olive
  trees, 219.—Voyage to Corfu, 220.—Modern Greek buildings, 220.—Greek
  dress, 220.—Soil of Corfu, 221.—Journey to Santa Maura,
  222.—Agioneesi, 222.—Santa Maura, 224.—Leucas, 224.—Voyage to Patras,
  225.—Voyage to Vostizza, 226.—Journey to Corinth, 227.—Antiquities at
  Corinth, 228.—Voyage to Athens, 228.

                              LETTER XLVI.

                                ATHENS.

Greek apartments, and mode of life, 229.—Topography, 230.—Ilissus,
  231.—Cephisus, 231.—Nature of rock, 232.—Effect of first-rate
  productions, 232.—Review of objects in journey, 233.—Arrival at
  Athens, 234.—Monument of Lysicrates, 234.—Tower of the winds,
  234.—Portico of the market, 234.—Stoa, 234.—Gymnasium, 234.—Temple of
  Theseus, 234.—Situations of buildings, 235.—Greek temples, 235.—Tiles,
  237.—External painting, 237.—Comparison of Greek and Roman ornaments,
  239.

                             LETTER XLVII.

                               ACROPOLIS.

Propylæa, 241.—Temple of Victory without wings, 241.—Very ancient
  constructions, 246.—Mode of finishing, 246.—Parthenon, 246.—Situation
  of religious buildings, 247.—Effects of explosion, 248.—Nature of
  quarries of Pentelic marble, 251.—Desire of obtaining fragments,
  253.—Temple of Erectheus, 254.—Temple of Minerva Polias, 257.—Temple
  of Pandrosus, 257.

                             LETTER XLVIII.

                      OTHER ANTIQUITIES OF ATHENS.

Comparison of Rome and Athens, 259.—Walls of the Acropolis, 261.—Grotto
  of Pan, 261.—Large entablature, 261.—More very ancient walls,
  262.—Choragic monuments, 262.—Theatre of Bacchus, 262.—Odeum,
  262.—Temple of Jupiter Olympus, 262.—Progress of foliage, 263.—Arch of
  Hadrian, 265.—Areopagus, 266.—Pnyx, 266.—Monument of Philopappus,
  266.—Stadium of Herodes Atticus, 267.—Bridge over the Ilissus,
  267.—Tombs, 267.—Academy, 268.—Colonia, 268.—Lyceum, 268.—Turkish
  architecture, 268.—Greek churches, 269.

                              LETTER XLIX.

                        NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ATHENS.

Piræus, 271.—Tomb of Themistocles, 271.—Munychia, 271.—Phalerus,
  272.—Excursion to Daphne, 272.—Written rock, 273.—Salt streams,
  273.—Excursion to Hymettus, 274.—Climate of Athens, 275.—Modern Greek,
  275.—Mode of life, 278.—Dancing dervises, 279.—Greek carnival,
  280.—Greek dress, 281.—Schools in Greece, 285.

                               LETTER L.

                        EXCURSION ROUND ATTICA.

Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius in Egina, 287.—Comparison of Greek and
  English scenery, 288.—Temple of Minerva at Sunium, 289.—Remains at
  Thoricus, 289.—Plain of Marathon, 290.—Ruins at Rhamnus, 291.—Return
  to Athens, 292.—Plague, 292.

                               LETTER LI.

                      VOYAGE FROM ATHENS TO MALTA.

Temple near the port of Egina, 295.—Pidhavro, or Epidaurus, 296.—Hiero,
  296.—Theatre, 297.—Nafplia, 298.—Tyrins, 298.—Argos, 298.—Ruins of
  Mycene, 299.—Ruins of Nemæa, 301.—Arrival at Corinth, 301.—Basilica,
  the ancient Sicyon, 302.—Voyage to Patras, 303.—Singular Medusa,
  303.—Greek mountains, 303.—Earthquake, 304.—Roman aqueduct at Patras,
  305.—Quarantine, 305.—Voyage to Malta, 305.

                              LETTER LII.

                                 MALTA.

Quarantine, 307.—Architecture of Malta, 308.—Church of San Giovanni
  Battista, 309.—Church of San Agostino, 309.—Church of San Domenico,
  309.—Palace, 310.—Guard-house, 310.—Library, 310.—Staircases,
  310.—Whitewash, 311.—Village churches, 311.—Villages, 311.—Residence,
  311.—Language, 312.—Lusieri’s drawings, 312.—Celtic antiquity,
  312.—Hills, 312.—Plague, 313.—Cathedral at Città Vecchia, 314.—Grotto
  of St. Paul, 315.—Boschetto, 315.—Races, 315.—Maltese dress,
  315.—Government, 316.

                              LETTER LIII.

                           SYRACUSE—CATANIA.

Trabaccolo, 317.—Agusta, 317.—Syracuse, 318.—Temple of Minerva,
  318.—Cathedral, 318.—Temple of Diana, 319.—Arethusa (fountain),
  319.—Colonnade without the island, 319.—Amphitheatre,
  319.—Latomiæ, 319.—Paradiso, 319.—Ear of Dionysius, 319.—Theatre,
  320.—Fortifications, 320.—Epipolis, 320.—Aqueducts, 321.—Other
  Latomiæ, 321.—Capuchin convent, 321.—Cemetery, 321.—Catacombs,
  321.—Fountain Cyane, 321.—Temple of Jupiter, 321.—Coffee-houses
  and people, 321.—Journey to Catania, 322.—Catania, 323.—Museum of
  the prince of Biscari, 323.—Don Mario, 324.—Baths, 324.—Theatres,
  324.—Amphitheatre, 324.—Circular chamber, 324.—Cathedral,
  325.—Museum of the Cav. Gioeni, 325.—Museum of the Baron Ricupero,
  325.—Museum at the Benedictine convent, 325.—Lava, 325.—Excursion
  to the summit of Ætna, 326.

                              LETTER LIV.

                       TAORMINA—MESSINA—PALERMO.

Ætna, 329.—Journey from Catania, 329.—Taormina, 330.—Theatre,
  330.—Tombs, 331.—Gothic doorway, 332.—Journey to Messina,
  332.—Cathedral, 333.—Church of Santa Maria Annunziata, 334.—San
  Giovanni Battista, 334.—Mountains of Calabria, 334.—Speronara,
  334.—Voyage to Palermo, 335.—Palermo, 336.—Comparison of different
  views, 336.—Opinions of the Sicilians as to their own antiquities,
  337.—Castle of Zisa, 338.—Casteddu, 338.—Cathedral, 339.—San Niccolò
  della Kalsa, 340.—Botanic garden, 341.

                               LETTER LV.

                      AGRIGENTUM—SELINUS—SEGESTA.

Journey to Agrigentum, 342.—Belli Frati, 342.—Royal forest of Busambra,
  342.—Fibrous carbonate of lime, 343.—Offensiveness of the streams,
  343.—Girgenti, 344.—Oratory of Phalaris, 344.—Temple of Juno,
  345.—Temple of Concord, 345.—Temple of Hercules, 345.—Temple of
  Jupiter, 346.—Tomb of Theron, 347.—Temple of Æsculapius, 347.—Temple
  of Castor and Pollux, 347.—Temple of Jupiter Polieus, 348.—Micaceous
  marble, 348.—Cathedral, 348.—Warm wind and warm springs at Sciacca,
  348.—Journey to Selinus, 349.—Temples at Selinus, 349.—Peculiar
  capitals, 350.—Ancient quarries, 352.—Journey to Segesta, 352.—Temple
  at Segesta, 352.—Theatre, 353.—Alcamo, 353.—Parthenico, 353.—Cathedral
  at Monreale, 354.—Orlando Furioso made into a farce, 354.—Excursion to
  Cefalù, 355.—Cathedral, 356.—House of Roger, 356.—Cyclopean edifices,
  356.—Termini, 356.—Voyage to Naples, 357.

                              LETTER LVI.

                                POMPEI.

Accommodations at Pompei, 358.—Soldiers’ quarters, 359.—Covered theatre,
  360.—Larger theatre, 361.—Large court and temple of Hercules,
  361.—Ionic portico, 362.—Schools, 363.—Temple of Isis, 363.—Temple of
  Æsculapius, 363.—Forum, 364.—Courts of Justice, 365.—Basilica,
  365.—Temple of Venus, 366.—Portico of Eumachia, 367.—Temple of
  Mercury, 368.—Recess, with number of altars, 368.—Temple of Jupiter,
  368.—Triumphal arches, 369.—Amphitheatre, 369.—Private houses,
  369.—Paintings, 370.—Tombs, 371.—Villas, 372.—Mosaics,
  373.—Indications of the means of confinement and of punishment,
  373.—Pantheon, 374.—Baths, 374.—House of tragic poet, 375.—House of
  Fuller, 375.

                              LETTER LVII.

                             NAPLES—PÆSTUM.

Tuscans and Neapolitans, 376.—Villa Galla, 377.—Journey to Pæstum,
  377.—Temple of Neptune at Pæstum, 378.—Basilica, 379.—Amphitheatre,
  379.—Theatre, 379.—Peculiar style of capital, 379.—Temple of Ceres,
  380.—Other foundations, 380.—Walls and gates, 380.—Salt springs,
  380.—Tombs, 381.—Cathedral at Salerno, 381.—Ancient baptistery at
  Nocera, 382.

                             LETTER LVIII.

               JOURNEY TO ROME, AND LAST RESIDENCE THERE.

Neapolitan vetturini, 383.—Journey to Rome, 383.—Anxur, 384.—Palace of
  Theodoric, 384.—Dead-letter office, 385.—Residence at Rome,
  385.—Italian preaching, 386.—Capuchin sermon, 386.—Catechising,
  386.—Canova’s church, 387.—Dragging the Tiber, 387.—Entertainments and
  illuminations in honour of the emperor’s visit to Rome, 387.

                              LETTER LIX.

                       JOURNEY TO FLORENCE—PISA.

Journey to Florence, 389.—Assisi, 389.—Temple of the Corinthian order,
  389.—Cathedral, 389.—Church and convent of St. Francis, 389.—Santa
  Maria degli Angeli, 390.—Hut of St. Francis, 390.—Residence at
  Florence, 390.—Vaulting, 391.—Academy, 391.—Pietre dure, 391.—Monte
  Asenario, 392.—Pratolino, 392.—Journey to Leghorn, 392.—Leghorn,
  393.—Pisa, 393.—Peculiar style of architecture, 393.—Cathedral,
  393.—Baptistery, 396.—Campo Santo, 397.—Leaning tower, 397.—Church of
  Santa Maria della Spina, 397.—Domestic architecture, 398.—Baths,
  398.—Wood of Pisa, 398.

                               LETTER LX.

                                SCHOOLS.

Lancasterian schools at Florence, 399.—Lancasterian schools at Siena,
  401.—Arithmetic, 402.—Schools at the Albergo de’ Poveri, 403.—Schools
  of the Frati Cristiani, 404.—Romans and Carthaginians, 404.—Scuole pie
  at Rome, 405.—Scuole pie at Florence, 405.—Contests, 406.—Collegio
  Romano, 407.—Institution at Florence, 407.—Tuscan system of education,
  408.

                              LETTER LXI.

                              LUCCA—GENOA.

Lucca, 409.—Cathedral, 409.—St. Michael, 410.—S. Frediano, 411.—Santa
  Maria foris portam, 411.—S. Giusto, 412.—S. Cristoforo,
  412.—Progressive dates, 412.—Cathedral at Pistoja, 412.—Sant Andrea,
  413.—Baptistery, 413.—Cathedral at Prato, 413.—Ramparts of Lucca,
  413.—Baths of Lucca, 413.—Forest of chesnut trees, 414.—Prato Fiorito,
  414.—Road across the mountains to Modena, 415.—Lignite at Ghivizzano,
  415.—Viareggio, 415.—Roman baths at Massaciuccoli, 415.—La Bettona,
  416.—Monte Cimone, 416.—Woods on the Apennines, 416.—School among the
  Apennines, 416.—Flames at Birigazza, 416.—Journey to Carrara,
  416.—Marble quarries, 417.—Cathedral, 417.—School of sculpture,
  417.—Lerici, 418.—Porto Venere, 418.—Gulf of Spezia, 418.—Journey to
  Genoa, 418.—Genoa, 420.—Cathedral at Genoa, 420.—S. Cyr, 420.—Church
  of S. M. Annunziata, 420.—Santa Maria di Carignano, 420.—Statue of St.
  Sebastian by Puget, 420.—Church of St. Ambrose, 421.—Church of St.
  Stephen, 421.—Tomb of Doria, 421.—Palaces, 421.—Poor-house at Genoa,
  421.—Journey to Turin, 422.—Turin, 422.—Cathedral, 423.—Chapel of the
  Santo Sudario, 423.—San Filippo, 423.—San Lorenzo, 424.—Smaller
  churches at Turin, 424.—Arsenal, 424.—Theatre, 424.—Palaces,
  424.—Botanic garden, 425.—Superga, 425.—Arch of Augustus at Susa,
  426.—Walk over Mount Cenis, 427.—Cathedral at Chamberi,
  428.—Antiquities at Aix, 429.—Journey to Geneva, 429.



                        LETTERS OF AN ARCHITECT.



                              LETTER XXXI.

                                 ROME.


                                                      _Rome, May, 1817._

OUR present walk must include a larger circuit than the former. We pass
through the Piazza Barberini, and along the Via di San Basilio, which
will presently lead us beyond the inhabited district of the city, and an
Englishman begins to feel himself in the country, though within the
walls. Here is the Villa Ludovisi, but it is difficult to gain
admission; we therefore turn to the right, and at the Viccolo delle
Fiamme, enter into the gardens, which, like those passed through by
Aladdin, in the Arabian Nights, are not divided by fences from one
another, but merely secured on the part towards the road. The first
thing which offers itself to our observation is a fragment of a wall of
large stones, said to be a remnant of that built by Tarquinius Superbus,
which was itself a restoration in more solid masonry, of the one first
erected by Servius Tullius, to include the Quirinal within the circuit
of Rome. A little farther we trace distinctly the form of the circus of
Sallust, which occupies a continuation of the hollow between the Pincian
and Quirinal hills; and close by it, but not uniformly in a parallel
direction, is a series of arches and substructions supporting the hill;
but the fragment of Tarquinius Superbus seems to have nothing to do,
either with the circus or with these substructions. It is a trifle in
itself, but its antiquity gives it interest, and more is said to have
been disclosed by digging. At some distance, along the foot of the
substructions abovementioned, and close upon the circus, we reach the
Temple of Venus Erycina (let the antiquaries quarrel about the name, I
use that by which it is commonly distinguished). The principal part
consists of a circular, domed chamber, almost buried in the earth and
rubbish which has descended from the hill above, with a small
semicircular niche, and two square recesses on each side, two of which
are open, and give admission to the building. The principal entrance is
from a little vestibule, by means of a large arch; and a corresponding
arch, with a similar vestibule, opens to the deep cell or adytum of the
temple; both these arches interrupt the line of the springing of the
dome. This and the other fragments abound in reticulated work.

Issuing from the vineyards, and crossing the long street of the Porta
Pia, we may follow the Via del Macao, to look at a house built under the
direction of Milizia; but though an able writer on architecture, he was
not a good architect.

Our next object will be the Fontana di Termini, the water of which is
called Felice, from the name of Sixtus the Fifth, before his elevation
to the pontificate; since by him the water was conducted from Colonna to
Rome, and this fountain erected under the direction of Fontana. You are
surprised both at the quantity of water, and the display of architecture
at these Roman fountains. Here are four Ionic columns, with three niches
in the intercolumns, from which the water issues; and so far the
architectural composition is good, but above there is a pedestal, made
of a most disproportionate size, in order to receive the great letters
of the inscription, and over that a sort of circular pediment, and other
ornaments, which are quite sickening. The sculpture in the niches is
large and conspicuous, but in bad taste, and the two beautiful Egyptian
lions of basalt, which adorn the lower part, are the most estimable part
of the composition. Even these are ill used by the insertion of small
pipes, through which they awkwardly squirt out a little water.

Santa Maria della Vittoria just by, in the Strada di Porta Pia, if not
one of the beautiful, is at least one of the rich churches of Rome. It
was built by Carlo Maderno, who has used a Sicilian alabaster of a dark
brown colour, which is not a good material for architecture, and
overcharged it with gilding and ornaments. There is even a pretence of
forming the doors of this alabaster, which is in bad taste. Doors should
either be of wood or metal. The door of a tomb alone, which is supposed
to open only once in two or three years, may be permitted to be of
marble. The church is not visited so much for its architecture, as for
some fine paintings of Domenichino, Guercino, and Guido;[1] and for a
Santa Teresa in marble by Bernini, which is said to be his masterpiece.
The saint is supposed to be dying in the ecstacies of divine love, but
the figure wants nature, and the death is a smirking angel, with a gilt
dart. Under the principal altar, (which is very rich and very ugly) are
preserved the bones of some female saint, I forget who, covered up in a
waxen image, and this is gaily dressed in blue and white satin; because,
as the priest who conducted me round the church, judiciously observed,
the skeleton was a black and disagreeable object, very inconsistent with
the appearance of such an elegant altar.

We now pass to the baths of Dioclesian, the remains of which are more
considerable than those of any other of the ancient thermæ. These ruins
still contain two churches, one of which is dedicated to San Bernardo.
It is a small, circular building, placed just at the angle of the outer
inclosure, but all the ancient ornaments are gone, except the naked
panelling of the dome, and this has been covered with modern stucco. It
is in octagons and small squares. There are thirty-two octagons in the
circumference, which makes them too small, especially in the upper part.
The order in this temple is perhaps rather too high in proportion to the
building. The _cornice architravata_, with which it terminates, has
hardly the dimensions of a good architrave, and then comes the dome and
its panels, without any interval. The comparison of this with the
Pantheon, where the order is too small, may lead us to the just
proportions. To avoid the expense of carving, the ornaments are painted
on the stucco, and have either been badly executed, or they have faded.
The choir forms a deep recess, of which the arched opening is perhaps
rather too high, but not so as to interrupt the circular cornice of the
order. The effect of the organ, and of the voices of the choir issuing
from this recess, appeared to me particularly fine. From the convent
behind, we see the remains of the theatre, and one may sometimes obtain
admission into the garden which contains it, but there is little to
deserve notice. Another circular building corresponding with this, is
used as a granary.

The principal object remaining in these baths is the great hall, now
converted into the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. This was
performed under M. A. Buonarroti, who made the principal entrance at the
end. Vanvitelli, the last of the celebrated architects of Italy,
re-opened the ancient entrance on the side, and by uniting the circular
vestibule with the chief room, and adding a choir on the opposite side,
he gave the church length in that direction. The four side niches have
been filled up, and the length, or what is now the width, is increased,
by opening into it two other chambers. In its present state, the great
hall, with the two additional rooms, forms a transept; but as this hall
constitutes, on every account, the principal feature of the place, it
ought certainly to form the nave, and the alteration was injudicious. We
do not expect great purity of taste in the time of Dioclesian, yet the
details are by no means contemptible, and the largeness and boldness of
the parts produce a great appearance of magnificence.

The first room which we now enter is a circular vestibule, where the
supine arches of the four openings are particularly offensive, because
they are very large in proportion to the building; some scheme arches in
the great hall are also disagreeable, but the hall itself is a noble
room, and produces the full effect of its large dimensions. There is a
pleasure arising from these large and simple parts, which it is
impossible to describe, and which I long in vain to communicate to you.
The old work is generally distinguishable from the modern additions;
indeed, no pains have been taken to copy exactly the antique. Of the
principal columns, four have Corinthian, and four Composite capitals;
and this seems to have been originally the case, though the columns
themselves are now, some of granite, and some of stuccoed brickwork. The
groined vaulting is whitewashed, and has no ornament, except the brass
knobs to which the lamps were anciently suspended.

The ground of the church has been raised, because it was damp; we wonder
why it should not rather have been drained, since the situation is
elevated. The present want of height is a sensible defect; it does not,
I think, exceed two-thirds of the width, and perhaps was not originally
more than three-fourths. I would by no means attempt in this style of
architecture to emulate the proportionate height of the Gothic, whose
peculiar character requires great elevation; but the height ought not to
_appear_ less than the width, and therefore should probably a little
exceed it. If it is more than this, it should be sufficiently increased
to make the height the characteristic of the room, the dimension which
first impresses itself on the observer. Intermediate proportions would
be inferior to either; it is not in architecture alone that half
measures fail.

From the church we may visit the convent, both for its ancient
fragments, and its modern architecture. It contains a large square, of
which the centre is adorned by some noble cypresses, and the surrounding
cloisters are said to be the production of M. Angelo. The disposition of
the kitchen chimney in this convent pleased me much; it is a deep recess
lighted by two windows, and having the stoves placed along the middle.
Besides the general flue to take off the steam, &c. there are some
smaller ones for the smoke.

Proceeding from these baths to the extremity of the Via del Macao, we
find in a vineyard, a mound of earth said to be part of the _agger_ of
Servius Tullius, and the range of arches stretching towards the gate of
San Lorenzo, is part of the Marcian aqueduct, now carrying the Acqua
Felice; but I shall reserve aqueducts and gates to a future letter, and
pass on to the church of Santa Bibiena, where there are some ancient
columns, and a statue of the saint by Bernini. It has been much admired,
but like so many other works of this artist, fails in the want of
apparent ease and simplicity of nature. By a gate which is not always
open, we may pass into the inclosure containing the ruin, usually called
the temple of Minerva Medica, rising in the midst of artichokes and
brocoli. The principal remain is a large, domed, decagonal hall, a form
not common in the Roman antiquities, with nine large niches, each
occupying almost the whole of their respective sides, the tenth being
the situation of the doorway; and a window over each. The dome is partly
destroyed, and the remaining portion perforated in many places, shewing
the ancient construction to have been formed by ribs tending to a
centre, while the intervals are filled up with rubble. There are some
remains of other rooms adjoining. The whole is overgrown with the
lentiscus and other shrubs and plants. It forms a picturesque object,
but it seems impossible to determine its primitive destination.

Near this is the Columbarium, or sepulchre of the Aruntian family. You
may think there is little resemblance between a tomb and a dove-cot, but
this name arises from the little recesses, compared to pigeon-holes,
which contain the cinerary urns. It is, I believe, the most perfect of
any remaining, and accessible about Rome, but it is seldom that any body
is in the way, to exhibit it, and I have not yet been able to obtain
admission. We leave this vineyard just by the Porta Maggiore, and
passing under the beautifully built, brick arch of the Claudian
aqueduct, continue our walk to the Temple of Venus and Cupid, which
stands in the garden of a convent. A part of the great niche is nearly
all of this which is left standing. Some of the brick facing remains,
and a few other foundations of walls, little above ground. The shattered
piers and arches of the ancient aqueducts exhibited in these gardens,
are perhaps more interesting than the fragment of the temple. By this,
is the church of the holy cross, which I have already described to you,
as that of the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and the Anfiteatro Castrense,
which I mean to describe with the city wall, of which it forms part. We
then pass under the wall among rows of trees, on turf now covered with
the _Anemone hortensis_, to the church of St. John Lateran, stopping by
the way to look at the Triclinium and the Scala Santa. After passing
these objects we arrive at the baptistery of Constantine; the obelisk,
which is the largest in Rome, and the hospital; a fine establishment,
but according to the Roman theory, subject to mal aria nearly as much as
the larger receptacle at Santo Spirito, which is under the Vatican and
close to the Tiber, while this is in an elevated and airy situation.
From this we follow a narrow, winding, and unfrequented lane, which will
lead us under the ancient arch of Dolabella and Silanus, consuls under
Augustus, in the year of Rome 763. It was of travertine, but it has been
eked out with brickwork under Nero, in order to make it carry a portion
of the Aqua Claudia from the Cœlian hill to the Palatine.

The Church of San Stefano rotondo is a curious edifice, which has been
supposed by some, to have been a temple of Faunus, or of Claudius;
others say, with every appearance of reason, that it was no temple at
all; but when they proceed to state that it was a market, I follow them
with less confidence. The body, or most elevated part, consists of a
circular wall supported on twenty columns and two piers. The columns are
not all of a size, but on an average are about four diameters apart, and
about eight and a half high. The architrave, frieze, and cornice united,
only form a sort of architrave, of perhaps one diameter and a half; yet
it does not look so much oppressed by the great wall above, as the
engravings we have of it give us reason to expect. Faulty and defective
as it is, it perhaps might serve as a lesson, that a wall rising
immediately on the architrave of a circular colonnade, would not have an
unpleasing effect; and that with this simple arrangement, a height equal
to the width, would be quite sufficient. At present the building is
singularly spoilt, by a wall running across the middle of it, apparently
to support the roof; but it is in fact as useless as it is ugly. This
wall is open below, with three arches resting on the side walls, and on
two Corinthian columns. The capitals of the circular colonnade are
Ionic, various, but all bad, and the bases of all forms. The two middle
columns are very fine, with good bases, and Corinthian capitals. The
cross wall is conjectured not to have been a part of the original
building, but nobody knows when it was added. A double aisle surrounds
this central part, divided by a range of columns, which are smaller than
those of the first circle, and not disposed so as to have any
correspondence with them. The outer circuit is a plain wall, but part of
the second aisle is divided into chapels. It is completely a building
made up with the spoils of others, and the few restorations are
miserably executed; circumstances which favour the idea that it was
erected in the time of Constantine. It is too bad for us to believe it
of an earlier date, and after him, few if any public buildings were
executed in Rome, except churches. The piety or superstition of the
times seems to have continued the erection of these during the darkest
and most unhappy periods of falling Italy; yet there seems to be a
deficiency, even of religious structures, from the beginning of the
fourth, till towards the end of the seventh century, when a new
character and new relations began to develop themselves.

At a very little distance from the church of San Stefano, is the
Navicella, a marble boat, placed by Leo the Tenth in front of a church
which receives its name from it, but where Leo found it, I cannot tell
you. The church was designed by Raphael; a range of five arches forms a
sort of portico, above which rises the nave, corresponding in width to
three of these arches, and finishing with a pediment. The simplicity of
the design, and its apparent correspondence with the internal structure,
produce a pleasing effect; but instead of one large window in the end of
the nave, Raphael has introduced three small ones, of which the middle
is circular, and the composition is sadly spoilt by them. Giulio Romano
was employed in painting the internal friezes.

After leaving the Navicella, we may visit the Church of Santi Giovanni e
Paolo, enriched like so many others, with antique columns of granite and
marble, both in the portico and in the nave. I have already mentioned
the antiquities in the convent. Continuing our walk along the lane on
the side of the church, we pass between massive substructions, and in
the garden adjoining there are considerable remains, principally I
believe, of the aqueduct of Nero, which is a branch of the Claudian.
Piranesi places here the Nymphæum of Nero, with which he unites the
Vivarium built by Domitian; here also the house of Scaurus is supposed
to have stood, and these fragments may be parts of one or the other, or
perhaps of both. Issuing from this lane, we turn to the left, and ascend
to the Church of San Gregorio, which is preceded by one of those courts,
or atria, which you know I always admire; but in this there is nothing
particularly good, beyond the general disposition. The grand object here
is not the church, but an adjoining chapel dedicated to St. Andrew,
which is one of three united together, but having no communication with
the church. This chapel is adorned with two frescos, (not to mention
minor objects) one of which represents the flagellation of the saint, by
Domenichino, and the other his adoration of the cross, previous to his
martyrdom, by Guido. They are very fine, but they are beginning to
suffer.

Descending from the church of San Gregorio towards the south-west, we
reach the southern angle of the Palatine, where the Septizonium formerly
stood. It was destroyed by Sixtus the Fifth, and the columns, and
probably some of the other materials, were employed in the Vatican.
Antiquaries have imagined from the name, that seven successive orders
must have been employed here, not reflecting that three orders would
produce the appearance of seven zones or bands. First, the pedestal on
which the whole is placed, which forms a solid mass; then a range of
columns and voids; then another solid mass composed of the entablature
of the first order, and the continued plinth and pedestals of the
second. The fourth zone would be composed of the columns of the second
order, and the voids between them; these open bands having always a
different character and appearance from the solid ones, however
composed. The fifth of the entablature and pedestals as before, or if
there were no pedestals, by the entablature alone. These solid zones
would have the appearance of being striped horizontally by the shadows
of the mouldings, while the columns would give to the open bands the
appearance of being striped vertically. Sixthly, the columns of the
third order. Seventhly, the entablature, and whatever might crown the
edifice, and this disposition is exactly correspondent with the idea we
entertain of the building from old engravings.

In this part, and along the south-western side of the hills, the remains
on the Palatine are very considerable, consisting of lofty piers, and
extended arches, but every trace of ornamental architecture has
disappeared. Here also we find all that is to be seen of the Circus
Maximus, _i. e._ the general form, favoured by the natural shape of the
ground between the Palatine and Aventine hills. I shall not occupy you
with any long dissertation on the ancient circus, or on the obscure god
Consus, to whom it was dedicated. You know that the general form, in
spite of the name, was that of an oblong, with one semicircular end; the
other end was not straight, but somewhat curved and inclined, in order
as much as possible to put each chariot which started from it, in an
equally advantageous situation, and the _spina_ was not placed either
precisely in the centre, or exactly parallel to the sides, but in such a
manner as to form a road continually narrower as the chariots proceeded
in the circuit. A few burrs of rubble-work, and fragments of nearly
buried arches, the foundations of the sedili, are all the remains. And
now, leaving the baths of Caracalla and the tomb of the Scipios, for the
subjects of a future letter, we will cross the Aventine, a hill divided
into two summits, on which are the two churches of Santa Prisca, and
Santa Saba, and a ruined convent, from which there is a fine view of
Rome, and which is itself a very picturesque object. Both these churches
contain ancient columns; that of Santa Saba is said in the guide-book,
to have twenty-five, two of which are of black porphyry. I found
fourteen in the nave, not all alike. Most of the capitals are Ionic, but
of different sizes, some pretty well executed, but much degraded; others
originally bad; some are merely bossed out, and have never been
finished: one is Corinthian, and one is Composite. There are said to be
others built up in the wall, but they must be very small. About the
altar, are two columns which seem to be chiefly of quartz, but with
spots of hornblende, and two of a dark veined marble, but what is meant
by black porphyry I do not know. Those of dark marble have Composite
capitals, which Uggeri says are of serpentine, but I did not
particularly observe them. The front exhibits a gallery of small
columns, standing on a high unadorned wall. The contrast is _piquant_,
but perhaps more so where the form is circular, as at the back of Santi
Giovanni e Paolo.

On descending the Aventine we have Monte Testaccio in full view. It is a
hill 260 feet high, made of potsherds. The meadows in which it stands,
are the property of the Roman people, and the scene of many of their
festivities. One corner of them forms a burying-ground for heretics,
just under the pyramid of Caius Cestius. Who it was that provided for
himself such a conspicuous sepulchre, is not determined; but this work
of three hundred and thirty days, does not impress one with any great
ideas of magnificence; yet it is 113 feet high, and certainly forms a
great mass of masonry. There is a chamber within, which is not always
accessible, on account of the water. Some pieces of columns were found
in digging at the base of the pyramid, two of which were put together
and fixed at the angles of the building. I have no idea how they were
originally applied, as there does not seem sufficient authority to
supply a court and a surrounding portico. These meadows and the mount
offer some amusement to the botanist in the spring; the mount especially
is almost covered with orchideæ, amongst which _Ophrys apifera_ and
_tenthredinifera_, and _Orchis papilionacea_, are the most abundant. I
found here also _Ophrys hiulca_ and _arachnitis_ of the Flora Romana.

Our next object is the brick arch of San Lazzaro, through which the road
passes, though it is filled up nearly to its springing. There are
several substructions at the foot of the hill, which appear to have
belonged to the same edifice, but what that was, nobody knows.

Hence we walk to the beginning of the Strada Marmorata, the ancient
Littus Marmorea, so called, as they say, because the marbles brought
from various countries were usually landed here; a very disappointing
reason for so fine a name. On the right is a pathway up the hill, and
some fragments of antiquity are discernible, particularly a considerable
portion of an ancient cornice, built up in a wall. If we continue this
upper track, we pass by the churches of Sant Alessio and Santa Sabina,
and descend on the Circus Maximus. The other keeps along the shore of
the Tiber, and we may notice other substructions on the hill; and in the
river, if the water be low, some traces of the Pons Sublicius.

Returning towards the Corso, we may pass by a female colossal bust,
which might almost do for a companion to Dr. Clarke’s Ceres, in the
vestibule of the public library at Cambridge. It is supposed to be an
Isis, but the Romans call it Madama Lucrezia. It stands in a little
street which derives its name from the figure, and which opens into the
Piazza di San Marco. I have not mentioned the church which gives name to
this piazza, among the basilicas, but it however, deserves some notice.
The front, of two stories, each of three arches, is neat and unaffected.
It was erected in 1468 under Paul II., by Giuliano di Majano, together
with the great palace adjoining. Internally, the nave is separated from
the side-aisles by twenty columns coated with Sicilian jasper; these
support arches, and at a considerable height above them runs a cornice.
In the upper part is a range of semicircular-headed windows, and then a
flat ceiling with square coffers. The worst part of this composition is
in the space between the capitals of the columns, and the cornice, which
is altogether ill managed. At the end is a semicircular tribune enriched
with mosaics.

The principal front of the Palazzo di Venezia is towards the Piazza. It
has an air of solid massive grandeur and of defence, not ill-suited to
each other, but there is no other merit.

In this square is also the Palazzo Rinuccini, with five equal windows in
front; a small, but much admired edifice. The management of the angles
is bad; the finish at top is very bad; the consoles spaced unequally in
order to receive the windows, have a bad effect; the doorway is bald,
and poor; and all the details are bad; yet with all these faults, such
is the efficacy of simplicity, joined to a just distribution of the
principal parts, that I, with everybody else, acknowledge it to be a
very fine building.

Returning a few steps towards the church of the Jesuits, we find the
Palazzo Altieri, an immense pile, once famous for its collection of
paintings, but they are now dispersed. The front, towards the Via della
Galla, is very good, or at least the masses are fine. That towards the
Piazza del Gesù is crowded, and much inferior.

Proceeding along the Corso, we find an immense building that nobody
admires, the Palazzo Doria; nor are the rooms within handsome, but the
collection of paintings is very fine. The beauty of the Sciarra Palace
is much injured by its admired doorway, which is neither good in itself,
nor at all suited to its place. In other respects the general
distribution of the building is fine, and the parts are well
proportioned. Internally, there is a collection of paintings, not large,
at least compared with many others at Rome, but exceedingly beautiful.
On the upper floor are two fine apartments, decorated in perhaps rather
a _thin_ taste, yet on the whole, very elegant. The last room of the
principal suite presents the idea of a frame work of gold covered with
drapery. It certainly cannot vie with the magnificence of regular
architecture, yet it forms an agreeable, and elegant variety, in a suite
where the general character is rather that of grace and lightness, than
of solidity.

After leaving this we may walk to Monte Citorio, an elevation only of a
few feet, which would hardly be observed, unless the name attracted
attention. It is said to be produced by the ruins of the Theatre of
Statilius Taurus. On the top is a large building called by the same
name, containing the courts of justice. The convexity of the front is
injurious to its effect. The architect has left, or rather made, some of
the window-sills at the extremes of the building, and some other parts,
of large irregular masses of stone. I cannot comprehend his motive.

In front of this building is the solar obelisk, which Augustus brought
from Egypt, and fixed in the Campus Martius as the gnomon of a sundial.
It was found buried and broken in 1748, but was not repaired and
re-erected till 1789. The height of the obelisk itself is 68 feet, and
it is better, because more simply mounted, than most others in Rome;
indeed the pedestal seems to be the ancient Roman one, but the moderns
could not be contented without adding a little metal at the top.

I shall not take you to the Palazzo Ghigi to admire the external
architecture, which has little merit except in size, or to see the
collections, though there are some fine paintings, and some ancient
statues restored by Canova, but to see some of the rooms themselves,
which are very handsome. One in particular will be numbered among the
handsomest rooms (of small dimensions) in Europe. It is 40 feet 9 inches
long, 17 feet 9 inches wide, and about 28 feet high, with pilasters on a
continued plinth, and a coved ceiling with arches above. The
interpilasters are groined into the cove; the angles, both entering and
salient, have bold wreaths of flowers; the mouldings, and ornaments of
the centre panels, are white upon a buff ground.

With this palace I conclude my letter, having brought you again into the
neighbourhood of the Piazza di Spagna. Our next excursion must be to the
Trastevere.



                             LETTER XXXII.

                           TRASTEVERE—WALLS.


                                                      _Rome, May, 1817._

I CONCLUDED my last with a promise, or perhaps I should say a threat, of
a walk in the Trastevere, which I am now about to perform. I shall not
however, entirely skip over the intervening ground, but glean whatever
occurs on the way; and first I will take you to San Carlo, in the Corso;
a church which looks better at a distance than near, because the general
form of the front is that of a Greek temple crowned with a pediment, but
on approaching we find so many breaks and angles, cutting through
cornice, pediment, and everything else, that all beauty of design is
lost: the interior is good, but there are others better of the same sort
in Rome. Another church in the Corso, is that of Gesù e Maria. Not by
any means one of the largest, or richest churches in this city, yet a
priest who accompanied me, assured me that he had spent 7,000 crowns,
raised entirely by voluntary contributions, in putting up an altar, and
otherwise decorating one of the side chapels; and there is no reason to
distrust his information. It was dedicated to La Madonna del divin
Ajuto, and the father gave me her picture.

Not far from this is the Palazzo Rondadini, famous not in itself, but
for two exquisite festoons of fruit and leaves in white marble, built up
in the wall of the court. At a very short distance is the Mausoleum of
Augustus, originally a vast circular edifice, composed of concentric
circles, rising higher as they approached the middle, and forming a
succession of terraces adorned with trees,[2] as we learn from the
medals representing it. The outer circle, or perhaps circles, are now
destroyed; and we have only the central mass formed of rubble, with
facings of reticulated work, and the upper part reduced into an
amphitheatre for the exhibition of fire-works, and of bull-fights. What
is below I do not know. Piroli has given a section which represents it
as nearly solid.

Our next step will be to the Ripetta, the resort of the smaller barks
which navigate the Tiber. A large flight of steps leads down to the
water, and a ferry will, if you please, carry you to a footpath across
some meadows, affording a pleasanter, but somewhat longer, walk to the
Vatican. The long succession of streets which conducts us to the Ponte
Sant Angelo, is one of the most disagreeable of the principal avenues of
Rome. In it we find the great Palazzo Borghese, shaped as you are told,
like a harpsichord, not however from any predilection for this form, but
to accommodate it to the shape of the ground. Externally, it has no
architectural merit except that of size. Each story has its mezzanine,
an arrangement which would be convenient in a large hotel, for the
independent accommodation of a number of families, but which wants the
unity of a princely residence. The court is admired by some persons, but
I do not much like it; it is surrounded by arches supported on coupled
columns; an arrangement which has neither the solidity of a pier, nor
the lightness, and grace, of a single column.

But who thinks of the architecture, while painting here displays all its
glories. The collection is immense, but what is more, the pictures are
wonderfully fine. The _Deposition_ from the cross, though executed
before Raphael had gained the richness and force of colour exhibited in
his latest pictures, in design, and expression, may rank with anything
he ever did. I must not begin upon this subject; criticisms on paintings
if not excellent, are worthless, and since I cannot hope that mine will
stand in the first predicament, I will not expose them to the latter
imputation.

The Church of Sant Agostino, is not praiseworthy for its architecture,
but it contains some fine Guercinos, and a head of Isaiah by Raphael,
which is much admired. In the convent is a library of old books (there
are no new ones in Rome), which is open to the public every morning from
eight to twelve, except on feast days.

From Sant Agostino, we may visit San Luigi de’ Francesi, which is very
rich, and rather handsome (I speak of the inside, the outsides of Roman
churches I seldom pretend to criticise). The dome springs from the same
height as the vaulting of the nave, the diameter being from angle to
angle. Its merits consist in a remarkably fine Francesco Bassan, a
painter usually little thought of in Rome but this is really worth
seeing for the character of the heads; and a chapel, containing a copy
by Guido, of the Santa Cecilia of Raphael, and adorned by the frescos of
Domenichino.

We pass by the Palazzo del Governo, _i. e._ the police office, a rich,
but not handsome building, formerly the Palazzo Madama, and by the
Sapienza, of which I have already given you some account, and we may go
through the church of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli into the Piazza Navona,
the ancient Circus Agonalis, or rather the Circus of Alexander Severus,
the form of which it preserves. There are no remains visible, but
probably some might be found in the cellars of the surrounding houses,
if it were worth while to search for them. In the circuit of this long
opening, we may admire the church of Santa Agnese, the Palazzo Pamfili
adjoining, and the Palazzo Braschi, which I shall shortly describe to
you; but of the latter little is seen.

Within the Piazza, the ornaments are three fountains; the middle
consists of a great rock, with figures of rivers rising from a large
basin; the rock is perforated in both directions, yet on the top is
placed an obelisk fifty-one feet high, which was found in the circus of
Caracalla. This absurdity is the admired work of Bernini, who is said
himself to have been so much ashamed of it, that he pulled up the blinds
of his carriage whenever he passed the Piazza Navona to avoid seeing it.
Races are sometimes exhibited here, and the people are said to enjoy
them the more, because the sharp turn at one end, taking place on the
hard pavement, frequently produces serious accidents. If so, something
of the detestable gladiator taste of the empire still subsists at Rome,
but I hope, for the honour of human nature, that it is not true.

A portico has recently been added to the church of San Pantaleo, in
which the Ionic order of the Athenian temple of Erectheus has been
imitated; but the moulding within the volute is too strongly marked, and
the recess which separates its folds is too deep; these faults quite
spoil its effect. It is besides an order of very peculiar character, not
suited to every situation.

Close by this is the Braschi Palace, of great size, and built of
excellent, pale-coloured brickwork, with stone ornaments. The
foundations were laid, according to Uggeri, in this manner. After the
trenches were dug, water was introduced to the depth of about a foot,
and stones and liquid mortar were thrown in, without order, and formed
one solid mass, upon which the walls were afterwards built. According to
the same writer this method is common in Rome, and certainly the present
edifice does credit to the practice.

Though irregular in its form, and not very good in its details, there is
perhaps, no building in Rome which has more the air of a palace. A coach
was turning round in the hall, as I entered it for the first time. The
staircase is very noble, and rich in marbles; the steps are supported on
arches resting on columns, and these arches are not semicircles, with an
upright addition to the lower part, to compensate for the different
heights at which the columns are placed, but are curved immediately from
the lower column, as well as from the upper; the tangent at each
springing being vertical. The effect is grand, but the arrangement is
not satisfactory, nor have I ever seen any that was, in an open
staircase of more than one story, where the steps were too wide to be
well supported by their insertion into the wall. There is a collection
of ancient marbles in some unfinished rooms, the pride of which is an
exquisite colossal statue of Antinous, found at Palestrina. There are
also paintings on the second floor, but I could not obtain admittance.

At the angle of this palace is the mutilated trunk called Pasquin, the
ancient receptacle of squibs against the government, and against
conspicuous individuals; but he speaks no more, though the name is
preserved.

If we continue our walk at the back of the Piazza Navona, we shall find
the Church of the Santa Maria dell’ Anima: so called from an image of
the Madonna with two little figures kneeling to her, representing two
souls of the faithful. It would appear therefore, that it ought to be
_delle anime_. The piers are very slender, and the church has this
singularity, that the side aisles are as high as the middle. The effect
is good, and we may be sure it is owing to the disposition, since the
eye is not cheated into admiration by any richness of ornament, or
beauty of detail. The altar-piece is by Giulio Romano, a fine picture,
but much blackened.

Near this is the Church of Santa Maria della Pace, which has on the
outside, a large, semicircular, Doric portico, with coupled columns.
There seems no reason for the coupling, and all the other parts are bad.
Here are the Sybils of Raphael, which, though they have lost something
of their original value by time and retouching, are still fine frescos;
and this church also exhibits a small quantity of very beautiful _cinque
cento_ ornament. There are also some frescos of Albano.

The cloisters are the design of Bramante; they are formed by arches
between columns and pedestals below; and columns backed by little piers,
and detached columns over the crown of the arch, form a gallery above.
The effect is not displeasing, yet when the columns are thus placed upon
arches, (if such a liberty is to be allowed at all) it is better to keep
them very small, and put two in each space.

In this quarter of the city stands also the Chiesa Nuova, rich and ugly.
In the altar-piece, Rubens has painted one picture within another; the
Madonna and Child being separated by a gilt frame from the figures which
are adoring them, and which seem therefore to be adoring the picture.
Adjoining it is the Oratorio of San Filippo Neri, where you will only
go, if you wish to see how ill a great sum of money can be spent.

Before crossing the Tiber, we may visit the Church of San Giovanni de’
Fiorentini, begun by Michael Angelo Buonarroti, but continued either by
Giacomo della Porta, or by Sansovino, for it is uncertain which was
employed. I should rather attribute it to Sansovino, for Giacomo della
Porta is more confused in his arrangement. A continued pedestal runs
above the cornice, from which springs a waggon-headed vault with the
windows groined into it; and if on this vault there were ribs of
architecture, instead of its being whitewashed, as it really is, the
disposition and proportions would have a good effect.

The bridge of Sant Angelo was erected by Hadrian, re-erected by Clement
VII., and adorned, or disfigured, with unmeaning statues by Bernini,
under Clement IX. I do not know that figures are always to be rejected
on the balustrades of houses or bridges, yet in fact they seldom look
well. This bridge consists of three large arches and two smaller ones on
each side, the larger only giving a passage to the river at its usual
level, and forming a water-way of 178 feet. The depth in the arches for
the greatest part of the year is about 22 feet, according to Piranesi,
from whom I have taken these dimensions. In the month of August it falls
as low as to 17. In the winter floods it rises to 34, and in 1750 it
rose to 43 feet. The whole width of the stream below the bridge is 248
feet in common cases, but it may spread to above 400 without overflowing
its banks. I do not know its rate, but it seems a pretty rapid current.

Immediately opposite the bridge, stands the Mausoleum of Hadrian.
Augustus built his sepulchre for himself and his family, including
servants and dependents, and a large building, if not a sumptuous one,
seems necessary for such a purpose. Hadrian is supposed to have built
his, with all the selfishness of despotism, for himself alone. Hadrian
shall never be my hero; he had no high and generous feeling; yet even
he, in his immense villa at Tivoli, had some view towards his
fellow-creatures, their wants and welfare. Enough remained of the spirit
of liberty to convince him, that his glory was intimately connected with
their use and advantage, while Louis XIV. at Versailles, seems to have
had all his thoughts begin and end in himself. What remains of this vast
burying-place consists of a basement 253 feet square, with a circular
tower in the centre, about 192 feet in diameter. This circular part is
now a mere mass, but it is said to have been highly adorned with marbles
and statues, and surrounded with a magnificent circle of the beautiful
columns which are still shown in the church of St. Paul. Notwithstanding
this evidence the fact is very doubtful.

St. Gregory saw an angel on the top of this Mausoleum, in the year 593,
and from that, the building has obtained the name of Castello di Sant
Angelo. Perhaps it would be more correct to say, that the name is
derived from the figure of an angel in bronze, commemorative of the
event or of the tradition, which now majestically crowns the edifice.
This statue was not erected till the time of Benedict XIV., but it was
preceded by one executed in marble by Raffaello di monte Lupo.

From this castle are exhibited the famous fireworks of the 28th and 29th
June, the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul, originally designed by
Michael Angelo. The first flight of rockets is 4,500, and it forms a
complete canopy of fire. The exhibition is over in an hour, and does not
linger through half the night. In exhibitions of this sort, and in the
lengthened entertainments at theatres and balls, it seems as if there
were something in the English character which impels us to drain the cup
of pleasure to the dregs.

And now, instead of going up to the Vatican, we will keep to the left,
along the street, and by the hospital of the Spirito Santo, where the
mortality of the patients is said to be one in three, but I suspect
there are circumstances which make a comparison of this sort very
fallacious; and to the gate now distinguished by the same name, which
divides two parts of the city. It was begun by Michael Angelo, and never
was finished, and probably never will be; what is built is in good
character, but follows, I know not why, a curved line, when a straight
one would have been better. We do not hence pursue our way at once by
the long street called the Lungara, but turn up by Sant Onofrio, a
church erected about the middle of the fifteenth century, where we see
some frescos of Domenichino, worthy a better subject than the legend of
St. Jerome; a beautiful Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci; and the tomb of
Tasso. Here was also the tomb of Barclay, the author of the Argenis; and
the tomb may still exist, but the stone which marked it is gone, because
as the priest told me it was _roba spurca_. I do not know what he meant.

We now return to the Lungara, a long street parallel with the Tiber,
with some good houses, or as they are here called, palaces, amongst
which are the Farnesina, which I have already described, and the
Corsini, which really does deserve the name. It extends above 200 feet
along the street, presenting on the principal story, a range of
seventeen windows. Though large, it is not handsome. The entrance
however, is truly magnificent. Passing through a spacious vestibule, we
arrive at the foot of the staircase, which diverging to the right and
left, returns in the centre, leaving space for a carriage-road
underneath it. Here is an admirable collection of pictures, which I
shall not pretend to enumerate, and a fine library, open to the public
from nine to twelve, for a considerable portion of the year, but not
much attended to of late, as perhaps you will conclude, when I tell you
that it contains four copies of the first volume of Stuart’s Athens, and
none of the second or third, and when a stranger goes, the librarians
seem to perform their task grudgingly. Many things of this sort were at
one time to be found in Rome, but none of them are now kept up with
spirit.

[Illustration: Sketch]

Behind the palace is the Villa, for as I have already said, this term is
applied in Italy to the ground, and not to the buildings. It is
delightfully situated on the slope of the Janiculum, but all this part
lies under a horrible imputation of mal aria.

Issuing from this palace we may descend to the Ponte Sisto, the ancient
Janiculensis, but the present edifice is I believe entirely modern. On
the other side is the fountain of this name. The water guggles from a
hole in a wall forming the back of an arched recess, into a vase just
below, over the edges of which it runs, and falls into the basin at
bottom. The architecture is not bad, but the principal fall ought to
have been first. A few steps farther on, is the Church of the Santissima
Trinità, famous for a picture of the Trinity by Guido. If the head of
the Deity had been intended for that of Moses, it would be universally
acknowledged sublime, but the attempt to represent this subject, must
always produce disappointment or disgust.

Near this is the Monte di Pietà, a public establishment for lending
money on pledges, and resembling perhaps in some degree our savings
banks.

We return again over the bridge, and ascending by the mills supplied
from the Fontana Paolina, go to the botanic garden, which contains but
few plants.[3] It occupies a situation just above the fountain, which
indeed pours forth a river. There are three equal arches discharging as
many equal streams of water, and two smaller ones, with only a spout in
each. An enormous attic rises above these arches, to receive the
inscription, and the whole is crowned with a sort of pediment ornament,
much like that at the Fontana Felice, somewhat larger, and considerably
worse. The whole merit of the thing consists in the great abundance of
water; but it is said not to be good. I do not know precisely whether it
is brought from the lake of Bracciano, or from springs in that
neighbourhood. It is clear and bright, and supplies fountains and turns
mills, to which purpose it is almost exclusively applied, as well as any
water could do.

A short walk conducts us to the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, rising
on an advancing point of the Janiculum, and commanding a glorious view,
including almost all the objects of antiquity in Rome which can possibly
be comprised in any general view; and nearly all the modern city, with
its domes and palaces; the Tiber; the seven hills, or rather six, for
the eye cannot hence distinguish the Viminal, three of which are covered
with gardens and vineyards; Monte Testaccio; great part of the walls,
and the country beyond them; Monte Albano; and the Apennines.

The church itself has two orders in front, each presenting a single
pilaster at each angle of the building. The lower includes a large and
handsome doorway, the upper a single circular window. The simplicity of
this disposition renders it superior to most of the church fronts in
Rome. It was built about 1500, at the expense of Isabella of Spain, wife
of Ferdinand the Fourth.

Within this church was once the glory of modern art, the Transfiguration
of Raphael, now in the Vatican, after its journey to Paris; and there
still is a Flagellation, coloured by Sebastian del Piombo, from the
design of Michael Angelo. It is an admirable painting, but like all
frescos, in a state of decay.[4]

In the cloister of the convent annexed to this church, is the famous
_Tempietto_ of Bramante, built on the spot where St. Peter was
crucified; and the hole in which the cross stood, is shewn exactly in
the centre of the present building. It is a little circular structure,
surrounded by a peristyle of sixteen Doric columns, and this circle of
columns, with its pedestal and the steps up to it, is beautiful.
Everything is well proportioned, and in its just place; but the upper
part of the edifice is not good. The parts within the portico are
crowded and confused, and the inside has little or no beauty.

From San Pietro we descend to the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere,
and to that of San Grisogono, both of which I have described to you.

That of Santa Cecilia is in a similar style, with ancient columns, and
originally a flat ceiling, but this is now replaced by a low elliptical
vault, leaving space only for very low windows. The disposition is
displeasing in itself, and the more so, from its want of suitableness to
the lower parts; an appearance of lightness may be given to a small
arch, which cannot by any means be preserved in a continued vault. A row
of columns supporting such a vault, has therefore always the appearance
of insufficiency. The statue of the saint is much admired.

We will now leave the Trastevere, and pass over the Bridge of Cestius,
now of St. Bartholomew, into the island, which is also dedicated to that
saint; considerable vestiges of the ancient bridge remain. It was built
in the 788th year of Rome, but restored in 368 of the Christian era. In
a convent in the island, we find a waxen bust of one of the monks, who
was a friend of Canova, made by that artist. It is admirably executed,
and coloured like nature, but the stillness of the open blue eyes
represents death, and not life. In the garden of the same convent, and
from the shore just below it, you may see the small remnants of the
temple of Æsculapius, which was built in the form of a ship. Something
of this shape is still distinguishable, and also a portion of the
serpent. The temple of Vesta, the mouth of the Cloaca maxima, and Ponte
Rotto, unite into a fine composition, as seen from the point of the
island. After crossing the other branch of the Tiber, on the Ponte di
Quattro Capi, which retains in its piers some fragments of the Pons
Fabricius, built in 733 of Rome; we may visit the Palazzo Mattei, which
I notice, not for its architecture, nor for its paintings, though it
contains a fine collection, but for the great quantity of bas-reliefs,
built up in the walls. They would make an interesting museum, if put
together in a place where they were well seen; but here, besides being
exposed to the injuries of the weather, they are almost lost as separate
objects, and they take away from what beauty there is in the
architecture. In the lower court are some valuable fragments of
architectural ornament, built up in the same manner, and in particular,
two semicircular windows, where the rich foliage which occupies great
part of the opening, shews that the ancients knew how to produce an
effect, somewhat similar to that of the tracery in our Gothic windows,
and in some respects superior to it, without at all departing from the
character of their own architecture.

I have not mentioned the Church of San Carlo a’ Catinari, which however
is a fine church, in the form of a Greek cross, or rather a Latin cross
reversed, for the choir forms a longer arm than the others, and even
these, being nearly equal to the width of the dome, are rather too deep.
The gilding and ornament is spotty, but the frescos of Domenichino are
very good, not equal however, to those at Sant Andrea.

In our way home we may look at the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva,
in front of which is a paltry little obelisk, mounted upon the back of
an elephant. The church was built about 1370, and retains a good deal of
the work of that period, but it is only a sort of ill-understood Gothic.
This church contains the celebrated statue of our Saviour supporting his
cross, by Michael Angelo. Milizia calls it a ruffian, which however it
is not; though the action is rather strong. The expression of the head
in some points of view is fine, and even sublime; but not equally so in
all; the muscles are large and flabby.

In the annexed convent is a library, said to be one of the richest in
Italy; it was founded by Cardinal Casanatta, who left a considerable sum
for its support, but like other things at Rome, it is a century behind
London and Paris, and the _Index expurgatorius_ is a great enemy to all
public libraries.

Having given you an account of what is found in the inside of this great
city, I shall proceed to the walls which enclose it, beginning with the
Porta del Popolo, for the small part between this and the river presents
no object of interest. This gate, according to the guide-books, was
re-built from a design by Michael Angelo, and executed under the
direction of Vignola; but it is not good, and part of it is more
ancient, for the holes in the external towers, now filled up, but
evidently made in order to get at the metal cramps which fastened the
stones together, attest the antiquity of the lower part.

Turning to the right, the wall, strengthened with buttresses and arched
recesses, forms the support of the Pincian hill. In this part we find
the Muro torto, a great square mass, placed at an angle in the circuit,
and corresponding in construction with the walls, that is, it is of
rubble-work, with a facing of reticulated tufo. It considerably
overhangs its base. There is no opening below, but above there appear to
have been recesses and arches, corresponding with those of the wall.
Antiquaries are not agreed as to what it has been. Beyond these we have
towers and curtains of more modern work, erected for the purpose of city
walls. Here and there a very ragged foundation occurs, which is perhaps
of earlier date, and in one or two places there are blocks of marble,
and other more decisive indications of ancient edifices.

The Porta Pia was opened by Pius the Fourth, in 1561. The designs were
Michael Angelo’s, but it has never been finished, nor would it be
handsome if it were. Here, by way of ornament, we see pateras with linen
hanging over them, said to represent a barber’s basin and towel, and to
have been intended by M. A. Buonarroti as a reproach to his employer for
the lowness of his origin; but conveying a much severer reproach against
M. Angelo himself, if the story be true; but it is exceedingly
improbable.

After this we distinguish the external form of the Prætorian camp, and
the wall is plain and without towers. In one place there are arches in
the upper part, and traces of walls advancing at right angles. After
this is a gateway stopt up, with one large scheme arch below, and six
little arches above. Then comes the Porta San Lorenzo, built in the same
style, perhaps by Aurelian, and repaired in 403, under _the most
unconquered princes_, Arcadius and Honorius, as is recorded by an
inscription. Within this is an arch of the aqueduct of the Aqua Marcia,
repaired successively by Augustus, Titus, and Caracalla. There are
stones disposed pedimentwise over the arch, and one of the ancient
inscriptions runs horizontally across these stones. The walls continue
to be of brick, with many towers, till we arrive at the angle by the
Porta Maggiore, where some ancient aqueducts enter the walls. The Porta
Maggiore is constructed of large blocks of travertine, and consisted
anciently of two arches, as was usual in city gates, and three niches
ornamented internally with cornices and pediments, one between, and one
on each side of the entrances. It is supposed in the first instance to
have formed part of an aqueduct, afterwards built up in the city walls;
and if of five arches of an aqueduct three were filled up, and the two
intermediate ones left open, a similar arrangement would result. Only
one arch is now open, and the one which has been stopped up, does not
seem to correspond exactly either in height or direction, with that
through which the road passes. Two watercourses, the Anio novus and the
Claudia, passed over it anciently, and the Acqua Felice has since been
conducted through it. Three large inscriptions give due honours to
Claudius, Vespasian, and Titus. Just to the north of this gate three
other water-courses enter the wall of the city. The two upper are the
Julia and Tepula, in rubble-work, which rest upon the constructions in
peperino, of the Marcia. Another half buried, supposed to be the Anio
vetus, is seen at the bottom. I hope in a succeeding walk to be able to
give you some further idea of these aqueducts. To the right, as you
issue from the gate, you find the wall made up of an ancient aqueduct,
by filling up the arches; this is also observable on the inside, where,
from the garden containing the temple of Venus and Cupid, you may trace
a considerable portion of the different constructions.

A little after leaving these aqueducts, you arrive at the remains of an
amphitheatre, part of the circuit of which is built up in the walls; it
consists of a range of Corinthian columns with arches between them, all
of brick, and a small fragment of a second range; the brickwork is
pretty well executed, but by no means equal to that of the temple of
Rediculus. It is remarkable that the bricks of the arches are laid to a
centre considerably lower than the centre of the curve. They are redder
and longer than the others.

In this part are various traces of old foundations built up in the
circuit of the wall, and nearer to the Porta San Giovanni, some
reticulated work occurs. This gate is entirely modern, and not of an
architecture to require any attention. Very near to it is another gate
which has been stopped up. After this the walls are of very shabby
brickwork, propt up by buttresses of different dates, and here and there
shewing traces of the old work of walls or sepulchres. Here as I was
making my memoranda, (in May, 1817) I found a poor wretch who was
seeking, if by chance he could find anything which could be eaten, among
the refuse vegetables which the gardeners had thrown over the walls. I
gave him two bajocs, for which he was extremely grateful, and would kiss
my hand. I did not like absolutely to refuse the customary expression of
gratitude, but I quite felt the dirt. This may serve to shew to what a
state the people here are reduced, by the failure, or at least the great
deficiency both of the vintage and the harvest, last year.

The next gate is the Porta Latina, which is shut. There is the fragment
of a brick edifice, just out of the walls, in the style of the temple of
Rediculus, but of the Doric order, with two half columns of brick. In
one place among the old peperino constructions which support the wall,
are appearances which indicate a casing of marble or travertine.

At a small distance is the Porta San Sebastiano, the lower part of which
is of squared blocks of marble, well put together. This projecting part
of the present walls is far beyond the ancient circuit, and the
character of the work is quite different from that of the Porta San
Lorenzo, or Porta Maggiore, but has more affinity with that of the Porta
del Popolo. Above the marble, the towers are carried up square, in
brickwork, but the highest part is circular.

Between this and the Porta San Paolo, besides the usual, or perhaps more
than the usual portion of included fragments, many of which were
probably tombs, we have traces of more recent works, and of the
fortifications of modern times. Beyond the Porta San Paolo, there is no
road under the walls, and I did not attempt to find my way through the
vineyards, to the shores of the Tiber. Inside, however, they exhibit a
series of open arches towards Monte Testaccio, and the _Prati del Popolo
Romano_.



                             LETTER XXXIII.

                         NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ROME.


                                                      _Rome, May, 1817._

You perhaps imagine, from having heard of the dreary and desolate
Campagna, that there are no agreeable walks about the city, but if you
have formed any such notion, you are very much mistaken. The ground
about Rome is exceedingly well disposed for pleasant scenery; the
country being intersected by several valleys of no great width, each
bounded by steep banks of moderate height, from the top of which you
catch the gently varied line of Monte Albano, and the distant Apennines.
One of these, Monte Velino, is still covered with snow. The Leonessa
held it for a long while; but the highest summit of this part of the
chain, which is the Gran Sasso, rising to an elevation of very nearly
9,000 feet, is not visible from any place near Rome. All these points of
the Apennines are in the Neapolitan territory. Each valley has nearly a
flat bottom, forming rich meadows, which in winter are very wet, and
many of them are at times inundated. Wherever art has interfered to
adorn these slopes, or where some natural patch of wood is suffered to
grow, the effect is highly pleasing, especially if in addition, some
picturesque ruin crown the summit. Sometimes when the eye is elevated
above these slopes, such features enrich the nearer landscape, while the
long lines of the ancient aqueducts give an interest to the middle
distance; but it must be confessed that little advantage is made of this
disposition of the ground, and that the general character of
uncultivated nakedness is far from agreeable.

I will take you in this letter through the Porta del Popolo, and our
first visit shall be to the house or casino, once inhabited by Raphael.
It stands in a garden close by the walls, and is without architectural
ornament, yet it forms a good object; to which the woods of the Villa
Borghese extending behind it, contribute not a little. Within is a
chamber adorned with the most beautiful little fancies, such as one may
suppose would be floating in the mind of a Raphael, and which he might
find pleasure in tracing as they occurred, without using any labour
about them, or working on any predetermined plan. A parcel of delightful
little cherubs have stolen the arrows of Cupid, who is represented
asleep, and they are amusing themselves with shooting at a target; there
are also four rounds with female heads, one of which is particularly
beautiful. Other figures seated among the arabesques are highly
graceful, and there is in all so much life and nature, that it is quite
a pleasure to look at them.

Returning from this we pass into the Villa Borghese, through a gateway
whose piers are copied from two sepulchres which have been supposed to
mark the entrance to Adrian’s villa, near Tivoli. These are surmounted
by two eagles of a fine, broad, noble character. The villa itself is a
garden or pleasure ground, said to be three miles in circumference, with
shady walks, which we found delightful as early as the 4th February, and
tall stone pines scattered about the more open parts. These trees, and
the Ilices are the most important circumstances in the beauty of the
place. There is a pretty lake, and a considerable variety of ground and
of scenery; and several buildings, not perhaps very beautiful in
themselves, but assisting the general character of the place. Art
appears everywhere, but not obtrusively, and without pretence. The upper
casino, if not beautiful on the outside, produces at least a rich and
magnificent effect. The general disposition is good, but the roofs are
not well managed, and the middle is too high; it looks better, as do
most of these over-ornamented fronts, in reality, than in a drawing or
engraving, because the artist almost always makes the ornaments too
prominent. The gallery within is a noble room, about 65 feet long, 30
broad, and 33 high; the enrichments are gold and white, on chocolate and
blue. Here was once a superb collection of antiques, but it has been
purchased by the French government, and now forms a large part of the
collection of the Louvre. Bernini’s figures remain, but they are too
affected to please; there are also some landscapes and other paintings
of no great merit, in the different rooms, but the apartments themselves
are of handsome proportions and well disposed. Returning almost to the
Porta del Popolo, and thence keeping along the Via Flaminia, we find the
Villa Poniatowski, very pleasant and containing a good many antiques,
but not of great value; there are a great number of fancy capitals,
variations of the Corinthian, some of which are good, but more bad or
indifferent.

A little farther is the Villa Giulia, which I have already described;
and there is another edifice of simple and not unpleasing architecture,
attributed to Antonio Sangallo, also belonging to a villa or vigna
Giulia. By these, a lane called Via dell’ Arco Scuro, leads to the Aqua
Acetosa, a mineral spring on the banks of the Tiber, having very much
the taste of ink. I have also mentioned the chapel of St. Andrew, by
Vignola, which is the next object in following the road. A little before
arriving at the Ponte Molle, we find another chapel of St. Andrew, or
rather a monument erected on the spot, where according to tradition,
Pius II., in 1463, met the head of the apostle on its arrival at Rome.
Upon a square basement, whose height is probably rather greater than its
width, is a little edifice with a column in each angle, a doorway
between them in each face, and a pediment above; the four fronts being
all precisely alike. Over this is an octagonal drum of very small
height, and a little, scaly cupola, surmounted by a cross. The
composition is simple and pleasing, for a little thing, but it would not
do for a large one.

The Ponte Molle, the ancient Pons Milvius, is the uppermost of the
ancient bridges about Rome over the Tiber. It was originally built in
the year of Rome 645; but it is doubtful if anything we see remaining be
of that period. Yet there is some ancient work in the piers, which is
easily distinguished from the later masonry of the arches, attributed to
Nicolas V. Till 1805 it was encumbered by an inconvenient tower at one
end; but being at that time damaged by an inundation, the road was
straightened, and made more commodious, and the tower converted into a
sort of triumphal arch; but it boasts no beauty. After crossing the
bridge we will take the right hand road up the hill, which coasts the
valley of the Tiber. At the distance of about two miles, we again
descend, and the road is cut into the hill, shewing it to consist of a
gravel principally composed of rounded pebbles of an argillaceous
limestone; near the bottom is the Torre di Quinto, standing, not upon
this gravel, but upon a fresh water limestone, like the travertine, or
the deposit of the Tartar lake, with similar indications of having been
formed on reeds, twigs, &c. This again rests on a volcanic tufo, very
unequal in substance and surface. The lower part of the limestone
includes numerous fragments of this tufo, but there are none of them in
the upper part of the bed. The tower itself is of the middle ages.

Beyond the little valley which succeeds, we find a spur of similar
limestone, resting on tufo. We cannot distinctly see this pass under the
mass of lava, or peperino, or tufo, which forms the next hill, but from
its position we may suppose this to be the case. This mass forms a
precipice perhaps in some parts 100 feet high, immediately above the
road, which here keeps the valley; it exhibits considerable tendency to
perpendicular fissures. The bottom of this bed is exhibited in three
different places; in the first it rests upon a calcareous gravel, like
that of the opposite hill; in the second, on a softish uniform
sandstone, which, whether it be volcanic or not, I cannot tell; in the
third, on a soft peperino, very different from the mass above, or from
anything else in the neighbourhood. In all these, the line of separation
is perfectly distinct. A grotto, the tomb of the family of Naso, usually
called the tomb of Ovid, is worked in the sandstone. It is adorned with
ancient paintings on stucco. A little farther are some other tombs of
considerable magnitude; one of them appears to have been a pyramid, or
cone, on a square basement. Another was circular externally, with twelve
niches, or perhaps eleven niches and a door, and a Greek cross within. A
third exhibits merely foundations, nearly level with the plain. Still
farther is another pyramidal tomb, which I did not visit.

After satisfying our curiosity here, we return by the same road to the
Ponte Molle; afterwards keeping the right bank of the river, and passing
through some vineyards still more to the right, we ascend the hill to
the Villa Madama. The building, which has never been finished, presents
its flank to the side of the hill; a deep loggia in the garden front,
has been ornamented with paintings by Giulio Romano, who is also the
reputed architect of the villa. This deep loggia, too complicated
perhaps in its form, is nevertheless very elegant, and the terrace
garden beyond it offers a fine view of the Campagna. All is now
neglected and forlorn.

Between this and Rome we may cross Monte Mario, so called, not from the
Roman general, but from a villa on the summit, belonging at one time to
a certain Mario Mellini. This is the highest hill in the immediate
neighbourhood of Rome, and a noble terrace shaded with cypresses
commands a magnificent view both of the city and country, from the
Apennines to the Mediterranean. If instead of following the road from
this place to Rome, we keep a little to the right, we shall find
ourselves in the Valle d’ Inferno. Whether this has its name from the
mal aria, or from its being infested with robbers, I shall not undertake
to decide. It certainly is not from the character of the scenery, which
is that of a green secluded valley, winding between steep woody banks of
small elevation. If it had not been for its botany I should never have
visited it. We re-enter Rome by the Porta Angelica.

[Illustration:

A.B. Clayton del. from Sketches by J. Woods Edwards. Sculp

PONTE SALARIA.

_London. Published by J & A. Arch, Cornhill. March 1^{st}. 1828._ ]

Our next walk shall be out of the Porta Salaria, on which road the first
object is the Villa Albani. The ground floor of the principal building
presents a range of ten Ionic pilasters, and in each interpilaster is an
arch supported on two small columns. Above, are two ranges of windows,
of which the upper ones are circular; and Corinthian pilasters. The
distribution of the wings is exactly like that of the lower part of the
centre, but on a smaller scale. It must be acknowledged that the masses
are well proportioned and finely disposed; this is attributed to the
cardinal for whom the villa was made. But the details are bad; for this
the architect is answerable. In the inside, the great saloon is a very
rich and beautiful room, about 60 feet long, 20 wide, and 30 high. The
cabinets are rather too small, but they are handsome rooms, each with a
single light. Opposite to this is the café, where there is an open
semicircular gallery with Doric pilasters, and eleven arches on Doric
columns disposed like those of the principal building. Here again the
general proportions are good, and the details bad. There are some other
smaller edifices, which I shall not particularize; and it does not come
into my plan to attempt the description of the noble collection of
marbles which this villa contains. They tell you of hundreds taken away
by the French, of which eleven I think, have been restored, but the
number is still immense. The views from this villa are magnificent, and
on more than one occasion I have seen from these gardens, the Apennines
lighted up by the setting sun, in exquisite beauty.

The Ponte Salario is said to have been ruined by Totila, and restored by
Narses, but the inscriptions which commemorated those events were lost
in 1798, when the bridge was cut by the retreating Neapolitans. It
consists of one large arch, perhaps 90 feet wide, and two small ones,
one of which is now filled up. The ancient work seems to have been of
peperino, the repairs are of travertine, brick, and rubble. Some of the
stones of the parapet are still remaining; they are formed thus,

[Illustration: Illustration of parapet]

the middle being a sort of pyramid. Beyond this bridge there is a tomb
transformed into a tower, and the road leads us to the site of the
ancient Fidene; but I turned to the right after crossing the river, and
kept under the bank which forms the valley, as far as the Ponte
Lamentano, where a large brick arch in the work above, as well as that
of the bridge itself, has the appearance of a Roman construction.

Instead of crossing this bridge, we may turn for a few steps along the
road to the left, as far as the Mons Sacer, interesting from its place
in Roman history, but not in itself a spot distinctly marked either by
nature or art. Just at its foot are the remains of two sepulchres; one,
which has been an edifice of considerable magnificence, surrounded by a
circular colonnade, is ingeniously assigned by the people of Rome to
Menenius Agrippa. He was there in his life-time to tell his parable to
the plebeians, and therefore he must have been buried there. There are
not however, any columns remaining, or anything of much interest in the
fragment. The other is still more ruined.

In spite of their extremely dilapidated state, these fragments render
the walks about Rome very interesting. They abound in all directions,
chiefly on the east of the Tiber, but much more in some places than in
others, and allow full liberty for the imagination to speculate on their
ancient forms and destinations; for though a few conjectures have been
bestowed upon some of them, there is little but conjecture at the best,
and nine tenths of the fragments are without any probable guess at what
they may have been. A large portion were certainly tombs, but of whom,
and of what period, is forgotten.

I often wish for a tolerable map of the neighbourhood, which would show
the position of the different objects of our curiosity, especially of
the antiquities, and it appears to me a strong feature of the
sluggishness of modern Rome, that a work so extremely desirable, should
have been so entirely neglected. I say entirely, for Sickler’s miserable
map of Latium is not worth mention. I feel the want in nothing more,
than in endeavouring to trace the aqueducts. The ancient ones were
eleven in number, viz., the Aqua Appia, A.U.C. 442; the Anio vetus,
A.U.C. 481; the Aqua Tepula, A.U.C. 628; the Aqua Marcia, A.U.C. 640;
the Aqua Julia, A.U.C. 721; the Aqua Virginis, A.U.C. 735; the Aqua
Alsietina, A.U.C. 753; the Aqua Claudia, the Anio novus, the Aqua
Trajana, and the Aqua Sabatina; the two last are on the west side of the
Tiber. Of these aqueducts, the Aqua Virginis still remains, the Acqua
Felice may possibly contain the water formerly transported in the
channel of the Aqua Tepula, and the Acqua Paolina supplies the place of
the Aqua Alsietina. These aqueducts had a few branches in the early part
of their course to receive different supplies; and other branches
within, and near the city, to distribute their waters: the whole amount
of water exceeded 10,000 _quinarii_, or as Piranesi says 14,000, but how
much this quinarius was, is not I believe certainly known. Poleni
considers it as a pipe whose diameter is equal to a good-sized finger
ring, or about three quarters of an inch. Not a very precise measure,
and if it were, yet as we are ignorant at what depth under the usual
surface these pipes were placed, or of any other datum by which to
determine the velocity of the water, it would be too imperfect to enable
us to form a tolerable judgment of the quantity intended. The quinarius
may have been of the diameter of a coin of that name, or it may have
been the name of a liquid measure equal to five quarters of the
_sextarius_, and the sextarius is about a pint; but then we want the
time in which such a measure was supplied. According to Forcellini, and
he quotes Frontino, a quinarius is a pipe of the diameter of five
_quadrantes_, and a quadrans, on the same authority, is a quarter of a
foot. This would be preposterous, and the ancient remains show, that on
an average, the section of each watercourse could not have exceeded an
area of ten square feet. A quinarius then is five fourths of something,
this seems all that is certain. A circular opening, three-quarters of an
inch in diameter, at the depth of four feet from the surface, which is
maintained always to the same level, will emit fifty-one cubic inches
per second.[5]

Most of the aqueducts approach each other near the Porta Maggiore. The
Aqua Virginis, which enters Rome near the Villa Borghese, and the
Trasteverine ones being alone wanting, and the modern Acqua Felice may
be added to the number. This last runs along the wall from that gate to
the Porta San Lorenzo, and then leaving the wall, is seen directing its
course towards the Certosa. I shall therefore conduct you to the Porta
Maggiore, and then tell you what is to be seen of them beyond it; but
before we arrive at the gate, especially if we go from St. John Lateran,
we see considerable remains of a branch of the Claudian, built, as we
are told, by Nero, to conduct the water to the Palatine; and a little
before arriving at the gate, a lane leading to the church of Santa Croce
runs under it, and we have full opportunity to examine. It is of
beautiful brickwork, at least the facings are so, and is meant for a
gateway, since it is composed of one large arch in the middle, and two
small arches, one over the other, on each side; and there have been
architectural ornaments. The ancient watercourse runs at the top, above
these upper arches; but there is one at present, suspended as it were in
the upper part of the large arch, and passing at the bottom of the upper
side arches, which I suppose to be a branch from the modern Acqua
Felice; at least it is only from that, that it can now obtain its water.
I have already mentioned to you the remains connected with the wall near
the Porta Maggiore, as seen from the inside of the city; the three
channels which pass over the gate, and the four which enter the wall on
the left as you go out of the gate. The lowest and most ancient, the
Aqua Appia enters the city, according to Piranesi, a little to the right
of the gate, and winds over the Aventine; but it is almost everywhere
buried, nor have I seen it in any one place at Rome, unless it be the
lowest of those at the Porta Maggiore, as Piranesi’s plan seems to
indicate; but this is usually considered to belong to the Anio vetus.
Those which go over the gate are the Aqua Claudia, and Anio novus. There
is a series of arches of more ancient date accompanying these along the
wall, but what may become of it afterwards I cannot tell. There is no
range of arches near the Porta Maggiore connecting with any of the four
earlier aqueducts, nor have I been able to determine them with certainty
at a greater distance. We see indeed abundant remains of aqueducts,
whose long branches are conspicuous objects; winding over the extensive
plain, without any apparent reason for the irregularities of their
course, which are the more remarkable as they sometimes cross each
other; and this circumstance, added to their number, and their mutilated
state, renders it difficult to trace them, or to assign to each the
arches which belong to it. The elevation doubtless is a very important
indication, but this requires the careful levelling and measurement of
different parts. The materials are a further guide. In the three which
enter the wall together near the Porta Maggiore, the two upper
watercourses, supposed to be the Julia and Tepula, are formed of brick
and rubble; the lower, that of the Aqua Marcia, is of square blocks of
peperino, and the supporting pier is also of that construction. When the
Julia was erected in 729 A.U.C., the Tepula is said to have been added
to it. I do not understand what is meant by the expression, since the
water is accounted for separately, and we still see their distinct
channels, but it unfortunately throws a doubt on the date of the present
remains; without which we might make a very near approximation to the
period of the introduction of rubble-work into these buildings; between
612 A.U.C., the date of the Marcia, and 627 A.U.C., which was that of
the Tepula. Of the remaining fragments, some are of stone, others of
brickwork, but the former cannot be traced for any continuance; and
while two or three are sometimes supported on one range of arches, in
other places almost every one seems to have a range to itself. It is
curious to trace these repairs executed fifteen centuries ago; the
execution of the brickwork in most instances, or perhaps in all, shows
them to be decidedly prior to the age of Constantine, and the principal
restorations in all probability took place when the upper watercourses
were added. They generally consist of brick arches, built within the
ancient stone ones, sometimes resting on the old piers, but more often
carried down to the ground, and in some cases the whole arch has been
filled up, or only a mere doorway left at the bottom. Sometimes this
internal work has been wholly or partially destroyed; sometimes the
original stone-work has disappeared, as the owner of the ground happened
to want bricks or squared stones. In one place the ancient piers have
been entirely buried in the more recent brickwork; but the brickwork has
been broken, and the original stone-work taken away, presenting a very
singular, and at first sight, wholly unaccountable appearance; in other
parts the whole has fallen, apparently without having had these brick
additions, for a range of parallel mounds marks the situation of the
prostrate piers.

Continuing along the road to Præneste, the ancient Via Labicana, for
some distance, with these aqueducts and fragments of aqueducts on the
right, and observing another, crossing a valley on a much lower level,
perhaps connected with the lowest watercourse (that of the Anio vetus)
at the Porta Maggiore, we arrive at the Torre Pignattara, said to be the
tomb of Helena, the mother of Constantine. Here was found the other
great porphyry sarcophagus now in the Vatican, the position of the first
I have already mentioned in the church of Santa Constanza. The sculpture
is far from good, but it is better than the former. It is said to have
been repaired in modern times at the expense of 20,000 crowns, otherwise
it might be deemed too good for the age of Constantine. The tower itself
is a circular brick building of considerable size, with two stories
externally, each of eight arches. There has been a large external niche
in the part opposite to the present entrance, and some projecting stones
announce a cornice, or perhaps a peristyle, above the lower range of
arches. There probably was never much to be admired in it either for
design or execution. The dome which covers it is constructed with
earthen pots, and the building has thence obtained its name, Pignattara,
signifying a pipkin.

The really good things in Roman architecture, of which anything remains
to us, are comparatively very few. The temple of Vesta is rather Greek
than Roman. Then we have the three columns of Jupiter Stator; three of
Jupiter Tonans; the temple of Antoninus and Faustina; that of Mars
Ultor, and the portico of the Pantheon, all six of the Corinthian order,
nor have we anything of much value of any other. There are magnificent
fragments besides, and in particular, some of the marble ornaments in
the forum of Trajan raise a high idea of its beauty and perfection. But
there is no other building which can be considered as a model. The
erections of the four first emperors were generally in good style, and a
sentiment of correct taste and feeling existed till the time of Trajan.
Under that emperor, the productions of Apollodorus are decidedly
superior to most of the edifices which preceded his time, but the artist
and the purity of the art were destroyed by Hadrian. Some traces of
beauty remain under Severus, but these are gradually lost between him
and Constantine. A common country mason in England would make as good
designs, would draw the architecture with as much truth and correctness,
and execute the ornaments, sculpture included, as well as the artists
employed by Constantine. The degree of degradation to which the fine
arts had fallen in that period is a very remarkable phenomenon in the
history of the human mind; for the empire, though torn and suffering in
many parts, was still great and powerful; and both for individuals, and
for the public, the arts must still have been exercised. Yet the
architects of Constantine’s reign could not find workmen who could give
the mouldings a regular curve, or even preserve them in a straight line,
or form an even surface.

Beyond the tower of the Pignattara, are a great number of little ruins,
mostly of rubble, with a facing of reticulated work in tufo, just of the
sort which Vitruvius describes as calculated to last eighty years; yet
without being very thick, these walls have probably seen twenty such
periods. Most of these buildings have been rectangular, but there is one
circular brick building, and there is also a fragment constructed of
large blocks of peperino, probably of an early date, and some
constructions of _opus incertum_. Leaving the Præneste road, and turning
to the left, I passed another piece of an aqueduct, not rising above the
more elevated parts of the Campagna, but which from its position, I
should conclude not to be of the same work with a similar piece which I
had before left on the right. The remains of both are of rubble-work.
This is supposed by Nibby to be the Aqua Alexandrina. Some time after,
returning towards Rome, I reached a large round building situate on the
ancient Via Prenestina, a road which is now little used, called Torre
degli Schiavi, or otherwise the temple of Hope. It is a large, circular,
domed, brick building; with two ranges of corbels for cornices, and
indications of a large base moulding. The brickwork is not very good.
Internally, there are four niches, two small arched recesses, one larger
one, and opposite to this last, the doorway. It is of better design than
the Torre Pignattara, and has had a portico in front, so that it was
almost a miniature of the Pantheon. Some of the stucco remains, and
traces of the ornaments, and even of figures, may be observed upon the
dome. There appears to have been a range of these figures encircling the
dome at the springing, and over them a large ovolo, these eight arches
(all in painting), and over these other ornaments. Everything is too
much decayed to enable us to judge of the effect, or to fix upon a
period for the execution. Some figures of saints, evidently of a later
date than the paintings just mentioned, prove it to have been used as a
Christian church, which was also the case with the Torre Pignattara. The
dome is lightened, as in that building, by the use of pots. The
foundations shew that it had a portico, which like that of the Pantheon,
contained a large niche on each side of the entrance into the building.
There is a circular vault below, supported on a central pier. Several
fragments of walls, and remains of foundations may be traced in the
neighbourhood, and many of the buildings must have been of considerable
size. There is one arrangement which occurs several times here and
elsewhere; two, three, or even four, parallel vaults are found below,
each of these vaults being sometimes divided into two lengths, by a
cross wall; and just as many chambers above, which also have been
vaulted. In each of the lower vaults, there appears to have been a door
at one end, and no other opening; the upper rooms are in most instances,
too much ruined for us to decide on what they have been; but in the one
by the Torre degli Schiavi, which is the most perfect I have seen,
enough remains to tell pretty decidedly that there was neither door nor
window above or below; and neither fireplace nor staircase, nor are
there any niches, either for statues, or for the dead bodies, or for
cinerary urns, or any deposit from water. What can this have been?

At a little distance is a fragment of another circular building, of the
same sort of work, but smaller and more ruinous, and also more buried in
its ruins. Enough remains to shew that the dome has been fluted, with a
small fillet on the angle of each flute: the flutes have been rounded
off in some degree at the bottom. The outside is of reticulated tufo,
and seems to have been square. At the distance of a few steps is a
building, which is of brick, and octangular below, and of rubble above,
the outside covering having disappeared. A tower is built upon part of
it, the residence of—I forget who; some noble or robber, names which
appear synonymous in the middle ages at Rome. This also is domed. Within
are four niches, three recesses, and the door; and we observe here that
there have been a circular vault below, and central pier, as in the
principal edifice. Some ornaments in relief on the stucco still exist in
one of the niches. On one side are some additional buildings, but there
has been no door of communication between them and the circular part.
There are many other fragments, but these are the most perfect. This
group of ruins is sometimes called Roma Vecchia, but there is another
Roma Vecchia more considerable, on the Appian way, of which I shall give
you some account in my next walk.

Returning to Rome, we find a small building of very neat brickwork,
somewhat in the style of the temple of Rediculus, of which my next
ramble will also contain an account, but in worse taste, and therefore
probably later. It has a lofty frieze, adorned with arches, another
proof of the decline of the art.



                             LETTER XXXIV.

                         NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ROME.


                                                      _Rome, May, 1817._

BEGINNING with the Porta del Popolo, and following in the direction of
the sun, I have taken you in succession out of the different gates; but
we will now set out by the gate of St. Sebastian, and return by that of
San Giovanni, which would precede it in regular order. Before arriving
at the gate, we meet with three objects deserving notice, which though
within the walls, were too distantly situated to be included in our
former walks. The first of these is the great ruin of the Baths of
Caracalla. The general plan of the Roman _thermæ_ seems to have been
that of a large, rectangular, central building, placed in a spacious
enclosure, surrounded by smaller edifices, and on one side of this court
there was a large open theatre, or rather _cavea_. This disposition may
be traced in the three which exist the most perfectly; of the others we
have not sufficient materials to decide whether it was adopted or not;
and only conclude it to have been so from analogy. It is very
conspicuous in the Baths of Caracalla, only the _cavea_, instead of
being semicircular, is in the form of half a stadium, or circus. The
ruins of these baths are very considerable, and are impressive by their
vast square mass; and internally, the immense piles of brick and rubble
give it a solemnity of character with which the deep, still blue of an
Italian sky is in perfect harmony, though the tints of the ruin are of
rich and glowing colours. However often one may visit them, it is always
with repeated pleasure that we ramble among their massive constructions.
The great central chamber seems, like the great hall still remaining in
the baths of Dioclesian, to have been covered with groined arches. It
was probably the first instance of groined arches covering a space of
any considerable extent, and as there can be no doubt that so striking a
novelty would be admired and repeated, we are not surprised at finding
it in all the later thermæ. It is true that Palladio introduces this
disposition in his plans of all the baths, but he appears in this, as in
some other instances, to have supplied the deficiencies of one, by
adapting to it the parts of another, without sufficient authority. The
great central building was composed internally of two large colonnaded
courts, one at each end, and vast halls, and a multitude of smaller
chambers between, and on each side of them; on each side of the outer
circuit of buildings, there seem to have been other edifices disposed
circularly, and an octagonal room, which has the appearance of a hall of
entrance, occurred at each end. In one of these the celebrated _Toro
Farnese_ is said to have been found, but I believe the fact is doubtful.
We find in the part which now remains horizontal lines, which probably
mark the situations of the marble cornices, and many other indications
of the enrichments which have been taken away: we trace also pipes in
the wall in various places, some apparently intended to take off the
smoke, while others were to introduce water.

                      ----------------------------

                                                                   1826.

The Conte di Velo has been at the expense of excavating a considerable
part of these baths. Many fragments were found of sculpture and of
architecture, and an immense quantity of pieces of different coloured
marbles. The white marble of the architecture was Pentelic. At the depth
of six or eight feet, the ancient mosaic pavement was discovered, and
even below this are several curious arrangements of walls and conduits
which I do not comprehend. At the exhibition in the French academy,
there were some beautiful drawings of all the discoveries here made,
with a complete restoration of the edifice; in some parts very happy; in
others very doubtful. The artist has carefully commemorated some
comparatively trifling excavations made by the French academy, and does
not even mention the name of the Conte di Velo, by whose means he has
been enabled to give interest to his drawings.

                      ----------------------------

                                                                   1817.

The ancient Romans did not permit their dead to be buried within the
city, or if there are a few exceptions, they were granted with a very
sparing hand, and the tombs of the Campus Martius are obliterated,
except a few great ones, by the modern city. The sepulchre of the
Scipios is without the ancient walls, in an opposite direction, but
within those of Aurelian. An inscription was dug up here so long ago as
1616, but the antiquaries having fixed upon a building considerably
farther on, as the tomb of the Scipios, were unanimous in their opinion
that it must be a forgery, and it was not till 1780, that the proprietor
of the _Vigna_, working to enlarge his cellar, dug into the ancient
excavation, and found the remarkable sarcophagus now in the Vatican, and
many other inscribed tablets, which put the matter out of all doubt. It
appears originally to have been a quarry of pozzolana, or more probably
of tufo, before it was appropriated as a tomb. The ancient entrance is
formed by an arch of peperino, adorned with half columns, and this is
nearly all the masonry of an early date. Some additions in brick and
tufo, seem to have been made afterwards; and still later constructions,
of a style of masonry corresponding with that of the circus of
Caracalla, were carried through it, or along one side of it. The falling
in of the earth had not only covered, but had completely obliterated all
traces of the ancient entrance; and a small casino for the vine-dresser,
one of those little things so often constructed on the ancient tombs,
still farther tended to conceal from the observer any object of
interest; a few pieces of old rubble-work are too frequent about the
Campagna to excite attention.

Just before passing the walls, we find the Arch of Claudius Drusus,
built by the senate in 745 A. U. C., eight years before the Christian
era, and ornamented, as is said, with trophies of German victories. Over
the arch, on the face towards the city, one may perceive indications of
a frieze and architrave, and the bed moulding of the cornice, but none
of the corona: there are also remains of a small pediment, hardly
extending across the opening of the arch. All this belongs to the
original edifice, and is easily distinguished from the aqueduct of
Caracalla carried over it; to execute which, it appears to have been
necessary to cut down the work internally, nearly as low as to the
key-stone of the arch. On the external face are two marble columns of
the Composite order. The architrave of these remains, but nothing above
it, and all the rest of the edifice has been stripped of the marble
covering with which it was once coated.

I have already described to you the gate of St. Sebastian. Immediately
after passing it, you enter a vineyard on the right, to see, as you are
told, the _Sepolcro di Marte_; it is of neat brickwork; the bricks on
the external facings being cut to a sharp edge, as in some other
buildings which I shall describe to you: internally, we find a simple
waggon-headed vault, with slight caissoons in stucco, but no other
ornament; and niches for cinerary urns. After this are other fragments,
all of sepulchres, for we are now on or near the Appian way. Names have
been given, but without authority, and the ruins are mostly mere masses
of rubble, to which no form can be assigned. Some however are larger,
and contain vaulted chambers, others are domed. Indeed the form, the
extent, and the materials of the more perfect remains all vary, but it
would be tedious to enumerate them. On the left-hand side of the road,
opposite to one of these, which is of considerable comparative
importance, and formerly attributed to the Scipios, is the little church
of _Domine quo vadis_, so called because St. Peter, having escaped from
prison at Rome, met here our Saviour bearing his cross; and in these
words, for he preferred Latin to Hebrew, Syriac, or Greek, asked him
where he was going. Our Saviour replied that he was going to be
crucified a second time. St. Peter it appears understood the hint, and
returned to submit to the martyrdom required of him. This is not to be
found in the Acts of the Apostles, but is not the less firmly believed
on that account; and moreover you are shown the impression of our
Saviour’s foot in the stone on which he stood. It was politic, at least,
to weave all these little circumstances into the history of St. Peter;
they became united to all the earliest impressions of the Romans, and
are easily connected with the idea of St. Peter having been bishop of
Rome, and of the consequent superior dignity and authority of that
church.

There is nothing to claim your attention in the architecture of the
Church of St. Sebastian; but in a subterraneous chapel is a beautiful
bust of the saint, by Bernini, full of expression; and here also is the
entrance to the most extensive catacombs about Rome. They consist of
crooked winding passages in tufo and pozzolana, in three stories, which
as the levels are not always exactly preserved, are easily made into
seven by those who wish to increase the appearance of the marvellous.
The niches for the bodies are mere square recesses, about the length of
a human body, and just big enough to receive it; but there are some
larger ones forming an arch, at the bottom of which the body was placed:
wherever these larger arched niches are found, there is a little
apartment, whose rude sides have been coated with stucco. I will not
however venture to say that there are no stuccoed rooms without niches,
but the two circumstances generally go together. They pretend to have
found here, the bodies of 174,000 martyrs. A collection of itself
sufficient to stock all Europe with relicks.

A little beyond this is the Spoliarium, or Mutatorium; or it is a
temple, according to Palladio, or anything else you please. It has been
generally supposed to have supplied some purpose dependent on the circus
of Caracalla, with which it has however no connexion. It consists of a
round edifice inclosed in a court. The central building is formed by a
circular wall, with an octagonal pier in the middle supporting a vault;
the whole forming doubtless the basement of a large domed hall above,
which no longer exists. The work is of rubble, which within the vault is
faced with bricks, laid regularly, but with a great deal of mortar; the
vault is altogether of rubble. There are niches in the middle pier, and
its octagonal form seems not essential, since the vault rises upon a
circle described within it. The surrounding wall of the court is built
of alternate layers of brick and stone, or rather of tufo, for it hardly
deserves the name of stone. Within it, are remains of piers formed of
brick only, and there are some vestiges of the vaulting with which the
intervening space was covered, forming a continued arcade round three
sides of the court, or perhaps all four, but that towards the road is
quite destroyed. Close on the outside of this court is a sepulchre, long
attributed to the Servilian family, but as the true burying-place of
that family has been since found at a considerable distance, and
determined by inscriptions, this remains without a name. It is of a
square form without and within, and is covered, not with a proper vault,
but pyramidally, on the principle of the _dos d’âne_. There are,
however, rough arches to some of the openings; a passage is carried all
round the building in the thickness of the walls. The whole construction
is certainly very singular, and appears to be of high antiquity, but I
cannot pretend to assign a probable date.

From these remains we pass to the Circus of Caracalla, not that it was
built by that emperor, for it is probably of a much later period, but it
was known from medals that Caracalla erected a circus, and the
antiquaries could not tell where to find it, while here they had a
circus without a name. Whoever built it, it is a very interesting ruin,
because it exhibits more perfectly than any other, the arrangement of
the ancient circus. The surrounding walls are constructed like those of
the court of the mutatorium, with alternate layers of brick and small
stones; the continued vault which supported the seats, is of rubble, but
with large earthen vases in the upper part, to lighten the work. The
line of _Carceres_ which forms the square end, if I may use the word
_square_ so loosely, is oblique in position with respect to the side
walls, and curved in itself, in order to put all the chariots upon an
equality at starting; and the _spina_ for a similar reason is neither
along the middle of the arena, nor exactly parallel to one of its sides,
but so disposed that the passage gets narrower through its whole
progress. At the semicircular end is the _Porta Triumphalis_,[6] through
which the victor left the circus. The obelisk which now embellishes the
Piazza Navona, once decorated the spine of this place.

Overlooking this circus, are various ruins, of which we may reckon five
distinct fragments, each at some distance from the other; and a long
terrace, supported in part upon vaults, to one of which you still find
an entrance. The stucco is still remaining, and we observe painted lines
drawn very neatly and correctly round panels, of which the ornaments in
the middle have been taken away: from what remains, we may conclude that
the whole was well finished. Some of these fragments of edifices have
been supposed to belong to the temple of Honour and Virtue, built by
Marcellus, after the conquest of Sicily, in the year of Rome 544; for
this, however, there is not the shadow of proof, and the style of
construction, of rubble faced with brick, is similar to that of imperial
times.

We will now make a diversion from the road, in order to visit some
antiquities which occupy a retired situation to the left, in or near the
little valley called the Caffarelli. The first we meet with, just on the
brow of the hill, is the little edifice called the Temple of the
Tempest. There are some small buildings about Rome, covered with the
sort of vault which the French call _dos d’âne_, but I do not know that
we have any correspondent English term. The rubble and mortar of which
it is composed, seem to have been laid on planks rising in a triangular
form, and to sustain themselves when these are removed, entirely by the
cement. This little building is one of them. It is said to have been
erected A. U. C. 547, (before C. 206.) by P. C. Scipio, in consequence
of a vow which he made when overtaken by a storm in returning from
Spain; and I have observed two tombs, one of which I have just described
to you, the roof of which is constructed on the same principle, in the
form of the frustum of a pyramid; both very much dilapidated. I am
inclined to attribute to all three a high antiquity, probably as high as
that assigned by tradition to the temple of the Tempest; but of this
building I must observe, that only a small part can by any possibility
boast a claim to the name: additions have been made at different times.
The oldest part is formed of rubble-work, of fragments of lava; the
later (and these walls are built close against the others) of a
rubble-work of tufo, faced with reticulated work, and since that, a
dwellinghouse has been erected on the top, which is now in ruins. At a
little distance is a building called the Temple of Bacchus, or by
Uggeri, and some others, the Temple of Honour and Virtue. Four
Corinthian columns of pretty good design and workmanship form the front,
but they are spaced wide apart, and surmounted by a miserable
architrave. Above this is what may be considered as an enormous frieze,
which, as well as the cornice, is of brick. On one side is a fragment of
a wall of alternate brick and tufo, not close against the wall of the
temple, or parallel to it. The walls of the present building are all
brick, at least as to the facing; and in converting it to a church, the
spaces between the columns have been filled up with an ill-built wall of
brick, and fragments of stone. The original brickwork is neat and good,
but the bricks are not cut to a sharp edge, as they are in some other
examples. Internally, a range of stones projecting from the walls, forms
a series of corbels supporting flat arches of brick: above every
alternate stone is a pilaster, and there were probably columns below, so
that it was a room adorned with two orders of architecture. Some stucco
panels remain on the vault, and along the springing there is a row of
trophies in considerable relief. The columns alone belong to a building
of good time, but the edifice, in its first state, is probably not much
earlier than Constantine, and perhaps later: the alterations and
conversion into a church are not recorded; we only see the fact.
Something was done in 1634, but I do not know what.

Below this, in the valley, is the Grotto of the nymph Egeria, a cavern,
perhaps originally formed by nature in the side of the hill, but
enlarged and made regular by art, and the soft rock everywhere covered
with brick, and reticulated work. It appears to have been formed into a
symmetrical building adorned with niches; in one of which, at the end of
the grotto, is a fragment of a male statue. The supply of water is but
small, but the vault and walls, covered with the beautiful _Adiantum
Capillus Veneris_, show the general moisture of the soil.

Continuing down the valley, we meet with the Temple of Rediculus: the
body of the work is of rubble, but it is faced with very neat brickwork,
in which the horizontal surfaces of the bricks have been rubbed or cut
away, in order to give room for the mortar, when the edges externally
were almost in contact, as in the tomb called the sepulchre of Mars, and
in some others near the mutatorium, which I have not particularly
mentioned. I did not observe that any of the bricks were broken in
consequence of this process, an effect which I think would certainly
follow if a modern architect were to direct such a mode of proceeding.
It has Corinthian pilasters at the back, which is the most conspicuous
part, the foliage of whose capitals is also cut in brick. On one side
are portions of two octagonal columns recessed in the wall, while the
other side is plain. It has windows; and many of the ornaments round
them, and in the cornice, and also a band, ornamented with a fret, which
surrounds the edifice between the pilasters, seem to have been moulded
in the clay, before being burnt. There are evident traces of a portico,
towards the streamlet which waters the valley, so that the whole
together must have formed a complete little prostyle temple. Within, the
vault which separates the basement, from what would have been on such a
supposition the floor of the temple, is broken away; and in this
basement, on the west side, or end, is a row of small arches, which some
antiquaries say are not parts of the building, but have been put up to
support fodder for the cattle. As, however, traces of similar arches may
be observed in the construction of the wall on the south side, whose
surface is destroyed, I suspect that they were for the reception of
cinerary urns. Whatever was the purpose of the erection, there are
several buildings of a similar disposition about Rome, and therefore
probably intended for a similar object. Most of them have been supposed
to be temples, but I believe all contain appearances in the basement
story, (for each has a basement story) of having been used as places of
sepulture after burning: yet they are not placed immediately on the
great roads, as sepulchres usually were, nor is there any certain
sepulchre in which this form has been adopted. This little building was
probably of as correct a design, and of as finished an execution, as any
of them; and by a fortunate coincidence is the best preserved.

[Illustration:

A. B. Clayton del. from Sketches by J. Woods Edwards. Sculp.

TEMPLE OF REDICULUS.

_London. Published by J & A. Arch. Cornhill March 1^{st}. 1828_ ]

Returning to the Appian way, and ascending the ridge, along which it is
carried for several miles, we arrive at the Sepulchre of Cecilia
Metella, the wife of Crassus; probably of the rich Crassus, for after
every allowance for individual wealth, and Roman luxury and ostentation,
we are still, in spite of the inscription, at a loss to believe that
such a mole should have been erected to contain the bones of one woman.
The vast square basement is of rubble, formed of fragments of peperino,
with large blocks of travertine built into the mass, to unite with and
support the facing of travertine, which once covered the whole, but of
which only these heading-blocks remain. In this part there are said to
be three small chambers, (to which however I could discover no entrance)
and in one of these was found the sarcophagus now in the court of the
Palazzo Farnese. The circular part of the edifice rose abruptly, as far
as we can judge from the remains, from this square mass, without any
preparation to reconcile the change of form: this upper circular part
forms a tower about 60 feet in diameter, and of which the walls are 20
feet thick at the bottom, and more higher up, since the opening
diminishes upwards in a conical form. Uggeri assigns 87 French feet to
the whole diameter, and only 20 feet to the circular chamber; perhaps he
is right: I did not measure it. Like all other ruins of any consequence,
this was converted into a fortress, or rather made part of a large
castle, during the wars of the Roman barons, and was the eyry of the
Gaetani family. These sons of rapine and spoil seem to have troubled
themselves little about the mal aria. After leaving this monument, and
the Gothic fortress in which it was afterwards included, the tombs
become very frequent. The fortress occupies exactly the brow of a range
of hill extending in a direct line from Albano, and evidently formed by
a current of lava, and there are considerable quarries just by it, which
supply Rome with paving-stones.

The most simple form of the ancient sepulchre was that of a square, or
circular tower, of no great height or size, on a square basement.
Fragments of white marble remain in sufficient quantity, to shew that a
large proportion of the tombs must have been covered with this material,
but for the most part, the existing ruins are merely indistinct masses
of rubble. Some are of brick, but these are usually of greater extent,
and more complicated forms, with domes and arches; and are probably of
later date. These sepulchral chambers are disposed in a single line on
each side of the Appian way, but a little further on, we find a great
number of fragments scattered over a considerable extent, and called
Roma Vecchia.

There are about Rome several buildings more or less closely resembling
what I have above described under the name of the temple of Rediculus.
Many of these have evident traces of a portico of four columns: one of
them has two orders in height, and there are other trifling differences;
but in the whole, there is a striking similarity both of design and
execution. The facing is uniformly of very neat brickwork, and they are
probably all nearly of the same period. There are three such at this
Roma Vecchia (for there is more than one Roma Vecchia); four more near
the modern road to Naples, one of which has been christened the temple
of Fortuna Muliebris, and two or three, out of the Porta San Lorenzo.

Beyond Roma Vecchia we meet again with tombs, and with a farmhouse, most
of the walls of which seem to be ancient. Near this there has been a
magnificent pyramidal sepulchre, surrounded in its original state by
arches, and probably by a colonnade. I extended my walk to an immense
round mass, which has formed the basement of some spacious mausoleum; it
was unfortunately locked up, nor could I find anybody in the little
cottage with which it is at present crowned to give me entrance. Then
leaving the Appian way, though marked still further by its line of
tombs, and crossing the modern road to Albano and Naples, I found myself
again among the ranges of those aqueducts, of which I have already given
you some description. The Marana, or Acqua Crabra, here runs among them,
conducted on the top of a small mound, and crossing in some places both
lines of aqueducts. In Italy, the Roman roads do not by any means adhere
to the direct straight line which characterizes them in England. Our
country was a forest when these works were undertaken: Italy was highly
cultivated, and divided into private estates, and this perhaps has in
many cases given rise to the windings, both of the roads and aqueducts:
indeed it is difficult to account for the abrupt turns of the latter on
any other principle. By the sides of these aqueducts there are other
ruins occupying a considerable extent, but no one of them announces any
building of much importance. There are vaults, domes, and arches, and
one of those great niches so common in the Roman ruins; where the whole
end of a building, or much the greater part of it, was made
semicircular, and covered with half a dome. In the baths, similar large
niches frequently stand quite insulated, but where they occur in the
position above described, they seem at one time to have been considered
as a decided proof that the edifice to which they belonged, was a
temple, and hardly anything was acknowledged to be a temple, where
enough remained to shew that no such niche had existed. It is
unfortunate that we have only scattered fragments of the temples of
Rome, but it seems probable that this arrangement did form in them a
very usual termination. Nothing of the sort is found in any Greek
temple; but though the Romans borrowed largely from the religious
practices and observances of the Greeks, they must have drawn something
from other sources. Their square cells (not oblong, as in the Greek
buildings), their niches, their vaults, their round temples, and the
windows they made in them, were perhaps derived from the Etruscans,
together with many of the superstitious rites, and the haruspices, which
history teaches us to have been derived from that people.

As I have already mentioned the Basilica, I shall find very little to
describe out of the Porta di San Paolo. There is a place called Tre
Fontane, where there are three churches, and in one of them, three
springs of warm water, or rather I believe, one spring with three
openings. The tradition of the place is, that St. Paul was here
beheaded; that where his head fell, a warm spring burst out; that it
bounded; and where it fell a second time, another spring arose, but not
so warm as the first; it bounded again; and produced a third spring,
which was nearly cold. There is however so little difference, that I
persuaded an English gentleman who was with me that the one said to be
the warmest was the coldest. How I hate these ridiculous additions to a
story not in itself improbable! The great church is long and low, with
some pointed vaulting. That containing the spring is handsome
internally, but the best is an octagonal church by Vignola, which rises
in a very fine pyramidal form.

I have already given you something of the western bank of the Tiber in
my first walk, where I returned by Monte Mario and the Valle d’Inferno.
The only thing remaining on this side is the Villa Pamfili, which is one
of the largest about Rome; that is, not the house, but the grounds and
gardens. On the road are the remains of an ancient aqueduct, which are
frequently brought in to support the modern Acqua Paolina. What in
English we should call the villa, but which is here known by the name of
_casino_, can hardly be called handsome, and yet it pleases, and the
terraces and the flat garden below, cut partly into the hill, the
fragments of architecture, the fountains, the groves of towering stone
pines, and the views in both directions, make it a place to which you
willingly return again and again. The situation of the house is not well
chosen. The pride of the artist was to counteract nature, not to follow
her, and gently bring her into his service; but the situation of the
grounds is very fine. Though high, it has a terrible reputation for mal
aria. To the botanist it has another interest, as being the station of
several rare plants.

It is among the attractions of Rome, that the Studii or workshops of the
artists, and especially of the sculptors, are so easily accessible. That
of Canova is announced by the fragments of sculpture which are about it,
and built up in the walls externally. The great excellence of this
admirable artist lies in female figures, and in those of very young men,
with a character rather of grace, than of strength. Hence his Cupid and
Psyche; Venus and Adonis; the Graces; his Venus; Hebe; Magdalene; and
others of this sort, attract universal admiration. Canova is not a mere
sculptor, he also paints well, and is in all respects a most liberal
man; witness the busts of the great men of Italy put up by him at the
Pantheon. Liberal not only in giving what must cost him a considerable
sum, but still more so, in permitting the young men who perform these
busts under his inspection and direction, to affix their names as
artists. He is about to build a church in his native town. The body of
the building is to be like that of the Pantheon, while the portico will
be imitated from the Parthenon. I asked his architect how much it would
cost, he replied that he could not pretend to say, as in the country
where it was to be erected, the stone is probably cheap, and a
considerable portion of the labour, particularly in the carriage of
materials, would be done gratis by the peasantry, who would consider it
meritorious to forward so good a work; but that such a building could
hardly be erected in Rome for less than 240,000 scudi.

Thorwaldson is celebrated for the grouping of his bas-reliefs, and for
his busts, particularly of the male figures, which are admirable. The
restoration of the marbles found at Egina is committed to his care, and
has required no small attention and judgment to determine the places of
the smaller fragments, but there are a great many still remaining, which
cannot be connected together. The restorations are so perfect, that it
seems to me impossible to distinguish the old work from the new, but I
have already given you my sentiments on this subject. What are capable
of restoration consist of seventeen statues, and the body and the limbs
frequently exhibit very fine sculpture, but the faces are all alike,
with a sort of smirk on each; they are devoid both of individual
character, and of the expression of passion. Some are draped, others
naked, and on some of the draped ones we may trace an appearance of
scales, when exposed in certain positions to the light. The group at the
front of the temple represented a combat, with a Minerva standing
between them, entirely unconcerned at what is going on on each side of
her. This latter is of a very ancient style, almost Egyptian. It
appears, that on the immediate apex of the pediment, a small ornament
was placed with a figure on each side, still small, but taller than the
ornament in the middle, and there are fragments of two griffins,
supposed to have stood on the angles of the pediment, the heads being
turned from the centre of the building, so that in both cases the
disposition of the ornaments contradicts the inclination of the
architectural parts, instead of following it, as has been usually
practised in modern times.

It is worth while, among the scattered objects of curiosity, to visit
the fragments dug up at Veii, belonging to a Sig. Georgi, and now to be
disposed of.[7] There is a remarkably fine sitting statue of Tiberius,
and an erect one, said to be of Germanicus, with many busts, but nothing
later than Nero. It is evident that these fragments have nothing to do
with the ancient Veii. The inscriptions prove the existence of a later
city of that name, which appears to have occupied a small part of the
former site. No regular plan of excavation has been pursued, but the
marbles were found in holes dug here and there. Bronze figures and
medals were also discovered, but many of these are said to have been
stolen.



                              LETTER XXXV.

                                TIVOLI.


                                               _Tivoli, 24th May, 1817._

MY first excursion to Tivoli was in the beginning of March; I have
lately paid it a second visit, in part of a more extended ramble; and I
shall give you the account of both excursions together. We leave Rome by
the Porta San Lorenzo, but I say nothing concerning the antiquities in
the immediate neighbourhood, as I have written enough about them to tire
out your patience. After we had passed the Ponte Mammolo, the soil
continues for some miles to consist of a decomposed tufo, rather sandy,
but one would think not unfitted for vegetation, yet there is little
corn, and the land is mostly sheepwalk, which in a country and climate
too dry for perennial grasses to flourish, cannot be very productive.
The near scenes are dreary enough, and a heavy atmosphere shut out the
distant objects. A little way on the left of the road, about ten miles
from Rome, is an old castle of the Borghese family, which nobody visits,
for antiquities of the middle ages have no interest here. There are many
fragments scattered about over this, and every other part of the
Campagna, but it would require a book to describe them all; and no small
ingenuity, to determine the nature of the edifices of which they have
formed part.[8] About twelve miles from Rome is a little pool among
bushes on the left, called Lago de’ Tartari. It is a mere pond of muddy
yellowish water, with little or no peculiar taste, and neither receiving
nor emitting any stream. The water deposits a copious crust of limestone
upon all substances in it. It varies very much in height at different
seasons, and the whole soil around is formed of its deposits: wherever
the ground is broken we perceive bundles of pipes, and here and there a
bit of reed remaining in the pipe, and proving the mode of its
formation: above these pipes is generally a confused mass, deposited
apparently on decaying fragments of vegetables. This sort of soil
extends for a considerable distance, and as you may suppose, is
incapable of cultivation; yet a few bushes grow on it, and abundance of
the _Senecio leucanthemifolius_, and of some other plants not very
common. On leaving this soil we pass on to another deposit of a
substance less hard, and said to contain sulphur, or sulphuric acid, but
nearly equally barren, and of much greater extent; about the middle, a
stream of sulphureous water crosses the road, slightly warm, pretty
clear, of a blue colour, and exhaling an odour which is perceived at a
considerable distance. The taste is sulphureous, and I should say
saltish, but Mr. P. D. called it acid. We left the carriage and walked
up the stream; and at a little distance from the road, were surprised to
see several branches separating themselves from the principal stream,
and losing themselves in hollows of the ground. All these streams, which
deposit considerable quantities of stony matter, form about them, not a
continuous solid mass, but one full of caverns and hollows, extending in
all directions. Sometimes they are employed in spreading still farther
the barren crusts of their peculiar deposit, and sometimes probably in
filling up the old channels, after which of course the stream has to
find a new one, but as it is rather disposed from the form of the ground
to spread over the surface, than to find its way in a single channel, an
artificial one has been made for it down to the Anio. These swallows are
repeated in different places, so that the stream becomes larger as we
ascend, and perhaps where it issues from the little Lago di Solfatara,
may be not much inferior in quantity to the New River, but running much
faster in a smaller bed. In March I was inclined to call it hot, but I
suppose the temperature does not equal 80° of Fahrenheit. Reeds grow
abundantly on the banks, and one or two species of conferva, especially
an _Oscillatoria_, resembling _C. fontinalis_ of Dillwyn, which is what
the books and the guides call bitumen. The lake is a mere pond, but is
said to be very deep; the water at the edges is not so hot as where the
stream issues from it. Detached bubbles are continually rising in all
parts, and when a stone, or even a clod of earth is thrown in, a violent
ebullition is produced, which lasts several minutes. Almost close to the
lake, there is a ruined building, believed to be the remains of an
ancient bath. There are two other lakes, still smaller, but all very
deep; the size of all of them is continually diminishing, from the
progress of vegetation; and the matted roots of reeds sometimes form
floating islands, and extend over the surface of the water. Here,
according to the antiquaries, Virgil places the scene where Latinus
consulted the oracle of Faunus; but even if we can suppose the plain to
have once abounded with wood, a fact which the nature of the soil
renders highly improbable, how can we place them _sub altâ albuneâ_,
when the country is nearly flat, or how can a spring rising in a deep
pool be said to _resound_? But I leave these difficulties to wiser
heads, and will continue my route towards Tivoli. At sixteen miles from
Rome is the Ponte Lucano, another ancient bridge over the Teverone, but
with some modern patching. Close by this is a fine circular monument,
with several inscriptions belonging to the Plautian family, which is
said to have been originally from Tivoli, but was much distinguished at
Rome in the latter part of the republic, and the early part of the
empire. It is a very fine object, and its strength and solidity have
tempted some of the noble robbers of the lower ages, to convert it into
a fortress, of which there are considerable remains at the top, but I
could not get into it.

After passing the bridge, at a little distance from the road, there are
two monuments, called the Sepolcri de’ Sereni, each of which has
consisted of a basement of squared blocks of travertine, with an arched
recess in front and behind, and a small doorway in the arch, opening
into a little chamber. The upper part consisted of a pedestal adorned
with a bas-relief; one of them has been removed or destroyed, but the
other still exists, though damaged more by violence than by time. These
monuments are supposed by some persons (Nibby says, _bizzarramente_) to
have adorned the entrance to Hadrian’s villa; and their perfect
correspondence of form and position, with the direction of their sides
towards the villa, incline me to subscribe to this opinion. The prince
Borghese has imitated them in the entrance to his villa, by the Porta
del Popolo, at Rome.

Beyond these, on a hill nearly detached, amidst tall cypresses,
magnificent stone pines, and other products of a luxurious vegetation,
appear the ruins of the Villa Adriana. The extent is immense. We walked
for above a mile among arches, great semi-domed recesses, long walls and
corridors, and spacious courts; through an immense number of small
apartments, and some large halls. In many places the painted stucco
remains, with the ornaments upon it in relief. The rich marbles and
porphyries which encrusted the walls, the marble columns and cornices,
and the numerous statues which once adorned the spacious porticos, are
all gone; much has been taken to Rome, much has been burnt to lime; and
a great deal has been carelessly or wantonly destroyed. The varied forms
of the remaining masses, the pines, the cypresses, the olives, the
ilices, and the deciduous trees, with the different shrubs growing on
the ruins themselves, and by which they are more or less shaded, and
whose colouring contrasts admirably with the warm brown of the
buildings, together with the advantages of the natural situation, form a
succession of the most beautiful and picturesque scenery. All the
magnificence of this spot does not however seem to have been merely for
one individual. Besides the imperial apartments, and the habitations of
the officers and guards, there were apartments provided for men of
science, and everything necessary for study and instruction, as well as
for amusement. Here were three theatres, besides a circular building,
which is called, on account of some figures of seamonsters found there,
a maritime theatre. Nibby pronounces it a bath for swimming; to me it
seems a little amphitheatre, and I saw no indication that it had ever
contained water. There were also a stadium, baths, public libraries, and
places of exercise, an academy, and I will not pretend to tell you how
many temples; at least, you are shewn ruins which go by these names, and
there is no deficiency of room, or of fragments of masonry, to be
assigned to each. You must add to these a _canopus_, which as nobody
knows what it was, I hope you will imagine to be something of the utmost
magnificence. From what still exists, it seems to have been a temple,
partly subterraneous, at the end of a valley in some degree artificial,
and with constructions on each side of it, and spacious and highly
ornamented subterraneous chambers. You will imagine apartments for the
emperor, his attendants, and his guards; but there is another thing
which you will not imagine, which is a subterraneous gallery, said to be
for exercise on horseback, but which are perhaps the _inferi_ mentioned
by Spartian; they form a square, of which the circuit exceeds half a
mile.

Beyond all these, are various foundations, and the remains of aqueducts,
and further still some other considerable remains, which perhaps did not
belong to this villa. Including these, the whole extent is about two
miles in a straight line. All the existing buildings are of rubble, with
brick or reticulated facings; and this is I believe, the last instance
of any considerable quantity of reticulated work. The baths of Caracalla
have it not. We may conclude from Vitruvius that the practice began in
the age of Augustus, and that it must therefore have lasted one hundred
and eighty years. Even the bricks here have been taken away for modern
use, at the evident risk of occasioning the fall of the edifice to which
they belonged. Much as has been discovered among these ruins, it does
not appear that any settled plan was ever pursued in the excavations;
and perhaps much may yet remain to be discovered in point of valuable
objects, and certainly much to determine the disposition of the
buildings, of which no good plan, even as to the remains above-ground,
has ever been published. Thus much however is certain, that no one
symmetrical design prevailed throughout the whole. The buildings were
disposed either as the convenience of situation, or the shape of the
ground suggested. It has been said, and is repeated by every writer on
the subject, that Hadrian had here collected imitations of all the
buildings which he had seen in different parts of his empire; but of all
the fragments which remain, there is not one, of which the plan does not
shew it to have been entirely Roman. There is not a single morsel, that
could by any possibility have belonged to an ancient edifice of Greece
or Egypt; not one to which parallel remains may not be found in the
neighbourhood of Rome, where no suspicion was ever entertained of such
an imitation. We may imagine the representation was not very exact, when
we find a little flat valley between sandy slopes of 40 or 50 feet high,
and watered by a brook of the smallest size, dignified by the name of
the magnificent mountain pass, through which the Peneus pours its waters
to the sea. It is _possible_ that all these imitations were of solid
stone or marble, and have tempted spoliation by the value of the
material, but then we should expect to find at Rome vestiges of the
architecture as well as of the sculpture of this villa.

From Hadrian’s villa we continued our way to Tivoli, a dirty
disagreeable town in a noble situation. It is seated on a spur of land,
which separates the valley of the Anio or Teverone, from the open
Campagna; on one side is a descent of 30 or 40 feet to the upper part of
the river; on the other, a slope of some hundreds to the part of it
below the falls. This spur seems quite to divert the river from its
general line of course, and forces it to bend round in a semicircular
form. The upper part of it is formed from a deposition from the water
itself, the lower appears to consist of volcanic substances.

There are two inns at Tivoli. In the yard of one of these is the Sybil’s
temple, or rather the circular temple of Vesta, which has so long gone
by that name; the Sybil’s temple is more probably a small edifice just
by. On my first visit to Tivoli, which as I have said, was in the
beginning of March, we hastily made the usual round, and returned to
Rome, having been out two days and one night. The second visit has been
made more at leisure. I went up in a sort of stage which goes every day
to Tivoli; one of the party was a Tivolese woman, who had been
purchasing trinkets and sweetmeats at Rome, for herself and her
children. In her dress, she wore her stays outside, as is usual with her
countrywomen, and instead of a cap had a handkerchief, or napkin, folded
up into an oblong strip, pinned on the head, and hanging down the back.
I suppose this was once the fashion in our island, since the term
kerchief indicates a covering for the head. She anxiously called my
attention to a picture of our Saviour, in one of the little chapels on
the road, which had performed miracles. Whether the picture, or the
Saviour performed the miracles, she did not seem clearly to comprehend.
The ancient Italians had very confused ideas on the identity of their
different deities, and while in general they acknowledged only one
Jupiter _optimus maximus_, seemed still to have a separate Jupiter to
every temple. Suetonius tells us a story of Augustus, to whom Jupiter
Capitolinus appeared in a dream, complaining that he had deprived him of
his accustomed votaries, by building a temple to Jupiter Tonans; yet the
Jupiter of the Capitol was certainly the god reputed to hold the
thunder. If the place of worship was indifferent to the deity, it was
not so to the priests. A similar confusion exists in modern Italy, and
perhaps may be traced to a similar source. There is only one Saviour,
and one Virgin Mary, yet to address our prayers to the Saviour or
Madonna of such a chapel, is not exactly the same thing as to adore
those of another, and there are churches dedicated to our Lady of
Loreto, as if this were not the Virgin Mary. Misson gives a curious
account of a conversation he had with a monk on this subject.

To return to the Temple of Vesta, which is always the first object at
Tivoli. I shall not attempt to describe the beauties of the ruin,
because it has been so often done before, and because no description can
do justice to the reality; but I will point out a few particulars in the
construction, with which perhaps you are not so familiar. The cell is
formed of _opus incertum_, which has been described by Vitruvius as a
masonry of small pieces of irregular shape, fitted together, and united
by mortar. Some writers have supposed that by this term he meant the
Cyclopean walls, which are constructed of large pieces without mortar,
(of these I shall tell you more hereafter) but his description is
sufficiently precise to leave no doubt of his meaning. Of this _opus
incertum_ we have reason to think that it was in use in the time of
Sylla, and probably much before; and the complaint of Vitruvius, that it
was in his time giving way to the _opus reticulatum_, which though
neater, was less strong; together with the want of existing remains
which are known to be of later date; will justify us in concluding that
it was discontinued in the reign of Augustus. There are some letters on
the architrave, the remains of an inscription, but all that exists is L.
GELLIUS, L. F. There was, I believe, a Lucius Gellius in the time of
Sylla, but I cannot now recollect where I met with the name. Now the
construction of the walls, and the forms of the capital very much
resemble some fragments remaining at Palestrina, belonging to the temple
of Fortune, which we know to have been restored and greatly enlarged by
Sylla; and at Pompei there are capitals of a similar taste, but
evidently much prior to the earthquake which preceded its final
calamity; and putting all these circumstances together we may, with some
probability, assign this building to the time of Sylla. These capitals
are not ornamented with the leaves, either of the acanthus or the olive,
but with some which rather resemble those of the _Verbascum sinuatum_;
and neither they, nor any part of the building, offer the least trace of
Greek taste, as distinguished from that of Rome. We do not find at Rome
any examples of similar capitals, except an unappropriated fragment or
two of peperino, which may have belonged to the same period. Within the
cell is a recess, which seems to have been the work of later ages. It
has a large doorway, and a window, both of which are considerably
smaller upwards. The material of the _opus incertum_ is a sort of tufo,
but the dressings which surround the door and window, together with the
external order, and the continued pedestal on which it stands, are of a
coarse, calcareous, fresh-water deposit, much resembling travertine.
This, in the columns at least, and perhaps everywhere else, was covered
with a very thin coat of fine, hard stucco, and the _opus reticulatum_
was probably covered with stucco also, but it must have had more
substance, or it would not have concealed the little inequalities of the
work below. The cornice has no modillions, and the dentil band is uncut;
otherwise it would have been a regular Ionic entablature, as directed by
Vitruvius. The columns have settled a little outwards, as is evident
from the openings in the entablature. Here are sufficient vestiges of
steps, to prove that they descended laterally, and were not brought
straight out, as they are usually published, but there is not enough
remaining to make out distinctly all the particulars. After the temple
of Vesta, to which I paid not one, but many visits, I noticed the little
square edifice just by, now the church of St. George. Little remains but
the back of the temple, and a portion of one flank, with Ionic
half-columns very much decayed; showing it to have been a tetrastyle,
pseudo-peripteral temple, of the most ancient, and simplest form. It has
no beauty in itself, and in some points of view is very much in the way
of the other temple, which it almost touches. I should tell you that
Lord Bristol bought the circular temple. The bargain was completed, and
the owner was just preparing to pull it down and ship it for England,
when an order from the government put a stop to the proceeding. This
temple, or at least the columns and entablature, has been closely
imitated at the N. W. corner of the bank of England, and a portion of
its circular form is also adopted.

The next objects were the Waterfall and the Grotto of Neptune. Fontana
built a wall to preserve a head of water for the forges, and the use of
the city, and the water now tumbles over this, and the rocks upon which
it is built, for the height of about sixty feet, and after dashing and
foaming for some yards among broken masses, loses itself in a dark and
deep recess. A winding path descends by the Ionic temple, presenting a
succession of the most romantic views, to the grotto of Neptune. We are
astonished to see scenery so wild in the midst of cultivation, and close
to, nay almost within the circuit of a town of considerable size. Near
the path we are shown the impression of a wheel, which having been
buried in the rock deposited from the water, and since decayed, has left
the exact mould of a considerable portion of the circumference, and of
some of the spokes. All around you, from the top to the bottom of the
deep chasm, rather than valley, to which you are descending; a depth I
suppose, of not less than 250 feet, you see nothing but the rock thus
formed by the river. The water, which had disappeared after its leap
down the great cascade, rushes out of the grotto of Neptune in another
fall, and when standing to look at it at the distance of 50 or 60 yards,
the spray descends like a heavy shower, which a strong wind drives
against the face. On the other side, another portion of the river falls
from an opening in the rock in the upper part of the chasm, and our
position between the two, produces a strange undefined confusion in the
head, which it is impossible to describe. The streams unite below us,
and after tumbling a little way among rocks, they are lost in another
cavern, called the grotto of the Syren; but all these names are modern
fancies, which merely serve to distinguish the different places. You may
cross the stream over the last-mentioned grotto, and descending on the
opposite side, enter into its mouth and look down the abyss. All these
caverns are very much inclined in their direction, and the water falls,
rather than flows through them. The inequality of the ground renders it
necessary to make a long circuit in order to reach the lower part of the
river; and in so doing you may observe, or fancy you observe, some
remains of the ancient bridge, which stood nearly where is now the
grotto of the Syren, deeply encrusted in this universal deposit. Looking
upwards, you see the temple, the city, the rocks, the falls, combined in
the most magical manner. It is a scene however, which it is difficult to
characterize. It might be called sublime, if the objects of beauty were
not so numerous; and if its sublimity and beauty were less impressive,
you would pronounce it the most picturesque view that was ever beheld.
Some parts of the rocks are covered with aloes; their tall flower-stalks
rising above the olive groves; and some with the Indian fig; both of
which give a singularity to the scene which renders it more attractive.
The river after its second disappearance, bubbles up with great force at
the foot of a high rock, in a most delightful sequestered spot. It is
said to deposit about one inch and a half per annum of its solid tartar;
if so it ought to be continually elevating its bed, yet there is a hole
thirty or forty feet above its present level, through which it has
evidently run, and still higher, another passage; indeed, as I said
before, the whole rock to the very summit, is of the same nature, and
its formation has forced the water through partial channels at different
elevations, instead of always keeping the lowest part of the valley.
This deposit only takes place where the water is disturbed, and above
the town there is none of it.

From this spot we have to climb again into a road which runs on the
slope of the hills opposite to the town; but do not imagine that we have
to regret this exertion; every step of the way abounds with such varied
beauty, that we are glad of anything which detains us. I shall not
attempt to carry you to the numerous villas about Tivoli; you can hardly
walk a furlong in any direction without stumbling on some of their
ruins, but I shall mention a few of them as they occur. The next object
in the usual tour is the Villa of Horace; not that he had any villa on
the spot, but there were fragments which wanted a name, and they gave it
a very pretty one, not forgetful of his relation to Mæcenas, whose
pretended habitation stands on the opposite side of the valley. It is a
pity to doubt, but after having examined, you cannot have any confident
belief. These ruins, like all the rest, are merely some of the
substructions and vaults, made in order to obtain a level surface for
the principal apartment, and probably for the court of the villa. Nature
has pretty generally denied this about Tivoli, and all the ancient
villas in the neighbourhood are on slopes, where works of this sort were
necessary, and they were carried to an immense extent. Other
constructions followed lower down, to support the gardens and fishponds,
forming a succession of terraces, of which the modern Italians have
frequently taken advantage to plant their olive-grounds. It seems to me,
that the Romans were fond of such situations and modes of construction,
as we frequently see them where they might have been avoided without
much difficulty, and it is even probable that they often resided in
these semi-subterranean apartments, which would be cooler than those
exposed all round to the air. There are some peculiarities of
disposition and construction in this villa of Horace, as indeed most of
the remains have something which renders them remarkable; and it is
extremely interesting to stand on the spot, and to speculate on the
probable use of the different parts; but this is a gratification which
would be lost in description. The vast extent also of these half-ruined
vaults impresses the mind with a sort of admiration; we seem to have got
among a race whose exertions were not limited by the weakness and
poverty of modern man. A little beyond, at the intersection of two
roads, is the Villa of Quintilius Varus, one of the largest of these
immense places, and I have wandered through, and over the vaults, and on
the terraces of the gardens, with an astonishment continually
increasing. We may add to the effect of the ruins themselves, that all
the situations are enchanting; some command more perfectly the Campagna
and distant Rome; others enjoy better the delightful valley of the Anio,
where rocks and cultivation, vines, olives, and natural woods, unite to
enrich and vary the scene; and the cascatelle pour down the steep and
rocky bank in white foam, and occasion a light mist which hangs as a
beautiful veil over the surrounding objects. Amongst however, the charms
of this valley, I should not omit the _Styrax officinalis_, which grows
abundantly in some parts, and is now covered with flowers; I am assured
that the fruit yields an excellent oil, not inferior to that of the
olive, and sometimes in greater quantity.

The usual tour follows the left-hand of the two roads abovementioned,
but I one day took the right-hand path, with a young abate, a relation
of the landlord of the inn, to look after Cyclopean walls.

In England, a little more than 200 years carries us back to a distinct
and peculiar style of architecture, and we consequently consider its
productions as antiquities. In Italy, what does not exceed 400 years is
absolutely modern, and a production is hardly considered as ancient,
unless it date at least before the destruction of the Roman empire,
under the reign of Augustulus, at the close of the 5th century. The
buildings of the early emperors have an undoubted claim to the title,
and still more those of the republic; but what name shall we apply to
those which were erected 1,800 years before Christ. This date is boldly
claimed for some of the Cyclopean walls; of which construction, it is
said, that there are 108 citadels in Italy, and the thorough-going
Italian antiquary, though he is contented to admit, that the oldest were
not erected more than 2760 years before the Christian era, yet will not
admit that any of them can be more recent than the foundation of Rome.
They were, according to him, introduced into Italy by Saturn, but their
earliest use in the temple of Hercules, at Tyre, was 2,760 years before
Christ. Leaving these suppositions, we may be justified in considering
the walls in question as the earliest remains of building in Italy. They
are, as you know, built with great irregular blocks of stone, made even
on the face, or nearly so, not squared, nor laid in regular courses, but
the inequalities are fitted to each other as much as possible, and the
interstices filled up with smaller stones. In what is probably the
earliest style of all, no tool seems to have been applied to the stone,
but the rude masses are merely heaped on one another, taking care in the
position of each successive block, to place it where it would most
nearly fit into the work, and probably keeping the smoothest side
outwards, to form the face of the wall; but the work is always rude and
uneven. In the second style, the tool has been used more or less, in
order to make the great stones fit with some degree of accuracy; and in
both these, one may easily conceive the use of the leaden rule described
by Herodotus, which, being bent to the internal angle, left on the top
of the wall, would be applied to the external angles of the stone
intended to be placed in it. In the third sort of Cyclopean walls, lines
nearly horizontal are decidedly more numerous than those in any other
direction, and here and there, are some appearances of level courses.
These, in later times, predominated more and more, till in the fourth
and last style, the only irregularity is found in the unequal thickness
of the stones of the same course, corrected sometimes by the
introduction of a sloping line, or more often by a notch to let the
larger stone into the course above or below. Though I believe this to
have been the general progress of the art, yet you must not imagine them
as distinctly characterizing different periods; on the contrary, there
is hardly any considerable wall of Cyclopean masonry, which does not
exhibit in different parts, two of these methods; and sometimes three
are found, without any appearance that they have been restorations of
different periods; we may however observe, that the second style is most
common in Latium, the fourth in Tuscany; the third is perhaps about
equally diffused in both countries. At all times, these blocks were used
without cement, and all that I have hitherto seen, are mere terrace
walls against a hill, and exhibiting in consequence one face only; but I
am told of instances where both sides are seen, and that in such cases
two walls are built back to back, without any attention to the
regularity, or evenness of what was to be the internal part, and without
any filling in. No arches, that is, no system of wedges mutually
supporting each other, is to be found, though such an arrangement would
seem to grow more easily out of these inclined lines, than from regular
courses of stones; but where there are openings, (of which I have seen
none hitherto) there is a very large stone, worked square, and laid
horizontally to cover it; and in one instance, at Arpino (perhaps
because the builders could not meet with a stone large enough to cover
the opening,) the size of the aperture is reduced by advancing courses,
into the form of a pointed arch. There is indeed a real arch at Fiesole,
which by some has been supposed to be part of the Cyclopean
construction, but both the arch and the fragment on which it rests are
obviously of a date much posterior. There are many remains of Cyclopean
walls both at Tivoli and Palestrina, and as according to Virgil, Tibur
and Præneste were founded about the time that Æneas landed in Italy;
this epoch has been assigned to their construction, but it must be
confessed, that the argument is not altogether conclusive. It is held
essential to Cyclopean walls, that there should be no cement, and _à
fortiori_, no rubble-work employed in their composition; but in this
neighbourhood, at what is called the villa of Brutus, which I shall
shortly mention to you; there is a wall of Cyclopean masonry, resting
for its whole length, and apparently backed in its whole extent by a
wall of rubble. This Cyclopean wall has been faced by another of _opus
reticulatum_, so common in the time of Augustus, and in that of the
first emperors, and which may be seen in almost all the villas about
Tivoli. It seems that the Romans did not like the appearance of these
large irregular blocks, and covered them with a masonry of small
fragments more suited to their taste. These circumstances render it
probable that none of these walls are so late as the time of the
emperors, but we have no proof that they were not in use a century
before that period.

There are some of these walls in the villa attributed to Ventidius
Bassus, which appear to rest on a rubble-work, held together by cement;
but without digging, I could not be quite certain. We continued our walk
considerably farther, and found at Vetriano other considerable fragments
of Cyclopean walls, but always built to support the earth behind them,
and to support terraces. The stones are worked with some approach to
horizontal courses and the wall strengthened by buttresses. There are
breaks enough to show that it is backed by _emplecton_, or rubble-work,
for its whole extent, and this _emplecton_ is perfectly rude, and
without any appearance of having been laid by hand, so that it destroys
a theory I had formed which pretended to distinguish the rubble-work
connected with the Cyclopean walls from that of a later period. Here are
some mosaics quite on the surface: they seem still to be very numerous
about Tivoli, notwithstanding the quantities which have been removed or
destroyed, but in general it is necessary to dig for them. Not far from
Vetriano, there are Roman constructions in brick, and the foundations
and mosaics of a Roman villa have been found by digging in the
vineyards. Here also is an oil-mill, and it appears evident that the oil
has corroded the stone. Nearer to Tivoli there is another considerable
Cyclopean wall, which is distinctly rusticated, and has large and solid
buttresses.

From Vetriano I continued my way alone (the abate returning to his
dinner), to the quarries of travertine, where I was shewn two great
blocks going to England in the shape of the eagles of the villa
Borghese. The part they are at present working has the appearance of
being a deposit, filling up an ancient excavation. The quality of the
stone is exactly like that of the Lago de Tartari, except that it is
much more compact; but it is as evidently a fresh-water formation. The
quarryman assured me that the bones of a Christian had been found there.
These quarries extend to within a moderate distance of the Solfatara,
already described. The ancient quarries are in the same bed, but on the
opposite side of the road to Rome. They are now filled with bushes, and
form a hollow near the river, perhaps two miles round, an excellent
harbour for game. In crossing from one to the other I passed two
aqueducts, one of which divides itself into two branches. The length,
the number, and the winding course of these aqueducts, render it
extremely difficult to trace them, or to comprehend their disposition;
indeed, for a passing stranger, it is impossible, and it could only be
done by a most careful survey, and an accurate determination of the
position, and the level of every fragment. The nature of the tufo, or
deposit on their sides, would perhaps yield some assistance. We are
surprised at this point to observe their rapid declension: about Tivoli
we see them winding along, to accommodate themselves to the form of the
hill, and to maintain their elevation; here they are almost on the level
of the upper part of the Campagna, at least 300 feet lower than those
which are observed at a distance of not more than two miles. After
leaving the quarries, I passed over the Ponte Lucano, and by the
Plautian monument, and leaving Hadrian’s villa on the right, and the
road to Tivoli on the left, went directly up the hill to look after more
Cyclopean walls, and to see the villas of Brutus and Cassius. The
remains of these are of immense extent, but they are only substructions
like the rest; by substructions, however, you must not understand mere
foundations of walls just peeping above the surface; they consist of
long walls and vaults, sometimes parallel with the direction of the
hill, and sometimes in that of the slope, supporting terraces covered
with earth, and olive-trees. The lower terrace of the villa of Brutus
must be above 400 feet long, and the wall which supports it near 40 feet
high. The second is nearly of the same length, and about 30 feet in
height, but interrupted. The third is also considerable; that of Cassius
was larger, but not so regular. The ilex, the lentiscus, and various
other shrubs, hung about these ruins; and the broad deep green leaves of
the fig, contrast with the light silvery gray spray of the olive.
Indeed, in this neighbourhood, every waste spot of ground presents a
collection of beautiful shrubs, most of which are now in flower. Higher
up the mountain, the gray rocks are principally covered with the Spanish
broom, and a large coarse grass (_Arundo ampelodesmus_) though not
without a mixture of the humbler growth of cistuses and helianthema. All
this sounds very beautiful, and in fact it is so, but the features are
so much hid by the continued grove of olive-trees, that they are almost
lost in the effect of the general scenery, and you may pass through the
country, and see very little of it.

This digression has entirely carried me away from the usual tour, which
was the first I made, and which I had begun to describe to you. I left
it just at the villa of Quintilius Varus. From every opening in this
part of the walk you have a view of the long portico of the villa of
Mæcenas, crowning the opposite hill, on lofty arched substructions, and
of the Cascatelle, rushing down the slope in sheets of foam, into the
valley beneath. We may leave the road soon after the bifurcation, where
I took the right-hand track, and keeping still more to the left, than
the left-hand path, descend to the bottom of the hill, to enjoy more
fully the view of the Cascatelle. The prospect varies at every step of
the descent. We first lose the distant Campagna, which is disclosed from
the upper part of the slope, and soon afterwards the olive-groves beyond
the villa of Mæcenas; while the villa itself seems more majestically
placed; the water falling in various directions becomes of more
consequence; and the rich woods of the high bank opposite to us display
all their beauties. The great Cascatella furnishes a considerable mass
of water, but though the fall is much higher than any that I have before
described, yet as it occupies a much more open situation, the character
of the scenery has less of the sublime than that about the grotto of the
Syren, and more of the beautiful.

There are a great many other fragments of villas about here, but as they
have nothing very characteristic, I shall not stop to enumerate them. We
will therefore pass on to the Ponticelli, or Ponte Acquorio, but before
crossing it, I will mention a beautiful spring called _Acqua Aurea_,
which rises by the side of the river, just above the bridge, and gives
to it the latter name: the former is thought to be a corruption of Pons
Gellius. You are told that a scheme was once in agitation to carry this
water to Rome, but on taking its level, it was found to be too low. This
does not seem to me at all probable. The Teverone is a pretty brisk
stream; and in a course, which, including the windings, must equal
twenty-five miles, it can hardly fall less than 75 feet, in which case
the _Acqua Aurea_ might enter Rome, not indeed at the Porta Maggiore,
but 50 feet above the level of the Tiber. The Lea, from Hertford to
Stratford, runs about the same distance, and I think not more rapidly,
and though we have to remount the Thames from thence to London, we find
the reservoir of the New River 84 feet above the tide.

The ancient road to Tivoli passed over this bridge, and some fragments
of the ancient work remain. At a very small distance is a cavern,
partly, if not entirely artificial, with some niches on the side, called
the Temple of the World; and on ascending the hill, we find a domed,
octagonal hall, denominated Tempio della Tosse, but supposed by
antiquaries to have derived its name from an ancient Tivolese family.
Its ancient destination is unknown, but in after-times it appears to
have been converted into a church, and retains some traces of such an
appropriation.

Our next object is the Villa of Mæcenas, where the remains are more
considerable than in any other, exhibiting, besides the usual
substructions, part of a court surrounded by half columns and arches,
and a long gallery, whence you command the valley below. The ancient
Roman road passed under this villa, part of which was lately
appropriated to a foundery for cannon, and an abundant stream of water
still dashes through the deserted vaults.

Within the city, a circular wall of reticulated work, at the back of the
cathedral, is supposed to mark the position of the Temple of Hercules;
and a double range of vaults of considerable length, is known by the
name of the Portico of Hercules. It has square pilasters in front, which
serve as buttresses to the vaulting.

The construction of the Villa d’Este is on a scale which may entitle it
to be mentioned among these ancient productions. Terrace rises above
terrace, and a copious supply of water rushes down an artificial rock 34
feet in height, spreading in a beautiful manner as it descends, while
the whole is crowned by the long façade of the palace.



                             LETTER XXXVI.

                          SUBIACO—PALESTRINA.


                                                 _Rome, 31st May, 1817._

AFTER I had pretty well explored the neighbourhood of Tivoli on that
side towards the Campagna, I was desirous to look at the aqueducts
remaining on the other side. About two miles from my inn, at a place
where a brook called Fosso degli Arci crosses the road to Siciliano, are
several fragments. _Fosso_, as perhaps you know, is the Roman name for a
brook. The Roman aqueducts which derive their origin from the valley of
the Anio above Tivoli are, the Anio vetus, the Marcia, the Anio novus,
and the Claudia. The first we meet with at this place is the Marcia,
which is here subterraneous, running along the side of the hill. It
passes under that of the Anio vetus where that crosses the road, and is
there composed of a mass of rubble, intermixed with some brickwork. We
then lose it; but some piers of the same nature, on the steep banks of
the brook, probably belong to it. The second is the Anio vetus, which
passes here on a higher level than the Marcia, contrary to what takes
place at Rome, where the latter is the highest; but it is supposed to be
known by its thick crust of deposit, the water of this arriving turbid
at Rome, while the others were clear. Yet the crust of the Claudia is of
immense thickness, and indeed it seems too abundant in all of them, to
be depended upon to distinguish any one. This tartar is deposited at the
top as well as at the sides, proving the channel to have been completely
filled. We have the evidence of Frontinus to prove, that the water of
the Anio vetus might have been brought on a much higher level to the
city, had it been supported in its course on numerous arches, like the
Claudia and Anio novus. It here crosses a depressed part of the road,
over an arch constructed of square stones. The core of the work is of
rubble, but there is no appearance of brick. Frontinus says that it is
taken from the river at the twentieth mile above Tibur, but antiquaries
dispute whether this is twenty miles from Rome, the words _above Tibur_
being added to show its position; or whether its origin be twenty miles
from Tibur or Tivoli. The length of its course being forty-three miles,
seems too much for one supposition, and too little for the other,
considering how much it winds. It is considerably elevated, and Cabral
and Del Re assure us, that its level at Tivoli is one hundred and fifty
palms, or above a hundred feet above the river; a difference far too
great to be obtained in the course of a mile or two; which is all that
can be allowed, if the distance be measured from Rome. A few paces
beyond the channel of the Anio vetus, the Claudian aqueduct crosses the
road on a lofty arch of rubble, faced with brick. There are some blocks
of tufo on both sides of the stream, which look as if they had supported
an aqueduct lower than any of these, but they are perhaps the remains of
an ancient bridge, which is more unequivocally the case with some other
fragments of rubble-work. This aqueduct may again be seen among the
vineyards, crossing a valley nearer to Tivoli, and there is a
considerable construction, perhaps connected with it, between the road
and the Anio. On the other side of the Fosso degli Arci, we meet again
with the remains of two of these aqueducts. They are soon lost, but
about a mile further on, we find a massive construction upon arches
crossing a little valley, and just beyond this, an apparent
ramification, and a much more extensive range of arches, but more
destroyed. I endeavoured to trace this branch, which seems to be that
which Frontinus mentions as having been made and then deserted. It
perforates the hill, crosses another valley in two parallel lines, which
unite again, passes through another hill, and is found coasting the
valley of the Fosso degli Arci, considerably above the place where I had
quitted it. The foundations are carried to the edge of the brook, and
the watercourse here could only be just high enough to enable it to pass
the natural channel of the little stream without obstructing it: here we
lose it. Where the channel itself can be examined, we find a deposit of
tartar, but not of the thickness that it is down below. All the hills
thus perforated are of a volcanic tufo, or peperino, for although the
valley of the Anio be essentially among the limestone of the Apennines,
yet for some miles above Tivoli, it abounds in abrupt eminences of
volcanic deposits. Towards Vico Varo we again see traces of an aqueduct
crossing the Anio, which is probably the Marcia, or a tributary stream
called Augusta, said to be equal in purity to itself. Below Tivoli, we
find again three of these aqueducts, on the slope of the hill above the
villa of Hadrian. The Anio vetus is traced round an ancient sepulchre,
at a very small distance from Tivoli, and the sharp curve it makes to
avoid the tomb, has occasioned so large a deposit, as to prevent the
free passage of the water; and a new channel was consequently formed for
it. Their course here is in a direction nearly opposite to that of Rome,
and I am always at a loss to know why their constructors should take so
much pains to maintain an elevation so greatly beyond what appears
necessary.

On the 25th I left Tivoli, intending to walk to the villa of Horace, and
afterwards to Subiaco. The road follows the valley of the Anio, and
numerous fragments of vaults and foundations, are evidence that villas
were erected also on this side of Tivoli, but there are none to be
compared in situation, or in the importance of the existing ruins, to
those which command the Campagna. An inscription found in one of these
has occasioned it to be supposed that the Numidian Syphax resided here,
as it is known that he died in the neighbourhood; but the genuineness of
the monument is disputed. About eight miles from Tivoli we reach Vico
Varo, the Varia of Horace. The name remains, though nothing of the
ancient town is in existence, except part of the walls, constructed of
large squared blocks of stone. I had heard of a temple here, but found
instead a half Gothic chapel of an octagonal form, and of the latest
period. In inquiring for this chapel I had plenty of offers to _carry_
me there, and to Licenza, and the villa of Horace, and I engaged a
ragged little fellow for that purpose; on the way he told me how many
_Ingresi_ he had served, and what fine handsome men they were; and of
course how generous, and how well they had paid him. He inquired my
name, and when I had told him, he exclaimed, “_Bel nome, era il nome del
marito di nostra signora_,” and I was immediately, “_Sor Giuseppe_,”
“_Sor mio Giuseppe_,” and “_Caro mio sor Giuseppe_.” He then proceeded
to tell me that he had gone to bed without supper, and had eaten nothing
that morning; “_e nondimeno sto sempre allegro così_,” but a
modification was added afterwards, that he had eaten nothing but the
tops of the traveller’s joy (_Clematis vitalba_), which indeed we saw a
parcel of women and children gathering for a similar purpose. Our path
lay up the valley of Ustica, a fertile and beautiful vale, cultivated at
the bottom, with woods on the slopes of the hills, and villages on the
tops. One of these, called Rocca Giovane, is supposed by some
antiquaries to occupy the site of the _putre fanum Vacunæ_ mentioned by
Horace. The opinion rests on the authority of an inscription found, or
said to have been found there, of the emperor Vespasian; recording the
restoration of a temple of Victory, fallen into decay by age, and it is
_supposed_ that Vacuna and Victory were names of the same goddess. The
valley divides at the foot of the mountains, into three little valleys,
or ravines, each watered by a streamlet. The middle is the principal
one, and since my return I have been told of a beautiful spring which
furnishes it, at the distance of two or three miles, which my informant
considered as the true Fons Bandusiæ of Horace. Licenza, the ancient
Digentia, stands on a high point of land between this and the
right-hand, or eastern branch, and we were obliged to climb up to the
village in order to find the present occupier of the villa of Horace; my
plan had been to obtain a bed there; but appearances were not promising,
and finding myself in good time, I determined to return, and proceed to
San Cosimato; I therefore procured some eggs and curd, the best dinner
to be had, and walked with my new guide to Fonte Bello, supposed, but
without sufficient reason, to be the Fons Bandusiæ. We are here quite
among the mountains. The fountain is a small spring at the foot of an
insignificant rock, the water of which does not taste cold, and
therefore has probably been previously exposed to the influence of the
air. A little above this is a larger rock, hollowed out into caves, and
shaded with trees and shrubs (but unfortunately, not with ilex), and
from its foot a few trifling threads of water passed over the ground,
between it and the before-mentioned rock, and joined the water of the
spring: the situation is a narrow, rocky ravine, filled with wood, above
which Monte Gennaro rises in several summits, and forms, with its
ramifications, all these valleys. The point immediately above us, on the
south, is called Monte Campitelli, and is pointed out by the people of
the place, as the ancient Lucretilis, a name which more probably
belonged to the whole mass of mountain. In passing from the spring to
the villa of Horace, we met with another supply of water, much more
copious and beautiful, but this is conducted artificially along the
hill, and discharges itself over an arch into a large basin; it is
called the Fonte del Oratino. There is a third spring, but of the
smallest size, immediately behind the villa. Of this villa itself there
are no apparent remains, except one trifling fragment of wall; but there
is a flat space now occupied by one vineyard and part of another, whose
surface has the appearance of an artificial level, under which, at the
depth of about eighteen inches, traces of foundations are observable,
and a mosaic pavement in good preservation. They told me of vaults and
baths, but altogether under the present surface. There can be no doubt
that Horace’s Sabine villa was hereabouts, in the upper part of this
valley; and it may have been on this very spot, but we have no proof. As
for the Fons Bandusiæ, I am afraid that we have no sort of reason for
believing it to be in this neighbourhood. The Abbé Chaupy, who has
published a long work on the subject, insists that it was near Venosa,
the native country of Horace; and he even finds there the name of
Bandulia, which is sufficiently near. Unfortunately, there is no
fountain, but that may have been filled up in the lapse of eighteen
centuries. I hope you are perfectly convinced.[9] After seeing what was
to be seen, I returned down the valley, but instead of keeping the road
by which I had ascended, directed my course to the Franciscan convent of
San Cosimato, where the good fathers gave me a supper and bed, and
entertained me with a number of stories about snakes found among these
mountains. I gave my young ragamuffin his dinner at Licenza, and five
pauls when I got to the gate of the convent, but he still begged for
more, and followed me into the monastery, and into my bed-room to obtain
it. I told the superior how much I had given, and he replied that it was
too much, and that two pauls would have been sufficient: all this passed
in the boy’s hearing, yet he still continued his importunity. The lower
classes here seem to find no shame in begging, under any circumstances.
As nothing is therefore lost by it, and they may possibly gain, they
consider that it is foolish to lose anything for want of asking, or even
of urging their demands to the utmost. The situation of this convent is
on the edge of a wild romantic chasm, through which the Anio passes.
Between Vico Varo and Tivoli this river runs quietly along an open
valley, generally through a soil of a volcanic deposit; and where we see
the more solid rock, it is the native limestone of the Apennines. A long
tongue of land begins somewhere in the neighbourhood of Vico Varo, which
extending obliquely along the valley, seems at one time to have dammed
up its waters till they found or formed the present cleft. This tongue
is entirely of a stony deposit like that at Tivoli, and abounds with
caverns, some of which are shewn as the residence of St. Benedict. Near
Fonte Bello is a rock, the fragments scaling from which have exactly the
appearance of giallo antico; in other places we meet with a calcareous
breccia, and in one place I observed a dark trap-like looking substance.
It is remarkable that none of the springs in this valley appear to form
the deposit which the river leaves so abundantly in certain places.

I do not know if I should give you any idea of the country above this
convent, by comparing it to the finest parts of South Wales; the points
of difference are perhaps more numerous than those of resemblance: there
is more cultivation; the wood is carried higher up the mountains; and
the high rocky points above, are higher and more abrupt. In one respect
it is very different from anything in our country; the villages are on
the hill tops, and if you were to imagine Settle placed on the summit of
the High hills which rise behind it, or Giggleswick at the top of the
scar which bears its name, you will still have a very inadequate idea of
their situation. Defence and health have probably been the original
motives, but they must be very inconvenient places of residence. The
magnificence of this scenery increases as we proceed, and the valley
alternately contracted into passes, or dilated into basin-like hollows,
affords continual variety. The late wet weather had brought agriculture
to life again, and the inhabitants were busily employed in its labours.
The soil seems very rich, and there are fine, flat bottoms, which are
planted with maple trees supporting vines, and underneath these, various
crops, of which Indian corn is the principal. Some poles just put into
the ground are, as I was told, of a tree which yields sugar. This is
intended also to support the vines, but as there were no leaves, I could
not tell if it was the sugar maple. On the road side are some beautiful
springs, the supplies perhaps of some of the ancient aqueducts.

Subiaco stands on a rock quite at the extremity of the open part of the
valley; all beyond as far as I could see was mountain and ravine. I
asked for the Osteria, and was directed to a very good-looking house,
when a well-dressed man came up, and telling me I should get nothing
there, recommended me to another a little further on; I complied with
his advice, but on asking for some food at this latter place, the answer
was “_Non c’è niente._” I thought I had not gained much by the exchange,
but at last I succeeded in obtaining a _frittata_, and bread and cheese
and lettuce, and then set out to see the baths of Nero. In the way we
pass the remains of a very extensive building, which is said to have
been the palace of that emperor. The baths themselves consist of a few
vaults of no great interest, but the situation is remarkable, on the
edge of a deep and rocky ravine, in which runs the Teverone or Anio.
Tradition reports the lower part of this ravine to have been once a
lake, and indeed the circumstances of the place are such as might easily
suggest such an idea. The river passes through a break in the ridge of
limestone rock; and the opening, though it must be near 100 feet deep,
is not more than 20 or 30 wide. On the opposite side of this ravine
stands the convent of Santa Scolastica, most picturesquely placed, which
I visited the next morning in spite of the rain; and a little farther is
that of St. Benedict. Various caverns at different heights in the face
of an almost perpendicular rock, were ennobled by the retreat of St.
Benedict. The wall of the convent is built close against the lower part
of this rock, which retreats sufficiently to form commodious apartments
in the upper part of the building, and we find here a church of
considerable size, communicating by flights of steps, with a series of
chapels, which occupy the ancient caverns, of all of which the native
rock continues to make a part. The lowest of these chapels is I think at
least 60 feet below the church. The irregular disposition; the variety
of levels, several of which are seen frequently at one view; the broad
flights of steps by which they communicate with each other; the mixture
of natural grottos with the piers and vaults of Gothic architecture, all
of which are covered with paintings; together with the savage character
of the external scenery, combine to produce an effect, which is I
believe perfectly unique, and would be alone worth the trip to Subiaco.
Nor must we forget that the paintings themselves possess a double
interest, from the fine character and expression of many of the heads,
and from being some of the earliest specimens of the restoration of the
arts in Italy. At Santa Scolastica are some fragments taken from the
baths of Nero. Little columns about four feet and a half high, of rich
marbles, are attributed to this source. At St. Benedict I observed
nothing of the sort, but its architecture has another merit from the
introduction of the pointed arch in the eleventh century; yet Italy is
not the place for studying Gothic architecture. My guide to these places
was a youth, who reminded me so strongly of one of my English friends,
that I could hardly help speaking to him in English. On coming away, I
inquired for my bill, and this youth was sent up to me with the message,
“_Si crede che deve essere uno scudo._” An extravagant demand could
hardly be made more modestly, and it was extravagant in proportion to
the accommodation, and to what is usually paid in Italy. I returned for
answer, that I was willing to pay seven pauls, and the reply was that I
might pay what I pleased. The Italian innkeepers in these remote places
are ready enough to make an exorbitant demand, but they are equally
ready to retract, if they find that you know pretty well what ought to
be paid. Do not pretend to satisfy them; if they perceive that you
expect from them any acknowledgment of that sort, “_Signor, è poco_,”
would be the answer, should you give them ten times their due.

The weather continued very threatening, but I hired a mule to carry me
to Samida, twelve miles distant, half-way to Palestrina. The road
ascends the hills, and makes many a turn to preserve in some degree its
elevation, in passing from one village to another, and yet we seem to be
always going up or down. From this track we look down upon rich bottoms
of some extent; the sides of the hills are likewise in general of a
fertile loam, with only one or two sandy spots, and now and then a mass
of rock bursting from the slope. The road passes all the way through
vineyards, olive-grounds, corn-fields, meadows, and woods of chesnut.
The produce of the latter forms among the Apennines a very important
part of the food of the inhabitants, but the peasants were employed in
many cases in grubbing them up, to make room for a more profitable crop,
and that in situations, where the slopes were steeper and longer, than
in any cultivated ground I have ever seen in England. The distant views,
as the path attained the more elevated ground, presented a succession of
mountains of varied shapes, mostly covered with wood, but with a few
bare and rocky summits rising to a great height. Those we had seen from
Rome covered with snow, could be at no great distance, but the clouds
hung low, and either from this circumstance, or from my being too
closely surrounded by lower eminences, I saw nothing of them. It seemed
a very long and laborious ascent to Rocca San Stefano; but when there,
on looking up to the left, I saw another village on a point of rock far
above me. The road was in general a good mule-path, but there were some
bad spots. I left my mule at Samida, which is the highest point on the
road, and proceeded on foot to Genezano, which is situated on an
advancing point of rock, deep in the valley below. I was surprised to
find it so large and populous a place. The want of easy internal
communication prepares us to expect nothing but small towns in these
parts. What a difference good roads would make here! A gentleman at the
gate pressed me eagerly to take some refreshment with him, and as I had
some curiosity as well as he, I should certainly have accepted his
invitation, if it had not been getting late; and I was unwilling to
postpone my arrival at Palestrina, on account of the difficulty I
apprehended of obtaining accommodation for the night. I passed through
Cavi, and across a comparatively level country, at least, with only low
and fertile hills, instead of mountains; and intersected by winding
valleys, bounded by steep slopes. It was rich and woody; there was
however something about it which put me in mind of our manufacturing
districts. I found no difficulty in getting a lodging at Palestrina, and
I engaged a boy to shew me the objects of the neighbourhood for
twenty-five bajocchi per day, a bargain with which he was well pleased,
but like all the Italians, wanted something more than his agreement when
we parted.

The next day was principally spent in examining the remains of the
Temple of Fortune, for which this city was once celebrated. The temple
and its appendages must have been enormous. I mentioned to you having
seen at Paris, the drawings of this edifice by M. Huyot. He had traced
the existing remains with the greatest care, and finding that the
various edifices of which he determined the plans, were so placed as to
admit a corresponding series opposite to them, and in one or two cases
observing the vestiges of such correspondent buildings, he concluded the
whole to be on one uniform symmetrical plan, and imagined buildings for
whose existence there was hardly any evidence; however, everybody
acknowledges the care and accuracy with which he examined the present
ruins, and the judgment with which he has in general supplied the
deficiencies. The only fault found is, that in some instances he has
done too much. What remains of the decorative architecture corresponds
with that of the round temple at Tivoli; and is probably, as I have
already observed, of the time of Sylla. The rest consists of a
succession of terraces, some of which are raised upon vaults, and some
are supported by Cyclopean walls. These were the platforms on which the
temples (for there were several subordinate temples dedicated to other
divinities) and attendant edifices were erected. Of these accessory
edifices scarcely anything remains. The modern town stands on the site
of this extensive building, and does not even occupy the whole of it.
The gardens belonging to the prince Barberini are placed on part of one
of the lower terraces, and are partly supported on seven great vaults,
each above 100 feet long, and more than 20 feet wide; they are lofty,
but do not appear to have been erected for any other purpose than the
support of the terrace. The middle of this terrace would have rested on
firm ground, but the other extremity wanted, and probably had, supports
of a similar nature, which are now destroyed. Wherever we turn ourselves
in Palestrina, we find fragments of antiquity. The lower terrace was
perhaps an addition of some of the emperors. A great deal was no doubt
the work of Sylla, and some other parts were probably of an earlier
date. We find here a considerable quantity of the _opus incertum_; and
besides the capitals and bases, which resemble those of the temple of
Vesta at Tivoli, there is a peculiar Ionic entablature, with very narrow
dentils. Above the rest is a large semicircular wall, which now makes
part of the foundation of the palace of the prince Barberini; and in the
middle of this there is a small circular edifice, which M. Huyot
considers as also built upon the ancient foundations, but I could not
obtain any direct evidence for this opinion. If it were really the case,
it must have been the principal object; the cell or adytum of the temple
of Fortune itself; a very small centre to so large a mass of building. I
know of no other example either of ancient or modern times where so
great a number of edifices, and occupying so great an extent, were
combined into one regular and symmetrical plan; and our admiration is
still increased when we consider that it was necessary, not only to
erect the building, but absolutely to build a place for it to stand on.
I doubt after all, if it ever were a handsome fabric, and certainly at
present, it cannot boast much attraction as an object merely of beauty.
A fragment below it, called the Temple of the Sun, is a picturesque
object, and might be united with an admirable landscape, the spectator
looking towards Monte Albano; but like a great many other ruins, it
stands in a vineyard, where the vines prevent any good view from within
its circuit; and standing on the outside, the high enclosure hides a
great part of the building. I forgot to mention a curious mosaic in the
palace of prince Barberini, supposed to represent the animals of Egypt.
The name of each is written in Greek characters underneath the figure.
There are also representations of buildings, but if they are not given
more faithfully than the animals, there is not much to be learned from
them in architecture. After a hasty look over the different fragments in
this temple, I went to some other Cyclopean walls, running obliquely up
the hill. The antiquaries say that these were prior to the erection of
the ancient Præneste, which was built at the foot of the hill below the
present town. Præneste, according to Virgil, was just founded when Æneas
landed in Italy. About three fourths of a mile from the town is another
temple of the Sun, or at least, what my Cicerone called by that name,
but I suspect he made a mistake, and did not report correctly the
tradition of the place. After this we took a walk to what is called the
Palace of Constantine. The ruins consist of numerous vaults and
foundations, very much in the style of those about Tivoli, and probably
much earlier than Constantine. A church has since been erected upon
them. At Palestrina I lived upon pigeons, for which the place is famous;
they are so large that I found one of them a good dinner. On the 29th I
took my place for Rome in a sort of stage, which does not go with
perfect regularity. The conversation was very much about a certain
Barbone, who had committed great depredations in the vicinity; and of
other robbers, and robberies, but we had two soldiers in the party, and
thought that we had nothing to fear. These robbers are said to have
increased under the government of the French: the peasantry here hated
it, and to avoid the conscription and other oppressions, they retired to
their mountains, and took up this trade, which they are now unwilling to
abandon, and the mistaken lenity of the papal government encourages them
to persevere. I have passed no uninhabited tracts, such as the fancy
represents to us as the abode of banditti, but I suppose there are many
such among the mountains. Part of the modern road to Rome runs on the
pavement of the ancient Via Palestrina, but whatever are its merits in
solidity and durability, it is not convenient. Its too smooth and even
surface does not afford a sure footing to the horses.



                             LETTER XXXVII.

                        TUSCULUM, ALBANO, OSTIA.

                                                _Rome, 18th June, 1817._

AFTER my return from Palestrina, I stayed but a few days in Rome, and
again set out to visit other places in the neighbourhood. In that
interval I was present at a procession to obtain rain; as the wet which
I found so inconvenient at Tivoli and Subiaco, does not seem to have
reached the vicinity of Rome. The Piazza in front of St. Peter’s was
decorated by posts bound round with oak branches, and the portico of the
church hung with crimson damask, striped with gold. The poor pope was
carried round the square, kneeling, and leaning indeed upon cushions,
but entirely wrapt up, except the head, in hot and heavy garments, and
immoveable; he did not appear in health, and everybody seemed to
compassionate him: it is a pity a wax figure could not be substituted in
his place. The procession afterwards entered the church, but there was
nothing remarkable in the ceremonies.

I am surprised at your incredulity about St. Peter’s toe. It is
considerably worn; I intended for your satisfaction to have measured
precisely the waste, but I have not yet done it. The marble foot of
Michael Angelo’s Christ in the Minerva, was so much worn, that it was
deemed necessary to give it a brass slipper, which begins to feel the
effects of this mode of devotion; yet for one kiss on this, St. Peter
must have ten. It is not however exclusively by kissing; the devotees
rub it with their hands, and apply it to the forehead, before and after
putting their lips to it.

My next excursion began with Frascati, where I went in a diligence of
the same nature as those which run to Tivoli and Palestrina. We observed
as usual, from the road, a variety of ruins, and among others, some very
extensive ones at the foot of the hill, supposed to be the remains of
the villa of Lucullus, but with considerable restorations of a later
date. Frascati is situated on a considerable ascent, though the hill
continues to rise still more behind it. At the lower part of the
declivity are the remains of two villas; and at a convent a little below
the town, some very extensive substructions, which dispute with those
already mentioned, the honour of being the villa of Lucullus. I found
here a _locanda_, or sort of lodging-house, and nearly opposite to it a
_trattoria_. It is astonishing that places so much frequented as these
about Rome, should be so deficient in good inns. I spent the afternoon
in looking at some of the villas immediately above the town, and
enjoying the beauty of the scenery; and the next morning walked to
Grotto Ferrata, a delightful path, through groves of different species
of oak (_Quercus Robur_, _Cerris_, and _Ilex_) with frequent catches of
the Campagna, but without that full exposure which its naked barrenness
makes disagreeable. Grotto Ferrata is a convent seated on the edge of a
little valley, with some foundations, which are said to have belonged to
the villa of Cicero, and boasts some very beautiful frescos of
Domenichino, particularly the celebrated demoniac boy. I continued my
walk as far as Marino, to see some other paintings, one of which is an
admirable production of Guercino. In returning, I followed a road higher
up the hill, but it would have been better to have kept lower down,
where several fragments of antiquity are distinguishable.

My next walk was to Tusculum, which belongs to Lucien Buonaparte; the
villa in which he usually resides is called Rufanelli. On the road, I
stopt at a convent to see a crucifix painted by Guido; a little figure
about six inches long painted upon a cross; and a St. Francis, by Paul
Brill, which is uncommonly fine for him. The villa at Rufanelli commands
a very fine view, but it is rather too elevated for picturesque beauty.
About it are numerous fragments of architecture, which Lucien Buonaparte
has dug up in the neighbourhood, but they are not generally in a good
style. The excavations at present in hand are at the top of the hill,
where the ancient town stood. There are vestiges of an amphitheatre,
called by the people the school of Cicero, and some more interesting
remains of a theatre, while in every part we see fragments of ancient
foundations. The town was destroyed only about the year 1200, which
seems almost to bring it into modern times; but these places which
continue to occupy for long a period their ancient situations, are not
the most favourable for antiquities. Continual changes, adapting the
buildings to new purposes, destroy the ancient arrangement. The great
rage for altering and renewing everything does not however seem to have
taken place in Italy till the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when
new churches, new convents, and new palaces, consumed the old materials
with great rapidity. The ancient columns were then removed to new
positions, and what was left either of Roman or Gothic, was buried in
new walls, or under new decorations. We trace here the ancient streets,
and can fix the position of two gates. Beyond the further gate there is
a portion of the ancient city wall, of squared stones, which however
divides singularly into two parts, and both parts are afterwards lost
among reticulated work. Just at the division there are an ancient
reservoir and fountain. The reservoir is covered with two sloping stones
instead of a vault. Many curious little particulars have been discovered
in these excavations, which are very interesting to a person on the
spot, when the mind is excited and directed to the subject. Much of the
earth thrown out from them is as complete a cinder, as if it were just
ejected from Vesuvius, and the direction of the hills is such, that we
might easily fancy them surrounding an enormous crater, from which the
present Monte Cavo has arisen.

From Tusculum I walked to Mondragone, a vast palace of the princes
Borghese, misled by a false report of ancient walls. In the afternoon I
visited an ancient fragment in the town, said to be the monument of
Lucullus; and they pretend that an inscription was found there to that
effect, but where that inscription now is, nobody could tell me. My last
object was a large circular monument, the sepulchre of Lucius Valerius
Corvinus, below the town, and nearly at the foot of the hill. It seems
to have been in the style of the Plautian monument, or of the Cecilia
Metella.

Next morning I set out, after an early breakfast, intending to reach the
summit of Monte Albano, or of Monte Cavo, which is its common name. The
road at first passes among cultivated enclosures, which change as it
approaches Rocca del Papa, into delightful groves of chesnut. Rocca del
Papa is a village situated on a lofty pinnacle, composed of a heap of
cinders, forming part of the edge of an ancient volcano. In a hot
climate we feel the advantage a town enjoys in occupying these points of
land; the only wonder is, that the necessity of cultivating the valleys,
has not induced people to choose such as were rather less elevated; for
the peasantry seem to live very much in the towns, and not each on the
land he cultivates, as in England. It has been supposed that the
unhealthiness of the Campagna arose from the hot days and cold nights
there experienced; but the inhabitants of these places, labouring all
day in the close valleys, and returning at night to their airy
dwellings, must experience much greater difference; and yet all these
places are reckoned perfectly healthy. From Rocca del Papa, a narrow
ridge extends to the summit of the hill, and the path lies along this
ridge; it is covered with wood, but nevertheless we see below us at
intervals the Campi di Annibale, on the one side, forming the bottom of
the ancient crater, and on the other, on a much lower level, the
extended Campagna, and the city of Rome; the most conspicuous object of
which is the church of St. John Lateran. The latter part of the way is
along the ancient Via Triumphalis, much of the pavement of which
remains. A convent has taken the place of the ancient temple of Jupiter
Latialis, and a few fragments of wall, and numbers of the squared stones
employed in the building attest the existence of the former edifice.
There is a garden attached to the convent, occupying precisely the
summit of the hill, the soil under which is said to be full of
fragments. I should suppose Monte Cavo to be about as much elevated
above Rome, as Ingleborough is above the little town at its base, _i.
e._ about 2,000 or 2,200 feet, yet here is a productive garden, with
fruit-trees and a fine meadow. We cease to associate the idea of
mountains, with that of barrenness, which are so strongly connected in
our cold and wet climate.

In descending, I followed the ancient _Via Triumphalis_, as far as it
was traceable; but missing my way, returned almost to Rocca del Papa. I
could hardly regret the error, as the walk from thence towards Albano is
exceedingly beautiful, overlooking the lake and the Campagna, but in the
latter part of the way, the woods become thicker, and exclude all view.
Discontented with the confinement, I scrambled to the edge of the crater
which contains the lake of Albano, and found a charming path among the
woods on its slope, by which I continued to the ridge of the hill just
above Albano, popping the pods of the bladder senna, by way of
amusement, as I went along. I found an excellent inn at Albano, and
after getting some dinner, returned to enjoy the view from the line of
hills which surrounds this beautiful lake; the fine circular sheet of
water is expanded below us; over the edge of the surrounding hills we
see the Campagna, but greatly foreshortened, and Rome in the distance;
on the other side is the convent of Palazzuolo, crowning its steepest
and highest bank, and above that Monte Albano, covered with wood. In the
way I examined the ruins of the amphitheatre, but very little remains.
While looking at it I was joined by rather a shabbily dressed young man,
about, I suppose, eighteen years old, who talked to me on various
subjects, repeated verses of Horace and Virgil, in a manner which
shewed, not only that he understood them, but was capable of entering
into their beauties, and gave me afterwards some Latin verses of his
own. He conducted me by a short road, as he said, to some of the ruins
of the villa of Domitian, now occupied by the house and gardens of the
Villa Barberini. It has been immense; but at present we find nothing
remaining but great vaults and substructions; a most beautiful sunset,
which I enjoyed from its terraces to the greatest advantage, made ample
amends for the deficiency of the antiquities. Next morning I went to the
villa of Pompey, the present Villa Doria; you know the Italians when
they speak of the villa, do not mean the house, which is _palazzo_,
_palazzino_, or _casino_, but the whole enclosure, containing, besides
the small place appropriated merely to pleasure and show, a large garden
cultivated for profit, and frequently vineyards, olive-grounds, and
corn-fields. It was disputed at a Roman academy what constituted the
difference between a _villa_ and a _vigna_, and it was decided that they
are the same thing. The ornamental part usually consists of a few
terrace-walks, with clipt edges of bay, or sometimes shaded with ilex;
and it is only a few of the principal, immediately about Rome, which
considerably differ from this description. Such a villa is that of Doria
at Albano, but it includes also a most delightful little bit of wood,
which entirely covers the ancient ruins. The white houses of Albano,
seen among the dark foliage of the venerable ilices, had the prettiest
effect imaginable. Hence I walked to Castel Gandolfo, and down to the
shores of the lake, which must be near 300 feet below the palace of the
popes. Some fishermen were drawing their nets, but all they had caught
consisted of two or three moderate sized tench, and a quantity of small
fry. My principal object here was of course to see the celebrated
_Emissario_, which as you know is an artificial subterraneous channel,
of considerable length, made by the Romans to discharge the waters of
the lake, and it is still the only passage they have; but the story of
its formation is a very strange one. During the siege of Veii, the
waters of the lake rose in dry weather to a very extraordinary
elevation, so that the Romans were afraid it would overflow; terrified
by the prodigy, they sent ambassadors to Delphi to learn what was to be
done, and the answer enjoined them to let out the waters, but to take
care that they did not flow into the sea. Now the lake is a complete
crater, without any continued valley by which it could ever have found a
natural outlet, and to have overflowed the edges of the basin would have
required an elevation, above the present level, of I suppose 150
feet.[10] A few trifling springs on the banks, and probably some
underwater, form its permanent supplies, and the country which drains
into it, is of such small extent, that I do not believe six inches of
rain would raise it thirty feet from its present level, and not a fourth
part of that, if the water stood nearly up to the top of its banks.
Perhaps this wonderful rise proceeded from some volcanic discharge; yet
the danger does not seem to have been very pressing, since the Romans
had time to send to Greece for instructions. The direction of the
existing channel is nearly in a line towards the shore, but the natural
direction of the hollows which receive it, conduct it towards the Tiber,
into which it at present flows, yet it may have been dispersed, and
perhaps in summer lost before it arrived there. The whole looks very
much like a scheme to procure an irrigation for some lands whose dry
soil produced but little. If the lake was to be lowered 150 feet, the
tapping it would be both difficult and dangerous; but if it was only
necessary to lower it 15 or 20, the execution would not require any
great degree of contrivance; and the soil, which is a soft rock,
yielding probably in its hardest parts to the pick-axe, and yet
everywhere firm enough to maintain itself, facilitated the enterprize.
It is however a wonderful work; above a mile and a half in length, and
250 feet from the surface. The front of it was faced with stones,
leaving a rectangular opening, covered with a large square block of
peperino, which is the material of the rest of the work, and this stone
being found near Albano, is likely to have been more exclusively in use
here than at Rome. This is probably the original work, but in front,
there is now a vault of no great extent, of the same material, but not
bonded with the other, and this may perhaps have been an addition or
restoration of the emperor Claudius. The water re-appears from under an
arch of rubble-work, which I do not take to be very ancient, and after
washing all the dirty linen of Albano, runs off, as I have said, towards
the Tiber.

I have conducted you away from the lake, without mentioning to you a
ruin which is here called the baths of Diana. It is composed of several
parts, but the principal is a large vault, formed in an excavation in
the slope of the hills. It is a delightful retreat on a hot day, and
commands a beautiful view over the lake, though the richness of the
vegetation immediately surrounding, hides the water too much. There are
some remains, supposed to be of Thermæ, at Albano, which in certain
points of view form a fine mass, but I did not see anything
characteristic of their destination. Just out of the town, on the road
to Naples, is a monument, which has been called the tomb of the
Curiatii, but it now seems rather the fashion to consider it a monument
erected to Pompey. Nibby thinks it the sepulchre of Aruns, the son of
Porsenna, who lost his life in an unsuccessful attack on Aricia; and
attributes another tomb to Pompey, at the opposite end of Albano, which
appears to have been a tower of three stories in height, cased with
marble. His chief argument for each is, that he has found no testimony
to the contrary among the ancient writers. Amongst other proofs that the
edifice in question is the tomb of Aruns, he quotes Varro’s description
of the tomb of Porsenna, as given by Pliny. This appears to have had
some resemblance to the present monument, and gives a colour to suppose
it an Etruscan edifice, but does not at all connect it with Aruns. It
consists of a square basement, supporting five cones, one at each angle,
and a larger one in the middle. The masonry is of rubble, formed of
fragments of peperino bedded in mortar, and the outside has been covered
with large square blocks of peperino. If it be really Etruscan, it would
serve to shew that the Romans derived their usual mode of building, _i.
e._ a rubble mass cased with squared stones or bricks, from that people.
Farther on, we find the old Appian way, now no longer used, supported to
a considerable height, on a wall built of peperino; and in its
neighbourhood, some vestiges of the ancient Aricia; the modern town is
placed above it.

On the 11th I walked along a very pleasant, and in general a shaded
road, through Aricia, or La Riccia, to Genzano. La Riccia is a very
picturesque town on the top of a rock, overlooking a little hollow of
its own, which probably was once the crater of a volcano, afterwards a
lake, and is now a fertile and cultivated valley. Genzano is on one of
the points above the Lake of Nemi. The edge of these craters, as you may
easily suppose, becomes in time broken down in various places, leaving
some parts higher than the rest; and one of these remaining elevated
portions of the circuit, gives a situation to Genzano. Here I left the
high road to Naples, and kept the road to Nemi, on the north side of the
lake, pursuing, for part of my route, an ancient Roman way. The lake is
very beautiful, with woody banks mixed with cultivation, and a little
valley, prolonged from its upper side, is richly cultivated; but though
these volcanic lakes have their charms, they are generally inferior to
the more varied forms of those which do not owe their origin to such a
source. It is true that the steep bank which surrounds them is not
everywhere of the same height, and is occasionally broken by an
advancing mass of firmer rock; yet its continuity is sufficiently
perfect to produce a degree of monotony; and whichever way you view it,
it is still the same round basin, and cannot present those beautiful
reaches which so much enhance the charm of some of our own lakes; nor
can we expect the receding lines of mountains which indicate the
continuation of the valley. But the still expanse of water reflecting
the dark blue sky, the rich vegetation, the dark woods which cover the
slopes, the magnificent trees which hang over the water, and the rugged
points which start here and there from the edge of the crater, form a
landscape in which you feel it impossible to be tired of wandering. Nemi
itself stands on the highest and boldest of these rocky points, yet the
soil looks more like a heap of cinders than a mass of solid stone.
Between Nemi and Velletri, I lost my way in the woods which here
overspread the country, but I reached the latter city in good time, and
took up my quarters at an inn, which was once the palace of the
Lancelotti family, and at the back of which is a noble open gallery,
about 120 feet long, commanding a most magnificent view over a broad
valley, of the nature of the Campagna, but not so wide, and with more
cultivation and more wood; and of the Volscian mountains. More to the
right are the Pontine marshes, (and these are not in general naked) the
long slip of woody country which divides the Campagna and the marshes
from the shore, Monte Circello, and the sea. As a considerable portion
of the day still remained, I procured a horse to carry me to Cora; it
had only one stirrup, which was very short, and very small; and to guide
it, something more like a halter than a bridle, was fastened to the head
of the animal; the saddle was high and peaked. Thus equipped, I set
forth on my expedition on a paved road among vineyards. After some time
the pavement ceased, and I passed among pastures, and corn-fields,
slightly, or not at all enclosed, but where cultivation seemed to be
rather extending itself, and by a little lake, and afterwards along a
shady lane, deep in mud, though for some time we have had no rain. On
reaching the foot of the mountains, and coasting them by a gradual
ascent towards Cora, I found the road frequently to consist of a
broken-up pavement; the worst of all possible tracks, but very frequent
in the cross roads of Italy. The pavement is made and left; in rainy
weather a little current is formed on one side or the other, or
sometimes on both; and this undermines the external stones, which soon
become loose, and are displaced; and by such a process, sometimes half,
sometimes the whole pavement, is worn away; a few isolated fragments
still are seen, the rest is an uncertain covering of large stones. A
steep descent precedes the entrance into Cora, although the town
occupies a high hill. I found the streets so steep and slippery, that I
was glad to get off and lead my horse. When I had reached the inn, and
put my horse in the stable, I desired the landlord to give him something
to eat. He called out for some hay, and down came two trusses out of the
two pair of stairs window. I walked up to the room from whence this
supply came, and was surprised to find that it wanted some steps of the
height of a court on the side of the house, and which afforded another
entrance. This may give you some idea of the inequality of the ground.
Just below the town is a deep ravine, or rather a cleft in the limestone
rock, and the town itself is seated on a rocky hill, of a conical form,
which rises immediately from the edge of this chasm. It is almost
detached from the chain of Volscian mountains, though placed in a recess
amongst them. “_Cora è due paesi_,” said a boy to me, holding up his
thumb and forefinger. The Italians never mention a number under ten,
without holding up their fingers, the thumb always occupying the first
place; “_uno di sotto e uno di sopra_.” My inn was in the lower part of
the lower town, although I had found the ascent to it so troublesome.
The Temple of Hercules is in a convent at the top of the upper. The
portico, which has four columns in front, and two in each flank, remains
tolerably perfect, and though rather too small, and rather too slender
in its proportions for the exalted situation it occupies, produces a
very pleasing effect. The elevation of the columns in proportion to
their diameter, is not at all displeasing when we are near the edifice;
and if they were stuccoed, as was probably the case, the apparent
diameter would have been somewhat larger. The smallness of the
architrave is much more objectionable, and the abacus also is too small.
The style, as well as the proportions, is between the Greek and Roman
Doric, but the columns have bases, which are hardly to be found in any
other example, either Greek or Roman. These bases are so much decayed,
that one cannot venture to decide on the form of the mouldings, but I
think there was no fillet. The pilaster capital differs from that of the
column. In the lower town there are some remains of a temple of Castor
and Pollux. It is of the Corinthian order, and the foliage is in the
Greek style, and in, and about it are many portions of Cyclopean walls.
A Roman bridge still exists over the deep and narrow chasm I have before
mentioned, and in the chasm is a mill (not ancient), where corn is
ground for the inhabitants of Cora, after heavy rains; but it is only in
such circumstances that there is any water in the hollow. There are some
cloisters of the middle ages in the church of Santa Olivia, which
deserve to be looked at. They are in two stories, with twice as many
arches in the upper as the lower, all resting upon columns; there is a
good space between the stories, but it wants a little more ornament. In
one church, the font is an ancient altar, with rams’ heads at the
corners.

After looking over these antiquities on the evening of my arrival, and
the following morning, I returned to Velletri. I had been able to get
coffee for my breakfast at Cora, but no milk, which in a mountainous
country rather surprised me; but for luncheon I obtained some _ricotta_,
which is goat’s milk curd, boiled I believe, and pressed into little
baskets. On the 13th I left the high road, and crossed the fields by a
shorter path to Genzano. The scenery is delightful, but the heat was
oppressive, for there was no wind, and the path is very much exposed to
the sun. From Genzano, I descended to the lake of Nemi to look at the
Emissario, which I had missed before, and which was hardly worth
visiting, but some fine plane trees growing by the side of the water,
and shading it by their spreading branches, very much embellished the
scene.

The inn where I had before resided at Albano was full, but I found the
other, which is the posthouse, equally good. A little while ago, some
vases were said to be found under a bed of lava near Marino, but
afterwards the story was so far changed, that instead of lava, the
superincumbent bed was peperino. This peperino is certainly a volcanic
production, and as there is no tradition among the nations of Italy
connected with the Romans, that Monte Albano was an active volcano, an
uncertain, but tremendous antiquity was assigned to these vases. On the
other hand, although peperino be composed of volcanic substances, and
sometimes, as on the borders of the lake of Albano, is certainly in the
situation where it was left by the action of the fire, yet it is
probable that in some cases the materials may have been acted upon by
water, and consolidated in a new spot: even on this supposition we must
consider them as the vestiges of a town prior to Alba Longa, which was
itself destroyed by Tullus Hostilius in the first century of Rome. Bits
of iron, resembling nails of different sizes, are said to have been
found in the body of peperino, but there are many details of the
circumstances of place, and condition, which have not been observed, and
which cannot now be ascertained, the excavations in which the vases were
found having been filled up; and this hasty destruction of evidence has
thrown a suspicion on the story, for it may well be supposed that the
urns were placed in some old hollow, or quarry, in this peperino. The
number is considerable; they appear to be all sepulchral, and one great
vase has contained several smaller ones. The largest of these included
vases has the form of a hut, closed by a door which fastens by a little
rod of brass, and they usually contain fragments of burnt bones, various
ornaments, little models of shields, spears, &c., and one of a wheel;
things apparently indicating the occupations of the deceased. They are
all of rude workmanship; not all equally so, but we may doubt if the
potter’s wheel was employed in the formation of any of them. Signor
Visconti has published an account of them which has no merit, except
towards the owner, a Signor Giuseppe Carnovale, who wants to sell the
vases, and for whom this little work may serve as a puff. It is said
that similar things have been found in Germany, and that these are
therefore probably the productions of the middle ages. I left Albano on
the 15th, at four o’clock in the morning, and arrived at Rome about half
past seven. Nothing can be more delightful than the early hours of an
Italian summer’s day, clear, bright, and fresh, without any oppressive
sensation of heat.

Before I close this letter I must give you an account of another
excursion, or rather of two excursions, each of a single day, down to
Ostia. I do not undertake in these expeditions to describe everything
that I see. Many of the objects are so similar that they would appear
the same in description, though we always find difference enough to
interest us in the reality. I might indeed have said something about the
reservoir of Marius at Albano, and about the prætorian camp, attributed
to Domitian, in the same neighbourhood, one of the stones of which is
fifteen feet and a half long, and where Nibby is sure that there were
four towers, for he saw traces of one of them; but I shall leave these,
and a hundred other things which would scarcely interest you.

My first trip to Ostia was on the 15th of April, a fine frosty morning,
when there was ice on the puddles and at the edges of the brooks, but
elsewhere everything was dry and dusty. The corn on the hills began to
look yellow for want of rain, but that in the valleys was strong and
healthy, and the hawthorn was just coming into flower in spite of the
frost, which has come this year so much after its usual time. The road
follows the valley of the Tiber, which is bounded by low hills,
descending pretty steeply towards the stream; sometimes close to the
river, sometimes receding from it, and leaving a wide and fertile plain.
In the first part of the way it is well cultivated, but thinly
inhabited; farther on, cultivation diminishes, and ceases when we ascend
an advancing and conspicuous point of these hills, and descend into the
remains of the sacred wood. It is here mere brushwood, but at a distance
to the left we may perceive plenty of large trees. The cutting down of
this sacred wood is said to have occasioned the mal aria to extend much
more about Rome; but this mal aria is a very mysterious affair, and many
inconsistent stories are told about it. The letting in the sea breezes
has ruined the country; yet the sea-shore is more healthy than the land
immediately behind it. Within the walls of Rome some houses are said to
be totally uninhabitable in the summer, while others, a hundred yards
distant, because they are a little higher, a little farther from the
Tiber, or from the country, or more surrounded by other houses, are
pronounced entirely free. Out of Rome, and in the less inhabited parts
within its walls, the hills are reckoned better than the valleys; but in
modern Rome, the lower part of the city is more healthy than the upper.
The Romans fancy that turning up the ground, in order to make a public
garden on Monte Pincio, has made the street below it unhealthy. This mal
aria occurs in the heats of summer, and in autumn, but this spring has
been very unhealthy in Rome, and I believe, all over Italy. Among the
numerous causes to which the mal aria is attributed, the alternation of
hot days and cold nights, or rather perhaps, of hot sun and cold wind,
is one; and we had a great deal of this during the months of March and
April, but perhaps we shall find the root of the present disorder,
rather in the scarcity of food, and the consequent bad nourishment of
the people. The quantity of asphodel (_Asphodelus ramosus_) in this wood
gives it a very un-English appearance. After passing the wood, the road
lies for two or three miles across a marsh, comprising a large pool, or
lake. These pieces of water in flat countries frequently have
considerable beauty; but I do not think that a Norfolk Broad, though
somewhat similar, would give you any adequate idea of this mere. It is
of considerable size, and the dark shade of the woods of Castel Fusano,
with trees of the stone pine rising over some gently swelling hills at
the further end, formed a beautiful feature; while as we approached
Ostia, the high hills of Albano united with this wood and water to
compose a charming landscape.

The present town of Ostia is a miserable place, with a castle of the
middle ages, which is certainly picturesque. The remains of the old city
are at some distance; a large space of ground, all covered over with
foundations and substructions. The principal building remaining is a
rectangular brick edifice, probably a temple, in front of which was a
portico; but the columns, and all the ornamental architecture, have been
destroyed or taken away; some fragments still lying about, and others
which have been removed to the Vatican, announce it to have been of a
very beautiful Corinthian order; and both the style and execution
correspond so precisely with the remains of the forum of Trajan at Rome,
that I have no doubt in assigning it to the same period, and the same
architect. A great deal of digging has been performed here at different
times, but as usual, with the mere object of finding marbles or bronzes,
without any regular system of operations, and without the precaution of
making any exact plan of the foundations of buildings thus exposed and
covered up again. On the other side of the principal branch of the Tiber
are the remains of the port and basin of Trajan, now a shallow lake. It
appears to have been a heptagonal basin of perhaps half a mile in
diameter. The regularity of the form has been disturbed by time, but we
may still trace the walls which surrounded it, and which indeed form a
great part of its present boundary. Some of the marble posts to which
the ships were moored, still remain; and there are fragments of what
were probably warehouses, and buildings of that nature attached to this
port. There is also a circular building which perhaps was a temple. The
whole together was truly a magnificent undertaking, but whether it was a
judicious one may perhaps be doubted. As a port, nature has declared
against it, and it is destroyed, nor does there seem to have been any
provision for keeping it clear.

From Ostia I walked down to the shore, among brushwood of a hundred
flowering shrubs. The sand hills nearest the sea are chiefly covered
with junipers. The sand itself is dark, and has a dirty look, arising
from its colour; its material is chiefly volcanic. Herds of buffaloes
graze in these woods, the ugliest of the ox tribe. They are said to be
sometimes mischievous, and are therefore not very pleasant companions in
a solitary walk; but though they frequently approached to stare at me,
they always dispersed before I came very near them.

                      ----------------------------

                                                                   1826.

There are two or three other very interesting excursions which may be
made in the neighbourhood of Rome. One of these is to Veii, where I have
just been in company with my friends Scott and Pardini. The situation of
this city has been, as you know, long a subject of dispute, but it is
now determined with so much certainty, that one wonders how it could
ever have been doubted. It is only very lately that the Roman
antiquaries have suspected that a careful examination of the localities
might help to determine questions of this sort. We leave the road to
Florence just beyond the tenth mile-stone, and a practicable
carriage-way conducts us to Isola Farnese, a small village with a
baronial palace, and various excavations in the precipitous and almost
insulated rock of tufo on which it stands. At the foot of this rock runs
a little stream, and an extensive platform at the top of the opposite
steep ascent is the site of the ancient Veii. The bank is steep all
round, and the boundary of the city followed the sinuosities of the
hill. Parts of the ancient walls remain. They are of squared masonry,
about eight or nine feet thick, and the blocks not very large. There are
a few fragments of Roman times scattered about; and in a rock above the
Cremera, (another little brook which afterwards unites with that below
Isola Farnese) there are remains of sepulchres, which perhaps belonged
to the ancient city. Yet we find here the usual sepulchral niche, with
the cinerary urn at bottom, and some remains of the stucco, and of the
red paint which adorned it. One of them has a recess within the niche to
receive a tablet with the inscription, and part of the iron nails by
which this tablet was attached to the rock may still be distinguished.
At a little distance are other rocks cut in a similar manner. All of
them are on the steep irregular bank between the city and the stream.
Ascending by the banks of this little brook, we come to the Ponte Sodo,
where the rivulet has been turned from its natural bed, and passes
through a subterranean channel under a spur of the hill of Veii. I
suspect this to be a Roman, not an Etruscan work, but I cannot explain
why it was done. Just where the water enters, this perforation divides
another channel obliquely, the two parts of which are seen at an
elevation of about ten feet above the bottom of the present opening. At
the other end is a small niche for a tablet.

Another of our excursions was to Gabii. We passed round the north end of
its little lake, and found a few fragments of what was probably the wall
of the ancient city, but the Roman town stood at some distance near the
southern end of the lake. Here, some years ago, excavations were made,
which it is said exhibited the plan of the forum; but after the marbles,
which were the object of search, had been obtained, the place was filled
up again, and no memorial preserved of any particulars. In this part are
the remains of what has been supposed to be the temple of Juno of the
ancient Gabii, but it has no evidence of such high antiquity. It appears
to have had columns round three sides, but no posticum. The walls are
thin, composed of squared blocks of Gabian stone, which is of the nature
of peperino, but harder, and of a coarser grain, and abounds with large
fragments of a compact lava. Within the temple, at three or four feet
from the end, appears to have been an inclosure of metal with three
openings, two of which had gates, but the central one was entirely free.
The pavement is partly of a plain white mosaic, partly of stucco, and in
one place both, the stucco lying over the mosaic. The external columns
had deep flutes with a fillet between, and I think with an Attic base.
They were therefore not Doric, but I could not find the least portion of
a capital to determine what was the order employed. They have been
covered at one time with a thick stucco. The court had small chambers on
each side, and a semicircular flight of steps opposite to the front of
the temple: just without the inclosure are the remains of a small
edifice of large squared blocks of masonry. The whole hill is cut up by
extensive quarries.

I will add to these an account of an excursion to Nettuno, and the
ancient Antium, made with two Italian friends. One of the party had to
stop at Albano, which took us a little out of our way and occasioned us
to miss Boville. The road from Albano runs along the edge of the ancient
crater below Aricia, and the descent thence into the regular road was
hardly passable. We procured bread, wine, and eggs, at Carrocelli; in a
miserable hovel inhabited only half the year. Here we entered the Sylva
Sacra, where numberless tracks are marked in the deep sandy soil, and
make a guide necessary. We found few traces of antiquity on the shore at
Nettuno, but there are numerous foundations in the sea, and particularly
a large, and symmetrical building, which we contemplated at leisure from
the window of our bed-room. The shore between this and Porto d’ Anzo is
edged with a low cliff, chiefly composed of agglutinated shells.
Fragments of Roman buildings abound both on the shore and in the water.
The cliffs are much broken, and being fringed with shrubs, have a very
picturesque appearance. The great mass of antiquities is beyond the
present village of Porto d’ Anzo. Here we trace the piers of the ancient
harbour of Antium, and the quantity of substructions is immense: all is
imperial, and full of reticulated work. The more ancient city was
perhaps on the hill behind, which seems to be artificially separated
from the rest of the range. We lost our way in the sacred wood, which
between Nettuno and Ardea abounds with noble trees of cork, ilex, oak
and cerro. Sometimes filled up with underwood, at others almost clear,
and now and then exhibiting open spaces of pasture. Before reaching
Ardea, the volcanic points of the hills form perpendicular crests, which
frequently appear to have been cut, and caves are numerous. The present
Ardea occupies a small detached rock; and where nature has denied the
perpendicular crest, it is supplied by walls. About two thirds of a mile
from the present circuit are two long artificial mounds; and in the
hollow between them, the remains of a gateway. About a mile further are
two more _aggeres_. In both these places the hollow from which the earth
has been taken to form the mounds, is on the side farthest from the
city. Everywhere else the long, tongue-shaped hill furnishes a natural
defence. Great part of our way back to Rome lay along the ancient Via
Ardeatina.



                            LETTER XXXVIII.

                          JOURNEY TO FLORENCE.


                                            _Florence, 10th July, 1817._

I HEARD so much at Rome of various objects in the north of Italy which I
had omitted, that I determined to appropriate a couple of months to
supply the deficiency, and to form a judgment at least, whether these
things were worth seeing or no. I therefore set off with a Vetturino on
the 25th of June. My companions were an Italian country gentleman and
his son, and a priest who was tutor in a gentleman’s family at Narni;
all very pleasant people. A man of small landed property in this
country, generally I believe, attends to the cultivation of his own
estate. The rich employ something between bailiffs and tenants, the
proprietor finding capital and stock, and receiving a certain portion of
the gross produce, varying according to the nature of the crop, and of
the soil; but a class of tenants working on their own capitals, for
their own advantage, on ground belonging to another man, but of which
the use is for a time secured to them, and paying only a fixed annual
rent, is a character very scarce, or entirely wanting in Italy. The
young gentleman had been drawn for the conscription during the authority
of the French; and he gave me an account of the various methods put in
practice by himself and his companions, to escape the journey. He also
amused me with an account of part of the contest between the Romans,
under the French government, and the Neapolitans, who at one time
occupied a very strong position at Cavi, near Cività Castellana. A
detachment of about 200 French were posted in the latter town, and they
had raised about 800 inhabitants of the Roman states; the Neapolitans
were about 5,000. When the Romans were drawn up in the square at Cività
Castellana, a report was spread that the enemy was coming, and they all
fell flat upon their faces. By reproaches, threats, and encouragements,
and by reminding them of the ancient celebrity of the Roman name, the
French at last persuaded them to rise, and to march out of the town.
When the Neapolitans saw the Roman troops advancing, they thought it
best to run away in time, lest they should lose the opportunity. A small
body of Calabrians declared that it was a shame to decline the contest,
and that let the Neapolitan commander do what he would, they should
maintain their post; but they were not in sufficient number to effect
anything.

As far as Monte Rosi we followed the same road as that by which I had
entered Rome, over the desolate Campagna. A church there, at the
entrance of the village, is of a pleasing form; it is a little
whitewashed thing, so that it wants the process of an artist’s mind in
separating the good from the bad, to discover that the form is
beautiful. The world in general is exceedingly unwilling to acknowledge
beauty of form when the material is bad, and on the other hand, where
the materials are good, it is very ready to praise the form also, if
that be anything tolerable; the one is a much more obvious and
indisputable merit than the other. In what the beauty of form in the
present case consists, I have not been able to determine. It is an
octagonal dome, with four projections below, forming a Greek cross, with
a little tower on each side of the entrance, inferior in height to the
dome. I call them towers and not turrets because they are continued down
to the ground, and turrets might be understood as only elevations raised
upon the front. Some lower buildings fill up the square, and at each
angle is a paltry little obelisk, not at all well shaped, yet certainly
contributing to the general beauty of the composition.

[Illustration: Illustration of church]

Just after leaving Monte Rosi we quitted the Siena road, and keeping to
the right, passed through fine groves of oak to Nepi, a town situated on
the edge of a deep ravine, and slept at Cività Castellana, which stands
on a point of land between two such ravines, deeper than that at Nepi,
and very wild and picturesque. The country here is intersected by
several of these inaccessible valleys, and the strength of the situation
gave birth to a conjecture that this must be the position of the ancient
Veii, which cost the Romans a ten years siege. There is a cathedral,
with a portico of small columns of granite and marble, and a mosaic
frieze something in the style of San Lorenzo _fuori delle mura_, at
Rome. The middle doorway is of the Lombard architecture, with two
columns on each side, the outermost of which are supported on two lions:
the inside has been modernized. At Cività Castellana I left two of my
companions: the next morning was very foggy, but I set out on foot
before the carriage, and crossed a bridge which must be at least 120
feet high, over one of the ravines. It consists of two ranges of arches,
and there was to have been a third, which would have kept the road up to
a level with the banks, but this has never been executed. A little
beyond I entered into conversation with a labourer going to reap for
some friends of his, as he told me, on land belonging to a convent just
by; he had first been a monk, then a soldier, and was now going to
labour for the love he bore to religion. He assured me that he possessed
a very fine picture by Giotto, but it was then at Viterbo; repeated some
verses of his own composition in praise of the English, and concluded
with asking me for charity. After leaving Cività Castellana I saw no
more of these ravines. The road follows the valley of the Tiber, first
on one side of the stream, and afterwards on the other. The scenery
seems very pleasant, but it was obscured by the fogs. We passed by some
Roman fragments, and afterwards by the ruins of Otriculum, but I could
not stop to examine them. From the modern town of Otricoli, which stands
considerably higher than the old one, the road lies among mountains and
forests famous for game. Narni is near the extremity of this elevated
road, on the edge of a deep limestone valley, which put me in mind of
Dovedale, but it is more woody. It presents quite a different character
from the deep ravines we crossed the preceding day, which are more like
Shanklin Chine very much magnified. At Narni, or rather below it, are
the remains of a Roman bridge, in which, besides the destruction of the
arches, one of the piers has sunk perpendicularly, which breaks the
ideal connexion between the different parts.

The road from here to Terni lies in a cultivated valley, but I believe
not in general of a very good soil. At Terni I had a young guide who
assured me that he was well acquainted with all the “_meraviglie_” in
the neighbourhood; and we walked round the town to see the few
antiquities it contains. There is an amphitheatre, or at least a few
vaults of what has once been one, some walls of reticulated work, and a
temple of the Sun, or if you wish to give it any other name, I will not
dispute the point with you. It is a small circular building, the under
part of which is probably of the lower empire, and the upper still
later. Tacitus is said to have been a citizen of Terni, but there are no
memorials of him existing. The modern buildings are hardly worth much
attention. There is an unfinished elliptical church; every example of
this form serves to show the superiority of the circle. I was also
conducted to see a splendid altar in this church, which cost 18,000
crowns; it is rich in marbles, not handsome, yet not without something
agreeable. The next morning we went to see the famous cascade. My
attendant called the Nero (the “sulfureâ Nar albus aquâ” of Virgil) “_un
Tevere_,” as if he understood that to be the general name of a river.
The proper name of that at Terni he conceived to be Negro, but as he saw
the waters were white, he invented a _Bianco_ to communicate its colour.
This boy gave me a good specimen of the facility with which in these
parts the _l_, following a vowel and preceding a consonant, is turned
into _r_, _arbero_ for _albero_ seems natural enough, but I was rather
puzzled at first by his using _morto_ for _molto_. He told me moreover,
that Napoleon was a great man, it was a pity he turned out the friars,
but the boy could not be persuaded that he had done anything else wrong.
Under his government they used to have plenty of olives, but since that
time their crops have been small, and he heartily wished him back, that
they might again have abundance. You may conceive from this that he was
as ignorant as possible; but he was not stupid, and probably reflected
the opinions of those about him. After all, he seems to have had a most
philosophical idea of causation. His sentiments may serve as proof that
the common people here are not averse to the French. We do not readily
associate the idea of benefits with the persons we dislike.

The celebrated Cascata delle marmore is about five miles from Terni,
(7,447 metres, to be very exact); the name is said to be owing to the
rapid deposition of the water “quia ibi Marmor et Saxum crescit,” and
you have the authority of Pliny for this etymology. For nearly three
miles the road continues along the valley of the Nar, in one part of
which, by the side of the road, pozzuolana is said to be found; and this
is supposed to be connected with a shower of milk, which according to
Livy, fell at Terni in the year of Rome 194. After this we ascend to
Papigno, whence there are two roads, the upper leading to the top, and
the lower to the bottom of the fall. I first took the upper, which
ascends very rapidly on the slope of a limestone hill, commanding a view
up a valley, deeper and bolder than that at Narni, with less wood on its
slopes, but with more trees and more cultivation at the bottom. After
this the ascent is trifling, and we pass for the last three quarters of
a mile nearly on a plain, which sounds hollow to the tread; bearing
everywhere traces of the course of the water, and formed indeed from its
concretions. The traveller is first conducted to the channel in which
the water runs above the fall; the width of this is fifty-one feet and a
quarter;[11] the descent one foot in twenty; and the rapidity of the
current ten feet and a half[12] per second, or about seven miles per
hour. If you are not in the secret, you will wonder at these precise
dimensions, but in fact this is an artificial channel. The Velino, like
the Anio, instead of continually wearing for itself a deeper channel,
fills up its bed with a calcareous rock, not very hard indeed, but still
a rock, and not an earthy sediment which might be displaced by the first
heavy rains; and we find it very early blocking up its own course, and
subjecting the valley above, to frequent inundations. In the year of
Rome 481, (271 before Christ) a channel was cut by Marcus Curius
Dentatus for the discharge of its waters into the Nar. In the year of
Rome 700, some quarrels arose, but we know not precisely on what ground,
between the inhabitants of Reati above the fall, and those of Terni
below; and in the time of Tiberius a great flood happening in the Tiber,
which did much mischief at Rome, commissioners were appointed to examine
into the causes of this injury, and to consider the means of obviating
such irregularities in future. These wiseheads reported, that in order
to attain this object, it would be expedient to stop up all the rivers
by which the Tiber is fed. I need not tell you that this scheme was
never executed. After this the channel continued to perform its duty,
till about the year 1400; that is, for the space of 1,680 years from the
period of its first execution; but it appears at that time to have
become so much choked up, that the superior valley was again subject to
frequent inundations. The Reatines began to open a new canal, but the
inhabitants of Terni opposed it, and a war between the two cities was
the consequence. Braccio di Montone, tyrant of Perugia (that name is
well applied in every sense to the Italian Reguli of the fifteenth
century) interfered, and a new channel was made; but probably on a small
scale, as it was soon filled up again, and in 1546, we find Sangallo
appointed by Paul the Third to make a sufficient opening. Terni and the
cities below the fall, including Rome itself, raised a great outcry
against this undertaking, on the plea that they should be subject to
frequent inundations, if an outlet were given to these waters. The
channel was however made, but it was soon found that it had not been cut
sufficiently deep, and in 1596, under the direction of Giovanni Fontana,
a new work was undertaken. This architect, or rather as we should call
him engineer, appears to have contented himself with re-opening for the
greatest part of the way, the old channel of M. C. Dentatus, but as that
made a very obtuse angle towards the fall, Fontana abandoned it there,
and continued his work in a straight line to the valley of the Nar.
Owing to this change the Velino joined that river at right angles, at
the foot of a rock called Pennarosa, in a part where its bed was very
much confined; and moreover it brought down with it some considerable
fragments of rock. These causes combined forced back the Nar, and
occasioned considerable inundations in the upper part of that river; new
quarrels were the consequence, and numerous inconsistencies were
written. Father Gaudio, on the part of the inhabitants of Terni,
undertook to prove that a larger river rushing with the utmost violence
into a smaller one, at right angles with the course of the latter, could
not possibly occasion any rise of its waters above the junction, but on
the contrary must give them an impulse which would tend to drain the
superior valley. These disputes were not settled till the year 1785,
when a new cut brought off the waters of the Velino obliquely into the
Nar, and all complaints ceased. We are conducted to different points to
look down on this tremendous fall, but the best view is from a little
summerhouse, on a projecting point considerably below the brow, which is
said to have been built for the accommodation of Napoleon. The lower
part of the cataract is not however visible at this point, but we
contemplate a most tremendous fall, rushing among rocks, and over a
precipice so perpendicular, that the water is detached from it for a
considerable distance, and loses itself in thunder among the foam and
spray of the gulf below. The first fall takes place where the stream is
yet confined among the rocks of the channel, here much broken; and may
perhaps have an elevation of 40 or 50 feet. The second, or perpendicular
part, has a descent of 598[13] feet; if in fact this measure do not
include also the first fall. Afterwards it strikes against a rock, and
rushes down repeated falls, so close as to form one almost continued
sheet of foam, for 240[14] feet more, into the Nar, so that the whole
height is 838[15] feet. The _Itinerario d’Italia_, not content with this
height, great as it is, assigns a fall of 1,063 French feet. I know not
on what authority. Mine is a little book by Joseph Riccardi, printed at
Spoleto in 1818, entitled, _Ricerche istoriche e fisiche sulla caduta
delle marmore, &c._ a very distinct and well-written account, which
bears internal marks of authenticity and correctness, though I confess
that if I had to guess the height, I should not have said more than
between 400 and 500 feet, including every thing; but in these great
elevations the judgment gets lost for want of sufficient objects of
comparison. According to the same author, the supply of water, when the
river was lowest in the year 1807, was 4,640 cubic metres per minute,
_i. e._ above 160,000 English cubic feet; the greatest quantity per
minute in the same year, was 19,310 cubic metres, or 675,000 English
cubic feet. The New River, I believe, yields about 3,000 cubic feet in
the same time. The Thames at Laleham, after a very dry summer, was found
to yield 1,155 cubic feet in a second, or 69,300 in a minute; the
comparison is rather startling, and one cannot help suspecting some
mistake in the measures. The width and rapidity, as before given, do not
at all exceed probability; but with these, an average depth of above
four feet and a half, would be required to supply the given quantity of
water in dry weather. This I had no means of estimating. It is however a
considerable river. After seeing the upper part of the cascade, I
returned to the lower road, which conducts us along the valley to the
foot of it. This approach is delightful, and is perhaps better worth
seeing than the cascade itself. After the roads divide at Papigno, we
descend into the bottom, cross the river, and pass a house, forming a
very picturesque object in the landscape, which, as the boy told me,
belonged to a _milordo_ of the city of Terni. Thence we pass among
vineyards and lofty trees, and afterwards through groves of full grown
ilex, between impending rocks. We see here more of the lower part of the
fall, and find that even after all we have contemplated from the upper
part, the river still bounds from rock to rock, before it unites with
the Nar, but the direction of the different parts is so various, that it
is impossible to catch the whole at one view. The fall itself may be
rivalled by those of Tivoli, though here is more water, and greater
height, but nothing at Tivoli, or at any other place that I have seen,
can afford a parallel to the valley by which we approach it.

Riccardi speaks of the admirable effect in winter from the ice formed at
the bottom. The valley of Terni, measured I suppose at the city itself,
is 346 feet above the sea, and the bottom of the fall may be 100 or 150
feet more, but this is not a height to account for any material
difference of climate, and we certainly should not have expected much
effect from the frost. As I have not seen it in that state, I will copy
his description. “The appearance of the fall in winter does not deserve
less attention. The ice accumulating at the bottom of the precipice,
forms itself into enormous masses, which appear to be the
disproportioned columns of some huge pile of building; while the icicles
hanging from above, seem as if they would lengthen themselves to the
bottom of the gulf. The river itself, increased in volume, brings down
various substances of different colours, which unite the beautiful, to
the sublime effect produced by the vast rush of water, and masses of
ice; and this is farther heightened by the vertical rainbows of more
than a semicircle, which exhibit themselves in the spray, and by a
number of other horizontal rainbows.” What these horizontal rainbows may
be, I cannot pretend to explain.

In the afternoon I hired a caratella to Spoleto. The road winds over a
branch of the Apennines, and is here called the _Somma_; it passes in
fact through a very winding opening in the mountain, which is very
pleasant, but has no striking feature, and no extensive view from the
upper part. Spoleto itself is situated on a rocky hill almost insulated,
or I might say quite insulated, as the neck is so low that we hardly
observe it. A magnificent aqueduct, said to be a Roman work, but which
in fact is the work of a Roman cardinal in the fifteenth century,
supplies the town with water. This passes the deep and narrow valley
which separates the hill from the general mass of mountain, supported on
a single range of arches near 250 feet high. Some of the arches are
however divided into two in height, and others have been so, which are
not so now, but I am at a loss to conceive the motive of the alteration.
The water is collected from two or three springs among the mountains,
and falls 30 or 40 feet before passing the aqueduct. Advantage of this
fall has been taken to build a mill; and the same stream which furnishes
a supply of water to the town, also grinds its corn. There are several
fragments of Roman antiquity at Spoleto, one of which is a bridge lately
discovered. The torrent has changed its bed, and the bridge was in
consequence buried for many centuries. An ancient arch within the town
is called Porta Fuga, from a tradition that Hannibal attacked the town
on that side, and was obliged to retreat with great loss. If you believe
all the stories told about this general in Italy, it would seem as if he
had entered the country to beat the Romans, and to be beaten by every
little city in the land. There is also another Roman arch within the
city, and some foundations of uncertain purpose, which appear to be
connected with it; and in the upper part of the town are other remains,
said to have been part of a palace of Theodoric; and about the citadel
we may observe some portions of Cyclopean masonry.

Among the erections of a later period is a Gothic cathedral, modernized
internally, and partially so on the outside. These alterations in the
style and character of a building never produce a good effect. A little
out of the town there are some remains of an ancient temple, now
included in a convent. The plan seems to have been of a very complicated
form, but the Romans did not preserve the Grecian simplicity of design
in their sacred edifices; and this has not been an edifice of the good
time of Roman taste. There are several columns, but all misplaced.

The Temple of Clitumnus by the road side, a few miles beyond Spoleto, is
likewise a building of a late style, probably not much more ancient than
Constantine. I might have known what it was from the prints which have
been published, yet I expected a prettier thing, both in itself and its
situation. There seems no deficiency in the number of columns
externally, and I do not understand to what the story, related by
Hobhouse in his Notes to Childe Harolde, alludes. He tells us that a
certain brother Hilarion, with the approbation of the bishop of Spoleto,
demolished great part of the porticos, and sold four of the columns for
eighteen crowns. Four small shafts have indeed been removed from the
inside, but these could only have been about nine inches in diameter,
and had nothing to do with any portico. The outer columns are covered
with leaves slightly waved, and marked with a mid-rib, and not with fish
scales, as has been supposed. The lowest range is raffled. The bases of
the pilasters have no projection towards the column. The entrances must
have been on the sides, and not in the front. The walls of the cella are
thicker than the width of the pilasters. The parts unite badly together,
and the workmanship is as bad as the design. The country however is rich
and beautiful, though the situation of the temple commands no view of
it; the road passes by the edge of a fine plain, bounded by mountains,
which are partly cultivated, and partly covered with wood.

At Foligno there is a cathedral whose outside is Gothic, but the
interior is modernized as usual. I could not however enter, for an
epidemic fever was very prevalent, and owing to the practice of burying
the dead very slightly in the churches, the cathedral and some others
had become so offensive, that it was thought proper to shut them up.[16]
At Narni they had _found_ a saint (San Rocco) who had power over the
disease; (you might doubt whether they were talking of a magician, or a
quack medicine) and by making a few processions in his honour, they had
speedily got rid of it. At Terni, the first rains had washed it away,
but at Foligno it was still raging with considerable violence.

Perugia is at the top of a very high hill, where the vetturini usually
employ the additional strength of a pair of bullocks, but my light
caratella did not require that assistance, especially since I as usual,
walked up myself. It commands noble views over two rich and extensive
valleys, watered by the Clitumnus and the Tiber. I stayed there all
Sunday, and had the opportunity of seeing some very fine paintings,
especially of Pietro Perugino, who has left many admirable works in his
native city; and some very curious architecture. There is a Roman arch
said to have been built by Augustus, but we can hardly acknowledge this,
since the frieze of its entablature is ornamented with pilasters,
instead of triglyphs; a licence which cannot be supposed to have taken
place so early, though the Roman architects indulged themselves in a
good deal of whim and caprice, especially in these provincial cities. A
circular building, covered by a wooden roof, like that of the church of
San Stefano rotondo at Rome, and not by a dome, is said to have been an
ancient temple, and is doubtless a Roman building, but of late times.
The columns have been taken from buildings still more ancient; they are
sixteen in number, of granite, cipollino, bigio antico, and marmo greco;
differing in their sizes, and in their capitals. The cathedral is
Gothic; the vault of the side aisles springing at the same height as
that of the nave. The piers are round, and very slender, and all the
arches are tied with iron; yet it would be beautiful, if it were not so
party-coloured. The Palazzo pubblico may also deserve notice, as an
example of Italian Gothic; but it is not handsome. At the church of San
Domenico I had the pleasure of seeing a continued vault, uninterrupted
even by a window. These experiments in design are invaluable to an
architect; and here, in spite of the disadvantages arising from the
building never having been terminated, and from the whitewash which
covers what is finished, the effect is very fine. Behind the altar were
crimson hangings which shut out the choir, and the scene was certainly
improved by them; in such a case the interruption of the transept
between the nave and the altar is not objectionable, and at times, when
the transept is lighter than the nave, even produces an uncommonly
beautiful effect; but then the altar should only be in a slight recess,
and receive the full effect of the light of the transept, and the
architecture of the nave must by no means be resumed. The front of the
church of San Francesco is an interesting, and very handsome specimen of
the early Italian architecture. A simple rectangular front, surmounted
by a pediment, includes the large arch; and this simplicity of design,
and apparent correspondence with the construction and internal
disposition, is very pleasing. There is here indeed too much ornament,
but it is well disposed and well executed.

There is at Perugia a most capital ground for playing at _pallone_, but
it is never used. This game consists in driving backwards and forwards a
large leather ball, filled with compressed air, and made as tight as
possible; but it soon wants re-filling. The blow is given by the wrist
or lower part of the arm, which is armed for this purpose with a large
wooden cylinder, covered with knobs externally, that the ball may not
slip upon it.

On Monday morning I quitted Perugia, again in a _caratella_, which is a
four-wheeled chaise, with a head, and a seat in front for the driver.
The whole ride to Cortona is very pleasant, but the descent to the lake
of Perugia, the ancient Thrasymene, and the ascent again from it, are
exquisitely beautiful. The lake itself is a large irregular piece of
water, of which the general outline is roundish; the hills slope gently
towards it, gradually rising as they recede into mountains, neither very
bold, nor very high, yet you would not call them tame. They are well
varied in their forms, and almost everywhere covered by wood or
cultivation.

Soon after leaving the lake, we enter Tuscany, and the advantage here
both in cultivation and picturesque beauty, is in favour of the papal
states. Cortona is on the top of a high hill, and commands a view of an
extensive valley, but its situation is not to be compared to that of
Perugia. I expected to have found more interest at Cortona than was
really the case; the principal antiquities are the walls of the city, of
Cyclopean masonry, not of the earliest style, but of that where the
stones lie for the most part in courses nearly horizontal; and a small
sepulchral chamber, a little below the town, called the grotto of
Pythagoras. It is built of large blocks of sandstone; the doorway
remains, and the rebate for the door, and two holes in the sill and
lintel for the pivot on which it turned. It is arched over, the arch
being composed of four, or perhaps five stones, each of which is the
whole length of the edifice, and rests upon a rudely semicircular stone
at each end. These arch-stones are really wedge-shaped in the section,
though in this case such a form would not be necessary for their
support; but the builders, whoever they were, were without doubt
acquainted with the principle of the arch, though perhaps afraid to
confide much to it. The room is internally about seven feet square, and
has had small square recesses at the sides, perhaps for cinerary urns. I
had been taught to expect a good museum of antiquities, but it had been
dispersed in order to save it from the Neapolitans, and seemed not
likely to be ever restored. The fever had driven the gentlemen of the
place to their country residences, and I could not gain admission to the
private collections.

From Cortona I proceeded to Arezzo, where there are the remains of an
amphitheatre, but not of much consequence. The cathedral, and the church
of the Pieve, interested me much more. The latter is a very singular
building. The front has four stories of ornament, and the tower which
arises from it at one angle, has five stories more, each of which has
two double windows. The upper story of the front presents a range of
thirty-three openings, and thirty-two little columns with fancy
capitals; most of them are octangular, but some are cylindrical, and one
is a statue, some of them have zigzag, and others spiral flutes. They
stand on plinths of different sizes, and support a horizontal
architrave. The next story is a series of twenty-five arches on
twenty-four columns, very little, if at all, bigger than those above.
There is equal or greater variety in their forms, for in addition to
those above mentioned, we find one fasciculated shaft, and one covered
with ascending leaves. Below this, is a range of thirteen larger arches,
also on columns, with the same irregularity of shape; some standing on
bases, with plinths, some without plinths, and some with neither. In
this story there is a small wheel window. The lower range is of five
arches only, of which the middle is the highest; there is a corbel over
each spandril, which perhaps has supported a statue; and some
unconnected, and irregularly disposed portions of ornament. You see from
this account that the whole has amazingly the air of being made up of
fragments, but it is difficult to imagine where such a multitude of
different things in so small a scale could have been found. The Aretines
say, that the building as it stands, was an ancient temple, which it
certainly was not.

Internally, the vaulting is composed of a mixture of semicircular, and
of very obtusely pointed arches, like some of that at the church of St.
Mark at Venice, and probably it is nearly of the date of the front
galleries of that edifice (about 1100). The nave is not vaulted. The
back of the choir shows the beautiful effect sometimes produced by a
range of small columns placed over a high wall, either plain, or
slightly recessed. I would not engage that in many cases, this strong
contrast should not be disagreeable, but I think it succeeds best when,
as in this instance, the plan is circular.

The cathedral is a fine Gothic building; that is, fine as an edifice of
the Italian Gothic, but not to be compared with the best examples of
that style in France and England. It is very dark, but that darkness,
the first time I visited it, set off to great advantage a side chapel of
this form,

[Illustration: Illustration of side chapel]

producing the effect of a Greek cross with shallow recesses; it was
evening, but the candles at the altar were bright points, which could
hardly yet be said to give any light; behind the altar there were
crimson hangings, which hid the windows of the little recesses behind
them, and the external daylight had no other effect than to give
brilliancy to their colour. The only light diffused through the chapel
proceeded from the upper part. The richness of the altar increased by
the candles, and by the hangings; the light and elegant proportions of
the chapel sufficiently illuminated, but not glaring; and its contrast
with the gloomy magnificence of the cathedral, whose bounds were totally
lost among the clustered columns, produced an effect quite magical. Seen
by full daylight, however, the architecture of the chapel, of a mixed
style, did not please me so well, and it then appeared too gaudily
painted. Still the justness of its general proportions may claim for it
the praise of an elegant building, though quite out of all acknowledged
rules.

The cloisters of the convent at the Badia, consist of a range of arches
supported on columns; and over these there is a range of small columns,
very wide apart, supporting the roof. It is, I believe, an advantage
that these supports are so far asunder, as they thereby assist the idea
of lightness attributed to the roof. Where the slenderness and wide
separation of the supports below can persuade the spectator that the
parts above are very light, it is a beauty; one indeed not to be sought
on every occasion, but admirable in its proper place. But where this
persuasion is not accomplished, and the upper parts are manifestly
heavy, the slenderness of the lower is a very great defect. Where
columns stand over arches, it is absolutely necessary to have a
considerable space over the latter; otherwise the effect is poor and
meagre.

I left Arezzo on Tuesday, and slept at Monte Varco, travelling through a
country of clay hills, singularly intersected by deep ravines. Where the
soil is not held together by the roots of trees, broom, &c. the lower
part of the bank seems to get washed away by the torrent at the bottom,
and the earth falls, so as to leave perpendicular precipices, and broken
and detached points. My vetturino was very unwilling to proceed so far,
yet we got in by nine o’clock, which at this time of year is not late.
In the morning he came to me with the tale of a man who had been
murdered in the night, in going from here to Florence. I thought at
first that he only wanted to alarm me, as a punishment for having urged
him to go on in the dusk, the evening before, but I found afterwards
that his tale was too true. A young man going alone in a sort of one
horse chaise, from San Giovanni to Florence, in order to make some
purchases there, for which he carried the money with him, was attacked,
about one o’clock in the morning, by some robbers, who appear to have
been aware of the circumstances. They broke his skull with the blow of
some blunt instrument, and had taken the key, and inserted it in the
lock of the box which contained the money, but something must have
alarmed them, as they proceeded no farther. The horse returned home with
his master, who lived a few hours afterwards, but unable to speak, and
nearly insensible. We learned these particulars in passing through San
Giovanni. The attack took place at a bridge close by a picture of the
Madonna, as was judged by the blood found on that spot. We saw the
bridge and the Madonna, but no blood; and I confess I do not understand
the feelings of my driver, who kissed the little chapel with great
emotion, and put some money into the box. If the poor fellow’s life had
been saved I should have comprehended him better. We reached Florence
about three o’clock that afternoon, and I dismissed my driver, whom I
had found very civil and attentive, and I believe very honest, and now I
shall dismiss my letter.



                             LETTER XXXIX.

                      MODENA—PARMA—MANTUA—FERRARA.


                                            _Ravenna, 5th August, 1817._

I HAVE already given you an account of the buildings of Florence, and
shall not repeat my criticisms, but rather confine myself to such
subjects as were not suited to the time of year when I was there before.
The Boboli gardens are very beautiful, rather for their external views
than for their interior distribution. They present, I think, the very
finest views of the country about Florence. My visits there in July
were, as you will suppose, much more pleasant than they could have been
in December. The Cascine, the _dairy-farm_ of the grand duke, is also a
very pleasant place; a mixture of grove, thicket, and meadow, extending
along the banks of the Arno. Fiesole I had seen before, and I repeated
my visit more leisurely on this occasion, but the scenery of Tuscany
will bear no comparison with the finer parts of the Roman Apennines. The
little hills, almost all of the same form, are everywhere covered with
olive bushes rather than trees; and though perhaps the country about
Florence is more productive, yet considered as scenery, it is inferior
in richness, in magnificence, and in variety. With regard to Roman
antiquities, the difference, or rather the contrast, is still greater.
The remains of Tusculum are more considerable than all that is seen in
the neighbourhood of Florence, and those form but a small portion of the
objects of that nature about Frescati, which again is poor, compared
with Tivoli, Palestrina, or Albano. Even their boasted Etruscan walls
have by no means the singularity, or the character of antiquity, which
we find in those of Latium. The appearance of the modern city, though
certainly very fine, shrinks before the magnificence of Rome; and when
you view the whitewash and macigno of the churches, you must not recall
to mind the solidity of appearance, and the splendid display of marble,
painting, and gilding, which adorns those of the ancient capital of
Europe. Nothing holds its importance, except the collections of the
Public Gallery, and of the Pitti palace. One of the charms of Rome seems
to consist in its possessing a peculiar expression, from the greatest
and most important particulars, even to the most trifling details.
Everything there is striking and characteristic. The desolate Campagna;
the large uninhabited tract within its walls; and even the large pale
gray oxen, whose horns might almost match those of the Abyssinian
cattle, all contribute to the general effect; and in spite of the
surrounding desolation, there is probably no city in the world which
presents so great a variety of picturesque scenery in its immediate
neighbourhood as Rome; and then every spot belongs to history, and to a
wonderful and interesting history with which we are all acquainted. We
never feel the value of Rome so strongly as in returning to what we
admired before.

I left Florence about three o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, and went in a
vettura to the Maschere; a poor little inn, about eighteen miles
distant; there we slept, but I let my companions proceed without me the
next day, meaning to follow them on foot. A wet morning detained me some
time, and when at length I set off, the clouds were still hanging low on
the mountains. I had dressed myself as lightly as possible, and I felt
it rather cold. The walk was however delightful. The scenery everywhere
fine, but so equally so, that it did not tempt the pencil; cultivated
valleys, sloping hills, and woody mountains, succeeded one after
another. The highest point of the pass is called the Fiuta; it has the
reputation of being always windy, and when I crossed it, fully
maintained its fame. I was much amused by the figures who passed me,
closely wrapped up in their cloaks, with their hats tied fast upon their
heads, and shrinking from the blast. The northern side is more wild than
the south. There is less wood, and more rock, and one or two remarkable
crags. They are however ragged crags, and have nothing of the solidity
of the Alpine masses. Further on are considerable cliffs, which are kept
naked and perpendicular, by the action of water at the bottom. These
produce a very different effect on the mind from the precipices of the
Alps, whose firmness seems to defy vegetation. I left the road before
reaching Pietra Mala, in order to see what is called the Volcano. I was
directed to a tract of broken ground of no great extent, but though
frequently within a hundred yards of the spot, it was a considerable
time before I discovered the flames, putting my hand in the meanwhile to
every crack in the soil, to try if I could feel any warmth, and
imagining from time to time that I perceived a sulphureous smell; at
last however, I succeeded, and it was certainly very curious to see a
portion of a field on fire without any apparent cause. The flames issued
from a space twenty-two feet long and five feet wide, and there were
traces of its action for about four times that space. It is always of
more consequence in winter and wet weather, than it is in summer. A
plant was growing within a yard of the flames, and corn within about two
yards, evidently ripened by their warmth beyond the rest of the field.
There was no visible smoke, not the least smell of sulphur, but that of
a clear coal fire; no soot is deposited, but a trifling white
efflorescence is observable on some of the stones exposed to the flames.
The soil about it seemed to be clay mixed with fragments of limestone,
and the flames issued from among these fragments, or perhaps partially
among rocks of the same nature _in situ_, but I think they were all
detached pieces. The cliffs at a little distance appeared to be also of
limestone, but in some little brooks which the road passes, the rock had
rather the appearance of a grit. There are likewise some black ragged
crags in the neighbourhood.

From this place I passed through Pietra Mala, and went to the boiling
spring, which deserved its name still less than the volcano, for there
was no water. Its situation was marked by a little spot of bare ground,
not three yards in diameter, in the midst of a meadow; and in the middle
of this is a small saucer-shaped hollow, about three feet in diameter,
in which the earth retained a little moisture. On the application of a
candle to the edges of this saucer, they took fire, which showed that a
vapour was issuing from the spot, but I could perceive no smell, either
before or after the application of flame. My guide had filled some
bottles with water at a brook by the way, in order to fill them with the
gas at the spring, but the total absence of water disappointed him. Such
bottles of air are kept corked up by the people of the inn, who, when
they wish to show the effect to strangers, apply a light to the mouth,
pouring water at the same time into the bottle. I slept at Scarica
l’Asino, and returned to my old quarters at Bologna, but the bed-room I
had used before was occupied by a Roman marquis, commissioned, as I
understood, from the Holy See, to correct some abuses in the collection
of the taxes. Another therefore was assigned to me, within that of the
master and mistress, who told me that I should find the doors always
open, and might pass through it whenever I pleased, without occasioning
any inconvenience. The Roman gentleman, and another, a lawyer from
Ancona, were always of the dinner party, and instead of dressing for the
meal, as in England, we always undrest, pulling off the coat which had
been used for walking about in the city, and generally the waistcoat and
neckcloth, and putting on a nankin jacket. Dinner is not a company meal,
that is, not one at which persons make an exhibition to their friends of
the luxuries they have the means of furnishing to them, but it is by no
means a solitary one, and here, besides the persons living in the house,
seven in number, there was generally some friend to partake of it.

Of Bologna I have already said all that occurs to me. I left it on the
19th, and went to Modena, where I hardly found so much to interest me as
I had anticipated. There is a large ducal palace, and a Gothic
cathedral, which is not handsome. Internally, the lower arches seem to
be circular, and most of the upper ones pointed: there is a wheel, or
marigold window over the entrance, where the rays are formed of little
columns, and finish in pointed arches. The choir is elevated, and in the
sub-choir below it, we find a forest of little shafts, some of which
rest on figures of animals. The front columns at the doorways, both of
the west and south entrance, are supported on animals. The principal
front consists of a higher gable in the middle, and a sloping roof on
each side, the middle division occupying about half the entire extent:
and it has a large wheel window, already mentioned, in the upper part.

There is sometimes a simplicity and good proportion in the general
design of a façade of an Italian Gothic, which is very pleasing;

[Illustration: Illustration of façade]

and in some instances the disposition of the smaller parts is well
managed. I would not recommend that they should be copied altogether,
but they afford useful hints for design. Most of these are unfinished,
and by this at least we avoid having the building spoilt by bad details.
The usual ornament consists of ranges of little arches under the
cornices. There is a Gothic cathedral at Reggio, but it has been nearly
all modernized, and hardly deserves notice. The Madonna di Consolazione
is a very handsome modern church. The form is a Greek cross, with arms,
whose depth is equal to the breadth, and a semicircle is added to form
the choir. At Parma there is a cathedral built in the eleventh century,
and dedicated in 1105; not Gothic, since there are no pointed arches in
the original work. The vaulting of the nave is elliptical: a
circumstance I do not remember having met with elsewhere in a building
of this era. The whole is darkly painted; the vaulting of the nave by
Girolamo Mazzola, and the walls by a Lactantius Gambara. The dome at the
intersection is ornamented with one of the most celebrated productions
of Coreggio, and I am willing to believe that it is very fine; but it is
lighted by a set of little windows just below the painting, which render
a good view of it impossible; it has also been damaged by the wet. The
choir is elevated, and there is a chapel beneath it full of columns,
more considerable than that at Modena, and presenting some very
picturesque effects. The front here forms one large gable, plentifully
adorned with horizontal and inclined ranges of small arches, and minute
ornamental arches under the raking cornice, such as I have before
described to you at Milan and Verona. It has no leading feature, and I
much prefer the division into three parts. The shafts of the doorway
rest as usual on animals. This front has no circular window.

Just by the cathedral is the Baptistery, a high octagonal building,
erected about 1196, by an architect of the name of Antelmi, or Antélami.
On the outside the entrance is formed by a large arch, with three shafts
on each side, as in Gothic buildings, and four colonnades, one above
another, of small shafts over it, with a wide and nearly plain band
between each. The upper, a fifth range, has still smaller shafts, placed
closer together, and pointed arches; it is probably an addition to the
original design; but as the building was certainly not completed before
1260, it may never have been finished in any other manner. The angles
are rounded, or rather, they are truncated, and replaced by two plane
surfaces, and finished at the summit by turrets, but the upper part of
these is not coeval with the rest of the building. The inside is
sixteen-sided.

There is another cupola finely painted by Coreggio, at the church of St.
John the Evangelist, and this, though liable to a similar objection in
the mode of lighting, yet is more intelligible than that at the
cathedral, from the smaller number and greater size of the figures. The
church is somewhat in the Brunelleschi style. I next went to the
Steccata, said to be a work of Bramante. Some portions of the tribune
were painted by Parmegiano, not the whole, for having received a
considerable portion of the money agreed upon, and not proceeding as
fast as the monks expected, they imprisoned him in order to oblige him
to complete his contract, at which he was so enraged that he spoilt
great part of what he had executed, and quitted the place. The church is
a Greek cross, with very short arms, and a semicircular end to each. It
is very darkly painted; the internal proportions are fine, and there is
something of a pleasing solemnity in its gloomy appearance. On the
outside, the central dome rests on a drum, ornamented with small columns
and arches, which has a good effect, but the rest is not worth
criticism.

There is a very fine collection of paintings at the academy at Parma;
some of them have been at Paris, but I believe all have been restored to
Parma to which it had any claim. Among these is the exquisite picture of
St. Jerome, by Coreggio, which you must have seen at the Louvre, and
several other admirable paintings by that artist, but nothing which can
be compared to this. There are also many fine productions of the Lombard
and Bolognese schools. Here is also an interesting museum of antiques,
consisting principally of objects found at Velleia, a city destroyed by
the fall of a mountain, about the end of the fourth century; and a
public library, containing eighty thousand volumes; the cases are about
fifteen feet high, and the moveable steps as much as nine, but the
librarian assured me that this disposition was not found inconvenient.
All these are contained in a great palace, intended by the dukes of
Parma for their residence, but certainly not on a scale corresponding
with the extent of their dominions. Only about half of the design has
been erected, and great part of that is still unfinished, yet besides
the establishments already mentioned, it contains a great theatre, 300
feet long, which in fact is neither beautiful nor convenient, but very
remarkable on account of the distinctness with which one hears even a
low voice on the stage through every part; it is all of wood, and all
the planks are disposed vertically, which is not consistent with the
plan usually adopted for the distant propagation of sound. There is also
another smaller theatre, and I know not what besides, all upon the first
floor. I have resolved not to tire you with accounts of paintings,
otherwise I should be tempted to say a little more of those which form
the great boast of this city. The language here is a mixture of
Milanese, Bolognese, and Venetian, “_Se vol vder nteck chais_,” said a
boy to me, who wanted to obtain a little money by shewing me the
Baptistery, to which I certainly did not want his guidance. You are to
pronounce the letters as if you were reading English. The police officer
who took my passport at the gate was startled at its length, “_tutt
quest passport_,” and to save himself the labour of reading it,
requested to know if I were “_posdent o ngoziant_,” and when I had
satisfied him on that point, begged for something to buy “_npocdpan_.”

From Parma I proceeded to Mantua. In this part of Italy the vines are
frequently supported on elms, but the elms are small, and universally
pollards. The Indian corn was just showing its silky filaments, but all
the sorts of grain you have in England were cleared away. We crossed the
Po by a ferry; the water was muddy, as I believe it always is; the banks
are a sandy loam, and the water is continually eating away the earth on
one side, and depositing its silt on the other. These changes of its bed
are said to be productive of frequent litigations. I cannot say much for
the pleasantness of the road, which lay entirely on a dead flat, but in
a fertile and highly cultivated country. Mantua is situated very low,
and in the midst of the waters, and the fortifications have none of that
show, which one is apt to expect from their military reputation: but I
believe this lowness, and want of appearance, is one source of its
strength. I observed on the road, parties of women winding silk out of a
large cauldron, where the water was kept nearly boiling by a fire
underneath it.

As in the time of its greatest prosperity, Giulio Romano was made the
arbiter of everything that was erected at Mantua, I expected to have
found some degree of uniformity of style in its buildings, but on the
contrary it is, I think, the most whimsical and capricious in its
architecture of any city in Italy. The cathedral was a Gothic building
of brick, and one or two fragments of the old edifice remain in a very
picturesque style. The side chapels form a range of extremely acute
gables, or perhaps I should say pediments, for the horizontal cornice is
continued across them, while there is merely a small moulding on the
rake, which cannot be called a cornice, and it is difficult to give them
an appropriate name; below are two lancet windows, and turrets between
the chapels, rising on a sort of buttress. I do not pretend to decide
upon the date. It was altered, or perhaps rather rebuilt by Giulio
Romano; and the inside is from his designs, but with some more modern
alterations. As it stands now it might be esteemed a bad imitation of
Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome, but with double ranges of side-aisles. The
columns stand very wide apart. Giulio Romano was fond of giving an
appearance of squareness in his principal divisions, as I have already
observed to you in the account of some of his works. The clerestory is
an upper order of pilasters, which as usual in churches of this design,
is too large in proportion to the lower. There is not a window over
every intercolumn, but they alternate with niches. The first aisle on
each side is arched; the second has a flat covering. The church forms a
cross with a small cupola at the intersection; it is too high in
proportion to its width.

The Palace of the Tè is said, but erroneously, to have derived its name
from its ground plan presenting a form similar to that of the letter.
This is also of the architecture of Giulio Romano. The spaces between
the columns or pilasters are nearly as wide as they are high. In the
internal architecture there is little to admire, but there is a great
deal of fine painting by this artist and his pupils.

There are two churches in Mantua, built from the design of L. B.
Alberti. The first I shall mention is that of St. Sebastian. The front
has, on the ground level, an arcade of five arches, with pilasters
between, very small in proportion to the great square mass above. The
entablature, which finishes the building under the pediment, is cut by a
little arch, which contains a window, and underneath this _has been_ a
fresco of Andrea Mantegna. Internally, the room has the shape of a Greek
cross, with slight recesses, one of which is filled up with a gallery
supported on columns and arches, very well introduced; but the details
are not good, and the whole is whitewashed. The other, and much the
finer church, is that of Sant Andrea, which may fairly be considered as
one of the handsomest in Italy. The doorway is ornamented with an
imitation of the pilaster foliage in the Villa Medici at Rome, which I
have before mentioned to you, and it is well drawn, and well executed,
except that a vase is substituted at the bottom for the beautiful group
of acanthus leaves which exists in the original. Internally, the nave is
supported on pilasters, which are alternately about three and a half,
and seven diameters apart, the largest spaces being arched chapels. The
pilasters are all panelled, and filled with painted ornaments, which
have rather too much opposition of colour. The vault is unbroken, and
has regular square panels. The principal light is from the drum of the
cupola, but there are also semicircular windows at the extremities of
the side chapels, and small circular windows over the narrower
interpilasters, which would be better omitted. This edifice was begun in
1470, but the whole was not completed till so late as 1782, so that
considerable alteration may have been made in the original design. It is
about 340 feet long, and the nave is about 60 feet wide and 90 high.

There is a bridge over the branch of the Mincio which traverses the
city, on which Giulio Romano erected an open arcade for the fish-market.
Over the arches is a low story, divided into nearly square compartments,
and a window in each. The design is good, as is that of the public
slaughter-house, also built over the river, and which is still plainer,
as there is no cornice over the arches, and no mouldings or panelling
above, except the cornice which crowns the building.

Mantua, you know, is in a great measure surrounded by a lake, formed by
damming up the waters of the Mincio. This lake is traversed by two long
bridges, or perhaps I should rather call them dams, which are in some
parts perforated by arches, to let out the superfluous water. At the
extremity of the upper bridge there is a gateway attributed to Giulio
Romano, which is really a handsome composition; but it would be
difficult to describe it. The dwelling of this painter-architect is also
exhibited. He has been very whimsical in the composition, and one can
see no object for the mode in which he has managed it.

Mantua upon the whole is neither a fine city, nor in a pleasant
situation. The best part is the Piazza Virgiliana, which is a large
square, surrounded with trees, and open on one side to the lake, and to
the distant Alps.

From Mantua I descended in a passage-boat to Ferrara, but there is no
great beauty of river scenery either on the Mincio or the Po. We did not
reach Ponte di Lago Scuro till past nine, and an insolent underling at
the customhouse, told us we might carry our things back to the boat, for
that nothing would be passed that night, nor should we ourselves be
permitted to proceed. After waiting a little while however, the superior
made his appearance, and all our matters were arranged without farther
difficulty, but the stories we heard of a gang of robbers going about
the country in small parties, induced us to put up with very bad
accommodations at Ponte di Lago Scuro, rather than to go at once to
Ferrara. There were several circumstances which persuaded me that these
stories were excessively exaggerated, but it was most prudent to stay.
The bridges over the Po, from one of which this place derives part of
its name, have less claim to the appellation than any I ever saw. A
string of eight or ten boats is made by fastening them together with
long ropes; the upper one is moored in the middle of the river, and the
ferry-boat is attached to the lowest, and by help of a large rudder, on
which the stream acts diagonally, swings across from one side of the
water to the other. On the next morning we reached Ferrara at half-past
eight, and I spent the day in looking at the architecture and paintings
of the city. I have already mentioned the Duomo in a former letter, but
as I surveyed it at this time more at my leisure, I shall give you some
further account of it. It was consecrated in 1135, and of this ancient
part, the front, and great part of the sides still remain. Internally,
however, all the earlier work is destroyed or covered up. The
semicircular end of the choir was erected in 1499. For the ancient
sculpture we have the name of a certain Nicolaus:

                        “Fo Niclao sculptore
                        “E Gliemo fo l’auctore.”

but we have not the name of the architect who designed the façade; for
this _Gliemo_ was Guglielmo degli Adelardi, a nobleman, at whose expense
the church was built. The architect of the circular part is said to have
been a Ferrarese, of the name of Biagio Rosette, one of the early
restorers of Italian architecture, who died in 1516, but I know not at
what age, and I cannot find his name in Milizia. The remainder of the
part beyond the transept was modernized in 1637, and the rest of the
church between 1712 and 1735. The front is divided into three equal
parts, each surmounted with a gable, and ornamented with horizontal
ranges of pointed arches, and smaller arches also pointed, are disposed
under the rake of the gable. In each gable there is a small
wheel-window. The porch has a semicircular arch resting on columns.
Whatever may be said for ranges of arches supported on columns, these
single arches, with merely one slender column on each side, must be
reprobated in every style of architecture. A small turret resting on a
square base carried down to the ground, and crowned with a pinnacle,
separates the gables, and a similar ornament seems to have been adopted
at the extreme angles of the front, but the upper part of them has been
destroyed. The flanks are ornamented, not with pointed, but with
semicircular arches. There is, however, an ornament above the upper
range, which exhibits the reversed arch, but it may have been an
addition. This want of correspondence between the side and front, makes
one suspect that they are not precisely of the same date, and the flank
is probably the oldest, as the architecture corresponds with that of
other edifices in Italy of the eleventh century, and the early part of
the twelfth; the front I should think posterior to the dedication. The
inside contains some good paintings, but nothing fine in architecture,
and there are many fine pictures in the churches and palaces of the
city, but nothing of first-rate excellence. The best are principally by
Guercino and Garofalo. The general style of architecture is much
superior to what I have lately seen north of the Po. The city does not
boast any remarkable building, any more than any of the very fine
paintings, but the palaces have an air of solidity and magnificence. The
straight streets in the new parts of the town want houses, and there are
too many traces of decay; yet, when an enumeration was made in 1784,
Ferrara and its suburbs contained 31,253 inhabitants, which is far more
than you would suppose from present appearances. As it seems to possess
no advantages of situation either for commerce or habitation, we may
wonder that it should contain so many, but in the time of its glory, in
the thirteenth century, under the family of Este, at first as chief
magistrates, and afterwards as hereditary governors, either acting
independently, or holding of the pope, Ferrara is computed to have
contained more than twice the number. Its greatest celebrity arises from
its association with the names of Ariosto and Tasso, who paid in praise,
the ambiguous patronage of the house of Este. The habitation of Ariosto
is still shewn; it was built by himself. It is a pity he had not a
better architect. His chair and inkstand, and a portion of the original
manuscript of the Orlando are preserved in it.

There is a church at Ferrara famous for its echoes. The nave seems to
have been intended to present a series of cupolas, as the side aisles
actually do on a smaller scale, but in its present state, at the point
where the square is reduced to a circle, a flat ceiling is introduced
instead of a cupola. Standing under any one of these, the slightest
foot-step is repeated a great many times, but so rapidly, that it is
difficult to count the reverberations. I reckoned sixteen, but the
effect is rather a continued clatter than a succession of distinct
sounds. From Ferrara I returned to my old quarters at Bologna, and spent
a few days in endeavouring to understand the construction of modern
Greek, with the help of Mezzofanti; after which I set off on my return
by way of Ancona and Loreto to Rome.

I left Bologna at midnight on the 2d of August. My companions were an
Italian gentleman and his lady, inhabitants of Urbino, who were
returning home after a visit to Florence. They complained that they
could not understand a word of Bolognese. We reached Imola at about six
in the morning, where we stayed about an hour, and I visited the
cathedral, but I have nothing worth telling you about it. Our next
stopping place was Faenza, which has given the French name to
earthenware. The piazza here is surrounded by arches on columns, and
over this a wide colonnade supporting a slight roof. The upper columns
are on detached pedestals, with balustrades between them; a continued
pedestal would have been better, but an arrangement of this sort round a
large opening has an architectural effect. The church has its nave
divided into squares, and in each large arch are two smaller ones
opening into the side aisles. This change of design never succeeds. I
left my companions at Faenza, whence a _sediola_, a sort of one-horse
chair, conveyed me to Ravenna.

My driver amused me with a story about Raphael. This artist, according
to the tale, stayed five or six days somewhere at an inn, and paid for
nothing, as indeed he had no money, and the account becoming rather
high, the landlord was alarmed, and urged payment. Raphael demanded the
account, and when he had received it, painted the requisite number of
sequins upon the table, and something over. He then called for the
landlord, and meeting him at the door, pointed to the table, saying,
“There is your account,” and passed on. The landlord, seeing, as he
thought, the gold, and not doubting that he was generously paid,
attended his guest to the gate of the inn, and having seen him depart,
returned to take his money, but was very much surprised on attempting to
sweep it off into his hand, to find that nothing moved; he repeated the
action with no better success. He then called in the waiters and his
neighbours; but though every body saw the money there, nobody could lay
hold of it. At last, an Englishman passed that way, (in relating these
stories to an Englishman, they never fail to introduce one of his
countrymen) who told them it was a most valuable painting, worth a
thousand crowns. The landlord, however, was contented to sell his table
for a hundred sequins, (about 50_l._). What the uneducated mind admires
in a painting is deception, and that alone, and if Raphael was a great
painter, he must, according to their notions, have possessed that power
in a high degree. You hear his name, and those of the other great
painters of Italy, frequently in the mouths of the common people, but
this is the way in which they think of them.

You want me to say something of manufacturing and agricultural industry,
but you apply to a very incompetent person, as my attention is too
strongly directed to other inquiries, to allow me time to enter into the
details of these subjects. Yet, of the first, if I say little, I might
plead that there is little to be said. I saw, indeed, at Milan, some
very beautiful cloth. There was a public exhibition for premiums; but
these hot-bed productions, fostered by the government more for shew than
utility, are no criterion by which to judge of the productions of the
country. The political revolutions to which Italy has lately been
subject must have had an adverse influence, and an arbitrary and
changing system of taxation must prevent the employment of any
considerable capital. As to the agriculture, it seems very generally
extended, though not perhaps very perfect. The proprietor is in a sort
of partnership with the cultivator, finding the necessary capital, while
the latter finds labour, and there is commonly an agent employed by the
large proprietors, to see that the countryman performs his part of the
bargain, without secreting any of the profits. With the exception of the
Campagna, even the Roman states are generally in cultivation, and in
that there are considerable difficulties in the way, though the accounts
of mal aria may be exaggerated. The mountains are often better
cultivated than the plains, where the slope is not too steep to admit of
it. In our climate, when we arrive at the height of twelve or fifteen
hundred feet, the cold and wet will hardly permit any profit to the
agriculturist; but in Italy, corn will ripen well in elevations of
between three and four thousand, and deciduous trees flourish. This
gives to Italian mountain scenery a character extremely different from
that of our own country. There are no dreary moors, no wide bogs, and
even no heathy commons. The sandy shores, steep, crumbling banks of clay
or sand, and soil of naked rock, are necessarily abandoned, but
elsewhere the land is employed, and seems in general fertile. This year
has been remarkably dry, and they say that the crops of Indian corn are
suffering on that account. The wheat harvest has been good, and the
grapes are very abundant; the market at Bologna exhibited a profusion of
fruit. Peaches were in immense abundance; more than you will see of
apples and pears in any London market. The best were sold to me as a
stranger, at three bajocs the pound, containing about four full sized
peaches. Figs two bajocs. Of melons there is also a prodigious number. A
good sized one costs four or five bajocs; the water-melons cost more,
because they are larger. There are plenty of pears, but not very good;
few apples. Grapes are just coming in; they are hardly in fact yet ripe,
but the Italians give a decided preference to unripe fruit.



                               LETTER XL.

                                RAVENNA.


                                                   _Rome, August, 1817._

THERE are several churches at Ravenna of the fifth and sixth centuries,
a period, whose architectural productions are very rare. At the
beginning of the fifth century this city became the capital of the
western empire, and as it was also the seat of government of the
Ostrogoths, and afterwards of the Exarchs, it must have enjoyed a pretty
long period of comparative prosperity, when every thing else was in
ruin. Yet we have by no means a long series of dates in these remains.
The Empress Galla Placidia, sister of Honorius and Arcadius, seems to
have built a good deal between 425 and 450, the year of her death.
Afterwards, Theodoric, who reigned here from 492 to 526, embellished the
city with the best edifices the times were capable of producing; and the
impulse given to architecture seems to have lasted about twenty years
after his death. You are indeed shewn a church, San Vittore, which
pretends to be of the early part of the fourth century, but what remains
of it, even if its history were true, is a mere barn, without character.
The interval which elapsed between the first and last of the churches of
this period, which still remain tolerably perfect, was not accompanied
with any change of style: the ancient basilican form, consisting of
three naves, divided by two ranges of columns supporting arches,
prevailed in most of them. Above the arches is a high wall with narrow
windows, fewer in number than the arches below, and rarely corresponding
with them in position: the roof was of timber, and not concealed from
view; and the middle nave terminates in a semicircular recess covered
with mosaics, forming the apsis. They are much like St. Paul’s at Rome,
but on a reduced scale, and with only one range of columns on each side,
or perhaps they are rather more like some of the smaller of the ancient
churches in that city. Such is the church of the Spirito Santo, built
probably early in the sixth century, which owes its name to a tradition,
that on this spot, the eleven immediate successors of St. Apollinaris,
first bishop of Ravenna, were chosen by the visible agency of the Holy
Ghost, which descended on them successively in the form of a dove. The
columns here are of beautiful materials, but of bad workmanship. I think
not however, worse than those of Constantine’s time. Architecture seems
to have lost more in the twenty years between Dioclesian and
Constantine, than in the two hundred between the latter emperor and
Theodoric; but perhaps I should find, had I the means of a closer
investigation, that I had been deceived in attributing to the earliest
of these three periods, columns and ornaments which had once formed part
of some earlier edifice. If however, we do not observe in the
workmanship, any very distinct marks of difference between the
productions of the fourth and sixth centuries, we do in the design of
the ornamental parts; the capitals and mouldings in the latter being
much more fanciful. In the time of Constantine the architects seem to
have copied the antique, though very badly. Under Theodoric they
abandoned it wantonly, and we find frequent indications of the whimsical
style of capital which afterwards prevailed in the Gothic. In the same
building, however, each capital is alike, or at least intended to be so.
A block from which the arch springs is uniformly placed over the
capital; it is in the shape of the inverted frustum of a pyramid, but
not perfectly regular, as it generally slopes more on the front and back
than on the sides. In the early Saxon architecture, (I use this
incorrect term for want of a better) a block is sometimes found above
the capital, to support the springing of the arch, but it is in the
shape of a thickened abacus, and has sometimes dentils or mouldings,
which show it to be a degradation of the whole entablature; at St.
Mark’s, at Venice, and at Ravenna, it is evidently a stone block,
without any relation to the parts of the ancient order.

The arrangement of this church, or I may say generally of these
churches, is far from displeasing; they are light, and in some degree
elegant; and they would be much more so if the details were better; and
if they were not injured by modern chapels and restorations of a very
different taste. The plan leads the eye to the high altar, and to the
large niche enriched with mosaics and gilding, in front of which it
stands.

The earliest remaining church of this style at Ravenna, if we may
believe Beltrami, (_Il forestiere instruito delle cose notabili della
città di Ravenna_) is that of Santa Agata Maggiore, which was completed
about the year 417. Here again, are columns of granite and rich marbles,
with the same general design, and the same mode of finishing. The
columns are of unequal heights, and the impost blocks are also unequal,
but not so as to reduce the springing of the arches to one level.
Indeed, even these blocks seem to be the spoils of an earlier building.
The height of the nave is about equal to its width, which is hardly as
much as it ought to be. There seems at one time to have been a fashion
at Ravenna, to introduce monograms among the ornaments of the blocks
over the capitals. We have in this church the earliest example, and the
latest in San Vitale, which was built in 534. What names they were
intended to commemorate is very uncertain, as each writer on the subject
forms a new conjecture of his own. The following is at Santa Agata,

[Illustration: Illustration of monogram]

and Montfaucon makes out from it the words TITUS CORNELIUS NEPOS, and
Zirardini, an antiquary of Ravenna, PETRUS EPISCOPUS. You will conceive,
that inscriptions which may be interpreted so differently, are perfect
enigmas, from which nothing can be learned; but it appears to me that
both these learned men are decidedly wrong, since the monogram contains
an F, and no E. The pulpit of this church is of a single piece of
marble, and seems to have been cut out of one drum of a fluted column,
about five feet and a half in diameter. It is supposed to have been some
ornamental or monumental column, for Ravenna does not boast any ancient
edifice which would require a column of that size.

San Giovanni della Sagra was built in 425 by Galla Placidia, in
consequence of a vow she had made, when, having been overtaken by a
storm in returning from Constantinople, she was saved from shipwreck by
the intercession of St. John the evangelist. After it was built, the
lady sought far and wide for some relic of the tutelar saint, but in
vain. Her confessor, St. Barbaziano, proposed that they should pass a
night in prayer in the new church, in order to obtain of the Lord by
miracle, what human means had failed to procure. During the night St.
John appeared in pontifical vestments, with a censer in his hand,
incensing the temple and the altar; St. Barbaziano saw him first, and
knowing him for the beloved disciple of our Saviour, pointed him out to
the empress, who with great joy ran to throw herself on her knees before
him, and to embrace his feet. The saint immediately vanished, leaving
behind him the sandal of his right foot. The empress having thus
obtained the desired relic, deposited it somewhere in the church, but
the precise spot is unknown. The story is represented in sculpture over
the principal entrance, and as this doorway is a production of the
pointed architecture of the thirteenth century, we may obtain an
approximation to the date of the legend. I admire, however, the modesty
which refrained from producing the sacred relic. The church itself was
of the usual form, with marble columns, and a great niche adorned with
mosaics; but the mosaics are gone, and the nave has been a good deal
modernized.

San Francesco is another church of the same disposition, which has
undergone a similar treatment; this seems also of the time of Galla
Placidia. Sant Apollinare Nuovo, which deserves the first place among
these buildings for its magnitude and decorations, is a foundation of
Theodoric, but the choir is comparatively modern. It has, according to
Beltrami, the sort of portico called _Ardica_, a word derived from the
Greek ναρθεξ, but I do not understand precisely in what its peculiarity
consists. It is formed by means of groined arches supported on columns.
Internally, this church seems to have been in every respect more highly
finished than any of the others. The windows are more numerous, and
there is a continued moulding under them. The nave terminates in a large
ornamented arch, and the walls are adorned with mosaics, some of the
heads in which have a good deal of character. One of these mosaics
represents the front of the palace of Theodoric; three large, but
unequal arches in the centre, support a pediment, and a range of smaller
and lower arches extends on each side. All the arches rest on columns,
and veils hang between the columns. This has no sort of resemblance to
the fragment still remaining, of which I shall speak by and by, but
perhaps that was no part of the front.

The last church of this style in date, and the last I shall give you any
account of, is that of St. Apollinaris, at Classe, about three miles
from Ravenna. Classis seems to have been the station of the Roman fleet,
and to have formed, with Ravenna proper and Cæsarea, one great city. It
was adorned, we are told, with magnificent public edifices, and with
numerous churches. Nothing, however, now remains, except this church,
with its bell-tower; and a few of the buildings of the convent. St.
Apollinaris was the beloved disciple of St. Peter. He was the apostle
and teacher of the people of Ravenna, and the church was built upon the
ruins of the temple of Apollo. It is a pity that this gives a sort of
double occasion to the name, and throws a doubt on both stories. The
building was erected by order of Justinian, and consecrated by the
archbishop St. Maximian in the year 549. The columns which support the
nave are of very beautiful Greek marble. The windows are in pairs, few
and small; each pair is seen externally in an arched recess, of which
there is a series, both in the clerestory, and in the aisles below. The
latter were probably connected with the portico, which returned along
the sides of the church, as well as occupying the front, but these
lateral parts are now destroyed. To return to the inside: the columns
are valuable for their materials alone: they are badly worked, and the
capitals are very rude and clumsy imitations of those of the Composite
order. The height of the nave is about a quarter more than the width;
and the proportion is very good. The aisles are very wide, and I believe
this contributes to the light and agreeable appearance of the building.
In the nave, the walls are mostly whitewashed; but the tribune or apsis
is covered with mosaics, as is the arch in front of it. Whitewash is not
an agreeable finish anywhere, but this disposition of it is at least
better than that which I have complained of in the Florentine churches.
There is a representation of the transfiguration in the tribune, which,
if it do not in itself possess much merit either of design or execution,
is nevertheless curious, as an attempt of that period, to express an
historical fact, instead of the mere upright unemployed figures of
saints usually exhibited in these mosaics. Indeed, Ravenna is quite the
place to study the architecture and painting of these two centuries, but
I doubt if it can shew any sculpture. Sant Apollinare is rich in
sarcophagi and inscribed marbles, but I allowed myself there much too
short a time. In fact, I almost always have to lament, after leaving a
city of much interest, that I had passed through it too hastily.

I shall now proceed to some other religious edifices, in which this
general arrangement was not observed. The Baptistery is an octagonal
building almost covered with mosaics, and containing also some
bas-reliefs in stucco, perhaps not of the same date. It has a number of
little columns of pavonazetto, bigio antico, and marmo greco, taken from
ancient edifices. Externally, there is a small square opening above the
door, which is also square-headed; and above, each face presents two
double-headed windows. The date of the building is supposed to be that
of the ancient cathedral now destroyed, that is, the latter end of the
fourth century: the mosaic is attributed to an archbishop Neone, who
lived about the year 430. It covers the dome, as well as most of the
walls. The baptism of our Saviour in the Jordan by St. John, is
represented on the former, and the river-god seems also to be introduced
into the composition. As is usual in the ancient baptisteries, there was
originally preparation for baptism by immersion, but like most of the
other buildings at Ravenna, it has been filled up two or three feet, in
order to be above the water, of which the soil is full. It seems at
first sight as if the removal of the sea from Ravenna should have made
the ground drier, but a little reflection will convince us that the
contrary must be the case, as the sea continuing on the same level, the
water has farther to run before it can discharge itself, and for water
thus to drain itself through the earth, a considerable inclination is
necessary.

The Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedim, or at least the ancient part of
it, was also a baptistery. It was appropriated to the use of the Arians,
between whom and the Catholics, or rather the Athanasians, there was
nothing in common. The lower part has been modernized, but the mosaic of
the dome still remains. On this also is represented the Baptism of our
Saviour, with the right hand of the baptist on his head, as if to press
him gently into the water. This and other mosaics at Ravenna have been
published by Campini, _Vet. Monim._

The Church of San Vitale is another octagonal building which was quite
the boast of its age. It was begun by Julianus Argentarius, in
conjunction with Saint Ecclesio, who lived about 534, and consecrated by
St. Maximian, who lived in the middle of the sixth century. Eight piers
support as many arches; between the piers are semicircular recesses of
two stories, each story having two columns, between which and the
principal piers are three arches. The spaces between these columns, on
the lower part, open into the side aisles, in the upper, into a gallery.
Above the principal arches, the building becomes circular, and
terminates in a dome, which for the purpose of lightness is constructed
of empty earthen pots. I have already mentioned some instances of this
sort of work at Rome; there are other examples at Ravenna, but this is
the most perfect, and the most interesting. The pots are of two sorts:
those forming the dome are small and twisted; and beginning
horizontally, have the point of one inserted in the mouth of the
preceding, in a continued spiral. The others, which partially fill the
spandrils, are larger, twisted only at the point, and placed vertically.
The form of the lower part of the building, and consequently of the
general circuit of the edifice, appears to be irregular; and the ancient
entrance opposite the recess for the altar, having been shut up on the
erection of the annexed monastery, the present is disadvantageously
opened on one side. The building is highly, but unequally enriched with
marbles and historical mosaics; and contains some ancient bas-reliefs
and inscriptions. Several monograms are sculptured on the impost blocks,
the search after whose meaning has long been the amusement of the
antiquaries of Ravenna. Most of them however still remain without even a
probable guess at the explanation. The lower columns of the seven
semicircular recesses are of Greek marble, and very well wrought, except
two or three; all the upper ones are ill executed. We may be sure that
those which are well formed were taken from older buildings, but not
quite so certain that all the ill-made ones were formed originally for
this. The effect of this whimsical architecture is very striking. The
architect has produced a great deal of beauty quite out of all the usual
rules; not so much perhaps, as if he had employed his taste and talents
in a more correct style, but still in sufficient degree to make his work
an object deserving the study of future architects, which a handsomer
building might not have been. Singularity often merits examination, when
it by no means deserves imitation.

A little church in the shape of a cross, dedicated to Sts. Nazarus and
Celsus, forms the Sepulchre of Galla Placidia, who built it in her
lifetime. It is about 40 feet long, and 32 in the transept; the arms
being about 14 feet wide. The walls were once covered with marbles;
these have disappeared, but all the vaulting is still covered with
figures and arabesques in mosaic. On each side of the nave a plain
marble sarcophagus is incrusted in the wall; and there is a larger one,
adorned with sculpture, at each end of the transept; but the largest of
all, which stands at the head of the cross, and once contained the bones
of the empress herself, is quite plain, having been, as is supposed,
originally covered with metal. There is said to have been a small window
at the back of this chest, through which, in 1577, some children put a
lighted candle, and the clothes and body of the empress were thereby
consumed; on which account it was shut up; but I could discern no trace
of its existence.

[Illustration:

A.B. Clayton. del. from Sketches by J. Woods.

TOMB OF THEODERIC. ]

A far more curious tomb is that of Theodoric, which stands a little way
out of Ravenna. The building is decagonal below, and circular on the
upper part: the decagon of the basement is somewhat larger than the
superior edifice. Each face has a deep recess, covered with a
semicircular arch, whose stones are notched into one another. This
basement is now half buried, and the water stands in it: an oblique
flight of steps on each side of the division which faces the approach,
conducts us to the upper story. This has also ten sides externally on
the lower part, but is circular within. Each side, except that which
contains the door, has two square-headed recesses, and each recess is
placed under an arch, the support of which is not carried down to the
ground, but projects from the face of the work. In front of these
recesses and arches, tradition says that there has been a range of
columns, but I could discern no certain traces of such an ornament, and
the space to receive them, arising from the projection of the basement
beyond the upper part of the edifice, is very narrow for such a purpose.
The work looks unfinished, and I have no doubt that something more than
what at present exists was either executed or intended, but I cannot
form any probable conjecture of what it was. Immediately over these
arches there is a broad circular band, above which all the work is
circular. This band is interrupted by the vault-stones, forming a
straight arch above the door, which are very curiously notched together,
and there is nevertheless a small opening between these and the cornice
and architrave below, made in order that the latter might not be in any
danger of being broken by the settlement of the arch. The mouldings
round the doorway are small and confused. Above the circular band we
find a plain face of wall, with some small windows irregularly disposed,
and then a massive cornice, of really a very fine character, and well
adapted to a sepulchral building; and this solidity of character is well
preserved throughout the edifice, but the range of little columns, if it
ever existed, must have formed a singular contrast. The inside is a
plain circular room, with a niche opposite the door, apparently for an
altar, but the present altar is modern. The most wonderful part of the
building is the roof, of which I have purposely avoided speaking till
the last. It is a dome, the internal diameter of which is thirty,[17]
the external thirty-five and a half[18] English feet, formed entirely
out of one enormous stone; a crack now divides it into two very unequal
parts, which is attributed to a stroke of lightning; and its form and
irregularity clearly announce it to have taken place after the stone was
raised, though it may have happened during the settlement of the mass
into its new situation. On the inside, the depth of the part hollowed
out is ten feet, the whole thickness of the original stone about
fourteen feet, the thickness at the edges two feet nine inches. I will
not pledge myself for the minute accuracy of these dimensions, but none
of them can err more than two or three inches. The weight of such a
stone, even reckoning sixteen cubic feet to the ton, must considerably
exceed two hundred tons. On the outside are twelve large, perforated
projections, which doubtless served as so many handles in raising it,
and which are perhaps favourable to its general appearance. Some names
upon these have led to the notion that they supported the statues of
eight apostles and the four evangelists, but as their upper surface is
not level, this could hardly have been the case. It is perhaps more
probable that these names were given to the engines, or perhaps to the
windlasses, one to each handle, used in raising this enormous mass.
There is a little projection on the summit, which is now surmounted
merely with an iron cross; but a sarcophagus, or bath of porphyry, at
present standing in front of the palace of Theodoric, is said originally
to have occupied the situation. The stone, of which the lower parts of
the edifice are composed, is a light-coloured limestone, of a fracture
between earthy and slaty, abounding in petrifactions. The roof is
described by the earlier authors as of granite, by Beltrami and the
later ones, it is said to be of the same quality as the rest of the
building; but viewed from below, it has the appearance of a dark gray
sandstone, unlike the walls both in grain and colour.

A fragment still remains, which is known by tradition as the Palace of
Theodoric. It forms a little symmetrical façade in three parts; the
centre has an arched gateway in the lower part, and over this a large
niche, with a triple entrance at the back. The sides are recessed,
terminating above in four arches, which are supported in each on three
columns, and these rest upon as many corbels. The capitals are Gothic
imitations of the Corinthian, but in the disposition, we may trace a
similarity to the taste of Dioclesian’s palace at Spalatro.

One monastery at Ravenna has been appropriated to the purposes of a
public library and museum. The former is said to contain fifty thousand
volumes. The museum contains a few objects of natural history, a few
antiquities, a few casts for the use of the academy, and a few
paintings. If this does not sound very magnificently, you must recollect
that the establishment is young, and that Ravenna is no longer a
flourishing city. You may abuse the Italians as you please, but can you
shew me any country where, under similar circumstances of prosperity or
decay, equal public spirit has been exhibited? Ravenna contains a
memorial of how much this public spirit has frequently degenerated into
party spirit, which are more nearly allied than it is pleasant to allow,
the tomb of Dante; certainly one of the greatest, boldest, and most
original geniuses of modern days, but who, exiled by a party from his
native Florence, employed his wonderful talents in devoting to Hell and
infamy his political enemies, and placing in Paradise, or in the way
there, all his own party, however morally reprehensible.

I have led you through Ravenna without saying a word to you about the
Cathedral. This was a magnificent building, erected towards the end of
the fourth century, having double side aisles, supported on fifty-six
columns of various marbles; but all this is past, and the modern
building was raised in 1734 by the archbishop Maffeo Niccolò Farsetti,
at his own expense. These instances of individuals laying out great sums
in public buildings are much more common in Italy than anywhere else; we
could not produce one such edifice to their twenty. I am sorry the
architecture is not as praiseworthy as the act. It contains two very
beautiful frescos by Guido; the other churches are not rich in
paintings, but there are some good ones in the private galleries.

The Campanile is all that remains of the old building, or rather perhaps
it was an intermediate erection of about the eleventh century. It has
several points of resemblance with the baptistery. But it hardly
deserves a particular description.

I left Ravenna on the sixth for Rimini; the road lies through the
Pineta, a flat sandy tract near the shore, covered with stone pines
(_Pinus pinea_). The bushes, where there are any, are so low that the
eye looks over them, and the foliage of the pines never descends low
enough to unite with them. The scenery in consequence wants the variety
of a deciduous forest; yet it would afford some good studies, and as the
sea is said to make several little harbours, these would probably
present home scenes of considerable beauty. This wood extends
twenty-five miles from the river Lamon, one of the mouths of the Po, to
the city of Cervia; its greatest width is three miles. It belongs almost
entirely to the regular ecclesiastics, and produces annually about two
thousand _rubbii_ of cones (2,034 quarters) and affords a considerable
revenue.

I breakfasted, or dined, as you please, at eleven o’clock at Cesenatico,
and then continued my journey to Rimini. My guide on the way amused me
with a long story of a family of several brothers and one sister, who
haunted the Pineta as robbers; the brothers were all taken or killed,
and at last the sister was taken and _calzelata_. I puzzled my head to
think why they should give her shoes, and whether any punishment by
means of iron slippers, or something of that sort, could be in use; and
it was not till he had repeated the words several times that I found
_calzelata_ meant _carcerata_, and it seems here that the _r_ is
commonly changed into _l_; while on the other side of the Apennines, the
_l_ is frequently changed into _r_.

Rimini contains a bridge which is attributed to the time of Augustus. It
is well built, as you may imagine, since it has lasted so long, and
apparently, as to the solid mass of the work, with hardly any repairs;
but it is not handsome, nor are the ornaments and mouldings well chosen.
My driver assured me that it was erected by the Devil, St. Julian having
promised him his own soul as a reward; but the saint was the greater
knave of the two, and cheated his adversary out of the bargain. There is
also a triumphal arch, the pediment of which, like that of Drusus at
Rome, hardly extends beyond the opening. It is worth observation, that
the cornice has no corona. I have been apt to consider the suppression
of so important a member, as a proof of the decline of Roman art, but
this arch is confidently and universally attributed to Augustus, and
Fabretti even thinks he has proved that Vitruvius was the architect. Yet
the inscriptions, on which I believe the evidence for the period of its
construction principally rests, seem to me discordant fragments, not all
belonging to the situations which they now occupy. The seven middle
vault-stones are continued through the architrave, and the bull’s head
on the key-stone interrupts its line, and there are some other
peculiarities in the details, yet it would be a very handsome structure
if it were not for the silly little pediment.

The Cathedral, which was restored and altered by Leon Battista Alberti,
interested me more than any of these. The works of this artist are few,
and lie rather out of the beaten track, and they are particularly
interesting, not merely as he was practically one of the earliest
restorers of Roman architecture, but as he was the first who reduced it
into a system by his writing. The old building was of pointed
architecture, but I know not of what date, and it is so completely
covered by more recent work, that we cannot attempt to form any judgment
concerning the time of its erection, from the appearance of what remains
in sight. The front, and the one flank, which is exposed to public view,
are entirely by L. B. Alberti, and an inscription on the frieze gives us
the date of 1450. The front consists of four columns, whose order is a
compound of Doric and Ionic, neither of them well understood; and three
arches, of which the middle is the largest, and contains the doorway;
while the side ones are merely shallow recesses. These columns are set
upon a continued basement, which is unfortunately cut through by the
doorway, but in other respects the proportions are good, and suited to
the style adopted. I should say that the columns were too far apart, if
they were introduced as essential parts of the building, but Alberti has
used them as Palladio has so frequently done, as ornaments, which may
indeed contribute to the firmness of the edifice, but are not absolutely
necessary to its support; and the entablature, consistently with this
view of their office, breaks round them. The upper part is not
completed, but we learn from a medal that there were to be pilasters
over the two middle columns below, supporting an ornamented arch, with a
portion of a circular pediment on each side. It is probably better that
it has not been executed, but here also we find something of the
disposition afterwards followed more successfully by Palladio. The flank
is much better than the front, from the beautiful simplicity of its
seven equal arches, rising on insulated piers; each pier has a panel,
which though they are quite shallow, is a great defect. Above each pier
there is a circle of porphyry, surrounded by a wreath; and at a moderate
distance over these, the entablature, corresponding with that of the
front. In each arch there is a stone sarcophagus, and the whole is
elevated on a continued basement. The only fault in the composition is
the panelling of the piers. Everything else is beautiful.

On the inside, the arches of the nave are pointed, almost the only
circumstance retained of their original form. The piers are now
ornamented with architraves and Corinthian pilasters; the former of
which are cut up by a multitude of small mouldings, but each still
retains the character of an architrave. The pilasters are divided in
their heights, like towers of several stories, composed of a succession
of distinct architectural compositions. We wonder to see the effects of
so pure a taste without, combined with such puerilities within. The
materials of this church are said to have been drawn from various Roman
antiquities, and particularly from the church of St. Apollinaris at
Classe, but there is no appearance of any ancient fragments.

There are some trifling remains of a theatre or amphitheatre at Rimini.
They consist of one or two arches, principally of brickwork, but with
the introduction of a portion of stone, built up in the walls of the
town; but there is nothing visible to detain us long.

The same vetturino who had brought me from Faenza to Ravenna, and
afterwards to Rimini, conducted me the next day to Pesaro; he was a
grumbling fellow, abusing monks and priests, and the government of
priests, without measure. To say a man is a priest, according to him, is
to say that he is a scoundrel; and yet with striking inconsistency, he
pronounced that Bonaparte did nothing wrong, except turning out the
friars. Even the inclemency of the seasons, and the scarcity of the late
winter, was all attributed to the poor pope or his ministers. These
sentiments are extremely common among the lower classes in the papal
states; and if in the provincial towns, we consult the opinions of those
a little higher in station, the only difference we shall find is, that
these do not regret the suppression of monasteries, by whose almsgiving
they did not profit. A more serious charge advanced by my vetturino
against the present government is, that it has taken the burden off the
rich, and oppressed the poor with a double weight of taxes. The French
policy seems rather to have been to oppress the upper classes. I know
not whether the papal government have only restored the balance, or have
in fact overloaded the opposite scale. I wanted to know if he would like
to see the Germans in possession of this part of Italy; he did not at
all care about it, and I abused him for the want of patriotism to the
best of my ability, but he was quite insensible to my reproaches; in
fact, how can we expect that those whose hopes and fears are absorbed by
the doubt of gaining their daily bread, should have much feeling to
spare for national liberty. It is indeed wonderful to observe how
generally and strongly such feelings exist, where they are favoured by
somewhat of republican institutions; but the Romagnuolo sees himself no
part of the state; he is already the subject of a power which he
considers as foreign, and perceives very little difference in that
respect between Romans and Germans. An Englishman is always seeking in
Italy for an Italian spirit of honour and independence, but under the
circumstances which have so long oppressed this country, no such feeling
can exist in the commonalty, though it may take place in men of liberal
minds and enlarged views; the effect of reflection, and not of habit or
of passion. A man of the people may be a Genoese, or a Florentine, or a
Roman, but not an Italian.

Almost the only thing which excited my admiration at Pesaro, was a
beautiful painting by Barocci. I found there a sedia going to
Senegaglia, and agreed with the driver to take me to Ancona. The
Itinerary mentions a Roman arch at Fano, but I inquired for it in vain;
and you perhaps, equally in vain, have been expecting that I should say
something about the Rubicon, but it is uncertain which of the little
rivers which cross the road, has a right to the name, and such things
are nothing when sought out in the midst of doubts.

I slept at Senegaglia: here is one of the three great fairs of the
Mediterranean; another is at Beaucaire: I do not recollect the place of
the third. It did not seem to me equal in display to that of Beaucaire,
and as it is entirely in the town, has not the picturesque effect of the
tents and trees of the other. We reached Ancona about two o’clock, a
city whose houses rise in one heap, one high above the other, without a
tree either in it or about it. In the midst of this mass, a little
portico of a church makes a singularly agreeable contrast. I delivered
my letters, but they were between people only connected by business, and
I have never found such letters of any use in Italy, unless indeed they
contained a credit, and I wanted money: perhaps if I got into a scrape,
I might find them advantageous.

There is a celebrated arch at Ancona, in honour of Trajan, erected on
the ancient mole, which being higher and narrower than the present pier,
they form two levels, nearly of equal breadth, of which the arch crosses
only the higher, and shows an elevated basement on one side. It is of
white marble, and though perhaps rather too high, yet the proportions
are pleasing, and the appearance noble and magnificent, an effect to
which its situation greatly contributes. The mouldings are rather
confused; none of them are enriched with sculpture, except those upon
the key-stone. There are various holes remaining, which render it
probable that the figures and ornaments were of metal, but except these
holes no sign of them remains.

The Cathedral, dedicated to San Cyriaco, is a curious building, but not
by any means beautiful. It was built by Margaritone, an architect of the
thirteenth century. The roofs are so combined, that the whole rises in a
sort of tent-like form not ungracefully, and it is crowned with a dome
upon a lofty drum, the former being covered with varnished tiles of
different colours. The porch is formed by an arch supported on columns,
which again rest on figures of animals, and these are completely worked
round, so as to exhibit the false bearing of the columns, in which
probably the artist prided himself. As this porch has every appearance
of being of the date of the church, we might at least fix a period in
which these animal-propt columns were in fashion, but unfortunately we
only know of Margaritone, that he died at the age of seventy-seven, and
probably before the year 1300. I may add, that this church was not a
production of his old age. The doorway is ornamented with a series of
columns supporting arches; diminishing in width as they approach the
opening: a very common arrangement in the later Norman and early Gothic.
In this instance the arches are pointed. There is a small circular
window over the porch, and a range of simple arches, forming part of the
enrichment under the raking cornice. The inside forms a Greek cross,
except that an addition to the further tribune has taken place in modern
times, but as it has little to recommend it, I shall spare you the
description. All the arches are circular, except those of the doorway
already mentioned, and this exception does not include the porch, the
arch of which is a semicircle.

There is a curious little church or chapel at Ancona, dedicated to Santa
Maria della Piazza Collegiata. The front is covered with small
semicircular arches, each formed of one enriched moulding, and resting
on little columns, imitated from the Corinthian. All the ornaments
exhibit a good deal of Roman taste, but there is certainly nothing Roman
in the disposition. The gable, instead of being carried up to a point,
is cut off by a horizontal line. I do not know the date, but I should
attribute it to the eleventh century, or early in the twelfth.

There is little good in the civil or domestic architecture of Ancona,
nor is there much to excite the attention of the antiquary, though some
pointed arches and ornaments of the middle ages, may be observed among
the later productions.

I stayed through Monday in this city, because I could not persuade the
vetturino to depart: these gentlemen put me not a little in mind of
Fielding’s description of a stage-coachman in England, and I think it
would be very amusing to read on an Italian tour, the description of an
English journey a century ago; the points of resemblance would be very
numerous. On Tuesday morning we started, but not till seven o’clock: the
country is hilly, and the road continually ascending and descending: the
land all cultivated, and small pollard trees scattered about, are used
to support the vines. The most indulgent traveller could hardly call it
either romantic, picturesque, beautiful, rich, or pleasing; yet the
Itinerary speaks favourably of it.

Loreto is a miserable little town, with an unfinished Piazza, and a very
large church. This Piazza is of an oblong form, and was intended to have
a double range of arches on three sides, and the church on the fourth;
it would thus have formed an avenue with two stories of arcades, leading
to the church, a disposition I have already had occasion to praise: and
here, enough is done, to shew that it would have been very beautiful,
though the church itself is not praiseworthy. It is said on the spot to
have been designed by Michael Angelo, and executed by Bramante, but this
cannot be, since M. Angelo did not attend to architecture till some
years after Bramante’s death. The nave of the church internally may be
called a sort of Gothic. It has square piers, with a little shaft at
each angle; it has neither richness, lightness, nor the appearance of
solidity. Beyond the nave there is an octagonal space covered with a
dome, and there are three tribunes, forming the arms of the cross, but
even this part is not handsome. The Holy House, which is said to have
been the habitation of the Virgin, and miraculously transported by
angels to Loreto, is erected in the octagonal space. It appears to be
built of Apennine limestone, but is so polished by kisses, and blackened
by the smoke of the lamps, that it is difficult to tell what it is.
Instead of a roof, it is covered with a vault, which is confessedly
modern, the old timber-work having decayed. Externally, it is encrusted
with a coat of white marble, with Corinthian columns, and rich
ornaments; the architecture of Bramante, and good of its kind, but it is
of a kind which I do not greatly admire. Italian monumental
architecture, with some favourable exceptions, is composed of little
parts, and highly ornamented. It is more broken than that of their
larger edifices, often handsome, and with great beauty and delicacy in
the details, but without anything magnificent or impressive; hardly ever
with any character as monuments, except that as the eye becomes
accustomed to see them in this form, we obtain an habitual association;
and sentiments of death and eternity may be awakened in the mind; but
without such habits the style would rather seem accordant with scenes of
temporary gaiety. Yet in all countries, and in all ages, it has been
customary to decorate tombs highly, and even splendidly. The treasury is
a large and very handsome room, simple in its form, and not overloaded
with ornaments. The ceiling, as is usual in Italy, has a large cove,
leaving only a small flat space in the middle; and in these large and
lofty rooms, the arrangement produces a magnificent effect. It was
pillaged of course in the late revolutions, but they have again
collected a few good paintings, and some elegant gold cups, and other
things of that sort, enriched with pearls and precious stones; the gifts
of the kings and queens of modern times.

Attached to the religious institutions of Italy, there is frequently an
apothecary’s shop; and I believe generally speaking, these are the
places where the best drugs are sold. The Spezieria at Loreto, is not
however, so famous for its drugs, as for its jars of earthenware. They
are said to have been executed from designs by Raphael, but we do not
find in them any trace of his excellences, or of his peculiarities of
manner.

After seeing the lions of Loreto, and walking a little about the town, I
returned to the Piazza. A large concourse of people was assembled,
listening to a preacher, who was delivering his exhortations from a
temporary scaffold erected for that purpose. You know that in the
Catholic church, preaching is not considered as part of the duty of the
parish priest, but devolves on persons who devote themselves more
particularly to that object. Sometimes there is only one preacher, and
the sermon is given, as with us, after the service, but it is generally
a pretty long one; at other times one preacher succeeds another, and the
stream of instruction flows uninterruptedly for many hours. A chair was
provided for the orator on the present occasion, but he made little use
of it, walking for the most part backwards and forwards on the platform.
This space certainly gives room for more varied and graceful action than
the confinement in a tub, or in a pulpit like a tub. A man talking
earnestly with his friends will naturally at times advance or recede a
step or two, but he rarely thumps either a cushion or a table. I joined
the crowd, and found that the preacher’s subject was the abuse of
confession. He was endeavouring to impress on his audience the necessity
of sincere, heartfelt repentance; and of perfect candour, and openness
on the part of the penitent; otherwise, he assured us that the
confession, in spite of any penance we might perform, and of any
absolution we might receive, was merely to be added to the list of our
crimes, and made the subject of deeper penitence, and more honest
confession. Not content with generals he descended to particulars, and
described with great spirit and animation, the shifts of the sinner to
avoid too great an exposure of his fault, and yet to obtain, as he
erroneously imagined, the benefits of confession and absolution. “Oh do
not go to such a one,” says one young man to another, “he is a terrible
bore, and asks questions without end; go to another,” and he mentions
some confessor who has the reputation of a more easy disposition: “and
mind, go to his left side, not to his right.” “But why?” demands his
companion. “Oh because he is deaf on the left side, and will not hear
half of what you say. But do not go yet, never go till about noon.” “Why
so?” again demands the other, “because,” continues his more cunning
adviser, “they always get tired, and perhaps hungry about that time, and
wanting to get away, are not half so particular.” He gave us a great
deal more of these representations, with the excuses of people of
different sexes and situations, and all with a great deal of spirit and
humour. It had, to be sure, something of the effect of a comedy, and
made every body laugh, and yet I think it would be remembered. My
companions settled that he was _troppo buffo_, but on talking farther
with them, it seemed to me that they condemned him, because they felt
the sting. After some hymns had been sung, another preacher followed,
with a large crucifix planted by him, to which however he did not
address himself, as is frequently done in Italy. He preached very well,
and gave us a very good sermon, rather commonplace perhaps, about mortal
sins; and by keeping quite in generals, gave every body an opportunity
of admiring him, because nobody applied it to himself. My travelling
companions wondered how I could doubt about the holy house, as so many
miracles had been wrought by it, particularly a well-authenticated story
of a man who had stolen a candlestick, but having sat down with it on
the road, could not get up again. I suggested that these miracles only
took place against petty robbers, and that when the whole was plundered
on a late occasion, the Virgin or her image was quiet. One of the party
seemed very much surprised at the difficulty I made about miracles:
“Why,” says he, “all history is full of miracles.” He began to cite a
number from Livy; and I found that he believed them, just as firmly as
those of his own church. These Italians are brought up among miracles;
their mind, or their fancy, is filled with them from their childhood,
and they would sooner reject all the moral and doctrinal truths of the
Christian religion, than give up their belief in the miraculous
interposition of our Lady of the seven sorrows, or of St. Antony of
Padua. Nor is this much to be wondered at; the gospel is taken for
granted, but the particular merits of a favourite saint require full
exposition, and frequent repetition; the priest dwells on these, and the
multitude forgets that there is anything of more importance. In England,
instead of contending who has the greatest and most miracle-working
saint, we split upon doctrinal points, and sects are formed, but the
process is very similar. The attention is directed to peculiar and
disputable doctrines, generally of little importance, and the great
truths in which nearly all Christians are agreed, are thrown into the
back ground. One would think that persons who could appeal with
confidence to inspired books, would carefully distinguish the doctrines
explicitly laid down in them, from those which are only deduced from
them by the application of human reason, which, however clear it may
appear, is, as we know from experience, abundantly subject to error; but
this is not the case, and in every sect or division of the Christian
world, it is to the strenuous advocate of disputed or disputable
opinions, that the praise of faith is applied.

In the morning of the 13th we left Loreto, and proceeded to Macerata.
The country is hilly, and all of it cultivated, much like that of the
day before, and the trees, though numerous, are of so little
consequence, that the general appearance is rather that of nakedness.
The road lay along the bottom, and exposed here and there a shelly
sandstone, which appeared to me of a very recent formation. I was told
of coal existing not far from Macerata, but pyritous, and in small
quantity; but my informant, an inhabitant of Macerata, assured me that
it was found of good quality, and in considerable beds, in the hills
further to the west.

Just before arriving at Macerata, we pass the remains of a theatre of
considerable size, and of some other adjoining buildings; but as nothing
now exists but vaults and foundations, we cannot determine precisely
what the edifices may have been.

I walked into some of the churches at Macerata, one of which, of an
elliptical form, I thought handsome, and it is adorned with paintings of
considerable merit, but our stay was short.

The approach to, and entrance amongst the mountains about Tolentino, is
very beautiful. It is not Alpine, but high, wooded hills of varied
forms, with a bright stream at the bottom, by which the road afterwards
runs, constitute the charm. As we proceed, the hills become more naked
and lumpy in their forms, instead of bolder and more romantic, as I had
expected. We slept at a little village called Val Cimara, at an inn
where supper and bed were announced on the sign, for 35 bajocs, and in
the following morning continued our route to Serra Valle. The vetturino
system, as I have I believe, told you before, is to make two long stages
per diem, stopping a considerable time at noon, for refreshment to the
horses, and the company. In winter about two hours is allowed for this,
or sometimes three; but in summer they take four or five, that they may
avoid travelling in the hottest part of the day. I walked on from Serra
Valle, which is a pleasant pass among the mountains, in hopes of finding
some fine scenery, thus in the heart of the Apennines; but I was sadly
disappointed; they are here only naked, rounded hills, not very high,
and the road is entirely open, and exposed to a burning sun. There is
plenty of opportunity for walking, in travelling with a vetturino, as we
go only about three and a half, or four English miles per hour, but it
is only by making use of the stopping-time that we can have the
opportunity of observing the country or its productions, or of sketching
the scenery. I passed through a large basin hollow, which seemed to have
no outlet low enough to drain it, and its flat bottom gave it much the
appearance of having been a lake. A little further, another hollow
occurs, of smaller size, not so completely surrounded, and with a marsh
at the bottom, but even here there appeared to be no regular discharge
for the water. When we began to descend, the scenery improved, and
afterwards, on opening on to the flat country about Foligno, became very
beautiful; so that I had walked over decidedly the most uninteresting
part of the passage. I slept at Foligno, and on awaking the next
morning, was surprised to find it broad daylight, and no signs of
departure; I went down into the stable, and soon learned that my
vetturino had made up his mind to stay there all day. The morning was
spent in quarrelling with him, and with the master of the inn, who was
also owner of the carriage and horses, for not performing their bargain.
We had never had our full complement, and the passengers had been
dropping off on the road; in consequence the driver wanted to wait at
every place we came to, in hopes of obtaining passengers; promising to
proceed and not performing; and my journey was a very unpleasant one.

I left Foligno at last at three o’clock in the afternoon, with only one
companion, and we slept at Spoleto; the next morning we set off before
four, and arrived early at Terni, where the driver chose to stop, though
had he really been in earnest, as he pretended to be, about getting to
Rome, he ought to have proceeded to Narni. However, since this was the
case, I determined to make another visit to the cascade, and on
returning found the vetturino waiting for me, not to set off, though the
time fixed for our departure was already past, but to tell me that it
would kill his horses to go on in the heat of the day, and to propose
that I should proceed in a caratella, which would travel post all night,
and get to Rome by the time he had promised me. I do not know when I
have felt so much out of humour, for he had certainly determined from
the first not to proceed, though he had promised to continue his journey
at one o’clock; and if he had told me so on our arrival, although I
wished to get to Rome as soon as I could, yet a few more hours might
have been passed delightfully about the waterfall. He had brought me
back from a place I was reluctant to leave, to one where I had no object
to pursue, and this, only to deceive me. However, after a little
scolding, I went to look at the caratella; it was a sociable, with a
fixed head; the two back seats were comfortable enough, but they were
occupied, and I should have been placed with my back to the horses, on a
very confined and uncomfortable seat, and without any support for my
head. I therefore refused this conveyance, and he then offered me a
little thing with one horse, and after some time, on a promise to be at
Rome at one hour of the night (half-past eight), I agreed. My companion
afterwards told me that he did not like it, and that he had made signs
to me to refuse. I asked him why he did not speak, to which he replied,
“_Sarebbe cosa di farmi amazzare_,” just as if the comfort of the
journey were not as much his affair as mine. In fact we got on very
badly, as the horse was, according to the driver’s phrase, _lunatico_,
that is, subject to fits of obstinacy, and withal exceedingly dull. We
had about three hours sleep at Otricoli. At La Storta, the last post
from Rome, where we stopt to refresh the horse, I desired a room in
which I might wash myself a little, before eating; they showed me into
one which opened from the saloon, and leaving my jacket there for a few
minutes, while I was in the saloon, I was robbed of two gold Napoleons:
I thought no one could have entered the chamber without my seeing them,
but I afterwards observed another door, which appeared to be fastened,
and which the chambermaid assured me was walled up. I insisted on having
the door opened that I might see the wall, or else that I should be
conducted into the apartment with which it had formerly communicated.
The landlady poured forth all sorts of abuse for my unjust suspicions,
and impertinent curiosity; it was her bed-room, and what business had I
to spy into all her secrets: but after a hard and long contest, I
obtained my point, and found an unoccupied chamber; and instead of a
wall, there was only a slight bolt, which I drew back with ease and
without noise, and opened the door. As soon as I arrived at Rome, I made
a written report of all these circumstances to the police, with a plan,
to show the disposition of the rooms, and recovered the money without
any reduction.

The summer amusements at Rome are not very captivating, there is a bad
theatre about three times per week, where the entrance to the pit is six
bajocs (3¼_d._). _Marionette_, entrance to the pit, one bajoc, to the
boxes, two: then there is the Giuoco di Pallone, the looking at which
may entertain one occasionally for a little time. There is now an
advertisement posted up in the streets, addressed to the learned people
of Rome, and offering them for two bajocs a spectacle both pleasing and
instructive, in various physical machines, exhibiting in their proper
colours the sacred history. Then on Sundays, and sometimes also on
Saturdays, is a bull-fight in the Mausoleum of Augustus; and afterwards
music and fireworks in the same place. I went to see one of these
bull-fights, and found it less cruel than I expected. The chief part of
it consisted in letting out a bull, or a cow, or a buffalo, into the
arena, where about half a dozen men with red flags stood ready for it;
the animal ran at the flag, and the man slipt on one side, and then kept
provoking it to renewed attacks, very much like a parcel of boys
exposing themselves to be caught at play by one of their companions, and
not with much more danger. When the animal is tired, they drive him back
into his stable and take another. Two or three were worried with dogs,
and in this the sentiment excited was merely that of cruelty; but the
mischief, on the day when I was there, was not great. The animals seemed
all willing to be quiet, and all the excitement that could be given,
only roused them to temporary acts of offence. In the middle of the
arena there was a figure suspended to a rope, which the bull hardly ever
condescended to notice; and a little figure bobbed up and down, from a
hole in the ground, and disappeared whenever the animal ran at it. The
last part of the exhibition consisted in an attempt to pluck off a small
plate, or medal, tied on to the forehead of one of the most savage
animals, and here certainly was a great display of address, activity,
and perseverance. I have more sympathy with these qualities in men than
in dogs, but I do not feel any wish to repeat the visit.

I wish I could transplant you for five minutes into the great
coffee-house here, at about seven o’clock on a Sunday evening. It is
frequented by ladies of all ranks as well as by gentlemen, the rich take
their servants; there must, I think, sometimes be two thousand people
eating ices, and the waiters and servants bustling about, and making as
much noise as possible. The principal room is about seventy feet long,
and there are four others filled with company, and beyond these a suite
of billiard rooms, and generally in one of them, people playing a game
like bowls, on the billiard table. These rooms occupy the whole extent
of the Palazzo Ruspoli, extending, I suppose, two hundred and fifty feet
along the Corso. Behind, there is a garden, about one hundred and twenty
feet square, (all these dimensions are guesses) shaded with orange trees
and oleanders, and also full of company.



                              LETTER XLI.

                               ACADEMIES.


                                                   _Rome, August, 1817._

IT is reported here, that the Pope has offered a palace to the Prince
Regent for the purpose of receiving an English academy. The French, you
know, have an excellent establishment here on a large scale, occupying
the house of the Villa Medici. They have dwelling-rooms for the
students, and workshops for such as require them; a suite of apartments
for the director; a common dining-room; a handsome suite for the public
exhibitions; and a fine gallery of casts. An English establishment might
be formed on a much less expensive plan. It would not be necessary, or
even desirable, to maintain the students; but if it were in
contemplation to provide any further assistance of that sort, beyond
what is now done by the Royal Academy, it would be better to supply it
from a perfectly distinct fund. The most essential requisite is a point
of union, and the facility of reference, which would be obtained by a
library, and a collection of casts; and two or three thousand pounds at
first, and ten or twelve hundred per annum afterward, would be amply
sufficient for every useful purpose. An institution on a much more
moderate scale than even the one above mentioned, and such as would be
within the reach of many English gentlemen, would be a very great
advantage, and the patron would immortalize himself by it. A library is
the most important object, and the necessary attendance on it, the most
expensive one; but by properly availing oneself of the assistance of the
students, that might be much diminished. We must in this case give up
any idea of a librarian who should be capable of directing their
studies. His duty would be merely to take care of the books, and there
are many very competent persons in Rome who could execute this office,
and attend at stated times for very little remuneration; not perhaps
English, but Germans or Italians; and in this way a sum of five hundred
pounds for the commencement, and from two to three hundred per annum,
would accomplish the most important objects. New books are of more
consequence than old, both because the student ought to be pretty well
acquainted with the latter before he visits Italy; and because they are
to be found in the Roman libraries, where a new book seldom enters.
Books of established merit are the next things to be procured; then
architectural casts; the productions of sculpture are so much more
accessible, and conveniently situated for the student, than those of
architecture, that casts of the latter are of prior importance. But
though the students in sculpture will prefer copying the originals,
casts of the finest statues must not be neglected, with the opportunity
of displaying them in different positions, and under different lights.

                      ----------------------------

                                                                   1826.

In the winter of 1821 the English artists who resided at Rome
established an evening academy for the purpose of studying from the
living model, defraying the expenses by occasional subscriptions among
themselves. The advantages of such an institution were felt and valued,
and the interest with which the artists regarded their infant academy,
was communicated to many of their countrymen. Subscriptions were raised,
and the Royal Academy gave both their sanction and assistance. The
object of the institution was not merely to provide accommodation for
the students who happened to be at Rome at the time of its formation,
but to found a permanent school for the benefit of British artists,
where they might pursue their studies unimpeded by the inconveniences
attending crowded schools, and without being indebted to the liberality
of foreign institutions. It was therefore resolved to defray the current
expenses, as nearly as possible, from the interest of the money
subscribed, and this now amounts to 331 scudi per annum, which is
sufficient to cover the expenses, on the present very small scale. But
in its actual state, though highly useful, it must still be acknowledged
to be very insufficient. It possesses one cast, that of the Apollo; a
few books, but no library, nor indeed any room in which either that, or
a collection of casts, could be placed. The rent of a suitable range of
apartments would alone swallow up twice the whole income of the academy.
However, as additional subscriptions are obtained every year, the fund
continues slowly to increase, and I trust will continue to do so till
the whole is placed in a state worthy of the English nation. It is
peculiarly a national concern, for the artist who has exerted himself
the most for its prosperity, leaves Rome in a year or two, and reaps no
other advantage from his labours, than the reflection of having
contributed something to the common good.

                      ----------------------------

                                                                   1817.

The Roman Academy occupies an extensive building,[19] and seems in
general to be well regulated; there are four professors; of ornamental
architecture; of perspective; of the theory of architecture; and of the
practice; and I believe each professor gives a lesson or a lecture twice
a week. Among the students, the first year is supposed to be employed in
elementary architecture; the second in copying plans, elevations,
sections, and other architectural drawings; and the four following in
the theory and practice of architecture. As at Paris, a programma, or
subject for design, is given out about once a month, which the students
study at home, and bring their labours to the professor for his
criticisms and corrections; and once a year a more elaborate production
is required, and a silver medal given to each of those, who execute
their task with care and ability.

The standard work on the orders, in the Roman, and I believe, in all the
academies of France and Italy, is that of Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola,
which perhaps is hardly so good in that respect as the publication of
Sir William Chambers; but there is no writer who has accomplished a
greater revolution in architecture in Italy, than Milizia, and his
influence is felt everywhere, though we hardly know his name in England.
He has written his own life, and as it is very short, and very
characteristic, I will give it to you.

“Every body ought to write the history of his own life, in order to
incite himself continually to mend it, and in order to furnish to
posterity something of the present time which may be depended on. On
this account, I who have written so many lives, now write a sketch of my
own. I was born at Oria, a little town in the Terra di Otranto, in the
kingdom of Naples, in 1725. I was the only son of the richest, and
noblest family of the hamlet. At nine years old I was taken to Padua,
where an uncle of mine, who had been driven from home by some youthful
errors, exercised the profession of medicine. There I studied the belles
lettres to very little purpose, and after seven years, ran away from
Padua, on account of some reproofs received from my uncle, and wandered
to Bobbio, near Piacenza, whence I wrote to my parents; and after going
to Pavia and Milan, I came to Rome, where my father met me. He conducted
me to Naples, and left me to continue my studies at that capital. I
studied a little of logic and metaphysics under the celebrated Abate
Genovese, and natural philosophy and geometry under Padre Orlandi, a
Celestine monk. But I ran away also from Naples, prompted by a desire to
see the world, and especially France, but was obliged to turn back again
from Leghorn for want of money. I then returned home to Oria, where,
after a long continuance of an idle and heedless life, I retired into a
country house to study the sciences. At last, at the age of twenty-five,
I married a lady of Gallipoli, of a good family and an agreeable
disposition; and there I fixed myself, with some application to books,
but more to pleasure.

“Having obtained a more comfortable provision from my father, I came
with my wife to Rome, and after remaining there a year and a half,
returned to Gallipoli for another year, and then fixed myself at Rome.
Here I have continued to study, and took a fancy to architecture without
being able to draw. Enamoured of this art, which I think the most
beautiful, and most useful of all, I wrote the _Lives of the most
celebrated Architects_, which was well received by the public, though
the criticisms were severe and the style unpolished.

“After this I translated the article, _Bleeding_, from the Encyclopædia,
and gave a trimming to the physicians and to medicine. Afterwards, I
compiled the _Elements of pure Mathematics, according to the Abbé de la
Caille_, for my own improvement, and it was printed at Rome at the
instance of some of my friends. I then wrote other works, and shall
continue writing as long as I live. A treatise on the stage was much
controverted at Rome. When I conceived that I had made some progress in
my architectural studies, I wrote with a degree of _bravura_, the
_Elements of Civil Architecture_, which has been reprinted many times.
My _Art of seeing in the Fine Arts_ is a little book which made some
noise in the world, and particularly displeased the stupid adorers of
Buonarroti. In compliance afterwards with the wishes of a distinguished
friend (Cav. Zulian, ambassador of the republic of Venice at Rome), I
undertook to write a work to point out the beauties and deformities of
ancient and modern Rome; and I published the first part with the title
of _Roma delle belle Arti del Disegno_; but the persecution of ignorant
professors rendered it necessary to suspend the second and third. After
this work I attached myself to natural history, and wrote a great deal
on plants and animals, without printing anything, except the translation
of Bowles’s _Introduction to the Natural History and Physical Geography
of Spain_, which was published at Parma. After this, Bailly’s _History
of Ancient and Modern Astronomy_ came into my hands, and I made an
abridgment of it in one volume in octavo. The Encyclopædia Methodica
furnished me with the means of making a _Pocket Dictionary of the Fine
Arts_, published in two volumes. The article, _Engraving_, in this
dictionary, was also printed separately, with some additions. In
compliance with the wish of my illustrious friend the Cav. D. Nicola de
Azara, I exerted myself considerably in the compilation of the works of
Mengs. I have now completed a Dictionary of Domestic Medicine, on the
plan of that of W. Buchan, a Scotch physician, which, if printed, will
make two volumes in octavo, and will be intelligible to everybody.
Another little work on political economy is now in the press; a subject
to which I have attached myself, in spite of the unsuitable
circumstances of the present times.” Milizia died in March, 1798, of an
inflammation in the lungs.

From this rambling compiler, whose attention was directed sometimes one
way, and sometimes another, you will perhaps expect nothing but an echo
of the opinions of others in a form somewhat different. I know nothing
of his other works, but in architecture he is remarkable for the
boldness of his original speculations. He seems to have been a man of a
powerful understanding, not very patient of labour; confident in
himself; not taking up opinions on the faith of another; and never
hesitating to expose, and to defend his own. Architecture exactly wanted
such a writer. It was in a languid state in Italy, vibrating like
politics and religion, between a slavish adherence to rules not
understood, and entire license. He who had liberated himself from these
arbitrary shackles, considered himself free from all restraint, and
never thought of being reasonable, either in his submission or
rebellion. Milizia applies reason to every thing, and his fault is in
being too reasonable, that is, in endeavouring to found upon reason,
certain practices which are only conventional, and which we follow
because experience has shewn that they please, without our being able to
assign the cause of this pleasure. He writes with spirit, and frequently
with a severe sarcastic wit which will insure his being read; and he
possesses a singularly happy and forcible mode of expression, to which
the Italian language in his hands, seems wonderfully suited: had he
written in one of our northern languages, he would have been frequently
forced and harsh, and it would be difficult to translate him, and
preserve any portion of his spirit, without falling into this defect.
Though strongly vindicating his own freedom, he is much inclined to lay
down arbitrary rules for others, and even to applaud a despotic exertion
of the authority of government in matters of taste; not considering that
the true use of rules is to guide, not to govern us; that they are
merely the direction posts which mark the road pursued by some of those
who have advanced farthest towards the conception of perfect beauty.
Other, and even better roads, may possibly exist, but it does not show
good sense to be ignorant of what has been proved good, or to desert the
known track without well understanding what it is, and what direction it
takes, as well as the nature of the country we have to pass over.

I shall proceed to give you some notion of the individual works of this
author, taking them in the order in which he mentions them, which is
that of their production. The _Memorie degli Architetti_ is preceded by
a general view of the principles of the art. He contends that
architecture is an imitative art, and he makes its claim to be
considered as one of the fine arts, to consist in this imitation. In
this he is evidently wrong, as the claim of this, or any other, to a
place among the fine arts, depends on its power of exciting mental
emotion. He then proceeds to give what he considers as fixed and
unalterable rules, which, as they are here given in a condensed form,
and are the same which he insists upon in his later works, I shall
translate.

“Architecture, like every other fine art, is subject to the following
general rules.

1. “In all its productions, we should find an agreeable correspondence
of the parts with the whole. This is known by the name of _symmetry_.

2. “It ought to have variety, lest the spectator’s attention should be
wearied; and _unity_, which is opposed to confusion and disorder. This
is comprehended in the term _eurithmia_.

3. “Convenience, or suitableness, is also a necessary quality. This
consists in a just application of symmetry and eurithmia, and of that
relation which ought to subsist between an edifice, and the purpose to
which it is applied; between the details of ornament, and the general
appearance of the building, chusing the most appropriate, and the style
which accords best with the magnificence or simplicity of the structure.

4. “If architecture be the daughter of necessity, every beauty which it
possesses ought to connect itself with that necessity, and to appear
made for some useful purpose. In every art which administers to
pleasure, the artifice ought not to be discovered; every thing done for
mere ornament is a defect.

5. “The principal ornaments of architecture are its orders, which in
fact are rather to be considered as the skeleton, and most essential
part of the edifice, than as mere ornament. We might therefore define
the orders, _necessary ornaments arising from the nature of the
edifice_. All the other decorations of architecture are subject to the
same law.

6. “Consequently, in architecture the decoration is the result of the
construction. Nothing is ever to be seen in a fabric, that has not its
appropriate use, and is not an essential part of the structure: the
office that it indicates, it ought to perform.

7. “Consequently, nothing is admissible for which a good reason cannot
be rendered.

8. “These reasons are to be deduced from the origin and analysis of that
primitive natural architecture, the hut; from whence has arisen the
beautiful imitative art of civil architecture. This is the pole-star of
the artist in his works, and of the intelligent observer in examining
them. Everything should rest upon truth and verisimilitude. What could
not really exist, cannot be approved, although evidently a matter of
mere show.

9. “Examples and authority, however they may be appealed to, will never
influence him who wishes to be reasonable.

“These principles are constant, positive, general; because they depend
on the nature of the thing itself; and on good sense. Taken together,
they constitute the true and essential beauty of architecture; if they
are kept out of view, adieu architecture. It is no more a science or an
art, but is changed into mere fashion, caprice, or delirium.”

You see there are some things in these first principles which might be
criticised, or at least, which require explanation; there is much more
of a disputable nature in the details, but all is laid down in the same
authoritative manner. Other rules are to be despised; his are to be
obeyed; and he seems to think, that if the rules are good, the artist
has only to follow them in order to produce the highest degree of
beauty; a theory, you know, totally opposite to mine, who hold, that in
all the fine arts, rules can do comparatively little to produce beauty;
the expression of Mind is the great essential; and if the mind itself
contain it not, no rules, no labour, can ever make good the deficiency.

The work itself consists of a chronological account of architects, a
mode of compilation in which the Italians are very rich, and where the
names of Tiraboschi, Lanzi, and Milizia, will always be mentioned with
praise. In the earlier parts there are perhaps many things on very
slight authority, but the author seems always to have sought carefully,
the best within his reach. The criticisms are more severe, where he had
the opportunity of judging for himself, than where he adopts them from
others; but he is always animated, and ready to admire what is
excellent, as well as to ridicule what is defective. It is gratifying to
an architect to observe, that almost all the great men in that
profession were long lived, and of a good moral character.

The _Principii di Architettura Civile_, in three octavo volumes,
contains the same view of the subject, carried out into all its
bearings, as that sketched in the preface to the _Memorie degli
Architetti_. In spite of the apparently limited nature of the subject,
he has made great part of his book interesting, and even amusing. Like
Vitruvius, he is fond of introducing a little natural history, and he is
hardly more correct, or more to the purpose than his Latin original. I
have sometimes had thoughts of translating both this and the preceding,
but I must be permitted to leave out some of these accessories.

Of the _Arte di Vedere_, I have already made mention on two or three
occasions. Milizia had probably been disgusted by the extravagant
praises so lavishly bestowed on Michael Angelo, and echoed from one
writer to another; and in this book he sees nothing but his defects. No
wonder then, that it offended the “stupid adorers of Buonarroti,” and
the sensible ones too. On this, and several other occasions, Milizia
gives to Mengs a degree of praise which the present age disclaims. In
the _Roma delle belle Arti_, praise and blame are more mixed. The
offence seems to have been taken from the force and spirit of the
remarks, rather than their direction; he may sometimes exaggerate, but
he rarely blames on grounds either insufficient or mistaken. The
_Dictionary_ is by no means a mere compilation; Milizia could not write
without criticising, and no man was less disposed to adopt implicitly
the observations and sentiments of another. He has in these works
frequently repeated himself, but they all contain much original matter.

It seems ridiculous to compare the advantages which an English student
in architecture may derive from our academy, with those offered at Paris
or Rome, but the spirit and energy of individuals makes up what is
wanting in public instruction. A most important part of an architect’s
education, is that which he receives abroad, but perhaps a little more
assistance at home might enable him to employ his time to greater
advantage. It is impossible to give any precise rules, because the best
possible line of conduct will vary with the talents, the acquirements,
and disposition of the individual; some observations however may be made
which will apply to all.

A certain portion of knowledge ought to be attained at home, and
therefore my first undertaking will be to point out what ought to be
learned, previous to any attempt at improvement by travelling. A task
the more necessary, because there is, as far as I know, no instruction
now usually given, either public or private, by which it is indicated.
The student in architecture has to consider four objects, which have no
natural connexion with each other, but which nevertheless must be united
in the erection of every edifice, _beauty_, _solidity_, _convenience_,
and _economy_. Our exclusion for many years from the continent, no less
perhaps than a somewhat severe, and rigid spirit, which requires in
every thing utility, and almost limits that utility to bodily
accommodation, has inclined us to neglect the study of the beautiful.
Other reasons might be added, and in particular the notion very
prevalent among the students themselves, that the conception of beauty,
and the capacity of producing it, are gifts of nature, not the fruit of
application; “Poeta nascitur, non fit,” they apply to artists as well as
to poets, and support their opinion by the very remarkable fact, that
the great men in every country have been formed independently of
academies, and that after such establishments are formed, great men
cease. There is undoubtedly some truth in this, and it would be very
desirable that some one capable of the task would undertake to explain
the reason of the deficiency; but when it is applied as a reason against
study, it is, as far as regards architecture, completely false. Because
supposing even that the highest beauties should present themselves
unsought to the man of genius, yet, whatever talent he might have, it
would require great study to be able to comprehend the relation between
the object to be produced, and the drawings and descriptions by which it
is to be explained to others. Nor is it at all true that the most
celebrated architects have wanted the means of instruction. Palladio,
and all the others who have highly distinguished themselves, have
enriched their fancy, and purified their taste, by studying the ancient
monuments of Rome. Michael Angelo in his old age was found by Cardinal
Farnese at the Coliseum, when the ground was covered with snow, and
replied to the inquiries of the cardinal, that he was there to study
architecture.

According to the usual practice of our architects, a lad, after he has
left school, where he has learned to read and write, arithmetic, a
little geometry, and perhaps a very little drawing, together with some
other things not applicable to architecture, is placed in an architect’s
office, where his first employments are probably, to copy particulars of
work, without understanding them, and to square dimensions from nine in
the morning till seven or eight in the evening. After this, if he is
studiously inclined, he may perhaps go to the academy at Somerset House,
where in the course of a year, he may hear six lectures on architecture,
provided that is, that the professor is neither sick, nor idle, nor too
busy to give them; or he will employ himself at home in making designs,
without at all knowing what are the requisites for any mode of design
whatever. When thus, as it were almost in spite of his master, he has
learned to draw a little, he may be employed in copying plans, and
afterwards elevations and sections, or in measuring the works erected by
his superior, not to make himself master of their beauties, but in order
to furnish the materials for estimating their value. Perhaps the
difficulty of improving himself under these disadvantages may give a
stimulus to his exertions; and he does not come out of the office so
ignorant as might be expected. Nor indeed, although his professed
instructor will not teach, will he refuse him an opportunity of
occasionally frequenting private schools of drawing and perspective, or
of attending sometimes at the library of the Academy, or in the
model-room. He may also perhaps have exercised himself in measuring and
drawing the subjects proposed for annual premiums, but with all this it
is impossible that he should be prepared to travel with advantage.

I would not recommend every one to travel. Those who prosecute
architecture merely as a means of obtaining money, without any pleasure
in any part of it, without any desire of fame, or any generous
admiration of excellence, had much better stay at home. They may rest
confidently assured that travelling will never _pay_. It would indeed be
better that such should not addict themselves to architecture in the
first instance, or to any of the fine arts; the same exertion of talents
and industry would assuredly have been more profitably employed in
another direction. The pleasure arising from the occupation itself, the
respectability attending its honourable exercise, the hope of future
reputation and fame, will entice in this direction a greater number of
young men than would otherwise fall to its share; and these things are
always to be considered as part of payment. Yet this, though true in all
countries, is probably less so in England, than anywhere else, because
we almost measure a man’s merit by the money he gets, or at least by
that which he is able to spend; and therefore without travelling, and
without any intimate knowledge of his profession, a young man need not
despair of making his way. And especially, if he join agreeable manners
to attention to business, he will find employers, who will care even
less than he can do, for science and art; and he may perhaps in time be
on the Board of Works. Our ministers will rarely take the trouble to
appreciate any superior acquirements in architecture; witness the mode
in which various public bodies have furnished themselves with
architects; witness the report on the postoffice, where it was stated,
if I recollect right, that as much ornament was not required, it
mattered little whom they employed as architect. As if such an edifice,
because it did not pretend to be magnificent, were to be entirely devoid
of character; as if good proportions, and a graceful distribution of the
different parts, did not form a most essential part of the study of the
architect; and were not even more rare, and more important
qualifications, than the employment of ornament; and as if convenience,
solidity, and economy, were not more securely obtained under the
direction of a skilful artist.

Notwithstanding these absurdities, he who has nobler views need not
despair. We have many gentlemen in England, who join to a cultivated
mind and correct taste, a very extensive knowledge of architecture; and
sooner or later, merit will find its true place in the public esteem,
which follows where such men lead the way. Leaving therefore the
ignorant and grovelling, to be protected by those who resemble them, I
shall proceed to consider what ought to be known, and what done by him
who travels to improve himself.

In the first place, I require of him that he should be able to read
French and Italian with tolerable facility, and that he should speak
them both a little. He ought to understand well the orders of
architecture, so as to be able to sketch any one correctly without
reference to his books, and to be acquainted with their varieties in the
principal published examples. He must have been accustomed to draw, from
casts or from the stone, the usual architectural ornaments, and
particularly the Corinthian capital; making of them plans, elevations,
sections, and views: every thing necessary in order completely to
understand them himself, and to enable him to explain them to others. I
say nothing of his ability to take the general plans, &c. of buildings,
because I consider it as a matter of course. He should be capable of
representing these ornaments justly, not only on flat, but also on
curved surfaces, as for instance, on a vault or a dome; and this not
only geometrically, but also in perspective, and he must understand
exactly the forms assumed in perspective by the different curves of the
Doric capital, and of the Attic base, and the effect of light and shade
upon them: a subject perhaps, in spite of its extreme simplicity, more
difficult to manage than the Corinthian capital. All these seem to be
absolutely necessary to facilitate the correct understanding and
delineation of the objects he may meet with on his journey; and their
effects, both as single objects, and in combination with other parts and
accompaniments. Let me add, that if he had at least attempted to model
some of them, it would be a great advantage to him, as this act requires
a still more precise acquaintance with form, than even the correct
drawing. He should also be able to sketch landscapes and figures; not as
a professed painter or sculptor, but enough to explain the effect both
of situation, and of the addition of statues and bas-reliefs; and to
form at least a scale to his drawings, by the introduction of living
objects.

This power of sketching is considered by some architects as a luxury of
the art, rather than as essential to the perfection of the artist; but
it appears to me of the greatest importance. The geometrical designs,
the measures both of the parts, and of the whole, he may obtain from
books; what he is particularly to study is the relation between these,
and the effect produced on his mind by the use of these measures; his
sketches are records of his own feelings, and therefore engravings would
not supply their place; even if we had good views, which is notoriously
not the case, of most of the admired buildings of Europe; nor is it
enough to consider a design merely from one point of view; it should be
examined from many points, and compared, mentally at least, with the
geometrical drawing. It is exactly that relation of cause and effect
which is the proper object of his study. As for figures, if he is making
drawings on a large scale, it will be better to apply to an artist, but
he cannot always do this, and ought to be able to supply them tolerably
well of himself. I do not in either case require that he should be a
finished artist, but merely that he should be able to express himself in
this language with intelligence and feeling. Some of these acquirements
are perhaps better attained in Paris than in London; and in consequence,
some of our artists, before travelling into Italy, have put themselves
for a year under the direction of a French architect, and frequented the
academy. The plan is a good one on many accounts, although perhaps many
parents might tremble, at leaving a young man, at an age when the
passions are strong, and reason weak, exposed without any shelter, to
the temptations of Paris. The propriety of this will depend very much on
the character and circumstances of the student, nor can I pretend to
give any advice on the subject. In point of architecture, every nation
has a manner of its own. Some peculiar defects would probably be avoided
by free intercourse with the artists of other countries, and the
instructions at the French academy are very good.

So much for the beautiful in architecture: in construction there is less
to be learned in travelling, but the student must not be ignorant of it.
He should know the elements of geometry and the mathematics, and of
their application to mechanics. He must be acquainted with the usual
method of forming roofs, and floors, and the principles which determine
the magnitudes of the different parts; and will have learned the general
rules which regulate the thickness of piers and walls, which have to
support the action of vaults and arches. It is not necessary that he
should be a profound mathematician, or able on every occasion to
calculate the value of active and opposing forces. Calculations have
been made by much better mathematicians than he is likely to be, and
besides, such results are subject to so many exceptions and
modifications, arising from the imperfect nature of the materials, that
experience at last is found to be the principal guide.

Convenience is principally studied in plans, but the manners of
different countries vary so widely, that what would be perfectly
satisfactory in one place, would be considered as very defective in
another: nevertheless, it is useful to observe the different
distribution of the apartments in different places, and to understand
their merits as connected with the manners of the inhabitants.

The study of economy, that is, of the best employment of a given
quantity of materials and labour, or what amounts to the same thing, the
performance of any given work with the least possible quantity of
materials and labour, must accompany that of construction and solidity.
The habit of noticing in every case how far it has been observed, and
where it has failed, will greatly strengthen the judgment on this
subject; but we must always remember, that the formation of a less
beautiful or less durable building by smaller means, is not economy, but
parsimony.

An architect should not be a mere artist; he ought to have some tincture
both of literature and science, and also some knowledge of history. Not
to draw from it irrelevant fables, as Vitruvius tells us, but to enrich
the mind and strengthen the understanding. In every work of art, and I
may be forgiven for repeating the sentiment, the highest value is in the
impression of the mind of the artist; and how can that deserve
admiration which is the product of feebleness or fatuity?

These previous reflections, on what a student ought to know before he
travels, will pretty well point out to us what he has to do while in
foreign countries. I shall not attempt to indicate the particular
edifices which deserve his attention; but I would rather recommend him
to study whatever strikes him most. He will get on faster, and probably
farther, by carefully improving his natural taste, than in endeavouring
to form to himself another. And let him never forget that the object of
his study is to trace out beauties, not to enumerate defects, and
congratulate himself on his own superiority, or on that of his country:
he is to hunt out what is excellent, and to separate the gold from the
dross; and if in buildings generally praised, he cannot find any thing
to admire, he may be pretty confident that there is some defect in
himself. Their merits perhaps may consist in particulars to which he is
less sensible than many other people, and he may think such particulars
more highly valued than they deserve, and he may possibly be right in so
thinking; yet if he be not capable of seeing those merits, it must be
attributed to his want of eyesight.

Many students in architecture seem to employ themselves wholly in
measuring different buildings, ancient or modern, and imagine that while
so doing, their time is necessarily well employed. To a certain degree
this is a desirable occupation, and it fills the portfolio, and makes a
great display of industry; yet it is possible to be more industrious,
and more usefully so, and have less to shew. No artist has the notion of
ever following any of these buildings minutely in his own productions.
Who would ever think of copying the Pantheon in its precise dimensions,
and in its details, or what employer either public or private could ever
require it? and if it were to be done, have we not engravings which
would be sufficiently exact? In a length of 144 feet, it is impossible
to consider an inch or two more or less, as of any importance. Nor is
the wish to return with a great number of laborious drawings a
reasonable motive. After the first month or two they are neglected, and
as they have little beauty in themselves, and are not wanted for
imitation, they sleep perhaps for ever in the portfolio. The real motive
for measuring any building is to understand it better. The student’s
attention is forced in succession on each individual part; he gets it as
it were by heart, and what he possesses on paper is of little value
compared with that which he fixes in his mind, and indeed the principal
merit of the first is, that it recals the latter, which among so many
objects might be forgotten.

What the student has to do then, is to see every ancient building, and
every modern building of consequence. To remark whatever pleases him,
and to note it on paper, either in writing, or by sketches, or rather by
both. To consider what are the circumstances to which the effect which
he admires is owing; whether in the general distribution of the masses,
in the disposition of the orders, or in the minuter details; and to take
such dimensions, and make such drawings, as would enable him upon
occasion to produce a similar effect; and this mental process is to be
applied, not merely to the beauty, but also to the solidity,
convenience, and economy of the edifice. This will form his principal
employment; but besides this he will find it advantageous to notice,
whatever either in plan, or in ornament, gives character to one edifice,
or to one style of architecture; to copy in detail a few of the most
beautiful ornaments, whether of friezes or of capitals, or of any other
part; and to go completely through, in plans, sections, &c., one or two
ancient, and one or two modern buildings, till he makes himself quite
master of the feeling of the artist. As for the time employed, it is by
no means of consequence that every one should see every thing. One may
visit the South of France, which another may neglect. Some may repair to
one city of Italy, and others to another. One may pass over slightly,
what another studies with the greatest care; but every one should see
Rome and Vicenza. I may add Pæstum, and out of Italy, Athens. No person
can form a just idea of any style of architecture, without seeing its
best examples. Prints may recal what we have seen, but they give a very
imperfect notion of the degree of excellence of what we have not seen.
We must study the Corinthian at Rome, the Doric, in its more solid and
massy form at Pæstum; in its more graceful proportions at Athens; if
there were any Ionic building remaining tolerably perfect in Asia Minor,
I should send him to that country, but this I am afraid is not the case.
Rome will be his head quarters, because it is convenient to fix oneself
principally in one place, and Rome, from the multitude of its objects
both ancient and modern, and from the society obtained among artists of
all nations, who resort thither, is far preferable to any other city.
Here, if he stay two years, including one summer at Tivoli and
Palestrina, and another at Terni, Assisi, &c., he will not find it too
much. Eight months would do for all the North of Italy, and three more
for Naples and Pæstum, provided he do not go to Sicily, which I do not
consider as necessary; there is no Doric edifice in that island equal to
the great temple at Pæstum. Considering the inconvenient travelling, and
the quarantine, he ought to allow at least a year for Greece, half of
which should be spent at Athens. And these, with the time of going and
returning, will occupy somewhat more than four years; and if Sicily or
the South of France be added, something may be taken from other objects
to bring it within four years and a half: it is probably better that the
student should set out with the prospect of an earlier return, for four
years and a half seems a long while, both to a young man and to his
parents; and the former may perhaps relax in his efforts, when he sees
the time before him, more clearly than the employments which are to fill
it up.



                              LETTER XLII.

                         SPECULATIONS AT ROME.


                                                   _Rome, August, 1817._

SUETONIUS, in the life of Augustus, tells us, that that emperor boasted
that he had found Rome of brick, and left it of marble. We must, I
conceive, not take this expression too literally, but merely as a
description of increased magnificence. The words attributed to him by
Dion, that he had found it of earth, and left it of stone, are nearer
the truth, if we suppose the term stone to be applied to all materials
of a durable nature, as that of _earth_ would certainly imply what was
soft and easily perishing. I have frequently heard the expression of
Suetonius contended for as the literal description of a fact; but of the
monuments remaining, known to be prior to the time of Augustus, not one
is of brick: while on the contrary, from his time downwards, brick was
evidently used in the greatest abundance. Vitruvius, who certainly did
not publish his work before the time of Augustus, is diffuse in his
account of unburnt bricks, but says nothing about the formation of burnt
bricks, which seems to prove that they were not then in common use at
Rome. He proceeds to state, that very good and durable buildings may be
made of burnt bricks, and cites as examples, several buildings in old
Greece, and in Magna Græcia. Another circumstance, which indicates that
bricks were little used at that period, is found in his account of
pozzolana, _pulvis puteolana_, which he describes as an excellent
material for building, and as found about Baia and mount Vesuvius, while
in fact this substance is very abundant about Rome, and nearly, if not
quite universal, in the ancient brick and rubble-work there.

If however there are no brick monuments remaining, which date
_certainly_ before the time of Augustus, there are many such, which have
been _supposed_ to be of republican times. The Circus maximus is
attributed to Romulus, and some brickwork may be observed among the
trifling fragments which are shewn as its ruins, but as no one can
believe that these are of the time of Romulus, we may as well suppose
them after, as before, that of Augustus; especially as the work is of
the same nature as that of the palace of the Cæsars just behind it. The
earliest aqueducts were of the time of the republic, but these form a
curious lesson against the early use of brickwork; although sometimes
quoted in its favour. The temple of Saturn is also said to be ancient;
but whether the lofty brick wall, just by the arch of Constantine, be a
part of the temple, and whether if it be so, the temple was not rebuilt
under the emperors, are both disputable points. It exhibits an abuse of
the use of arches, which in this example occur in the solid of the wall,
when there are no openings below, or none which at all correspond with
the upper arches. Such an abuse does not seem likely to have been
introduced very early, yet we find something of it in the Pantheon, as
has been already noticed. Another edifice which pretends to an early
date, is that usually called the temple of Rediculus, built to
commemorate the retreat of Hannibal. But Hannibal, according to the
antiquaries, approached Rome, not in this quarter, but in the
neighbourhood of the Porta Salaria, and such a temple would probably
have been built near the spot where he advanced nearest to the walls.
The present building is in a valley far from the old circuit of the
city, and not at all suited to a reconnoitring position, and the
character of the work does not announce an early period of the art of
building or of brickmaking.

The stone buildings supposed to be prior to the time of Augustus are,
the Cloaca maxima, and some portions of the aqueducts, of which as much
use has not been made in the history of architecture as might be.
Without them, the Cloaca maxima stands the single example of the use of
the arch, from the foundation of Rome to the government of the Cæsars;
these at least form stepping-stones in that long interval, though still
few and far apart. Some portions of the bridges also are considered as
republican, but I think only of the piers; and there are vestiges of the
temple of Æsculapius, and of the temple of Filial Piety. We may add to
these the Tabularium, and a few other fragments about the Capitol, the
Mamertine prisons, the sepulchre of Caius Poplicus Bibulus, the temple
of Fortuna virilis, seven columns of the temple of Pudicitia patricia,
and the temple of Vesta, or, if you like it better, the temple of
Hercules vincitor, for I have a book to demonstrate that this latter is
the true appellation. A circular temple of this name was built somewhere
hereabouts in the year 480 of Rome, but the author of the book is
willing to suppose that it was rebuilt by some of the first emperors. I
have before stated some reasons which incline me to think this edifice
earlier than the emperors, though it may perhaps have been considerably
repaired and restored by them; but I am not at all willing to believe it
so early as 480 A. U. C. In fact, whether it be the temple of Vesta, of
Hercules vincitor, or of any other god or goddess, we have only
supposition as to the date of its existing remains. The tomb of the
Scipios is of peperino; the brickwork found in it is of posterior
erection. The fragment called the temple of Concord is placed by Milizia
among the edifices of the republic, but it has no claim to such
antiquity.

Of the time of the Emperors, we have six or eight fragments of temples,
entirely of stone; but all the great ruins, the baths, the Coliseum, the
temple of Peace, are in great measure of brick. In the temple of Jupiter
Stator, the foundations which supported the walls and columns were of
stone, but all the intermediate spaces were filled with rubble, so as to
form a solid mass of masonry. The rubble and brick were perhaps cased
with marble, or the exposed parts were of travertine; and perhaps both
this and peperino would come under the term _marmor_, among the Latins,
as they are now frequently included in the _marmi_ of the Italians.

In the history of ornamental architecture, we may observe that the
Composite order was not introduced so early as the time of Augustus, but
we have not materials to determine the precise date of its invention. It
seems to be the order of a people who loved richness of effect, but had
not patience or skill to attain the delicacy of the Corinthian: yet
there are some examples highly beautiful in design, and exquisitely
finished. The remains in the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedim form an
example of this, and the capital which adorns the entrance of the
baptistery of Constantine is another not less beautiful, but it differs
so much in the arrangement of its parts, that if we consider such little
particulars as essential characters, it could hardly be considered as
the same order. Among the fragments at Rome, we have hundreds of
specimens, equally, or more anomalous, but in general of far inferior
workmanship, and it would be more convenient to class all these much
ornamented capitals as varieties of the Corinthian. The earliest
Corinthian entablature was without modillions, and in no wise different
from the Ionic. Modillions were probably introduced about the time of
Augustus, and the dentils were diminished to make room for them, and
even at times omitted; but this fashion does not seem to have lasted.
The dentils came in again, but reduced in size, or at least in length;
perhaps not in width, for they are proportionally much wider and farther
apart, but frequently connected at top, the dentil-band being only cut
partially, or else some little ornament was introduced on the upper part
of the interval: this indeed occurs in some monuments of the Augustan
age. In the same manner the eggs became wider and farther apart, and the
little processes between them, which at first were mere points, became
arrow-heads. In the temple of Jupiter tonans, each ovolo is laid in the
hollow of a leaf, and is itself carved on the surface; and at the same
time that the leaves of the capital became more united with the solid
which they surround, the ovoli were executed so as to stand more
detached from the back ground. This process continued to the time of
Dioclesian. The capitals of his baths are not of contemptible
workmanship, nor is the entablature bad, though very much inferior in
every respect to those of the age of Augustus, and even of Septimius
Severus. In the short interval between Dioclesian and Constantine, the
builders seem to have forgotten everything; between the reign of
Constantine and the death of Honorius, a period of above one hundred
years, I have seen no building of any consequence. Some fragments may
exist, but as we neither know the history of their erection, nor find
any distinguishing peculiarities in the objects themselves, they can
furnish us with no assistance in tracing the progress, or rather the
downfal of architecture. We may perhaps attribute to this period, the
church or basilica of San Lorenzo. The columns and capitals of any
edifice then erected at Rome, were probably always taken from older
buildings, and the entablature frequently made out of the fragments of
former entablatures; but in the portico of that church there is an
entablature made for the building, with a high frieze in mosaic, and the
mouldings of the cornice are composed of lines nearly straight, and with
ornaments of little relief. Of buildings erected during the government
of the empress Placidia, and afterwards under the reign of Theodoric,
that is, from 425 to 450, and again in the first half of the sixth
century, there are seven churches, a baptistery, and two mausolea,
existing at Ravenna, which I have already described. In the time of
Dioclesian, and before that period, when arches and columns were used
together, the arches sprung from the top of the entablature; in
Constantine’s time, the practice was to spring them from the capitals of
the columns; and in some countries we find this practice existing to a
comparatively recent period, especially in cloisters. But the northern
nations, in their attempt to copy Roman architecture, imitated rather
that of the time of Dioclesian, than of a later date. They however,
diminished very much the entablature, and ultimately reduced it to a
mere slab over the capital, on which some of the appropriate ornaments
of the ancient entablature might still be traced. On the other hand, the
architects employed by Theodoric introduced a solid block under the
springing, which is evidently derived from the construction of a stone
arch, and not from that of a wooden entablature. The same arrangement
occurs at St. Mark’s at Venice. This peculiarity forms one striking
point of difference between the architecture of the age of Constantine,
and of that of Theodoric; another is in the use of corbels: the small
columns of the latter age frequently standing upon them; and the impost
of the arch is sometimes lengthened out into a corbel, and supported by
a column, which is not placed under its extremity; the impost continuing
beyond its support, and sustaining a wall, considerably advanced before
the face of the columns. Something of this sort occurs in Dioclesian’s
palace at Spalatro, but I have not observed it in any of Constantine’s
buildings.

A third distinctive mark may be found in the ornaments, and especially
in the capitals; in point of execution there is not much difference, but
the design in Theodoric’s time is much inferior. The artists no longer
endeavoured to imitate the antique, but introduced badly imagined
fancies of their own. Theodoric was educated at Constantinople, and
probably procured his artists from that city. At a later period we know
the church of St. Mark at Venice to have been built under the direction
of a Greek architect, and though an interval of several centuries
occurred between these erections, we yet observe many points of
resemblance; and may reasonably consider some of these peculiarities to
arise from the Greek school of art in the later ages. We meet
occasionally in other places with traces of the employment of Greek
artists, quite enough to shew, that though they combined with the
western and northern nations in the degradation of architecture, each
nation however, following a road in some degree peculiar to itself, yet
that they had nothing to do with the new, and very different style,
which arose out of that degradation, and which we now call Gothic.

There was little good architecture out of Rome, at least in Italy: there
is an arch at Rimini which is attributed to Augustus, and probably with
justice, though the inscription on which it principally depends does not
seem to occupy its original situation; and we see at Ancona an arch
dedicated to Trajan. The latter is of simple form and pleasing
proportion, but the details of both are bad.

You ask me what I think of the Italians, and reproach me with forgetting
that there are inhabitants in the palaces I describe, and worshippers in
the churches. The buildings are always before me, but what means have I,
while thus hastily rambling from place to place, of entering into the
character of the people? Yet not to appear rebellious to your authority,
I will give you such a sketch as I can, but I fear it will be like those
half dozen strokes which a smatterer in drawing sometimes calls a view
from nature, but which nobody can understand but himself. In the first
place the character of the people in the various states in Italy is
considerably different. The Milanese is not like the inhabitant of
Venice, nor is either like the Tuscan. The Tuscan peasantry are among
the best of the class in Europe. They are cleanly in their houses and
persons; they might not perhaps be considered so in Flanders, but they
certainly must in Italy; civil and courteous to strangers, and I believe
just and honest in their dealings: and add to this, they have a very
remarkable felicity of expression in their beautiful language, though
they abuse it a little in the pronunciation. They seem to hit naturally
upon the very best words possible, and their grammar is almost always
correct. The inhabitants of Perugia and Assisi partake with them in
their civility and appearance of kindness towards strangers; but this is
not the general character of the Roman states, where they are reserved,
and sometimes almost sullen, especially in the Campagna. I can fancy
that I see in the Romans traces of their ancient character, but perhaps
with more of their ferocity under the emperors, and during the middle
ages, than of the independence of their early history. Yet there seems
to be something of that also. Their ferocity will give way to
instruction, and a better religion, if that be permitted them: it is
perhaps of all others the quality most unfavourable to liberty. If it
had shown itself in the secession to Mons Sacer, the republic must have
been destroyed, and Rome could have risen no more. The Roman is proud;
the Tuscan is vain; so is the Neapolitan, but in a very different way;
the latter is the French vanity exaggerated; the former, that of the
Welsh rendered more reasonable; but in all these varieties, I think you
rate the Italian character far too low. The germ of many excellences is
there; nay, they are half-developed, but an oppressive religion, and a
depressive government, hinder their expansion.

There is a curious division of employments at Rome, according to the
places whence the persons come. The Romagnuoli, from the north of the
Apennines, arrive to cultivate the land in October, and return in
February. The Marcheggiani come from the Mark of Ancona, in January or
February, for a similar purpose. About half of these return at Easter,
the rest remain till the end of June, and the corn is sometimes reaped
by them, but they leave the neighbourhood of Rome immediately
afterwards, and the labours are continued by the subjects of Naples,
principally from the Abruzzi. Men from Genoa and Lucca labour in the
olive-grounds. People from Amatrici dig and transport the earth; and
this also forms the occupation of some of those from Aquila. Other
labourers from Aquila cut wood upon the mountains, but those who cut it
on the shore are from another district. The Amatriciani are also porters
in the squares and markets, but those on the Ripa are Genoese.
House-porters are Grisons, or from the Valtellina. Bakers are from
Friuli. Men from Norcia employ themselves in curing hogsflesh in various
ways, and in making sausages. Butchers, shoemakers, workers in wool,
hackney-coachmen, and a large portion of the domestic servants, are
Romans. The people of the Abruzzi generally consider Rome as their
capital, and it is said that about one third of the students in the
Roman colleges are from that country. One third are Corsicans, and the
remainder Romans.

I have sometimes amused myself with a splendid dream of making Rome the
capital of the civilized world, or if you will, the point of union; for
I wish to give it influence, not authority. It seems to me that such a
centre would be extremely desirable; that Rome would be the best place
for it; and that the head of the government of such an intellectual
capital ought to be a _religious_, if I may make such a substantive; but
that nevertheless it ought to be a free government; and I am prepared to
prove logically against all the world, these four propositions, and some
others connected with them; but since I am persuaded that neither you
nor any body else would attend to my arguments, I may as well spare
myself the trouble of writing them. Yet I do not think it such a
visionary scheme; and if I were pope, I would instantly set about it.
The character of pride, which I have attributed to the Roman, is much in
favour of my plan; gratified by considering himself as belonging to the
first city in the universe, he is more willing than most other people to
see a stranger flourishing beside him, because he feels it in some
degree a tribute to the pre-eminence of his native place. Rome has
always been famous for the illustrious strangers she has adopted, rather
than for the talents of her own citizens, and it is surely more
honourable thus to naturalize, than to produce great men; the latter
seems a matter of chance, the former to depend on the generous feelings
of the inhabitants.

To succeed in such a plan, Rome must be free; this perhaps is the most
important condition of any. It is very striking to observe the desolate
state of many cities in Italy—once populous, powerful, and flourishing;
now spiritless, and half-inhabited.[20] Their time of prosperity was one
of wars without, and tumult within. Their decay has taken place under a
government comparatively mild; they are neither attacked by external
enemies, nor torn to pieces by internal dissensions. Added to this, the
old governments were radically bad, they were alternately aristocratical
and democratical; both forms, which when used unmixed, as was remarkably
the case in Italy, are essentially vicious, because they seek the good
of a part only. The true idea of a republic is that whose object is the
whole, where every existing rank, from the prince to the artisan and
peasant, has its due share of influence and equal protection; and the
representative government of England is doubtless that which approaches
nearest to this _beau ideal_. Yet bad as they were, there was freedom
enough in these Italian cities to counterbalance, and more than
counterbalance, the numerous evils to which they were exposed. He who
reads Gibbon with attention may observe effects of arbitrary power, and
bad institutions, in the decline, not of the Roman empire, but of Italy,
under the reign of Constantine, while she was yet uninjured by
barbarians; or if his curiosity, and his patience will support him
through the pages of Denina, he may there find this idea more fully
dwelt upon, though the author is a professed and decided advocate of
arbitrary power, thinking,

                Che assoluto, dispotico governo
                `E buono per l’estate, e per l’inverno.

But you will perhaps tell me that however desirable liberty may be in
other cases, yet that where the head of the government is also the head
of the Roman Catholic church, the government _must_ be despotic, because
the character of the religious institutions requires it. You are
mistaken. The Roman pontiff during the middle ages was, on the general
system of policy, the friend of liberty, and of the people; he was
driven from home, tossed about by the potentates whom he offended,
stript at times of almost every thing, yet his influence and authority
increased during these vicissitudes, and declined when prudential
motives led him to become the tool of other sovereigns. The rule of
faith has generally been narrowed to please them, and not him. If he
would regain his consequence, he must again be the advocate of rational
freedom, mental and bodily, religious and political; his monks must be
collections of men of learning and talent; he must suppress his beggars,
who obtain more contempt than riches. The circumstances of the times are
such, that the most magnanimous conduct is the truest policy. The purest
morality and the most enlightened religion are precisely the means by
which he could obtain the greatest influence. Religion would very soon
take a new tone with free institutions; several practices would be
altered, and many abuses would gradually fall, but in all this the only
care of the pope would be, not to identify himself with the falling
parts of the system. Men are generally willing enough to separate the
persons, and legitimate authority of their rulers, from the abuses of
the government, if their superiors will let them. I doubt if confession
would stand, though Voltaire praises the institution. No man ought in
any degree to be released from the responsibility of his own actions;
the introduction of rational liberty necessarily brings with it a higher
tone of moral feeling. In despotic governments the will of the master
gets confounded with the moral law, and this is encouraged by confession
to a priest, whose system seems to include the support of all arbitrary
governments. Inspiration, and the power of working miracles, would be
canvassed as they are in England. Purgatory would probably give way, at
least we should not see such notices as the following:

“Chi visiterà questa Ven. Basilica de’Ss Cosimo e Damiano nelle Giorni
qui notate, confessato e communicato, acquisterà Indulgenza plenaria,
come per rescritto di Nostro Signore Papa Pio settimo li 23 Decembre,
1808.”

Then follows a list of twenty-eight days.

“Indulgenza plenaria alla Capella di S. Antonio in uno de’ Martedì di
ciascuna mese del anno da eleggersi ad arbitrio di chiunque confessato e
communicato.

“E più.

“Sette Anni ed altre tante quarantine d’indulgenza in tutti gli altri
Martedì dell’ anno.”

The Italians, especially those of the Roman states, do not seem very
well contented with their present political situation. They are
discontented with the pope because they have had bad crops since his
return. This year the wheat harvest has been excellent, the grapes are
abundant and good, the olives show the fairest promise; these things
will no doubt have their effect on the political feelings of the
commonalty, but the maize is likely to be deficient, and the poor pope
will have the blame. You will think it perhaps too much of a sneer, if I
were to say, that as the pope does pretend to have some influence in the
government of the world, discontent on such accounts is more reasonable
under him, than it would be under a secular prince. But there can be no
doubt that the superstition, so carefully preserved among the Italians,
renders an association of that sort more easy. Accustomed to consider
every thing that happens as a judgment or a miracle, taught to believe
that weather favourable to their wishes, and good harvests, are the
result of ceremonies and processions, how can they fail to attribute the
bad to similar causes, and to imagine a defective year, to be a
consequence of the displeasure of the Almighty against their rulers. The
cessation of the conscription also produced a bad effect rather than a
good one, in occasioning discontent. It was less oppressive in Italy
than in France, and though productive of great misery to individuals and
families, and probably of great demoralization, it nevertheless would
have taken off a great many mouths which now eat and rail at home. Then,
though the French government taxed heavily, yet it spent liberally. Now,
the taxes are still heavier, and the expenses greatly reduced; the
produce, according to common report, going to Austria, but I do not
understand why.

The bad air of Rome and of the Campagna have I suspect been greatly
exaggerated. In the latter, there seems to be a want of wholesome water:
Rome is abundantly supplied, and this is perhaps partly the reason why
the city is more wholesome than the country. Another source of disease
is to be sought in the nature of the food eaten by the poor. When a man
breakfasts on cucumbers, dines on melons, and sups on love-apples, what
has he to support him? In the spring, they have, instead of these,
purslain, artichokes, and lettuces. Fruit is dearer at Rome than at
Bologna, but vegetables are good and plentiful. A lady, last night, was
complaining that she could only get fifteen pauls for a cart load of
lettuces, forty-five pauls being equal to a pound sterling. A mass of
artichokes, consisting of twenty-six, cost this spring two bajocs. They
are small, and being boiled till they are soft, are eaten whole.
Love-apples have sometimes been sold as low as twelve pounds for a
bajoc. Wheaten bread at the same time bears about two thirds of the
price it does in England. Polenta is cheaper, but the temptation is
great to fill the belly with a food, which if less wholesome, is more
savoury, as well as at a lower price.



                             LETTER XLIII.

                                NAPLES.


                                           _Rome, 28th September, 1817._

I DO not know if you are tired of Rome, but I know that I am not. Rome
is the paradise of artists; it is full of their objects and their
recollections; but what most contributes to make the residence in Italy
in general, and of Rome in particular, so interesting to us, is the
universal sympathy which is accorded to the objects of our pursuit. From
the prince to the peasant, the most educated to the most ignorant, all
seem to find pleasure in the productions of the fine arts; and it is
this sympathy which more than any one thing makes life pass agreeably;
the want of it is always distressing. Why have heretics been burnt, but
because they wanted sympathy with the people? Or at least the people
believing that to be the case, has had no sympathy with them. What is it
but the supposed want of sympathy which makes the populace so hostile to
bakers and corndealers? It imagines them to rejoice in that dearness of
provisions which is a cause of suffering to the poor, and it therefore
considers them with aversion. But I have got to moralizing, when I
should be giving an account of my journey here. The first steps are to
get a passport, and a certificate of health; no questions are asked on
demanding the latter, and all you have to do is to pay a few bajocs. It
seems that there has been some suspicion of a contagious disease at
Naples, and the Roman government has consequently required a certificate
of health from all persons coming from Naples. By way of reprisal, the
Neapolitan government now requires a similar certificate with all those
coming from Rome. The vetturino as usual disappointed me as to the time
of departure, but on the 26th of August we left Rome. I cannot boast
much of the pleasantness of the party, with a wrongheaded driver, a
foolish papa and mamma, and a spoilt child. Some of the scenes between
the father and child were so disgusting, that I shall not venture to put
them on paper. The former told me that he had educated the boy according
to the system of an English author named Baloxello, who taught that a
child should never be contradicted. Besides these there was a Frenchman,
who was very pleasant and good-humoured; but he had loaded the carriage
with a quantity of merchandize, and this was the source of considerable
trouble and delay at the customhouses. In the cabriolet were two
Englishmen, of whom I saw little.

We slept the first night at Velletri, and were stopt the next morning at
Cisterna with the story of a postillion who had been murdered the night
before, in crossing the Pontine Marshes. The passenger within the
carriage had escaped with the loss of a considerable sum of money, but
the poor postillion, perhaps because he had not stopt immediately when
ordered, or perhaps without any preceding salutation, had three bullets
in his body. The horse on which he rode was also killed. The bystanders
recommended us to take a guard, and our vetturino was very eager to
persuade us to do so, but we reflected that there could be no danger in
broad daylight, when the whole country was alarmed, and when besides,
the robbers had plenty of money; and we proceeded without one. The body
of the postillion was lying on the road, whence it seems that it could
not be moved, till the appointed officer had been to examine it. The
traveller had certainly been very imprudent in crossing the marshes
without a guard in the dark, especially as he was known to carry money;
and perhaps still more so to stop and sup, as he did, at a miserable
little inn on the way. We stopt (but in the day) at the same place, and
I could not help reflecting that I was perhaps in the very room where
the robbery of the night before had been planned, and every thing
prepared for its execution. The air across these marshes is delightfully
soft and pleasant, but I felt no more disposition to sleep than I always
do, when after early rising, I am travelling through a flat country. The
Frenchman however, was determined we should not sleep, and by the help
of talking, and a bottle of _vinaigre des quatre voleurs_, he gained his
point as to those within the carriage, but the Englishmen in the
cabriolet slept, and felt no inconvenience. I have met them several
times at Naples, and it seems one of them has had something of an ague,
but not immediately after the journey. The scenery for the greatest part
of the way across these celebrated marshes is very pleasant; it is more
like travelling through the New Forest, than across Romney Marsh; and
the distant mountains present a feature of beauty which neither of these
possesses. A brisk, transparent stream ran sometimes on one side of us,
sometimes on the other, and sometimes bounded both sides of the road.
The wild vine clambered over the tops of the trees, and hung in graceful
festoons from branch to branch. Maize seemed the chief object of
cultivation, and the plants looked remarkably strong and healthy. We
stopped for the night at Terracina, a very picturesque situation. The
inn is on the shore, together with the customhouse, and a few other
buildings, while the city is on a hill just by. I ran up to see the
remains of a temple, which are now built up in the walls of the
cathedral. They consist of two fusts of Corinthian columns, and a
portion of wall, with an ornamented fascia; all raised over a high
continued basement. The cathedral also exhibits internally some detached
columns, and other fragments of antiquity. There are also remains of
Cyclopean walls, but nothing of much consequence. On a much higher and
bolder eminence are the walls of the ancient Anxur, but this I had no
time to visit. About Terracina we first meet with myrtles, and the
vegetation assumes a different character, indicative of a warmer
climate. This arises partly from the change of soil, from the volcanic
deposits of the neighbourhood of Rome, to a limestone rock; and partly
perhaps from our proximity to the sea, as well as from the more southern
latitude. Our vetturino had engaged to set off at two o’clock in the
morning, but as he had fixed the same time the night before, and was not
himself ready till past four, I concluded that the same thing would
happen again. After we had separated, the Italian sent down a private
message that he would not set off before daybreak. The next morning,
when at a little after four we were all ready to depart, the vetturino
declared that in consequence of this delay, he should be a day later at
Naples, and that he would not set off at all, unless we would agree to
pay; not only our own expenses, but his and his horses for the
additional night. To this the Italian, who had with some difficulty been
brought to confess the message, would not agree, and of course none of
the other passengers would undertake it. On the contrary, I assured him
that far from paying any thing additional, I would not even pay him the
remainder of my agreement, unless he would so far fulfil his part, as to
take me to Naples in four days at the latest. The terms of our agreement
were that he should do it in three days and a half. At last, finding the
case hopeless, he put to, but it was past five before we left Terracina.
We had another quarrel at the Torre del Epitaffio, where one of the
police-officers insisted on putting a great water-melon into the
cabriolet, which rolling against the legs of the passengers, would have
been no pleasant companion. They expostulated, moderately at first, then
angrily, and at last tossed out the melon, which falling on the hard
road was broken to pieces. A great storm ensued, but it had no
consequences. On our first entering the Neapolitan territory, the road
is delightful, coasting the foot of the calcareous mountains of the
Volsci. On the right, we have sometimes the sea, sometimes a varied
valley, from which the projecting parts of the coast rise in detached
points, and appear almost to form a chain of islands. The gardens,
filled with large orange-trees, growing in all their native beauty of
form, constitute a striking feature in the approach to Fondi. At that
city, the Neapolitan custom-house detained us more than two hours. The
next place is Itri, a very picturesque town, where there are Cyclopean
walls. In approaching to Mola di Gaeta, the Sepulchre of Cicero is
pointed out to us; a frustum of a cone of rubble-work rises on a square
basement, which has been faced with large squared stones. The original
summit has been destroyed, and a circular tower of the middle ages
occupies its place; unfortunately, the evidence is not entirely
satisfactory as to the purpose of its erection, yet the death of the
illustrious Roman must have taken place in the neighbourhood, and may
have occurred on this very spot.

We did not get to Mola di Gaeta till nearly four o’clock. Here again was
a quarrel, the vetturino declaring that his mules must rest at least
three hours, and that since we insisted on going to Naples the next day,
we must travel all night. It was in vain to argue, he was much more
obstinate than his mules, but fortunately he wanted a little sleep
himself, and we stopt for a few hours at Santa Agata de’ Goti. At Capua
he found that his mules only required an hour and a half, when I should
have been well pleased to have stayed three hours, in which case I might
have visited old Capua. In the modern city there is little except a few
columns in the cathedral, of granite, cipollino, and bigio antico, which
are hardly sufficient to interest a man who has just left Rome. From
Capua the country appears covered with a continued grove of small
poplars, over which the vines climb luxuriantly; and below, wheat and
Indian corn are cultivated. I was on the watch for Vesuvius; the weather
was hazy, but I distinguished it a little before our arrival at Capua
crested with a slender column of smoke, and as we approached Naples, we
caught occasional glimpses of it tipped with red, and shewing now and
then a small eruption. We had to stop at three custom-houses, but our
vetturino would not take us to our inns, which is the usual practice,
but drove directly to his own stopping place, and after all, had the
impudence to demand a _buona mano_. I have engaged a room at an inn
called the Speranzella, for three carlines a day, a carline being worth
about fourpence halfpenny. The master is a Milanese, and the head waiter
a Tuscan, and both thank God that they are not Neapolitans. The
Lazzaroni wanted two piastres (or dollars) for carrying my trunk, but
were contented with half of one, knowing then that they had been paid
twice as much as they ought to have had.

The architecture of the palaces at Naples does not call for any
particular remarks. It is true that they have large parts, and
frequently exhibit a fine unbroken mass, which always has a magnificent
effect; but the proportions are seldom very good, and the details almost
always bad. These observations apply to the royal palace as well as to
those of individuals. It stands in a square, and presents on the
principal floor a continued range of twenty-one windows, on an unbroken
front of 520 palms, or about 447 English feet; the height is 110 palms,
or 94 feet. In all this the design is perfectly simple, except a little
disarrangement in the centre, which is a defect of no great importance.
Such an extent must have a noble effect. The architect was Domenico
Fontana, and he opened the lower part into an arcade; but “in order to
strengthen the building,” says Romanelli, “the alternate arches have
since been filled up.” Whatever was the motive, the beauty of the
building has suffered greatly.

Attached to the palace is the great Theatre of San Carlo. Some degree of
caprice seems allowable in the architecture of a modern theatre, at
least it is usually found there, partly perhaps on account of the
difficulty of adapting the usual arrangements to such a purpose. The
front of the present building consists of an arcade below, and small
columns above, with a large pier at each angle, and a very obtusely
triangular summit. We may perhaps allow some merit to the general idea,
but the faults are so numerous, that if I were to enumerate them, you
would be at a loss to conceive how it could have any beauty. The
Castello Nuovo was the residence of the kings of Naples, and is now
connected with the palace, in order to form a refuge to the sovereign in
case of any public disturbance. A triumphal arch within the first line
of fortifications is deserving of attention, not so much for its own
merit, which however is not contemptible, as for the history of the art.
It was built by Pietro Martino, a Milanese, under Alphonsus the First,
who died in 1458. I do not find the name of this architect in Milizia,
but we may presume him contemporary with L. B. Alberti, who was born in
1398. The design is completely in the style called here _cinque cento_,
and it may be considered as one of the largest and most elaborate
productions of that period, as well as one of the earliest. It abounds
with sculpture, some of which is very good, but as a piece of
architecture, the whole is not pleasing.

The Palace of the Studii is a fine building, and contains a noble
collection of statues, inferior only to those of the Capitol and
Vatican, and perhaps of the gallery at Florence. In painting, it yields
to Rome, Florence, and Bologna; but in bronzes, and Etruscan vases,
exceeds every other. These latter form of themselves a very extensive,
and very intricate object of study; connected with the mythology, and
anecdote-history of the ancients. I have no intention to enter into so
difficult a subject, but shall content myself with admiring the beauty
of the forms, and the graceful attitudes and actions of the figures.
These merits hardly ever fail, though the drawing of particular parts is
often defective. Attached to the Studio there is a library, and I
believe it is a good one, but not so easy of access as most of the
continental libraries, where you merely walk in, and by a simple
application to the librarian, obtain any book you may want. A large
collection of architectural fragments is exposed in one of the courts, a
considerable portion of which came from Pozzuoli. I was desirous of
making a few sketches, in order to compare them with what I had met
elsewhere, but an attendant was sent to tell me that no drawings could
be made there without permission of the director. To him therefore I
applied, and his answer was, “If you apply to your minister, and obtain
an order from the government, as you did with respect to Pompei, I
_must_ give you permission.”

After so long a forbearance I must claim the privilege of taking you a
round among the churches, although after enjoying at Rome the splendid
display from the time of Constantine to the present day, those of Naples
appear rather flat and insipid. To begin with the cathedral. You are
told that it was built by Constantine on the ruins of the temple of
Apollo; sounding words, not entirely without meaning, since if not true
of the main body of the cathedral itself, it may be partly so, with
reference to a small church of Santa Restituta, opening into the
cathedral, and forming a sort of large side chapel. The body of the
present edifice was begun under Charles the First, of Anjou, in 1280,
and a building was completed by Charles the Second in 1299. This is said
by Vasi to have been ruined by an earthquake in 1456, and restored in
the Gothic style by Nicola Pisano, under Alphonsus the First. Now we do
not know precisely the date either of the birth, or death of this
artist, but we find Giovanni da Pisa, who was probably his son, employed
in the Campo Santo at Pisa in 1278, and Nicola was probably at that time
either dead, or advanced in years. It is then possible that he was
employed at Naples in the original edifice, but not in this restoration.
Milizia attributes the front to a pupil of Nicola, named Maglione, but
even this can only apply to the primitive erection, and not to any
restoration under Alphonso. The front was erected in 1407, (therefore
before the earthquake) but restored in 1788. As it is still Gothic, I
suppose this restoration to have consisted merely in bungling repairs of
the old work. We may consider, therefore, the original design as far as
we can trace it, as an example of the architecture of the beginning of
the fifteenth century at Naples, a period at which Brunelleschi was
flourishing at Florence, and the Gothic forms were already discarded. I
conceive it to have offered the sort of arrangement exhibited in the
following sketch, with a large gable in the middle, perhaps formed on an
equilateral triangle, and a smaller and more acute one on each side.

[Illustration: Illustration of church front]

The upper gable is now truncated, and the spaces between the smaller
ones and the building, are walled up, forming an uglier front than you
can well conceive, out of what really appears to have been a pleasing
composition. The cathedral at Mantua seems to have been an edifice of
the same style.

The inside is almost all modernized; two or three of the side chapels
alone retaining traces of the time of their erection. It is said to
contain 110 columns of Egyptian granite and African breccia, belonging
to the ancient temple of Apollo; but if so, they must have been very
small, less than eighteen inches in diameter, and they are now all
covered with stucco. (You see the English churchwardens have authority
for what they do.) I rather, however, doubt the fact. On the left hand
is the ancient church of Santa Restituta; here are indubitably many
ancient shafts. They are all small, but vary both in size, and material.
The capitals are in bad condition; one or two may have been good, but in
general they are of poor design, and bad workmanship; few of them fit
the shafts; large moulded blocks are placed above the capitals to
receive the springing of the arches. These are now pointed, but were at
first probably semicircular. The Gothic work patched upon the original
building has been _rococoed_,[21] and the whole is perfectly devoid of
architectural effect.

Opposite the church of Santa Restituta is the Chapel of San Gennaro,
which has the form of a Greek cross, and is perhaps more splendid than
beautiful, although not without some architectural merit. Two elegant
columns of verde antico adorn the entrance. The whole is rich, with
various marbles, and with several showy altars, and forms in itself a
little church. On a feast-day, fifty-three busts of the saints,
protectors of Naples, are exhibited to the devotion of the people in
this chapel; thirty-five of these are of silver, the remaining eighteen
of bronze. Behind the principal altar there is a little cupboard in the
wall, closed with doors of silver, where I am told that the skull of St.
Januarius is preserved, and the famous blood, which forms the standing
miracle of the city. There are in this chapel some admirable productions
of Domenichino; and Guido was also engaged to employ here his pencil,
but the jealousy of the Neapolitan artists prompted them to poison the
former, and the latter was frightened away by their machinations and
conspiracies against him. In the treasury behind, you are shewn a
multitude of relicks, and rich presents, but nothing which has made much
impression on my memory. There are some Gothic tombs in this church, and
a fine Gothic pulpit and canopy. In this part of Naples we find several
buildings of the _renaissance_, (I wish I could express this neatly in
English), and many little chapels and altars in the churches of that
style, which is everywhere very distinctly marked. The relief of the
different parts is small, the entablature frequently breaks round the
pilaster, which thus becomes a mere decoration; the ornaments are light
and elegant, and the execution generally beautiful; the character is
rather Greek than Roman, though the plans are such as the purity of
Greek taste would not have tolerated. In the edifices of that period
there is always something to be admired, yet it must be confessed that
it is a mode of art which succeeds better in small compositions than in
large structures; and the former, whether from the abundance of talent
among the artists, or from some other circumstance with which I am
unacquainted, are almost always good: possessing beautiful proportions,
and just feeling.

The Church of the Gerolomini is very near the cathedral. The nave is
formed by beautiful granite shafts, supporting arches, and above them
are an entablature, a second order, and a flat ceiling; the decorations
are exceedingly tawdry, but the proportions are good.

At a short distance is the Church of San Paolo, where two fine ancient
Corinthian columns, with a portion of the architrave over each, advance
from the front of the building, and seem to wonder at their own
situation, now perfectly unmeaning. They are the remains of a temple of
Castor and Pollux, built by one Julius Tarsus, freedman of Tiberius. The
portico was entire so late as the year 1688, when Misson saw it, but it
was thrown down by an earthquake towards the end of that year. There are
some other traces about, of the walls of this temple, but nothing of any
interest. Within the church there is a profusion of gilding and fine
marbles. The disposition is bad, with alternate large and small arches,
the largest of which are too small for the order employed in them. Yet
the dark rich marbles harmonize with the low proportions, and produce a
pleasing impression in spite of the faults of the architecture.

There is a little chapel in this neighbourhood belonging to the princes
of Sangro, famous for three statues, in which the artist has endeavoured
to please by a trick, and the appearance of difficulty overcome. The
first is the figure of Modesty, covered with a thin, transparent veil.
_Disinganno_ is represented under the figure of a man struggling to
liberate himself from a net, which envelops his body, and the third is a
dead Christ, also covered with a veil, but less thin and delicate than
that which seems half to conceal the figure of Modesty. They are all
fine things in their way.

The Church of San Domenico Maggiore is more interesting to the
antiquary, than beautiful in the eyes of the architect; indeed, almost
the only things which will interest the latter, are two chapels of the
_cinque cento_, (1508 and 1513) which however, are not very fine
examples of the style of that period. The stone-work is Gothic. The
piers were originally square, with a semicircular shaft on each side,
but these shafts have been cut away, in order to make a sort of pilaster
of the remainder, and the deficiency of strength is supplied by iron
ties. The building is further defaced by modern stucco and whitewash.
There are Gothic tombs of 1340, 1357, 1385.

The Church of Santa Chiara is also Gothic externally, and modernized
within. The front has not been completed, but as far as we can judge of
the intended arrangement, it was good. There were three doors below, a
rose window above, and a tower-like buttress at each angle. Internally,
it consists of a large simple nave, with low side chapels of little
projection on the sides, and a gallery over them. It is a very light and
elegant room, too light perhaps for a church. I suspect that it owes
much of its cheerful magnificence to the comparative smallness of the
lower order, the upper range of arches, in which the windows are placed,
thus becoming the principal. Perhaps also the same cause may make it
appear larger than it otherwise would, as the smaller arches are easily
compared to the human figure. It is certainly a finely proportioned
room, and though the details are not good, yet on the whole the parts
are well distributed. Here also are four Gothic tombs; two of them bear
date 1365 and 1362. The other two are without date, but one of them at
least appears earlier than the dated ones. They are all nearly of the
same style, and the ancient high altar of the church corresponds with
them. Columns, with angels in front, support the soros; above this,
under a tent, or pavilion, lies the figure of the deceased, and two
angels are holding back the curtains. In one of them a statue of the
Virgin is placed over this pavilion. A lofty tower, detached from the
church, exhibits the Grecian orders, and as it is said to have been
built by the elder Masuccio in 1310, the Neapolitans have claimed the
merit of being the first to bring back the Roman architecture. The
mistake is, however, sufficiently palpable; the lower part of the
structure is indeed of that early date, and in a very fine, bold style
of art, but without the least trace of Greek or Roman forms; the upper
is adorned with two orders; but it differs from the lower in the
character of the workmanship, as well as in the style of design, and is
considerably posterior.

The Church of the Trinità Maggiore, or of Gesù Nuovo, is principally
remarkable for having the face of each stone in front cut into a
pyramidal form. The inside is a mixture of plaster and rich marble,
excessively gaudy, and in the worst taste imaginable.

These churches are all in the same part of Naples, and are seen in a
walk from the Toledo to the cathedral. The Church of the Annunciation is
more distant. It is really a noble edifice, of modern architecture,
though the disposition is rather too complicated. There are three
chapels on each side of the nave, with doubled columns between them, and
a continued unbroken entablature. The plan of the choir is more
intricate, and reminded me of Santa Maria in Campitelli, at Rome. I
first saw this church on a feast-day, when it was adorned with hangings
of white muslin, and blue and crimson satin, forming a sort of lofty
tent over the altar, enriched with gold and silver spangles and
ornaments, and festoons of flowers. Neapolitan taste here seemed to be
quite at home. It was the prettiest thing of the kind I ever saw, for
the Roman hangings, though very rich, have a sort of gravity, not to say
heaviness about them, producing an effect totally different from the
gaiety and splendour of this decoration.

The Church of San Pietro ad Aram is not far from that of the
Annunciation; it is large and rich, with eight arches on each side of
the nave; this is a frequent number in the Neapolitan churches, while
those in Rome seldom have more than three principal divisions, with
perhaps a smaller one adjoining the intersection.

The Carmine is also a large and rich church, but inferior in point of
architecture. The _ex voto_ offerings are here very numerous. I visited
several other churches, in which there is a profusion of architectural
ornament, but the general character is that of dull, commonplace
extravagance, as devoid of imagination, as it is of graceful proportion
and good sense.

You will not suppose that I could reside at Naples, during the time of
the liquefaction of the blood of Saint Januarius, or San Gennajo, or
Gennaro, as he is called here, without going to witness this celebrated
miracle. I was at the cathedral on the 19th, but it did not succeed on
that day. The blood is exhibited for eight days successively, and it
rarely if ever happens that it melts every day: it would be making the
miracle too common. On the 26th I went again. There were many persons in
the chapel, but it was by no means full, and they readily admitted me
beyond the railing, into the inclosure by the altar. In a few minutes
the officer appeared with his keys, and opened the little cupboard
behind the altar, in which the blood is kept, and the priest took out
the vessel. I looked as attentively as I could, to see if there were any
appearance of ice in the cupboard, but I saw nothing. The outer vessel
is in the shape of a large circular snuff-box, with a glass top and
bottom: on one side is a handle, which appeared to be a hollow tube,
open at the bottom, and to have no connexion with the interior of the
vessel; opposite to this is a crown, and in the midst of the crown a
moveable crucifix, fixed only at the base, which falls about as the
vessel is held in different positions, but I do not think that either
the crown or the handle had any thing to do with the liquefaction.
Within this outer vessel are two vials, one very small, and spotted
internally with a dark substance which adheres to the glass, and which
may probably have been blood; this suffers no change: the other is a
larger vial, in the form of a flattened spheroid, with a short neck,
containing a dark looking substance, opake or nearly so, and forming a
level line at about two thirds of the height of the vial. After this
vessel was taken from its cupboard, it was placed upon a stand, and some
old women, who are said to be hired for that purpose, began to squall.
The silver bust of Saint Januarius was then produced, dressed in a
mitre, and other garments of the priesthood; and a cross suspended to a
collar of pearls was hung round his neck. This mitre was soon afterwards
changed for another, two nosegays of artificial flowers were stuck in
his breast; and thus adorned, he stood on the altar with his face
towards the people, during the whole of the ceremony. When this was
arranged, the officiating priest (I do not know whether it was the
archbishop,) resumed the vessel containing the blood, kissed it, put it
to his forehead, and kissed it again, as he had done on taking it out of
the cupboard, and began to recite a service. After the regular service
on the occasion, other prayers, &c. were added, since the blood shewed
yet no inclination of dissolving. Meanwhile the old women became more
and more noisy, their voices were elevated to the highest scolding
pitch, and one would imagine they were abusing all the saints in heaven,
instead of praying for mercy. At last the blood melted, and they began
to bless St. Januarius, and to weep for joy. The first indication of
fluidity was, that the dark looking mass slipped round, when the vessel
was inverted; the external matter then very soon became quite fluid, but
there was a lump in the middle which diminished continually, but was not
entirely gone when I came away. I was near enough to have touched the
officiating priest during any part of the ceremony, and therefore you
may depend upon this as an accurate account of what took place that day.
All the appearances seem to indicate the effect of increased
temperature, affecting, as it naturally would do, first the external
part of the mass. The chapel became very hot during the ceremony, from
the great number of people and of candles, but it is evident, from the
way in which it is kept, that this warmth can penetrate very slowly to
the vial of blood. One difficulty seems to arise from the unequal times
at which it melts, under circumstances apparently very similar. A
morning or two before, Mr. L. saw it performed in ten minutes, and yet
there were not many persons present; the morning in which I saw it, it
took thirty-five minutes, and sometimes it does not melt at all. The
part that became fluid was not merely softened. It ran quite freely, and
without adhering to the glass. I should conceive it to be some resinous
substance dissolved in spirits of turpentine, and if there were such a
mixture which would dissolve at uncertain temperatures, I should be glad
to suppose it to be that, because it is unpleasant to charge such a
number of persons, as must necessarily partake in it, with so gross an
imposture. But I am afraid my condition will be pronounced impossible.

Every Italian city has some peculiarities of custom or language which
are amusing to a stranger, though sometimes, it must be confessed, they
are rather annoying. Here about daybreak, or a little before, I am
awaked by a number of confused sounds, but I go to sleep again in spite
of them. My breakfast is usually taken at a coffee-house, and in my way
there, I discover in what these voices consisted, at least in some
degree; for as the language here is any thing but pure Tuscan, I cannot
pretend to understand the whole of it. Perhaps in all countries the
criers of goods form something of a dialect of their own, as in London,
where a stranger might well be puzzled to find out their meaning. And
then there are elisions, which are only explained by the action, or by
the goods exposed for sale. One is bawling “_quattro grani, quattro
grani_,” meaning that he has figs to sell, at four grains the rotolo. A
Neapolitan rotolo consists of thirty-three ounces, and amounts very
nearly to two pounds avoirdupois. The grain is a tenth part of a
carline, and that again the twelfth of a piastre, which wants a few
grains of a Spanish dollar. A grain is therefore something less than one
halfpenny. The coins which represent it may afford some new lessons in
arithmetic. Theoretically, two tornesi are equal to one grain. But we
have pieces of ten tornesi worth four grains, of eight tornesi equal
also to four grains, eight tornesi equal two grains and a half, five
tornesi equal two grains: when the coins are very numerous, even these
erroneous marks are better than none at all, as they enable us to
identify the piece with certainty. What is pleasant enough is, that the
copper coins of 1816 have the head of Ferdinand the Fourth, while those
of 1817 have, in the legend, Ferdinand the First, his majesty having
been graciously pleased in the interval to annihilate three of his
ancestors. To return to the figs, they are small, but very good, and
neatly piled up in small round baskets, with leaves between them, and
flowers stuck among them by way of ornament. Close by, another fellow is
calling “_tre grani, quattro grani_,” as the price of the different
sorts of grapes, which are disposed in the same manner, and with the
same attention to decoration. This indeed is quite the character of the
Neapolitan. “_O che bella cosa_,” cries his neighbour, and he has cut up
a melon into pieces, which he sells for half a grain each. “_Quanto è
bello_,” thunders forth the butcher, who admires with rapture the meat
he wishes you to buy.

You find by this time that my way from the inn to the Toledo lies
through a sort of market, but it is merely a short street of shops and
stalls. “_Carità, signore, carità, pell’ amore di Maria santissima._”
“_Signore, ps, signore_,” says the shoeblack, and he points to my shoes,
requesting I would permit him to black them. They have just been
cleaned; no matter, he is ready to clean them again. “_Andiamo_,” cries
a vetturino, or rather callessiere. I ask where we are to go, and he
runs over the names of half a dozen places in the neighbourhood,
Portici, Pozzuoli, Baia. I take shelter from all this in a coffee-house,
endeavouring to choose one where they are not roasting coffee at the
door, or preparing cakes of chocolate within; and where they do not
permit the customers to have their boots cleaned in the room. Perhaps
after breakfast I wish to go to some place in the neighbourhood, and I
have no difficulty in finding a conveyance. “How much,” I ask, “must I
give you to take me to Pozzuoli?” “_Tre piastre, va bene?_” “No,” I
reply, “it is too much.” “Well, how much will you give?” “Five
carlines,” is my answer. “Oh Sir! five carlines to go seven miles, and
stay there all day, and bring you back again?” things, by the by, which
he did not at all intend to include in his first bargain. “But I do not
want you to stay, or to bring me back, but merely to take me there.”
“_Una piastra, va bene?_” “No.” “Including _buona mano_ and every
thing.” I walk on. “_Ps Signore, otto carlini?_” “No.” “_Sette?_” “No.”
“_Sei?_” “Well, including the _buona mano_.” “Oh! you will give me a
bottle.” “Not a grain more, six carlines and nothing beside.”
“_Andiamo._” He brings up his little one-horse chaise, in which two
people can just sit. I get in, and he seats himself at the bottom, or
perhaps gets up behind, offering me the reins, which I never take, but
retaining himself the whip. This he smacks, and we set off at a round
trot, or perhaps at a gallop. At the end of the journey, he affects to
be very much surprised that you pay him no more than his bargain. The
next contest is with the Ciceroni of the place, who are ambitious of the
honour of serving you for half a dollar, or for less, if they are rather
thin of visitors; and last again with the vetturini in returning. With
all this, whether they succeed or fail, they are never uncivil. You have
to bargain at the shops almost as much as with the vetturini. “Amongst
so many,” said a French gentleman to me, soon after my arrival, “it is
not possible that there should not be some honest man; I can only say,
that during a residence of eight years, I have not had the good fortune
to meet with one.” “It would be very uncharitable to suppose,” observed
an English gentleman, who had equal, or superior opportunities of
knowing, and the conversation happened on the same day, “that among a
population of six millions, there should be no honest man; and it is
possible that one or two whom I know may be men of honour, but the
exceptions are so few, that it is fair to say, that from the king upon
the throne, to the lowest lazzaroni in the streets, they are all
knaves.”

Eating and drinking are more expensive here than at Rome, which is said
to be owing to heavier duties; but it must be confessed that you are
better treated at the _trattorie_, and better served. There is no
bargaining at these places; they have printed lists of their articles,
with the prices affixed. If you prefer ordering a dinner altogether, you
may have an excellent one for six carlines, or, if you wish to be
luxurious, for ten, when you will have eight dishes, besides various
little things to excite the appetite, fruit, and wine of a better
quality than that commonly drunk.

There cannot be a stronger contrast than between Rome and Naples. In the
former city every thing breathes repose; the streets are not deserted,
but you meet only with persons going soberly about on their several
occasions; and except perhaps, for about an hour in an evening in the
Corso, there is no crowd, no bustle. If you pass beyond the walls, you
may walk for miles along the silent and open roads of the Campagna, and
see only a few shepherds tending their flocks. Here it is one
everlasting tumult, every street seems crowded, the whole population is
out of doors, and in incessant motion. You look along the Toledo (the
principal street in Naples) and see nothing but heads, and here and
there a carriage passing among them at a quick pace, while the driver is
incessantly calling out “_Badi_,” to warn the foot passengers to get out
of his way. Accidents seem unavoidable, yet they rarely happen, and the
punishment is, I understand, very severe. The roads about the city are
everywhere full of people, the same incessant motion prevails
everywhere. The Neapolitans are very noisy, yet they are fond of
answering by signs rather than by words, and in the shops I find them
very sparing of their replies and of their trouble. When I have had
occasion to ask for anything not quite in common use, one shopkeeper has
replied very civilly “_No, signore_,” a second answers plain “_No_,” a
third thinks he has it, but does not know where it is. If I will call
again, perhaps he may find it; a fourth merely screws up his mouth into
a semicircle, and a fifth cocks up his chin, both of which are
Neapolitan negatives. However you must take care what you are about, for
another screw of the mouth means yes, and when they have to give you any
direction, they point with the chin. This language of signs and
inarticulate sounds is not that of nature, it is just as arbitrary and
conventional as that of words.

In an evening I often walk down to the Strada de’ Giganti, to watch the
explosions of Vesuvius. In the day time we only see puffs of smoke, but
at night there are frequent bursts of red hot cinders, like a great
Chinese gerb. They are often so abundant, that for a few seconds after
the explosion, the top of the mountain appears red hot. On passing Torre
del Greco one night after dark, these explosions appeared very
magnificent, and I could distinguish the individual stones, and see them
roll down the mountain, and hear the dull heavy noise of their fall like
distant thunder.

Other cities have beautiful walks in the neighbourhood, but at Naples we
find them within the town itself. It is a short walk from my lodging
into the Toledo, a noble street, nearly a mile long, for which the
Neapolitans are indebted to their viceroy, Don Pietro di Toledo, and
from thence I enter the square, or as it is called here, the Largo del
Palazzo, on one side of which is the royal palace, and on the other is
to be the new church,[22] built in consequence of a vow made by his
present majesty if he should ever be restored to his Neapolitan
dominions.

The Strada de’ Giganti issues from the square on the side opposite the
Toledo. On one side of it there are houses, on the other the royal
printing-office and the arsenal; which are buildings on a so much lower
level, that we overlook them, and command great part of the bay, and
particularly mount Vesuvius.

Continuing our walk, after a short interruption of the scenery, which
rather enhances than diminishes the pleasure, we arrive at Santa Lucia,
whence the whole mountainous, and highly varied promontory of Sorrento
is displayed; and passing beyond the point to which is appended the
Castel dell’ Uovo, we arrive at the Chiaja, a walk adorned with ilices,
sumach, acacia, and other trees; whence we may contemplate the
promontory of Pausilippo, and the rugged island of Capri almost closing
the bay. I give you the leading and central features only of each scene;
each contains something of the adjoining ones, and it would be difficult
to tell which is the most beautiful. In the midst of the Chiaja is a
fountain, decorated with the celebrated group called the Toro Farnese,
which was found in the baths of Caracalla at Rome. It consists of four
figures besides the bull, but has required considerable restorations,
and seems now to be suffering from the action of the sea air.[23]

Another walk, hardly beyond the city, will conduct us to Capo di Monte,
a royal palace, in a delightful situation, but which I believe has never
been finished. A pretty high range of sand hills extends, but in a
descending line, from the Camaldoli to this place, and hereabouts it is
covered with gardens and vineyards, and exhibits the most delightful
views of Vesuvius and the bay of Naples, and as the hill is very much
broken in its form, it offers also the advantage of continual variety in
the accompaniments and position of the scene. Sometimes we find
delightful little recesses in the ravines, home scenes, with little or
nothing of the distance, but most inviting retreats from the heat of the
day. Cultivation however covers every part so closely, that few of these
are admitted, and besides, they are supposed to be unhealthy, and the
present luxury would be too dearly paid for in a tertian fever. I was
offered a suite of five rooms, opening on to a terrace, and commanding
one of the best points of view, for fifty ducats per annum; there was
also a kitchen, and one or two other rooms behind.

The sand is in most places, where the hill has been cut into, firm
enough to maintain a perpendicular face. It has just that degree of
tenacity which is most favourable to the operations of the miner, and
accordingly, we here find the extensive catacombs of San Gennaro.

We might include in this walk the immense _royal workhouse_ (Albergo
Reale de’ Poveri), intended to contain all the poor of the kingdom of
Naples. If completed, the length would have been 2,370 palms, but at
present the front is only 1,560, and the number of poor is about 800.
They were to be taught everything, and since they were found unequal to
the lowest offices in society, an attempt was to be made to fit them in
their old age for the higher ones.



                              LETTER XLIV.

                        NEIGHBOURHOOD OF NAPLES.


                                           _Naples, 10th October, 1817._

HAVING in my last given you a little sketch of Naples, and of my mode of
life there, I shall now proceed to some account of its neighbourhood.
The first time of my going to Pozzuoli was on foot; I walked through the
Chiaja, and afterwards along a short street, a sudden turn in which
exposes the lofty entrance of the Grotto of Pausilippo. Just at the
point where this turn takes place, there is a little monument, erected
in 1668; which is introduced into most of the published views of the
grotto, but the entrance cannot be seen till we arrive at the monument,
and consequently their union in one scene is fictitious. Beyond this
point there is a high rock on each side of the road, not made
perpendicular by nature, but cut so by art, and on the top of the
left-hand precipice is the tomb of Virgil, which however I could not
distinguish from below; and another more visible fragment exhibiting a
portion of a vault, which is, I suppose, a tomb, but I know not of whom.
The grotto is at present about ninety feet high at the entrance, but
diminishes as we proceed towards the middle; it existed in Roman times,
but was complained of as narrow and dusty, and it was necessary to
ascend part of the hill in order to reach the entrance. Robert, King of
Naples, passing through it one day with Petrarc, required his opinion on
the tradition of the neighbourhood, that Virgil had formed it by magic
in a single night; but the poet replied, that he saw many marks of iron,
but none of demons. Alphonso the First lowered part of the road on the
side towards Naples, but D. Pietro di Toledo, viceroy in 1537, cut it
down to the present level, and consequently gave it its actual height,
and enlarged it considerably. The paving is still more recent, and it is
now lighted by lamps night and day. As I walked through it leisurely,
frequently stopping to look at the rock, and at the effects of the
external scene, as seen through the narrow and lofty arch, I perceived
nowhere any deficiency of light; but on other occasions, when I have
passed it rapidly in a _corribolo_, I was hardly able to distinguish any
object. From the termination of the grotto, after passing through the
miserable village of Fuori Grotta, a straight road between vine-covered
poplars, leads down to the sea-shore, which we coast for two or three
miles, to Pozzuoli; the scenery is beautiful, but the sea is shallow and
rocky. We pass under cliffs of lava, ejected from the Solfatara, rising
in broken masses immediately above the road. The town is on a projecting
rock, most picturesque in itself, and in its situation; and abundance of
fragments of walls and vaults are seen on its rocky and broken shores,
but they are mere fragments. Inside, there are some remains of the
temple of Augustus, which appears to have been pseudo-peripteral, as the
tops of six half-columns are seen in the wall of the cathedral, but all
the ornament of the capital is gone, and we can only just determine the
order to have been Corinthian. The architrave is of three faces, but
without intermediate mouldings, and there are no traces of enrichment,
either on this or the remaining course of stones which appears to have
formed the frieze; but these members are rather small, and the cornice
is wholly wanting. There is said to have been an inscription on the
frontispiece, but I could find neither frontispiece nor inscription. We
are also conducted to a statue of Q. Flavius Ma sius, a letter being
deficient before the _s_, who he was I cannot tell; and to a pedestal
dedicated to Tiberius, and supposed to have supported a statue of that
emperor. It is adorned by fourteen female figures, representing as many
cities of Asia, which having been injured, or destroyed by an
earthquake, were restored by him. There is a name to each, but I have
some doubt of their genuineness.

The most valuable antiquity is just out of the town, consisting of the
Temple of Jupiter Serapis, and warm baths attached to it. Romanelli
_Viaggio a Pozzuoli, etc._ p. 129, says, that by an inscription found
there, it is ascertained to have been erected in the seventh century of
Rome; but nothing of that date is now to be determined. You will find a
plan in the next page, which I have subjoined, in order to render my
description intelligible.

[Illustration:

  _a, cavern with a copious spring of warm water._
  _b, smaller spring._
  _c, cell of temple._
  _d d, rooms with perforated benches._
  _e e e, the columns which are still erect._
  _f f f, channel which carries off most of the hot water to the sea._
  _g g, additional channel for the hot water, formed by breaking through
    the wall at h._
  _i i, marble tubs._
]

The principal feature seems to have consisted of an open portico, of
four beautiful columns in front, and two columns and two antæ behind.
Three of the front columns are still standing. They are of cipollino,
containing crystals of quartz, and about 4 feet 10 inches in diameter.
The lower part of the shaft, for about 8 feet, is very perfect, for 5
feet more it is perforated in all directions by a marine shell-fish; the
upper part is without perforations, and considerably weatherworn. This
upper part, we know, was long exposed to the weather, the lower part was
protected by being buried in the earth till about 1750; but how the
central part of the column should have been under water, and perforated
by the pholas, while still erect in its place, is a standing puzzle for
antiquaries and naturalists. The cell was small, open in front, or only
inclosed by an iron grating, and terminated by a semicircular apsis,
containing one large and deep niche and two smaller ones. An upright
joint divides the circular part of the work from the rest, and it is
possible it may have been an addition. Part of the variegated marble
pavement remains. In front of each of the four external columns there
was a pedestal, probably to support a statue, and before the middle
intercolumniation is a ring, to which it has been supposed that the
victims intended for sacrifice were attached. The court in which this
portico or temple stood, has also been surrounded by columns, and
remaining fragments of these, and of their entablature, show that some
of them were acted upon by the pholas, in the same manner as the
principal columns; while others were perhaps thrown down and covered
with earth, before this singular phænomenon took place. There is neither
capital nor entablature remaining to the larger columns; the bases are
Corinthian, and from these, and the workmanship of the columns, we may
judge of the excellence of the architecture, both in taste and in
execution. The remains of the court are also of the Corinthian order,
but the columns have Attic bases, and both the style and execution of
the ornament are decidedly inferior to those of the principal building,
and announce a more recent date. A large circle of columns on a raised
platform, occupied the centre of this colonnaded court. They appear too
slender to have supported a domical covering, and some remaining
fragments of a circular entablature, which are finished alike on both
sides, induce me to believe that they merely formed a screen round the
platform. In front of each column, but not rising so high as the
platform, there is a pedestal, which was doubtless covered with marble.
In two of the spaces between these pedestals are as many marble
cylinders, which have been called altars, by those who did not observe
that they were hollow; and mouths of wells, by those who did not observe
that they were closed at the bottom; they are strictly marble tubs, but
as in many other circumstances of this building, we are obliged to
confess our ignorance of their use. There was a series of small chambers
round the court, which alternately opened internally, and towards an
external passage; the former uniformly exhibit traces of having been
lined with marble, which is not the case with the others. In some of
those at the western end there are a few steps, which seem to indicate
an upper story over some of these rooms, if not over all, but there are
no vestiges of vaults, or any sort of covering in any part. Opposite to
the principal columns there is a larger division, which probably formed
the vestibulum of the building. The most curious circumstances of the
plan occur in two rooms occupying the angles of the east side of the
building. In these we may observe a channel for water close to the
walls, then a small space, and then a smaller channel. Over the first
channel there was a continued bench, pierced with holes about 6½ inches
in diameter, and 16 inches apart, regularly spaced. The guides tell you
that the plan was to put one leg in one of these holes, and the other in
another, and let the feet dangle in the warm water below; but they are
not disposed in pairs. In the best preserved of these two chambers there
is at present a current of water in the larger channel, but this is
effected by means of a mere hole in the wall, which has been broken
through in modern times. The spring which supplies this, rises copiously
in an artificial excavation behind the cell of the temple. It is just
high enough to give a current to the water across the pavement of the
court, and it passes partly in this direction, and partly by a channel
cut for it on the south side of the edifice. The pavement is below high
water mark, and accordingly, we find it occasionally covered with water.
There are two other springs behind the cell, the water of which is cold;
all three are mineralized, but with different tastes. Much more of these
remains might still have existed, and perhaps enough to satisfy our
curiosity in every particular, if instead of preserving the objects as
they were discovered, the Neapolitan court had not employed them in the
ornamental architecture of Caserta. Other fragments were taken to the
museum at Portici, or to the Studii at Naples, where, standing entirely
detached, and without any memorial, they are comparatively of little
value.

The preceding account is the result not of one, but of several visits to
Pozzuoli. The first time that I was there, after leaving the temple, I
ascended the hill behind it to some ruins of considerable extent, called
with very little reason, the Temple of Neptune. They consist of two
massive parallel walls, each I suppose, 300 feet long. The space between
has been covered by vaults in different directions, and at different
elevations. The brow of the hill here forms a noble terrace, whence the
views are admirable. At one end of this terrace is a monument, probably
sepulchral, in the form of a little temple. The front was adorned with
four brick half columns, and there were five, or possibly six, on the
sides; but internally it appears almost solid. A little farther back is
the fragment of a room covered with a circular dome, which has been
named the Temple of Diana. All these are so buried among vines and
poplars, that it is impossible to obtain any general view of them; and
as for the architecture, none remains; they are mere masses of brick and
rubble walls, mixed with reticulated work. The amphitheatre is of
similar materials, and overgrown in the same manner. It has been a large
one, but its great object of attraction to the modern Italians is the
cell where San Gennajo was confined, previously to being exposed to wild
beasts on the arena. At a convent at a little distance a stone is shown,
said to have been stained with his blood. At the time when the blood of
the saint liquefies at Naples, the mark on this stone becomes of a
bright red, which, after eight days, gradually fades into a dull brown,
which is its permanent colour; there is no standing against so many sham
miracles. It becomes not charity, but folly, to hesitate in pronouncing
the monks a set of impostors. The views here are exquisite, for the
convent is just on the brow of the hill, and wherever circumstances
admit any command of distant objects, the landscape is most beautiful;
yet all this beauty is passed over as a matter of course, after a short
residence on the spot, and we walk about without noticing it, except now
and then from some point where it is seen to particular advantage, or
when some circumstances in the sky, or in the mind of the spectator,
awaken his attention.

Our next object was the Solfatara, evidently the crater of an extinct
volcano, or at least, of one so far extinct as to throw up no fire, and
to make no eruptions, but it still smokes, or rather steams, for what
arises is a vapour charged with sulphureous acid, which will moisten,
and not burn, a paper exposed to it, but which deposits beautiful
crystals of sulphur and alum on the borders of the opening from which it
issues. The steam issues with considerable violence and a hissing noise.
The Solfatara presents a plain, of a form nearly circular, surrounded by
steep broken banks. The soil is of a whitish clay, without grass, but it
supports bushes of chesnut, which also cover great part of the
surrounding banks, and great abundance of the _Inula viscosa_. The
ground sounds hollow, but this arises merely from the spongy texture of
the soil, for in digging for sulphur they have proceeded, through a
nearly homogeneous substance, to the depth of fifty palms, nearly as
many English feet, when their further progress was stopped by the
quantity of hot water. The sulphur seems more or less disseminated
through the whole mass of this clay. In the part which is dug out, it
amounts nearly to one fourth, and is purified on the spot. From the
Solfatara I proceeded towards the lake of Agnano, and the Grotto del
Cane, but the boy who had accompanied me insisted that these were not
included in the bargain we had made, as they were close by Naples, and
not near Pozzuoli, I stated my reasons for the contrary opinion, and
offered to pay him in proportion to what he had already performed, but I
found that I could not obtain attention, and that he still persisted in
his assertion, that these were close by Naples, when therefore I had
once made him understand me, I walked on without replying to his
remonstrances. This was a new subject of grief, which made him quite
forget the other, and he began to cry about it, “_Ma rispondete Signore,
parlate, per l’amor di Dio, una parola, una parola sola_,” finding me
inexorable, “_O sangue di Dio!_” he exclaimed, and many other
exclamations and invocations familiar to a Neapolitan, and his tears
flowed afresh in greater profusion than ever; but at last finding he
could make no impression, he became quiet, and did not even grumble when
I paid him; he would not have been an Italian if he had not asked for
more. He was a youth of about fifteen, who called himself Giovanni. We
parted very good friends, with a particular request that I would call
for him when I came again to Pozzuoli, which I have done several times,
and always have been perfectly satisfied with him. He is civil and
intelligent, and if he cannot cheat me himself, seems quite to have made
up his mind that nobody else shall.

The lake of Agnano is a pretty little circular piece of water, more
varied in its banks than the volcanic lakes about Rome. It abounds in
wild fowl, but is said to be destitute of fish. There are some remains
of ancient baths, which have been rudely fitted up for modern use, under
the name of Stufe di San Germano, a _stufa_ being a steaming place, as
opposed to a bath where you enter the water. A hot sulphureous vapour
issues from the rock, which is supposed in many cases to be very
conducive to health. After walking about 100 yards by the side of the
lake, where the ground was covered with frogs three deep, on which it
was impossible to avoid treading, we arrived at the Grotto del Cane. I
had refused the dog, but I suppose he does not suffer greatly, since he
accompanied us of his own accord to the mouth of the grotto. This is
merely a little hollow in the side of the hill, hardly deserving the
name of a cave, but fastened with a door for fear of accidents. I could
hardly stand upright in it. A warm vapour rises about eighteen inches
from the ground, which extinguishes a torch instantly. From this I
walked back to Naples, being already nearly two miles on the road, but I
shall here add the account of some farther excursions, in one of which I
engaged the corribolo from Naples, as far as the Arco Felice. We pass
under what is called the Villa of Cicero, at a small distance from
Pozzuoli. It only consists of rubble walls, partially faced with
reticulated tufo, and is certainly misnamed. We pass behind Monte Nuovo,
which as all the world knows, rose in one night. The present height is
460 feet, but it appears at first to have been considerably greater. The
old crater is covered with herbage, but there is one spot on the outside
where the ground is still warm. Beyond this hill we look down to the
left on the lake of Avernus, no longer a pestiferous lake which birds
cannot fly over; but as it is evidently one of the volcanic craters with
which this country abounded, one knows not what formerly may have been
the case. Although looking down upon one crater, we still seem inclosed
in a larger one, whose circuit is penetrated by the Arco Felice. This is
pretended to have been part of the circumference of the ancient Cuma,
but it is a Roman work formed of rubble-work faced with brick, wherever
it is not part of the natural rock.

The Citadel of Cuma is more than half a mile distant: in our progress to
it we pass the Temple of the Giants, a piece of brick and rubble-work,
containing a large niche, and two or three other small fragments of no
account. What remains of the citadel is a wall against a hill, in one
part of considerable height. It is composed internally of large tufo,
rubble, and mortar, externally of large squared blocks of a coarse lava.
There are various vaults and walls on the slope of the hill below, the
work of which is between the reticulated and uncertain; lower down
still, is the magnificent opening of the Grotto of the Sybil, which
appears to be a natural cave, but contains an ascending flight of steps
leading to nothing, at least there is at present no practicable way
beyond it, but there appears to have been a small opening now filled
with rubbish. It was perhaps by this passage that Narses took the
citadel, but it seems hardly large enough to admit a man, and more
suited for a tube by which the oracles were delivered in the temple
above. After leaving these objects, we proceed to the Amphitheatre,
which occupies a natural hollow in the ground. There is no appearance of
vaults.

Continuing our course to the south, we arrive at the Lago del Fusaro, or
Acheron: there is a singular contrast between these terrible names and
the lovely scenes which surround one; but the borders of these lakes are
still dreadful by their insalubrity; this is a reasonable mal aria, such
as one might expect from circumstances: a shallow stagnant lake in a
strip of flat and marshy land, stretches along the foot of the hills
parallel to the sea. The water is almost filled with putrefying
confervæ, and being used in addition, as a place for steeping hemp, must
be a disagreeable neighbour. It abounds, like several other lakes of the
same sort in this district, with fish, and oysters, which adhere to
stakes fixed in the bottom for that purpose: from this lake I crossed
the hill which forms the western boundary of the bay of Naples, and
without stopping at Baia, which lay close on the south, turned to the
north and visited the baths of Nero, and Stufe of Tritola: the road is
here cut in the rock for some distance, and nearly at the extremity of
the gallery there are several chambers cut also in the soft rock, and a
long winding passage, apparently artificial, which conducts to a pool of
hot salt water. You are told that it will harden an egg in two minutes.
I took off my coat and neckcloth and followed my guide. The heat at
first was almost suffocating. However, by stooping very low, I found it
more supportable, and afterwards a profuse perspiration relieved me, so
that while the man was cooking his egg, I was perfectly at ease: he took
with him a bucket, which he dipped into the water, and then put the egg
into the bucket; he held it there three minutes, and the white was not
entirely fixed, so that the temperature is probably less than 212, but
being salt, if it had really boiled it would have been more. As nearly
as I could estimate, the water here is at the level of the sea. The
baths of Nero are close by, consisting of a large vaulted chamber cut in
the rock, with some preparation for baths. I then came to the Lago
Lucrino, famous now, as formerly, for its oysters, and swarming with
fish, but it has been much diminished in size by the eruption of Monte
Nuovo. We pass along a lane, and through vineyards to the left, to the
grotto of the Sybil, that at Cuma being her town-house, and this her
country residence; here are a long gallery passing through a subordinate
hill, several chambers, and a bath with stone beds, where the vaults and
walls are covered with mosaics; all these rooms have about 18 inches of
water in them. The path afterwards ascends till it reaches a brick
archway, at which we stare with wonder, as its situation seems perfectly
unaccountable. It perhaps formed the original entrance, but at present
all direct communication with the day is prevented by the earth which
fills up the farther part.

All this is very near the lake of Avernus. Close on its banks are the
remains of a large domed room called the Temple of Apollo, or of
Proserpine; behind it are several small chambers. What it was, I cannot
tell, the fragments here are so numerous that the attempt to determine
their names seems a hopeless task.

My guide had been contending with me very strenuously, that the hot
water of the stufe of Tritola, proceeded from the Solfatara passing by a
natural channel under the sea. As I was walking leisurely back along the
shore, he desired me to put my hand into the sea, I did so mechanically,
and started back on finding both the sand and the water quite hot; this
was a great triumph for him, for he considered his position to be
perfectly proved. Nearer to Pozzuoli are the bases of a range of columns
in the sea; they are in a straight line, and apparently horizontal, so
that they do not give the idea of having slipt from their original
position, but rather of an elevation in the level of the sea: this is
not so mysterious as the circumstances of the columns of the temple of
Serapis, but even with these smaller things, it is difficult to hit upon
any theory which will consistently explain all the phenomena, and to
save trouble we cut the knot and say that the ground has been heaved or
depressed by the action of subterraneous fires.

On approaching to Pozzuoli we discern, projecting from an angle of the
hill on which the city stands, the remains of a mole which inclosed the
ancient port. It consists of brick arches, the springing of which is
below the usual level of the sea, and it is this circumstance probably
which has obtained for it the popular name of the bridge of Caligola. It
must have been a noble work, and is evidently a Roman one; once
consisting, as we are told, of twenty-five arches, of which we may
perhaps now make out traces of thirteen.

On another occasion I walked from Pozzuoli along the ancient Campanian
way, where the multitude of ancient tombs is very interesting, and
several of them in a state almost perfect:

[Illustration: Illustrations of tombs]

many of the urns remain, because they are in such abundance that no one
has thought proper to take them away: they are entirely plain. Much of
the stucco ornament and of the colours which enriched it, exist, as
fresh apparently as when first executed.

Instead of passing through the grotto of Pausilippo, we may take a road
which is called La Mergellina, near the shore of the bay, whence we
enjoy the most delightful views. The hill of Pausilippo, so named from a
village on its summit, forms a long narrow ridge, which advancing into
the sea, divides the bay of Pozzuoli from that of Naples. At the
beginning is a small church dedicated to Santa Maria del Parto, which
contains the tomb of Sanazzaro. This monument is decorated with the
figures of Apollo and Minerva, but the piety of the neighbouring
inhabitants has changed the names to David and Judith. The road soon
leaves the water’s edge, and ascends obliquely to the ridge of the hill,
nor is it possible to keep close to the sea, though there are several
paths leading down to it. The modern houses are very picturesque,
standing frequently half in the water, or on some insulated rock,
connected by an arch with the shore. About the grotto, and in the
nearest part of the promontory, the Roman antiquities are few; but as we
approach the point, they crowd upon us in rapid succession, baptized by
different names of temples, baths, fishponds, villas and schools.[24]

I returned over the hill of Pausilippo; for part of the way the view is
confined between the walls of the vineyards, but wherever there is any
opening, the scenery is delightful, including on one side, the bay of
Pozzuoli, with the islands of Ischia, Procida and Nisida; and on the
other, the city of Naples, which rising on this side on the Chiatamone,
and terminated at one end by the castle of St. Elmo, and at the other by
the Castel del Uovo, forms a most picturesque object. Beyond it lie
Vesuvius, the long mountainous promontory of Sorrento, and the rugged
island of Capri. I took the tomb of Virgil in the descent. It is a
small, square, vaulted chamber, which has been surmounted by a circular
edifice, formerly on the road side, but now on the edge of the cliff,
which has been cut down full 50 feet to make the present road more
commodious. It is very much ruined, and covered with ivy and creeping
shrubs, and all the ornaments and inscriptions, external and internal,
have been taken away.

I believe I told you that there were two Englishmen in the cabriolet in
my journey to Naples. The statement was not quite correct, as they are
Scotchmen, but we do not mind these little differences so far from home.
We took a boat together a few days ago to visit Baiæ. There were three
men, and the agreement was for sixteen carlines. The men were moderate
in their demands, for at first they only asked thirty carlines, and
perhaps had we gone without a bargain, would not have required more than
forty, and as a general rule at Naples, the man who does not ask you
more than twice what he ought to have beforehand, or three times as much
after the service is performed, has treated you well. The trip was
delightful, we set off about half-past eight, and touched first at the
point beyond Pausilippo. Virgil’s school is here, and several other
antiquities, christened the Temple of Fortune, of Augustus, the villa of
Lucullus, of Pollio, and the fishponds of the latter, where he fed his
lampreys on human flesh: but these pretended fishponds are long vaulted
chambers, and were probably reservoirs for water, like so many others
scattered in all directions in this neighbourhood. In a climate like
England, where the rain is divided through the year, such reservoirs
would be comparatively of little use; but here, where it rains in three
days more than as many inches, and then no more for several months, they
are of great value. A single fit of rainy weather, which usually lasts
from three to five days, might fill a large reservoir to the depth of 12
or 15 feet, and provide a small but constant supply of water through the
summer. There are other vaults scattered about in the vineyards, which
have not been reservoirs, for they have doors in them. Other remains
again are shapeless masses, or mere traces of foundations, some in the
sea, and some on land, and so numerous, so mixed, and so confused, that
it would be hardly possible to mark what belongs to one edifice, and
what to another. Some of them indeed are so deeply buried in the hill,
that they seem rather the productions of nature than of art: the
prevailing style of workmanship is rubble, faced with a reticulated work
of very soft stone, which is less durable than the mortar which cemented
it, and yet the mortar here is seldom very good; but even this
imperfection of materials enhances our wonder; where the waste is so
considerable, and yet so much still remains, what must the edifices once
have been! The hill consists of a soft, sandy rock, which has furnished
the materials of the buildings, and we cannot help reflecting, that one
stormy English winter would wash half these antiquities away. In one
place, a long vault is cut in the rock, which perhaps furnished a
subterraneous road to some villa. It is very extensive, but the earth
has fallen in, and rendered the farther part inaccessible. Leaving this
point, we passed by the island of Nisida, an extinct volcano, part of
which has been eaten away by the tides, and thence crossed the bay of
Pozzuoli to Cape Miseno. Here again we landed in the port, and examined
the remains of the ancient city. There are the foundations of a small
theatre and some other fragments; and at a short distance, on a little
peninsula, are some caverns called the Dragonara, said to have been made
by Nero, to convey the hot waters from Baiæ, but it has no appearance of
a water conduit, and was perhaps a reservoir. The lower part of one
opening, which is stuccoed, and appears to be ancient, seems adverse to
my theory, but there is now fresh water standing in some parts, hardly
if at all above the level of the sea. The port is very beautiful, but
shallow. Just behind it is the Dead Sea, and on its shores the Elysian
fields, which like so many other places about Naples, are covered with a
grove of vine-supporting poplars. After satisfying ourselves here, we
proceeded to Bauli, or as the boatmen pronounced it, Bagoli, near which
is the _Piscina mirabile_, a reservoir of water supposed to have been
constructed for the supply of the Roman fleet at Miseno. It is about 250
feet long, above 80 wide, and 25 high, or deep. The Romans seem to have
been fond of these large reservoirs, and always vaulted them over. Here
is a thick and very hard tartar deposited from the water over the
stucco, but the stucco itself is not particularly hard, and those who
tell you that it is, are speaking of the tartar. Thence we went to the
Cento Camarelle, which consist of one room above, and various branched
and winding passages below, all cut in the rock, but sometimes lined
with rubble-work, and always with stucco. Some have imagined they were
prisons, others fancy them to be substructions of some destroyed villa;
there is no probability that they were either, but I cannot tell what to
make of them. The situation is delightful, commanding the islands, the
Mare Morto, and the Elysian fields. On the road between the
landing-place and these antiquities, are many other remains which I
shall not attempt to particularize. Quite on the shore is a fragment
called the tomb of Agrippina, but it has rather the appearance of a
little theatre. There is also a so-called temple of Hercules, but a few
fragments of foundations may be named anything.

Returning to our boat, we proceeded to Baiæ, where are the temples of
Venus Genitrix, of Diana Lucifera, and of Mercury, names which at least
serve to distinguish the objects. The first is octagonal externally,
built of brick and reticulated tufo: it forms a good object among the
vines. Behind it are some small chambers ornamented in stucco, called
the baths of Venus. The Temple of Mercury, called also _Truglio_, a word
of uncertain derivation, is a large, domed room nearly entire, but in
which the ground is considerably raised. It is about 130 feet in
diameter, and is famous for an echo, which repeats a sound several
times, an effect apparently owing to the manner in which the dome is
broken: there are many smaller buildings about it, and it appears to be
a place well worth investigation. The reticulated work in some of the
vaults is covered with a stucco containing fragments of marble, which
seem to have been commonly used as a sort of gauge, when a marble lining
was intended. The Temple of Diana is also a rotunda, and half the dome
remains, shewing that there was no opening at the top, which there is in
the temple of Mercury. The hills seem to be cut away to make room for
these buildings, many of which are still half underground. They are
generally of tufo faced with brick, and sometimes with alternate layers
of brick and tufo.

Among all these ruins there is perhaps no one which individually would
make much impression, and the ornamental architecture has long
disappeared, but the immense number of fragments scattered in all
directions, keeps up a continual feeling of astonishment. Wherever we
see some mass of masonry, or some half-ruined vault, we are reminded of
Rome, of her luxurious senators, and of their eagerness to enjoy the
delights which Baiæ could afford. The recollection is principally of
selfishness, slavery, and cruelty. The stern virtues of republican Rome,
which have so much power over the imagination, are not here called to
mind. About Baiæ the peasants do not mention Cicero and Virgil, whose
names cast something of a redeeming spell over the ruins at Pozzuoli and
Pausilippo. All is vice, and the mind feels a sort of satisfaction in
the destruction even of objects, which considered in themselves, might
have been highly beautiful. Yet I doubt this. Architecture seems highly
sensible of mental degradation, and the caprices of an over-indulged
taste, tend rapidly to deprive her of every beauty. In point of scenery,
nothing can be more enchanting. The broken coast rising into rocky hills
of various forms; sometimes projecting into headlands, sometimes
retiring into charming bays, where the unruffled mirror doubles by
reflecting every beauty, presents an inexhaustible variety. It nowhere
rises so high as to be of difficult access, it is everywhere
inhabitable, and even now, everywhere inhabited and cultivated. The
loose, steep banks, which at Hastings or the Isle of Wight would only be
spotted with tufts of rank grass, are here luxuriantly covered with
vines. The bay of Naples takes the appearance of a large lake, and
Vesuvius, the bold and rugged promontory of Sorrento, and the high
summit of Ischia, form a delightful contrast to the milder beauties of
the near landscape. We did not get back till ten o’clock in the evening,
and could not at that time enter the harbour, as no boats are admitted
at night, but we landed at a part called Santa Lucia, which suited us
better.

I walked a day or two after this to the Camaldoli, a convent on the
summit of a hill, which rises above all the places I have just been
describing. The roads about Naples are generally in close lanes between
the walls of the vineyards, and the country is full of little villages;
but as I began to ascend the hill, the walls were exchanged for high,
sandy banks, sprinkled with bushes of chesnut. The more level ground is
covered with vineyards to a considerable elevation, but extensive woods
cover the higher part of the hill, and descend into the deep ravines
which intersect it. From the garden of the monastery, the prospect is
wonderfully fine, comprehending the whole bay of Naples, with the
surrounding islands and mountains, the ridges of the Apennines, and the
coast, as far as Monte Circello, sixty miles distant; yet there was an
appearance of haziness in the atmosphere. The lake of Agnano seemed to
be just below me. The fathers complain that the steeping hemp and flax
in that lake renders the air unwholesome; yet it is two miles off, and
the elevation of the convent must exceed 1,000 feet. Many winding
ravines penetrate into this hill, which afford a solitary walk at a
small distance from the city, and there are many little patches of wood,
besides that which spreads over the summit of the hill, which afford a
pleasant shade, and are interesting to the botanist by the variety of
plants to be found there. Yet in spite of the glorious views from some
points, and the romantic home scenes in others, the country about Naples
is not generally an agreeable one for foot rambles. It is too uniformly
covered, and I long at times for a quiet path, through pleasant meadows,
to a country church. Perhaps one of the greatest defects I find here is,
that there are no country churches; not that there are no churches in
the country; on the contrary, they are numerous, but they all partake of
what in persons we call shabby genteel; rags and lace: always a wish of
display. Sometimes they are fine buildings, and sometimes occupy noble
situations, with a platform in front, whence you have a magnificent
prospect. But they are never calculated to excite those ideas of
retiring, unobtrusive piety, which give so great a charm to our English
ones. I believe too, I miss the churchyards.

           “The rugged elms, the yew tree’s shade,
           Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,”

and where

        “Their names, their years spelt by the unlettered muse,
        The place of fame and elegy supply;
        And many a holy text around she strews,
        That teach the rustic moralist to die.”

Then the villages are not collections of neat cottages, each with its
little garden, and its trim hedge, but of large, shabby, forlorn-looking
houses, disposed on each side of a narrow, crooked street, always
uneven, often stony, the remains of a former pavement, and where high,
stone walls shut out all view from the traveller.

I have been once to Pompei, but I do not intend to enter into any
particulars of that place, till I have obtained permission to make
drawings there, and have seen it more at leisure. I will, however, give
you some account of my excursion. The first object on the road is
Portici, where the kings of Naples have erected a palace, and where
there is a museum, consisting almost exclusively of paintings discovered
at Herculaneum, Stabia, and Pompei; the other articles having now been
mostly removed to Naples.[25] Some of them are very beautifully
designed, and many of the ornaments are highly elegant. The figures in
general are spirited and graceful, but the drawing is by no means exact
in the detail.

In the old part of the palace, the apartments are very tawdry; one room
is entirely lined with porcelain, with representations of figures and
landscapes; the effect is ugliness, but those fitted up by Murat for
himself and his queen are very beautiful.

At Herculaneum nothing is shown but the Theatre, and that by
torch-light, as it is entirely subterraneous, and the whole consequently
cannot be displayed at once; but we trace the disposition as well as we
can, as we reach the different parts separately, by means of passages
cut in the rock. This is not a lava, but a hard tufo, formed by the
concretion of the small substances thrown out by the volcano, and
afterwards apparently consolidated by water. It has very accurately
adapted itself to the form of the walls and vaults of the ancient city.
Not only have the excavations ceased, but some parts which were dug out
have been filled up again for fear of injury to the town, and
particularly to the palace above.

After leaving Portici, the road is not good, but we pass through Torre
del Greco and Torre dell’ Annunziata, in our way to Pompei. The former
place is intersected by the streams of lava which have so often
destroyed it. They present a tolerably even surface on the whole extent,
but excessively rough and broken in the detail, which you see when you
are on it, but at a little distance the eye passes over these
inequalities, and the whole has the appearance of a field of rich soil,
cross ploughed, with the clods unbroken, and still perfectly naked. The
tower of the principal church is half buried, and in two or three other
churches the ancient doorway has been filled up, and the present
entrance is by a descending flight of steps, through what was originally
the large front window. Torre dell’ Annunziata is famous for its
manufacture of maccaroni.

Pompei lies quite beyond Vesuvius, and recollecting its catastrophe, we
are surprised at its distance from the mountain. We are not suffered
(unless a permission to draw have been previously obtained) to go about
without a guide, and these take you in regular succession to the
soldiers’ quarters, the theatres, the amphitheatre, the forum, with its
surrounding temples and public buildings, to several private houses, to
the street of the tombs, and the villa of Marcus Arrius Diomed. The
whole having been covered with earth, many of the walls look as if they
were new. We see almost everywhere ancient columns of stone covered by
later work in stucco; the first design and execution being much superior
to the more recent; a circumstance not to have been expected, as the
eruption which destroyed the city took place in the reign of Titus, when
the fine arts are usually supposed to have been in a state of high
perfection. An earthquake had considerably damaged the city sixteen
years before the fatal eruption which overwhelmed it, and we still
readily trace the half finished restorations. This helps us in many
cases to a precise date, which we could not otherwise have obtained. The
names of the inhabitants remain written on the walls just by the door,
but where the termination is observed, it is always in the accusative
case, a circumstance which has puzzled the antiquaries. The profession
is judged from the indications observed within. In one house surgeon’s
instruments were discovered, and it is remarkable, that the room where
these were found, has a large window open to the sky, and not under a
portico, which is the case with almost all the other openings in the
interior of the houses at Pompei: in another, wine-jars, still tinged
with the fur of the wine; in another, cups, and marks of these having
been placed wet on the marble-covered counter, has given occasion to
believe that the place was one where hot liquors were sold, something in
the nature of a modern coffee-house; in another was the iron-work of a
carriage, with the impression of the wood on the earth, and sometimes
bits of charcoal. We spent five hours in merely looking about us, and as
it appeared at the time rather hastily than otherwise. It brings
antiquity home to us, and produces a feeling of intimacy and sympathy
with it, which nothing else can give.

Another excursion not to be neglected in the neighbourhood of Naples is
to Caserta. Two architectural friends accompanied me on this occasion,
and we first visited the Ponte della Maddalena, an aqueduct, as you
know, across a deep valley, made in order to convey water to the foolish
cascade at Caserta. I believe the water does further service, but this
seems the principal object for maintaining it at so great an elevation.

We slept at Caserta, and the next morning, the 1st of October, went to
old Capua, where there are remains of a gateway, and of an amphitheatre,
of many tombs, and probably of some villas. The gateway, as was usual at
the entrance of cities, is of two arches, that those who entered might
not interrupt such as were going out. There are three niches, and
evident signs of a marble covering. The outside of the city-gates was a
place of meeting for the inhabitants, and a large portion of ornament
was therefore justly bestowed upon them.

After satisfying our curiosity at old Capua, we returned to Caserta and
visited the palace, an enormous pile of building, but with no effect
externally corresponding to its vast size. The interior corridor is
however very fine, and the staircase and the landing from it still more
so, but it is vexatious to reflect that much of the marble used here was
pillaged from the temple of Jupiter Serapis at Pozzuoli. The apartments
are not in general very handsomely finished, but some of them are
beautiful. In particular the king’s cabinet, with porphyry styles, and
green panels with black and gold borders, pleased me very much.

The gardens are not beautiful, and a feeling of dissatisfaction is
produced, when we see the enormous expense of the aqueduct, employed to
produce an ugly and ill-placed cascade. The palace itself is placed too
low, for though the ground rises gradually towards it for a great
distance, the slope is not of itself perceptible; and if it had been
erected on part of the still gentle, but sensible ascent behind the
present edifice, the situation would have been admirable, both for the
appearance of the building, and the pleasantness of the views from it.



                              LETTER XLV.

                           JOURNEY TO ATHENS.


                                                _Athens, January, 1818._

MY friend Mr. Sharp and myself left Naples on the 11th of October. We
had made a special agreement with a vetturino to convey us to Bari, and
had entered into a great many particulars which our experience on former
occasions had pointed out to us as expedient, but unfortunately we
either forgot to mention, or mentioned it so casually, that we could
neither of us be sure of having done so, that the usual expenses were to
be paid. I had been very much hurried the day before, as is frequently
the case with travellers just setting out on a new expedition, and did
not get to bed till past one. At half past two a man was sent to call
me. It was part of our agreement that we should not set off till five
o’clock, and this interruption made me very angry; I therefore scolded
the man and sent him away, but I could not sleep any more. This is one
of the usual plagues of Italian travelling, and a very great one it is,
since the time allowed for repose on such occasions, is seldom so much
that we can well afford to lose any of it. The vetturino had promised
that the carriage should come for us to the inn, but this part of his
bargain he now refused to perform. This formed the subject of the second
quarrel, and as soon as we arrived at the place from whence we were to
start, we disagreed about the expenses. I have certainly had more
exercise in scolding in Italian, than I ever had in English; scolding
and bargaining are here qualifications of every day necessity. We found
two gentlemen going the same road for seventeen ducats each, while we
were each to pay twenty-four; this seemed to indicate that we were
grossly cheated, or that the expenses had really been considered in our
bargain, and the vetturino was so used to lying reasons, that he never
thought of giving the really good one which he had to urge, which was,
that these gentlemen were only going to Foggia, about two thirds of the
distance. After a time all things were settled, only as a last trick we
found that he had directed the driver to demand Spanish dollars, which
are worth a few grains more than the Neapolitan piastres. The road lies
along a comparatively level country, among groves of poplars supporting
vines, to Cardinale, seventeen miles distant. Here the hills begin, and
Sharp and myself went forward on foot up the first ascent, but the road
winds between woody slopes, and we had no view over the country we had
past. The descent exhibits a rich valley, bounded by a great variety of
hills and mountains. Some parts are cultivated with corn or vines,
others are covered with wood, while occasionally, a bold and craggy
cliff gives spirit and variety to the scene. The road continues along
this valley to Avellino, and here ended our first day’s journey,
twenty-six Neapolitan, or about thirty-one English miles from Naples.
Yet the road is neither bad nor hilly. Five carriages full of company
left Naples together, which probably was the occasion of some delay, and
made it very difficult to obtain accommodation at the inns; but it was
desirable in point of security, as the road is not in very high esteem,
although guarded in the worst part by a band of sixty-five robbers taken
into the king’s service. On looking round at the different parties, S.
and myself decided that our own companions were the most agreeable of
the whole; of the two who were with us in the carriage, one was a
gentleman perhaps thirty years old, who had been an officer in the
French armies, and served afterwards under Joachim; for the latter
circumstance he is now dismissed, although his appointments were at
first confirmed to him by the present government. Our English laws have
decided that it is no crime to serve the king _de facto_; the restored
sovereigns of Italy have not adopted that salutary maxim, but in
punishing men for doing their duty, have given their subjects a lesson
that it belongs to them to decide who ought to be king; and have
rejected their best officers from the service. Our companion made no
complaints, but simply mentioned the facts as inquiries occurred in the
course of conversation. An Italian is almost always improved by foreign
military service. It enlarges his mind and improves his manners, without
lowering his standard of morality; he is generally free from the
puppyism, and violent _esprit de corps_, of which the French officers
are accused. In all parts of the world the middle classes of society are
the most moral; in Italy they are also the best informed, as instruction
to a certain point is of easy attainment, although beyond this point,
the progress of the human mind is checked as much as possible by the
religious and political institutions of the country, and if a nobleman
can read and write his own name, it seems as much as is expected. This
state of things cannot last, but the French, in their revolutionary
frenzy, put the lowest class at the top, and the remedy was worse than
the disease. Revolutions are essentially bad things; the chances are
terribly against a good ending; but a circulation of ranks, in which
superior talents and virtues among the people gradually advance
themselves and their families, while the higher classes, when
unsupported by personal qualifications, as gently sink again into the
mass, is essential to the sane condition of the body politic. Add to
this a constitution where every one has his due weight; and let me add,
that let his portion of political consequence be ever so small, no man
ought to be entirely a cypher; and national prosperity must be the
result. Our other companion was a brother of this officer, quite as much
as the other inclined to render us those little services in which a
native can so easily assist a stranger, not very well informed, but with
considerable desire of becoming so. In the _serpe_, or cabriolet, were
three natives of Livello, a town in Apulia, a little out of the high
road. One had been a soldier, the second had also, I believe, been in
service; the third was studying medicine at Naples. The most perfect
equality seemed to prevail among them; they were all young, civil, and
good humoured. Towards the end of the second day, the scenery became
open and dreary. Sharp said it resembled the Yorkshire wolds; I compared
it to the South Downs, but the hills were higher and not quite so naked.
We slept at Ariano, where the antiquities are hardly worth notice; and
the next day, a string of ten carriages set out together for mutual
protection in passing the most dangerous part of the road near Ponte
Bovino, where two carriages had been robbed the day before. Two young
men from Lecce who had their guns with them, walked by the side of their
carriages at the most suspicious spots, and there were two gens d’armes
on horseback, and another escort belonging to a carriage travelling
post, which here kept company with us. After the first mile or two the
road lay along a valley, sensibly descending on the whole, though we
occasionally had to cross little hills; these were rocky and bushy;
rough, but neither bold nor high, and there is a great deal of
uncultivated ground; this style of country continued to Ponte Bovino,
where on a former occasion our officer had been attacked by robbers
while he was sitting at supper, though he had a band of fifty men with
him. Here we could procure nothing for dinner but bread and
_mozzarelli_. These are pieces of curd, rather than cheese, from
buffaloes’ milk, which are very good when roasted. At Rome similar
things are called _provature_, but the name of these little items of
food varies in almost every province. At Ponte Bovino we leave the
valley, and on crossing the last hill of this part of the Apennines, the
whole of Apulia, a dull and naked flat, lay before us, with the high,
downy-looking Monte Gargaro in the distance. The third day’s journey
concluded at Foggia, which is rather a handsome city, and exhibits some
remains of Gothic, or rather of Lombard architecture in the cathedral,
and some good pieces of the _renaissance_. We parted at this place from
our agreeable companions, and at four the next morning, (14th of
October) we renewed our journey, along a deep clayey track, through a
flat open country, in a continued rain. Our remaining companions left us
at Cerignola, and we proceeded alone to Barletta, where we arrived late,
and had great difficulty in procuring beds. I could not see the English
consul, but as we learned that a vessel which we had some hopes of
finding here bound for Corfu, had already sailed, we determined to make
no delay, but proceed according to our agreement to Bari. The weather
during almost the whole journey was very wet, and still continued so,
but the scenery improves from Barletta. It is true there is little
variety in the ground, but it is less naked, and several towns, each
standing in a very picturesque manner on a low limestone point advancing
into the Adriatic, form a succession of pleasing objects. Their long
horizontal lines seem to unite them with the rocky projections on which
they are placed, and are finely contrasted with the tall and slender
campanile, which is rarely wanting. The road passes on the outside of
these towns, as in fact their situation places them rather out of its
line, and their narrow and crooked streets render it desirable to avoid
them. At Bari also a new road has been made outside of the town,
although a small circuit is necessary for that purpose. In architecture
Bari offers little interest, yet it is not without some buildings which
deserve notice. The town occupies the situation already described, of a
low limestone promontory, and the cathedral and one or two other
churches, boast of domes. These are near to the cathedral and to the
lofty campanile. They group remarkably well, and having no rivals, form
the town into a single composition from whichever side you consider it.
Another part of the line is well broken by the solid mass of a large
church dedicated to San Nicola, but this is a plain, lofty building
without tower or dome. Each of these churches seems to have been
designed for two towers, but the general effect is better as it is. The
cathedral externally is very much in the style of those of Lombardy, but
the ancient doorway has been removed; and the appropriate divisions of a
large wheel window which adorns the front, are also wanting, to the
great detriment of its appearance; but though with these and some other
accessories which have likewise been taken away, it might have been
rich, it never could have been handsome; and the flanks certainly were
neither rich nor handsome, nor even characteristic of a great public
edifice, a fault more rare with those early architects. Some smaller
circular windows have preserved their internal divisions, but these have
rather the appearance of perforations in a single stone, than of being
formed by intersecting rods. The campanile is a small tower on the top
of a larger one, attached to the end of the transept, which is itself
very tall and slender. Internally, the church has been modernized, but
something of the simplicity of the ancient arrangement is preserved, and
the richness of the choir, which is merely a large niche, highly
decorated, is set off by the plainness of the other parts of the
edifice.

The Church of San Nicola, the patron saint of Bari, is perhaps larger
than the cathedral. It has been left imperfect, but retains more of its
original structure. The architecture is Lombard, and we are informed
that it was finished in 1197. Some of the ornaments are Gothic, but
these may have been added. The shafts of the doorway rest on figures of
animals. Internally, we are reminded in some parts of the arrangement of
the church of St. Mark at Venice, but not of its rich decorations. A
gilt and ornamented ceiling of comparatively modern date rests on
whitewashed walls.

One little church at Bari has a small wheel window in the upper part,
and in the lower a doorway, which we may call Norman. The mouldings of
the jaumbs are continued round the arch without any indication of column
or capital, or any thing to mark the commencement of the curve.

The English consul at Bari assured us that a boat to Corfu would cost
three hundred dollars, as the usual price, but that with his
interference we might obtain it for two hundred and fifty, or possibly,
when we appeared to be startled at the price, for two hundred. We have
since learned that such a thing may be had for one hundred and twenty,
but the consul saw our anxiety to be gone. Sir H. Lushington had written
to the consul at Otranto, in order to obtain for us a passage in the
courier’s boat from that city, to Corfu. It did not seem quite certain
that our object would be attained, but we thought it better to take our
chance there, than pay such a price for a boat from Bari. The illness of
my companion detained us a month in the latter place. We hired a
lodging, and found a trattoria in the same house, which was very
convenient in some respects, but Bari beats even Naples for noise. My
occasional companions at the trattoria tell me that Bari is the most
stupid, ignorant, brutish, ill ordered, and ugly place on the coast.
Though a city of twenty-eight thousand inhabitants, it has no
bookseller, and a few volumes in a tailor’s shop, formed all the
literature I could find in the place, nor could either the consul, or
the doctor, help me to a single work. The former indeed was useful at
first to buy a little meat, or a fowl to make broth for S., but I found
afterwards that it was much better to take that office on myself, and
the superintendence of every other; for though I procured a man nurse,
and the old woman of the house and her servant professed to do every
thing, yet they did little but talk to each other in the highest
scolding pitch in the sick man’s room, when I was not present; nor could
I depend on the apothecary’s preparing the medicines, unless I stood by
to look at him. The consul came, and said _speriamo_ so often, that if I
were not of a very sanguine temperament, I should have been quite in
despair. I do not know whether in this he was prompted merely by
curiosity, or whether, as he found he could make nothing of us alive, he
hoped we might be more profitable to him dead, for he was continually
teasing me with his proposed arrangements for the funeral. I amused
myself as well as I could, studying Romaic, and sometimes collecting
plants, but I was sadly at a loss for books, since I had made no
provision for so long a stay. Towards the end of the time, I made an
acquaintance with a lawyer of Conversano, who with his son was staying
at Bari about some business; and by his means I procured an Ariosto, and
he also taught us to use the Italian cards, which served to amuse the
invalid while he was yet too weak to go out. At last we made our bargain
for Otranto (with the accent on the first syllable) for twenty-four
ducats. The journey was to be performed in four days; and we retained
the power to dismiss our vetturino at the end of any day, if we should
find the journey too fatiguing, paying at the rate of six ducats per
diem, and in that case one ducat additional. In the morning however we
had a quarrel, because he had promised a close carriage, and brought an
open one, that is, a four-wheel carriage with a fixed head and sides,
and curtains to let down in front; but at last we set off in it. The day
was fine, and even hot. For the first four or five miles there is an
artificial road, the termination of which was marked by a deep trench.
Afterwards we had merely a track on the native soil, which is generally
a rough uneven rock. The country is inclosed, forming olive-gardens,
with corn underneath, and vines and fig-trees. The former are kept
short, as in the south of France, and not trained to any support. After
a time we got into a more naked country near the shore, which you might
call a heath, only there is little or none of that plant, the principal
ornaments being the bushes of lentiscus, and of a shrubby thyme or
marjoram, and the leaves of the _Asphodelus ramosus_, and of the _Scilla
maritima_, but the flowers were quite over. The little town of Pulignano
is seated among plains of naked rock, intersected in almost every
direction by exceedingly deep ruts. I thought it impossible to proceed,
but our driver was very careful and very skilful. We slept the first
night at Monopoli, which is again among groves of olive-trees, and our
next day’s journey of thirty-six miles, was almost always in stiff clay,
which on the whole was a relief, for we were so sore and bruised by the
jolting of the first day, that I do not know how we could have borne a
second on a road equally rugged. The ground between the olive-trees was
no longer cultivated with grain, but covered with bushes of lentiscus,
phillyrea, myrtle, various species of cistus, and the _Quercus
coccifera_. A range of hills on the right agreeably diversified the
prospect, and on the left the blue waves of the Adriatic sometimes
appeared between the boles of the olives, and sometimes over their
summits. We observed neither house nor living creature for a large
portion of this day’s journey, which terminated at a miserable village
called San Vito. Among the olives we frequently meet with trees of the
_Ceratonia siliqua_, whose sweet pods are much eaten in Italy, but the
variety introduced from these sources did not prevent a feeling of
tiresome monotony, from the continued prevalence of the olive-grove. The
direction of the road is marked by two parallel, low, stone walls, but
for the most part it is quite impassable, and the track in use sometimes
lying on one side of it, and sometimes on the other, we frequently had
to cross the road and its boundary walls. The third day conducted us
from San Vito to Lecce, and in the wilder parts the abundance of arbutus
in flower, and loaded at the same time with its scarlet fruit, was very
beautiful. Lecce is a fine city: you would complain in England that the
streets were narrow, and laugh at some of the extravagancies of
architecture, but you could find very few places to come in competition
with it, or which had so much the appearance of a little capital. No
money appears to have been spared in embellishing the churches, and it
is a pity it was not spent under the influence of a better taste. We had
not much daylight to see it, but a beautiful bright moon, and a clear
cold atmosphere. The fourth day’s journey was a short one to Otranto,
mostly over downs or heaths, covered with low shrubby plants, lentiscus,
phillyrea, myrtle, pyracanthus, and different sorts of cistus, but at
this time of year the effect of all together at a little distance, is
much like that of an English common covered with furze, and occasional
bushes of thorn. On entering the town we crossed a clear little stream,
called the Idro, of the smallest size indeed, but it was the first
running water we had seen since leaving Barletta, a distance of a
hundred and fifty or a hundred and sixty miles. There is neither
albergo, locanda, nor trattoria in the place, but the consul procured us
a good lodging, and did all in his power to make us comfortable without
expecting to make a bargain of us. There is no fine architecture at
Otranto of any date, but there are curious hints, as indeed there are in
most of the towns along the coast. The large balconies which frequently
occupy the whole extent of the front, have a very good effect. The lower
part appears very solid, with few and small openings, and the balcony
itself generally partakes of the same massive character.

[Illustration: Illustrations of balconies]

The style of the upper part is much lighter. Sometimes the centre of the
building falls back in the upper stories, while the balcony runs across
the opening, and over it a trellis is carried, supporting vines, and the
contrast of colour and form thus produced is very beautiful and
picturesque. In some houses at Otranto this recess is arched over, and
this disposition is also usually ornamented with vines. These
contrivances for living out of doors are better suited to a warm climate
than to such a one as ours; yet I think some of these arrangements would
not be unmanageable in our country. There are a great many effects
produceable from open porticos and galleries, which give the Italian
architecture a great advantage. We copy such dispositions, but with us
there appears a want of good sense in them, which more than compensates
the effect of light and shade; while in Italy, the appearance of air and
shade is also that of comfort and pleasure.

There is an ancient church at Otranto, containing some remains of
classic antiquity, said to be derived from a temple of Minerva; but I
can point out nothing as particularly beautiful, except a fine marigold
window, which is probably of a later date than the body of the building.
The bases and capitals of the columns are at best of the lower empire.
Unfortunately for the lovers of romance, the castle is a commonplace
fortification of the sixteenth century, without any thing venerable or
picturesque about it.

We were conducted by our consul to an olive-ground, of which there are
authentic records of the planting, at the beginning of the sixteenth
century. The trees are therefore about three hundred years old; they
still bear, but are much decayed; yet I should think we have seen older.
At least we have seen much larger. The ladies in the south of Italy have
rather shrill voices, and in the lower class of females, when they are
earnest about any thing, (and they are earnest about every trifle) this
becomes quite a scold. I have already mentioned those at Bari, where the
maid-servant seemed always to speak in a whirlwind; and the woman who
took care of the house where we lodged at Otranto, and who cooked and
did every thing for us, was so strong in her expressions of gratitude,
that Sharp insisted she was scolding. The consul had received a letter
directed to me from Sir H. Lushington, but not knowing what to make of
the address, he had opened it, and contrived to obtain the sense of its
contents. It was fortunate for us that he did so, as an order from Corfu
is necessary, in order to be permitted to make use of the courier’s
boat, and he had forwarded the letter, and procured for us the
permission. After waiting four days for a southerly wind to bring over
the boat, and two more for a northerly one, we left Otranto and Italy on
the 29th of November. Our passage was performed in about thirty hours.
The coast of Albania, as we approached it, appeared to be composed of
high and craggy mountains, for the most part of a bare and desolate
appearance. Corfu at first also presents a ridge of craggy mountains,
but less high and more varied, and whose lower parts are covered with
olives. As we get nearer we distinguish lower ranges of hills between
these mountains and the shore. The town of Corfu stands on the eastern
side of the island towards Albania, and seems to be placed on the shore
of a noble lake. The situation is delightful, and the views towards the
island the most beautiful you can imagine: a very irregular chain of
mountains appears to run down its middle; nearer, are hills covered with
wood and olives, and the shores are varied with a succession of bays and
promontories, sprinkled with villages, and enriched with gardens and
vineyards. Across the water, the scenery is more grand, but monotonous,
savage, and desolate. The mountains form a more continued line, and
Tomarit, covered with deep snow, appears above the general range, but at
this time of year there are many patches of snow scattered over the
Albanian mountains. We were much struck on our arrival at Corfu with the
total difference in the style of architecture, as compared with that of
Italy; which, as Corfu is rather an Italian than a Greek city, we did
not expect. Instead of large rooms, and lofty ceilings, we found small
chambers, in which I can do little more than stand upright. And in the
principal streets the footpaths run under arcades, which are so low,
that in many places I cannot conveniently walk under them. The windows
are large in proportion to the scale of the building, and the spaces
between them, both horizontally and vertically, very small. In short,
the whole disposition is mean and paltry, and the materials are in no
respects better.

It is not only the houses which strike one as novelties at Corfu. Here
we first see the Greek dress in common use, and the full garments and
rich colours give an air of consequence, which however is perhaps, as
much the effect of novelty as of any thing else. It excites however, a
feeling something like surprise, when first we see men so dressed
employed in field labour, and yet on a nearer approach, we perceive that
it is as ragged and shabby as that of the lower classes with us. The
Greeks of the islands generally wear a sort of night-cap on the head,
and have abundance of hair, which is often brown towards the points, and
very unlike the fine black hair of the Italians. They wear a waistcoat
with sleeves, and over this another waistcoat without sleeves, of a
different colour, and both more or less embroidered; a red or blue sash,
and very full petticoats, reaching a little below the knee, and stitched
up at the bottom, except two holes for the legs to pass through. The
stockings are frequently white with red seams. The dress of the Albanian
peasants is much the same in form, but it is of coarser materials, and
of undyed wool, except blue and red threads, which are fastened in at
places, to serve as embroidery. The officers here have a very good
library, and I found what I did not expect, a copy of Stuart’s Athens,
including the fourth volume.

The chief produce of Corfu is oil. The Venetian government gave a reward
for each tree that was planted, and assigned a punishment for cutting
one down. The oil is said to be very good, and it ought to be cheaper
here than in the Neapolitan territory, where land pays taxes to the
amount of 27 per cent. on the produce, while here it only pays 3;
however, if less go to the government, more probably goes to the
landlord. The mountains seem to consist principally of limestone, and
from the specimens I saw of the rock and its fossil contents, I should
conclude it analogous to our chalk, but much harder. The lower hills are
sandstone lying on the limestone, and a siliceous angular breccia
occurs, whose position I could not ascertain; there is also a coarse
gritty limestone, and a slaty clay, with thin beds of sulphur.

We staid at Corfu only as long as the weather obliged us; and as the
strong, south wind which prevented our departure brought almost
continual rain, we consequently saw little of the neighbourhood, and
Corfu presents few antiquities. There are some faint traces of the
ancient Corcyra, and in its neighbourhood we observed a singular Doric
capital, the projection of the ovolo being equal to the upper
semidiameter of the column; it is of small dimensions. We also observed
a pilaster capital, corresponding in size with that of the column, which
put me in mind of some of those at Pæstum. I have no doubt that these
fragments are antique, but on the precise degree of antiquity I do not
pretend to decide. The port remains; a beautiful lake, surrounded with
every charm of cultivation, wood and mountain, but very shallow, and its
borders are said to be highly unwholesome.

Sharpe and I dined sometimes at the English tavern, and so completely
had we become used to Italian customs, that it seemed quite strange to
us to eat out of blue ware, to have soup, with only a little vermicelli
at the bottom, instead of being almost filled with it, to have fish
follow the soup, a little glass for the wine, iron forks, and to have
them and the knives changed with each change of plate. This is I imagine
not an ancient custom in England, for some passages in Swift seem to
indicate that it was by no means a regular practice in his time. We were
told that we should find this tavern very dear, yet soup, fish, duck,
shrimps, pudding, wine, and fruit, cost only half a crown a head, though
dressed at our own time; a privilege we have not been able to obtain of
late either for love or money. At the Italian trattoria a dinner cost
2_s._ 1_d._, which is dearer in proportion, both in the quality of food,
and the conveniences afforded.

We agreed with the captain of a small open boat to take us to Santa
Maura, or to Cefalonia, as the wind would best permit, and on Saturday
evening received a notice to come on board in order to start early in
the morning. There was no great comfort in such a sleeping-place, but we
prepared to submit. However, two officers of the Calabrian corps, who
were to be of the party, came to tell us that they had fixed not to
leave town till the morning. We ordered some provisions, but when we
inquired for them in the morning, we found they had been forgotten or
disposed of, and we were obliged to set off with a very short allowance.
The boat was about two miles from Corfu, and we did not leave the shore
till nine o’clock, in a dead calm. About eleven a breeze sprung up from
the south with dark clouds; I wanted to return, as the stormy weather we
had lately had from that quarter had taught me something of what we were
to expect. The boatmen however continued to row against the wind, which
increased during the day, and at dusk we entered a bay on the coast of
Albania, fifteen or twenty miles from Corfu, and moored at the back of a
little uninhabited island called _Agioneesi_ (Ἁγιοννησι). Our boat was
like one of the open fishing boats which are used on the English coast,
but more clumsily made, and with a sort of basket-work along the edge to
stick pegs into for the oars, and other purposes. A few moveable boards,
which covered a cargo of beans, formed a deck to stand upon, and when
moored, the boatmen took down the mast and laid it horizontally, to form
the ridge of a tent, which they completed with a sort of coarse flannel
and the sails; under this we crept, but there was no room to stand, or
even to sit upright, except in the middle. The night was wet and windy,
so was the next day, and our tent proved a very imperfect protection
against the torrents of rain. We got out upon the island in spite of the
weather, but it is a mere rock, covered with low bushes of myrtle, bay,
coronilla, lentiscus, arbutus, &c. On the top are a few fragments of the
walls of a ruined church. We saw abundance of narcissus and cyclamen,
but a few turnips or cabbages would have been vastly preferable to all
these vegetable beauties. In the evening we finished our provisions, and
the captain made a great difficulty of letting us have any more. On the
following night the storms were still more violent. Tuesday was no
better. Wednesday furnished some hopes, but they were soon disappointed,
and we were obliged to attack our cargo of beans, which were very bad,
and half eaten by weevils. The bread was all gone, and we had only a
hard and gritty biscuit to supply its place. On Friday the weather
relaxed so far as to enable us to change our position, and we anchored
under the main-land, which gave us an opportunity of sending for food to
a town (Gomenitza) about six miles distant, where we got fowls, a sort
of polenta to serve for bread, bad wine, and salted sprats. The captain
and his crew partook of the bread and wine without asking leave, or
thanking us. The fowls we took more care of. The change of place had
also enabled us to find the arbutus loaded with berries, of which there
were none on our barren rock. My companions told me that if I eat many
they would occasion madness, but I made what might be called a meal of
them without any inconvenience. On Saturday morning we left the bay and
the island, and rowed a few miles between a range of small islands and
the main. Beyond this shelter we found a swell which frightened our
cowardly mariners, and they turned back to a little creek, where we got
on shore, lighted a fire, killed, plucked, boiled, and eat three of our
fowls, and roasted the two which remained for the next day. On Sunday
the weather was beautiful, and the swell had evidently subsided, but our
Greeks would not move. Whether however, our wine inspired them, or some
other circumstances had given them courage, I know not, but at seven in
the evening they determined to set off, and we wrapt ourselves up as
well as we could for the night. We heard the clock at Parga announce
midnight, and found ourselves in the morning, proceeding towards the
outside of Santa Maura, in order to hold our direct course to Cefalonia,
but a swell again alarmed our boatmen, and at about ten o’clock they
changed their course, in order to pass through the channel between Santa
Maura and the main. It cost two hours to recover our ground, and I do
not know how many lies in order to escape _contumacia_, or quarantine,
to which it seems we should have been subject had it been known that we
had touched the Turkish shore. Here we quitted our boat, but we found
the captain did not go on Monday, though the day was fine, and the wind
was favourable. Afterwards we had again rain and south winds.

One of our companions in this voyage, a young Cefalonian, had a great
desire to be a soldier, and to march with a body of his countrymen to
Constantinople, laying waste the whole country with fire and sword. This
he was persuaded was quite practicable, as one Greek is at any time a
match for ten Turks. I think this love of soldiering seems to increase
in proportion as the nation has less courage. We found a little inn at
Santa Maura kept by a Sicilian, who complained of the Greeks as great
knaves. Our accommodations were not magnificent, but we did very well.

Santa Maura is a small wooden town on the shore of a very shallow
channel, which separates the island from Albania; so shallow, that the
usual boats are made out of a single tree, and preserve their ancient
name, _monoxylon_. They will only at the most hold two persons. This
shallow water, and the salt works just by, make the place very unhealthy
in the autumn. The castle is on a long spit of flat sand, which is
supposed formerly to have been an isthmus, and in order to avoid a very
long circuit in going to it from the town, we have to cross a bridge,
about three quarters of a mile long and three feet wide; it is without
any defence, and so exposed to the wind, that a picket guard in crossing
it has been forced into the bay, which, though not deep in water, is
very much so in mud. In bad weather therefore, the crossing may be
considered as dangerous, and one day, when we had engaged to dine with
Colonel Ross, the violence of the wind and rain prevented us keeping our
appointment.

We visited the remains of the ancient Leucas, or perhaps of Neritus,
where however there is nothing but an extensive line of walls, mostly of
Cyclopean masonry, but there is part of a tower built in parallel
courses, and in one place the Cyclopean wall is double, the intermediate
space being filled with earth. There are no vestiges of other buildings,
public or private, except a fragment of a little column, and in one
place a circular pit, widening downwards, perhaps a receptacle for corn.
I mentioned to you some openings of this sort at Fiesole, but there it
was among tombs, which would seem to indicate some other purpose, and
Clarke describes a similar pit at the top of the Mount of Olives, near
Jerusalem, on which he speculates largely. We could not find even the
fragment of a moulding. The situation is delightful, commanding
extensive views both to the north and south. Ithaca and Cefalonia, with
the Gulf of Arta, the shores of Albania, and the lesser hills backed by
the majestic range of the snow-covered Pindus, enter into the prospect.

The island of Santa Maura seems almost to consist of a single mass of
limestone, but it contains in its bosom some romantic rocky valleys, and
fine plains in several places towards the shore. The uplands are
generally cultivated in corn. The lower ground in the neighbourhood of
the town is an almost continued olive-grove. The temperature of a
copious spring, which is conducted to the town, was 62°, at the spot
where it gushes out from the limestone rock, that of the air being 55°.

We engaged a boat to carry us to Patras for twenty-five dollars, but the
bad weather confined us till the 23rd, when we went on board our vessel,
which was in quarantine. A contrary wind sprung up, and after spending
the night moored to a bank on the side of a salt lagune, we returned to
the town. The term of quarantine of the boat just then expired, and we
were enabled to get back to our old quarters. On the 28th we again got
into motion, and made about forty miles that day. At night we brought up
under an uninhabited island called Scrofa, which, though somewhat larger
and higher, could not fail to put us in mind of our old shelter at
Agioneesi, especially as we were detained there all the 29th by easterly
winds. On the 30th the wind was not unfavourable, but the boatmen
thought the swell too much for them. About noon we persuaded them at
least to get out to see how it was. Our track lay round a flat sandy
point, where the waves ran very high and sharp; the sailors were steady
and skilful, but our boat seemed hardly equal to it. With such a wind
they said it would be impossible to land at Patras, and therefore, after
sailing about two hours, we stopped among the shallows and sand banks at
the mouth of the Aspropotamos, about eight miles from Messolungi, and
fifteen from Patras. The next morning a favourable breeze encouraged us
to proceed, but it soon changed, and drove us back again. After a little
interval the westerly wind again sprung up, and we made a second attempt
with the same result, but at last all wind ceased, and we rowed across
to Patras. It was too late to seek after a lodging, but we applied to
the consul, Mr. Cartwright, as we had had quite enough of the boat, and
he very hospitably took us in himself. Three English travellers were
also in his house, and the contrast in passing unexpectedly into
polished society, with all its comforts and conveniences, immediately
from our rough accommodations, was very striking.

A favourable westerly wind again enticed us to try our fortune at sea,
but with our usual ill success, as we had to stop at Vostizza several
days, with only the amusement of advancing for a few miles in the
morning and returning again in the evening. At last, our patience being
exhausted, we continued our journey by land. Our luggage had increased
during our progress, and our desire on leaving Naples to reduce it as
much as possible, had rendered it more inconvenient. We had no Greek
servant, we could not speak the language, and were totally unacquainted
with the practices of the country. These considerations had made us more
willing to accept the boat which was offered to us at Patras, but
fortunately we had given permission to a Greek to accompany us, who was
going, as he said, to procure the payment of a debt from the bey of
Corinth, and we found him very useful.

Vostizza is seated on the brow of a long ridge of gravel hill, which,
high and bluff towards the west, gradually loses itself in the plain
towards the east. This gravel is in some parts almost wholly composed of
fragments of limestone, in others, siliceous stones predominate; they
are of various sizes, more or less rounded, and form sometimes a loose
gravel, and sometimes are cemented into a hard rock. The soil is very
cavernous, probably from this difference of structure, and particularly
so towards the east end, where the town of Vostizza stands. At the foot
of the cliff there is a copious spring of good water, and by it a
magnificent plane-tree. Vostizza has lately suffered by an earthquake,
and the sea on this occasion is said to have bathed the lower branches
of this tree, an elevation of about fifteen feet from its present level.
Another range of hills behind Vostizza, higher and bolder than the
gravelly eminences above-mentioned, I conjecture, from its forms, to be
of sandstone, and again, behind these, there is a third range, more
lofty and compact, which is covered with pines, and sprinkled with snow.
The opposite hills of Albania are wild and dreary. Behind them we
distinguished Parnassus, a ridge of the purest white.

We were glad to leave this place, and at last, on the 11th we set off
with four mules towards Corinth. The day was fine, the scenery
delightful, and the road for horses pretty good; we were obliged to turn
out of our way towards Megaspeli, as the river which descends from it
was unfordable, and it was necessary to seek the assistance of a bridge.
We were far from regretting this interruption, as it brought us to the
mouth of a most beautiful romantic valley, with more of an Alpine than
an Apennine character, richly wooded even along the summits of the lofty
crags, and bounded at the distance by snowy mountains. Afterwards we
passed along a delightful natural terrace, which seems made for a road,
and after recurring again for some time to the shore, crossed the mouth
of a fine valley, which seems blocked up by a singular castle-like
mountain, and thence, on a slope covered with _Pinus halepensis_,
_Arbutus Andrachne_ and _Unedo_, and a vast variety of evergreen shrubs.
The hollows sheltered the oleander, and the crags above were covered
with pines. At night we reached a khan, that is, a room with a good wood
fire, which was kept up all night, and in which we found a mat, whereon
we laid our quilts and reposed ourselves. The next day also we passed
some beautiful spots. In one of these we had the scenery of a
pleasure-ground, a beautiful lawn with scattered trees and shrubs; and
the torrent beds covered with a fine sand, looked like winding, gravel
walks beautifully fringed with oleander and other plants, but on the
whole, the journey was less pleasant than that of the day before.

As we proceeded, Parnassus became a very conspicuous object on the
opposite shore, and Helicon of much inferior elevation, looked when we
first distinguished it, like a sculptor’s lion couchant without a head.
I gathered the fruit of the myrtle-groves which we often had to
traverse, and found the flavour much better than I expected. That of the
_Arbutus Andrachne_ is smaller and more insipid than the berries of the
common arbutus, and these are not very good.

The third day was very cold, and the last half of the way over a bleak
and naked plain to Corinth. We arrived there about four o’clock, and
obtained a lodging at the house of a _Fourlan_ physician, Andrea
Simonetti, who supplied us with a very comfortable room, and with
mattresses, and some other luxuries to sleep on; he makes no difficulty
of receiving money, which is much better than if one had to pay him in
presents, but he is rather greedy, and his son still more so. The wife
of the latter secreted a silk handkerchief, which I did not discover
till my arrival here. The old man had another son who died last summer;
he praised him to us, and declared that his death had deprived him of
all comfort; “_c’è un altro, ma—_” This _ma_ was very expressive, and I
could not help pitying him.

You may suppose we hastened to the temple figured in Stuart, the first
building we saw of Grecian times. In his days eleven columns were still
standing. Now there are only six, but it is yet a magnificent ruin, and
pleased me better than I expected, for I had anticipated a heaviness in
the enormously projecting capitals, which is not found in them. The
material is sandstone, but it has been covered by a thin coat of hard
stucco, of which traces are visible in some of the flutes, on one
capital, and on the internal face of the architrave. In this stucco,
instead of sand, the workmen appear to have used coarsely pounded
crystals of calcareous spar, whose fragments still glitter in the sun.
The columns, I think, have had an entasis, but the angles of the flutes
are so much broken that it is impossible to be very decided on the
subject. There are fragments of columns on a much larger scale in
another place, and several portions of brick buildings, which must
probably be attributed to Roman times. One to the east of the present
town, of mixed brick and stone, has been an octagonal, domed chamber,
with eight niches. In this direction there is also an amphitheatre sunk
into the ground, not very large, nor magnificent. We traced the ancient
city walls for some distance, but they present no particulars of much
interest.

No traveller is permitted to pass the Isthmus by land without an order
from the pashaw of Tripolizza, which it would require eight days to
obtain. We were therefore once more obliged to try the sea, and leaving
Corinth on the afternoon of the 15th, we rode to Cenchrea, and after
some difficulties with the custom-house officer, stretched ourselves in
the boat, and were awakened next morning at four o’clock with the
intelligence that we were in the harbour of the Piræus. The custom-house
again was the source of some delay, but in the mean time we sent up to
the city for horses, and before ten arrived at Athens.



                              LETTER XLVI.

                                ATHENS.


                                               _Athens, February, 1818._

I GAVE you in my last an account of our journey from Naples to Athens,
and before I plunge into antiquities, I will complete the sketch with
the description of our accommodations and manner of life here. Our
intention was to have gone to the French convent, but we found the rooms
occupied. The padre, for there is but one, recommended us to a lodging
belonging to a man called Giacomo, and we slept there one night, but
afterwards established ourselves more comfortably in the house of
Demetri Zografo, where we hired two rooms for fifteen dollars per month.
The largest is about 22 feet long and 12 wide, with a divân at one end,
and six low windows, all at the upper part of the room, the object being
apparently, that those who are seated on the divân may commodiously look
out of window in all directions. These windows have glazed wooden
casements, which are only slightly put up during the winter, and meant
to be altogether taken away in the summer, and outside shutters, the
fastenings of which are apt to give way in a high wind. Above these
windows runs a continued shelf all round the room, and higher than this,
and over the windows already mentioned, are six other small windows,
with panes of coloured glass disposed in an ornamental pattern, and
protected on the outside by another casement of horn. These openings are
not intended either to give light or air, but merely as ornaments. Every
_genteel_ room in Turkey is divided into two parts; one for the company,
the _dais_ of our ancestors, and the other for the servants. In general
there is a step from one to the other, which does not exist in our
apartment, but the distinction is completely marked in the ornaments.
The small cornice extends no farther than the more honourable portion,
and the arabesque pattern of the ceiling, which is painted on a dark
ground, corresponds to this part only. In the lower part of the room is
a lamp; it is of glass, in the shape of an inverted sugar loaf, and
nearly full of water, a little oil swims over this, and in the oil three
corks sustain a floating wick. This is lighted as soon as it is dark,
whether I am at home or not, for it is not lighted on my account, but in
honour of a picture of the Virgin on the shelf over my bed. The servant
moreover, comes in occasionally with an incense-pot, which she waves
before the painting, muttering what is probably a prayer, at the same
time.

This is our common room, and I have had a bed made up for me in one
corner of it, the other room is much smaller, with a divân on three
sides, but rather narrow for a bed, and S. is obliged to bolster it out
with cushions. There is no fireplace in either, and we use charcoal to
warm ourselves, nor is there any danger of suffocation from this
practice, for there is no ceiling below, and the boards of the floor are
not so closely joined, but that the fixed air may leak through them as
fast as it descends. Both rooms open into a gallery, or perhaps you
would call it a shed, which fronts the north; and from whence we have a
view of the temple of Theseus, of the plain of Athens, the olive-grove,
the banks of the Cephisus, and beyond these of the mountains of Parnes,
Corydalus, and Cithæron. A solitary palm-tree commemorated by Lord
Byron, also adorns the prospect. On the opposite side we can peep out of
our windows, and see the Acropolis, or at least the rock on which it
stands, and nearer to us the bare Areopagus; for half the ancient city
was erected on barren limestone rocks, on which we still trace almost
everywhere the marks of human labour, for the foundation of public and
private buildings, for receptacles of grain, and probably for reservoirs
of water.

Our eating here is nearly the same as in Italy. Our host, who is also
our cook, adds lemon juice and eggs to the soup, which is a very
laudable addition, and generally gives us a sauce of these materials to
our boiled meat. We have good cauliflowers, generally brought in with a
little grated cheese over them. The cabbages also are good, but lettuce
and celery are very poor. Jerusalem artichokes supply the place of
potatoes, and these are all the vegetables that Athens furnishes at this
season. At first we found it difficult to have any milk, either morning
or evening, but that is now more abundant, and we have even added to our
breakfast-table, a dish called yergouti (γεργουτι), which is sour goat’s
milk curd, and I think it very good. The honey also is excellent. Our
evenings are lighted by long, wax candles, very thick at one end, and
very thin at the other, so that they would well deserve the name of
tapers.

You know the situation of Athens. The Acropolis crowns an abrupt and
rocky hill about five miles from the sea, and the ancient city spread
round its base, and over some other hills of the same nature to the
south and west, but the modern town is clustered principally on the
north-eastern side of the citadel. These hills, though steep and rugged
towards the top, slope gently at their bases into a fertile plain,
watered by the Cephisus, at the distance of about half a mile from
Athens. The upper part of this low tract is covered with olives; but
towards the Piræus, (which stands on a separate cluster of eminences) it
is marshy. The Ilissus passes close by the town among the hills, but
even at this season it is a dry channel, without water except at one
place, where a little spring rising at the foot of some marble rocks
which cross the channel, is supposed to be the fountain Callirrhoe or
Enneacrune, and serves for one of the washing-places of the inhabitants;
but whether the name be rightly given to it or not, it is I believe only
the reappearance of a little thread of water which the hollow actually
contains a little higher up, and is speedily lost again amongst loose
stones and rocks of mica slate. Yet in this part the rock is marked by
several artificial channels for water, and evidently polished by its
action, and there are likewise other similar channels higher up, and
unconnected with the bed of the river. The opposite slope of the ravine
was once crowned by the little Ionic temple, published in the first
volume of Stuart’s Athens; but that has now disappeared, nothing
remaining but the foundations of the semicircular apsis, added to make
it a church. About a mile above the town, a small current is led away
from the bed of the Ilissus, to supply modern Athens, but all together
would fall far short of the contents of a London gutter after a shower.
The Cephisus is said to present in its upper part a copious and
beautiful stream of excellent water, but it diminishes as it descends,
partly from being diverted for the purposes of cultivation, and partly
perhaps from the loose nature of the soil. We were told that even in
winter this larger river does not reach the sea, but this is calumny,
for it forms a pool between Cape Colias and Munychia, whence a stream
passes into the Saronic gulf, which I could hardly cross without getting
wetshod.

Returning to the ground at Athens, we find the Areopagus on the
north-western descent of the Acropolis, and forming an appendage to it:
a hollow to the south-west of these eminences, separates these from a
long hill, divided into three summits, now called the Musæum, the Pnyx,
and the Lycabettus; for the first name we have sufficient authority, the
second is not so clear, and for the last, I can find no reason, except
that we have the name in ancient authors, without knowing to what
eminence it was applied, and here is a hill without any other name; but
I shall use all these names, and some other doubtful ones, just as if
they rested on the most perfect chain of evidence, for the sake of
convenience.

The Musæum is very nearly as high as the Acropolis; the other summits
are lower: on the opposite side of the town, but at a greater distance,
the hill of St. George, supposed to be the ancient Anchesmus, overtops
them all; and its narrow summit is crowned with a small chapel.

To the south-east, on the other side of the Ilissus, our views are
bounded by the great, rounded mass of Hymettus; while from various
points looking up the stream, we perceive the more lofty, and more
picturesquely formed Pentelicus. Across the plain, and the Cephisus, is
the long range of Parnes, ending in the lower hills of Corydalus and
Aigialos; but if you wish to complete the picture, as seen from the
eminences about Athens, you must add to these objects the Saronic gulf,
with its surrounding mountains, the islands of Egina and Salamis, the
mountains of Megara, Cithæron, the Acropolis of Corinth, and mount
Cyllene; names crowded with recollections which spread a charm on every
spot over which the eye wanders.

The rock here is generally limestone, but not all of one formation; in
the bottoms, and on the high mountains, it is united with mica slate.
Anchesmus, and the hills about Athens, if not of mountain lime, are
perhaps oolitic, though the stone is very hard and compact, and
frequently somewhat translucent, and I have not been able to discover
any shells in it. There is a conglomerate, where fragments of primitive
rocks are united by a calcareous cement, which seems to contain
magnesia, and may correspond with our magnesian limestone, while the
hills of the Piræus are of a soft calcareous sandstone, containing
shells of a much later period. A sandstone at the base of the Musæum is
perhaps gray wacke, but I will not detain you on a subject of which I
understand so little.

I have given you this description of the country, in order not to
interrupt by it the account of its antiquities, to which I will now
proceed. I had formed the most sanguine expectations of the beauty of
the edifices, and I was not disappointed. First-rate productions never
disappoint us, if we have formed a tolerably precise idea of what we are
to see. It is the expectation, not of the object, but of being surprised
and delighted, without any distinct notion of why this is to happen,
which is disappointed; and indeed the state of mind seems almost to
ensure that feeling, since it most readily takes place with those whose
previous habits have not led them to feel much interest in the objects
they are about to visit.

At Rome we see abundance of antiquities scattered about the streets, or
collected in museums, or still standing in their original situations;
and many of these are very beautiful both in design and workmanship.
About Naples too, there is an abundance of ancient fragments, but for
the most part, what remain on the ground are mere walls and vaults of
coarse stone, too imperfect to exhibit design, and entirely without
anything that may be called architecture; one may ramble for hours among
ruins without meeting with even a fragment of a column, or a bit of
marble. The temple at Pozzuoli forms an exception, but there, though you
have many of the parts, you have very little of the effect of the
architecture. The same is in some degree true of Pompei, arising from
the total deficiency of the superior parts, yet Pompei, as far as it
goes, is an admirable school of architecture, exhibiting the manner in
which the ancients, at least the Italian Greeks, applied their style of
building to private habitations. But there is nothing at Pompei of the
higher and more perfect style; and in general we find the execution very
indifferent, and in some instances miserably bad, even in their temples.
From Naples to Corfu, we meet with, I may almost say, no antiquities. In
the Ionian islands we may seek out with difficulty a few remaining
portions of a wall, a bit or two of a cornice, and one or two
inscriptions. At Patras they shew a single Corinthian capital of
indifferent workmanship; and in the road thence to Corinth, there is
nothing to be met with but one or two insignificant scraps of wall. At
the time therefore of our arrival at Corinth, we had experienced a long
abstinence from the principal object of our pursuit, and we were pleased
merely with the sight of the fragments of marble which are abundantly
scattered over the fields in the neighbourhood of that city, and still
more with one or two pieces of Corinthian shafts in the town, and with
the six Doric columns still erect, which have formed part of a temple.
At Cenchrea we were too late to see anything, and too impatient to get
to Athens, to stop to look about us at the Piræus. From that port we
could just see the top of the temple of Minerva in the Acropolis, a
sight which stimulated us still farther, and we were vexed that the
necessity of attending to our luggage would not permit us to proceed
rapidly. There are two roads into the town. We took the right-hand,
leaving on the left the monument of Philopappus, which has at a distance
merely the effect of a tower. The first object that struck our view was
the Temple of Jupiter Olympus, of which there remain sixteen lofty
columns still erect, and in their places. Except the Pantheon, Rome
offers no ruin of equal consequence, of good architecture, for neither
the Coliseum, nor any other theatre, nor amphitheatre in Italy can come
under that description. In rambling about to find a lodging, I passed by
the Monument of Lysicrates, the exquisite beauty of whose proportions
and details are sadly spoilt by its present situation, where the wall of
the court-yard of the monastery, joins that of the monastery itself, so
that one bit of it is seen in the street, one within the court, and
another in the inside of the house. You may imagine how this must spoil
a monument seven feet in diameter. In our first walk we passed by the
Tower of the Winds, now a place for the performance of dancing
dervishes, but incumbered with other buildings; and the mouldings and
sculptures of which are rather clumsy in design, as well as in the
execution. Behind this building there are remains of the aqueduct which
supplied the Clepsydra. Stuart has published it without being aware of
its purpose, and he has omitted to notice some remarkable peculiarities.
Each pier is of one stone, and the pilasters are cut upon it, so as to
lean inwards, as if to oppose the lateral thrust of the arch, a
precaution quite unnecessary as each arch is likewise formed out of a
single stone. Soon afterwards we came to the Portico of the market,
which though not to be compared to the best examples here, is yet a very
handsome building. We then passed by the building called by Stuart the
Stoa, or Portico; but which now seems more generally considered as the
Pantheon of Hadrian. The columns have more colour than those of the
temple of Jupiter, but they appear to be of the same material; the
capitals are poor in design, and the entablature badly composed, but it
is an antique, and we are sensible that it must have been a splendid
building. All these occur within the distance of a few paces: not much
farther is a fragment, supposed to be the Gymnasium, built by Ptolemy,
but this is merely a portion of marble wall.

After these comes the Temple of Theseus, and here I must detain you a
little; it is an almost perfect building of the best style of Grecian
art; supposed to be just prior to the administration of Pericles. You
have no conception of what a beautiful thing it is. It stands quite
detached, on a little point of land running out from the hill of the
Areopagus. The situation is admirable, better than that of the temple of
Jupiter Olympus; the building is more perfect, the material as good, or
indeed better; for this is of pure white marble, and the other has veins
and defective blocks. The workmanship appears to have been superior, but
the joints have been loosened, and some of the stones dislocated,
probably by the shock of an earthquake: it falls far short in magnitude,
but to make amends it is connected with the wonderful tale of Athenian
glory; while what remains at least of the other, is the work of some
later period. I have quite made up my mind, that the best situation for
almost any sort of building is an advancing point of land; not an
insulated summit, let that summit be high or low, sheltered or
unsheltered, and never in a hollow. Prior park near Bath, though
standing very high, is in a hollow, and loses half the praise its
architecture would obtain, if it were better placed. Half way down, on
the point forming one side of the little valley in which it stands, it
would be better sheltered, have a more pleasing variety of view, be more
accessible, and form incomparably a better object. The most admired
buildings generally occupy situations of this sort, and they sometimes
get a degree of credit for their architecture which should in fact be
given to their position. But the architecture of the temple of Theseus
is as beautiful as the site. The point it stands on is so little
elevated, that a person might leave Athens without perceiving it to be
placed on any hill at all, yet nobody can fail to observe that it is a
conspicuous object, and looks well in every point of view.

The cell of a Greek temple, is you know a simple, oblong building. In
the earlier periods it was probably nearly destitute of ornament, and
except for the cornice, and for the smallness of the dimensions, much
like a barn. Afterwards a porch was added, supported by columns, and the
entablature began to receive some embellishment. Even this disposition,
when the front came into view, was highly beautiful, and more so when an
additional range of columns was added to the portico. Afterwards columns
were added at the back also, by which means the variety and contrast
produced by them, would catch the attention from every point of view.
The next step was to continue the columns all round, and this is the
arrangement at the temple of Theseus.

The simple cell had, I believe, no peculiar appellation, and yet from
the great multitude of temples existing in ancient Greece, many of which
seem to have been very small, it is probable they were not uncommon.
Temples of the second sort were said to be in _antis_, because in them
the flank walls were prolonged beyond the front, so as to form the sides
of the porch, and these prolongations were terminated in pilasters
having three faces: which pilasters were called _antæ_. The third
arrangement was called _prostyle_; the fourth _amphiprostyle_; the fifth
_peripteral_: besides these were also the _dipteral_ temples, having two
rows of columns round the cell, (such was the temple of Jupiter Olympus
in this place) and _pseudodipteral_, which differed from the dipteral by
the want of the inner range of columns, and from the peripteral by
having a much larger space between the cell and the surrounding
colonnade. In all these, the same general form was preserved, a simple
oblong; and you see that in all of them, I can account for the
admiration bestowed upon them by a recurrence to my favourite maxim of
simplicity of form, and richness of detail. This richness of detail has
its limits, and the work may be overloaded, even when the ornaments do
not (as they frequently do in Italian architecture,) interrupt, or
obscure the simplicity of the design: but the liberty allowed is very
wide. The simple cell must always have been deficient in that respect,
for though the walls and cornices might be richly ornamented, yet these
details could not have produced sufficient effect on the whole
composition; for that purpose it is necessary that the building should
be divided into principal masses, whose position with respect to each
other must produce some degree of variety and intricacy. The temple in
antis must also in some degree be deficient in richness, and I know no
temple of this sort which has been much admired; but the prostyle, and
still more the amphiprostyle, if well proportioned, will always be
admitted into the rank of beautiful buildings. From almost every point
of view you see at least one column gracefully detaching itself from the
mass of the building, and the nakedness of the side walls contrasts with
the bright lights and shadows of the ends, and claims our admiration
even when compared with the higher finish of the peripteral temple. The
eye however will not be satisfied with some intricacy in the disposition
of the general masses; it will require a similar gratification when it
comes to examine the details; and we find this accomplished by fluting
the columns, moulding the capitals, dividing the frieze at least by
triglyphs, and frequently placing sculpture in the intervals between
them; adorning the pediments with sculpture, and placing antefixæ, or
ornamental convex tiles along the eaves.

The ancients used two sorts of tiles in covering each building; the
first were flat, but turned up at the edges, they were trays with the
ends cut off, made a little smaller at one end than at the other, that
they might lap one into the other; but if such tiles were simply laid
side by side, the water would run in between them, and to prevent this,
other semicircular, or semipolygonal, _i. e._ convex tiles, were placed
over the joint. These tiles ran in ribs, from the ridge of the roof down
to the eaves, and the last of them at the eaves, had an elevated and
ornamented end; and the range of these ornamented ends, which in the
celebrated edifices of Athens, were of white marble, running above the
cornice, greatly enhanced the appearance of splendour, and must have had
considerable influence even on the distant appearance of the building.
In temples of the Ionic and Corinthian orders, the richness of
decoration was carried still farther, though there was by no means the
difference between those, and a highly finished Doric temple, which
might at first sight be imagined. However between a Doric prostyle
temple, and a dipteral temple of the Corinthian order, the distance is
immense, yet each has peculiar beauties, and he who prefers the one, has
no right to reproach with want of taste, him who approves the other.

To return to the temple of Theseus; all the ornaments of the roof are
gone; the sculptures of the pediment have disappeared. Those of the
frieze exist only in the front, and on the four adjacent metopes in each
side. The two columns between the antæ of the pronaos (or porch) have
been removed to make room for the apsis, or semicircular terminating
recess of the Greek church; and the corresponding ones of the posticum
have been very much damaged. An arch of rough stones occupies the place
of the original roof of the cell. Many of the marble beams and slabs
which formed the ceiling of the peristyle still remain, the rest is
open. In general effect, the building thus loses something by want of
shade, and more by the loss of its roof ornaments; yet enough remains to
exhibit the great beauty of the ancient Greek temple.

I now come to another part of the detail, in which our knowledge of the
practice of the Greeks is very imperfect, and of which the good sense or
good taste may be considered very doubtful; there have been painted or
gilt ornaments, or probably both, within the peristyle of the temple of
Theseus, and the same thing occurs in that of Minerva; we do not see in
the present edifice any traces of external painting,[26] but some marks
of it may be traced on the Parthenon, and in one or two other instances,
and particularly in the temple of Jupiter, in the island of Egina, and
it is therefore conjectured that a similar finish was given to those of
Athens. Perhaps this painting was not in any of these cases coeval with
the building, for Pliny, I think, mentions the painted soffites as an
invention of the age of Alexander. That at Egina seems to have been of
the gayest hues. The subject of the sculpture in the pediment of that
temple was a combat, with a statue of Minerva standing armed in the
middle. Some of the figures are clothed, (these fight with bows and
arrows) others who have swords and shields are naked. On the flesh no
marks of paint have been discovered, but they are found in the dress and
on the shields. That of Minerva was blue with a red border, (I write
from memory, and perhaps may have reversed the colours) but in general
there is only sufficient mark remaining to determine that something has
been laid on, but not enough to distinguish precisely what was the
colour, or whether the effect has not been produced by a mordaunt to fix
the gilding. You will observe that this painting was not to imitate
nature; for deception, if attainable, would be absurd; but to give
relief and effect to the figures, and different parts of the building.
Would this contribute to the general richness of effect? Supposing it
done as well as possible, would it please a correct taste? My prejudices
are strongly against it, yet I should extremely like to see a temple so
decorated with all its colours perfect. Gilding, if applied with
judgment, certainly enhances the beauty of a building (and my prejudices
were once strongly against that also), and there seems no reason _à
priori_, why colours should not have a similar effect. Within the
peristyle we may more readily admit them. It would be like colours and
gilding on the inside of a room, a practice which has obtained
everywhere, and in all ages. It may seem rather extravagant to employ
white marble to receive the colours, but if the colour be better than
white, white marble is a very good substance to paint upon, and perhaps
no other would have retained the traces so long. In the temple of
Theseus the architrave and frieze are continued uninterruptedly on the
inside of the columns; from these, marble beams or joists, were laid,
reaching to the wall of the cell, and between these, marble slabs of
considerable thickness, each slab being perforated by square holes, and
a small square of marble applied to close each perforation, making them
into coffers. At the top of the frieze, and at the corresponding height
of the wall of the cell, was a flat band, on which was painted a Greek
fret, and some mouldings ornamented with leaves; one of the displaced
beams has flowers in this part; I believe it is one which has belonged
to the ceiling of the pronaos, and not to that of the peristyle; but all
these, you well understand, are regular architectural leaves and
flowers, not copies of natural ones. The mouldings in the coffers are
painted with eggs and leaves, and in the soffite of each coffer was a
star, which appears to have been of gold on a blue ground. There was no
carving to any of the mouldings. This description would nearly apply to
all the temples of the Grecian Doric order. I do not know how the
colouring has been managed in the other orders.

In England, we colour the walls and leave the ceilings white; the Greeks
on the contrary seem to have coloured the ceiling and left the walls
white; and still in their houses, we may see whitewashed plaster walls,
and painted, wooden ceilings. Whether painted or carved, there is a
marked difference between the ornamental style of the Greeks and Romans.
The former made their ornaments much smaller in proportion to the
building than the latter, and there is a degree of simplicity and
elegance of design, and a neatness and delicacy of execution in Greek
buildings, which you would seek for in vain in Italy; while on the other
hand, in the Roman edifices, there is a full and rich magnificence,
which is not to be found in those of Greece. The beauty of both is, that
the same feeling is observed throughout, and that in each building, all
the parts are in perfect harmony. While in modern structures it
frequently happens that one beauty is copied from one ancient building,
and another from another, and their union only produces disgust. This
difference of character was preserved, though perhaps in a less degree,
even to the latest times of Grecian art; and at Rome, there are one or
two buildings which exhibit indications of Greek taste, and have been
supposed on that account to be the production of Greek artists.

The capitals of the temple of Theseus (if I may venture to find any
fault in so perfect a design) are rather flat: the overhanging of the
architrave, a common feature in this order, does not displease, but the
advance of the fillet beyond the triglyphs is offensive.

It may give you some idea of the state of the useful arts in Athens to
know, that we found it difficult to procure a ladder to ascend the
Temple of Theseus, although, by the help of the apsis of the church, one
of about ten feet long, for which we were indebted to M. Fauvel,
answered our purpose. We found a fragment of a marble tile on the top,
but it is not certain that the whole covering was of marble. There are
rows of cramp holes in pairs, on the top of the cornice, near the edge,
having probably supported the ornamental tiles, or antefixæ; and along
the pediment are similar holes, disposed singly at equal distances, and
at the top some larger and deeper holes for fixing the acroterium. At
the bottom of the slope of the pediment there are several small holes,
which perhaps fixed the ornament in that part, and we find vestiges of
this kind, of the insertion of statues in the eastern tympanum. Here was
the original front, for the doorway marked by Stuart at the western end,
did not belong to the temple, but to the church which succeeded it. The
spaces between the internal columns at the west end were filled up with
marble slabs, rising as high as the necking of the capitals, but to what
use the space so inclosed was applied, or what entrance was left to it,
I cannot tell.



                             LETTER XLVII.

                               ACROPOLIS.


                                                  _Athens, March, 1818._

ATHENS puts one in mind of Rome, from the number of fragments of
architecture and sculpture everywhere scattered about. In the walls, in
the court-yards, in the churches, we are continually meeting with
something too trifling, or too much mutilated, to be of value in itself,
but powerfully impressing the imagination with the idea of what has
been.

The great treasure of Grecian architecture is in the Acropolis, where
there are three buildings, of which the remains are considerable; the
Propylæa, or entrance, the temple of Minerva, and another edifice, which
has been supposed to contain three temples, viz. those of Erectheus, of
Minerva Polias, and of the nymph Pandrosus. The two first-mentioned
buildings are of the Doric order, and it is here you see all the
perfection of Greek masonry; horizontal joints so close, that after the
lapse of 2,000 years, you cannot introduce the finest edge, nor even
follow them everywhere by the eye; and vertical ones, of which you only
see occasional indications; and this on a plain surface of white marble,
a substance in which above all others, the slightest mark is visible.

In order to understand the following description of the Propylæa, I
recommend you to open the second volume of Stuart’s Athens, and lay the
plan of the edifice before you.

After passing two paltry modern gateways, over the inner of which is an
ancient architrave and frieze, you perceive some old substructions on
the right, but to what edifice they belonged it is difficult to say;
they are very far below the level of the temple of Victory without
wings, marked D in Stuart’s plan. Of this temple there are now no
vestiges whatever, except a few scattered fragments built up in the
modern walls, which probably belonged to it. We have evidence that such
a temple did exist thereabouts, but not of its exact position, for
Stuart mentions it as entirely destroyed in his time, to make room for
the grand battery; yet he has marked for it a space more than 30 feet
long, and 20 wide, although Wheeler, in whose time it still existed,
describes it as a small edifice of about 15 feet by 9, dimensions which
hardly admit the supposition of columns between the antæ.

Stuart calls this building the temple of Aglauros, but he is undoubtedly
wrong. Revett has corrected him in the fourth volume, and you will
therefore permit me to call it the temple of Victory without wings, and
to consider the room B, as that which was adorned with the paintings of
Polygnotus. The use of the terms right and left applied to the object
viewed, and not to the spectator, which is the origin of Stuart’s
mistake, seems to be derived from heraldry.

Beyond these foundations, and after having passed under the great
battery, you turn to the right, leaving on the left a tall pier supposed
to have supported an equestrian statue. It is formed of courses,
alternately thicker and thinner, and bears an inscription in honour of
Marcus Agrippa; and though Pausanias seems to have considered it as
ancient (at least he speaks of equestrian statues of doubtful purport in
this part,) our modern connoisseurs pronounce it to be of Roman times.
Similar masonry occurs in the remains supposed to be of the Gymnasium of
Ptolemy, but is not found in any of the earlier buildings of the
republic. The opposite and corresponding pier is entirely destroyed, or
built up, but we may acknowledge that such a one probably existed. Of
the flight of steps represented as extending from one to the other, not
only there are no traces, but it is I believe demonstrable, that there
never were such. The entrance into the Propylæa was formed by an
inclined plane, intersecting the advancing courses in front of the
building, which are not properly steps, but successive plinths, forming
a basement to the edifice. The lowermost of these plinths is of black
marble, in front of the two side buildings, but not so under the central
part. Under this plinth of black marble, there is in the north wing, a
course of white[27] marble, shewing the intention of exposing the
upright face; for the corresponding course in the central building,
which was not intended to be seen, is of rough limestone. These steps
are four in number, instead of three, as given by Revett, and under
these, we see three courses, which in the centre buildings are all, as I
have before said, of limestone; two of the upper ones are broken about
the entrance, but not cut through like the marble plinths; the lowest is
entire. Each plinth advances a little, and reduces the opening to 11
feet 10.9 inches. All this we leave on the left, as not only the
entrance, but all the intercolumniations have been walled up by the
Turks, in order to form another battery; and ascend along the line
marked by Stuart, observing the want of correspondence between the two
wings, and also that from the deficiency of space on the rock, the south
wing could never have been the exact counterpart of that on the north.
Revett, who made this plan, has marked a column, an anta, and a square
pillar between them, as if they ranged in one line, and one is apt to
suppose that they might have supported a common architrave, but this
does not seem to have been the case; what we have remaining to mark the
place of the column and pillar, are the sinkings prepared for them in
the progress of the work, which I shall hereafter explain; and the anta
and pillar appear to have ranged in one line, but the column did not
range with them. There are marks of a gate between the column and
pillar, and perhaps of a marble slab filling up the space between the
anta and pillar, but I must confess myself unable to comprehend the
arrangement.

We will pass from this into the inside of the building, leaving for a
time its external appearance, towards the Acropolis. The upper part is
now occupied by a battery, and there are no remains of the front columns
rising above it, as there were in Stuart’s time, except one capital at
the angle. Below is a vault, abounding in dust and dirt, where by
digging and scraping, we may see the inclined plane already mentioned,
as giving admission into the Acropolis, part of the old pavement, and
the base of one of the Ionic columns. The inclined plane sinks below the
rest of the pavement, towards the entrance, and rises above it towards
the internal circuit of the Acropolis; it is transversely ribbed, to
give secure footing to the horses in ascending it.

Revett found a piece of the upper part of the shaft of an Ionic column,
2 feet 10 inches in diameter, and conceiving them to occupy a height of
33 feet 7 inches, he concluded from what he conceived to be the
proportions of this order among the Greeks, that they must have stood on
pedestals; but the base above-mentioned proves that they did not; and as
the height seems correctly deduced from the surrounding parts, and we
may add between one fourth and one fifth to obtain the diameter of the
lower part, it follows that these columns must have been about nine and
a half diameters in height.

The doorways which gave entrance to the Acropolis, are five in number,
and placed between piers, towards the back of the edifice. The inclined
plane gave access to the central one, the others were approached by
steps, they bear some marks of having been adorned with architraves of
metal. There is a small sinking, apparently formed to receive it, 1 foot
9.8 inches in width, to the larger opening: and one of 13.7 inches in
width to the two adjacent ones, yet there are no cramp-holes, except in
the upper part; the smaller side doorways are filled up with earth. Over
each opening a stone is placed edgewise, occupying in consequence the
height of two common courses. This plan seems to have been uniformly
adopted above the doorways of the Athenian buildings, and will guide us
in several instances to determine what openings were originally
intended, and what were not. On the eastern side of this wall, the
traces of a metallic architrave are much more certain, since besides the
change of colour in the marble, there is a regular series of
cramp-holes; yet how it was managed is still a subject of some
difficulty. Taking the central opening as my example, (and the two
others are similarly designed) we find on the edge of the opening a
band, not of a very uniform width, in which the surface of the marble
has not been finished, and then one in which the surface made quite
smooth, is of a whiter colour than elsewhere; apparently from having
been sheltered from the air; both these must have been covered by the
architrave, and their united width is 1 foot 10.4 inches. On the highest
stone of the jamb there is a deep and double sinking, which seems to
have been intended to receive a strong block, projecting from the face
of the architrave; my notion is, that this block had a hole on the under
side to receive the pivot of the door, which worked in a corresponding
hole in another block of bronze at the base, and consequently lay when
shut, against the wall, without being let into it. I should perhaps
hardly have ventured to express this opinion, if it were not
strengthened by the appearance of the grooves receiving the metal plate
on which the doors opened, at the entrance of the opisthodomus of the
Parthenon. The centre from which these grooves are drawn is not within
the thickness of the wall.

The jambs of these doorways, viewed laterally, exhibit several sinkings
about two inches deep, which doubtless were made with some object at
present unknown. The height of the centre opening was equal to fifteen
courses,[28] each of nearly 1 foot 7.4 inches in thickness, making in
all 24 feet 1.9 inch, on a width of 13 feet 4.75 inches. The secondary
openings are of eleven courses, or 17 feet 8.5 inches, on a width of 9
feet 3.6 inches. The side doors are of six courses, 9 feet 7.8 inches,
with a width of 4 feet 8 inches. All the piers rest on a continued
course of black marble.

Many fragments of the coffers of the ceiling lie scattered about; they
rested on marble joists, 15 inches and a half wide; the longest piece of
these which we could find, is only 3 feet 11 inches in length, but this
was a fragment. The depth being only 7 inches and a half, is not
calculated for a beam of 20 feet, and they must therefore have rested on
larger beams, but I cannot determine how the Propylæa were covered, or
whether the central part was covered at all.

Revett has given a section which includes the northern flank of the
middle building, exhibiting the very curious manner in which the stones
are arranged, as if they were cut away to make room for the roof of a
side building, now destroyed. There are two cornices on this flank, one
of which is continued from that of the outer portico; the lower is an
internal one, that is, it is composed of such members as we find in
Greek architecture to be appropriated to internal decoration.

There are several other particulars relating to these side buildings,
both remaining and destroyed, and to their union with the centre, but it
would swell my letter to an essay, were I to enumerate them all, and
besides, I have not the means of elucidating them satisfactorily. I will
however, observe to you, that the flank wall on each side of the central
building was carried up above the cornice of the wings, and these wings
were not crowned with a pediment, but probably had a flat roof.

The Propylæa are said to have cost 460,000_l._ a sum so enormous in
proportion to the modern extent of the edifice, that some writers have
supposed it must be meant to include the whole of the constructions of
Pericles’s administration in the Acropolis. Buildings in marble will
cost more than those of brick, even though the marble should be found in
the vicinity; and if the distance to the Pentelic quarries was not
great, yet the roads were bad; none of the modern expedients for
facilitating transport were in use, and the expense must have been more
than double what it would have been with us, with our taxes and
turnpikes. Workmanship put together like the nicest operations in ivory,
must also have cost very much more than the clumsy masonry of modern
times; but after all these considerations, the sum still seems very
great, even if we take into consideration that a great extent of
subordinate edifices has disappeared.

There are two particulars relating to the Propylæa, and to the works
about them, which I have not yet mentioned. We see in various places
remains of piers and walls of a very ancient masonry, of limestone, and
not of marble; apparently earlier than the time of Pericles; there is
such a fragment under the north-west angle of the northern wing of the
Propylæa, whose lines not exactly corresponding with those of the work
above, prove that they did not form part of that design. The base of the
pier which contains the inscription to Agrippa, is of a grayish slaty
marble, not used in the upper parts, and this perhaps may also be more
ancient than the pier it supports.

The other circumstance is, that the work has not been completely
finished, and that we are thereby enabled to trace the mode of
execution. It appears that the Athenians worked the marble to an even,
but not a very smooth face, with a toothed chisel, before they placed
the blocks in the work, and that they afterwards went over the whole
exposed surface, and finished it to the greatest smoothness and nicety,
but without polish, taking off in this operation about one fifth of an
inch; and this has been the practice on the horizontal, as well as on
the upright surfaces, for the columns of the Propylæa are sunk in to
about that depth below the general level. The place intended for their
reception was sunk before the lower cylinders were placed, and lest any
inconvenience should arise from the wet remaining there, before the
building was completed, a small channel has been cut from the recess to
carry off the water. In the steps, the adjoining faces are carefully
finished at the internal angles, but both are left rough at the external
angles, by which means the accidents and wear which take place during
the execution of the work, would rarely be of any consequence.

Many of the circumstances which make the temple of Theseus so beautiful,
concur also to the perfection of the Parthenon, and it has some
advantages. It is larger and more magnificent, has been adorned with a
greater quantity of sculpture, and occupies a more commanding situation.
Both buildings look larger than they really are, and the Parthenon the
most so. This effect is, I am persuaded, partly produced by the
simplicity of the design, and the justness of the proportion; and partly
by the situation, especially that of the latter, which occupies the top
of a rock of small extent. This position then would require me to make
some exception to my general rule, that each building is best placed on
an advancing point of ground, and to explain, if I can, what are the
circumstances which form the exception; but in fact, when I come to
examine more minutely into the subject, I find that so far from having
made up my mind as to the choice of situation, there is nothing more
difficult than to lay down any general law upon the subject. I think
however, that a good deal depends upon the intention of the building,
and on the ideas associated with it; and that a public building, and
especially one for the purposes of religion, may occupy, and will even
look better for occupying, an exposed and insulated situation, and one
domineering over all the neighbouring objects, which would be
displeasing in a private dwelling; and this does not depend upon any
notion of convenience, (in the English sense of the word) for such
situations are generally inconvenient for any purpose, but to a certain
perception of character; however, I shall leave this knotty point to
another opportunity, and return to the Parthenon, and again request you,
in reading my remarks, to lay Stuart’s plan before you.

The temple, to speak technically of it, is peripteral, octastyle, and
hypæthral. The proportions every body acknowledges to be highly
beautiful. This is easily stated in words, but the feeling arising from
the perception of that beauty is incommunicable. In the front, the
proportion of every part seems exactly what it ought to be, but I
believe in the flank, that I prefer the proportions of the temple of
Theseus. Why a continued colonnade, crowned by a straight entablature,
should require more slender proportions than one supporting a pediment,
I cannot tell; but such seems to be the fact. Yet, as in the Parthenon,
the height of the column is five diameters and fourteen twenty-fourths,
very nearly, and in the Theseum the height is only five diameters, and
fifteen twenty-fourths; the difference seems too small to produce any
sensible effect; but the intercolumniations in the Parthenon are only
equal to about one diameter, and two sevenths of the columns, while in
the Theseum they are one and two thirds, and to this greater space is
doubtless owing the lighter appearance of the latter. The whole is, as
you know, of Pentelic marble; the part exposed to the action of the
south wind, which probably carries with it saline particles, is white,
and somewhat corroded; the other parts are stained exactly of the hue of
burnt terra Siena, but some places take a dingier tint, perhaps from the
effect of the explosion, while the north side is partially varied with
the sulphur yellow of the _Lichen candelarius_. The western end, which,
though the part opposite to the entrance of the Acropolis, is in fact
the back of the temple, represented the contest of Neptune and Minerva;
and the relative position of the deities, and of the benefits they
offered to the Athenians, is well explained by Wilkins by reference to a
medal. Behind the statues the tympanum is faced by upright slabs of
marble, some of which are hollowed out at the back, I do not know why,
and you might, perhaps, creep behind the two figures which remain, which
are those said to be of Hadrian and Sabina; but though all these statues
were finished all round, as you know, by having seen them in London,
there was certainly no provision made for a close inspection after they
were up in their places.

These two remaining statues have lost their heads, and consequently all
that entitled them to their appellation, and the remaining fragment of
cornice has fallen from its first position, and rests upon the figures.
The metopes of this front are almost obliterated, but the sculpture of
the inner frieze is exquisite, perhaps the finest piece of the whole
circuit. Sometimes when this is lighted by the declining sun, the effect
is inconceivably beautiful; but this effect never could have had place
in the perfect state of the building, because it is only owing to the
want of ceiling and roof in the peristyle, that it is ever illuminated
by the direct light of the sky.

You would imagine from the way in which Wilkins endeavours to correct an
error which Wheeler never made, that the columns of this temple were in
five pieces, but this is not true; the number of _drums_ or _frusta_ is
eleven or twelve, but the junction in those which have suffered no
violence is so beautifully fine, that it is frequently impossible to
trace it, even on the smooth surface of white marble.

The inner range of columns is more shattered than the outer, and here we
begin to be sensible of the immediate effects of the explosion
occasioned by the bombs of the Venetians in 1687. The space between the
internal columns, forming the pronaos, appears to have been filled up
with a metal grating resting on a sill of marble. The holes for
fastening it still remain, and the situation of the plinth, on which
this grating rested, is indicated by the parts cut away to receive it at
the foot of the columns. The doorway is 16 feet 8 inches wide in the
original work, but it has been contracted by blocks of marble, at some
more recent period; probably when the edifice was converted into a Greek
church, and this has misled Stuart. Besides the evidence of this being a
posterior contraction, arising from the inferior nature of the work, and
its total want of connexion with the wall of the cell, we may observe
also that some of the stones used are covered with inscriptions. No
ornamental architrave remains to the door, but there are vestiges whence
we may conclude that this part was of metal, as in the Propylæa.

When you have once entered the building you see the manner in which it
has suffered. The powder must have been near the middle; and on each
side, both the wall of the cell, and the columns of the peristyle have
been thrown down. At the eastern end, the walls and the inner range of
columns are destroyed. Perhaps towards the west, the walls still existed
between the ancient temple and the opisthodomus, and protected in some
degree the western end; but that wall is now entirely destroyed, and the
surface of the wall of the cell everywhere shattered, exposing a raw
white fracture.

But we are not yet fairly within the temple; we must first consider the
Opisthodomus. It is paved with slabs of white marble 8 inches thick, 5
feet 8 inches long, and 3 feet 11 inches wide, all bedded in rough
masonry, or on the native rock. There are four square blocks of a larger
size, being 5 feet 10 inches square, and 14 inches thick; placed in
corresponding situations, so as to divide the area of the room into nine
equal parts, and appearing to have received the columns which supported
the roof. Stuart has imagined six such columns, but without sufficient
reason.

We may distinguish on the pavement marks of the openings of the doors,
consisting of grooves forming portions of circles, which have probably
received plates of metal. The centre from which these segments are
described, is, as has been already mentioned, clear of the thickness of
the walls. It is doubtful if there were originally any opening between
this chamber and the cell of the temple. If such existed, it was
probably a small side door, but a large central doorway doubtless
existed here while the building was occupied as a church. Stuart has
remarked a sinking round the larger space which formed the hypæthral
cell of the temple, at the distance of 15 feet from the walls; but he
has not noticed some peculiarities in the pavement, which are of
considerable importance in understanding the construction and
arrangement of the building. There is first a pavement of marble slabs,
8 inches thick, as in the opisthodomus, 10 feet 3 inches and a half wide
at the end, and not quite so much at the side: next to this is a course
4 feet wide, and 14 inches thick, doubtless intended to receive the
columns of the internal peristyle. At one angle of the parallelogram,
formed by this series of slabs, there are faint traces of the position
of a column about 3 feet 9 inches in diameter, and as these blocks are
regularly spaced, we may ascertain that the distance from centre to
centre of the columns was about 11 feet 6 inches, and consequently the
space between them was 7 feet 9 inches, while in the other intervals,
the space from centre to centre was 12 feet 11 inches, and the clear
intercolumniation about 9 feet 2 inches. The ancients always placed the
internal columns, and those of their courts, proportionally farther
apart than the external ones. At Pæstum, where the outer columns are
only one and a tenth diameter apart, the inner are nearly one and two
fifths; at Egina, those of the external peristyle are about one diameter
and two thirds asunder, those of the internal, two and one third. In the
Propylæa, the spaces between the external columns seem to be about one
diameter and a half, if we exclude the large middle entrance, the
internal about two and a half. In the latter case, the internal columns
were Ionic, and it is very possible that this was also the case in the
Parthenon, but we have not the slightest fragment remaining; a
circumstance which seems to me very remarkable. Was no use made of them
in the church? and if so, why were they rejected?

The lines of the small columns traced by Stuart, are sufficiently
evident, but they were probably parts of the church, not of the temple;
for besides that their diminutive size renders them unsuitable for the
internal structure of such a building, and that their remaining
fragments are of very indifferent workmanship, their situation does not
correspond with the division of the marble slabs, which in an edifice so
regularly and systematically constructed, is alone a sufficient reason
for rejecting them. It may seem remarkable that the original columns
should not have left on the pavement more distinct traces of their
existence; but while the Greeks united with wooden blocks, and sometimes
by other means, the different portions of the column, they placed the
lowest part, without preparation, on the smooth pavement. In some
instances, in the temple of Theseus, less than half the column remains,
and not the slightest indication is visible on the pavement to shew that
the other half ever existed. Within the sinking of the pavement already
mentioned, we find again the eight-inch marble paving, but in one part
slabs of limestone occupy its place. These are supposed to have
supported the statue of the goddess. Mr. B. very justly observed, that
where every thing is thus of white marble, a statue of that material
would have wanted its just consequence. It was necessary to employ a
more expensive substance to give it sufficient relief in the
imagination.

A considerable portion of the paving remains in its place, but some has
been removed, and in the opisthodomus a large slab of marble moulded on
the edge, appeared underneath the pavement, which must have been buried
at the time of the erection of the temple. Before leaving the inside, I
must conduct you up a staircase, which the Turks have made in a little
tower at the south-west angle of the building. We may by its means
observe many particulars, which are not so easily discernible from
below. The examination of the Athenian edifices leads to the conclusion,
that the white Pentelic marble was obtainable in slabs of considerable
length and breadth, but that the thickness was more limited. In the
walls of the cell of the Parthenon, the courses are of 1 foot 8 inches
and two thirds. In the Erectheum and the Propylæa, they are somewhat
less. When a greater width is required, either to form a plinth course,
or to cover the opening of a doorway, the slab is uniformly set on edge.

In the frusta of the columns, the stones are thicker; one in the
Parthenon being 3 feet 7.8 inches in thickness; but probably that part
of the quarry which would furnish blocks of such a thickness, did not
afford them of considerable length. The architrave of the Parthenon is 5
feet 9 inches wide, and is got out in three thicknesses, probably on
account of the difficulty of procuring pieces 14 feet long, and 2 feet
10 inches and a half thick, which would have been required, had it been
constructed, as is more usually the case, in two blocks. In the frieze,
there was not the same necessity that the work should be perfectly
solid, and accordingly only two beds were used, leaving a vacancy of
about 10 inches in the middle. Thus this peculiarity which Clarke
_discovered_ to be owing to the dishonesty of the workmen, and Wilkins
considers a proof of great science and foresight, may with greater
probability be attributed to the nature of the quarry.

The ceiling of the pronaos and posticum was formed by marble joists
supporting slabs of the same material, which contained the lacunariæ;
but in the lateral peristyle, these slabs were laid from the wall to the
external epistylium, without the intervention of joists.

You may see here in several places marks of ancient ornamental painting,
and in some instances of painting of two different styles and dates, one
of which has been over the other. In parts sheltered from the weather,
there are even indications of painting on the outside cornice. There are
some very curious contrivances in the construction of the cornice, at
the south-west angle, with which I will not at present trouble you, as I
do not think them very good.

I have already explained to you the system of covering in these temples;
the ornamental tiles are disposed in the Theseum, one over each
triglyph; in the Parthenon there was also one over each metope; in the
first building therefore, they were a little more than 4 feet apart, in
the latter about 3 feet 6 inches. For some unknown reason, the tiles
themselves do not correspond with this disposition of the ornaments; the
latter are therefore entirely detached from the former; and the real
stops of the convex tiles are small triangular projections, placed back,
so as not to be seen from below; three of them occupying the dimensions
of two antefixæ and the intervening space. Vast heaps of ruins lie
around, as you may suppose, but on the south side, part of a continued
basement of coarse limestone may be seen under the three steps. Three
courses of this limestone are exposed, and part of the fourth; each
about 1 foot 9 inches in height. The uppermost projects 4 feet from the
step, and the upper surface is sunk about 5 inches, probably to receive
a covering of marble: the next course projects 18 inches, the two lowest
each about half an inch. I cannot tell how far this basement extends, or
what its whole height may be; but in front there is an appearance of
vaults, which puzzle me much more, as they seem to imply a very
considerable elevation of the front of the temple above the ground on
which it stood. I only perceived them by some holes broken in at the
summit, and they are too much filled up with rubbish to enable us to
trace their extent; perhaps they were only partial hollows, filled up in
ancient times as well as in modern.

On the north side, the heaps are perhaps still greater than on the
south, and Fauvel told us that the earth had not been opened, and
consequently, as none of the friezes on this side remained on the
building, it was probable that a great quantity of sculpture would be
found. On speaking subsequently to Lusieri about this circumstance, he
assured me that he had begun to dig in that part, but the Turks informed
him that limekilns had been erected there, in which all the sculpture
that could be found had been burnt by preference. He continued however
his excavations, till finding the limekilns, without the occurrence of
any bas-reliefs, he at length gave up the search. It is amusing to hear
how uniformly Fauvel and Lusieri disagree in their statements: the
latter strenuously denies that he has done any thing to injure any
building, except in the one instance of removing the Cariatic columns;
while the former accuses him of having occasioned a great deal of ruin
in his operations to remove the sculpture, and even of wantonly
destroying objects where no advantage was to be derived. The last charge
is improbable, and in some degree invalidates the former. Indeed it is
said on the other hand, that Fauvel endeavoured to obtain these spoils
for his own government, and that he now exaggerates the evil from
disappointment; but I am afraid considerable mischief has been done.
With regard to the sculptures taken away, it must be observed that they
were most of them very much exposed, that the young Turks are eager
enough to break off whatever they can reach, in hopes of disposing of
them to the Franks, and that the petty officers and sailors, who either
in merchant ships, or vessels of war, visit these shores, have a great
propensity to break off fragments as memorials. Thousands of broken
pieces, evidently from the building, and which they might almost fit on
to it, lie about, but nothing will satisfy them, unless they perform
their share of mutilation; and repeatedly, on my visits to the
Acropolis, I have beheld with sorrow new fractures on the drapery of the
Caryatides, the only objects now within their reach.

Less remains of the eastern end, or front of the temple, than of the
west. We see there holes which are said to have afforded the means of
support to certain shields which were suspended on the architrave, whose
history is not very clear; and there is occasionally a slight green
circular stain, produced by the edges of the shields themselves. They
were about 3 feet 6 inches in diameter. There was one under each metope,
and under the drops of each triglyph are the holes by which the bronze
letters of an inscription were fixed. I made a copy of these, but I am
afraid it will be impossible to restore the letters.

Having despatched the Propylæa and the Parthenon, I have now to give you
some account of the triple temple of Erectheus, Minerva Polias, and the
nymph Pandrosus. And first of the hexastyle temple, which is that of
Erectheus, and which is sometimes also called the temple of Neptune,
because it contained an altar to that deity, and because here was said
to be the well of salt water which sprung up at the contest between
Neptune and Minerva; but Pausanias, who calls the whole edifice a double
building, διπλοῦν ὄικημα, does not specify in which part of it this well
was found.

Stuart in his view represents six columns as erect in their places, with
the continued architrave and frieze; there are now only five. The
architrave over these remains, but the frieze is gone, except two pieces
of the black marble, one of which is misplaced; the other column was
taken away by lord Elgin, and is now in the British Museum. These
columns are very much damaged in the lower part, so that it is difficult
to determine their exact diameter. The base is not well given in Stuart.
They have had a very extended apophysis, like that of Jupiter Stator at
Rome, and I am persuaded that Stuart has not made them too small. They
are therefore very nearly, or perhaps quite ten diameters in height, and
they do not appear too slender; but you will recollect that they have a
very large and ornamental capital, which certainly takes off from the
appearance of height, and communicates a character, which like that of
the Corinthian order, is in harmony with more delicate proportions. The
contrast between the plainness of the frieze, and the richness of
decoration obtained in the flank, by the continuation of the ornaments
of the capitals, must have struck you as an inconsistency, but in the
original, the frieze is of black marble, and the cramp holes on the
surface shew it to have been enriched, probably with figures of gilt
bronze; so that the whole together possessed in the highest degree that
air of gaiety and splendour, which seems so congenial both to the
character and taste of the Athenians. This black marble,[29] having lost
its polish, and being stained by the weather, and perhaps by lichens,
has changed its hue into a dull gray, and has been passed over, without
notice of the material. I believe Mr. Bedford was the first to remark
it; but in mentioning the name of the discoverer in this instance, I do
not mean to claim merit in other circumstances, when I do not name the
source of my information. The fact is, that I rarely know to whom the
honour ought to be attributed: some things have been pointed out to me
by Fauvel, others by Lusieri, or by other persons, and I have combined
them unconsciously with Sharp’s observations and my own; but I believe
the man who has done most towards the complete elucidation of these
antiquities is Baron Haller, a German, who unfortunately for me, and for
all lovers of the fine arts, died last year.

Passing to the inside of the Erectheum, we find all the pavement of the
cell removed. The walls for the most part are formed of single blocks,
occupying its whole thickness; cramped together, both horizontally and
vertically, but the sort of dado-course which you may observe above the
base, in the flank elevation given by Stuart, is, or was, in two
thicknesses set on edge. The inner slabs have been taken away, so that
it is wonderful the wall stands. The parts intended to be exposed both
inside and outside, are of Pentelic marble, but those which were
entirely hid are of Magnesian limestone, and this peculiarity enables us
to determine that the pavement of the cell was lower than that of the
portico, for not only the course, which rising above the pavement as
high as the top of the base moulding, might be expected to be so, is of
marble; but there is another course of marble below it, and again, as
you approach the cross wall, marked (a) on Stuart’s plan, there is a
third course of marble under the dado. This cross wall does not rise to
the height of the outside pavement, and there are no traces of its
junction with the side walls above, while on the contrary, though the
cross wall (b) is entirely destroyed, and the lower parts of the side
walls where this would have joined, are smooth and even up to the height
of four courses above what I have called the dado-course, yet above
that, the interrupted surface shows the insertion of the bond-stones,
and attests the existence of such a wall. It is probable that the lower
part was open, and perhaps there were pilasters of metal, and six
columns, either of metal or marble in the opening. This back part is so
filled up with rubbish, that I could only determine one course lower
than those in the first cell, to be of marble. In the north wall there
is a row of small holes, very neatly bored; there are several such
ranges both here, and in the Propylæa, but I do not know their use.

The greatest peculiarities of this building exist in the wall at the
western end. I will say nothing about the windows and pilasters, of
which we have no other Greek examples, nor of a recess in the upper part
at the south-west angle, taken out of the thickness of the walls, which
is quite unaccountable, but direct your attention to the basement. In
this we find a doorway under one of the internal pilasters, and
consequently also under one of the external semicolumns. M. Fauvel
contends, that this opening is not coeval with the building, but has
been broken through for some purpose of later convenience; and Stuart,
by altogether omitting it, seems to have been of the same opinion. It is
however of the original construction, for the face of the work within
the opening corresponds with that of the face of the building, without
any marks of the stones having been cut, or in any way altered, and
there are no marks of cramps, which since the walls are cramped, as
above-mentioned, in both directions, must inevitably have been visible
had there originally been no opening. These seem to me pretty strong
proofs, but there is another perhaps still more convincing. I have
already mentioned the method adopted in these edifices to obtain
strength over the openings, by setting the blocks on edge, and making
the course double the height of the adjoining courses; this is the case
here; a large block, equal to two courses, occurs above the opening. A
door in such a situation appears remarkable, but an opening under the
angle of the building at the very point of its junction with the
Pandroseum, is still more extraordinary: this requires greater strength,
and accordingly is covered by a great stone occupying three courses; 14
feet 6 inches and three quarters long, 4 feet 9 inches and three
quarters high, and 2 feet 2 inches and three quarters thick. The top of
the door marked by Stuart, as giving an entrance to the Pandroseum, is
immediately under the surbase moulding of the gallery, 2 feet 3 inches
and a quarter above the pavement of the portico of the Erectheum; that
of the door under the gallery is two courses lower, or 3 feet 2 inches
and a half, while the door under the angle is yet one course lower: all
this contrivance may perhaps have had some reference to the access to
the spring of salt water; but without considerable excavations the
problem cannot be solved.

I have put together what I had to say of this cell, whether, in fact,
belonging to one, two, or three temples; and I will now conduct you to
the tetrastyle portico, supposed to be that of Minerva Polias, which, to
say the truth, is rather awkwardly joined to the first; at least the
junction at the posterior angle seems to be ill managed. This is
unfortunately a powder magazine, and the intercolumniations are
consequently filled up with walls of rubble, so that the proportions of
the columns cannot be observed, but for some reason every body at once
prefers this to the hexastyle portico; and the capitals of the columns,
though almost buried in the coarse masonry, are universally admired. As
the difference between these, and those of the Erectheum, is so small as
to be passed over as a trifle of no consequence in an examination of the
prints, it would be desirable to find out from what the difference of
effect arises, but I have not been able to determine the question. The
bases and lower parts of the columns are buried, but one of them is
accessible by digging, and it appears to have been ornamented with
inserted pieces of coloured glass. I apprehend that the plain fillet
under the necking of the capital in this temple, and the flat eye of the
capital in both, have been finished either with ornaments of gilt
bronze, or of coloured glass, or stones. The angular volute, in this
example, is made so thin, as to be very sensibly translucent; we did not
gain admittance to the inside, for in order to avoid the danger of
explosions, the Turks have walled up the opening, and are obliged to
make a hole in the wall when they want any powder. I have very little to
say about the Pandroseum; the opening I have noticed at the angle of its
junction with the gallery, indicates a considerable depth to the
internal pavement. Lusieri says, that he has dug, and that there are
certainly no traces of a wall or spring; but it is not at all clear that
it is to be sought for in this part, nor am I satisfied that he dug deep
enough. Externally, a wall comes against the pedestal of the caryatides,
and the parts behind it are less finished than those in front, but no
conclusion can be drawn from this, since the building was not entirely
completed; some of the pilaster capitals are only partially carved, and
in the back front of the gallery the last finish of the walls is not
carried down to the ground. The little pateræ in the architrave of the
Pandroseum were probably intended to be carved, if they were not rather
enriched with flowers of gilt metal.

All the three fine buildings of the Acropolis have been used in
succession as powder magazines, and have suffered from explosions.



                             LETTER XLVIII.

                      OTHER ANTIQUITIES OF ATHENS.


                                                  _Athens, March, 1818._

IT is fortunate for us that we have more remains of the two cities where
architecture was carried to the greatest perfection, than of any other.
The immensity of Rome, and the vast multitude of public buildings which
adorned it, might lead one to expect that we should meet there with more
remains than elsewhere, but Athens never was a very large city, nor do
the public buildings in it appear to have been constructed on a larger
scale than in many others. In each of these cities we probably see the
remains of some of the finest examples. Judging from the fragments found
at Rome, we may pronounce that there were many other buildings of great
beauty, but none which we could wish to exchange for the temple of Mars
Ultor, of Jupiter Stator, of Jupiter Tonans, of Antoninus and Faustina,
or for the portico of the Pantheon. The temple of Jupiter Capitolinus
was indeed larger than any of these, but we may doubt if its
architecture were better, or even so good. Here there are fewer objects
to distract the attention, and we may be assured that the Parthenon, the
Erectheum, the Propylæa, and the temple of Theseus, were the principal
objects of beauty in the time of Athenian splendour, and if there were
others which rivalled, there were none which pretended to surpass them.
That we have remains of the best edifices of Hadrian and Herodes
Atticus, is not quite so certain, but we know from several examples that
architecture had fallen, at that period, from the dignity and purity
which it possessed in the time of Pericles.

I have, on a former occasion, attempted to explain what were the
peculiarities of situation which gave effect to the Roman buildings.
They occupied in many instances points of land advancing into the
general line of the valley of the Tiber. The spectator was in the
centre, the objects were round him. In Athens it was exactly the
reverse; the objects were grouped together on a hill in the centre,
which displayed its magnificence on every side. At Rome, the beholder
was dazzled by the multiplicity of objects. At Athens he was impressed
by their simplicity and unity, for, from every point of view, the public
edifices which crowded the summit, and were disposed on the slopes of
the Acropolis, would combine to form a single whole. In both nature and
art seemed to have united to produce an harmonious effect, and even in
the style of architecture, the richness and grandeur of the Roman, and
the grace and elegance of the Athenian, seem alike suited to the
disposition of the buildings, and the stations they occupied. It is
remarkable, that both these cities should have been so admirably placed.
Paris hardly offers a single marked situation; Naples would have been
better, had some of its principal edifices occupied the Chiatamone;
Milan is on a flat; Florence merely in a fine valley. London would be
preferable to any of these for the display of architecture, but we have
taken no advantage of the steep bank rising from the Thames, which,
though rather too low, would nevertheless afford admirable situations
for public buildings. The present circumstances of Athens and Rome are
no less strikingly opposed to each other than the situation and style of
architecture. Rome is adorned, and frequently incumbered with modern
magnificence; the Athenian ruins are either insulated or surrounded by
mere huts. At Rome the buildings are numerous, and very much decayed; at
Athens they are few, and much more perfect. Indeed, the mere lapse of
time seems to have had very little effect on those of the latter city.
Earthquakes have shaken, explosions have shattered, and avarice has
despoiled them, but a great deal of what remains, remains absolutely
perfect, except in the more delicate and exposed sculpture, and even of
the sculpture a considerable portion is as fresh as if it were only just
finished. The modern manners of Greece and Italy have introduced a style
of domestic architecture in the two cities completely different. In one
country each family inhabits a story, or perhaps only a suite of
apartments, and many families live consequently under the same roof. In
the other, such a system would be profanation: each family occupies its
own little house, shut out from the rest of the world by being placed in
a court, and instead of six or seven stories, as in Italy, we here
rarely find more than two. Nature seems to delight in adding to these
contrasts. At Rome the atmosphere is remarkably quiet; at Athens the
winds are frequent and impetuous. At Rome, on the contrary, the
recurrence of thunder-storms is frequent, and they are extremely
violent; at Athens, thunder is rare: but this remark is so very wide of
my subject, that it reminds me to return to it.

You will think I have said enough of the Acropolis, but I must still
take you round the outside of the walls, and we will notice a few
adjoining antiquities as we proceed. There is a sitting statue of early
Greek workmanship on the ascent to the Acropolis, and a beautiful, but
much injured capital of a peculiar style near the entrance; there is
also in the way up a fountain of brackish water, which is said to run
only in summer. A well within the Acropolis, the water of which is not
good, is perhaps connected with this. Beginning below the Propylæa, we
observe between that edifice and the lower modern battery, some ancient
piers built up in the present walls, which seem to announce the most
ancient access to the Acropolis, the materials and style of masonry are
like that which I have mentioned as existing under the north-west angle
of the Propylæa, and as being in all likelihood, prior to the age of
Pericles. Taking our course along the northern side of the hill, we meet
with the grotto of Pan; a hollow in the rock of no great extent, with
numerous square and circular recesses cut apparently for the reception
of votive tablets. At a little distance there is a vault descending from
the Acropolis, and some steps passing over part of it; these steps have
been thought to belong to the entrance of the original Acropolis, but
this is at best very doubtful, and I have no theory as to their probable
object or date. Proceeding farther, the rock is extremely uneven, both
in height and direction, and there are many hollows in it, but of no
considerable depth. Some of them appear to have had votive tablets, and
perhaps architectural ornaments. In the wall above, we see parts of an
enormous entablature; it is twice interrupted, but recurs again at the
same level, as if it were placed by design, and not accidentally. The
architrave, triglyphs, and cornice, are of limestone; but the metopes
are slabs of marble. Two theories have been made for this; one is
supported by M. Fauvel, who thinks it a portion of the regular finish of
the work. If so its size was proportioned, not to the mere height of the
wall, for in some places the space below this crowning is hardly more
than the height of the entablature itself, but to that of the rock and
wall together. The other theory takes into consideration what we are
told of the mode of erecting these walls after the Persian invasion,
when to avoid the effects of Lacedæmonian jealousy, they were
reconstructed in the greatest haste, and of any materials which first
came to hand, however previously employed. These fragments, therefore,
may either have belonged to the old temple of Minerva, or to that of
Jupiter Olympus, which was also a large edifice of the Doric order. I
should incline to Fauvel’s opinion, were it not that several marble
frusta of columns, a little farther on, which seem to correspond in size
with this entablature, give some additional weight to the latter theory.
These frusta are not finished; the circular shape is determined, and a
smoothed ring on the edge of each frustum marks the intended size of the
column, but the rest of the surface is rough, and the projections left
as means to lift them into their places still remain. Farther on there
are vestiges of very ancient walls below the foot of the rock, which may
be traced at intervals more than half round the Acropolis; at the east
end is a large cavern, which penetrates the rock to a considerable
extent: it seems to be formed by the destruction of a loose breccia,
which in some parts becomes a mere gravel. Turning round to the south
side we meet with several ancient foundations composed of large blocks
of Magnesian limestone. Just above the choragic monument of Thrasyllus,
there are two detached columns, with triangular capitals, ornamented
with leaves and volutes, but of little beauty; these are also
testimonials of the same sort with that monument, and have supported
tripods, as is shewn by the cramp-holes remaining at the top. In one of
them a statue has probably at some period taken the place of the tripod,
and the square pedestal placed on the abacus to receive it still
remains. Below this monument is a large hollow, which is supposed to
have contained the theatre of Bacchus, for it is now generally
acknowledged, that what Stuart has published under that name, is the
theatre of Herodes Atticus. The range of arches extending from the
hollow to the latter building seems a very mixed production, with no
very clear intimations of genuine antiquity. The Odeum, or theatre of
Herodes, is partly of brick, and partly of Magnesian limestone.

I shall not attempt to follow the order of place in the few remaining
remarks I have to make on Athenian antiquities.

I mentioned the Temple of Jupiter Olympus on our arrival, but so
important an edifice must not be passed over with so slight a notice. A
building under this name was begun by Pisistratus, or perhaps still
earlier. This we may suppose to have been destroyed by the Persians.
Pericles seems to have done nothing towards its completion or
re-erection; perhaps Jupiter, in his time, was not a popular deity. Livy
mentions it as built by Antiochus, and as the only temple worthy the
majesty of the god; but the passage is defective. Vitruvius also says
that it was built by Antiochus, and that Cossutius, a Roman, was the
architect. According to Pliny, Sylla carried away its columns to Rome,
but in the immense multitude of fragments remaining in that city, there
is not a single example of a column, or a portion of a column, of large
diameter, of Pentelic marble. Several Asiatic sovereigns are said to
have paid their court to Augustus by contributing to its restoration (an
odd way of gaining favour), and to this epoch I would attribute all the
existing columns, for it contains several particulars which render it
probable that it was prior to Hadrian’s time. To judge of the date of a
building, either by its design or execution, it is necessary to compare
many different works, for every edifice will have something peculiar to
itself, and without several examples it is impossible to distinguish
these individual peculiarities from those which are characteristic of
the age; and we have few examples of architecture in Greece, whose date
we can determine, between the time of Alexander and that of Hadrian. My
principal guide in this instance is in the foliage of the capitals. I
have already mentioned to you the difference of forms adopted by the
artists of Greece and Rome in this respect, and that the latter usually
made the lower divisions of the leaves to lap over the other, (_fig. 4_)
while the former only made them touch; but there also appears to have
been a pretty regular progress among the Greeks themselves in the
arrangement of these divisions. In the earlier examples, the upper point
of the lower division just touches the lowest point of the division
above it, (_fig. 1_). This is the case in the monument of Lysicrates, (I
am sorry to say that Stuart is not good authority in this respect, he
has nowhere sufficiently attended to the character of the foliage), and
such also is the case in this temple of Jupiter Olympus. Afterwards the
upper point of the lower division touched not the point, but the side of
the division above it: (_fig. 2_) of this we have only fragments. In the
latest specimens two points of the lower divisions touch, or nearly
touch, the sides of the upper: (_fig. 3_) of this the fragments are very
numerous, and often executed in a very dry and tasteless manner. What I
suppose Clarke to mean by his early Corinthian capital, is often thus
formed, and is the work of the lower empire. In the arch of Hadrian this
practice is begun, but not fully established, and the leaves are
gracefully drawn. Now if you ask me why I refer these columns to the
time of Augustus rather than that of Antiochus, to which these
observations seem to apply at least equally well, I must refer you to
the authority of Pliny, and the spoliation of Sylla; for I have no
internal evidence.

[Illustration: _Fig. 1._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 2._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 3._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 4._]

In all ruins the mind speculates on what the building has been, and
where the remains are magnificent, on the power, the riches, the zeal,
and intelligence requisite to produce it; and finds no small degree of
pleasure in that employment. In this temple there is ample field for
such speculations, enough still remains to indicate both the disposition
of the building, and that of the court in which it stood, which was
probably surrounded with columns. The columns remaining belonged to the
temple itself; the smaller ones were more easily taken away; the size of
the large ones has been their protection. One of them, which was
standing in Stuart’s time, has however been destroyed by a governor of
Athens, and the materials employed in the erection of a mosque, but the
experiment did not succeed; for the pashaw of Negropont hearing of it,
made it a pretence to extort money from him, on the ground that he had
appropriated to himself the property of the grand signor. These columns
are above 6 feet in diameter, and nearly 60 feet high, that is, they are
somewhat thicker than those of the portico of Covent Garden theatre, and
almost twice as high. They are of the Corinthian order, and their
sculptured capitals still remain. There must have been originally, at
least one hundred and sixteen of them: they are of Pentelic marble, but
many of the blocks are much veined with mica slate, and resemble
cipollino, but with a purer ground. It appears probable that thicker
blocks might be obtained of this, than of the pure white marble. The
workmanship is excellent, though perhaps not equal to that of the
Phidian architecture. Their physical beauty is enhanced by the various
effects of their grouping, as seen in different positions, and by the
stains of a yellowish, or rather of an orange hue, which time has
produced in all the edifices of this marble. It is probably owing to the
action of the air on a small quantity of iron, contained in the mica
which the Pentelic marble is never without. As perfect buildings,
perhaps the original colour was the best, but as ruins, their beauty is
certainly increased by the present tints. These remains are unincumbered
by any modern building, except a little sort of hut, erected on a piece
of the architrave, the traditional residence of a _Stylite_; and they
are placed on an artificial platform, on a bank rising from the Ilissus,
supported by a buttressed wall, part of which still remains. The height
of the bases is unequal, and the plinths of the inner columns rest on
blocks of hard limestone, but there is a sinking of about two inches
below them, as if to receive a marble pavement. One of the outer range
of plinths also rests on a similar limestone, except in front, where
there is a block of marble, and the top of this would have been exactly
level with the surface of the marble pavement. The three first columns
of the south range rest on marble, and the paving between them is of the
same material.

The gateway known by the name of the Arch of Hadrian is near these
columns. It has perhaps rather a foolish and unmeaning look, and the
more so, from the comparison of its little columns with their gigantic
neighbours. Yet still it is an interesting monument; the beauty of the
material, the excellence of the workmanship, the almost perfect state in
which it exists, and a certain lightness and even elegance in the
disposition of its upper part, demand a considerable degree of
admiration. Wilkins has proposed a new reading of the inscription over
the gateway, by which he makes the city of Theseus to lie on the outside
of this archway, and the city of Hadrian between it and the Acropolis. I
could not resist the temptation of making a view of it, standing
directly in front, and looking north-westward. In this position,[30] the
writer tells us that the Acropolis is out of the field of view, while
according to my notions it occupies half the picture.

I will spare you any details of the Gymnasium of Ptolemy, or of the
Stoa, since I have no additions to make to your knowledge of either.

The narrow ridge of the Areopagus would hardly afford room for a court
of justice, but the rocks are cut in all parts, apparently for the
reception of buildings, and this is also in a considerable degree the
case with the hill called Lycabettus; indeed all the three hills,
Lycabettus, Pnyx, and Musæum, are covered with traces of human labour.
Among them are subterranean cones, probably receptacles for corn, and
from one of these cones we observed a passage into a cylindrical pit,
not bigger than a well. Fragments of terra cotta also abound in some
places, and now and then a small piece of marble, but this material was
probably little, if at all used, in private buildings.

The area on the Pnyx, supposed to be the place of assembly, is in part
sustained by a wall of vast stones, forming a line convex outwards; the
largest of them is about 10 feet by 8 on the face, but I do not know its
thickness. The space above is nearly a large sector of a circle, not
much less than a semicircle, with the _beema_ (βημα) in the centre of
the circle. This remains as a raised platform with steps up to it, but
the area slopes in all directions from the _beema_, a circumstance very
inconvenient for public speaking. Just above this is another area,
somewhat similar, but on a smaller scale, and the rocks above it are cut
in a manner which might make one imagine a sort of pulpit in this part
also. From this upper area the sea may be seen, which from the lower
would be quite invisible. In both instances the speaker must have turned
his back upon it. Can these circumstances have anything to do with the
change in the situation of the _beema_ attributed to the thirty tyrants?
By the side of the lower _beema_, which is much more distinct than the
other, there are a number of little, square recesses, which are supposed
to have been intended to receive tablets of notices, or of decrees.

After descending a little from this area, we begin the ascent of the
third and highest of these three hills; which abounds like the others
with vestiges of ancient habitancy, and here and there exhibits a small
portion of the foundation of the city wall. The monument of Philopappus
crowns the summit. I have nothing particular to say of this edifice, but
the view from it is very fine, comprising the whole of the plain of
Athens, and the Saronic Gulf, and their surrounding mountains, beyond
which other mountains appear in distant perspective. Indeed when lighted
up, as I have seen it under a brilliant sunset, it presents a scene of
matchless splendour, as enchanting to the senses as to the imagination.

The Stadium of Herodes Atticus is a little way out of Athens, among (if
I may so express myself) the roots of Hymettus. The eminences which
immediately bound it seem to have approached each other, but their
absolute union at the circular end is artificial. The short valley thus
obtained was lengthened by two great piers of rubble-work; the stone
facing which once completed them is gone, and exposes the rubble,
evidently laid in successive courses with a coat of stucco or mortar
between each. On the right hand are vast foundations of the same nature,
forming, as is supposed, the substruction of the temple of Victory, and
of the immense flight of steps continued to it from the Stadium: on the
left are traces of other edifices, which are said to have constituted
parts of the temple of Fortune. The channel of an occasional torrent
passes under the mound at the upper end. The whole effect must have been
very splendid in its original state, but it is now almost reduced again
to its natural condition. All its marbles and squared stones have been
taken away, and the fragments of rubble which remain are hardly
distinguishable from the native rock, which bursts frequently from the
soil all around. The course was perhaps further lengthened by a
magnificent bridge, certainly not wanted for crossing the Ilissus, and
as the width of the way at the top must have been more than 60 feet, it
could hardly have been intended for a mere passage, even if the Ilissus
were really a river. Stuart figures the three arches as remaining, but
they have all now disappeared, and some peasants were at work when I was
there in detaching the squared masonry of the piers, so that a few
shapeless masses of rubble will probably, in a few years, be all that
remains.

The neighbourhood of Athens is everywhere scattered over with ruins, a
large portion of which appear to have been tombs. With so many
unappropriated fragments, it is almost impossible that we should not
find some which might be conceived to be those of the celebrated men of
Athens, and accordingly we find many of their names attached to these
fragments. They are however, nothing more than foundations, rarely
rising more than a few inches above the soil. The evidence of their
appropriation is very unsatisfactory, and there is nothing in the
remains themselves which would enable us to determine the nature of the
edifice. Of those mentioned by Pausanias, it is probable that the
greater part were little more than those of our burying-grounds, a small
mound of earth, with a short column, or _steelee_, generally thickest
upwards, placed instead of a headstone. Three men in ten days could have
performed but little, and there was a law to limit to this degree of
exertion the expense of a sepulchre. The place of the Academy is guessed
at, rather than known. There can hardly be any great error, but there
are no remains, for the few fragments of capitals, and other mouldings
of buildings in that direction, cannot be traced to it. The two hills of
Colonia are sufficiently evident; natural indications are more durable
than artificial. The supposed situation of the Lyceum is in a smaller
olive-grove on the Ilissus, a little above Athens, and hereabouts
fragments have been found, but there is nothing to identify the precise
spot. The whole ground abounds in these vestiges, and many of the
travellers here amuse themselves in searching for antiquities. The usual
expense in digging is to pay each man sixty _parás_ per diem, with an
additional present on any considerable discovery, and twelve _parás_ per
diem for every man employed is paid to the owner of the land.

After my speculations on the ancient, I should like to give you some
account of the modern productions, but my idea of Turkish architecture
is very imperfect, and will probably remain so, as the only place in
which it can be appreciated is Constantinople. Yet in what I have seen
there are some beautiful particulars, though perhaps, even more than in
Italy, they are beauties of a hot climate. The stables, and some of the
offices, are on the ground-floor. In our own lodging, the stoves for
cooking are under the steps which ascend externally to the upper
apartments. The rooms of the master of the family, and many also of
those appropriated to the servants are on the first floor. There is
occasionally a low story, or mezzanine, between the basement and the
principal rooms, but never anything over the latter, except that in
large houses there is sometimes a sort of tower rising above the general
roof, and containing one large room with windows on three sides, or
perhaps all round it. Such a room as this, was the hall with twenty-four
windows which terminated the palace of Aladdin in the Arabian Nights.
The best house I have seen is that of the bey of Corinth; the principal
part of the building is in the form of the letter L, forming two sides
of a square, and in the corner is a flight of steps leading to the
gallery and the principal floor. This gallery is never omitted in any
decent house; it is always of wood, and the principal rooms open
immediately into it. Our verandas seem to be imitated from it, but its
greater depth, and projecting roof, with deeply ornamented eaves, render
it much superior in effect. The entrance into this palace, like that of
other houses, is by a court, but externally, the walls rise immediately
on the summit of a steep, rocky bank, below which are the gardens, and
it thus commands a view of the plain and gulf of Corinth, and the
situation is very good both for seeing and being seen; though the almost
naked plain of Corinth does not form a very fine foreground. Underneath
the gallery, in the court, is a range of arches, which in England you
might call Saxon, supported on short, round pillars, which do not
correspond with the posts of the gallery above. The walls of this
gallery have been ornamentally painted, but the painting and ornaments
are almost gone. Beyond the part now described is a range of offices,
and beyond these the women’s apartments, which are of course invisible.

The interior of a Turkish room seems formed everywhere on the same
model, and the one I have already described to you in our own lodging,
though of the poorer sort, is on the same plan with the rest. The lower
part is sometimes as large as the upper, sometimes much smaller. A
little wooden shaft commonly runs up the sides from the step which
separates the two levels, and something of the sort is frequently
continued across the room, on the ceiling. The divân surrounds usually
three sides of the upper part of the room; here the Turk or Greek
reclines for the greatest part of the day, smoking his long pipe, or
looking out of the windows, which extend as far as the divân itself; and
here, I believe, he sleeps at night. All this part of the dwelling,
among the richer Turks, is ornamented with painting and gilding,
fancifully, and sometimes tastefully disposed, and the cushions and
backs of the divân are covered with silk, and embroidered. The poorer
content themselves with inferior materials and less decoration. Every
visitor is presented with a pipe and a cup of coffee, and generally with
sweetmeats. The porcelain coffee-cup is placed within a cup of metal,
often richly ornamented, and it is a merit that the liquor should be
very thick. All these little particulars strike the attention when we
first meet with them, but they are nothing in words, because they have
been so often described that the words are become familiar, though the
customs are new.

The early antiquities of this place are so interesting, and the
Christian ones of so little importance, that I find it requires a
considerable effort to turn my attention at all towards them. The
principal church is a gloomy building, divided by ranges of columns, and
not distinctly exhibiting the form of the Greek cross. A little church
dedicated to St. George, on the side towards mount Anchesmus, is more
characteristic. The body of the building is nearly square, with a porch
of the whole width opening by three arches. A Greek cross rises above
the square, and the intersection is crowned with an octagonal lantern,
having a shaft at each angle, supporting a curved rib, and a narrow
semicircular-headed opening on each side. The dome is tiled and springs
from the angles, so that, as in some churches I have noticed to you in
the south of France, the upright faces of the sides of the octagon cut
into it. The whole width of this edifice is but 27 feet, and another
little church dedicated to the same saint, a little below the monument
of Thrasyllus, is still smaller, the nave being but 7 feet wide, but it
is very well constructed. These Greek churches, like the ancient
temples, must have been for the priests, and not for the people.

[Illustration: Illustration of church]



                              LETTER XLIX.

                        NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ATHENS.


                                                  _Athens, April, 1818._

ONE of the first objects in the neighbourhood of Athens is the Piræus,
and we may still discover traces of the ancient road, and of the ruts
made by the wheels in the solid rock; and some remains of the long
walls. A convent and the custom-house now form the whole town; yet the
port is a very good harbour. According to Captain M. it is capable of
containing fifteen or twenty large ships, of the size of an English
frigate, and a great number of smaller ones; and in addition to this,
the road on the outside is so well sheltered by the island of Salamis,
and the holding ground is so good, that it may be esteemed almost equal
to a harbour.

We walked along the shore by the ruins of a Doric temple. The rocks are
cut, as they are about Athens, for the reception of buildings, and there
are moreover considerable quarries. The Syracusans confined their
Athenian prisoners in their quarries; and the Athenians placed here the
captives taken at Syracuse; but the stone of the Piræus is not so firm
as that of Syracuse, and the hills are of less extent; the prisoners
were consequently able to work their way out. It is rather a friable
limestone, containing shells. We crossed over from the port to what is
called the Tomb of Themistocles, but there are many difficulties in the
way of our belief. A level surface, now frequently covered by the sea,
was cut in the rocks, and on it was raised a lofty Ionic column; this
has been overthrown, but the pieces of the shaft remain, and even a
fragment of the capital, by which we are enabled to determine the order;
and close to the place on which it stood, some oblong sepulchres are cut
in the rock. In these, as in many of the tombs about Athens, there is a
sort of double grave; a deep groove separating the immediate receptacle
of the body from the rest of the rock, and there appears to have been a
cover to this receptacle, besides the larger one to the tomb or grave.
From this point we are able to trace the wall of the city by a continued
heap of stones along the whole of the winding coast, as far as Munychia.
This port consists of a somewhat elliptical basin, with a narrow and
shallow entrance. There are remains of a theatre, and of a temple in its
vicinity; and on the hill above are more considerable traces of another
theatre; besides tombs without number, some of which are very curious.
We were told of three temples, but we noticed only the foundations of
two, and missed also the vestiges of the citadel of the Piræus, and some
Cyclopean walls. The port of Phalerus was completed by artificial means,
into an almost circular form; parts of the piers remain, but the whole
is extremely shallow. To the east of the Piræus and of the bay of
Phalerus, is the small promontory of Cape Colias. It is composed of a
soft and recent limestone; even more so than that of the quarries above
mentioned, containing organic remains.

I must give you an account of another excursion which I made on the 7th
of March, in company with Mr. B. Our route passed through the
olive-groves, and we crossed several channels of the Cephisus, all alike
destitute of running water. The one farthest from Athens had most the
appearance of being the natural channel, as its banks were fringed with
bushes, but we did not find the traces of an ancient bridge, which are
said to exist in this part. On leaving the olive-grove we pass by one of
the small chapels so numerous about Athens; they are the erections of
individuals, and I believe service is performed in them once a year, on
the feast-day of the patron saint; and almost all of them contain some
fragments of antiquity. From Athens to the grove is a continued but very
gentle descent, the grove itself is nearly on a level, but on leaving it
we immediately begin to ascend. About a mile beyond it, on the road to
Daphne, there is a most admirable distant view of Athens, better perhaps
in the morning, when the parts are a good deal massed in shade, from the
light being behind them, than in the evening, when the details are
brought out by the setting sun. A conical hill on the right, at the
entrance of the defile between the hills Aigialos and Corydalus, is
supposed to be the ancient Pœcilon, and to have been crowned with a
temple of Apollo; but though there are almost everywhere abundant traces
of foundations, there is nothing which can be distinctly made out as the
remains of a temple. The rocks on the road, till we arrive at the foot
of this hill, are of mica slate; at that point we find the breccia
already mentioned as belonging probably to the Magnesian limestone, and
the upper part both of the Pœcilon, and of the adjoining mountains, is
of a limestone, which I imagined at the time to rest upon the breccia.

Daphne is a convent seated in the defile above-mentioned, where a wood
of pines (_Pinus maritima_, or _Halepensis_) stretches over the
Corydalus, and gives a charm to the scenery, which is felt the more from
the usual nakedness of the Athenian hills. There are a few architectural
fragments, and many squared stones at Daphne, and several foundations of
walls, but nothing of much consequence.

From the convent we rode to the Written-rock, at the farther end of the
same defile, on the road to Eleusis. Here, on a smoothed face of stone,
are several recesses for _ex voto_ tablets, or perhaps for little
statues or other offerings. The offerings are gone, but with some
difficulty we may trace portions of the inscriptions below them. Many of
these are covered with a thin deposit of hard stalagmite, which it
appears must have proceeded from the mere action of the weather on the
surface of the stone; for from the situation of the rocks, it is hardly
possible that any current of water should have passed over them. Before
arriving at the Written-rock, we may observe vestiges of the ancient
sacred way, supported in places on a sort of terrace, formed merely of
natural fragments found on the spot, untooled, and uncemented; and in
other places are marks of wheels, on a surface quite as uneven as that
of the road to the Piræus. There are said also to be traces of a temple
of Venus, but I could make nothing out. From this spot we walked to the
top of Ægialus, whence we enjoyed a glorious view over the gulf and
island of Salamis, the Thriasian plains of Eleusis, the mountains of
Kerata and Cithæron, and a distant view of snowy summits in the Morea.
Beyond this range of hills we find a salt lake. The beds of limestone
apparently corresponding with that of the immediate neighbourhood of
Athens, continue quite to the base of the hill, but it is probable that
the salt is deposited in a partial formation of the red marl, which may
intervene between this and the Magnesian limestone. The fertility of the
celebrated vale of Eleusis agrees well with such an idea; the red marl
often decomposing into a productive soil, when it can obtain sufficient
moisture. The water of this salt pool or lake, is kept up by a dam to
the height of two or three feet above the sea, and a copious current
issues from it. At a little distance there is another pool of the same
sort, which also furnishes a considerable issue of salt water. Pausanias
supposes these streams to originate from the sea on the eastern shore of
Attica. We returned along the shore, where the limestone rocks exhibit
large crevices, filled up with a yellowish stalagmite or alabaster.[31]
The breccia here appears again, and as I conceived at the time, running
under the limestone rock. A little, pleasant, but uncultivated valley,
opening to the shore, preceded our entrance to the defile on this side.
It is sprinkled with olive and carob trees, and with a thorny tree
something like an almond, now in full flower.[32] Corydalus is here also
covered with the _Pinus Halepensis_, but Ægialus has only bushes.

On the 26th of March I went up Hymettus, in company with Sir F. A. who
has been visiting Athens with a party from Corfu, among whom is Dr.
Skey. The road takes a direction nearly east, to the convent of St.
Cyrian, or as I understood the name, St. Sergian. It lies up the valley
of the Ilissus, and afterwards follows a ravine uniting with it, or
perhaps forming a part of it, for amongst the ravines descending from
this mountain, I find it difficult to decide which water-course ought to
preserve the name. In our way we observed a beautiful ornament over the
entrance of a _metokhi_, or farm establishment. The convent is embosomed
in a shady little hollow at the foot of the mountain, and has by it a
pretty copious spring of good water, which however soon disappears,
being either diverted, or evaporated among the olive-grounds, or lost
amongst the rocks and stones. There are some badly worked columns, and
some bad capitals, not originally made for them. There is also another,
but smaller and less perfect fragment of the ornament we had seen over
the gateway of the _metokhi_, and a ram’s head at the fountain. No doubt
this delicious spot was anciently appropriated, but nothing remains to
determine in what manner. Dr. S. and myself ascended the mountain from
this point on foot. The whole of it seems to consist of a limestone,
intimately connected with the mica slate, though the greater part
contains little or no mica; and not to be of the same nature with that
of the Musæum or Pnyx. I imagine the convent to stand about 400 feet
above the sea, and the mountain to rise about 1,600 feet above the
convent. On the side towards Athens it descends in rugged and uneven
slopes, but on the opposite side, it is very broken and precipitous. We
saw Parnassus, a mass of snow; Helicon, with two or three white stripes
near the top; Cyllene, and a long range from it, deeply capped with
snow, and Delphi in Eubœa, where the snow descended in ribs almost half
way down; all the other mountains were clear, and we had an extensive
and varied prospect of sea and land, but the day was not favourable. A
very deep ravine tending to the west, tempted Dr. S. and myself to its
examination. Some of the rocks were of a very white and pure marble, but
there were no marks of its having been quarried. Others were of breccia,
lying on the steep slope of the mountain, and broken off abruptly, so as
to have at first sight, the appearance of running under the marble. The
ravine is two or three miles in length, covered with bushes, and in the
upper part are trees of the _Pinus Halepensis_, but we descended without
seeing or hearing any signs of any animal bigger than an insect, and
very few of them. The weather during the first part of our stay at
Athens was in general very fine and pleasant, the glass rising to near
60° in the shade during the day. The wind was sometimes cold, but we had
hardly any rain. A high wind when it occurs is particularly inconvenient
to me, as I have no sufficient means of fastening the window-shutters of
my room. On the night of the 20th of January we had a good deal of snow,
and on the following morning every thing was covered. About the middle
of February we frequently saw heavy clouds, and rain or snow falling on
the mountains. The thermometer has never been so low as 30°, and it is
well that it seldom approaches even to the freezing point, for on such
occasions the effects are very unpleasant; no milk, no eggs, no linen
can be washed; in fact nothing proceeds, and all the shops are shut;
while at home, the chambers pervious in all directions to the winds,
formed a very poor protection against the keen north-easter, which made
the latter part of February and the earlier part of March, very much
like a March month in England. We had even a little snow on the 20th.

I found soon after my arrival that Mr. B. had engaged a Greek master,
who as he said, put him in a fever whenever he came. I therefore engaged
our consul to recommend another, who was, as I discovered on his first
visit, hardly able to speak a word of Italian; what was worse, he did
not at all understand the art of teaching, nor was he ready in
comprehending what was required of him. Neither Mr. B.’s master nor mine
have any distinct notions of grammar, and perhaps the modern Greek, or
Romaic, can hardly be said to have a grammar, or even to be a written
language; for the books published by Coray and others in Germany and
Italy, are written in a compound of ancient and modern, which each
author makes for himself, and which a Greek of these degenerate days can
understand very imperfectly, unless he be acquainted with the ancient
Hellenic. After twelve lessons, in which I made very little progress, I
dismissed my teacher, and S. is now trying his hand with him. He has at
least the merit of being very good tempered, and so willing to teach,
that he never leaves us till he is fairly turned out of the room.
Nothing can be more different in sound than the ancient Greek, as spoken
by one of their descendants, and the language called Greek by us; and
this is owing to two circumstances: the attention which the moderns pay
to accent rather than quantity; and the pronunciation of the vowels. An
Englishman, I believe, entirely disregards all the marks of accent, and
places the principal stress upon the penultima, if it be long; and on
the antepenultima, if the penultima be short; thus transferring to one
language, the arbitrary rule acknowledged in another, and with whatever
authority there is, decidedly against him. The marks of accent are said
to have been of late invention, but they were surely intended to denote
something in the intonation of the language. If ancient, they might have
lost their meaning at an early period, and have been preserved by habit;
but if they were additions, they had reference to a pronunciation which
then existed, and probably to one which had long existed, for we all
know with how much difficulty innovations are admitted into an
established language. By the same rule, the _spiritus_ must have had
some meaning, but the modern Greeks wholly neglect it. They read by
accent, and I think in general without any regard to quantity; but when
the subject is poetry, the quantity becomes perceptible, and the ear
readily distinguishes some degree of rhythm.

The present Greeks pronounce the _iota_, the _eta_, the _upsilon_, and
the two diphthongs ει and οι, all exactly alike, and resembling, when
short, our short _i_, when long our double _ee_. The English
pronunciation may be wrong, but that of the Greeks cannot be right. It
is very improbable that the ancients should have added letters to the
alphabet to express sounds for which they had already characters. And
unless something of importance has been lost, we must at least deny them
all praise of ingenuity in the formation of their alphabet. What I have
above mentioned, are the most striking particulars of the present
pronunciation, but there are others of considerable importance. No
difference is made between the _epsilon_, and the _ai_ diphthong; none
between the _omicron_ and _omega_ in common conversation. _Beta_ is
pronounced like our _v_; _delta_, like _th_ in thy; _gamma_, before α,
ο, or ω, is a guttural, bearing the same relation to the guttural _chi_,
as our hard _g_ bears to _k_. Before the other vowels and diphthongs,
_gamma_ is _y_ consonant with a guttural prefixed. _Kappa_ is like our
_k_ before the α, ο, or ω, but before the other vowels and diphthongs,
it takes a _y_ consonant in addition, and this at Athens, and I believe
in most places, is very frequently corrupted into our soft _ch_. Since
all the languages which have deduced their mode of writing from the
Greeks, give two sounds to each of those two letters (for _c_, not _k_,
is the legitimate daughter of the _kappa_) it is highly probable that
some such difference existed in the original. _Upsilon_ after a vowel is
_v_ or _f_. These particulars should, I think, be attended to, in
transferring modern Greek or Romaic words into our own language.[33]
Some names are naturalized, and these I would not attempt to alter; but
in writing down the few places which will be less known to you, I have
followed a regular system; β is _v_; δ _th_; γ and κ I leave as _g_ and
_k_; χ, I have ventured to express by _kh_, which avoids the ambiguity
of our _ch_. In the vowels and diphthongs, α is _a_; αι is _æ_: a
recurrence to the old mode which suits tolerably well with our
pronunciation, ε is _e_; ει is _ei_; η is _ee_; which is sometimes short
with us, as in _been_, as well as with the modern Greeks; ι is _i_; ο
and ω are both _o_; οι, _œ_; υ is _f_ or _v_, according as it is
actually sounded when it follows a vowel; _y_ in other cases. This plan
you see leaves the etymologies quite as clear as at present, and if it
do not follow all the niceties of pronunciation, which it would be
difficult to express to an English eye, these niceties are not well
settled among the Greeks themselves. I have also added the accent,
without which our idea of the word is very imperfect.

The modern Greeks do not pretend that their grammar is the same as that
of their ancestors. In many words they form all the oblique cases, by
the omission of the _s_ of the nominative; as, ὁ Σωκράτης, makes in the
genitive and accusative (they have no dative) τοῦ and τον Σωκράτη; in
the vocative case it ought by theory to make ω Σώκρατες, in which case
the position of the accent would be changed. I was considering one day
whether I had ever observed this to take place, when the little Greek
servant of the house began calling the second son of my landlord; she
began with Θεμιστόκλη, but as he did not answer it was changed to
Θεμίστοκλη, and afterwards to Θεμιστοκλῆ. It seems to me that in
vocatives there is a natural tendency to strengthen and lengthen the
last syllable, but I have no system to account for her throwing back the
accent at the second call, for she certainly never changed the
terminating vowel. In the pronouns, the genitives μοῦ, μᾶς, and σᾶς, are
used for all cases, but I am told that at Constantinople, the dative is
preserved: τοῦ λόγουμου, signifies, _I myself_, τοῦ λόγουσου, thyself,
&c. I do not understand on what principle this idiom is founded. In
verbs the modern Greeks have lost the infinitive. They have retained a
preter-perfect tense in the indicative, but form the future by a
compound of θέλω; however, they seem to be in a fair way of forming a
new future by contracting θέλω into θὰ, and incorporating it with the
verb.

We have settled here into a very regular course of life. I rise between
one and two, Turkish time, which begins at sunset, and is reckoned in
twice twelve hours. We breakfast at three. At first we had tea, but our
stock being exhausted, we now take coffee; in the winter we used eggs
instead of milk, but as the spring came on, milk became plentiful. We
stay at home studying Romaic or modern Greek, or completing and
arranging the observations of the preceding day till seven or eight, and
then go out and examine some building in its details, as far as we can
make them out, and about twelve return to dinner. After this S. smokes
two or three pipes, and I used to get through one, in order to be in the
fashion, but I have now abandoned the attempt, and only take a whiff or
two when I am paying visits. These pipes consist of wooden tubes about 6
feet long; those made of the shoots of the cherry tree are reckoned
best. They have a bowl of earthenware at one end, some of the best and
most beautiful of which are made at Thebes, and an amber mouth-piece at
the other. It is said that you may use one of these from the mouth of a
person who has the plague, without any danger of infection, but I had
rather not try the experiment. A little tray is placed on the ground to
receive the bowl of your pipe, as the tube is of course too long to be
managed by the hand.

This course has been occasionally interrupted by visiting, especially
during the carnival, of which I shall give you an account presently, and
sometimes by our attention to occasional objects of curiosity. One of
these is the exhibition of the dancing dervises, who use the tower of
the winds as the place of their devotions, but they do not always dance.
Mr. Sharp and myself entered just as they begun their chaunt, and walked
through the midst of them to the gallery appropriated to the reception
of strangers, without their taking the least notice of us. They were not
at that time all assembled, and the greatest number present at one time
was twenty-eight, besides a young man with a child in his arms, who took
but little part in the ceremony, and went away before it was half over.
The performers were of all ages, from six to sixty, and one old man, I
should suppose, to be much more. You know all the orientals sit with
their legs crossed under them, and as these are covered by their long
garments, they look as if they had none, but the body seems a pivot
placed in a socket. The performers sing, and move their bodies backward
and forward without bending them, which very much strengthens this idea,
and you may conceive what a ridiculous effect it has. They began
chaunting slowly, and not loud, but got faster and louder as they
proceeded, three boys all the while beating a drum with straps of hard
leather. Suddenly the chaunt changed, and another set of words was used.
Each chaunt consists of only two or three words, but I have not yet
learned what they are. After a short pause they began a third chaunt.
Each chaunt was quicker and more animated than the preceding, and some
of the young men seemed exhausted by the effort; for independently of
repeating the words as fast, and as loud as they can, without allowing
themselves to take breath, they move the body incessantly backward and
forward, with the head nodding this way and that, as if it were loose
upon the shoulders. Some exerted themselves very much, others used no
violent effort. The former began to pant for breath, and occasionally to
utter a sort of groan, but on a sudden, all stopt, with their hands
crossed on the breast, and the head bowed down; after they had raised
themselves again, one of them began what I suppose was a hymn, but the
singing is not at all to the taste of the rest of Europe; being very
monotonous and performed through the nose. After this we had more
chaunting, and during one interval, it was part of the ceremony to look
at the palms of their hands, and in another occasionally to cover their
faces with them. At last they all bowed down with their lips to the
ground, and after a short space, got up and kissed each other. The
younger ones kissed the hand of the oldest, who in return put it upon
their heads, apparently giving them his blessing. They then departed,
much to my disappointment, as I had hoped to see the dance.

On another occasion I was more fortunate, and witnessed the conclusion
of the ceremony. After the part before described, they threw off their
upper robes and began to dance, moving in a circle with advancing and
retreating steps, as in the common dance of the country, but without
hopping; an old man came forward into the centre of the circle, and
performed the same sort of motion, but with more violence, and after him
several others successively presented themselves; stamping and flinging
about their arms and heads in the most extravagant manner. Their
head-dresses during this exertion came off, and the long hair which had
been confined under them floated over their shoulders, and added to
their picturesque appearance. Many had the first part of the head
shaved, but all had long hair, generally almost black. At one time two
came into the circle together, and holding each other’s hands, whirled
round with great rapidity. It was a problem after we came out, whether
this were fanaticism or imposture. The younger ones seemed to join in it
rather as good fun, than from either the one or the other, and as they
begin very young, they probably repeat it as they get older from habit,
without any thought of religion in the performance, but merely with a
view to get money; but in the leaders, it would be difficult to find a
softer name than imposture. They are supported without being at all
esteemed, and are said to be more licentious than the generality of the
Turks.

The pleasures of the Greek carnival last but four days; the Saturdays
and Sundays of two consecutive weeks. The Greeks were very full of it,
for they told us, that they might for those four days wear masks, and
what they valued much more, dress as Turks, or as Franks, which seems
the summit of Greek ambition; and we expected yesterday to see the
streets full of such exhibitions. We however rambled about the town, and
through the bazar, without meeting anything of the sort, and almost
without seeing any body. The most remarkable occurrence was that two
young dervises were exercising their lungs in the temple of Theseus.
They had very good voices; it is a pity the style of singing was not
better. At dinner our young attendant, the son of our landlord, who is
named Themistocles, told us that some Greeks had been bastinadoed for
wearing masks, their Turkish masters telling them, that if they were
inclined to wear masks, or dress as Franks, they might do it at home.
This seemed to reduce the liberty of the carnival within very narrow
limits, and to those who have no other liberty than that of making fools
of themselves once a year, even this is a matter of importance. In the
evening we went to a ball given by the English consul; the invitation
was for two (that is, two hours after sunset): we got there about half
past; several people were already assembled, but others continued to
arrive for I suppose two hours more, the men were squatting on the divân
on one side of the room, and the ladies on the other. The dresses were
not cast just in a mould for either sex, yet the differences were not
great, and I shall endeavour to give you a general idea of it. Of the
under garment of the men, nothing appeared but a little bit at the
wrist. In some, this part had the form of an open sleeve of white,
figured silk; in others, a close sleeve of striped silk: in one or two a
thin edge of white appeared at the neck, but whether it was part of the
same vesture, I cannot tell. Over this is a long robe, generally of
striped silk, reaching to the feet, only frequently one may just see
beneath it, the bottom of their large loose pantaloons; these appear in
some to be tied round the ancle, but are so large that the folds hang
over the foot; in others they are shorter, and not tied; under these is
a pair of stockings of yellow leather, and the slippers are usually of
the same colour. The sleeves of this robe are very large and open; it is
tied round the waist by a sash, or sometimes by a shawl, and the folds
above this ligature serve for pockets. It is considered a mark of
dignity to have these very full, but the appearance produced is far from
graceful. Over this robe is a short cloak, trimmed with fur, with
sleeves coming down a little below the elbows; and over this another
cloak, also trimmed or lined with fur, with sleeves a little longer, and
which reaches nearly to the ankles. This load of cloathing seems to be
considered necessary to an appearance of respectability. On the head
they wear a _kaloupi_, or _kaloupáki_, or as it is more commonly called,
a _kalpáki_, which is a high, obconical cap, of a dark brown colour,
very large and very ugly; but I am told they are nothing in size to the
kalpáki worn at Constantinople, which are a yard high. The priests wear
a smaller head-dress called _kamilaski_, and this, and wearing the
beard, seem the only marks of distinction. All wear under these a little
red skull-cap, called _fesí_, the reason they assign for which is, that
being obliged to shave all the fore part of the head, they would
otherwise be very cold in the churches when the outer covering is taken
off. This shaving the head is a badge of servitude required of them by
the Turks. The difference of dress between Turks and Greeks is rather
marked by several little particulars, and the degree of richness, in
proportion to the circumstances of the owner, than by any one article.
In the streets the common people wear on their heads the _fesí_ and a
_shervétta_, that is, a coloured turban, going twice round the head. The
Turks wear it white, when it is called a _kuflí_, or with a greater
number of revolutions, and then it is an _achmendié_, but at Athens many
Greeks may wear the white turban, and to some three turns are permitted,
but if you see these on a poor man, he is a Turk. The richer Turks wear
the _kabouki_, which is a good deal like the _kalpáki_, but generally
fluted, and with a white turban round the bottom of it. This combination
is never seen among the Greeks. The common Greeks wear loose breeches, a
close jacket bound round the waist with a sash, and having loose
sleeves; a pair of close drawers, reaching to the ankles, sometimes
appears from under the loose breeches. Among the Turks, this is
embroidered, as are the jackets and cloak. Those among the latter who
can afford it, have the embroidery of gold, and a richly worked sash,
with a pair of great pistols; the stocks thickly studded with gold or
silver, and a large knife also ornamented with the precious metals. Some
of the Greeks have the privilege of wearing gold embroidery in small
quantity, but in general this is prohibited, and they endeavour to shew
their dignity by the quantity of clothing. The Turks do not load
themselves so much, and are therefore much better dressed. The use of
red slippers is entirely confined to the Turks.

The dress of the ladies is composed nearly of the same parts as that of
the men. The hair is usually disposed in a number of little plaits, each
surrounded by a band of pearls, and diamonds hang down among them;
sometimes the plaits are fewer, and sometimes it is left in a natural
state; in all it appears to be dyed nearly of one colour, a dark brown,
inclining when seen by daylight to purple. On the top of the head there
is a sort of small cap, made of pearls, and frequently with an ornament
of diamonds in front; this is generally bordered by one, two, or three
rows of gold coins. A white handkerchief conceals the neck, and the
opening which this leaves below the throat, is occupied by a pearl
necklace, forming a sort of web, and this also is sometimes bordered by
gold coins. The under garment appears only at the wrist, sometimes of
white, embroidered silk, hanging loose; sometimes confined by a
succession of pearl bracelets. The gown has loose sleeves; over this is
a cloak, of which the upper part is usually of fur, the lower has pieces
of satin, or rather, I believe of a web of gold and silk of various
patterns let into it, which is no improvement. The ladies present at the
ball were not in general handsome, but there were pretty women amongst
them, or rather some who had been pretty, for no unmarried woman appears
on these occasions. As for the dress of the Turkish women, I can tell
you of nothing but quite the outside. When we meet them in the streets,
they are enveloped in a long cloak, over which a white shawl is worn,
covering the upper part of the body, and the head; and passing close
under the nose. Under this white shawl appears a black veil, which
covers the front part of the head, and the upper part of the face; the
projection of the nose at its junction with the white shawl, just gives
them a hole to peep and breathe through, but nothing is seen. In spite
however, of all these precautions, they generally turn to the wall when
they meet me. Nothing can be more ugly than this head-dress. The Greek
women are prohibited from wearing it, but I have no doubt that if
permitted they would put it on, for the ambition of the Greeks is to
dress like the Turks. My Greek master, whom I thought the quietest,
dullest, and meekest animal that ever existed, put on the dress of a
Turk, and with it seemed to have put on his confidence and presumption.
Somebody told him he looked well in that dress; and his answer was, that
they ought not to admire his assumed character, which was little
deserving of esteem, but that which he really possessed, and was natural
to him, and which merited all their admiration. In the morning he
borrowed my coat to act the Frank, and I heard he had chosen to
represent himself as a consul, “because he was a lover of glory, and a
paltry character did not please him.” I find since that he is a poet,
and he has given me some verses in praise of the vizir, or pashaw of
Negropont, which he assures me are perfect, and that I shall acknowledge
their excellence when I am better acquainted with Romaic.

To return to the consul’s ball. Company continued to arrive, till we
were three deep round the upper part of the room; the first row
squatting at the back of the divân; then a row at the edge, among whom
were the few Europeans present, and before these, another row on the
ground, the lower part of the room was occupied by the musicians, by the
servants, and by a mixed crowd, consisting I believe of any body who
might choose to come. To clear the room a little, the consul caused a
drum to beat time to a dance in the court, and then the dance began
within. The space however left for the dancers was only about 10 feet
wide, and 16 or 18 feet long. At first they were few in number, and the
figure was regular and graceful, but as the number increased, all became
confusion. I excused myself in the first dance, but all I could do I was
dragged into a second. I did not fret much about it. They knew me of
course entirely ignorant of the movement, and when twenty people are
dancing together, where they have hardly room to stand, it is impossible
to observe well, time, tune, or figure. Afterwards they invited me to
waltz, that I escaped, but I did not succeed so well in the English
country dances; however half the guests were as ignorant of this as
myself; another night it was ten times worse, for nothing would do but I
must lead the dance with the consul’s lady. You may suppose, that one
who had never before in his life attempted to dance, did not cut a very
capital figure, but I got through it as well as I could. The music was
merely a _twang too_ without the least variety, produced by a fiddle,
and a tambourine. I doubt if the instruments would compass an octave.
The refreshments were first coffee, and then a little spoonful of
sweetmeat, afterwards lemonade, and at last punch.

The company had begun to separate the first night when I came away,
about two o’clock. (English time.) The next night, and the following
week, they kept it up much later, but I did not stay.

The leader of the revels on these occasions was a priest, the consul’s
brother, whose mad high spirits put everybody in motion; nor did this
seem to be considered as at all indecorous to the priestly character,
only the ladies observed it was a pity he could not marry. The patriarch
at Constantinople appoints some one who will pay him well, archbishop of
Athens. The archbishop makes anybody a priest for money. All their duty
consists in the performance of certain ceremonies in the church, and on
various occasions in the houses of individuals. They read a service
which few of them understand; no pastoral attention to their flock is
expected, and the people have no religious instruction, either public or
private. You may think that Christianity is not very pure amongst an
illiterate people under such circumstances. Let me add, that among the
schools at Athens, there is no instruction in arithmetic, and that the
eldest son of our host, a boy near thirteen, is just beginning to unite
the alphabet. A celebrated performer on the violin, who is also a poet,
attended on one evening of the carnival at the consul’s ball; he was
pointed out to me as a modern Pindar, and certainly fiddled much better
than the others; but the music, both of Turks and Greeks, is exceedingly
heavy and monotonous: he sung too, and his voice was not bad, but he
sung through the nose. One evening a lady of the party also sung, but in
the same manner. The most popular Greek songs are those which lament the
lost glory of the nation, and call upon their countrymen to remember and
imitate the deeds of their ancestors. It was Swift, was it not, who said
that if they would let him write the ballads of a nation, who would
might write its laws? He would have done it in vain in Greece.[34]

Sir F. A. spoke to me about establishing Lancasterian schools at Corfu,
and in the other Ionian islands. It would be very desirable, because
these islands would form a point, from which education might be extended
over the adjacent continent, and it would probably much forward it in
Italy, where superstition and bad governments will oppose it. I should
not despair of making the Turks adopt it in time, if it were introduced
without any attempts at proselytism, and the lessons consequently
adapted to their religion. I have so much confidence in Christianity,
that I think, that where the mind is informed, and the passions
regulated, it follows almost of course; and this indirect mode, in which
there is nothing paltry or dishonest, because it proceeds by opening the
mind to the perception of truth, and only supposes that men will become
Christians in proportion as Christianity is true, appears to me much
preferable to the more direct one which calls forth old habits and
prejudices in opposition. I do not however mean to condemn the
individual who exposes himself to danger and death, in teaching his
religion. A warm and generous enthusiasm will sometimes succeed by
neglecting general rules. Such enthusiasm may be just in itself, and may
be accompanied by a certain prudence suited to such feelings; but a
society must regulate itself more by the maxims of human wisdom, and
this would require that, whatever is done for the diffusion of
instruction among the Turks, the Greeks and the Romans, should be
entirely detached from all views of proselytism, either present or
future. There must be no jesuitical pretence of impartiality, and an
after creeping in of religious maxims. To communicate the means of
judging impartially is the object, the only prudent, perhaps the only
allowable object; for the exciting religious dissensions is an evil not
heedlessly to be encountered.



                               LETTER L.

                        EXCURSION ROUND ATTICA.


                                                    _Athens, May, 1817._

CAPT. MURRAY, of the Satellite, was at Athens for a short time in
February, and returned on the 15th of April, when he invited Mr. B., Mr.
Sharp, and myself to accompany him round Attica. We accepted the
invitation with great pleasure, and went on board the vessel on the
20th. Capt. M. relinquished his own cabin to his guests; we were close
stowed, but we did very well, and fared capitally. On the 21st we landed
at Egina, and walked up to the temple, supposed to be that of Jupiter
Panhellenius, over a rough soil of volcanic substances, imbedded, in
most places, in a limestone cement, containing shells. The hills are
covered with bushes of different kinds of cistus, and other flowering
shrubs, and the usual pine-tree abounded in some parts. The temple is at
the top of a hill, but with higher eminences about it, about two miles
from the sea-shore. It is a peripteral temple, like that of Theseus, but
the architrave of the pronaos was not carried across the peristyle, as
in that temple. There are six columns in front, and twelve on the
flanks: the intercolumniation is more than one and a half diameter, and
the columns appear in consequence rather straggling. The capitals seemed
to me too large. The plan published in the Ionian antiquities gives
twenty-three external columns, and five smaller ones of the internal
peristyle, (it was an hypæthral temple;) but only sixteen of these
columns are now standing. We may trace the whole disposition, and there
are vestiges of the inclined plane which ascended to the platform; for
the steps, or rather plinths on which a Greek temple was placed, were
frequently so high as to render the ascent difficult. The pieces of the
frieze, and some of those of the architrave, exhibit at their ends
horse-shoe grooves, to admit the ropes by which the stones were hoisted
into their places, and also to leave it disengaged when the stones were
fixed.

The view from hence is exceedingly fine; whatever beauties other
countries may boast, Greece is unrivalled in her coast scenery. The
foreground is rich with rock, bushes, and sometimes with trees; beyond
these is a fine cultivated plain, and a succession of mountain distances
follows, with the sea occasionally intervening. After all, I doubt if an
Englishman immediately transported here from his own country, would
enjoy the full effect of this scenery. The eye gets accustomed to a
certain style of beauty, and when we observe a deficiency in some
particular to which we have been habituated, even though the want should
be compensated by equal or superior excellences, yet the first feeling
is that of disappointment. The gentleman’s seat embosomed in tufted
trees, the neat cottage and comfortable farmhouse, the scattered
village, “with taper spire that points to heaven;” every thing in short
which constitutes what may be called the moral beauty of the English
landscape, is wanting in Greece. Instead of these, our associations are
all of a melancholy cast, connected as they are with the history of a
people once so glorious, now so fallen! And is it the Turks who have
effected this? Why then did a country so extensive, so populous as it
once was, so rich in natural productions, fall a contemptible sacrifice
to barbarian power? The evil was already inflicted; Greece, no longer
free, lost under a despotic government every noble sentiment, and then
fell an easy prey. The Turkish yoke is more galling because it is
imposed by foreigners, of a different language, and of a different
religion; and oppression exercised thus by a stranger nation, increases
from year to year; for power necessarily encroaches where it meets no
effectual resistance. Yet if the Greek empire had continued to the
present day, it may be doubted if the condition of the subject would
have been essentially better than it is at present. We have fine
extensive plains, covered with corn or vines, possessing a beauty quite
their own, and contrasting in the most pleasing manner with the rugged
mountains; groves of olive-trees, and the dark blue sea, and a sky of
almost as deep a colour; yet reflecting a strong clear light. Nor do
there want clouds to vary the effect of the landscape; but rarely, and
then but for a short period, the continued gray covering so common in
England. Change all your dull, cloudy days, and your fogs, into a clear
sunshine, and you may imagine the climate of Greece, except that seldom
or never will you see in England the bright, but intense colour of the
sky. Sharp and myself would have been very glad to stay longer at this
temple, but we were drawn away by our companions, and sailed in the
night towards Sunium, which was in view when we rose in the morning. The
situation is perhaps even finer than that of Egina, but I can give you
no idea of the beauty of these scenes, so unlike in character to any
thing you have about you. In our climate a mountain is generally an
object of gloomy magnificence. Rocks, mountains and storms, go much
together in imagination, but here such an association is completely
broken, and the barren mountain, and the naked rock, seem only objects
for the sun to shine on. All nature looks cheerful and happy, and our
melancholy recollections are almost driven away by the brilliancy of the
prospect.

At Sunium eleven columns remain in their places, and the marble is kept
rather of a raw, and overbearing whiteness by the action of the sea air.
This stone seems to belong to the neighbourhood; it is white, with
somewhat of a conchoidal fracture, less beautiful than the Pentelic,
from being less translucent, yet it is a handsome material, and the
building is a noble object. The order as you know is Doric, and as it is
one of the examples cited by Vitruvius at the end of the fourth book, it
may possibly explain his expression of columns being added “_dextra ac
sinistra ad humeros pronai_,” but the arrangement here is like that at
the temple of Theseus, and not resembling any thing we know in the
Acropolis, to which Vitruvius also refers. The minuter parts are too
much corroded by the action of the sea air, to furnish good materials
for drawing the mouldings. Some barbarians of the English and French
tribes have been daubing on the ruins in great letters the names of
their respective vessels. Terrace walls and other fragments add to the
apparent importance of the edifice. Among them are the foundations of a
Propylæum, but we could not stay long enough to enter into the details
of the neighbourhood. The hills are covered with bushes, (shrubs you
would call them in England) among which is a great quantity of the
_Quercus coccifera_, but I did not observe any of the _Quercus Esculus_,
or Vallonia oak, which Dr. Clarke noticed here.

After spending some hours among these objects, we redescended to the
ship, and turning round the extreme point of Attica, arrived in the
evening at Porto Mandril, which is sheltered by Macroneesi, or Long
Island. The ancient Thoricus was situated in this bay, and we find the
remains of a temple, or, according to the Dilettanti society, of an open
portico, with fourteen columns on each side, and seven at each end. They
also state, that on the longest sides, the middle intercolumniation was
larger than the others, which is I dare say correct, though in my hasty
view of the place I did not notice this peculiarity; and they imagine a
row of columns along the centre. I have nothing to add to their account,
except that the building never was completely finished, and does not
appear to have been very well executed. There is also an ancient theatre
at Thoricus, of very rude workmanship and irregular form; and two square
towers, likewise of very rustic execution. On the opposite side of the
valley, there are many foundations, and at a little distance, great
heaps of slag and scoriæ from the ore of the ancient silver mines, still
untouched by vegetation. I could learn nothing of the mines themselves,
nor did I see any traces which would lead me towards them, but they are
probably not far from the shore, for as the mountains are covered with
wood, the advantage of smelting the ore near the spot where it was dug
is very obvious. The whole country here seems to belong to a formation
of mica slate abounding in marble, (should not this composition have a
name of its own?) and the superincumbent beds are very partial and
trifling, both in thickness and extent. At Sunium, on the contrary, and
along the whole western coast, the rock belongs to later formations.

We staid at Porto Mandril all the 23rd, and on the 24th beat up against
the wind to Marathon. On the 25th we landed, and after a long ramble
over the plain, returned to breakfast in a tent prepared for us on the
shore. Here we took leave of Capt. M. and his officers, to whose
attentions we were so much indebted, and proceeded to a little village
called Vraunon, where we procured a large room in a convent.

It is very disagreeable to doubt about the locality of such a victory as
that of Marathon, and fortunately, as far as the plain is concerned,
there is no room for hesitation, but the appropriations of particular
objects do not probably deserve much confidence. Near the shore, a reedy
slip of land, with small pools of water, extends along the southern half
of the bay; behind this, the ground is apparently flat for near a mile,
after which it rises gradually towards the hills. Quite at the southern
extremity of the plain, there is a marsh formed by a little stream of
water. On the rest of the coast a sandy tract follows the shore, the
southern part of which is partially covered with bushes, but as we
proceed along it towards the north-east, we meet with a wood of the
_Pinus maritima_, containing also a few trees of _Pinus Pinea_,
intermixed: behind this sandy tract there is a dead flat, which seemed
to have been recently covered with water; and at the extremity of this,
directing our steps northwards, and immediately under the hills, are two
little lakes, and not far from them a pool, supplied by a spring of
water, beautiful to the eye, but as we were assured, of a bad quality.

[Illustration:

A.B. Clayton del. from Sketches by J. Woods. Edwards. Sculp.

PLAIN OF MARATHON.

_London. Published by J & A Arch. Cornhill, March 1^{st}. 1828._ ]

Vraunon is seated at the edge of the plain, on the roots of Pentelicus.
The village of Marathon is at a little distance up a valley which opens
into the plain. Near Vraunon we are shewn two tumuli, which have been
imagined to contain the bones of the Athenians and Platæans who fell in
the conflict, but they are so nearly obliterated, that I should have
passed them without notice, had they not been particularly pointed out
to me. At some distance to the south, a much larger, and very
conspicuous tumulus is assigned to the Persians, but Pausanias does not
seem to have been aware of its existence. In our next day’s excursion,
we thought we could distinguish traces of other tumuli, considerably
more to the eastward, as well as some foundations of buildings, which
might merit investigation.

There is a deep ravine behind Vraunon, which exposes beds of white
Pentelic marble, and of the veined marble of the portico at Athens. The
_Styrax officinalis_ added to the beauty of the scene by its profusion
of flowers. On the 26th, we rode over to Rhamnus, now called
Hebræocastro. The first part of the way lies across the plain of
Marathon, and by the edge of the marsh, great part of which is now dry,
but it bears marks of being occasionally overflowed. Afterwards we
passed by the vestiges of an ancient temple, and began to ascend the
hills, over ground covered with cistus (_Cistus Monspeliensis_); and
afterwards through beautiful forest scenery shaded with the Vallonia oak
(_Quercus Esculus_).[35]

The situation of the temples at Rhamnus again called forth our warmest
admiration, and in scenes of such surpassing beauty one is generally
disposed to think the last best. The immediate neighbourhood is wild and
desolate, broken with rocks, and covered with brushwood; and the finely
varied lines of the island of Eubœa, with its cultivation, its
olive-grounds, woods, rugged hills, and snowy mountains, were spread
before us, beyond a sea of the deepest blue, and illuminated from a sky,
which, though brilliant, exhibited a proportional intensity of colour.
There were two temples almost touching each other, but not parallel, and
very little is standing of either: one is very ancient, of Cyclopean
masonry; it is supposed to have been lined with wood, and some of the
nails of this lining have been found: the other is of the finest period
of Grecian art, built, as we are told by Pausanias, by Alcamenes, a
pupil of Phidias; but for a description I shall refer you to the work of
the Dilettanti Society.[36] Fragments of very fine sculpture lie about
in great profusion, and I could not but regret that the missionaries of
that society had not employed themselves in collecting and arranging
them, instead of, as they are accused of doing, breaking some which were
more perfect. The town of Rhamnus was about a mile from these temples,
on an insulated hill close by the shore; there are considerable remains
of the walls, and within the inclosure, a marble chair, and some other
fragments.

We returned by the road we came to Vraunon, and slept in the same
convent, intending on the 27th to visit the quarries of Pentelicus, but
I had for some time past been troubled with indisposition, and a
gathering in the knee during this excursion had been exceedingly
painful. It was highly inflamed by the exertion of going to Rhamnus, and
my courage failed at the prospect of a still more painful effort. I
therefore took the shortest road to Athens, with Capt. T., who very
kindly accompanied me, while Messrs. B. and S. rode round by the village
of Marathon. Our route lay across some of the lower branches of
Pentelicus, following a steep and rugged road, among bushes of _Arbutus
Unedo_ and _A. Andrachne_, with sometimes woods of pine, or groves of
Vallonia oak. We passed through the village of Kephisia, near the
sources of the Cephissus, an elevated situation, but well watered by
little rills collected from Pentelicus, and surrounded by olive-grounds
and vineyards, and gardens filled with almond, quince, and fig-trees. We
were detained at the gate of Athens, on account of increasing reports of
the plague at Negropont and Thebes, and could not obtain admittance
without the interference of our consul.

The plague is a curious disease, and the regulations adopted in
different places to prevent it, are still more so. At Negropont, (a
corruption of Evripo, which is the real modern name) about sixty miles
from Athens, it has existed more than a twelvemonth, and as it is the
residence of the pashaw, whose jurisdiction extends over Athens, the
communication is direct, and very frequent. At first there was a vaivode
at Athens who was willing to take some precautions: I know not what they
were, but they must have been very trifling. When the present vaivode
came, the Greeks applied to him to authorize similar measures; he
replied, that if they presumed to set a guard at the gate, he would
order him to be shot; and that if any man shut up his shop in
consequence of reports about the plague, he should be immediately
bastinadoed. In the course of this spring the disorder spread to some
villages near Thebes, and the European consuls at Athens made an
application to the pashaw of Negropont, who authorized them to station a
guard at each entrance into the town. This was accordingly done: two of
the gates less used were nailed up, and the earth heaped against them,
for the double purpose of keeping them closed, and of preventing any
unlucky wight from creeping beneath them; but in one place a large hole
in the city walls, through which a short man might walk upright, was
left unnoticed; and there were several mounds of earth against them, by
means of which a person might get over with little difficulty. In this
state of things, a French gentleman from Salonica arrived at Athens,
having slept in his way at Thebes. He was stopped at the gate, and sent
for the French consul to obtain admittance; but after a short time,
being tired of waiting, put spurs to his horse, and galloped into the
city, in spite of the opposition of the guard. I dined in company with
him the very same day, and he assured us that the plague was undoubtedly
in Thebes. The hole in the wall was then stopped up, the mounds of earth
dug away, and a guard established on the frontier, of which our landlord
was a member. Within two days, a messenger from Negropont threatened to
shoot the guard, and entered in spite of it. Meanwhile reports
increased; it was said that the plague had reached Megara and Eleusis,
and a letter from Thebes was shewn, by authority of the vaivode, stating
that eighty persons had there died of it in the course of a month.
Athens is principally supplied with corn from that neighbourhood, and we
were told afterwards, that the vaivode having a considerable quantity on
his hands, encouraged these reports, in order to enhance his price, and
had even falsified the letter, by changing eight to eighty. Soon after
this I left Athens with a bill of health, which procured me admission at
Egina; but when at Corinth, I heard of many persons, and amongst others,
the French consul general, having been stopped at the port of Cenchrea,
and not permitted to come to Corinth, although they had clean bills of
health from Athens. We had very minute accounts of the plague from
Athens itself, and the old physician was exceedingly angry with me for
doubting them, but before I left Corinth, he produced us documents which
proved the former statements to have been false.

The plague has diverted my narration from its regular course, but I now
return to the order of events. A difference in the mode of computing
Easter between the Greek and Roman churches, made it arrive very early
this year in Italy, and very late here, not indeed till the 28th of
April. On that day the Greeks and Albanians, drest in their best
clothes, assemble with music and dancing at the temple of Theseus. The
Greeks here dress generally in dark colours, but the Albanians prefer
lively hues, and the petticoat of the men is always white, but with a
coloured border. The scene was gay and splendid, and the more
interesting, as it probably conveyed a picture of ancient times, and is
perhaps the offspring of some pagan festival; it was however, over at
noon; and the parties dispersed to their homes.

On leaving us at Marathon, Capt. M. very kindly gave an invitation to
Sharp and myself to meet him at Hydra, when he would take us to Malta.

Various circumstances induced Mr. Sharp to avail himself of this
opportunity, and he left me on the 3rd of May. On the next day Mr. B.
set off for the Argolis, whither I promised to follow him as soon as the
swelling on my knee would permit me to move. It had always been part of
my plan to visit at least, Eleusis, Megara, Thebes, and other places
within a short journey of Athens; if not to make a longer tour on the
Greek continent, as soon as the spring was a little advanced; but the
increasing reports of the plague have made me change my determination.
It is not that I feel myself in much personal danger, but the continual
precautions, and the necessity of performing a sort of quarantine at
every town, would have made travelling exceedingly unpleasant.



                               LETTER LI.

                         FROM ATHENS TO MALTA.


                                   _Lazaretto at Malta, 6th June, 1818._

I LEFT Athens on the 9th of May with regret, for I had been so much
interrupted, that all I had wished and intended to perform was by no
means accomplished. The boatmen who were to take me to Egina, as usual
in Greece, were not ready near the appointed time; the fair wind died
away, and we arrived at Egina so late that the harbour-master was gone
to bed. No one was permitted to land, and we were consequently obliged
to remain in the boat all night. In the morning I went on shore, and
visited the remains of a Doric temple near the port. In the time of
Chandler there were two columns erect, and a portion of the architrave,
but the architrave and one capital disappeared some time ago. The storms
of last December, which had annoyed us so much in coming to Greece,
threw down the most perfect of the remaining columns, I measured its
beautiful capital, which is certainly one of the best examples existing.
A few traces of terrace-walls remain, but as the situation is on a
gentle eminence, entirely under cultivation, and close to a
comparatively thriving town, the circumstances are unfavourable to its
preservation. A considerable portion of the ancient walls of the port
also exist, but I could not distinctly make out their arrangement. The
piers are formed of external courses of pretty large stretchers,
alternately filled in with two headers and three stretchers, the
external joint always remaining perpendicular over that below.

Some subterraneous chambers have been lately discovered in the
neighbourhood of this town, but they have been filled up again, and I
only saw a few inscriptions of late date, _i. e._ not 2,000 years old.
The ancient city of Egina was on a mountain, about two miles distant,
and it is only a few years ago that the inhabitants began to descend to
a more convenient situation. They have bought some privileges of the
Turks, and are flourishing greatly under this partial glimpse of
liberty, though they have no assurance of its continuance. Those who are
habitually secure in the exercise of their own rights, can form no idea
of the elasticity of the human mind when a little relieved from
oppression. The town is neat and clean, and about five years ago they
began to build a church, which is by far the largest I have seen in
Greece. The houses have no pretence to magnificence, but they seem to
contain all the essentials of Greek comfort, and every thing announces a
thriving place. After this ramble, I returned to take another look at
the remains of the temple, when a woman called me to her, and showed me
an ivory pin, which she assured me had been taken out of the middle of
the column when it was overturned; if so it must have been used as a
centre in describing the column. I offered her a _rubia_ for it. This is
a small gold coin worth one hundred and ten _parás_, or about two
shillings, or two and a penny. I should have offered more, but was
pretty certain that if genuine, I should not obtain it; for, entirely
ignorant of what might be demanded for objects of antiquity, the Greek
peasantry endeavour to obtain as many offers as they can, in order to
form their judgment, and never part with it to the first bidder.

Before noon I was on board another boat to go to Pidhavro, or Epidaurus,
but the calms made it evening before we arrived there; however, I had
time to walk to the site of the ancient town on a little peninsulated
hill, but it is marked only by the remains of the Cyclopean wall which
defended it. The stones are well fitted together, and sometimes notched
into the adjoining ones; one part shows two faces, and the interval is
now filled up with dirt. The open ground was almost covered with
spiders’ webs, forming funnels leading to a hole in the earth, probably
occupied by the animal. At the foot of the hill is a small fragment of
brickwork, which appears to have been a bath; and there are traces of an
aqueduct. In a wood by the way there is a recumbent statue of Pentelic
marble, of fine style, but as you may suppose, much mutilated; and there
are also some fragments of drapery of less merit.

The next morning I proceeded to Hiero, the chief seat of the worship of
Æsculapius. Foundations of temples, baths, and aqueducts; of a theatre,
a stadium, and various other buildings, announce its former
magnificence; but in so wild and remote a place, it seems surprising
that nothing but foundations should remain. The situation occupies part
of an elevated valley, of varied surface, and surrounded by mountains,
neither high, bold, nor woody, but which by contrast must have
heightened the effect of the display of architecture beneath them.

One of the first objects which fixed my attention was a spring bubbling
up through sand, and throwing up a little milky cloud when disturbed,
perhaps from a portion of pipeclay in the soil; for it had no mineral
taste or smell. One supposes that there must have been a medicinal
spring of some sort, to give reputation to the place, and make it
appropriate to the worship of the god of medicine; but if any such
existed, it is now buried under the heaps of rubbish, for besides this
spring, the only water I could find was a little rill descending from
the mountains, equally destitute of mineral appearances, but warm, and
tasting of decomposed vegetable matter, as if exposed to the air and sun
in a course of some length. By the existing remains of aqueducts tending
towards this streamlet, it seems to have supplied the water of the baths
and cisterns. I next visited a large bath, which appears to have been
originally of stone, but repaired with brick. The arch is used in both
parts. The aqueduct which supplied it, is a small square conduit with a
semicircular channel on the lower stone, calculated for a very small
current of water: below this ruin we again met with evidences of baths
and aqueducts. Pausanias mentions the theatre as the most beautiful in
Greece, but in whatever its superiority may have consisted, it has now
disappeared, and we see only a hollow on the side of the mountain,
surrounded by seats of a red and white marble, and half overgrown with
bushes. Some foundations of the proscenium may be observed, but they are
merely indications that something once stood there, and without digging
it would not be possible to make out even its ground plan. Passing among
fragments, and over numerous old foundations, we arrive at the Stadium,
which is also a hollow, but of a different shape; and the seats do not
remain. At some distance, and not very far from my first entrance into
this valley, is an extensive marble pavement, which apparently once
belonged to a large temple, but there is no vestige either of walls or
columns. Some Roman antiquities in the lower part closed my
observations. On the road hence to Lycourió there are some inscriptions,
and fragments of mouldings. An extremely beautiful ornament of a large
size remains among the fragments of Hiero, and there is abundance of
pieces of tiles, many of which were painted with frets, or with leaves.
There is also at Agia Marina, near Lycourió, a little bit of Cyclopean
masonry, which might be taken for a pyramid, but for an irregularity on
the south side. It was probably a tomb.

I was very ill at Hiero, and even anticipated the probability of being
laid up at Lycourió, the nearest village, where I dined and passed the
night. However, the next morning I exerted myself to proceed in my
journey to Nafplia, for Lycourió is certainly not a place in which a man
would be confined by illness if he could possibly avoid it. In the way I
observed some forts of Cyclopean masonry, and visited one of them, but
found nothing except these great, rude walls of unworked stones, and
without cement, supporting the earth behind them.

I expected to meet Mr. B. at Nafplia, but he had proceeded to Argos, and
after resting about an hour at the house of the French consul, I
followed him. In the way I visited the ruins of Tyrins. The walls are of
the rudest Cyclopean masonry, the stones seem to have been selected to
fit their intended situations, and not to have been touched with a tool,
and this was probably effected by the use of the Phœnician rule
mentioned by Herodotus. A strip of lead was bent into the angle intended
to be filled up, and then the same strip reversed was applied to the
stones collected for use. In one instance however, on the east side, we
find a stone with a sunk face and two holes in it, and a circular
sinking below. Besides these walls, we may observe here a sort of
gallery covered by the advance of the successive courses of stone; but
after all, the great interest of the place is, that you see the very
walls admired by Homer 2,500 years ago. The figure of Tyrins has been
compared to that of a ship, but there is more imagination than truth in
the resemblance.

I was rather glad to find that Mr. B. had left Argos, for I felt myself
so completely exhausted, that it would have been a painful effort to
speak only a dozen words. My attendant procured for me very comfortable
quarters at the house of a Greek, where I spent the next day, partly to
rest myself, and partly to recover my watch, which I had taken out at
Nafplia and very carelessly left behind me.

Argos is situated at the foot of a high hill, on the edge of one of the
finest plains in Greece. The length of this plain must be nearly fifteen
miles, its breadth eight or ten; and if but a little kingdom, it must be
confessed a most noble estate for Agamemnon. It is bounded by ranges of
varied and picturesque mountains, rising in successive distances, and by
the fine gulf of Argos. It wants indeed the olive-grove of the plain of
Athens, but its greater extent, greater fertility, and more broken and
varied boundary, give it the decided preference in natural beauty. The
older antiquities of Argos consist only of a few fragments of Cyclopean
walls, the stones of which are artificially fitted together. Of Roman
times there are some remains of temples, or baths, of an aqueduct, and
of a theatre. There is also a long, subterraneous chamber cut in the
rock, the receptacle of either corn or water; and at the top of a hill
the ruins of a Venetian fortress, built partly on ancient foundations,
make a conspicuous figure. Argos itself is a collection of mud cottages;
yet in general they do not look either shabby or dirty, and as they are
mixed with gardens and fruit-trees, and with the domes and slender
minarets of the Turkish mosques, and the tall cypresses which surround
them, Argos has on the whole a very pleasing appearance. A number of
Albanian children crowded about me while I was drawing: some of the
girls were very beautiful.

While I was here, a Turk of consequence, with an order from the vaivode
applied for admission into the house of my landlord: a representation
that his rooms were already occupied by a milordhos, released him from
the intrusion, greatly to his satisfaction. His English guest gave him
little trouble, and paid for the use of every thing he had. The Turk
would have given him a great deal of trouble, made use of the best of
every thing, and paid little, or perhaps nothing. The Greeks of the
Morea are very much oppressed, but rather by the Turks than by the
Turkish government. They pay one seventh of the gross produce of the
land, animate and inanimate, but the taxgatherers live at free quarters,
and exact presents besides, and a Turk of any consequence feels himself
entitled to take their fruit and fowls whenever he pleases, at his own
prices. These things are not indeed according to law, but as justice is
neither pure nor impartially administered, it is a dangerous resource.

I left Argos on the 14th, and visited the ruins of Mycene, where the
gates, the walls, and the circular, subterranean chambers called
treasuries, are perhaps the most interesting relics remaining of early
Grecian antiquity. The ruins occupy some eminences at the foot of the
mountains opposite to Argos. I hunted in vain for some curious
fragments, said by Sir W. Gell to exist near a small chapel, and guided
by him, descended to a bridge which he thinks was formed by advancing
courses of stone, but I could see no traces of such a construction. It
seemed to me a rude pier of unhewn stones, probably supporting beams
laid across the torrent.

The Treasury of Atreus is a circular room about 56 feet in diameter,
covered by the successive advance of each course of stones, which are
cut into something of a curve. The top has been broken in, by which
means we have sufficient light to examine it, but the present approach
is along a deep trench which has been recently dug, to the ancient
entrance; how this doorway was originally accessible, I do not very well
know. In spite of its position and of its antiquity, it has something
like a regular architrave, and above this, there is a triangular
opening, which perhaps has been occupied by a piece of sculpture; at
least a comparison with the gate of the citadel would lead us to such a
conclusion. The motive of leaving such a space, covered like the room
itself, by the advance of each course, was to relieve the lintel from
the superincumbent weight; this lintel is in two pieces, the innermost
of which is about 27 feet long, 19 feet wide, and above 4 feet thick.
What can have been the motive of using such an immense slab, is not
readily conceived, and the labour of placing it must have been immense;
they probably had not to transport it far; for it is, I believe, of the
rock of the mountain, a calcareous breccia, perhaps a Magnesian
limestone; three holes are cut in it, two of which may have been to
receive the pivots of the doors.

The inside of the room is supposed to have been covered with plates of
bronze. The holes for the bronze pins which fastened this covering are
visible all over it, and some stumps of the pins themselves may be
discovered by a careful examination, but I did not see any sticking out
from the face of the work, as Clarke has represented them. There is an
internal chamber, which seemed to me merely an excavation in the rock.
Dodwell considers it as an artificially constructed chamber like the
other, and not disencumbered from the compact earth, which has filled
great part of both of them. There is another edifice of the same nature
nearer to the citadel, a little broken in at the top, but otherwise
inaccessible. The citadel itself exhibits a large circuit of Cyclopean
walls, composed of stones which have been in some degree shaped by human
labour. In some parts of the wall they have been very accurately fitted,
in others they are more loosely put together. The gateway recedes, and
you arrive at it through a sort of lane formed by the walls, and almost
filled up with bushes of the _Vitex Agnus Castus_. It is ornamented with
two figures of animals, which occupy a triangular space over the
entrance; they have lost their heads, perhaps by violence, as they do
not seem much weather-worn; but I will not detain you with a subject on
which so much has been written by those whose pursuits have better
qualified them to do justice to this interesting relick, perhaps the
most ancient bas-relief in existence, for the figures on the Egyptian
temples can hardly be included in that name. The pivot-holes in the
lintel in which the doors worked, remain very perfect, and they are here
placed in a square rebate. Besides these objects, there are here a
curious old gateway, and some other fragments; but the weather was wet,
and I was very unwell; so that I did not give to the place half the
examination it deserved.

On leaving Mycene I continued my journey up a pleasant, but uncultivated
valley, above which are some hollows in the rocks, said to have been the
haunts of the Nemæan lion. I left it at last, and crossed the mountain,
or rather hill, on the left, in order to visit the ruins of the temple
of Jupiter at Nemæa. They lie in an open valley about five miles long,
and one and a half broad, (to judge by the eye) for the most part
cultivated, but without habitation. The Greek or Albanian peasant, for
the latter seem to be scattered everywhere, sows his land, and leaves it
with scarcely any attendance till harvest, when he erects a hut, in
which he resides till he has reaped and carried away the produce, living
the rest of the year in the towns, or in villages, where he may unite
with his countrymen for mutual protection. It is better thus to snatch
what nature will give, than to obtain at more expense a larger quantity
subject to the extortion of the Turks.

There are three columns erect at Nemæa, but a large proportion of the
whole number lie as they have fallen. It was not a building of any very
high degree of beauty; the proportions are too slender, and the capitals
too small. The walls were built of slabs set on edge, in two
thicknesses, the horizontal joints being broken, while the middle
upright joint continued all the way. There are some fragments of other
buildings, and the hollow of a theatre.

Various foundations and other fragments of architecture occur in the way
from Nemæa to Kourtessa, where I slept. I believe these are the remains
of Cleone, but my attendant pretended to have found out that these are
at Clenai, a village not in the direct road to Corinth. After riding two
hours the next morning in their supposed direction, it appeared clearly
that he had been misled, and we took the nearest path to Corinth,
passing in this instance behind the Acropolis. I went immediately to my
old lodging, at the house of the physician, who told me that four
English gentlemen were residing in his house, but they were gone out to
draw. I walked to the temple and found them there; three of them were
artists, two of whom, Mr. Eastlake and Mr. Kinnaird, I had known at
Rome, and the third, Mr. Barry, brought me a letter of introduction from
England. This was a very pleasant meeting for me, and induced me to stay
more contentedly at Corinth than I otherwise should have done. They were
impatient to arrive at Athens, but the confident reports we had of the
plague in that city, made them determine to remain a day or two here, in
hopes of obtaining more certain accounts. I soon learnt that the packet
would not sail before the 25th, which would have given me time to visit
Tripolizza and Phigalea, had I been well enough. Meanwhile I paid a
visit with one of the party to Basilica, the ancient Sicyon. The theatre
there is very curious, because with the site and disposition of a Greek
theatre, it exhibits an arched entrance on each side. If we combine the
history of the place with the appearances on the spot, we shall
confidently conclude that this arch is prior to the time of Augustus,
but I cannot venture to fix on a more precise date. There is also a
stadium, and the natural hollow in the hill not having been long enough,
the lower part has been carried out beyond it, and supported by
Cyclopean walls.

These ruins are at some distance beyond the present village, on the
summit of a sloping terrace of gravel or rubble, such as I have already
described to you at Vostizza. Somewhat nearer, and lower down, there are
remains of some large, brick edifices, probably of Roman construction,
and foundations of several buildings, but apparently not so perfect as
to enable us to determine their plans and destinations. Some of them are
formed of large stones, others of brick, and their scattered remains
extend almost to the site of the present village. The situation
altogether occupies an elevated plane a little inclined, intersected by
deep and ragged ravines, and breaking down suddenly into a lower plain,
which is a continuation of that of Corinth, and extends to the gulf,
whose magnificent expanse lies beneath us.

On our return we found the physician in a great fume, as he had been
informed that some French gentlemen had arrived at Kenkhrea, and sent a
messenger to him. This man had not arrived, but old Andrea declared he
should not come near him, and that if he spoke to him at all, it should
be out of the window. Within an hour the man was in the house, assuring
us that there was no plague at Athens. This determined my friends to
prosecute their journey in spite of the remonstrances of Andrea, who
still insisted that he had proof that there was; and in the evening I
engaged a passage in a boat, and set off for Patras.

On the 19th of May we spent the whole day on the water, pleasantly
sailing with a hardly sensible breeze. Patches of snow still marked
several summits of the Morea, and there was seen one patch on the first
or gravelly range. Helicon appeared clear, but I was looking at the
southern face of this mountain, and at the northern of those in the
Morea. Parnassus retained a considerable quantity, but not a complete
covering. A mountain to the north-west was entirely capped with it, and
it spread a great way down the sides. I am not able to determine what
mountain this is, and my boatmen have no name for it, but it seems to
occupy the situation where Mount Corax is placed in some maps. I amused
myself with examining the different appearances of a singular Medusa.
The animal in its most perfect state, is a firm, pellucid, bagshaped
jelly, with a deep orange spot in the lower part, but never quite at the
bottom of the bag; from this point runs a band, in which the substance
is thicker and firmer than elsewhere, and which terminates at each end,
at the mouth of the bag. In smaller specimens we can hardly perceive a
row of minute orange-coloured dots along this band, but in the larger
ones these are very conspicuous; at last the thinner parts seem to
dissolve, and we observe the strings floating in the water, extending
several feet in length, and composed of little masses of jelly hanging
together like beads, each with its orange spot. These as they divide,
begin again to exhibit something of a bag-like form, and the process
recommences. It was so abundant, that I had no difficulty in obtaining
specimens in all its stages: the boatmen called it _takhándri_.

On the 20th about noon I arrived at Patras, where by the assistance of
Mr. Green, the brother of the new consul, I obtained a very good
lodging; the consul himself being absent to pay his respects to the
pashaw of Tripolizza.

From this neighbourhood, the mountain north-west of Parnassus opens into
a very rugged ridge, three points of which I take to be higher than
Parnassus. There are patches of snow on the mountain immediately behind
Patras, and more on Mount Voidias, which may be considered perhaps as
part of the same. One more to the south, which I took to be Olenus,
presented a vast cap of white. Supposing that in this latitude, on the
20th of May, there will be no snow on a mountain less than 5,000 feet
high, and that Parnassus is 8,500, and Hymettus 2,000, I should estimate
the heights of these Greek mountains as follows:

                                                            Feet.

       Highest points of the mountain ridge west of
         Salona                                            11,000

       Olenus                                              10,000

       Parnassus                                            8,500

       Conical mountain near Olenus                         8,000

       Mountain which as seen from Athens, I had supposed
         to be Cyllene,   and which is I believe, that
         which as seen from the gulf   of Corinth, the
         boatmen named _Mallevó_                            7,800

       Mountain south-west of Argos. _Sakoniâs_             7,000

       Voidias                                              5,800

       Highest point of the conglomerate mountains about
         half way   along the gulf of Corinth               5,200

       Mountain immediately behind Vostizza                 5,000

       Helicon                                              4,200

       Cithæron                                             3,700

       Parnes                                               3,400

       Analeepsis, table mountain above Nemæa               3,200

       Pentelicus                                           2,800

       High castle-like cliffs on the gulf of Corinth       2,800

       Hymettus                                             2,000

       Acro Corinthus                                       1,600

       Anchesmus                                              800

On the 22nd, as I was drawing in my room, I felt the house shake as if a
loaded waggon had taken the corner of it. As there are neither waggons
nor carts in the Morea, I concluded it must be an earthquake, and went
out to ascertain the fact; a party of women were preparing vegetables
for their dinner in the gallery, from whom I gained the information I
wanted; but it seemed to excite no sensation among them, and they
continued their employment as if it were a thing of every day
occurrence. Indeed earthquakes are said to happen in this neighbourhood
about once a week.

I believe I have before mentioned a Corinthian capital existing here.
There are also some very picturesque remains of a Roman aqueduct, built
of brick, and overgrown with ivy; part of it is however, still in use,
and the water is conducted by its means nearly to the highest part of
the town. There is a castle, but a considerable portion of the wall was
ruined some years ago by an explosion, and the Turks have not repaired
it. This seems not of much consequence, as the garrison consists only of
a single black, who was asleep in the gateway as I passed. It is
commanded by some adjoining hills.

The European consuls here had agreed to establish a quarantine of seven
days for all who came from Roumelia, _i. e._ from Albania and the
northern shore of the gulf of Corinth; and likewise for all such as came
from Corinth, either by land or sea, without a clean bill of health; but
as there are twenty ways into the town by land, and a guard only on one,
and as any boat might land half a mile from the usual station, and the
crew walk by night through the vineyards into the town, without a chance
of opposition, the plan seems impracticable. Added to this, Ali Pashaw
is very much afraid of the plague, and has both the will and the power
to take precautions, while Corinth is much exposed to it, and the bey,
though backed by the pashaw of the Morea, has but little authority for
any purpose opposed to the general habits and superstitions of the
Turks. From all I could learn, it appeared that the English consul was
the only one willing to enforce this rule against his own countrymen,
and while I was there, some unfortunate English travellers were the only
sufferers.

On the evening of the 27th I went on board the packet in company with
three English gentlemen, whom I had met at Athens. At half-past eleven
we set sail with a strong wind and _tide_ in our favour, but they both
ceased very shortly; however the next day we reached Zante, but could
only go on shore at the Parlatorio, which is a little piece of ground
surrounded by a double rail, where one may see and talk to the
inhabitants without being near enough to touch them. I went there once
to see the place, but found nothing to tempt me a second time. On the
29th a strong wind sprung up, which increased on the 30th; in the
evening the captain attempted to weigh anchor, but the gale was so high
that the ship began to drift, and we were obliged to cut the rope and
run. The gale lasted till midnight, and all the next day we had a calm,
and a heavy rolling sea. On the first of June we made Cape Spartavento,
on the coast of Calabria; on the second we saw Mount Ætna, with patches
of snow, but very much obscured by clouds. On the 3rd we left Mount
Ætna, and in the evening got round Cape Passaro, a long point of low
hills, forming the southern extremity of Sicily (you see how slow our
progress was), and on the 4th arrived at Malta, where we are destined to
do penance in lazaretto, but I shall leave this to a future letter.



                              LETTER LII.

                                 MALTA.


                                                _Malta, 8th July, 1818._

THE city we now call Malta includes four towns, Valetta, Florian,
Vittoriosa, and Borgo, but these names have given way in common use to
that of the island. The principal part is seated on a point of land
between two noble harbours, the northern of which is appropriated to
vessels in quarantine, and on the northern shore of this is the
Lazaretto. We occupied there two large rooms, about 27 feet square, and
near 20 high. We had a vaulted gallery to walk in about 120 feet long,
and a terrace of nearly the same length. The windows command a view of
the harbour, and of a series of walls and batteries rising one above
another, forming the fortifications of Malta, or rather of Valetta; and
something of the town is seen above them. To the right are scattered
houses and plots of land, inclosed by stone walls with very little
appearance of green among them. A boat came every morning with milk,
fruit, and vegetables, and we established a communication with an
innkeeper in the town for our dinners. It cost each of us a little more
than two dollars per diem, which certainly is not extravagant, for we
must expect to pay more at such places, than where we are our own
masters. The _guardiano_ appointed to see that we observe the rules of
quarantine, is said usually to act also as a servant, and expects to
receive at the end of his imprisonment, for he is confined with the
travellers, some addition to his regular pay, but the one assigned to us
was a stupid old fellow, who would do nothing. Fortunately, my
companions had an Italian servant who was willing to do every thing.
Meanwhile we amused ourselves with reading, playing at chess, &c. Mr.
Calvert has been so good as to furnish us with books. It is amusing when
any body comes to visit us, (which amounts only to a conversation of a
few minutes at the entrance of the building) to see them shrink from us
if we happen to approach, lest we should incautiously touch them.

The quarantine at Malta for vessels from Turkey is of forty days; but
the king’s ships, and this packet, are let off for thirty, on the
assumption that they do not carry susceptible goods; and besides, the
time they are on the voyage is allowed as part of the quarantine. S. who
came here with Capt. Murray, as I have already said, left me a note, to
state that he had escaped quarantine by a miracle of San Tommaso. The
governor indeed, seems to use a dispensing power, which shows that he
does not think the quarantine regulations of much importance; indeed, in
many respects they must be deemed unreasonable, for I do not suppose
that there is a man in Malta so timid as to have abstained from
communication with us for fear of the plague, although what they
suffered from it must be still fresh in their memory. Just before that
disease made its appearance at Malta, a ship laden with old hospital
rags, (a curious cargo) left that island for England, having on board
some invalid officers; the ship sailed slowly, and before her arrival,
news had reached London that the plague had appeared in Malta; she was
consequently ordered into a quarantine for eighty days, but a
representation being made that such a confinement would probably prove
fatal to some of the officers who had come to England merely on account
of their health, all these were at once freed from restraint, but the
ship and crew had still to undergo their appointed time.

We gained our liberty on the 20th of June, and established ourselves at
a comfortable inn kept by an Englishman, who is also a tailor. Our first
occupation was to walk about the town. La Valetta, the principal
division, is a very handsome city, with straight streets, and large well
built stone houses; at least, they appear well built, but I am told the
mode of construction is very defective. Most of the houses have stone
balconies over the door, or in some part of the front, with bold
projections well supported. There is no want of material, for the whole
island is a rock of soft, coarse, limestone, of I believe, a very late
formation. It is of a good colour, and works easily, but yields to the
weather, and is not calculated for nice execution.

Zante looks like a place of importance after the miserable collections
of hovels called towns in Turkey, but there is more difference between
Malta and Zante, than between Zante and Patras. The streets, for the
south of Europe, are wide; they are very much up and down hill, and it
is probably owing to this circumstance that they are usually very clean.
Besides the balconies already mentioned to the larger houses, those of
all sizes have architraves to the windows and doors, with some
additional ornament to the latter, and a good cornice. The balcony
occurs sometimes only in the centre, at others it extends along the
whole front, and is not unfrequently repeated in the second story. I
know of nothing in England which will enable you to judge of the effect
of these bold and massive, but ornamental projections; our taste has run
so exclusively into the opposite and more economical side, that we seem
to have forgotten that simplicity without relief is mere tameness and
insipidity. We however, thus escape the reproach of having spent much
money in badly imagined ornaments, which is so often urged against the
Italians; but in spite of the bad taste, or perhaps rather of the bad
judgment, which frequently appears, we must still confess, that wherever
we can find a little space to distinguish the objects, the interior of
an Italian town is beyond comparison superior to that of an English one.
Bath has more the appearance of an Italian city, than any other town in
England; and in the greater width of the streets, and perhaps in the
more correct style of ornament, it has the advantage; the great defect
is the littleness both of the useful and ornamental parts.

The churches in Malta are handsome. That dedicated to St. John the
Baptist is the principal, and is also the one which pleases me the best.
The roof is a continued vault, and when I first visited it, the side
arches were covered by a tapestry of rich and handsome colours, leaving
only low, square openings underneath into the side aisles. This does not
sound well in description, yet it was certainly very handsome; and I
thought even better than when the arches were exposed, and I saw the
full height of the openings. The floor is composed of the very rich,
inlaid, marble tombstones of the knights, and the space is almost
filled: the walls of the side chapels are covered with gilt carving. In
one of these is a fine painting of St. John the Baptist, which may
probably be considered as the masterpiece of Mattia Prete (il
Calabrese), whose works are very frequent in this city. Here also are
some good paintings by Caracciuoli, a Neapolitan artist.

The Church of Sant Agostino is in the form of a Greek cross, and though
the arms are rather too long, and it is rather deficient in simplicity,
it is a light and elegant room.

The new Church of San Domenico pleases me in another way; by the size
and openness of the side aisles. Where this is effected without the
appearance of weakness, it is sure to please, and it is probably a
circumstance of this sort which has contributed to the reputation of two
very different buildings; the cathedral at Amiens, and the church of St.
Stephen, Walbrook.

The governor’s palace is a large, but not a handsome building; the
principal defect arises from the irregular disposition of the windows;
it has a large balcony at each angle of the principal face, and on each
of them a sort of glazed box, and this has a bad effect. These boxes
upon the balconies are very frequent in Malta. They are painted of a
gray or dull green colour, and do not rise so high as the windows behind
them. They might perhaps be admissible occasionally as a source of
variety, but are very injurious in a building which makes any pretence
to magnificence.

The front of this palace forms one side of the Piazza. Opposite to it is
the guard-house, with a handsome portico of Greek Doric, rather out of
its place amongst so much Corinthian work, and profuse ornament. Each
order is in itself capable of considerable variety of expression and
character, and it is better to avail oneself of this, than to introduce
another so completely different. A balustrade on the top serves to unite
this portico with the body of the building, but it forms an inharmonious
appendage to so severe an order. There is another Square on the flank of
the palace, one side of which is formed by a building which contains the
public library, and this is really a very fine structure. It presents a
range of seven arches on the ground plan, and as many windows above,
with half columns in the piers. These half columns are set in recesses,
which is not the best way of disposing them, but when the proportions
are good, the architect avoids by this means the appearance of weakness
below, or of too great weight above; evils always avoided with
difficulty, when a range of arches is employed to sustain a series of
single columns. The staircase of this building is very handsome, at
least the lower part of it, rising from a square vestibule with two
semicircular recesses.

[Illustration: Illustration of staircase]

The most magnificent staircase at Malta is in the Albergo of Castille. A
noble, single flight forms the lower part; this divides to the right and
left in two branches, up to the principal story. The ascent to the
second floor is continued laterally beyond the lower part, and not over
it; and where this disposition is practicable, a fine staircase is much
more easily obtained, than where the flights are repeated over one
another.

[Illustration: Illustration of staircase]

Instead of stuccoing the walls, the Maltese builders cover them with a
whitewash as thick as paste, and lay this over the mouldings as well as
on the plain surface, a plan destructive of all beauty of detail.

The village churches in Malta are remarkably fine, and one in particular
at Zeitun would merit minute examination. We see there, as in some
places in Italy, a range of lofty open arches, rising above the external
wall of the side aisles, to skreen the roof. The judgment is not
altogether satisfied with this piece of magnificence, because the idea
is excited, that it is intended in some measure to conceal the
construction, and it seems too much for such an object; yet the eye is
pleased. There is also a great deal of architecture in the private
houses in the villages. A decorated doorway, with a window on each side,
and a bold projecting balcony over it is the usual disposition.
Sometimes the house is continued above this, with a large arch opening
onto the balcony; sometimes the higher part of the edifice is set back,
and the balustrade of the balcony is continued in front of a terrace,
and in either case the appearance is very handsome, and the parts are
never crowded together. The fault of these villages is, that they have
nothing rural about them. The houses are placed close together, or at
least with few and small intervals, and one or two palm-trees, with a
few carobs, figs, or cactus, peeping above the stone wall, is all that
can be seen of vegetation.

I passed my time very pleasantly in Malta, thanks to Mr. Calvert, Mr.
Fletcher, and Col. Whitmore, to all of whom I am very much indebted. The
latter, nature intended for an architect, since she has given him not
only taste and invention, but the prophetic view of the effect produced
by his designs. I have made acquaintance also with Dr. Naudi, who is
very busily employed about printing a Maltese bible; and when executed,
it is probable that he and the compositor will be able to read it. He is
himself of opinion that there will be in the island nearly half a dozen
other persons, but I have found no one to agree with him. Some attempts
have been previously made to write Maltese, but it is not yet settled
what character ought to be adopted. In the town almost every body can
speak Italian; in the country only the native language is understood,
but every person who can read or write does it in Italian. The Maltese
itself is a dialect of Arabic; but whether it may be considered as a
relic of the ancient Punic, or as derived from the Saracens of the
middle ages, I leave to wiser heads to decide. The latter appear to have
been only possessors of the country, and not to have formed its
population. They were possessors also in Sicily, where they have left
little of their language. I called also on Mr. Corner, whose garden is
adorned with gazelles and Numidian cranes, and who has shown me some
exquisite drawings of Lusieri, but almost all unfinished. Some of them
are executed on three sheets of antiquarian, _i. e._, they are above 13
feet long, and filled with the minutest details, all copied on the spot
from nature. Dr. Naudi likewise took me to the principal architect of
the place, who talked a great deal about purity of design, and correct
imitation of the ancients, and then shewed me a design full of
absurdities, of which he boasted as circumstances quite new, and of his
own invention. We afterwards called on the professor of painting, and on
the librarian, who has very considerable talents as a painter of
domestic life, but no opportunities to improve them. The library is open
to every body; it is a fine room, and contains a good collection of
books, but it has at present no funds for its increase, or for the
addition of any modern publication.

There are said to be some curious tombs in Malta, which I have not seen,
but I visited what is thought to be a Celtic antiquity, at a place
called Krendi, on the south side of the island. It is composed of large
stones set on their edges, or in some instances upright on the end. The
disposition has been, I think, in a form composed of four or five
portions of circles, united to inclose an area. Some of the stones have
been worked; and a circular hole, and a sort of rebate in one of them,
are evidently artificial. Near this is a range of hills of perhaps 500
feet elevation, the highest on the island. I was not on them, but all
the island which I did see seemed to be composed of a calcareous rock of
recent formation, abounding in places with shark’s teeth. Dr. Naudi
shewed me, however, some marbles which were dug somewhere in the island,
but he could not point out the precise spot. I was told of Greek
antiquities, but they only amount to obscure traces of foundations,
formed of blocks of considerable size. At Casal Zurico indeed there is a
little edifice, which is perhaps of a Greek period. It has the
appearance of a large pedestal, but it contains a small room now used as
a dairy.

Another excursion was to Cività Vecchia, to a _festa_. The church there
is considered as the chief church in the island. On my way I listened to
a long and curious account of the plague at Malta, of which, as it
rested on little points which strongly excite the attention of those
exposed to danger, and not on any medical details, I shall give you a
few heads. Leaving all the various suppositions as to the manner of its
entrance, which after all are only suppositions, I shall pass at once to
the effects of its appearance in the island. The Maltese for a
considerable time refused to believe that it was the plague, and prided
themselves on touching suspected people. Every body felt how injurious
such an infectious disorder must be to a city depending on commerce, and
it was therefore considered as a want of patriotism to call it the
plague; and they were not convinced, till the contagion had fixed itself
too widely both in town and country, to allow of precautionary measures.
Afterwards, in the height of the disorder, the scenes were horrible.
When a man was taken ill, he was immediately conveyed to sheds erected
in the ditches of the town, and his family were conveyed to another part
of them. If no disease appeared in the latter, they were removed in
succession to other parts, till the danger was thought to be over, and
they were dismissed. If on the contrary, any of the party fell ill, he
was immediately transferred to the diseased ditch, under a shed which
afforded very imperfect shelter, either from the sun or rain, almost
without attendance, and what was worse, without water; it is even said
that many died raving mad from thirst. The only persons who could be
obtained to carry the sick and dead, were of the lowest class and worst
character, many of them were released from jails for that purpose; they
wore pitched dresses, and were directed to oil themselves frequently,
and their time seems to have been long or short in proportion as they
complied with this direction. The only one who survived after the
disorder had ceased, says that he oiled himself constantly twice a day.
The pay was four dollars per diem, which was received every morning, and
the survivors were the heirs of their deceased brethren. Besides this
they plundered wherever they went, and were suspected of having
committed murders, when the relations of the deceased defended their
property. They lived in riot and drunkenness, but it was thought that
they could not have spent all their profits, and that a great
accumulation would be found at last. An English sailor is said to have
received 800 dollars from this source, I do not know how or why, but no
such hoards as had been imagined were ever discovered. These people were
called beccamorti, the common name in Italy for those employed in
carrying dead bodies; if they saw in a shed, a body which appeared to be
dead, they threw in a hook, and if no cries were heard, cast it into the
cart. One man who is now alive, cried out on this occasion. Oh ho! cried
the beccamorte, we must come for you to-morrow. The sufferer was wounded
by the hook, and bled profusely, not having the means of stopping it,
and to this bleeding he attributes the preservation of his life. A law
was made that any one having the disorder and concealing it, should be
shot, and one man was executed in consequence; an old woman was also
brought up for the same purpose, who died as she arrived at the
appointed place.

After the plague had ceased in the city, it was renewed by digging up
property which had been buried; and just at this moment some alarm is
excited by the discovery of certain jewels which were concealed at that
time; but as they were immediately reported to the police, and the
jewels themselves, as well as all who had been concerned in the
discovery, conveyed to the lazaretto, there does not seem much danger,
especially as they are objects, which according to the received theory,
are incapable of retaining the infection. We did not arrive at the
Cathedral at Città Vecchia, till the ceremonies of the _festa_ were
almost finished. It is a fine church of the usual Italian style, for
though built in the twelfth century, it underwent a complete restoration
in 1693. It is richly ornamented, and of course as it was a _festa_,
covered with drapery, which was of crimson damask festooned in the
arches, and with a deep fringe of gold. This is much better than the
Roman fashion of striped drapery. The music was very fine. After the
mass an old canonico showed us what remained of their finery. The French
are said to have carried away twenty-four cart-loads of plate. From the
cathedral we proceeded to the grotto of St. Paul, where all visitors are
told that the earth is endued with wonderful medicinal powers, and that
it is annually taken away in great quantities without increasing the
size of the cavern. According to the Acts, St. Paul was hospitably
entertained by M. Publius, the governor of the island. This does not
well agree with his living in a cave, and it could not have been his
immediate retreat from the shipwreck, since it is some miles from the
shore; but the good people here do not trouble themselves about trifling
inconsistencies. Of Publius, they have made not only a Christian, but a
saint. We were shown a fragment of the arm-bone of St. Paul, a most
beautiful piece, as our conductor told us. It is enclosed in a glass
case, over which is placed a golden arm of the natural size.

From Città Vecchia we proceeded to the Bosketto, an old palace of the
grand master, where there is a garden shaded with orange-trees, the
accustomed scene of the amusements of the morning, these however, were
nearly over when we got there. I left my companions in order to obtain a
glance of what was going on. The people were wandering about, or
collected in groupes; some dancing Maltese dances, others singing
Maltese songs, with the hand up to the ear, as is the practice in
Greece. It is always done by the criers at the mosques, and I was told
in Greece, that in this case it is an imitation of a habit adopted by
Mahomet. We dined on the ground, and then remounted our caleshes,
(covered carriages, each with one horse, and the driver running by the
side) to return to the races at Città Vecchia; the ground may be three
quarters of a mile long, not quite straight, and rather uphill from the
starting post. The first race was performed by asses, the second by
mules; both these animals are remarkably large and handsome in Malta.
The third was by ponies, and the second of these, a white one, was one
of the most beautiful animals I ever saw. The fourth and last race was
of horses. They all start with riders, who are boys, without either
saddle or bridle, and very few of them reach at the end of the race, but
I understood that none were hurt. As the horses reach the goal, the
owners run in to seize them, and a scene of the greatest confusion
ensues. The number of spectators was far beyond what I expected to see
collected in this little island. The women were drest mostly in black.
The men had long caps of blue or red hanging half way down the back,
white or Nankin trowsers, and frequently silk waistcoats, adorned with
four rows of large, worked, silver balls, suspended on short chains, in
the place of buttons. The jacket at this time of year is usually
suspended over the left shoulder. In returning I had another companion,
the calesh only holding two persons, who gave me some account of the
politics of the island. Sir Alexander Ball, the first governor, was
extremely affable in his manners, and always accessible, this gave him
influence to get a petition sent to England against restoring Malta to
the order, but he could persuade nobody but those dependent upon himself
to take an active part in it. Though well satisfied with the English,
especially as long as the war lasted, the Maltese would have been, and
would now be perfectly content to have the order back again. The
government of the knights was not oppressive, and the money which they
drew from other countries and spent in Malta, gave activity to the
place; but the inhabitants would not like to have the knights again,
without their foreign revenues. Corn at Malta is always at forty Maltese
scudi the salma,[37] being bought up by government at Taganrock and
Odessa, and sold uniformly at that price. The Maltese scudo is worth
about 1_s._ 10_d._, and the salma is not quite equal to an English
quarter. It is computed that the islands produce annually 20,000 salma,
and that 70,000 are imported. The Maltese say it would be better to
bring the market to Malta, and for the government to buy up what
individuals brought, but this could not answer, unless government would
give up its monopoly. Spain used to take the cotton twist made in these
islands, but they have lately made new regulations which shut out this
article of commerce, and the prohibition is said to be severely felt.



                              LETTER LIII.

                           SYRACUSE—CATANIA.


                                             _Catania, 31st July, 1818._

MY departure from Malta was delayed by adverse winds, but at last, on
Monday the 13th of July, I was awakened with the notice that the
trabaccolo in which I had engaged my passage, was on the point of
sailing. A trabaccolo is a small, decked boat with two masts: the
present was a trading vessel bound for Venice, but stopping in the way
at Agusta to take in a cargo of salt. It contained no regular
accommodation for passengers, but there was plenty of room, and they
made me up a bed, where I slept very comfortably. Some of the sailors
were among the handsomest and best made men I have ever seen; all from
the Venetian states, or from those of the Pope, bordering on the
Adriatic. We arrived by the gentlest motion at Agusta, about six o’clock
on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday I took possession of the single room
called a lazaretto, and with the assistance of the supercargo and
sailors of the vessel, formed my establishment: I had a couch, a table,
and six chairs, an uncommon portion of furniture for a lazaretto. On the
18th I obtained my release, being transformed by the magicians of the
town into an officer of engineers, by which means I obtained the
privilege of counting the two days spent on the voyage as part of the
quarantine. It is said to be owing to Sir T. Maitland’s negligence of
quarantine regulations at Malta, that we have any quarantine to undergo
on passing from that island into Sicily. Yet in other places, rank seems
to be considered as a preservative against contagion, of which I could
cite you examples if it were worth while. The Maltese are now threatened
with a longer quarantine, on account of the jewels I have already
mentioned to you, as having been hidden during the plague at Malta, and
lately discovered. I thought this merely a contrivance to obtain money
from me, but I have since found that after allowing communication for a
fortnight on the usual terms, _i. e._ five days’ quarantine, an order
was really issued on this account, to extend it to twenty-eight days. I
took a walk through the town, where there was nothing to tempt me to
stay; but although Agusta presents nothing very beautiful, yet there are
some porticos, arcades, balustrades, and cornices in a long, straight,
narrow street, which produce a very picturesque effect. I hired a boat
for two pieces (about 8_s._ 9_d._) to Santa Bonaccia. The boatmen would
not take me to Syracuse, because they would have had to pay three pieces
for port dues, and they told me it would cost me another to get through
the examinations at the health-office, but after landing three miles
off, you may enter the town without having to answer a single question.
These three miles are altogether within the limits of the ancient city,
and the little hamlet of Santa Bonaccia, is far from being at the
extremity of the ancient walls. Indeed, besides the island on which
alone the present town is placed, Syracuse altogether, comprising the
quarters or cities of Acradina, Tyche, and Neapolis, appears to have
occupied a space which forms nearly an equilateral triangle of five
miles on each face, and it is said to have contained 2,000,000
inhabitants. I found a very comfortable inn, the Golden Lion, rather
dear, but the landlord, if willing to obtain a good profit for himself,
was very ready to give me both information and assistance, in order that
I should not be imposed on by others.

Ortygia seems at first to have been an island rising in a gentle slope,
and sheltering the magnificent harbour; time and perhaps the rubbish of
the old city filled up the narrow channel, and it became a peninsula,
but to complete the modern fortification this has been cut through, and
it is again become an island, and has taken the name once belonging to
the whole extent of the former city. The principal antiquity is the
ancient temple of Minerva, which has been transformed into the cathedral
church. Arches have been opened in the walls of the cell, while the
intervals of the columns of the peristyle have been filled up; and by
this means, what was the cell of the temple, is become the nave of the
church, and the side aisles are obtained from the surrounding
colonnades. This operation, and the loss of the ancient entablature have
obliterated all the effect of the original edifice; we may still
understand that it has been a noble building, impressive from the
massive solidity of the Doric order, as executed in Sicily; but its
ponderous capitals, thick proportions, and imperfect material, will not
permit it to be placed in comparison with the union of grace and
majesty, of just proportions, beautiful material, and exquisite
workmanship, which distinguish the edifices of Athens.

The modern front of the Cathedral forms as great a contrast as possible
with the ancient work, a light Corinthian, cut up in every direction;
yet though sinning against every rule of good sense and good taste, it
is not without something pleasing in its airy lightness.

We find in Syracuse the remains of another temple, which has been called
that of Diana, merely because Cicero mentions two temples, one dedicated
to Minerva, and one to Diana, and the vestiges of two temples still
exist, one of which was doubtless that of Minerva. The temple mentioned
by Cicero seems to have been a magnificent building, and one might
expect to find columns as large, or perhaps larger than those of the
other edifice; whereas, these measured just below the capital are little
more than 2 feet in diameter. The projection of the abacus must be
enormous, since it is about 6 feet square, but the whole is so much
damaged, and so awkwardly built up in modern walls, that it is difficult
to determine the dimensions. These disproportioned capitals are little
more than 18 inches apart, and altogether it seems to have been a
building of a very curious style of architecture.

The present situation of the Fountain of Arethusa is said to have
nothing ancient but the name, and it certainly can boast of no beauty.
The water issues from beneath an arch, but is supposed to be supplied by
the ancient spring, except that in forming the ditch of the
fortifications, the natural channels have been in some degree disturbed,
and the water thereby rendered brackish. On leaving the island we meet
with one standing column and some bases, the remains of a range of at
least seven, which are said to have been part of a portico; but I know
not why they might not have belonged to a temple.

The Amphitheatre is at some distance; it is considered as a Roman
building, or rather it is a hollow, perhaps an old quarry appropriated
by the Romans to their favourite diversions. It was small, and not at
all proportioned to the size of the city. Some subterraneous corridors
still exist.

The ancient quarries extend almost across the ancient city, and being
cut down to a great depth, above 100 feet, show the thickness of this
bed of calcareous rock. One of these is called the Paradiso, and at one
angle of it there is a long winding cavern formed artificially, and well
known under the appellation of the ear of Dionysius. Some persons have
imagined it connected with the theatre, behind which it runs, but this
opinion has no more to recommend it, than the vulgar tradition. There is
a channel cut along the highest part of the roof, which turns suddenly
round into a little chamber above the entrance; at the other end this
channel seems continued beyond the accessible parts of the grotto, but
its exit is unknown. The whole form, and the sweeping lines of its plan
and section, exhibit evident traces of a design for some particular
purpose; but from the unfinished appearance of the further end, it may
be doubted if it ever was completed.

The Theatre occupies a most beautiful situation; the circuit of the
steps, and of one precinction remain, but the lower part, and the
foundations of the proscenium, if any exist, are hid in a _canneto_, _i.
e._ a place in which reeds are grown. There is a very curious
arrangement immediately below the precinction, the purpose of which I do
not understand, which you will comprehend better from a sketch, than
from any description I could give.

[Illustration: Illustration of arrangement]

A little above the theatre there is a washing-place in front of a
cavern, which has a very picturesque effect. The water is supplied by an
aqueduct, which nearly follows the line of an ancient one, and the water
afterwards turns a mill on the steps of the theatre. Beyond this is the
Strada Sepolcrale; a street cut in the rock, about 20 feet deep, and
with sepulchral niches and chambers also cut out of the solid rock on
each side. A longer excursion in the same direction took me to the
Hexapylon, Epipolis, or Citadel, and the extremity of the ancient walls,
at the highest and most distant point of the triangle. It is about five
miles from the present town, where the ground rises gradually into a
very narrow ridge, and then breaks down suddenly. Underneath the point
thus formed, there is a passage of considerable width, opening in each
direction beyond the walls. There are also sally-ports for cavalry, and
altogether the remains of ancient fortifications in this part are very
curious and important. A conical hill, about three fourths of a mile
beyond, called the Belvidere, which overlooks the whole extent of the
city, has been supposed by some to be the ancient fortress of the
Hexapylon, but there are not sufficient remains to force our assent to
such an opinion. The view is very fine, and the whole country here very
pleasant, but still higher hills rise at a short distance on the north,
and limit the prospect. There is an ancient aqueduct cut in the rock,
and a little below it a modern channel, which is, I believe, what now
supplies the washing-place above-mentioned, and turns the mill in the
theatre.

I have noticed one quarry in which the ear of Dionysius is situated.
Great part of it is now garden and olive-ground, and there are other
caverns, one of which is used as a rope-walk. An insulated mass rises in
the midst, crowned with the ruins of a building, which are quite
inaccessible. This quarry is the westernmost of the range. To the east
are several others of a similar nature, and the gardens of a Capuchin
convent occupy the eastern extremity of this range of quarries; a place
as romantic as it is singular, where the richest vegetation intervenes
between perpendicular faces of naked rock, which here likewise has been
partially hollowed out into caverns. There is a vault below the church,
where the good fathers are kept after death. They are first buried, and
probably the earth has some drying property, then taken up, and seated
in their Capuchin dresses in this place, where they have a very shocking
appearance. After some years they fall to pieces, and make room for
others. The Catacombs are also supposed to have been quarries. The
entrance is in a convent, which exhibits indications of Norman
architecture, but circular arches are here united with running foliage
in the capitals. Something of a regular plan seems to have been followed
in these very extensive excavations.

I could not leave Syracuse without visiting the Fountain Cyane, which is
a little pool, somewhat larger than the New River head near Ware, but
less regular in its form, and furnishing a more copious supply of water.
The banks of the stream issuing from it are covered with the _Arundo
Donax_, and with the Papyrus. It is deep, but so choaked with vegetation
that the boat could hardly get along. On an eminence, at a small
distance, are parts of the shafts of two Doric columns, of considerable
size, but without capitals: they are standing erect in their places, and
are believed to be the remains of a temple of Jupiter Olympus. Wilkins
supposes them columns of the interior rather than of the outer
peristyle, because they have only sixteen flutes. These flutes terminate
abruptly at about one foot from the bottom.

There is in most of the Italian cities a coffee-house called the Casino,
which is a place of resort for the nobles. At Syracuse they have a
constitutional coffee-house, which will admit also respectable persons
engaged in commerce, and others who cannot prove their membership of any
noble family. These were established under English influence in several
Sicilian cities, and I spent some pleasant evenings in this at Syracuse.
The favourite game is draughts, in which, without any increase of the
number of squares, the king has the power which we give to him at Polish
draughts. The usual game in Italy does not permit a private in any case
to take an adverse king, but in other respects the game is played as
with us. In Greece sixteen men are used on each side, and they move
either forward or laterally, never diagonally or backward, and take by
passing over any unsupported man, just as we do, but in the direction in
which they move.

Syracuse contains more of interest to the antiquary than to the
architect, yet, since leaving it, I have regretted that I did not make a
longer stay, and visit Noto and Ispica. At the latter place the chambers
cut out of the rock on each side of a narrow valley are so numerous, as
to merit the name of a subterraneous city.

I left Syracuse on the morning of the 24th of July, having engaged two
horses, at two dollars each, to convey myself and my luggage to Catania.
My landlord told me that it was an excellent road, perfectly
_carozzabile_, but I suppose by a carriage, he must have meant a
_lettica_, which is a sedan-chair, carried by mules, for certainly a
wheel-carriage could not get along; yet the prince of Biscari praises it
as an excellent road. We had hardly proceeded two miles when the
baggage-horse, with the muleteer upon him, slipt and fell, and after two
or three miles more, mine came down suddenly. After a little while my
horse fell a second time, and I was bruised by the fall. This made the
rest of my ride very painful: I obliged the guide to change horses, and
to say the truth, felt it rather as an insult to my horsemanship, that
he arrived at Catania without any farther accident. Between Syracuse and
Agusta are the remains of a monument, supposed to have been a pyramid,
or an acute cone, but it appears to me to have been a column: the
purpose of its erection is unknown. At about eighteen miles from
Syracuse we left the limestone beds, and came to a country probably
volcanic. At twenty-four miles, we stopt at a little house near the
sea-shore, where nothing was to be had but bad wine. However, I had
taken the precaution to carry with me some bread, and a cold roast duck.
The remaining eighteen miles are along a sandy district near the shore,
the road probably never being a mile from the sea; for the whole
forty-two miles we pass neither town nor village, and a great portion of
the land is uncultivated. It wants water perhaps, but that seems to be
attainable. The first part of the ride was the most beautiful, but the
whole wanted an ornament it would have had in clearer weather. Ætna
would, in that case, have been a conspicuous object. As it was I only
obscurely traced his base, and the summit was always hid in the clouds.

Catania has lately suffered from an earthquake, which did not absolutely
throw down many houses, but it injured them so much that numbers are
incapable of being repaired; others less damaged, are propped up till
the owners can restore them, and the principal street exhibits almost a
continued range of these temporary supports. Nothing can look more
forlorn, and even the width of the street contributes to its desolate
appearance. Half the houses seem to have been in an unfinished state
before the earthquake, but not uninhabited; a roof has been applied to
the ground-floor or first story, and in that condition they remain, and
are likely to remain, unless a fresh catastrophe should level them with
the ground. In a town so subject to earthquakes, the usual Italian style
of architecture, consisting of many lofty stories one over the other,
should be abandoned, and low houses of one principal story, little or
not at all elevated, and at most of only one small story above, ought to
be adopted. A city so built may be very beautiful, especially if
intermixed with groves and gardens, though its character of beauty will
be perfectly distinct from that produced by narrow streets and lofty
palaces. Here the principal streets are too wide, and the want of shade
is a sensible inconvenience.

On the 25th I visited the museum of the prince of Biscari, which, if not
like those of Rome, is very interesting from the number of Sicilian
antiquities it contains. The department of natural history is poor, and
the whole is neglected, as the present prince does not partake of the
taste of his illustrious ancestor. I afterwards went to the baths, to
two theatres, and an amphitheatre, which are all under the care of an
old servant of the prince. He seems a good sort of man, but the waiter
of the inn demands half of all that he receives from travellers; a truth
which I suspected from the first, but which I ascertained afterwards on
visiting the principal theatre a second time without him. This waiter,
who is called Don Mario, is the most impudent and shameless knave I ever
met with, and the landlord of the house being lately dead, the widow
commits everything to his care, which makes the residence at the Leon
d’oro very disagreeable.

The Baths are in the neighbourhood of the cathedral, and I believe
partly under it; what remains is altogether subterraneous, they consist
of a very irregular collection of vaulted rooms, none of them very
large, but we distinguish the place of the hypocaust, and some other of
the little arrangements which must have been necessary in such an
establishment. There are also other baths which we know from
inscriptions were termed _Achillei_, and that is just all we know about
them. Of the Theatres one is small. It was probably covered, and is
supposed to have been an odeum, or musical theatre. The taste of the
Sicilians must have been different then from what it is now, since in
modern times they would probably have built a large theatre for music,
and a small one for theatrical representations. The other is large, and
was uncovered, and the descent into the present ruins by a large flight
of steps, is picturesque. They are both clogged up with modern houses,
and also, particularly the larger one, with the earth and rubbish which
has filled up the lower part. They are therefore understood with
difficulty, and did not present to me features sufficiently interesting
to make me wish to enter minutely into the details. They are both of
Roman, not of Greek architecture. The remains of the amphitheatre are
still less considerable, but the construction of these edifices is so
simple and uniform, that a very small portion enables us to comprehend
the arrangement of the whole. Some of the arches have been filled with
lava, which must have entered in a fluid state, since it fits closely to
all the parts of the artificial structure. I was also conducted to a
place where some remains of the ancient walls have been surmounted by
the lava. They are on the lower side of the town, and not, as might be
expected, in the part opposed to the mountain. As the lava gets cool, it
probably accumulates more rapidly. Besides these there is a circular
domed room of Roman times, which is perhaps the most perfect antiquity
remaining here. It is remarkable that a town, so repeatedly destroyed by
earthquakes and torrents of lava, should exhibit so many remains of
antiquity; and I think we may derive from them this important lesson,
that circular forms offer the best resistance to these causes of
destruction.

In spite of the many calamities the place has suffered, a portion of the
ancient cathedral, built by Roger, the first Norman king of Sicily,
still remains. The chief part of the present edifice is modern, and the
interior is a fine room. The piers consist of double pilasters, and
between the arches there is much ornament; but as the architecture is
not interrupted by it, the exuberance does not displease. The choir
exhibits the pointed arch. I will not undertake to say that this was of
the time of Roger, but it is not improbable. He did not die till 1154,
and there are other pointed arches of as early a date.

On the 26th I visited the noble collection of the Cavalier Gioeni,
consisting chiefly of products of the volcano, whose overwhelming
interest seems to have prevented naturalists from attending to any other
part of the island. Although I had no introduction, the cavalier
received me with the greatest politeness, and attended me himself: he
thinks the ancient serpentine (which is a green porphyry, though not the
stone known in Italy under that name,) to be a Sicilian stone. It is
found in rounded masses on the shore, and at the back of Ætna, but not
_in sitû_. Amber he considers a hardened bitumen which issues from the
rocks as a clear fluid, but though found on the shores and rivers of
Sicily in its complete state, the intermediate progress has never been
detected.

There are two other fine museums in Catania, one belonging to the
Benedictine convent, and the other to the baron Ricupero. At the latter
also, the master was so obliging as to exhibit everything himself, and
he showed himself to be thoroughly versed in coins and in Etruscan
vases. The large glass cases of the Benedictines are dark and dirty. I
was rather after the appointed time, of which the librarian did not fail
to remind me, and when I began to apologize, begged me not to mention
it, as it was his duty to wait for me. I have met with a similar answer
where I was persuaded it was rather meant as a compliment than an
incivility, and perhaps that was the case in this instance, but I
confess it considerably shortened my examination.

I rambled one evening over a wide tract of lava which the prince of
Biscari has endeavoured to reclaim. There are a few fig-trees in the
hollows, and some caper plants scattered about the rocks. The Indian fig
seems to do as well, or perhaps better than anything else, but all these
are occupants merely of a few crevices, into which perhaps, the rain may
have washed a little soil, or in some instances they may open a
communication with the old surface below. The rock itself supports
nothing but crustaceous lichens, and that very partially; yet the lava
is, I believe, one hundred and twenty years old.

From Catania I determined to visit the summit of Ætna, and therefore
took a horse to Nicolosi, about twelve miles distant. The road is very
rough, among rocks of lava, but the country in general is extremely
fertile: we have nothing here but the opposite extremes, either
exuberant fertility, or utter barrenness. From this place I ascended on
foot, in the hope of finding a great variety of natural productions, and
examining them and the scenery at leisure; the first four miles from
Nicolosi are on a bed of cinders, but mixed in the latter part of the
way with small rocks of lava; then we pass about four miles of the woody
region, and near the extremity of this division of the ascent is the
Spelonca del Capriole, where we stopt to eat and to rest. Though we
arrived there about one o’clock, my guide was very desirous of staying
till midnight, and ascending the remaining part of the mountain in the
dark, I preferred walking while I could see the objects about me, but
found much less to interest me than I had expected. Ætna boasts that it
stands single and alone, but this very circumstance robs it of great
part of its beauty. Already, at Nicolosi, we were too much above other
objects to enjoy much pleasure from them, and higher up we are
continually sensible of this defect. The little conical hills scattered
abundantly over the lower slopes, afford indeed some relief to the eye,
but they are too small and too similar to satisfy it, or to excite the
imagination. Each of these is generally divided into two summits by a
hollow or groove passing through them from the west of north to the east
of south. The woody region is on this route less extensive than I had
anticipated; and though the trees are of a good size, there is nothing
remarkable about them. They are mostly a variety of _Quercus Robur_,
with a downy leaf, but beech and ilex are intermixed. No fern, except
_Pteris aquilina_, and no rare mosses. Here are no bold crags, no wild
and deep ravines, no foaming torrents, not even a moist rock, or a wet
piece of ground, or a little spring or rill, except just below the
patches of snow; and these, after a course of a few yards, unaccompanied
by any trace of vegetation, disappear. The moisture of the atmosphere
supports a few scattered plants in the loose soil. Everywhere cinders,
and nothing but cinders. Ætna is a mountain of dust and ashes. The beds
of lava are equally cinders in appearance. If we consider one of these
as a fluid, moving mass, half a mile wide, and 20 or 30 feet thick, it
is a sublime and terrible object, but the rough, naked plain which
remains, is merely ugly; and the bare, rocky bank, not presenting any
unbroken mass even in proportion to its trifling elevation, is hardly of
sufficient consequence to form a feature in the landscape. Ætna is a
volcano, and it has no interest but what it derives from this character.
We continued traversing its heavy heaps of dark sand till a little
before sunset, when we arrived at the Casa Inglese. During the night
lightning was frequent, but the mountain made no noise and exhibited no
light. I could hardly fancy myself so close to the most celebrated
burning mountain in Europe.

About half an hour before sunrise my guide called me up and we began to
ascend the cone. We first passed over a rough bed of lava, afterwards we
mounted a slope of snow, which crackled under the feet as if fresh
frozen. The snow, however, by no means forms a continued cap to the
mountain, but is found merely in patches and hollows, and it can hardly
be said that the mountain enters the snow-line, unless we suppose a
considerable space at the summit to be warmed by the transmission of
heated vapour. At the same time it is difficult to say exactly what the
snow-line is. We might probably fix it where the mean temperature of
summer, _i. e._ of the two hottest months of the year, does not exceed
32°, but this is in some degree both vague and arbitrary, and not easily
determined. The ascent of the cone of loose cinders is very fatiguing,
as they slide back at almost every step. In many places there are little
spiracles of what I supposed at first to be smoke, but they proved to be
steam, with but a slightly sulphureous smell. I was delighted when, by
my guide’s motions, I perceived that he had arrived at the edge of the
crater, but the pleasure was soon changed into disappointment. The sun
was rising amongst clouds. A dense, white vapour, greatly below me,
covered almost all Sicily, and the crater itself was so full of steam
that I could see nothing. This steam however, partially cleared away at
intervals, and by watching my opportunity, I was able to form a pretty
distinct idea of the great crater. The edges are steep and rugged, and
smoke, or rather steam, was rising almost everywhere; within, there were
three little volcanoes, _i. e._ small, conical hills, each with its
crater. The largest of these was quiet; the other two sent out smoke or
steam; but no flames, or ignited matter, have been seen here for six
years.

In descending, we passed by the Philosopher’s tower, reduced to a small
fragment of rubble-work, and curious only from its situation. At a
little distance from this we reached the edge of a wide valley, or
hollow, which I think interested me more than anything else. It appears
at some time to have been the ancient crater, before the present upper
cone was raised, and a tremendous one it must have been. It is now a
vast basin of I suppose full two miles in diameter, surrounded by
broken, craggy precipices. On the slopes there is here and there some
appearance of vegetation, but it is exceedingly trifling, and the bottom
is all black and bare. About eight years ago a crater was formed within
the basin, and a stream of lava issued from it a quarter of a mile in
length, but not passing the bounds of this valley of desolation. Smoke
was still issuing from its summit. I regretted much that I had not
followed a plan I once conceived of descending to Taormina, which would
have carried me through much more interesting scenes than the ascent
from Catania, and I should have seen the famous chesnut-tree; but it was
too late, for we had no provisions, and none were to be had in that
direction. I therefore returned to Nicolosi, which we reached a little
after noon, and there hired a mule to convey me back to Catania.



                              LETTER LIV.

                       TAORMINA—MESSINA—PALERMO.


                                           _Palermo, 15th August, 1818._

I LEFT Catania on the first of August. The views of Ætna suffer as much
as the views from it, by its perfect unity. In ascending other mountains
we maintain a sort of contest with the inferior hills, and are pleased
to see them, one after the other, confess our superiority and lose their
consequence. The same hills in looking at a mountain, form a sort of
scale, which assists in our estimate of its magnitude. Some huge mass
perhaps, at no great distance, impresses us with its magnitude, while
yet the trees and buildings upon it enable us to measure its size. As we
recede, other eminences bright with the hues of heaven, rise in rich
succession, behind that which at first we had thought so immense; and
beyond the rest the lofty summit, whose colour almost mixes with the
sky, rises in supreme majesty. The mind measures the more distant by the
nearer object, and the powers of the imagination are excited to the
utmost. From the want of all these accessories, Ætna does not look so
high as Parnassus, which yet I apprehend it considerably exceeds. The
snow had diminished greatly since I first saw it on my way to Malta, yet
the patches were considerable, even on its southern face, a circumstance
the more remarkable in a mountain where there are few considerable
hollows. Perhaps however, the cinders, in spite of their black colour,
are very bad conductors of heat, for dry as was the absolute surface on
Ætna, the mule in most parts, exposed a degree of moisture at every
footstep; and this surprised me very much, when connected with the
general nakedness and barrenness of the mountain.

Though the clouds hung low, and I was rather out of humour from being
cheated at Catania, and from finding myself mounted on a bad horse, yet
I found the scenery along the base of Ætna very delightful. The country
is inhabited and cultivated, with abundance of olives and other trees,
and beautiful little eminences rise gently between the road and the
shore; and though this richness and fertility is occasionally
interrupted by beds of lava, yet these are but slight blemishes, and
perhaps contributed by contrast to enhance the pleasure. On approaching
Taormina it became still finer. Some bold, advancing summits appeared
dimly through the clouds, with deep, woody valleys between them, and
farther off the rugged mountains of Taormina, ridgy and interrupted, and
contrasting strongly in their broken, irregular forms, with Ætna and its
dependent cones. The road is execrable. The waiter at Catania assured me
that an excellent road had been made by the English all the way to
Messina, but this was a lie invented to put me in a good humour, that I
might bleed more freely. A tax indeed was laid on for the purpose of
forming such a work, but the money has never reached its object. I
procured some macaroni and love apples at a village called Le Giarre,
and about an hour before sunset climbed the steep hill of Taormina, in
company with the innkeeper, whom we found on the shore, and who
conducted me to his house. I hastily walked to some of the principal
objects. The town occupies a lofty situation, but on one side are two
rocks, rising considerably higher; and the ancient theatre occupies the
hollow between them. On the other side of the town there is a still
loftier eminence, crowned with a castle; a second fortress, called Mola,
is some hundred feet higher than the first, and beyond this the ground
rises interruptedly to Monte Venere, which, if my landlord may be
trusted, is nearly equal to Ætna, but whose elevation I should not
estimate at much more than 3,000 feet; perhaps however, I did not see
the loftiest summit. I returned to the theatre on the following morning.
It is a fine, and very interesting relick, but my eye was diverted from
nearer objects by the magnificent view spreading full in front of the
_koilon_. It is here that Ætna appears in all his majesty. The long,
descending line seems almost interminable, and hence too we distinguish
the vast hollow which I had looked into from the summit, and which forms
a grand feature in the scene; though I suspect that my knowledge of what
they indicated, rendered its outlines much more impressive to me, than
they would have been to a stranger.

The ruins of the Theatre are very considerable, and highly interesting
from the preservation of the proscenium. It is of brick, but appears to
have been adorned with marble columns and entablatures, and was perhaps
cased with marble; circumstances which rather indicate a Roman than a
Greek construction. A range of arches crowns the slope of the Sedili,
running in part, along the very ridge of the hill.

On returning to dinner from the theatre, a guide came to offer me his
services to point out the antiquities of the place. Two had applied the
evening before. The first had attended kings and princes, and written
sonnets in their praise, which he did me the honour to repeat to me. The
other was a painter, an architect, and a poet, and had a son who was
quite a prodigy; he also favoured me with some of his verses, but as I
was neither king, prince, nor even a nobleman, I did not accept the
services of either. These antiquities, besides the theatre, consist of
part of the city walls, aqueducts, reservoirs, and tombs, and what is
called a _naumachia_, which is a large, oblong court, sunk in the earth,
and surrounded with niches. The wall, and these niches are built of
brick, and there is a vault behind one part of them; but for the most
part they seem to be against the earth.

The tombs are successions of vaulted chambers, partly built of brick,
partly cut in the rock, and frequently placed over one another, in two,
three, or even four stories. A wall seems to have been uniformly erected
in front, in which a small square opening was left to each vault. There
is a fragment of Greek building in the church of San Pancrazio, but the
lower part has suffered, because the stone is reputed a remedy for
fevers: we may observe some other remains of little consequence, but
probably Roman, in the same neighbourhood. There are also some specimens
of early Gothic in Taormina, in which the doorways are of a singular,
but by no means unpleasing style. The opening is square, with a small
console within each upper angle; and round it is a wide face, perfectly
plain; beyond this are clustered shafts, and the abacus of the capital
is continued over the doorway; over this is a pointed arch, with the
same peculiarity of a broad flat member between the opening and the
mouldings.

[Illustration: Illustration of doorway]

The rocks about the theatre, and I believe in general, those on which
Taormina is placed, are calcareous. It seems, by what I could
distinguish of it, to be a gray, hard limestone, not at all crystalline,
with white veins, but in the hills behind, and in a ravine which I
passed after leaving the place, I observed also an argillaceous rock
with a shining surface, somewhat unctuous to the touch. The inhabitants
say that there are mines of copper and lead in the neighbourhood, but
not now worked.

I had bargained for two dollars per horse from Catania to Taormina, and
there I agreed with the vetturino, that if he would stay one day at his
own expense, I would give him two dollars per horse more to Messina.
This you see is four dollars per horse for three days, or one and
one-third dollar per day, which I apprehend is about the fair value of
the service; but of course a long journey for a single day deserves
higher pay.

On the 3rd of August we left Taormina. After descending the hill, the
road lies principally along the shore; except that at Alessio we have to
climb over a rocky point of red and gray limestone with white veins; and
towards Messina, a plain of some extent intervenes between us and the
sea. The beach is composed of sand and small stones, except at the
openings of the ravines, where the torrents have brought down large,
rounded fragments, among which the horses pick their way as well as they
can; the magnificent royal road not being discernible. These blocks
consist of masses of a grit stone, passing into breccia; of clay-slate,
of mica-slate, and of granitic stones, the latter frequently in great
quantity, but I saw neither this, nor mica-slate, _in sitû_. There are
also blocks of decomposing granite, lying on the limestone, on the north
side of the promontory at Alessio. The hills to the left are frequently
broken into pyramidal buttresses.

Messina, like Catania, bears traces of the earthquakes from which it has
suffered, but a longer interval has elapsed, and there are no houses
propt up, though there are many half ruined. The cathedral is a large
building of Norman times. The front displays a sort of Italian Gothic,
with a little modernization, the whole forming a very poor composition.
In the flank is the ornamented window, published from Mr. Smirke’s
drawings, in the Archæologia, which has excited so much controversy; but
it is evidently an addition, and probably of the fifteenth century. The
inside is divided into three naves by two ranges, each of twelve antique
columns. They are not all of a size, but on an average may be considered
as about five diameters apart. These are the spoils of more ancient
structures, but the capitals are of the date of the church. The bases
are all Attic, badly shaped, but without any indications of the Gothic
taste. Two are new, and one of these is decidedly the worst in the
church. In the choir, the half dome is covered with an early mosaic. The
effect of this arrangement, _i. e._ of a double colonnade leading to an
enriched recess, is as usual, very fine, though many of the details are
bad. A well proportioned range of pilasters and arches of the _cinque
cento_ occupies part of the side-aisles, and there is a good tomb of the
same date, and also some altars. Two of these are alike, each of two
columns, whose distance apart is about two fifths of their height;
behind each column is a pilaster, and both columns and pilasters are
covered with carving, and the niche between them is surrounded by two
bands of ornaments, but these are for the most part lightly marked, and
the whole forms an elegant composition. Another altar of the same
period, and similarly enriched, would perhaps not be inferior, if some
panelling in the back wall were not objectionable. Yet here the columns
are their full height apart. Proportion is no doubt of great importance
in architecture, but it is not only one proportion which will please.
When I first entered the church, it was the evening of a _festa_. The
end altar of each nave was splendidly illuminated, and the long,
half-obscure avenues, each leading to a blaze of light, produced a
sublime effect. Yet the columns had begun to receive some tapestry of
spiral stripes, and the capitals were shrouded with canopies of crimson
damask fringed with gold, preparatory to the fuller decorations of the
following day; and these in some degree disturbed the harmony of the
scene. Of these capitals, one or two are ancient Corinthian, of good
style, but damaged; the others are Gothic imitations of an early date,
that is, with distinct leaves and no running foliage. The guide books in
Sicily do not condescend to notice Gothic antiquities, and we do not
readily find the histories of these buildings. Some of the churches
present a great deal of inlaid work of marble and hard stones, and we
may sometimes see one part of a building thus highly finished, while the
rest is merely whitewashed. The pictures in general seem to be very bad.

Six columns on the inside of the Church of the Vergine Annunziata della
nazione Catalana, and a few fragments on the out, are said to have been
taken from a temple of Neptune. At San Giovanni Battista della nazione
Florentina there are six columns, which are supposed to have once
belonged to a temple of Hercules; but they are probably from different
buildings, since three are of granite, two of cipollino, and one is of
marmo Greco; the bases are Attic, but with rather deep hollows, and were
probably made for the church. The side doorways have an ornament
seemingly made for them, which is completely Roman, and not ill
executed, while it is applied to a disposition of the parts which we
should call Norman.

The mountain behind Messina is said to be 3,500 feet in height. It is
the usual storehouse of snow; but this failed last winter, and they were
obliged to import it from Calabria. The mountains there form a more
solid and continued mass, but they break down in pyramidal buttresses
like those of Sicily, and the nearer ones have the appearance of a
similar, sandy, or gravelly composition. The principal range retains the
snow till the beginning of June, and may therefore be about 6,000 feet
in height. The harbour of Messina is said to be too deep, part of it
being as much as forty fathoms.

I engaged a place in a _speronara_ to Palermo for eight dollars; it was
called L’Addolorata, which appeared rather ominous. An awning at one end
would protect a few passengers from the sun, and I was to share this
part with only one companion; but the master, whose name was Santo la
Camera, cheated me in that, and in everything else that he could. To
endeavour to elude his share of the bargain, and yet claim the full
execution of mine, seemed not to be against his moral code. The distance
is one hundred and ninety miles, and it is usually performed in two
days, or at most three, always coasting along the shore. The _speronara_
is an open boat, above 40 feet long, and I suppose 10 wide in the
broadest part; the first 4½ feet from the stern is a space allotted to
the steersman; the awning extends for about as much more; next are
benches for eight rowers, and towards the prow a single mast, to which
they contrive to fix four sails when the wind is gentle and favourable.
In the covered part I found two companions. The first a cavaliere, who
was always called _eccellenza_, and treated with great respect by the
rest of the party; the other a priest, whom the captain of the vessel
assured me had previously paid for his journey from Palermo to Messina,
but now on his return gave nothing for his passage; but he himself
informed me at first, that he paid four dollars, afterwards he said six.
I believe they were both lies to serve a countryman, as my inquiries
were evidently directed to ascertain the justice of what I paid myself;
and afterwards, when I reproached the captain with being paid twice over
for the use of the cabin, the truth made its appearance. The space
immediately before the awning, and between the benches, was filled up,
and mattrasses and rags were spread for four women, two men, and three
children, all of whom the captain had taken out of charity, _i. e._ on
their paying for the passage; the crew consisted of seven men and three
boys, and one other passenger was stationed in the prow.

We left Messina on the 9th and rowed all night against the wind: of
course I saw nothing of these celebrated straits beyond what I had
enjoyed from the neighbourhood of Messina. The northern coast of Sicily
is very mountainous, higher ones rising inland beyond those which skirt
the shore. The latter expose a mixture of wood and cultivation, and
there are frequently small cultivated plains at their feet, forming
altogether a delightful appearance. Ætna I did not see, I believe
because hid in the clouds, but the nearer hills present such a continued
barrier that it could only have been visible from a few points. About
twenty-five miles from Palermo is the wide open valley of Termini, the
ancient Himera, and this was the only considerable opening I observed,
but we might have passed others in the dark; for partly rowing, and
partly sailing, we continued our course without intermission. On the
right were the Lipari Islands, all mountainous, and almost all inclining
in form to a single truncated cone, or to a combination of cones;
nevertheless there are some which, from their shapes, I should suspect
not to be entirely volcanic. We reached Palermo on the evening of the
11th.

Palermo is situated on a beautiful bay, which bears a competition with
that of Naples, but the situation of the city is nearly on a flat, and
the mountains which encircle its noble plain, have throughout a
similarity of character; both which circumstances limit, not the beauty
of any particular scene, but the variety of the whole. These surrounding
mountains are nevertheless finely broken and varied in their details.
The highest summits may perhaps rise between three and four thousand
feet, but in the back ground we distinguish, in clear weather, the vast
mass of the Nebrodes, now called mountains of the Madonnia. I was led to
expect, before I reached Sicily, that they always had a snowy cap, but
this is not the case, though they may perhaps always preserve snow in
their hollows. You enjoy this scene to great advantage from the Marina,
a public promenade extending along the shore, bordered by good houses,
which however, are irregularly disposed, rising mostly upon a continued
terrace. At the extremity of this place the view is embellished by the
fine groves of the botanic garden; beyond this we see the spacious and
well cultivated plain rising gently towards the abrupt mountains I have
already mentioned, which recede in successive distances, till the series
is lost in the Nebrodes. In the opposite direction is Monte Pellegrino,
a fine detached hill, but deficient in wood.

If an Englishman were transported in rapid succession to the bay of
Naples, to Corfu, to the citadel of Athens, to Messina, and to Palermo,
which would he prefer? or if he contemplated the morning sun gradually
lighting up Ætna from the theatre of Taormina, would he not pronounce it
finer than any of them? I have seen each at no very long interval, but I
cannot decide; that which is present always seems the most beautiful,
and if I give to Athens the preference, it is, perhaps, that a thrilling
sensation of its past glory mingles with the emotion produced by the
scenery; and certainly it is that in which the circumstances of beauty
to which we are habituated in England are most deficient. There are no
villages, no gentlemen’s seats; no trees near enough to be distinctly
seen, except in the gray stripe of the olive-grove. No mixture of shade
and cultivation; no farm-houses; no ivy-covered ruins; no running
stream; no bold cliffs; and if there are high mountains, they are at
such a distance, that all their asperities are softened down into an
even tint. What then is there at Athens? There are the brilliant aerial
tints shed over sea and land; a succession of hills of finely varied
forms, with the waters of the Saronic gulf glittering among them at
different distances; the mountains of the Peloponnesus; the Acropolis of
Corinth; the isles of Egina and Salamis; the Piræus; the plain of
Athens; and the gray olive-grove finely contrasting with the yellow hue
of the plain. Nearer are the Pnyx, the Areopagus, and the remains of the
Propylæa: and the white marble columns of the Parthenon, against one of
which the spectator is leaning, though they hardly make part of the
view, yet certainly contribute to its effect.

Palermo has two good, straight streets, crossing each other at right
angles; two squares, one of which is in front of the royal palace; and
the Marino, which bounds the city on the east. The rest of the town is
composed of narrow, crooked and dirty streets. Indeed this was the state
of the whole city till 1564, when the viceroy, Don Pedro di Toledo,
began to form the two principal avenues. These are of good width; and
the palaces which border them, though not of correct, are by no means of
contemptible architecture. The antiquities are principally of Norman
times, with one or two edifices which claim, and probably with justice,
a Saracenic origin, without being of a much earlier date. To me, who
have been so long examining the remains of Grecian liberty, these seem
quite modern; however, some of them are of great historical value, and I
shall proceed to give you a little account of them, observing by the
way, that the common people of Sicily have lost all pride of their Greek
ancestry, and confound in their accounts all who were not Christians, or
rather Roman Catholics, under the name of Saracens; or if they
acknowledge some difference of nation, they do not at all doubt that
they lived about the same period, and one very wise cicerone assured me
_on his honour_, that some of the city walls built by the said Greeks or
Saracens, had been injured by the universal deluge. A priest in one of
the churches maintained that one part of the building had been erected
by the French; I asked at what time? At the time the Romans governed the
island.

There is a Saracenic castle called Zisa, just out of Palermo; its origin
indeed has been disputed, but there is a peculiarity of style in its
architecture, and a correspondence with some of the buildings existing
in Turkey, which leaves no doubt of the fact. The windows have been
altered, except a few small, square ones in the lower part, but the wall
is ornamented with obtusely pointed arches, very slightly recessed, and
without ornament. The principal entrance is under a scheme arch within a
very highly pointed one, which is probably an alteration. This and two
others open into a corridor which has been modernized, and opposite to
the middle arch of the corridor, there is a large archway opening into
an ancient hall. Three sides of this hall retain their original
disposition, and it is altogether the most curious part of the building.
It is a square room with four recesses, one of which communicates with
the corridor, as above mentioned, and gives air and light to the room.
The roof is a groined and obtusely pointed vault, but without ornament;
a very small shaft stands at each salient angle of each of the three
recesses. There are some ornaments in mosaic in the upper part of the
walls, and above these an arch, which is neither groin, vault, nor dome,
but a combination of little arches, and bits of arches, so intricately
disposed, that after spending three or four hours in the endeavour to
express it on paper, I have been at last obliged to give it up. There is
a fountain in the middle, and did the corridor open on a lawn, or into a
garden, you could hardly imagine a more delightful retreat on a hot day.

Another Saracenic ruin, but at some distance from the city, is called
Casteddu, _i. e._ _Castello_; the Sicilians uniformly changing double
_l_ into double _d_, and the terminal _o_ into _u_. It is of
considerable extent, and ornamented with obtusely pointed arches, and
very slightly retreating faces. It also exhibits some arches nearly
flat, which are probably modern; and there are small square-headed
windows which belong apparently to the ancient work; and long
loop-holes, which are likewise terminated by a lintel. Among the arches,
some have key-stones, and others have not. Close by this building there
is a smaller edifice of the same sort, and there are other remains of
walls and mounds, on one of which is an old olive-tree, 12 feet in
diameter at the base. These are all seated on a pool called _Mare
d’aquadolce_, which is supplied by copious springs of fine water, rising
at the foot of the mountains; and close by these springs there is
another fragment, consisting of a mixture of squared stones and
brickwork, and having pointed arches, which may perhaps be Saracenic.

These are the principal objects referred to Saracenic times, and though
the arches are pointed, yet they can hardly be said to be edifices
belonging to the pointed style of architecture. They have a character
peculiarly their own, and are readily distinguished from the Norman
edifices of this country. To these I now turn; and first, as is
reasonable, I must say something about the Cathedral. This was founded I
believe, by William the Second, called the good, in 1187. It contains
the sepulchre of his grandfather Roger, first Norman king of Sicily, and
of his father, William the bad. These were at first deposited in a small
chapel built by Roger, which was pulled down to make way for the church.
The tomb of Roger is a plain sarcophagus, composed of slabs of porphyry,
under a canopy, having the form of a little temple, with four columns,
and an architrave enriched with mosaics. Those of some other Sicilian
princes are disposed in the same manner, but with more ornament.
Considerable alterations and additions have been made at different
periods to the church, and lately the artists have proceeded with a view
of imitating the old style, which renders the analysis more difficult,
but if there are parts certainly of more recent dates, and others very
doubtful, there still remains externally a large portion undoubtedly of
the original work. In the succession of slightly retreating faces, and
the obtusely pointed arches, the Norman architects appear to have
followed their Saracenic predecessors; they introduced a greater
quantity of moulding, but still there is less of this than we should
find in Norman buildings of as high a finish in France or England. They
brought with them also their zigzag, of which no traces occur in the
Saracenic remains; but instead of forming it by carved mouldings, it
generally consists of black marble inlaid on a white, or light-coloured
ground. Other Norman ornaments also occur, partly in relief, but more
often in inlaid work. The western extremity has a square termination,
instead of a gable; and it is flanked with a little tower at each angle,
of a very whimsical taste. In the centre is a large and lofty arch, but
interrupted, as in the annexed sketch.

[Illustration: Illustration of arch]

The upper part contains a comparatively small window. The doorway below
preserves its arch entire, but the external moulding is broken and
recomposed in a zigzag manner. The composition has no beauty, and is
certainly not coeval with the building. I cannot pretend to assign it a
date, but there are in it no traces of the restoration of Roman
architecture. The principal entrance is on the south side, by an open
porch of three arches, and this is also an adjunct, perhaps of the
fourteenth century.

There are several buildings of the middle ages in Palermo, which enable
one to trace the progress of the art. The most interesting is perhaps
the Church of San Niccolò della Kalsa, the tower of which abounds in
inlaid work, and we may trace in it imitations, both of the Norman
ornaments, and of those of Roman architecture; but the combinations of
the former are more complicated than those of the cathedral. This was
probably erected in the twelfth century. In the Saracenic architecture
we find no carved mouldings, the artist depending entirely for their
enrichments on inlaid work and mosaics. The Normans adopted this style,
but applied it to their own favourite ornaments, and mixed with it
carved mouldings; the carving came gradually more into use, and inlaying
and mosaics diminished, and the latest example pointed out to me of the
latter, is in the Palazzo de’ tribunali, erected in 1307. Even the
zigzag ornament was in use till 1302, as it is exhibited in the church
of St. Francis, which is of that date. The front of the church of San
Niccolò della Kalsa, was probably erected after the tower, and indeed
after 1306, which is the date of the earliest tomb in the church; the
ornaments are less Norman, and the effect is made to depend on
mouldings, and not on inlaid work. Yet the distribution is simple, and
it is very far from the richness or intricacy of the portals of the
French or English ecclesiastical edifices of that period.

[Illustration:

J. Hawksworth Sculp.

S^T. NICOLÒ DELLA KALSA AT PALERMO.

_London, Published by J. & A. Arch. Cornhill. March 1^{st} 1828._ ]

There is a good botanic garden at Palermo, and the warmth of the climate
gives us an opportunity of seeing many of our green-house plants growing
freely and in great perfection in the open air. Among them we may
observe the sugar-cane, the papyrus, and the banana; and the botanist
will also be gratified by meeting with many Sicilian plants, which are
hardly to be seen elsewhere. The casino was designed by M. du Fourny,
whom I have already mentioned to you at Paris: the general form is good,
but the details do not please me. The metopes (for the order is Doric)
are ornamented with different fruits. The idea is ingenious, but it
ought to have exhibited the various modes of fructification, especially
such as tend to elucidate the different families of plants. In the
present instance, they have neither been well chosen nor well executed.



                               LETTER LV.

                      AGRIGENTUM—SELINUS—SEGESTA.


                                              _Naples, 22nd Sept. 1818._

I BARGAINED with a _sensale_ to be taken to Girgenti in two days and a
half for six Sicilian dollars, each of which is a trifle less in value
than the Spanish dollar. These _sensali_, who are the brokers of the
horse-keepers, generally take care to have a good share of the profit;
and I found in this case that the owner of the horse, who accompanied me
on foot, and who was on his return to Alicata, was to have forty _tari_
for his portion, a _tari_ being the twelfth part of a dollar. We set out
on Monday the 17th. The road lies for some distance along the shore,
then winds up a fine valley, the varied forms and receding distances of
whose boundary mountains offer a succession of beautiful scenes.

At Casteglione[38] we leave the valley, and proceed over naked hills,
which in spring are covered with corn, but at this season the burnt up
stubble or bare earth presented a uniform dead brown, like that of some
dreary moor. We passed some baths furnished with a pretty copious spring
of warm water, without taste, issuing from the foot of a rock, which I
believe to be of limestone, but it was capped with a breccia composed of
rounded fragments of different substances, the base of which is a hard,
reddish stone. Warm springs in this island seem more common than cold.
Hence, we descended to Belli Frati, which is placed in a beautiful open
valley abounding in vineyards and orchards: and the slopes of the hills
are covered with olives; higher up are corn, rocks and brushwood; but
the principal feature is a very bold face of mountain at some distance,
of great extent, covered with fine wood, except where the perpendicular
rock will not admit its growth, and except various little beautiful
openings among the trees. This is, I believe, part of the royal forest
or chase of Busambra. Above this mountain rise more distant summits,
which were only obscurely seen among the clouds. My guide’s scheme was
to stop at this place, twenty-two miles from Palermo, but he was willing
to proceed, and so was I, as there was plenty of day remaining. We
therefore continued our route to San Giuseppe, about nine miles further.
Here also is a pretty valley, and the flowering heads of the aloes
rising abundantly among, and above the olives, had the charm of novelty
as well as beauty. San Giuseppe is a miserable solitary hovel, which
contained no separate apartments, and had I remained there, I could only
have slept on the straw, among the vetturini and their mules. I
therefore determined to push on to Alcara, thirty-nine miles from
Palermo, and here with some difficulty I obtained a bed. The hesitation
about giving me one was merely adopted in order to form a plea for a
more exorbitant charge. This latter part of the road led me over a
considerable mountain, (Serra Fareschia) and I found myself enveloped in
the clouds. If this had not been the case, I was too late in the evening
to have seen from them any extensive prospect, but as far I could judge,
the country was entirely destitute of wood; and my journey the next
morning to Fontana Fredda was of the same character. Here again is a
pleasant valley, and finding myself fatigued and rather unwell I stopt
for the night. The place derives its name from a well of excellent
water. The scenery is of a very peculiar character, arising from the
frequent mural precipices formed by the hills. The substance of those in
the immediate neighbourhood I supposed to be gypsum from its
translucency, and brilliant fracture, but it effervesces with acids, and
is therefore I suppose, a carbonate of lime. The structure seems to be
somewhat fibrous. There is, however, also a quantity of gypsum on the
road. Higher up, the mountains offer another series of mural precipices,
equally vertical, and of perhaps about the same height, which may be
from one to two hundred feet. These appear to be of a conglomerate, but
I did not approach near enough to any one of them to be certain of the
fact. During the first day we passed many beds of rivers, but only one
of them contained a stream of water, and that was poisoned by the flax
and hemp steeped in it. On the second day, after a long descent from
Alcara, we arrived at the banks of the Fiume, or rather Fiumara, di San
Pietro, in some parts of which the water ran, while in others we saw
only a bed of stones; but this also was extremely offensive. The third
day, the first part of our course lay near the same river; the quantity
of water was increased, but the smell remained the same. It was an
excessive disappointment to me, when after riding and walking a long way
under a hot sun, and seeing in the distance the sparkling of the water,
to find on a nearer approach, that what ought to give a charm to every
thing about it, was only productive of disgust. Even when a clear stream
does occur, a Sicilian, having perhaps formed his ideas of running water
from its general offensiveness, never either drinks it himself, or lets
his cattle drink of it, but the water of various springs is conducted
here and there, through covered channels, to troughs on the road sides
prepared for that purpose. After a few miles we crossed a range of high,
clayey hills, in parts of which sulphur is dug, and arrived before noon
at Girgenti. The modern city stands high on the southern slope of a
steep hill, which forms on the summit, a narrow ridge. The highest part
has perhaps an elevation of 800 feet. It commands a full view of the sea
and the intervening country, interspersed with vineyards, and orchards,
and groves of olive and almond-trees; a delightful prospect. About
half-way between this and the shore stand the ruins of the ancient
Agrigentum. The way to them from Girgenti is on a continued descent, but
they nevertheless occupy a rocky and picturesque eminence, which shows
them to great advantage. I had been warned not to go to the Benedictine
convent, and recommended to stay at that of the Capuchins, which among
other merits, has that of being on the outskirts of the town, and
towards the ruins; but I prefer the sovereignty of my own apartment in
an inn, where it is practicable; and finding that there was a locanda in
the place, I made my arrangements there, and though I cannot boast
greatly of my accommodations, yet I must doubt their being better at the
Capuchin convent. I delivered a letter to Don Guglielmo Salice, who was
exceedingly civil, and in compliance with what he conceived to be
English customs, offered me rum in the morning, and tea at noon.
Afterwards taking a boy whom I found at the city gate for a guide, I
walked down to the temples.

The first antiquity we meet with is called the Oratory of Phalaris; but
from the multiplication of small mouldings, I conjecture it to be of
Roman times; the pilasters have bases, while the architrave shews the
guttæ belonging to the triglyphs of the Doric order.

A wide interval occurs between this temple and the rest, but the walk is
very pleasant among vineyards and olive-groves, with here and there some
trifling fragment of a wall or an aqueduct. The principal objects form a
single series, occupying the ridge of a hill, which, steep on one side,
is almost precipitous on the other. This ridge is between two and three
miles from the sea, but only partially open to it; the eastern point is
the highest, and may perhaps have an elevation of 250 feet. Here we find
a ruin usually called the Temple of Juno. Eleven columns with their
architrave are still standing, and several other single columns, more or
less perfect. The proportions and forms are beautiful, and the sober
brown colour of the stone is in perfect harmony with the scene. These
tinted ruins, the brown rock from which they rise, the dark green of the
carob, and the sober gray of the olive-trees, among which they stand,
and all seen against the deep blue sky, have an indescribable air of
repose. In this edifice there are vestiges of smaller steps below the
two principal ones in front of the pronaos, and at the foot of these
smaller steps there is a course hollowed out on the surface, as if for a
drain, and after an interval of about 27 feet, a mass of masonry, which
bears the appearance of steps rising from the temple, as if to give a
view of what was going forward within, or immediately in front of the
edifice.

From the temple of Juno we walk among the ancient quarries, sepulchres,
granaries, and cisterns, to that of Concord; both these names are very
uncertain, or rather perhaps it is pretty clear that they are erroneous,
but they serve for distinction. Here all the columns are standing, and
the walls of the cell, and both fronts, are nearly entire. His Sicilian
majesty has had it patched and plastered, and an inscription on marble
records restorations executed in stucco. This slab and inscription have,
I suspect, cost more than the repairs, and will probably remain to
puzzle antiquaries when all traces of the latter have disappeared. The
architecture of this temple is inferior to that of Juno. The situation
is similar, but less lofty. The entasis of the columns is less evident.
The capitals of the pilasters are clumsy, and look ill in the work as
well as in drawing. Here also are traces of an extended platform, before
the east front, but none of the mode of entering from it, into the
temple, nor is there any appearance of steps on the opposite side of the
platform. There is not enough of the back wall remaining, to determine
whether there was a door between the posticum and the temple.

Continuing our progress westward, partly among thick plantations of
Indian fig, we arrive at the Temple of Hercules. This has been much
larger than either of the others, but only one fragment of a column is
erect. Many others are lying as they fell, and the ruins form quite a
hill. The columns were nearly 7 feet in diameter, and about 30 feet
high. The clear width of the peristyle was about 11 feet. It appears to
have been hexastyle and peripteral, with columns not much more than one
diameter apart.

After crossing a little hollow, which probably marks the situation of
the ancient outlet of the city towards the port, we find the tremendous
ruin of the Temple of Jupiter. Enough remains to shew that it was in bad
taste, and of bad construction, but of immense proportions. The stone
employed in the Sicilian antiquities is too coarse in its grain, and of
too soft and perishable a nature, for the exact discrimination of the
forms of the smaller parts. The mere waste of time and weather seems to
have been sufficient to reduce the temples to their present state, and
in the building before us, the material has I think been crushed in many
parts by the superincumbent weight. Do not however form too bad an
opinion of it, but recollect that it is 2,200 years since Agrigentum
ceased to flourish. This temple was pseudoperipteral, _i. e._ surrounded
by half columns attached to the wall. Part of the middle column still
remaining at the east end, shows that there were seven of these behind;
and we may make out fourteen on each flank, including the angular ones;
but whether there was a central column in front, or how that part was
managed we cannot determine. An excavation has been made on the line of
the front, in order to solve this question, but it shows nothing but the
regular courses of the foundations. More extensive excavations on the
north side expose the immense substructions on which the temple rested,
rising in a flight of steep steps, at the top of which several of the
ancient columns form each a considerable tumulus of its own ruins. We
can with difficulty discover some filleting, and perhaps a curved
moulding, forming a sort of base. Within, two rows of enormous piers
divide the space into three aisles, but of these, the foundations alone
remain, and various schemes have been devised to connect these piers
with certain colossal figures, which are supposed to have given to the
edifice the name of temple of the Giants, by which it has long been
known. Fragments of sculpture are indeed found of a vast size, as we
might suppose they would be, if forming an essential part of such a
building. Some of the stones were of enormous bulk, but in general they
were small. The half columns were built up in this manner,

[Illustration: Illustration of half column]

each course being in eight pieces, but each capital was composed of two
large blocks. The architrave is in three heights, and the lower stone
rests merely on the projections of the capitals. The frieze is in one
height, and so is the cornice, except the sima, which is wanting. The
projection of the cornice appears to have been nearly 7 feet. The stones
of the frieze were lifted into their places by means of a horse-shoe
groove at each end, but those of the cornice required two such grooves.
We find fragments of ornamented ovolos, of two different sizes, one of
which, and perhaps both, belonged to an internal cornice. The sculpture
has the smirking character of the early attempts to represent the gods,
and we may distinctly trace in one fragment the features of Venus.

If, instead of proceeding directly to this temple after leaving that of
Hercules, we descend the hollow, we meet almost immediately with a
little edifice of a mixed order, placed on an elevated basement. This is
usually called the Tomb of Theron, on the same principle, I suppose,
that we are told _lucus_ is derived _à non lucendo_. All we know of the
tomb of Theron is, that it was split by lightning, and this little
edifice shows no trace of such an accident. Various guesses have been
made, but in fact we have no clue to guide us to what it has been, or to
the period of its erection; and farther off on the plain is a ruin, now
called the Temple of Æsculapius. Wilkins has given a representation of
part of the back wall in the antiquities of Magna Græcia, but one of the
antæ in front still exists, and the enclosure of the staircase as in the
temple of Concord: so that the plan may be confidently restored. It was
a pseudoamphiprostyle, _i. e._ it had a portico or pronaos in front, no
columns on the sides, and only half columns behind.

Returning to the temple of Jupiter, and resuming our course to the
north-west, we find some heaps of ruins, which, as my cicerone asserted,
belonged to the temple of Castor and Pollux; and further on are two
columns, which he pronounced to be the temple of Æsculapius, while he
gave the name of Vulcan to the temple in the plain below. These two
columns are considered by Wilkins as part of the temple of Castor and
Pollux, and I think he is quite as good authority as my little guide,
for where there are few visitors, these smaller ruins do not get
established names.

Besides these temples, there are in the present city some foundations
and stumps of columns of the Temple of Jupiter Polieus; and in the
cathedral is a beautiful vase, and a sarcophagus which is much
celebrated; one side and one end of the latter are of very good
sculpture; the other two are rough in form and finish. It is of a white
marble, containing mica, which scales off in places, as in the Pentelic
marble; but there are fragments of a similar material in the museum of
the prince of Biscari, and I observed pebbles of the same nature in the
Fiumare, at the eastern part of Sicily, so that it is perhaps a Sicilian
stone. This cathedral is Gothic, and said to be of the 15th century, but
I found nothing to interest me in it. The lower part of the Campanile
was erected by a man who died in 1485. The rest is of later date, and
the arches mostly terminate in reversed curves, yet even here we find
the little columns and zigzag ornaments of the Norman, and early English
architecture. While I was at Girgenti one man stabbed two others. The
first in consequence of a quarrel, of which I could not learn the
particulars, the second, because he thought he was going to apprehend
him. The offender was secured and taken to jail. It has excited a great
commotion in the city, which may be considered as a proof that such
things do not often happen.

The soil of Agrigentum and Girgenti is a coarse, brown limestone, full
of modern shells, but perhaps not very thick, (_i. e._ short of 100
feet.) It appears to repose on a formation of clay and gypsum. An older
limestone is found up the valley, a few miles from Girgenti.

On the 26th of August I left Girgenti for Monte Allegro, a corruption of
the ancient name of Heraclea, which stood in this neighbourhood; and on
the morning of the 27th proceeded to Sciacca. About three miles from
Sciacca, on the top of a high limestone hill, are the _stufe_ of San
Calogero, consisting of a cavern, nearly at the top of a precipice,
whence issues a very strong, hot wind, loaded with vapour, but without
any disagreeable smell. This cavern bends round so rapidly, that the
channel must approach very near the surface of the cliff. The limestone
is generally of a brownish colour, and in beds nearly horizontal; the
hot wind is said to be strongest in windy weather.

Just by the town of Sciacca there are springs of hot water, (not however
boiling) having a sulphurous smell, and an intensely salt taste, and
depositing sulphur in their course. They are so copious as to form the
chief supply of a mill just below them. Near to these there is a spring
slightly warm, the taste of which is not unlike that of skimmed milk.
The same hollow furnishes a small chalybeate, and it is said that there
were not long ago two or three more springs of different qualities,
which are now lost. The bank of the little hollow immediately above
these springs consists of a white, argillaceous rock, such as I had
already met with on the way, lying under a conglomerate, and throwing
out the water. A brown friable stone lies over the argillaceous rock on
one bank, while on the opposite side it is covered by a shaly grit, and
over that by a compact limestone containing shells. In the afternoon we
proceeded to Memplice, or Menfrice, where there is a miserable inn
swarming with vermin. I waked in the night and brushed them off my
pillow as lightly as I could, but they seem to harbour principally in
the broken plaster of the walls, and never attacked me in such numbers
after I adopted the plan of drawing my bed away from the side of the
room.

With Sciacca I left the mountains, and entered a country of a completely
different character; an extensive elevated plain, intersected by winding
valleys, which divide it into flat-topped hills of nearly equal
elevation. These tops are very stony, and are partially cultivated in
vineyards and olive-grounds. The valleys are loamy, and all in corn. We
crossed a river which occupies a valley of greater extent and more
beauty than the rest, where the upper ground is covered with a forest of
cork-trees, but the stream itself is as usual very offensive; and
afterwards entered a great plain covered with brushwood, at the
extremity of which stand, or rather lie, the ruins of Selinus, or as it
was called by the Romans, of Selinuntum. These ruins are divided by a
sandy valley into two distinct parts, each occupying its own eminence.
On that at which we first arrive, there are the ruins of three large
temples, one of which is emphatically called the Great Temple. About 45
feet of one column is still erect. It is above 10 feet in diameter, and
looks like a tower, while the fragments heaped around seem the ruins of
a city rather than of a temple. The magnitude of this edifice is far
more impressive than that of the temple of Jupiter at Agrigentum. The
columns and entablature are not _built up_ as in that edifice, but
formed of large masses; and the perception of this circumstance
harmonizes in the mind with their massive proportions and vast
magnitude. One block of the architrave (probably the angular one)
measures 26 feet 2 inches in length, is 4 feet 9 inches wide, and 6 feet
10½ inches high; but the most striking masses of stone are those which
form the great capitals, each of which has been cut out of a block 13
feet square. The shape of these capitals is very peculiar. I have seen
nothing like them in Greece, except a fragment on a very small scale,
which I noticed at Corfu. The common Grecian Doric capitals in the best
examples, form a sort of ogee, and we find this curve in that of the
third temple on this eminence, (_fig. 1_,) but in the great temple a
deep hollow interrupts the flow of the lines as in _fig. 2_.

[Illustration: _Fig. 1._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 2._]

The fragments of this temple are on so large a scale that it is no easy
matter to clamber among them. There are traces of the existence of a
comparatively very small, internal, Doric order, and also of a still
smaller Ionic. All the particulars of this immense building might be
obtained, but it would be a labour of considerable time, and of some
expense, for although one would not attempt to remove any of the larger
masses, yet many of those of a smaller size, and these are not small,
must be taken out of the way.

This, and indeed all the temples here, seem to have been thrown down by
violence, perhaps by an earthquake; as although the surfaces are much
weather-worn, the stone is not in general so wasted as to have
endangered the stability of the building, and many of the columns might
be set up again. They have fallen inwards from both sides, but those on
the south the most regularly so. The stone, though of the same nature as
that at Agrigentum, is of a much superior quality, being both firmer,
and of a finer grain.

[Illustration:

A. B. Clayton. del. from Sketches by J. Woods. W^m. Miller. Sculp.

RUINS OF SELINUS. ]

Just by the great temple are the ruins of a second, in which many of the
lower drums of the columns still remain in their places; and a few yards
farther off, there are parts of a third temple, which is of better
architecture than either of the others, or at least more pleasing to me.

The three temples now described are supposed to have been out of the
city. On the opposite hill, which is hardly a mile distant, there are
the distinct ruins of three other temples, and traces of two or three
smaller edifices. The eminence on which they stand is surrounded by a
terrace-wall, which has been imagined to be that of the city. It sets
off at each course, presenting the appearance of a very steep flight of
steps, and this is sufficient to determine that it was not built for
defence. The whole hill was probably holy ground, and these walls formed
a common basement to the sacred edifices with which it was crowned. Two
of these temples have the peculiar form of capital which I have just
noticed as existing in the great Temple. They are less beautiful than
those of the Athenian Doric, but the parts harmonize well together, and
the effect seems to have been well understood. I can easily imagine that
it would find many advocates in England, particularly among those who
admire bold projections and deep shadows. This peculiarity is not
however to be found in all these buildings. Three of the larger temples
exhibit it, in the other three the capitals resemble those of the Greek
order. The northernmost of the three, on the second hill, is an example
of this Sicilian Doric, and as the surface of the stone is more wasted
in this than in any other example, without any apparent reason for the
difference in the nature of the stone, we may conclude that it was not a
recent innovation; but neither will a comparison of the condition of
these edifices entitle us to suppose it a very ancient method, which
afterwards gave way to the imitation of the Greeks, for the edifice
which, after this, has the appearance of the highest antiquity, exhibits
the more usual form. In one of the temples on the second eminence,
eleven of the columns of the north side lie parallel to each other, and
apparently just as they fell. They fell to the north, and this is the
general direction in all these ruins, though with some exceptions.

We know nothing of all this heap of magnificence, but that it belonged
to the city of Selinus, which was destroyed by the elder Hannibal about
450 years before Christ. There was afterwards a Roman colony called
Selinuntum, but the style of the six principal temples renders it
certain that these buildings are of Grecian origin.

I slept at Castel Vetrano, where I had some difficulty in procuring a
bed, and returned on the 29th and 31st to the ruins, but I found the
daily ride rather fatiguing. The road, for about four miles from the
temples, crosses a plain very gently descending towards the sea, covered
with _Pistacia Lentiscus_, _Daphne Gnidium_, the prickly broom
(_Spartium spinosum_), and the tree-spurge (_Euphorbia dendroides_), the
two latter of which bear leaves in the winter, and show their naked
stems in the summer. Nearer to Castel Vetrano, the track passes a very
pretty valley, and the whole of this part is an exceedingly stony soil,
but covered with olive-trees and vineyards; the latter in particular,
seem to delight in this sort of soil, and produce some of the best wine
in Sicily. On the 30th I rode to the quarries of Selinus, which are
about eight miles from Castel Vetrano, and six from the temples. They
are particularly curious, because several pieces of columns, whose
dimensions show them to have been intended for the large temple, lie
scattered about. Others have been prepared by a channel cut round them,
while the base still remains attached to the native rock. I suspect
however, that all these are rejected blocks; and they consequently do
not form any proof that the solid masses of the building were not
completed. Neither here nor at the temple do we perceive any means
provided for raising these immense stones to their places, and I am at a
loss to conceive how it was performed, but there are even, square
sinkings, in one end of several, which were probably made in order to
receive cubes to assist in fixing them together. My guide assured me
that they had been cut in order to steady the stone on the head of the
giant who carried it. In some of the smaller pieces there are lewis
holes.

On the 1st of September I left Castel Vetrano, and proceeded over naked
hills to Calatafimi. We here again cross beds of selenite, and of a
white, argillaceous rock, which forms rounded eminences, and afterwards,
hills of a porous carbonate of lime. These are more broken and varied
than the former, and many of the mountains at a distance are exceedingly
abrupt in their forms. At Salemi the tops are of conglomerate, which
seems to lie on the calcareous beds. The next morning a ride of about
four miles brought me from Calatafimi to Segesta, where there is a
temple remarkable for having all the columns of the external peristyle
still erect, while the cell has disappeared. There are, however, some
traces of foundations, but the soil is entirely rock, and these were
perhaps only erected to make good deficiencies in the level, without
determining the position of the walls. The architecture has neither
great beauty, nor decided singularity, when compared with other Sicilian
buildings, but it is unfinished, and this, though a source of
imperfection, generally exhibits some circumstances in the mode of
proceeding which render the ruin more interesting. These columns are not
fluted, and whether the artist proposed that they should be so may be
doubted, though it was probably intended to rework the whole surface. On
the steps, and in some blocks of the frieze, the projections left for
raising them into their places are still seen. The progress was curious,
for while in the steps, the arrisses are formed correctly as guides for
finishing the work, and the general face is left rough; in the abaci of
the capitals, the face was worked and the angles left, in order that
they might not be injured in the placing; and a similar method was
adopted in the architraves. The situation of this edifice is singular,
as there is neither sea-port nor productive plain in its immediate
neighbourhood. Various ruins of buildings belonging to the ancient city
may be observed on a hill just by the temple. The principal of these is
the Theatre. The building is of a gray limestone, containing very
compressed nodules of flint; the whole cavea remains, reclining against
the slope of the hill, but the natural curve being insufficient, it has
been made out by art. There is a doorway in each flank wall, with an
opening to a descending passage under the sedile. This doorway is only 2
feet 2 inches wide, and the head is semicircular. This part is not
however constructed of wedges, but cut out of a single stone.

After a stay of six hours at Segesta, I resumed my route to Alcamo,
which is seated on an elevated plain, intersected by winding valleys,
and sheltered by surrounding mountains, but open to the sea. It is
fertile and well cultivated. Parthenico, a village at the extremity of
this plain, is a most delightful spot. The mountains above it are
covered with wood, and a magnificent crag rising above the houses is
beautifully fringed with trees. Hence we command the whole plain of
Alcamo, containing a mixture of vineyards, olive-grounds, and orchards;
and beyond these is the noble bay, with its steep and craggy shores.
From Parthenico we ascend the mountains, which after a little time
resume their accustomed nakedness, but the road is really a magnificent
work, winding along the side of a deep and narrow valley. It rises to a
considerable elevation, perhaps 2,000 feet. There were vineyards at the
highest parts, but only in warm and sheltered situations. From the
summit, one long descent conducted us through Monreale to Palermo, where
on my return, I was informed that the packet would not sail for ten
days, and that a quarantine had just been established at Naples for all
vessels from Palermo, on account of reports of a plague at Tunis, and an
infectious fever at Malta; intelligence which, to say the truth, sent me
to bed in the dismals, for I am getting very anxious to finish my
observations at Naples and Rome, and to return to England and to you.

I have told you nothing about Monreale, which nevertheless deserves
notice, both for its situation, and the magnificent Norman Cathedral it
contains, rich with marble columns, and the walls covered with ornaments
and historical compositions in mosaic, the ground of which is
principally gold. It was erected by William the Second, who reigned from
1166 to 1189. The arches are all pointed, but many of the ornaments are
like those of our Anglo-Norman period, only instead of being carved,
they are for the most part executed in inlaid marbles. Other ornaments
are evidently copied from the Roman, and are by no means ill executed.
These also are principally in mosaic, or inlaid work, but there is also
a portion of very good carving. The western doorway is particularly rich
and handsome. The successive projection of the parts is very small, and
this character I have already noticed as prevailing also in the
Saracenic buildings in Sicily. About Monreale the aloe is very abundant,
and I once counted ninety-eight flowering stems in one view. It is
employed as a fence, but it is not a good one, for though excellent for
one or two years before flowering, yet as the old plant dies immediately
afterwards, two or three years elapse before the offsets are
sufficiently advanced to supply its place effectually. I sometimes also
see the cactus employed as a fence, but after some time the lower part
loses its prickles, and men and animals may creep through.

I went to the play the day after my return from Segesta, and saw (will
you believe it?[39]) the whole story of Orlando Furioso cut down into a
farce! All those episodes were omitted in which neither Orlando nor
Angelica had any share, but everything relating to them was carefully
preserved, not excepting Astolpho’s smelling bottle with Orlando’s wits,
though Astolpho makes his appearance on the stage merely on this
occasion. A character called Lappanio is added, as a servant to Orlando,
and this character, or rather this actor, in his native character of a
Palermitan buffoon, is pushed into every transaction. As a buffoon he is
excellent: he has a great deal of humour, and never betrays the least
consciousness of the bursts of laughter which he excites; but as he
speaks Sicilian I could not always understand him.

[Illustration:

J. Hawksworth, Sculp.

DOORWAY OF THE CATHEDRAL AT MONREALE

_London Published by J & A. Arch Cornhill March 1^{st}. 1828_ ]

Having been able on the 10th to ascertain that the packet would not
depart before the 14th, I determined to employ the interval in seeing
the cathedral of Cefalù, built by Roger, the first Norman king of
Sicily, in 1146, in consequence of a vow, when he was in danger of
shipwreck.

The chief roads, for the distance of from twenty to thirty miles from
Palermo, are carriageable, a circumstance which is spoken of with great
admiration in Sicily; and a sort of stage goes every day to Termini,
which is twenty-three English miles from Palermo. The journey was
performed without changing horses in about three hours and a half. We
set out a little before four. The road is very pleasant, passing mostly
along the shore, except where it crosses the isthmus on which Bagaria is
seated. It is in excellent order, and must have been made at
considerable expense, for in one place the rock is cut down to the depth
of thirty or forty feet to admit it.

I found that two of my companions in this stage were going to Cefalù as
well as myself, and I put myself under their guidance. They would not
proceed at night, because we had to pass over a well watered plain,
producing abundance of rice, but infamous for _mal aria_. I was
therefore conducted to a little inn (perhaps there was no better in the
place), and we engaged horses at eleven _tarì_ each to take us to our
destination (about twenty-two miles), fixing our time of departure at
half-past two in the morning. It was not very punctually adhered to, but
we set off at half-past three, which I thought quite early enough, for
it was still dark, and reached Cefalù in five hours and a half. The road
still follows the shore, but during the latter part of the way, it
passes through a delightful country, among vineyards and olive-grounds,
with the sea glittering through every opening, and the fine promontories
which bound the gulf of Termini occasionally showing themselves. Fine,
woody mountains rise gradually from the shore, becoming more abrupt in
their upper parts, and presenting here and there a magnificent cliff:
behind these, but not in view from Cefalù itself, are the mountains of
the Madonnia, a vast mass, which is said to consist of limestone.

The zigzag mouldings, cut billets, and deficiency of mosaics in the
essential parts of the architecture, give to the Cathedral more
appearance of the Norman style, than is exhibited in that of Palermo.
Some of the ornamental arches are acutely pointed, while on the other
hand, the principal doorway has a decidedly horse-shoe arch without a
point.

Near the cathedral is a building called the House of Roger, which though
nearly similar in style, is perhaps somewhat later in date. In the
windows three small arches are included in one larger, and all are
pointed, and spring on the same line, like those of the upper story of
the aisles at Nôtre Dame at Paris.

The old city of Cefalù was upon the hill before Roger founded his
cathedral near the shore, but this seems to have drawn down the town
into its own neighbourhood. My landlord gave me a sketch of the history
of the place. First were the worshippers of idols. Then the Catholics.
Then, long before the Saracens, came Diana, whose house may still be
seen at the top of the hill. I thought at first this had been the
goddess Diana, but I found afterwards that she went to France and
married the king’s son. I could not learn who came between her and the
Saracens. The latter were driven out by Roger. This house of Diana, at
least I believe the fragment which I visited to be what the landlord
intended, though my guide said it was the old cathedral, is a very
curious structure. It is of Cyclopean masonry, with two rooms and a
passage between them: it exhibits three doorways, and appears to have
been a dwellinghouse, and if so, is probably quite unique. We have
city-walls and terrace-walls of this construction, and a temple at
Rhamnus, but no other buildings that I know of anywhere else.

For a Sicilian city of second rate, my accommodations at Cefalù were
very good. I could have stayed there two or three days with pleasure,
but I was unwilling to risk the loss of the packet. On the 12th
therefore, I retraced my way to Termini, where I had more daylight than
on the former occasion. The country here also is very beautiful, but the
mountains are not so woody as at Cefalù. The baths which have given a
name to the place, seem to rise in a breccia containing rounded pebbles
of grit and limestone. They are salt, and merely tepid, as the hand may
be held in them without inconvenience. The base of the rock on which the
castle stands is of a gray limestone, with nodules of a yellowish brown
colour, and veins of white; it is topped with a coarse grit in thin
strata. Beyond Termini I noticed a white, argillaceous rock, and I was
told that gypsum is dug about half-way between Termini and Cefalù;
nearer the latter city the soil is of grit, but the hills at that place
consist of a fœtid limestone abounding in shells. It will take a polish,
and is used as marble.

[Illustration:

J. Hawksworth Sculp.

CYCLOPÆAN WALL AT CEPHALÙ.

_London. Published by J & A. Arch. Cornhill. March 1^{st} 1828._ ]

The next morning I resumed my post in the diligence from Termini to
Palermo. One of the company was a young citizen of Palermo, who
complained frequently that he had not sufficient respect paid to him on
that account. “One would think all here were cavaliers, a Palermitan is
not worth attention.” He did not seem to obtain his object by these
complaints, but they were made without ill-humour, and nobody denied his
claims or laughed at them. The Sicilians are a vain people. They are
frequently telling you how much the Sicilians have done, even if they
are obliged to go back to Archimedes to find it out, and to remind you
that the Syracusans defeated the forces which the Athenians sent against
them; forgetting that it could be no great praise for a city which,
according to their own account, contained two millions of people, to
defeat the forces of one of eighty thousand. They also frequently refer
to the Sicilian vespers; an event of which I trust we should be far from
proud in England.

The passage in the packet from Palermo to Naples cost nine ounces, an
ounce being two Sicilian dollars and a half; and for this the passenger
is _spesato_, _i. e._ provided with as much food as he pleases, and each
has a little room to himself which is numbered, and on taking his place
he may secure any unoccupied number he pleases. We were ordered on board
at half-past five on the 16th, and as I did not learn this till near
five, on returning from a walk, my things were packed up in a great
hurry. I soon found, however, that there was no reason to be uneasy, and
went to the play to see Lappanio once more. A little after midnight the
passengers went on board, and at about three o’clock on the morning of
the 17th we left the harbour. The packet would have entered the bay of
Naples on the 18th, if the captain had not made a mistake of ten miles
in his position, which threw us to the south, while a strong wind from
the north-west prevented us from recovering the consequence of the
error, and it was not till about noon on the 20th, that we entered the
port. The quarantine regulations had been repealed, a few petty fees
carried us through the custom-house, and I resumed possession of my old
quarters at the Locanda della Speranzella.



                              LETTER LVI.

                                POMPEI.


                                           _Naples, 9th November, 1818._

I HAVE been so long accustomed to watch for opportunities of sending
letters, and to feel disappointed on missing any, that I do not know how
to reconcile myself to the power of sending them twice a week, when I
have neither time nor matter for such frequent correspondence; but my
feelings are altogether different from what they were when I was here a
year ago. The novelties of my journey are over, and what remains for me
to do, is merely to revisit cities I have already seen, or others very
similar to them, and inhabited by people whose manners and language are
grown familiar to me. Returning to Naples seemed in some degree like
coming home; the shops, the streets, the buildings, and many faces I
recollected at once, and found that many persons recollected me. I
received at my inn the welcome of an old acquaintance.

The people here, both men and women, look uncommonly handsome, which
perhaps will make you think poorly of the Greeks and Sicilians. The bay
has lost nothing in its impression of beauty from the scenes I have
since contemplated; only the mountains appear less than my memory had
represented them. The city is decidedly finer than Palermo, though while
in that city, I was inclined to dispute its pre-eminence.

I staid a few days at Pompei, or rather at Torre dell’ Annunziata, in
the beginning of October, and returned to it again at the middle of the
month; but thinking I might as well save the time spent in walking
backwards and forwards between these two places, I removed after a few
days to a wine-house, which is close by the excavations. I could procure
there neither coffee nor milk, but lived on meat, maccaroni, and
love-apples. At first there was no cause for complaint, but after some
days the landlord’s efforts began to relax, of which I complained on
leaving him. He seemed conscious that he was in fault, and promised that
if I would come again, he would treat me from beginning to end to my
heart’s content. My chamber was indeed a sort of store-room, but if the
apartment was not splendid, I had at least a clean pair of sheets. One
large window opened down to the floor, and on to the terraced roof of
the lower part of the house, which was easily accessible by means of the
rubbish accumulated from the excavations behind; nearly opposite to
this, but high up in the room, there was another small window, which I
usually left open, while I shut the larger one. My landlord one morning
observing this arrangement, cautioned me very gravely against it,
recommending me either to shut both windows, or to leave both open; for
said he, if the air come in on one side, and find a free passage, it
will go out without doing any harm; but if it is confined, you will
certainly suffer from it. I shall quote this _dictum_ in England when I
hear about draughts.

In the beginning of November I returned again to Pompei, and now that I
fancy myself pretty well acquainted with what is to be seen there, I
shall proceed to give you some account of this most interesting place,
which I have hitherto postponed, with the intention of combining all I
had to say on the subject, in one general view.

The first object at Pompei on the south side of the city, is a large
square court, surrounded with columns, usually called the Soldiers’
Quarters. Parts of almost all the columns are standing, and many remain
of the full height, and with their capitals, but no part of the original
construction above the capitals now exists; however, when first dug out,
the decayed woodwork still retained its forms, and one angle has been
restored precisely on the ancient model; at least such is the
information given to us on the spot, and it is this restoration I am
about to describe to you. The architrave consists of a piece of timber,
slight for its position, and shewing distinctly the origin of the small
and insufficient architrave found in the examples of the Roman Doric,
and considered afterwards as constituting a part of the character of
that order. Round the court are a number of little chambers, and in some
places the remains of staircases. There is a projecting gallery under
the portico, which communicates with the chambers of the upper story.
This gallery was defended by a railing with intersecting braces, the top
of which is rather lower than the capitals of the columns, and the
gallery is therefore partly in the roof; the tiles are of two sorts,
flat, with raised edges laid upon the rafters, and semicircular, placed
over the joints of the first. The chimneys are covered with similar
tiles, but a projection on each side, open beneath, gives an exit for
the smoke in a downward direction. We observe from the different styles
of workmanship, that the walls were built at various times, but never in
a very solid manner, and that the columns, which were originally of a
slender Greek Doric, of pleasing proportion, and well suited to the
small size, and simple character of the place, were afterwards covered
with an enormously thick coat of very indifferent stucco. On the lower
parts of all the columns this stucco was painted red, on the upper part
of four of them, two in the middle of each longer side of the court,
blue; and on the others alternately red and yellow. The whole of this
stucco and painted work must be considered as a gross deformity, and I
hope you do not suppose that what I have said on former occasions in
favour of rich detail, and of colouring, was intended to include every
multiplication of small parts, or every mode of diversifying colour. In
its original state, as a court surrounded by seventy-four stone columns
of a sober gray colour, it must have had a pleasing and respectable, if
not a magnificent appearance. Columns alone are sufficient to produce
that effect, for which I want a word, and which I find it difficult to
explain to my own satisfaction, but which in the disposition of the
principal parts, corresponds with the _richness_ produced by the smaller
elements of sculpture, moulding, and carving. A modern Italian church
with its broken entablatures, multiplied pilasters, and corners of
pilasters, festoons, niches, and broken pediments over them, abounds
more in detail than a Greek temple. Yet at a little distance the former
looks poor, because it wants this _richness_ in the distribution of the
larger parts.

On one side of the court is a recess, ornamented with Ionic columns.
This mixture of the orders seems to have been common in ancient times,
and is not objectionable in a circumstance like this, where the more
ornamented work belongs to a smaller and more highly finished building
within the larger. Where the second order forms the internal part of the
same building, as in the Greek propylæa, it is more doubtful; and must
at once be reprobated in the temple of Apollo at Bassæ, near Phygaleia,
if it be true that one Corinthian column existed in the internal, Ionic
peristyle of a temple externally Doric.

We pass from this court to another, where a few brick columns
irregularly placed afforded a sheltered communication to the two
theatres; and thence turn to the right into the small, or covered
theatre. The scene is here a plain wall, and is said to be of modern
erection. The seats are of lava, moulded at the edge, except the lower
ones for the senators, &c. who are supposed to have had the convenience
of cushions, and perhaps of a sort of stool or chair. A portion remains
of the rich marble pavement of the orchestra. Over the side entrances
are spaces supposed to have been occupied, each by a sort of box for
some distinguished persons, but the position of the staircases seems to
announce an intimate connexion with the actors. Like most other
buildings at Pompei, this edifice exhibits traces of the earthquake
which preceded by sixteen years, the fatal eruption, and of consequent
restorations.

The Large Theatre has been lined with marble; and the Scene is
ornamented with niches and advancing pedestals, some of which apparently
supported columns and statues. The arrangement is very much like that at
Taormina, and with the assistance of these, and of the one at
Herculaneum, we may form some idea of the architectural arrangement and
decoration of the ancient stage. The style was not very pure, but
nevertheless may have possessed its share of beauty, considered merely
as ornament. Perhaps the mode here adopted, may have given birth to the
lighter and more fantastic architecture, so abundantly painted in the
baths and chambers of the ancients.

In this theatre we find a recess in the lower part of the sedile, and
marks in the stone, apparently of the means of affixing a permanent
chair. The recess is opposite the middle of the scene, but the holes for
the chair are not in the centre of the recess; but would leave room for
another moveable chair by its side. In front of the chairs there is an
inscription to Marcus Holconius Rufus, _Duumvir_. Some of the seats are
numbered, by which we learn that 15¼ inches were allowed for each
spectator.

From the upper part of the great theatre we pass into another large
court, surrounded with columns of the Doric order; they are of stone,
covered with a thin, fine, hard coat of stucco, probably coeval with the
building. This court is much larger than that of the Soldiers’ Quarters,
but from its irregularity, and much more imperfect condition, is less
interesting. We enjoy from it however, and from the upper part of the
theatre, a most beautiful view of part of the bay of Naples, the
mountain range behind Castellammare and Sorrento, and the island of
Capri. Within the court are the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, hardly
elevated above the soil. It is called also the Great Temple, a name
which seemed ridiculous enough to me, just come from Sicily, where one
column of the temple of Jupiter at Agrigentum contains as much solid
material, as the whole of such an edifice as this when perfect. Some
persons have doubted whether it was a temple at all, since from a
comparison of the different dimensions, it appears probable that there
were seven columns in front,[40] and eleven on the sides, including
those of the angles, but the unequal number in front is not decisive
against its religious character, though it probably in that case
announces a very high antiquity; and this idea is favoured by other
circumstances. The large and heavily projecting capital is exceedingly
weather-worn, and the manner in which the fragments were found,
indicates that it lay as a ruin even before the earthquake. There are
some little buildings just in front of it, which form a puzzle to the
antiquaries, but I shall content myself with endeavouring to explain
what I think I do understand, and not lose myself in unsatisfactory
discussions on objects which I do not. There is a semicircular bench
near the temple, suited alike for prospect or conversation. This court
communicates with the street by means of a graceful Ionic portico of the
same taste as that in the Soldiers’ Quarters; but as this is a more
perfect example, I shall endeavour to give you some idea of it. Two
pilasters, each with a three quarter column joined to it, and six
insulated columns form the front of a recess; the lower diameter of the
column appears to have been 2 feet, the upper is 20¼ inches, the flutes
finishing square, one inch and one third under the necking. The capitals
have four similar faces, the volutes being formed something in the
manner of the external one of the angular capital of a Greek Ionic. In
that, however, if we take our example from the temple of Minerva Polias
at Athens (see Stuart), the lower rim of the volute on each face is
curved on the plan so as to keep it perpendicularly, or nearly
perpendicularly, under the upper rim, and the face of the volute
consequently upright. In these, the curve of the volute begins much
earlier, leaving but a small flat surface above the ovolo, and the lower
part of the rim is returned parallel, or very nearly parallel to the
diagonal of the abacus, which, giving to the volute the appearance of
looking downwards, produces a very marked character. The eggs are very
small, not exceeding one third of the whole height of the convex
moulding, or ovolo, which they adorn, or rather they are not eggs, but a
berry, of which half only is shewn, laid on a double leaf. The
entablature used both for this order and the ancient Corinthian of
Italy, has the dentils very narrow and close together, more like the
ends of boards placed vertically, than of joists or rafters. In this
instance they are twice as numerous as the beads of the moulding
immediately above them. The Pompeians were evidently fond of strongly
marked lines in their mouldings. To produce that effect they introduced
very deep sinkings in various parts, both in the Doric and Ionic orders.

Behind the theatre is an oblong court called the Schools, surrounded by
a neat Doric colonnade. The name has been given it on account of two
pedestals, one about 8 inches higher than the other, and a flight of
stone steps connected with them which rises above the highest. It may
have been of the nature of an auction room, but nothing that I know of
has been invented to account for the two pedestals thus placed, and for
the steps rising above both. Adjoining to this court is the Temple of
Isis, which was never perhaps very beautiful, but it is now difficult to
trace the original design under the incumbering load of more recent
stucco. An inscription assures us that this edifice was re-built in
consequence of an earthquake, and if, as seems probable, we may
understand this of the earthquake of the year 63, it will fix the date
of this bad stucco work. The columns of the cell are older, and of
stone, but not in their original positions; those of the court, brick;
all appear to have been stuccoed at the same time. This temple can
hardly be said to offer simplicity of design; variety of parts it
certainly has, and abundance of details; it finds many admirers, and in
its present state of ruin offers some striking effects, and probably did
so when perfect. It was a picturesque, rather than a beautiful object,
and the smallness of the court is an advantage to it.

Very near to the temple of Isis is a small square cell attributed to
Æsculapius, in which there are remains of a handsome pilaster capital,
resembling in style those of Tivoli, but of superior execution. A flight
of steps occurs at a little distance from the cell, leaving space for a
small tetrastyle portico. The god was probably out of fashion, for there
are no marks of restorations. At the foot of the steps is a tomb or
altar, ornamented with Doric triglyphs, and having much of the character
of the tomb of Scipio, of which I dare say you have seen engravings in
abundance. Next to this temple is a house belonging to a sculptor, known
by the tools found there, and by the unfinished works.

From this part of Pompei (all the objects I have hitherto mentioned
lying close together) are two streets which are now cleared out, leading
to the forum. In the way we meet only with private houses, of which by
and by I shall give you a general idea.

In spite of bad architecture, small parts, and many encumbering
pedestals placed for ornament, or to receive the statues of the gods and
benefactors of the city, the Forum certainly was magnificent. What then
may we imagine those of Rome to have been, where the size of the parts,
and of the whole, the materials and the architecture, were so much
superior. Magnificence in Italy is a very different thing from what it
is north of the Alps, but that of the Romans appears as much to have
surpassed modern Italy, as this latter surpasses that of the northern
nations. This Forum was an oblong above 500 feet in length, and about
140 in width. At the south end is a double range of columns. A single
row, but apparently supporting another above it, extended all along the
west side. On the east side there seems not to have been a continued
range, but a succession of detached porticos belonging to the different
public buildings; or if the range of columns was continued, it was
probably without a roof, since the space between it and the walls is
always great, though very unequal. Some remains of cornice exist,
complete on both faces, and there are plug-holes on the top of this
cornice, which render it probable that the whole was crowned by a range
of statues, or other ornaments. On the north, between two decorative
arches, are the remains of the temple of Jupiter. Here is a magnificent,
though somewhat irregular avenue, leading to a splendid object, and
though encumbered by too many pedestals and statues, yet these being
fine objects in themselves, were probably not very injurious to the
expression of magnificence. Their very number alone would produce a
striking effect, heightened rather than diminished by the irregular
manner in which they are placed, because this apparent confusion, like
that of the stars, would make the number appear greater. The surrounding
buildings were worthy of the situation they occupied. Near the southern
end we see very evidently the progress of restorations. The older
columns were a well-wrought Doric, of a dark coloured, volcanic stone,
much resembling peperino, the lower part of the shaft being cut into a
prism of twenty faces, while the upper part had as many flutes; the
capital was handsome, and the entablature by no means inelegant. The
later columns are of coarse limestone or travertine, clumsy in design
throughout the whole order, and very irregularly and unskilfully
executed. There are remains scattered about of an Ionic order, which
seems to have surmounted the Doric. On the south side of the forum there
are three large halls, which according to some persons were temples,
while others suppose them to have been courts of justice. They must have
been in great measure built or rebuilt after the earthquake, as most of
the brickwork still looks fresh and new, and they have never been
completed.

The first building on the western side is called the Basilica. It
consisted of a magnificent court surrounded by colonnades, the columns
of which were of considerable size. At the upper end are the remains of
the ornamented tribune, or seat of justice, adorned with smaller
columns, and faced and cased with marble. Some doubts arise as to the
disposition of some of the parts, but enough remains to furnish a very
interesting comment on what the ancients have left us respecting their
basilicas. The open court is about 37 feet wide and 141 feet long. The
columns surrounding it are twenty-eight in number; and of these, the
bases and lower parts of the shaft, curiously formed of bricks made for
the purpose, are still to be seen, together with some traces of the
stucco with which they have been covered. This stucco appears to have
been in great measure knocked off, probably in order to prepare for the
restoration of the brickwork after the earthquake. These columns are 3
feet 5½ inches in diameter measured in the brickwork on the angle of the
flutes, and could not have been less than 3 feet 7 inches in the stucco.
Corresponding in position with these columns, is a series of half
columns, against the walls of the building, but if measured likewise in
the brickwork, their diameter is only 2 feet 8¼ inches; too small
apparently to be carried up to the same height as the entire columns,
and too large to admit a gallery above them within the principal order.
A considerable number of capitals were found within the circuit of the
building, but it does not appear that any of them can be attributed with
certainty to either of these orders. They were of two sorts; the one an
Ionic, resembling that of the portico before mentioned, but with the
addition of a bold flower springing upwards and inwards from the base of
the volute. The diameter of the capitals of this nature, below the
necking, varies from 2 feet 5 inches to 2 feet 1 inch. It may be
considered quite as a new style (to us) of the Ionic order. The other is
Corinthian, in the style of Tivoli, which was without doubt that of
Italy, before the general employment of Greek artists and Greek taste.
The Corinthian column is 1 foot 6½ inches in diameter under the necking,
and fluted; whereas the shaft of the Ionic column appears to have been
quite plain. No entablature is found which can probably be attributed to
either of these orders, but we may conclude from other examples, as well
as from the authority of Vitruvius, that the dentilled cornice without
the modillions was used in both. The dentils here, as already observed,
bore a peculiar character. Both these capitals have been coated with a
fine stucco, rarely exceeding half an inch in thickness.

Besides these four kinds of columns, we have the remains of another set,
probably Corinthian, which adorned the tribunal; these are 1 foot 9
inches in the bottom diameter, and consequently not unsuitable for the
Corinthian capitals above described; but only six such entire capitals
would have been required, and above twenty exist of that size and
character; and besides we may observe stones which seem to form part of
the shaft under these capitals, 21½ inches in diameter, or rather more
than that of the remaining bases. Some of these capitals are attached to
square blocks of stone, but these differ from the others by a row of low
water-leaves, immediately under the volutes and caulicolæ.

The Basilica was closed in front by portcullises, the grooves for which
remain. It is remarkable that in this part we see the stucco of two
different operations. Each is in two coats. The earliest is very good
and firm, the two coats not occupying half an inch; but it has evidently
in most places been cut away to make room for the second, of which very
little remains, and that little is much inferior to the older work. The
two coats occupied about one inch.

Next to the basilica is the Temple of Venus, surrounded with a
colonnaded court, and standing itself on a lofty basement. This court is
very curious, as we find in it fragments of columns of the Ionic order
about 2 feet in diameter, resembling those of the basilica, but without
a central flower in the capital, and of a Doric entablature. The
capitals have been defaced in order to receive a poorly designed
Corinthian foliage of stucco, and the old lines and decorations of the
entablature were entirely hid by a plaster coating, full of ornaments,
painted in all the colours of the rainbow. I suspect that this
entablature in its original form belonged to some other building.
Perhaps it made part of that of the forum previous to the earthquake.
Before every other column there appear to have been a pedestal and a
statue. Nine columns occupy the entrance side, and the door was not in
the centre; but the Pompeians do not seem to have been in any respect
remarkable for the accuracy of their workmanship. The stucco walls of
this court have been elegantly painted. In one part this stucco is laid
on tiles, which by means of little feet are kept hollow from the walls.
An aqueduct at the back, probably rendered such a precaution necessary.
The temple seems to have been hexastyle and peripteral, though not only
the columns, but the external stones of the basement on which they
stood, have been displaced, so that it appears at first sight as if
there could have been no room for them. Some fragments remain below,
which probably formed parts of the shafts. Both the cell and the portico
were ornamented with mosaic pavements.

Returning to the forum, we find beyond this temple, a range of piers and
arches, built also after the earthquake, and opening into a large hall
or court, which exhibits no appearance of decoration.

On the east side of the forum, beginning again from the south end, we
have first a double portico, in front of a large decorated enclosure,
then a large building, which has been very richly ornamented. A range of
columns separated it from the forum, and the remains of a pedestal in
front of each column gives reason to suppose that there were an equal
number of statues. Behind is a wall ornamented with arches and niches,
which probably also contained statues. The whole of this work was faced
with marble, and the wide space between the wall and the columns
exhibits remains of a marble paving. Within, was a large court,
surrounded by columns, with a continued gallery on three sides, and
three niches at the end. A statue was found here, but the place appeared
to have been previously despoiled. This may have proceeded from the
researches of the inhabitants themselves, who probably returned after
the danger was over to seek for their property; or it may have been done
at a recent period; for many marbles have at intervals been dug up at
Pompei, but the different claims of the finder, the landlord, and the
government, occasioned the concealment of the place of discovery. It was
known however, that numerous fragments had been found here; and
acknowledged that some ancient city had probably occupied the site,
though for a long time the learned were perfectly agreed that it was not
Pompei. An inscription collected from the remaining portions of the
epistylium of the columns towards the forum, which is also repeated at a
smaller entrance from the _Via de’ mercanti_, informs us that this
chalcidicum and cryptoporticus, were built and dedicated by a certain
Eumachia. Here would seem to be the means of explaining two rather
obscure terms of architecture, but nothing has been made of them.

Continuing our progress along the east side of the forum, we arrive at
another enclosure surrounded with pilasters and niches, and a little
temple or sanctuary in the middle of the side opposite to the entrance.
It appears unfinished, and it is very probable that this and the
building just mentioned were ruined by the earthquake, and not restored.
There is a platform in front of the cell, the steps to which are behind
the platform, and on the flank of the cell; in front of this platform
there is a very beautiful marble pedestal, or altar. This building is
called the Temple of Mercury. The angles of the court are all oblique:
there are many little irregularities of this sort in the edifices of
Pompei.

Beyond this we come to a spacious recess, 59 feet wide, which seems to
have been open in front. It had a large niche at the bottom, a pedestal
in the middle, and a secondary recess, with an altar at each side. There
are small niches, as if for eight other altars, in this edifice, but if
all fragments of brick or rubble that carry to us the appearance of
altars, were really dedicated to the worship of their divinities, the
Pompeians must have been a very religious people. This building was
incrusted with marble, and whatever may have been its destination, it
was evidently a magnificent and highly finished structure. Further on
are some small rooms, with a marble portico in front, with the
peculiarity already noticed, of a cornice which projects, and is
complete on both sides, so as to render it doubtful if it were not a
mere screen of single columns rather than a portico.

The northern end of the forum is occupied by the Temple of Jupiter,
which is prostyle and pseudoperipteral, with six Corinthian columns in
front, above 3 feet in diameter: this is large for Pompei: those of the
portico of the forum are little more than two, and when we consider that
the temple is elevated on a high basement, and that being of the
Corinthian order, these columns were probably considerably higher in
proportion than the others, as well as more ornamented, we shall find
that the temple preserved its due superiority as the leading object in
the place. The capitals are lying on the ground, and we may observe in
them the original coat of stucco following the stone, and over that
another thicker, not precisely in the same disposition, and much
inferior both in drawing and execution. As it seems probable that these
were thrown down by the earthquake and not restored, they would indicate
an earlier date than that before obtained for this miserable stucco; and
perhaps we may attribute it to the colony introduced by Sylla. This
temple was hexastyle, prostyle, and hypæthral. The internal opening was
surrounded by Ionic columns, and there are three little cells at the
extremity, the use of which is unknown but their masonry is not bonded
with that of the building, and they may therefore have been additions.
There is a triumphal arch on each side of this temple. Both have been
ornamented with marble, and probably with statues, but one more richly
than the other. They are not in corresponding positions, the plainest
being brought forward to the front of the portico of the temple of
Jupiter, while the more ornamented is kept back, and even partly behind
it.

The streets towards the Amphitheatre are not cleared out, and this
monument stands quite detached from any other object of interest. It
resembles in essentials other amphitheatres, and seems to have been
almost without external ornament. There are some peculiarities of
construction and of access, but nothing of importance.

I shall not enter into a particular description of each private house,
but endeavour to give you a general idea of their disposition and
effect. There are of course a great many which have no architecture,
properly so called, but are merely built to occupy a little ground, and
at little expense; even these had each an internal court. In the larger
edifices, the parts towards the streets were let out for shops, except
that the owner preserved one division to give an entrance into the
principal apartment. This entrance was wide and lofty, and adorned with
pilasters; through it you pass into the atrium, which was usually an
oblong on the plan, with one or three recesses towards the end, the
whole forming, together with the entrance, a sort of Latin cross; the
middle part of the cross being open to the sky. Sometimes the projection
of roof, which covered everything but this opening, was supported by
columns, forming in that case, the Tuscan atrium of Vitruvius, and the
recesses are the exhedræ, or perhaps the alæ. Even in this part there is
considerable variety, as the design was modified to suit the
convenience, the taste, or the caprice of the proprietor. Small
apartments are disposed round the atrium, and receive their light from
it, not by means of windows, though there are also a few windows to be
found, but by the doors, which are very high, and of which the upper
part was probably left open for that purpose. In most of the houses
there was nothing more, or the back of the atrium opened merely into a
little garden; but in the larger mansions, beyond the atrium, we find
the cavædium, a court surrounded with columns, with exhedræ similar to
those of the atrium, and giving light to other apartments. In the house
of Pansa, the exhedra at the bottom of the cavædium opened into a
colonnade towards the garden. The effect, looking through two courts,
and in fact through all the principal parts of the edifice, must have
been very striking, and it is so still; but you would not like to live
in a house, even in a warm climate, where all the sitting rooms were
exposed, and no retirement or privacy to be obtained, but in a badly
lighted bed-chamber. In spite of this reflection, one cannot see this
arrangement without longing to produce something of the same effect,
consistently with our customs and our climate, but it is, I am afraid
impossible. The exhedræ, or intermediate spaces between the atrium and
cavædium, or either of these and the garden, are among the most richly
decorated parts of the house. This openness both ways would produce an
agreeable coolness in hot weather. There is always a little passage on
the side to provide against their becoming thoroughfares for the family,
and there are sometimes traces of a balustrade, and of provision for a
temporary division by a curtain, which might be occasionally drawn
either for warmth or privacy.

In the private houses as well as the public buildings, we may see
examples of the depraved taste of the period, and bad plaster preferred
to good stone-work, but in general the columns in the houses are of
brick covered with stucco, and all the ornaments are of painted stucco.
All the houses seem to have been ornamented with painting, and even the
outside of the gate of the city has been stuccoed and painted. These
painted decorations are of a light, fantastic architecture, but
frequently of graceful forms. A similar style occurs in the baths of
Titus at Rome, and the subjects have often been published. In the panels
formed by these architectural representations, we find paintings of
figures, of men and animals, of buildings, and of landscapes. The
architectural part I am little inclined precisely to imitate even in
painting, yet I think something may be extracted from it, and applied to
the decoration of rooms with great advantage; and many hints may be
gained from it. The paintings of buildings (as objects) which sometimes
occur, are done without taste, and without any just perspective; they
may give hints to the antiquary, rather than to the artist. You have
heard the paintings of the figures compared to the compositions of
Raphael or Guido. The comparison is ridiculous; they might more
reasonably be put in competition with those of Polydore Caravaggio. The
composition is very simple, but almost always good, hardly ever
comprising more than two or three figures. The details of drawing are
defective, but the form and attitude are graceful; the action lively and
spirited, the colouring at once rich and natural. In short the effect is
almost always pleasing; and without pretending to consider them as
rivalling the first-rate productions of modern art, one may safely
assert, that if we were to compare them with the decorations of the
walls of any city of modern Europe, the advantage would be greatly, very
greatly in favour of Pompei. The landscapes are much inferior to the
figures.

You know that in these houses almost every utensil of the kitchen has
been found, and of the other domestic establishments and toilet of the
ancients, even to the little vessels of rouge with which the ladies
heightened their colour. These are removed to the museum of Portici, or
most of them now to that at Naples. It was the best thing which could be
done, they would not have borne exposure to the air, and it would be too
much to expect that a whole city should be converted into a covered
museum. The same may be said of the best paintings; but enough is left
to shew how they were disposed, and a few of them have sheds erected to
protect them from the injurious effects of the atmosphere. Several
narrow and inconvenient steps are remaining in various parts, which
prove the occasional existence at least of an upper story, and some have
vaults underneath, where the inequality of the ground required it.

Just out of the best preserved gateway, on the north-west of the city,
is a long avenue of tombs. The most usual form is that of a large,
oblong pedestal, surmounted with a scroll at each end, and placed on a
high basement; but some of them are square buildings, ornamented with
columns or pilasters, the foliage of whose capitals is in the style of
those of Tivoli; and one is round. Two of the first sort remain nearly
perfect, and are really very handsome; a great many others, stripped of
their marble casings, offer to the eye mere masses of rubble-work; yet,
damaged and imperfect as they are, they produce a powerful impression;
perhaps however, rather because there is enough remaining to guide the
imagination to the rest, than from the combinations which actually
remain. In one of these tombs there was a marble door turning on pivots,
a method which seems to have been generally adopted in the doors of the
ancients: this door has been repaired. In another the cinerary urn,
lamps, &c. are left in their niches, just as they were discovered: even
these we find ornamented with stucco and painting in the same style as
the houses. Besides the tombs, there are in the same street, three
exhedræ, or semicircular benches of stone, each with a stone back; and
the bench is terminated at each end with the winged leg of a lion; a
favourite ornament at Pompei. One of these exhedræ is covered, but the
covering seems not to have made part of the original design. We find
also here a Triclinium, supposed to be for the lectisternium. It
consists of a small court, about 19 feet by 13. The couch surrounding
three sides of the table is a mass of rubble-work covered with stucco,
the surface sloping from a small, oblong table, which is placed in the
middle. Immediately in front of this table is a still smaller circular
pedestal.

Many marble fragments are scattered about this part of the excavations,
some of them are capitals, with a row of eight leaves at bottom, a
flower or head above the leaves, and a kind of winged ornament; and a
volute at the angle, formed of a sort of water-leaf, with a long curled
point. Capitals exactly similar, are not unfrequent among the Athenian
fragments, and as these at Pompei are of Pentelic marble, it is probable
that they were brought from Athens.

Behind the tombs on each side of the way, there are remains of villas,
one of which is attributed to Cicero; but these are very imperfectly
exposed. At the end of the range is one belonging to Marcus Arrius
Diomedes, which is a very interesting specimen of the domestic
architecture of the time. The entrance is at the corner of a court,
surrounded by columns, which are painted red and yellow. In one part
there is a semicircular room, with three large openings into an
unoccupied piece of ground, which one is apt to fancy, in compliance
with our own habits, to have been irregularly ornamented with shrubs and
flowers, and to have merited the name of a garden. There are two baths,
one for hot, the other for cold water, with the stoves for warming the
former, and several small rooms about them. At the back is a large
court, surrounded by an open gallery, where square pillars and flat
brick arches supply the place of columns and epistylia. This gallery is
a story below the level of the entrance floor; a terrace on that level
overlooks it, and there are vaulted rooms, which you might call cellars,
underneath the terrace, but their rich decorations shew the taste of the
owners for the coolness of these semi-subterranean apartments.

The mosaics at Pompei are of two sorts; the first has a groundwork of
stucco, with a pattern formed of little squares of white marble, or
sometimes of black, or of both, fixed into it. The footway of the
streets is generally done in this manner; the white squares are placed
diagonally in continued lines, at a considerable distance apart, and
more appearance of design is produced from this simple arrangement than
you would easily conceive; in the houses, where it is executed with more
care, the effect is very good, but that composed of black squares is
decidedly inferior to that where white alone are employed. The more
finished mosaics are composed entirely of small squares, or _tessere_,
generally black and white, but sometimes also of various colours; the
patterns are very fanciful, some of them very good, but among the good
there is nothing which has not long been in use in modern times, for one
sort of ornament or another. These mosaics do not seem very ancient in
Pompei, for wherever one finds them in use among the ancient
architecture, they uniformly bury a portion of the lower part of it.

                      ----------------------------

                                                                   1826.

SINCE my former visits I find some additions to the number of objects
which have been excavated. A new street usually known by the name of
Strada de’ Mercanti has been opened into the forum. Part of this street
was exposed in 1818, but the whole is now cleared, and the communication
with the theatres completed. Towards the forum there is a step, and just
at the foot of this step, a small cone, and about three feet above it,
some places rubbed smooth, and somewhat hollow. Sir W. Gell has
suggested that to stand upon this cone might be a mode of punishment. In
another place in the same street there are remains of iron staples in
the wall. One apparently to confine the elbow, and one to fasten a chain
round the neck of some unfortunate offender. The stone here has been
rubbed smooth and hollow by the shoulder, and in some degree also by the
head of the prisoner; and there are other places in the street which
seem to have been rubbed by the shoulder. If we suppose the ancients to
have chained to their posts, the slaves who were employed as shopmen, we
can hardly imagine that the confinement was so close as to give occasion
to these marks.

An edifice of considerable splendour has been discovered at the
north-east angle of the forum. Twelve pedestals disposed in a circle in
the midst of a large open court, are imagined to have supported as many
statues of the _Dii majores gentium_, and the building has thence
obtained the name of Pantheon. The court seems to have been surrounded
with columns, and to have had a temple-like hall at the further end, on
each side of which was a large, irregular room, and one of these has a
sort of dresser or counter, with a sloping top, along three of its
sides. On the right hand of him who entered from the forum, was a double
range of small rooms or cells, one over the other, which communicated by
means of a wooden gallery, and probably of a wooden staircase, though of
the latter no traces now remain. The walls exhibit historic paintings of
no small merit, but neither the stucco nor the painting appear to have
been completed. In the same neighbourhood, but beyond the bounds of the
forum, we find the Temple of Fortune, a simple, tetrastyle, prostyle
edifice on an elevated basement, which you ascend by a flight of steps.
Near this are the Baths; the remaining vaulting of which rises so near
the surface that we are surprised they should have remained so long
unnoticed. There are four rooms; the first we enter was the
_spoliarium_, or undressing room, and some traces were found of the pegs
fixed in the wall to receive the clothes of the bathers. From this we
may pass into the _frigidarium_, a room with a small, circular, cold
bath, or into the _tepidarium_ or _sudatorium_, in the wall of which we
find a series of small niches, divided by caryatides; an immense brazier
of bronze, stamped with a cow, in allusion to the name of the maker,
Flaminius Vacca; and two benches of the same material. Beyond this room
is the _calidarium_, containing a vessel of warm water, where the
bathers seem to have been seated, leaning their backs against the
sloping marble side. One end of this room is semicircular, and in this
part there were five windows, in each of which, and also in one in the
cold bath, were plates of very thick glass. Both the _sudatorium_ and
_calidarium_ were lined with tiles, a little detached from the walls,
which received the stucco. Another set of baths less ornamented, in an
adjoining edifice, was for the use of the plebeians, or of the women.

Another interesting object among the late excavations is the House of
the Tragic Poet: which however is more remarkable for the paintings with
which it was adorned, than for the merits of its architecture. At the
entrance is the figure of a dog in mosaic, with the inscription _Cave
Canem_. The apartments are numerous and well finished, but one little
closet with a stove, seems all that was allotted for the slaves or their
employments. Here was found a cistern, of which, if the cicerone may be
trusted, the substance has been analyzed, and found to consist of two
parts of lead to one of copper. The substance is firm, and seems little,
if at all oxidated, so that perhaps it might be worth imitating. Close
by is the house of a fuller, with many of the conveniences and utensils
of his trade; and what is curious, representations of different parts of
the process painted on the piers.



                              LETTER LVII.

                             NAPLES—PÆSTUM.


                                      _Naples, 20th November, 1818._[41]

I WENT yesterday to a private collection of paintings; and though I had
applied for permission without any sort of introduction, the proprietor
met me at the door, and attended me round the rooms; taking down many of
the pictures, some of which are very fine ones, in order to place them
in the best lights. The same gentleman possesses also some admirable
fictile vases, but he is afraid of obtaining any reputation for these,
as the government claims the right of purchasing all the finest for
itself. The tenacity with which the Tuscans still maintain their claim
to these vases, and to the style of ruins found at Pæstum, with every
sort of evidence against them, is a curious exemplification of the
character of that people. A Tuscan cannot bear to give up any thing
which appears to make for the honour of his country. The Neapolitans are
perhaps equally vain, though in a different way, and without so good a
foundation. They have indeed produced at least one good historian, but
they seem to have persuaded Eustace that their list of authors was
superior to any thing France could shew, and to have made him believe
that the lazzaroni were a race of angels descended on the earth to run
on errands, carry parcels, and do all sorts of odd jobs for the
Neapolitans. What would I think surprise you most with respect to these
lazzaroni is, that they are so much like the poorer class in other
cities. Certainly not worse clothed, though more lightly so than would
be comfortable in London; nor dirtier; and I believe better fed than in
most other places. The mildness of the climate enables them to sleep in
the open air, and you see them frequently curled up in the basket with
which they are provided to carry their loads; but it is not true of the
greater part, that they are without any fixed habitation. In most parts
of Italy the tradesmen are not accustomed to send their goods home, but
he who goes to market hires a porter and a basket, like Amina in the
Arabian nights, to carry his goods for him, and for this the lazzarone
is always at hand.

They reckon here, that at this time of year, the clouds are three days
gathering, and three or five in discharging themselves; after this there
is usually an interval of completely fine weather which is truly
delightful; and except on one or two wet evenings, I have had no wish
for a fire. Two years ago at this season in Venice, I was in the midst
of frost and snow. On the 10th I dined and slept at the Villa Galla,
which is now occupied by Sir H. L. It is a delightful place, on a hill
just out of Naples. The house stands on the top of a steep bank, which
forms the head of a deep ravine, the grounds at present are all
poplar-grove and vineyard, but with a very trifling sacrifice a most
delightful pleasure-ground might be formed. Can you fancy Hampstead
heath within view of a beautiful bay surrounded by fine mountains, and
Vesuvius included in the prospect; with all the luxuriant vegetation of
a warm climate, and all the brilliancy of an Italian sky? The most
delightful part was however, within doors, and here we planned an
expedition to Pæstum, of which I proceed to give you an account.

We set out on the 12th, passing through Portici, Torre del Greco, and
Torre dell’ Annunziata, and changed horses at Scafati; beyond this the
road assumes a new sort of beauty, passing along a winding valley
between rocks and wooded steeps, mixed with buildings and cultivation,
till we open again on the beautiful bay of Salerno. This tract occupies
the neck of the bold, mountainous promontory, which divides the two
bays, and is full of the most romantic and beautiful scenery. The bay of
Salerno is perhaps even finer than that of Naples; making up for the
want of Vesuvius by long perspectives of distant mountains, which
reminded me of the shores of Greece, and might almost vie with them,
were their names as well known. We slept at Salerno, and at four o’clock
next morning were seated in the carriage, and proceeded by a beautiful
moonlight to Eboli. The high road does not pass through the town, and
the inn is not within the walls, but the road to Pæstum turns off a
little before reaching it. A little beyond Eboli, the banks of the Sele,
or Silero, exhibit some very pleasing scenery. The road winds along the
shores of the river, under a steep and woody bank; on the opposite side
of the stream are a mixture of wood and lawn, and the towers of the
royal palace of Persano, bosomed in tufted trees; beyond are gentle
hills and lofty mountains in successive distances, the lower parts of
which are covered with wood, the upper bare and craggy.

I was agreeably surprised at Pæstum with the magnificence of the
principal Temple. I had imagined, that after Greece and Sicily, there
was nothing to be found in this style to excite much interest; but there
is no edifice in Sicily which can compare with it, as the temples there
which remain tolerably perfect are much inferior in size; and those
which would equal or surpass it in size, are too much ruined to exhibit
the effect of the architecture. This is almost entire, except the walls
of the cell, and it is perhaps an advantage that most of these are
destroyed, as it exposes the internal colonnades. In elegance, the
Athenian temples are far superior; and in the details of architecture as
originally formed, or in the perfection in which they still remain,
nothing can rival the edifices of Athens; but the colouring of the
coarse stone of which the temple at Pæstum is built, varying from rich
brown to gray, is beautiful, and harmonizes admirably with the character
of the building; the proportions, though solid, are good; the whole is
in perfect harmony; its character has been thoroughly felt and
preserved, and in the impress of magnificence, or rather perhaps of
sublimity, no building in the world is superior. It is as you know of
the Grecian Doric order, in its earliest and most solid proportions,
hexastyle, peripteral, and hypæthral, with fourteen columns on the
flanks. The cella is considerably raised, and I do not comprehend how
the ascent to it was managed. Wilkins mentions steps, but I could find
no traces of any. There is a small sinking both in the inside and
outside peristyles, which was perhaps filled with an ornamented stucco,
like those at Pompei, containing square bits of marble regularly
disposed; but I think more probably with slabs of marble, or at least of
a more compact and even stone than that of which the temple is built.
One of the young attendants at the cathedral at Salerno assured me that
the Byzantine pavements in that church came from Pæstum; and as he knew
nothing about these sinkings, the coincidence is remarkable, though we
cannot admit his fact. There is no sinking in the exposed part of the
central court, but a double one at the doorway. I must here notice, that
you generally find in the published plans of the Grecian temples, a
central doorway into the posticum, or opisthodomus, but it is doubtful
if such an opening ever existed in the original disposition of the
building. The wall of the cell is constructed in two thicknesses, like
that of the temple at Nemæa which I have before described to you. The
drops of the mutules are altogether wanting, the small round holes
remaining in which they were inserted. I conceived at the time that they
must have been either of marble or of metal, but I have been since
assured that one or two of them have been found, and that they are of
the same material as the rest of the building. The sima of the pediments
has also disappeared, and there are several little peculiarities in the
construction about which I shall not occupy your attention, and various
cuttings in the columns, which indicate their appropriation to posterior
uses. I could find no traces of stucco on the exterior columns, but
there is a good deal remaining on the walls, antæ, columns, and capitals
of the pronaos, very firm, but not very thin. On one column of the
interior, I could also distinguish it, but thicker and less hard. The
Basilica (a name which may serve for distinction,) is very near the
temple of Neptune. The stone is of a grayer colour, which Wilkins
attributes to its more recent erection. There are nine columns in front,
and consequently one in the centre, with which, a range along the middle
of the building corresponds. This seems inconvenient, but we know not
the purpose of the edifice. If there was a pediment, the central column
would have a very displeasing effect, but otherwise might pass with
little notice. The columns diminish in a line very much curved, and
having something the appearance of barrels, are consequently very ugly;
the necking is Sicilian. The mouldings and some of the capitals were
executed in a soft grit, which is much wasted by the weather. The steps
to this building are not so high as to be inaccessible, and there are
vestiges of steps opposite, ascending _from_ the building.

There is the peristyle of another temple remaining, which is usually
distinguished by the name of Ceres; but between this and the buildings
already described there are vestiges of two other considerable
structures. One is an Amphitheatre, of which nothing remains but traces
of its general form, and a winding vault. The other is called by Vasi
the Theatre, but the people here name it the Temple of Peace. The
capital of the

[Illustration: Illustration of column capital]

column resembles some I have already described at Pompei. It is
ornamented with two rows of leaves; the first of eight, the second of
four; the long points of the latter seem to have curled round to form
the volute, but these are now broken away. The shaft had flutes and
fillets, and an Attic base. The antæ were furnished with capitals of a
similar form. The frieze had triglyphs, and the metopes were ornamented
with sculpture, not of the earliest antiquity; yet it may have been
executed before the Romans had possession of Pæstum; (A. U. C. 481,) but
the rough nature of the porous limestone renders it difficult to form a
judgment.

The Temple of Ceres is of the Doric order, hexastyle, peripteral, and I
believe hypæthral. So far it resembled the great temple, but in other
respects it approached more nearly to the architecture of the basilica.
I could find no appearance of stucco on the columns. The pavement of the
peristyle is sunk, and filled in with a reddish stucco and square pieces
of white marble, like many of those at Pompei. Courses of softer stone
were prepared for the execution of the mouldings, and we trace the
remains of a carved ornament on the ogee, which crowns the architrave,
but I could not make out distinctly what it had been. Some tombs have
been constructed against the wall of the cell on one side. Parts of the
foundation of the peribolus still remain, which show its form to have
been irregular.

A few other ancient foundations exist within the present circuit of the
walls; one perhaps may be distinguished as a temple, but they are not
worth dwelling upon. The walls themselves are much more interesting. At
the northern gateway, by which we enter from Eboli, they are much broken
down, but my friend Mr. T. L. Donaldson has observed there, what escaped
my notice, a curious arrangement for the defence of the entrance. At the
western gate they are hardly marked, except by the mound of earth and
stones which shews their position. At the southern, are vestiges of a
round tower, but of smaller masonry. This gateway seems to have cut the
walls obliquely, and the arrangement appears to have been remarkable,
but I had not sufficient time to attempt making it out; and perhaps the
object would not have been attainable even with digging. Some brackish
springs rise nearly under the walls on the north-west of the city, and
at the southern gate we find a brisk and pellucid streamlet, the water
of which is also saltish, and it is said to be so at its source, some
miles distant among the mountains. There is one well in the town, the
water of which is pretty good. The most perfect part of the circuit is
that between the southern and eastern gates. The walls are there
constructed of large, square blocks, and those of the towers are perhaps
still larger. Some of the wall-stones pass behind the towers, while on
the other hand, some of the stones of the towers enter into the wall,
but the courses of stone in the walls do not generally correspond with
those in the towers. There were apparently two windows on each external
face of the tower, with round heads cut out of the stone, but these were
perhaps made afterwards, as they are larger than is suitable for such a
situation. These towers are very irregularly disposed, and a large
portion of the circuit is entirely without them. In one part we see
marks of several postern gates, apparently too close together to be of
any use; yet they evidently belong to the original work. The arch of the
eastern gateway remains entire. I thought at first that I could
pronounce it a posterior work, but my opinion was shaken by a further
examination; yet I would not venture to assert that it was coeval with
the rest, or adduce it as a proof that the use of arches was known at
the period when Pæstum was founded.

On the northern side of the city we find the remains of ancient
sepulchres. They have been mostly subterraneous, and covered with two
slabs, inclining against each other. There is one circular, and
above-ground, which has, I think, been domed.

We returned the same evening to Salerno, and the next morning climbed up
to the castle behind the town, and had some glorious views in the
ascent. I was delighted to have companions who enjoyed fine scenery, a
feeling from which the French and Italians seem almost exempt. The
Germans have it, but by no means so generally as the English, and I have
sometimes heard it pointed out as a very singular feature in the
national character.

The court of the cathedral at Salerno is surrounded by columns of
various materials, with capitals and bases of various styles, which do
not fit the columns. These support low square piers, and semicircular
arches. There are also many ancient sarcophagi, and some of the middle
ages. All this _roba antica_, according to a young attendant of the
cathedral, was brought from Pæstum, but I believe it is all of Roman
times. The inside of the church has been modernized, but it contains
sarcophagi, Byzantine pavements, and ancient pulpits or reading desks.
One of these is of immense size, and is supported on twelve columns,
which are probably ancient, though the capitals are of the middle ages.

In descending to the crypt, there is a curious ancient bas-relief, with
a boat, but it is in a very bad light. The crypt itself is large. It is
incrusted with inlaid marble like figured tapestry, and in the middle is
an altar with two faces. There are some Gothic cloisters in the church
of San Domenico, but I only saw them from the hill above.

In our way back we stopt at Nocera to see an ancient temple, or rather
baptistery. In its present form we may pronounce it not older than the
time of Constantine, but it is formed of fragments of better times. The
columns, of which there are thirty, are beautifully formed, and of the
richest marbles. The capitals have been good, but are much wasted, and
some were badly supplied when the present building was erected; the same
is true of the bases. The columns are not all precisely of the same
height, but the difference is trifling; they support a dome; and
although every thing but the columns is of the rudest workmanship, the
architect has happened to hit so good a proportion, that the appearance
is uncommonly pleasing, and vastly superior to the two buildings at
Rome, and the one at Perugia, which have the same general disposition.



                             LETTER LVIII.

               JOURNEY TO ROME, AND LAST RESIDENCE THERE.


                                               _Rome, 28th April, 1819._

If you believe a Neapolitan, in bargaining with him you have to do with
the honestest fellow in the world, though he candidly confesses his
countrymen are rather apt to be roguishly inclined. On my application to
a vetturino to take me to Rome, he demanded 13 piastres, (58_s._ 6_d._)
and told me he must be four days and a half on the road. I offered him
10; (9 is the usual sum, but I have known it done for 7½, besides the
_buona mano_) he replied, that he was not like other Italians, but
always treated with German sincerity. I then applied at the office of
the government courier, where I found that the fare to Terracina was
nine ducats. (33_s._ 9_d._) They could make no agreement beyond, but
observed that the courier himself would perhaps make such an engagement.
The courier assured me that the office place was taken; that he must
submit to great inconvenience in giving up his own place to accommodate
me; that he was totally incapable of a lie, or of taking any advantage
of travellers, and that he could do nothing for me under 22 piastres.
(4_l._ 19_s._) Terracina is more than half-way, and I therefore went
back to the office and secured the office place, which in spite of the
asseverations of my man of honour, was not taken. The courier’s vettura
will carry four persons, two of whom are sheltered above and on the
sides; the other two are entirely exposed. We set out at two o’clock on
the 27th, and I believe he felt a little ashamed in meeting me as the
only passenger. Perhaps it was in consequence of this feeling, that when
we were hardly out of Naples, he stopt at a wine-house, and repeated his
calls so frequently, as to get completely drunk. After sickness and
sleep had relieved him, a worse misfortune occurred, for, deceived I
believe by the doubtful light of the moon, the postillion drove over a
bank and overturned us. Nobody was materially hurt, but I bruised my
head, and the carriage was much broken, which contributed to the
discomfort of the rest of the journey. “_O mamma mia, mamma mia_,”
exclaimed the poor post-boy, “_Sarà la rovina di casa mia. O mamma
mia!_” He did not however confine himself to lamentations, but exerted
himself strenuously to raise the carriage, and the bodily exertion
seemed to be necessary to allay his mental feelings. We sent off a boy
who had attended us, I know not why, in one direction, and the soldier
who escorted us in another. We had struck a light, and set the vehicle
on its wheels again before any assistance arrived, but we were not able
of ourselves to replace it in the road: four soldiers at last came, and
we found ourselves once more in a condition to proceed. The post-boy
offered to the soldiers twenty-five grains, which he said was all he
had. They were refused with so good a grace, and with such expressions
of good-will, that I was vexed to find the refusal a mere trap to get
more. After all, as they had come two miles in the night; the recompense
was not at all in proportion to the trouble, or the occasion.

We arrived at Terracina about nine o’clock in the morning, and I had to
wait there for the Roman courier till four in the afternoon, which gave
me an opportunity of visiting the remains of Anxur. I had on a former
occasion walked through the present town,[42] which stands a little out
of the road, and therefore leaving it on the left, kept up the high and
rocky hill, which is considered to have been the situation of the
ancient city. There is a great extent of wall remaining, all of _opus
incertum_ and early rubble-work. The gateway by which I entered appears
to have been finished in an arch, but all the vaulting stones are gone.
The walls are flanked by semicircular towers, which seem in the lower
part to have been solid masses, at least I could discover no appearance
of an opening. There are one or two ruined tombs near the summit of the
hill, and various fragments of walls, but the largest remaining
antiquity is a fine gallery of thirteen arches, and as many rooms
opening into it, usually called the palace of Theodoric; and as it is
known that he sometimes resided here, such a destination is not
improbable; but the existing portion so strongly resembles the
substructions so frequently met with of Roman villas, that I am tempted
to attribute to it an earlier origin. There is likewise a smaller
edifice, exhibiting the same general disposition, but parts of it are
certainly of later date. On the stucco of this are traces of paintings
of the heads of saints; and it probably has been at one time part of a
monastery.

From the top of this hill there is a magnificent view. Some of the
mountains on the north-east were covered with snow. They appeared to me
less distant than the island of Ischia, and must be the Monte Agatone of
Orgiazzi’s map of Italy, lying near the lake of Celano; but it was snow
of this season, not perennial.

Returning to the inn, I at length found the Roman courier, and learnt
that the fare to Rome was ten scudi; forty-five shillings for sixty
miles seemed a very high price, and I suspected that the fare from Rome
to Terracina must be considerably less, but I had no alternative. We
arrived at Rome about four o’clock in the morning, and for some hours I
could find no shelter for my head but in a coffee-room, some of which
are open all night.

On revisiting Rome I determined to make a trial to find some letters
which I had heard of, but which never reached me. On inquiry I found,
that after three months’ probation in the office, all letters directed,
not only to Rome, but to all cities in the Roman states, are deposited
in an upper chamber. I readily got admission, and was left with one
clerk to hunt as long as I pleased. I calculated, on counting those of
one box which I looked over, and comparing it with what I saw around me,
that there could not be less than 200,000 letters in this room. Being
deposited in succession every month, a slight degree of arrangement
dependant on the date was observable, but this seemed mere accident. We
looked over about 5000, amongst which, I found two to myself; one of
May, 1817, and one of August, 1818.

My present residence at Rome is almost as unfavourable for providing
materials for letters as a residence in London would be. I am entering
into numerous little details either of construction or ornament, reading
what I can procure of Roman antiquities, sometimes drawing, sometimes
merely noting what I have observed; employments carrying little or no
interest except to an architect or antiquary; and indeed an architect at
Rome can hardly escape something of the latter character. Some things I
had seen very imperfectly on my former residence; a few others in the
neighbourhood I had not visited at all.[43] My society is almost
exclusively English, and I see but little of them. There is one
exception; I have made acquaintance with a young Italian student in
architecture, with whom I am much pleased, and who spends a great deal
of time with me. We have been to Tivoli together, but even there I do
not find any thing new which would interest you, though, if there were
the same sort of pleasure in turning to description, as there is in
revisiting these beautiful scenes, you would never be tired of it.
Sometimes I go to a play; but whether I am grown more fastidious, or
that the theatres are really not so well provided as they were in a
former year, they do not attract me much. Sometimes I attend a
preaching. The Padre Pacifico has the reputation of being the best
preacher now in Rome, and he is certainly a very eloquent man. The most
common fault of the Italian preachers is, that they strive too hard to
be pathetic; but there is of course less of this in their best
preachers, than in those of inferior merit. Followers generally
caricature their leader. We may observe too, both in the theatres and
the pulpit, that the best performers have the least of that peculiar
chant which belongs to the Italian language, and which in England I have
heard admired as one of its great excellences. On one occasion I
listened to a Capuchin preaching in the Coliseum; his subject was a
comparison between the Virgin Mary, and the river Jordan; which descends
from Lebanon, as the virgin descended from heaven; and he added a great
deal of stuff, which you would not thank me for remembering. I asked one
of the more respectable clergy why such conduct was permitted? and he
pleaded that it was necessary to please the lower classes with nonsense,
as hogs are fed with garbage. To amuse and to cheat the people has been
too often the endeavour of those who think themselves called to rule the
world; but if they vitiate the taste of the multitude by furnishing them
with unwholesome food, it is the fault of the teachers, not of the
people, if the latter lose their relish for plain and salutary truths;
and this argument seems to come with a very bad grace from the Roman
Catholic clergy. The watchfulness over the press, and the refusal of the
scriptures to the people, can only be defended on the plea of refusing
to them, not only every thing but good and wholesome food, but all such
as they can by any means misdigest, if I may coin a word, and continue
my metaphor. Particular truths may be hurtful at certain times, general
ones are good at all times; and he who imagines that the multitude is
incapable of understanding the principles which guide his own conduct,
has either mistaken his way, or is led by vanity to attribute to himself
a superiority over his fellow-creatures which he does not possess.

On another occasion I heard a priest catechizing some children in the
same place. Among other things he questioned them as to how many sorts
of sin there were, and how many sorts of repentance. The children
certainly understood neither question nor answer. All that they could
learn was, when their teacher pronounced one set of syllables, to reply
in another set furnished for them; and fortunate that it was so. What
should they learn, but that all sin is displeasing to God, and that a
deep and heartfelt sorrow, accompanied with earnest desires to do better
in future, is the only true repentance? To attempt to make them nice
casuists is certainly not the way to make them honest men.

Canova has done me the honour to consult me about a church which he is
going to build at Posanio in the Venetian states, his native place. It
is to consist of a dome 90 feet in diameter, with a portico copied from
the Parthenon. I doubt if the parts will harmonize well, but as that was
already decided, I contented myself with suggesting a few minor
alterations, which will not be adopted. I inquired of the architect how
much it would cost. He said that he could not tell how much it would
cost at Posanio, where the stone was at hand, and where the peasantry
would probably assist considerably, without compensation; but that in
Rome such a building could not be executed for less than 250,000 crowns.
It is a noble thing for such a man as Canova to lay out his money in
public edifices, and it is very pleasing to contemplate the willingness
of the peasantry to assist in a useful work, where their parts are
likely soon to be forgotten. In England it is difficult to find people
who will play the second fiddle at their own expense, since all the
honour and praise go to the leader.

We have had a scheme for dragging the Tiber, which is a most palpable
job; yet I meet persons eager about it, who are not at all likely to
have any share of the profits. I have just made a calculation, that if
the expenses amount to 33,000 crowns, which is the proposed sum; and the
value of the objects found to 72,576 crowns, which seems quite as much
as can reasonably be expected; then the Pope, who contributes nothing,
would claim to the value of 27,216; the director or superintendent would
receive for his services 12,360; and the subscribers would receive their
money back again, losing nothing but the interest for two years.

The fêtes here in honour of the emperor are very splendid, and the
illumination of St. Peter’s finer than any thing I had been able to
imagine, in spite of all the descriptions I had heard of it. All the
leading lines of the architecture were marked with lamps, which appeared
very brilliant, and from the great extent of the edifice, superior to
any thing I had before seen. Suddenly at one hour of the night, _i. e._
about an hour and a quarter after sunset, the sudden inflammation of all
the greater lamps, or _lampioni_, almost made it doubtful if the
previous illumination had existed. The operation of lighting these
_lampioni_ over the whole building did not occupy three minutes. It is
said that above six hundred men are employed for the purpose, and the
effect is quite magical. After this, came the fireworks at Castle St.
Angelo. A flight of 4,500 rockets (and very fine rockets) made a
complete canopy of fire. You may suppose that a circular building, near
200 feet in diameter, rising on a large, square basement, and standing
entirely detached, is an admirable place for such an exhibition; and
every advantage is made of the situation.

Another night we had a festival, with illuminations and fireworks at the
Capitol, at the same hour of the evening; the effect was superb. What
pleased me best was a fountain of fire, which seemed to rise with the
rushing force of a Chinese gerb from the centre of a bason, and fell
copiously over its circumference in the softer fire of the Roman candle.
Inside, the rooms were hung with white and coloured draperies,
ornamented with gold stars. The emperor may I think be satisfied with
his reception from the government, but I do not know whether he will
like that from the people, who seem to behold him at best with great
indifference. I am told they are displeased with him for having given up
the title of Roman emperor, a whimsical source of discontent. His
manners are merely negative; not haughty and distant, but at the same
time without any thing gracious or prepossessing.



                              LETTER LIX.

                        JOURNEY TO FLORENCE—PISA


                                                 _Pisa, 18th May, 1819._

THERE was so great a scarcity of _vetture_ at Rome, that I could not get
away till the 30th of April, and then it was along the road by Perugia,
which I had seen at my leisure and did not intend to revisit. I had
pleasant companions, and a civil and obliging vetturino, which makes a
great deal of difference in the comfort of an Italian journey. We slept
the first night at Cività Castellana. The second day we were detained
above an hour at Narni by one of the party, who being a canonico, and
the day a _festa_, could not eat till he had attended mass; and not
finding any priest performing, was obliged to officiate himself. From
Terni we made an excursion to visit the cascade, but it was in a soaking
rain, as was the case during the greater part of the three first days of
our journey. On the fourth it was finer; and we engaged our driver to
stop at the Madonna degli Angeli, a noble church built by Vignola, while
we walked up to Assisi, seated on a hill about two miles from the road.
It is a neat city, with very steep streets, and the inhabitants saluted
us with great civility and an appearance of kindness, unlike the sort of
half-sulkiness we meet with in those bordering on the Campagna di Roma.
Here is an ancient Corinthian temple, or at least a portico, almost
entire. The columns are on high plinths, or plain pedestals, between
which the steps are formed; the foliage of the capitals is like that of
the Greek capitals of the temple of Vesta at Rome, or of Castor and
Pollux at Cora. A thick stucco covers the flutes, and almost fills up
the scotia. It is perhaps an addition, but the stone is roughly worked,
and must have been intended for stucco.

The Cathedral has a curious Gothic front. The nave is a continued vault,
without groins, and without windows; and this comparatively dark avenue,
leading to a spacious, and well lighted centre, pleased me much. From
this I went to the Convent of St. Francis, a very extensive pile, and
finely placed. There are two churches, one over the other: in the lower
of these they were celebrating the forty hours (_i. e._ the consecrated
wafer is exposed during that time). The building, naturally gloomy, was
very much darkened for the purpose, while the high altar was brilliantly
illuminated, and here again was a very fine, picturesque effect. The
Italians frequently darken their churches, in order to enhance the
splendour of the altar, and perhaps also because they consider a degree
of gloom as favourable to religious impressions; but in general they
require that the building should be naturally light, to exhibit the
riches of the architecture, and the painting and sculpture with which it
is adorned; as well as to admit a character of cheerfulness and
splendour in their gayer festivals. The Roman Catholics press all the
lighter emotions of the heart into the service of religion, which with
us maintains a more solemn and serious character. The upper church is a
simple, Gothic hall, with some very interesting early paintings. It is
without side aisles, pretty well proportioned, although it might perhaps
have been more lofty, and much, and perhaps rather gaudily, ornamented.
Yet certainly painting and gilding, if well applied, tend to deepen the
impression, even of the most severe and solemn styles of architecture.

Below Assisi is a large church built by Vignola, and dedicated to Santa
Maria degli Angeli. The meaning of this title I cannot tell you, but it
is not uncommon in Italy. It is a fine church, but without any great
display externally. Internally, the vault of the nave is unbroken by
windows, and only receives a chastened light from those of the side
aisles. The effect is solemn and beautiful. The choir has windows in the
vault, and thus brings into comparison the two methods, certainly to the
disadvantage of the latter. In the centre is a small Gothic building,
which is an object of great veneration, as having been the residence of
St. Francis. On the outside of the church is a long cistern, with
twenty-six spouts of water continually running into it; in England we
should have been content with one or two, but the twenty-six keep the
water so much the purer, and it is one of the charms of Italian
architecture, that the imagination is not continually dragged down to
listen to the excuses of a painful economy. We passed Perugia without
stopping, and slept at a miserable inn called Casa del Piano. At Arezzo
we only got out for a few minutes to see the cathedral, and reached
Florence about half-past six in the evening of the fifth day, in a
soaking rain.

The short time I spent at Florence on this visit passed very pleasantly
among artists and botanists. I have been introduced to Benvenuti, the
best painter in Florence, and perhaps in Italy. In design and
composition he is decidedly superior to Camuccini of Rome; indeed I know
no paintings in which the story is more clearly and distinctly told than
in those of this artist. In expression and colouring, he is equal to the
Roman; in drawing, both as to truth, and beauty of form, he is inferior.
He looked at my sketches; and I am happy to find that I have enough to
tire out every body; for when the attention begins to be fatigued, it
leaves the imagination at liberty to suppose them more, and better, than
they really are. Sr. Digni di Cambray and Puccianti are architects to
the grand duke. The latter conducted me to some alterations in the Pitti
palace. He was covering rooms 25 feet wide (this is a guess) with a
simple vault of bricks laid flatwise, but in a diagonal direction, in
plaster. The bricks are 12 inches long, 6 wide, and 2 thick, so that the
latter dimension is the thickness of the vault, except occasional ribs
formed by another course of bricks, also laid flat; no centering is
used, except a cut board as a guide; and the vault thus formed, may be
walked over without danger.

I did not on my former visits say any thing to you about the Academy in
this place, and I will now endeavour to supply the deficiency. I first
visited the school of design; the drawings used as copies are far
inferior to those of Rome, both in selection and execution. The
exclusive admiration of the Tuscans for what is Tuscan, is here a great
disadvantage. The collection of casts is a very good one, but in many of
the figures, the parts have not been carefully put together; it occupies
three rooms. In architecture and ornament, the Academy of San Lucca has
the advantage; whether you consider the means of instruction, or the
progress actually made by the pupils. The library is not rich in large
folios; and what is an artist’s library without them? The gallery of
painting contains some good Peruginos, and many pictures which are
admired by the Tuscans, merely because they are Tuscan. However, if they
have little charm for the painter, they possess much interest, as
elucidations of the history of the art.

Another subject of attention which I have before neglected, is the
execution of pictures and ornaments in hard stones (_pietre dure_) such
as agates and jaspers, which are usually inlaid in some dark coloured
stone. It is a government manufacture, but I inquired what might be
estimated as the expense of a moderate sized slab of porphyry, with an
inlaid wreath and quiver, and was informed that it would be about 6000
sequins. It is a beautiful and durable manufacture, but by no means in
proportion to the expense. The performers speak with a sort of contempt
of the easily made mosaics of Rome. The museum of the grand duke
contains very considerable treasures in natural history, but is chiefly
celebrated for its anatomical wax models, particularly those relating to
childbirth; perhaps not the best subject for an exhibition so completely
public, but admirable for the truth and accuracy of imitation.

On the 11th of May I went up Monte Asenario with Dr. Carlo Passerini,
assistant professor of botany here. The distance from Florence is about
eleven miles, and nearly all of it on an ascent. It is passable for a
carriage, except about half a mile from the summit, which I should think
must be as much as 2000 feet above the Arno. The view presents a great
succession of wild, Apennine scenery, consisting of steep banks and
angular ridges, rather than of rocks and precipices, a great deal of
brushwood, but little timber. To the east, one point arose, with a few
spots of snow, which I judge to be the mountain whence the Tiber takes
its rise. To the west and north-west were several snowy summits. The
botany offered perhaps more rarities to an Italian than to an
Englishman. There were some Alpine plants, and a few others which I had
not seen before, and several English plants which my companion
considered as prizes. We stopt at a villa of the grand duke called
Pratolino. He has lately extended its bounds; and its future circuit,
for the late accessions are not yet united in a common fence, will
exceed five miles. What is now included (and the present extent is
considerable) is really in the English style; with too many serpentine
walks perhaps, a defect not uncommon in our country, but without all the
ins and outs, and crincum-crancums of what is usually called on the
continent an English garden. The mixture of fine trees and lawns, with
the views of the deep and cultivated valley below, and occasionally of
the wider vale of the Arno, form a delightful scene.

I took leave of my Florentine friends on Thursday, and on Friday the
14th of May set off for Leghorn. The road has little hill, but the
valley of the Arno, sometimes extending into a rich and extensive plain,
sometimes contracted between steep and rocky banks, half covered with
stone pines, forms a continued source of interest. To the north, at a
distance rose the Apennines, still tipped with snow in various places,
and in particular one abrupt mountain almost detached from the rest,
formed a bold and magnificent object. On all this we turned our backs in
order to reach Leghorn, and passed about sixteen miles of dead flat,
everywhere cultivated. There are pretty high hills, perhaps of an
elevation of six or seven hundred feet, beginning about two or three
miles from the city, which greatly embellish the scene. Leghorn is a
lively, bustling place, with wider streets than most of the Italian
cities, bordered, not with palaces, but with respectable looking houses;
these are usually very lofty, and the lowest, or perhaps the two lowest
stories are often appropriated to the purpose of warehouses. I have to
mount two pair of stairs to reach the lowest floor of my inn, and the
magazines below, contain, among other things, a quantity of salt fish,
whose perfume is certainly no recommendation to the apartments above.

Pisa has been a noble city, and its history is very interesting, but you
know I do not trouble you with the histories of cities, though I do
sometimes with that of particular buildings, which I am afraid you
consider much less interesting; but the shoemaker must not go beyond his
last. Ample remains still exist of its ancient magnificence, and four of
the most conspicuous and celebrated objects are found in a large
grass-grown piazza at the northern angle of the city. We here meet with
a style of architecture, which I believe is peculiar to this part of
Italy. The Cathedral is 297 feet long, 108 wide on the body of the nave,
228 on the length of the transept. The front is 127 feet high. The lower
part exhibits a range of seven arches, resting on six attached columns
and two pilasters. The middle arch is larger than the others. Over these
are nineteen smaller arches, occupying the whole extent. This brings us
up to the roof of the side aisles, and a second row of arches
corresponding with these in size, and nearly in height, is cut off on
the sides by the sloping roof, so that there are nine entire arches and
five commencements on each side: above these is a range of eight arches,
somewhat higher than either of those immediately below them, forming the
end of the clerestory, and as many more, taller in the middle and
diminishing in height towards the sides, occupy the gable or pediment:
each arch here is perfect, but it rests on a lower base, while under the
roof of the aisles the arches are cut off. The lines of the centre part
are not carried down, so as to preserve the appearance of a
self-supported mass; it is not a lofty centre with two lower wings, but
one building, finishing in a truncated pediment, surrounded by another
smaller one, of which the pediment is entire. In the four upper stories
all the arches rest on insulated columns. I am thus particular in my
description, not because I admire the arrangement, but because it
characterizes a style of architecture which prevailed in these parts in
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The architect of this church was
Busketus. I write it with the Latin termination, because our knowledge
of him proceeds from a Latin epitaph. He is preferred in this
composition to the Dulichian leader. The one by his wisdom destroyed the
walls of Troy, while the other raised those of this basilica. This
Dulichian leader must be Ulysses; and the name of the place has nothing
to do with Busketus; and yet this appears to be the only authority for
the usual opinion, that he was a Greek artist. If we could determine
whence he had copied the peculiarities of his architecture, we might
perhaps make a reasonable guess at his country; but as far as I can
find, if they did not originate in his own mind, his types have been
destroyed. The time in which he lived is not exactly fixed; some authors
asserting, on the strength of documents which they pretend to have
examined, that the church was begun in 1005, and finished in 1015; while
others, supported by an inscription on the building, which seems
decisive, assert that it was begun in 1063, and conclude from some early
Pisan writers, that it was finished in 1092. The difference is of no
great consequence. On the flank of the edifice, a range of pilasters
corresponds with the columns of the front, and like them is surmounted
with arches; but the second range of pilasters on the side, occupies the
height both of column and arch in the front, and supports a continued
architrave. The clerestory presents a range of arches on attached
columns, considerably wider apart than the upper pilasters of the side
aisles: this want of exact correspondence may not be a defect, since
there is no necessary connexion between the parts, but it disappoints
the eye. The dome has no great elevation, and is surrounded in the lower
part by a range of insulated columns supporting arches. Whether these
are part of the original design, I know not; but some ornaments with
which they are crowned, and perhaps the dome itself, I conclude to have
been restorations after a fire which took place in 1596. The whole
design of the flank has a simplicity and harmony which are very
pleasing. We enter by magnificent bronze doors, sculptured from the
designs of Giovanni Bologna _de Douay_; an addition I do not recollect
to have before met with, and which seems to trace the art from Flanders.
The subordinate artists have all names which point them out as Italians.

Internally, the building forms on the ground plan a Latin cross, with
double aisles to the nave and square part of the choir, with sixty-eight
columns supporting arches on the ground-floor, and four piers supporting
an elliptical dome. The lateral tribunes however, do not open entirely
into the nave, and consequently rather appear as two additional
edifices, than as forming what should properly be called a transept.
Above the first order there are galleries, with a pier over each column
below, and supporting an arch of the same extent, but divided into two
smaller arches by the help of a little, intermediate column. Above these
arches is a high wall, in the upper part of which are small,
semicircular headed windows. Milizia sneers at these insignificant
openings; yet they shed a pleasant, diffused light, without ever
becoming in themselves important objects. The ceiling is flat: that of
the side aisles alone is vaulted: thus you see the internal disposition
is very much like that of some of the Roman basilicas. The galleries of
the choir are rather higher than those of the nave, and the pointed arch
occurs at the extremity of the latter. The lower columns may be classed
in two sizes, those which divide the side aisles being smaller than
those of the nave, but each range has varieties. The larger are of
granite; of the smaller, some are granite, some marble, of various
sorts; two or three are fluted, the rest are plain; and these smaller
columns differ also in height, giving sufficient proof of their having
been made up of the materials of more ancient buildings. Some perhaps
were brought from the East, as the Pisans carried on at that epoch a
very extensive commerce. Some of the capitals are Composite, but more
are Corinthian; and these vary in diameter, height, character, and
proportion to the column. The apophysis is generally large, and the
bases are of meagre, and ill understood Attic, but not all precisely
alike, or bearing the same proportion to the columns. One base only is
of the form peculiar to the Corinthian order. Some of the granite
appears to be that of Sardinia, or of the isle of Elba, and columns of
this material could hardly have come from the Levant. We may observe
also pavonazzo, cippolino, and Egyptian granite. A large plinth at
bottom, and a sort of pedestal above the capital, have enabled the
architect to spring all his arches from the same height.

The Baptistery stands nearly opposite to the western front of the
cathedral. This is a large, circular building, above 160 feet in
diameter externally, and about 176 feet high. It was begun in 1152, and
finished in 1154, the architect being Dioti Salvi. The whole of what
appears to the eye up to the dome is of marble. At bottom there is a
circle of twenty three-quarter columns supporting as many arches, and in
the spaces, four richly ornamented doorways, and fifteen small windows.
Above these is a circle adorned with sixty small, detached columns,
supporting arches, every two arches being surmounted with a triangular
gable, and between every two gables is a pinnacle. Over this is another
story, with twenty small windows, each also with its gable, and a
buttress in each interval, surmounted by an open shrine or tabernacle.
Above all this is a dome, and above the dome an obtuse cone. This is its
present state, but you know no small controversy has arisen with respect
to this building, because if all these Gothic ornaments really formed
part of the original design, it proves the use of that style of
architecture as early as the middle of the twelfth century. The
controversy can only last at a distance, for every practised eye which
looks at the work with such an object, must discern that all these
pointed ornaments are certainly additions of a posterior date. The first
range of gables dividing the building into thirty parts instead of
twenty, as is the case above and below, quite destroys the symmetry and
unity of design; at the same time it is easier to pronounce what was
not, than to determine what was, the original termination of this part.
I strongly suspect that when first erected, this baptistery terminated
in a spire or cone, rising on the inner circuit of arches, which I shall
presently describe, and that the present obtuse cone rising above the
dome, formed a part of the original spire. The dome itself is quite
inessential to the rest of the building, and if taken away, all the
important parts would be complete without it; the little cupola which at
present terminates the cone, I should also pronounce to be an addition,
as it harmonizes with the rest neither in appearance nor construction.

Internally, we find a circle of eight columns and four piers, supporting
twelve arches, with a gallery above, divided in the same manner; but
instead of columns of Sardinian or Elban granite like those below, there
are only piers formed of joined pilasters; and above these two stories
of arches, rises the cone, which is exposed to view internally for its
whole height.

The Pulpit is of an octagonal form, supported on columns; and a large,
octagonal, marble inclosure is provided for baptism by immersion; in the
centre of this basin, there is now a lofty pedestal supporting a statue.
This furniture (for such it actually is) is very handsome; but the
building itself wants finish, and one cannot say that it is well
proportioned.

In the same square with the cathedral and baptistery is the Campo Santo,
built to receive a cargo of earth from the Holy Land, which might
sanctify the ground which was to contain the relicks of the illustrious
Pisans. It is an oblong, or rather rhomboidal court, very narrow in
proportion to its length, surrounded by arcades of white marble. All the
arches of this arcade except four, have been filled with a sort of
Gothic tracery, entirely detached in the construction; differing
considerably in the style of work; and to introduce which the old
mouldings and ornaments have in places evidently been cut away; yet this
like the baptistery has been made a subject of dispute. We have two
inscriptions to help us in the dates, one of them stating the completion
of the building in 1283, under the direction of Giovanni Pisano; the
other the completion of the arches, which doubtless applies to this
tracery, in 1464. This building is rendered more interesting by the
ancient paintings with which the walls are nearly covered; and also by
several sarcophagi, and other remains of antiquity, which it contains.

Just behind the cathedral is the famous Leaning Tower. It is a cylinder,
surrounded on the ground with a wall, and half columns and arches; above
by six stories of columns supporting arches, leaving an open gallery in
each story, between the columns and the wall. Three of these stories
follow the same line of inclination as that on the ground; the fourth is
a very little rectified; the fifth and sixth are themselves in one line,
but form a very sensible angle with the work below. Above this is
another story of smaller extent, which is very nearly erect. It would
have small pretensions to beauty were it altogether upright; but at
present it is quite as displeasing as it is wonderful.

Several other churches in Pisa might deserve attention from their
architecture, and the numerous columns and other remains which embellish
them; but there is nothing which strikes me as new in their disposition
and effect. The little Church of Santa Maria della Spina, close to the
river, is of somewhat later date. It was begun in 1230, but most of what
is now seen must be attributed to about 1300: it is a very rich little
morsel of Gothic architecture; and if rather heavy, when compared with
our best works, is nevertheless an elegant little building. Pisa
altogether is a magnificent city, especially in the celebrated _Via
lung’ Arno_, yet there is little that I could particularize in its
domestic architecture. There are some curious old façades, and a richly
ornamented Gothic front of brickwork in the Lung’ Arno, part of which,
now occupied by the Caffè dell’ Ussaro, is worth notice.

On Tuesday, I went with the younger Dr. Savi, son to the professor of
botany in the university, to the baths of Pisa. The rock in the
neighbourhood seems a dark gray limestone. The water as it rises has a
temperature of from 95° to 104° in the different springs; it is clear
and tasteless; several other springs rise in the neighbourhood, just
sensibly warm to the hand. The mountain behind, called the Fageta, which
we ascended in order to botanize, is pretty high, but without any bold
rocks; the soil consists of mica-slate, and clay-slate, with great
masses of a quartz breccia, perhaps belonging to the old red sandstone.
The lower slopes are covered with olives, higher up are chesnut-trees
and pines: the latter are all small, being cut periodically for small
timber, or for fuel. We failed in finding some orchidiæ which I had been
taught to expect, but in other respects were pretty successful in our
search. The water of a clear and copious spring in these hills is
conducted to Pisa. The next morning from five to ten was spent in an
excursion to the wood of Pisa; a flat tract, covered with trees and
bushes, which extends a great way along the coast, between the
cultivated land and the sea. It offers little variety or beauty, nor was
the botany much better than the scenery, but considerable tracts were
almost covered with the _Serapias cordigera_. We passed through the farm
of the grand duke, and saw some of his camels at work on the road.



                               LETTER LX.

                                SCHOOLS.


                                                                   1826.

BEFORE leaving Italy, I must give you a little account of what I have
seen here with respect to education. In Florence and Naples there are
district schools, where all poor children inhabiting within certain
limits, receive instruction gratis. From what I hear of them, I imagine
they are not very well conducted in either place, but though I have made
two or three attempts, I have not seen any of them in action, excepting
one of those at Naples, which is conducted on the system of mutual
instruction. In other cases the children had not arrived when I called,
or they were just gone, or they were gone, or going to mass, or it was
holy-day. At Rome I could hear of no gratuitous instruction in the
commencement of reading and writing, but after these first steps have
been attained, there is considerable facility there, and I believe all
over Italy, for a poor lad to improve himself further, especially in
learning Latin.

There are three Lancasterian schools at Florence. Two of them are
supported by a society; the other is at the expense of the Conte Bardi.
Of the two under the management of the society, the principal is that at
Santa Chiara. The master (Signor abate Bracciolini) is zealous and
intelligent, but he is afraid of teaching too much, or rather some of
the committee are afraid lest too much should be taught; on the plea,
that by exciting in too high a degree, the ambition of the children, or
of their parents, it may be an occasion of rendering the former unhappy.
The parents are frequently very desirous of having a son in one of the
learned professions; and the youth thus pushed forward, without the
funds which would enable him to wait patiently for the slow returns
obtained from these employments, and without that respect for his own
character, and for that of the class to which he belongs, which he might
have acquired by being brought up in a more respectable station in
society; is tempted to a line of conduct, which tends to lower both
himself and his profession in the public estimation. The argument is
specious, but I suspect it is a mere bugbear, since there are schools in
Florence of a higher sort, where any such parent may send his child
gratis. The salary of the master is only one hundred and fifty scudi per
annum. I regret that he has not seen other schools, as he is not
sufficiently aware of what boys are capable. The writing is perhaps the
best conducted part. The monitors have half an hour’s instruction after
the close of the morning school; it consists on Monday in a sort of
lecture on grammar, and as the Signor abate tells me, in morals; he
writes on a black board false sentiments and false grammar, and requires
the pupils to correct them; but on the morning in which I attended this
exercise, he only gave false spelling; and on other occasions, the
additional instruction had rather the character of a lecture, than a
lesson; giving the children nothing to do but to hear; a defect which
prevails in degree throughout the establishment. He professes to require
that the scholars should answer from reflection, and not from memory.
Yet he would be much discontented if the result of that reflection were
any thing but the echo of his own lesson, and even if it differed much
in words. No change of place is admitted at any time; the exertions were
rather languid, and a good deal of scolding was required. The master
never having seen a good school, is too easily contented, and too ready
to prompt the answers; yet he is on the whole a good master, and
desirous, from disposition as well as from principle, of the improvement
of his pupils. On Tuesday he teaches them linear drawing, _i. e._
forming by hand geometrical figures, but with no attempt at exactness;
and only one boy is to be employed at a time, while the others look on,
lest they should get on too fast. The numbers on the registers at Santa
Chiara, are about one hundred and fifty. The average number in
attendance is about one hundred and twenty. They try offences by jury,
apportioning certain punishments to certain misdemeanors; and the master
assures me that he has often admired their caution and sound judgment,
and has been surprised to see so much philosophy among a set of ragged
little boys. He amused me one day by the expression he employed to one
of the children, who was disputing some matter with the monitor,
assuring him that the monitor was a “_persona sacro-santa_,” and that
his dicta were to be implicitly obeyed. As a reward for the best boys, a
society of merit is instituted; they have the name, and a medal, which
they take away with them. The second school is in the Strada Sangallo,
and it partakes of the same merits, and the same defects. The masters in
both are too closely tied down under the superintendence of the
committee, or of the inspector appointed by it, and cannot have the
pleasure in the school, they otherwise might have. Requiring a strict
adherence to the letter of instructions is not the way to produce
excellence; nor ought we ever to forget, what is true in a great many
things besides religion, that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth
life.” There were two very good general monitors in the school at
Sangallo; and the master acknowledged it. One of them was about to be
sent to the _Scuole pie_, “_E così_,” said I to this lad, “_tu hai
imparato tutto ciò che si può imparare in questa scuola._” “_Sì
signore_,” was the reply. It is a curious fancy that you render a poor
boy insensible of the elevation which he has attained, by fixing his
attention downwards, and never suffering him to look upwards, and see
how much there is above him. The Conte Bardi has made some alterations
in the mode of instruction, and has printed two or three little school
books which are probably useful; yet I always consider, that with us,
one great advantage of employing the Bible is, that it keeps out
children’s books. The school seemed to me hardly equal to the one at
Santa Chiara, except in point of obedience to general orders, and there
it certainly has the advantage. The master told me he was there to
maintain order, and did not consider the instruction as his province.
This is a great mistake. If the master is not looked up to for his
superior knowledge, either he or the desire of improvement must suffer.
It is also a mistake, though springing from a generous motive on the
part of the count, that the boys most advanced, are sent to other places
for further improvement; both the example, and their services in
instructing others, are thus lost to the school. All these schools have
fallen off considerably in their numbers since their first
establishment: I am not satisfied why.

The preceding observations were principally made at the latter end of
the summer of 1825. After an absence of nearly a year, I revisited the
schools, and the master at Santa Chiara assured me that no jury had been
held, and no corporal punishment inflicted in the interval. I am always
rather suspicious of these disclaimers of all corporal punishment; but I
will confess that I never saw a school where there was less appearance
of anything of the sort being employed. There are similar institutions
at Siena, at Poggi Bonzi, at Leghorn, and at Pistoja. That at Siena had
obtained some reputation for teaching arithmetic, but this seemed to be
owing to the superintendence of the Cavaliere Spanocchi, rather than to
the ability of the master. The Cavaliere complained that his exertions
in favour of the school had excited jealousy. I could not but feel how
impossible it would be, that a Wilberforce or an Allen should arise
under a despotic government. It is not that the grand duke or his
leading ministers, would oppose their schemes; on the contrary, they
would probably encourage and promote them, after they had become of
sufficient importance to attract their notice; but when any
philanthropic individual first began to obtain by his exertions for the
public benefit, the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens, the
jealousy of the inferior authorities would mark him as an object for all
sorts of misrepresentation, and petty persecution.

I did not find the arithmetic very good anywhere; at Santa Chiara, there
was no boy who could with facility go through a sum of simple
multiplication by seven. At Siena, it is hardly possible that the
progress should be considerable, since the pupils only attend the school
one hour in the day. At Pistoja the master boasted much of his
contrivances for teaching numeration perfectly. I arrived rather late,
and a large proportion of the boys had departed before he gave me a
class, in order that I might try their proficiency in this respect. I
began—9909. Not one could write it. Only two wrote 900 correctly, and
these did not know where to place it, under the first number, to form a
sum in addition. They use at that school a curious method in teaching
Italian grammar. The pupils of the lowest class are to read,
distinguishing the first four parts of speech, and neglecting the rest;
the next class distinguishes two more, and the third three more. I do
not perceive the advantage of it.

Before the counter-revolution of 1821, there were several district
schools of mutual instruction at Naples. At that time they were all shut
up for ten months, and one alone has been re-opened on that system in
the city; but there is also one at the Albergo de’ poveri. At the
district school, the children were but about forty, and the master
seemed much disheartened, being thwarted in all his efforts for its
improvement. The pupils may not read even an authorised history of the
Old Testament, and are forbidden to go beyond the four first, simple
rules of arithmetic, so that to add up a sum of money would be a
trangression. Under such circumstances we cannot wonder that the school
should be languid and inefficient. Where the limits of instruction are
very much narrowed, the little within those limits is always badly
taught. The hours are from eight to half-past ten in the morning, and
when I was in Naples, there was no afternoon school.

I paid a visit also to the Albergo de’ poveri, or Reclusorio, as it is
sometimes called. It contains a deaf and dumb school, not confined to
those in the poor-house, but receiving other pupils labouring under
these deficiencies. The number is about forty. Others perhaps could, but
only one lad did actually speak to me. The instruction seems to be good,
but perhaps a little metaphysical. Thus, in order to show that _spongia_
and _gialla_ form but one idea, the pupil is directed at times to mix
the letters, writing them _s g p i o a n_, _l g l i a a_. The
Lancasterian school here is not good: the master scolds and threatens.
The monitors beat the negligent pupils with a bat, on the hand, and they
seemed to do it with thorough good will, the master paying no sort of
attention to their proceedings. The same bat is also frequently applied
to their posteriors. The number of the school is 360, but the actual
attendance falls short of 300, although all the pupils reside in the
house. It is a great disadvantage, that as soon as a boy has made some
progress, he is transferred to a superior school, of which there are
four within the house. In the second school (which, on the usual plan of
the Italian schools is in reality a single class), one lad was called
out to me, who read very well a portion of sacred history, but he did
not know to what nation Samson belonged, and it seems that they are
never questioned at all as to the meaning of what they read. One pupil,
who was I suppose, at least eighteen, understood the rule of three and
fellowship, but he was shown me as something wonderful, and was sensible
of the extraordinary proficiency he had made. Another lad of about the
same age was sent here by his father as incorrigible at home. Neither
master nor pupil seemed to think much of this, till some observations of
mine made the latter ashamed of himself. After all he was a quiet,
modest looking lad, and the accusation against him was of impertinence,
so that I cannot help suspecting his father might be as much in fault as
himself. In the third school there was a similar offender of perhaps
twenty years of age, who told me that it was only a _colpa di gioventù_,
and that he was not at all ashamed of it. Formerly there were other
schools “_fin alla filosofia_,” but the upper branches are now lopped
off. One for drawing is still retained, and there is a theatre in the
establishment.

From the Lancasterian schools, I will proceed to those of the _Frati
Cristiani_, which is, I believe, an order similar to that which has been
denominated in France _Frères Ignorantins_. I am told that there is a
very good school of this sort at Orvieto, but I did not call upon the
master at a time proper to see it in action. The school of this nature
of which I have seen the most, and the one also which appears to have
attained the highest reputation, is that at San Salvadore in Lauro, at
Rome. On my first visit, the superior received me rather kindly than
politely, and seemed pleased with the interest I took in the
establishment. There are four schools, or classes, each in a separate
room; the lowest contains about one hundred and twenty boys under one
master; they were all occupied in reading the same thing in succession,
the master frequently interrupting the regular order, in order to keep
alive the attention; just as in the class of a good Bell’s school.
Nothing but reading is here taught, and the children must at least know
their letters before they come. There are about eighty pupils in the
second school, who are learning reading, writing, and the four first
rules in arithmetic, in their simple forms. I saw only the writing,
which is good. The pupils of the third class are about eighty or ninety.
The subjects of instruction are the same, with the addition of the
compound forms of these rules. In the fourth class there are about
eighty lads of from fourteen to eighteen. Arithmetic is carried farther,
and some idea given of geometry. The writing is far better than any
thing I saw at Florence. There is also a school of architecture, or at
least a room for that purpose, but it is not in operation. In all these
schools the boys are divided into two parties in order to excite
emulation. This practice is almost universal in Italy, and emperors,
consuls, and dictators, are appointed among the leading boys, and in
this school there are also decurions, whose business it is to correct
the errors of the others. The two parties are here called Romans and
Carthaginians; and the master did me the favour to fix a day on which I
might be present at a contest between them. It was merely in reading;
indeed the practice here does not seem to be extended to other branches
of instruction. The conditions at first were easy, and gradually became
more strict, when the omission or insertion of a stop, or the repetition
of a word was fatal, the culprit being considered as a dead man. On the
whole I was much pleased, but rather surprised to see lads of eighteen
or nineteen at a school of this sort. It appears that this institution
has a high reputation for teaching writing and arithmetic; and boys
frequently come here for a year on that account, after they have
received the rest of their education elsewhere. The dictator too, I
suspect to have been one who had left the school, and that the master
engaged him to come in order to make a better exhibition.

On another occasion the master directed the repetition of certain pieces
which the pupils had learnt by rote. Those who were prepared with any
such, were requested to hold up their hands, and many were immediately
raised. The pieces were short, and after each, the number of candidates
seemed to increase. The subjects were various; history, natural history,
wonders, morals; no poetry. In general the repetition was too quick, but
in other respects very fair.

There are three Scuole Pie at Rome, _i. e._ not three separate
establishments, but three large classes, each having its own room and
its own master, but forming altogether what we should consider as one
school. It is required that every child should be able to read and write
before he comes. In the first class they are improved in reading, and
taught the first rudiments of Latin grammar. In the second, Latin
grammar to the end of the accidence. In the third, syntax, and
construing in writing, Cicero’s letters. The instruction at this
establishment used to be carried to a greater extent, but the French
appropriated the site and the means, and these have not been restored to
them, nor are, I suppose, likely to be, as the Jesuits grasp at
everything relating to education, and those who desire further
instruction are referred to the Collegio Romano, which is under the
direction of that society. The master in each school, having no other
assistance, does sometimes avail himself in a small degree of that of
the elder boys, but the separation into distinct schools renders it
impossible to make this very effective. The pupils are also sometimes
set to question one another, but these are book questions and book
answers. The whole number of pupils falls short of two hundred.

The Scuole Pie at Florence form a much more important establishment. The
number of pupils is between eight and nine hundred. There are six
schools of “lettere,” that is, of Latin and Italian grammar and
composition; one of writing; two of arithmetic; besides which there are
lectures or lessons (something between the two) on geometry, natural
philosophy, the higher branches of mathematics, and their application to
mechanics and to astronomy; and also on rhetoric and the belles lettres,
the text book for which is our Blair. One cannot see such an
establishment at a glance, nor can one very well, at least without
forming a decided intimacy with some of the professors, poke one’s nose
into every corner, and examine all the good and bad details and results
of the system. As it was, I thought while I was cross-questioning the
Padre Rettore and four professors, on various points of instruction and
discipline, what some of the _Dons_ of our own great schools would have
replied to similar interrogations. Here is sometimes a professor of
theology, but they had lost one some time ago, and had not yet supplied
his place. These professors have lodging, food, and clothing, as monks,
but they are not paid for teaching. On the contrary, Padre Georgi,
professor of natural philosophy, applied some time ago for an allowance
for the expenses of his course, and the purchase of instruments, &c.,
and an annual sum of ten pounds was assigned him, while his expenses are
forty or fifty. Inghirami, the mathematical professor, is considered as
one of the first mathematicians in Italy. I will not however, enter into
the detail, even of the comparatively small part of the establishment
which I personally examined, but give you an account, on the authority
of the Padre Rettore, of a practice in use here, which with some
modifications, seems to be very general in Italy, and at which I have
already hinted. The scholastic year begins in November; the pupils then,
poor things, come into the school, as they did into the world, naked and
without honours or dignities. During the first month they gain
_diligenze_, for saying their lessons well, which are noted in a book,
and a boy who has obtained any of these, may immediately begin to play
with them, betting as many _diligenze_ as he pleases with another boy,
that he will perform a task or a lesson better or in less time than the
other; and of this the master is the judge. On the 1st of December, he
who has most _diligenze_ becomes emperor of the Romans; the second is
emperor of the Greeks; the third Roman consul; the fourth Greek consul,
and so on through the names of many other offices. After this the
individual bettings still continue in some degree, but the great contest
is between the two parties. On one occasion the poor Greeks lost all
their _diligenze_; they then staked their titles, and were reduced to
the condition of privates; the last resource was their seats in the
school; and losing these, they were obliged to perform all their lessons
standing. They were however so much excited, that they soon acquired new
_diligenze_ by their lessons, and renewing the contest, regained in
about two months all they had lost. The first thing that strikes one
here is, that it must form a set of gamblers; but by fixing the result
of each contest to the loss and gain of a small number of _diligenze_,
or in a struggle of parties, to the loss or gain of a fixed number of
_diligenze_ to every member of each party, this would I think be
obviated; and perhaps if not for a permanency, yet it might in a degree
be occasionally imitated with advantage. A young lad from the Conte
Bardi’s school, whom I had engaged to copy some writing for me, had
previously been in a school where these parties were called Romans and
Carthaginians. He had been _principe Romano_, and his imagination was
evidently much excited. He preferred this school to the Lancasterian,
and thought he learnt more rapidly. The merit of this plan seems to me
to consist in this, that it interests the elder boys in the improvement
of the younger.

As my object has rather been the schools of the poor than the rich, I
have not paid much attention to those of a more finished character. In
the Collegio Romano, the two parties are called Romans and
Carthaginians; and my informant (for I did not visit it) had been
emperor of the latter. There is an examination every month, generally
depending on the translation of some Latin author. The first boy is
_princeps principum_; the second, _princeps senatûs_; the third,
_princeps juventutis_. Then come five or six _principes designati_; as
many _principes majorum gentium_; then _principes minorum gentium_. The
_studentes primæ notæ_, _classis prima_ follow, the same _classis
secunda_ and _classis tertia_; and in like manner those _secundæ notæ_
and _tertiæ notæ_. At last come the pupils _nullius notæ_, which is a
great disgrace, and a distinct seat in the school is assigned them, as
being unworthy to mix with the rest. Any boy may challenge any other of
the class immediately above him, and a _princeps designatus_ may
challenge any one of the three superior _principes_, and these
challenges are frequent, and keep up a strong emulation in the school.
After a lad has occupied for a certain time the situation of one of the
superior _principes_, he becomes a _dictator_, in order to leave an
opening for the younger students. A dictator may be challenged, but does
not lose his rank till he has been twice defeated.

A society of young men, who themselves undertake the various branches of
instruction, have lately formed a new institution at Florence, for the
purpose of education. The object is perhaps partly to provide for
themselves, but partly also from a sincere desire to introduce a more
perfect method. The director questioned a little boy eight years old on
the metaphysics of grammar, and he answered in a manner which I should
not have thought possible in such a child. The replies were doubtless
from memory, for it was impossible he should understand so abstruse a
subject; but the questions were very much varied, and his answers were
not by rote, or in a set form of words, but the subjects of the lessons
he had heard, must have been combined by the boy himself.
Notwithstanding this successful display, I thought the mode of
instruction too abstract and metaphysical. Natural history and natural
philosophy were at first included in the course, but these have since
been abandoned, because the Florentine mothers were alarmed at the idea
of their children becoming materialists. I will not trouble you with the
details, but I rather mention this establishment as one which
exemplifies the present Italian, or rather Tuscan, system of education.
It fixes a high standard of excellence, and in part attains it. It loves
to see the tree flourish in a good soil, to grow large and strong; but
it must not take its natural form, but that which man gives it. The
Italian teacher is eager to adopt and explain the improvements in every
science and every art; but even in so doing he is not without perhaps an
unconscious tendency towards his own power and consequence. He would
enlarge the premises in order to diminish the desire of rambling; he
would lengthen the chain, that the impatience of his pupils may never
break it; but still there must be a chain or a boundary. He guides the
thoughts in every direction towards which they shew a decided tendency,
in order that the pupil may never trust to his own sagacity, or find out
the way for himself. I multiply my comparisons, because I feel that I do
not yet fully explain myself. Nor is it very easy to make myself
understood on the subject. If I were to state this to an Italian, he
would plead that young people are taught to reflect and to think for
themselves; and I in return should say that this is the very thing of
which I complain. They are _taught_ to think, in order that their
thoughts may never wander from the beaten track. Yet I must confess that
at the age of ten or twelve, we are all so much creatures of imitation
and instruction, that it is difficult to determine any deficiency on
this head, and still more difficult to prove it; and one cannot examine
the older pupils so freely, even if the professor permitted it, and the
order of the schools were such as to give us an opportunity. Is this at
all intelligible to you? and does it seem in any degree to account for
the want of originality in the present Italian character?



                              LETTER LXI.

                             LUCCA—GENEVA.


                                               _Geneva, 3rd July, 1818._

I LEFT Pisa for Lucca on the 19th of May. The road is very good, and I
may add very pleasant, entering the plain of Lucca through the pass by
which the Serchio quits it. The valley of Lucca is very flat, looking
like a lake which has been filled up; and in fact, if the Serchio breaks
its banks, great part of it is overflowed. There are in the city, some
vestiges of a Roman amphitheatre, which has determined the direction of
some of the present streets; but the principal architectural object