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Views a-foot by J. Bayard Taylor

Part 5 out of 7

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always surrounded with throngs of believers. The choir was closed by a
tall iron grating; a single lamp, which swung from the roof, enabled me
to see through the darkness, that though much more rich in ornaments
than the body of the church, it was less grand and impressive. The
frescoes which cover the ceiling, are said to be the finest paintings of
the kind in Switzerland.

In the morning our starting was delayed by the rain, and we took
advantage of it to hear mass in the Abbey and enjoy the heavenly music.
The latter was of the loftiest kind; there was one voice among the
singers I shall not soon forget. It was like the warble of a bird who
sings out of very wantonness. On and on it sounded, making its clear,
radiant sweetness heard above the chant of the choir and the thunder of
the orchestra. Such a rich, varied and untiring strain of melody I have
rarely listened to.

When the service ceased, we took a small road leading to Schwytz. We had
now fairly entered the Alpine region, and our first task was to cross a
mountain. This having been done, we kept along the back of the ridge
which bounds the lake of Zug on the south, terminating in the well known
Rossberg. The scenery became wilder with every step. The luxuriant
fields of herbage on the mountains were spotted with the picturesque
_chalets_ of the hunters and Alp-herds; cattle and goats were browsing
along the declivities, their bells tinkling most musically, and the
little streams fell in foam down the steeps. We here began to realize
our anticipations of Swiss scenery. Just on the other side of the range,
along which we traveled, lay the little lake of Egeri and valley of
Morgarten, where Tell and his followers overcame the army of the German
Emperor; near the lake of Lowertz, we found a chapel by the roadside,
built on the spot where the house of Werner Stauffacher, one of the
"three men of Grutli," formerly stood. It bears a poetical inscription
in old German, and a rude painting of the Battle of Morgarten.

As we wound around the lake of Lowertz, we saw the valley lying between
the Rossberg and the Righi, which latter mountain stood full in view. To
our regret, and that of all other travelers, the clouds hung low upon
it, as they had done for a week at least, and there was no prospect of a
change. The Rossberg, from which we descended, is about four thousand
feet in height; a dark brown stripe from its very summit to the valley
below, shows the track of the avalanche which, in 1806, overwhelmed
Goldau, and laid waste the beautiful vale of Lowertz. We could trace the
masses of rock and earth as far as the foot of the Righi. Four hundred
and fifty persons perished by this catastrophe, which was so sudden that
in five minutes the whole lovely valley was transformed into a desolate
wilderness. The shock was so great that the lake of Lowertz overflowed
its banks, and part of the village of Steinen at the upper end was
destroyed by the waters.

An hour's walk through a blooming Alpine vale brought us to the little
town of Schwytz, the capital of the Canton. It stands at the foot of a
rock-mountain, in shape not unlike Gibraltar, but double its height. The
bare and rugged summits seem to hang directly over the town, but the
people dwell below without fear, although the warning ruins of Goldau
are full in sight. A narrow blue line at the end of the valley which
stretches westward, marks the lake of the Four Cantons. Down this valley
we hurried, that we might not miss the boat which plies daily, from
Luzerne to Fluelen. I regretted not being able to visit Luzerne, as I
had a letter to the distinguished Swiss composer, Schnyder von
Wartensee, who resides there at present. The place is said to present a
most desolate appearance, being avoided by travelers, and even by
artisans, so that business of all kinds has almost entirely ceased.

At the little town of Brunnen, on the lake, we awaited the coming of the
steamboat. The scenery around it is exceedingly grand. Looking down
towards Luzerne, we could see the dark mass of Mount Pilatus on one
side, and on the other the graceful outline of the Righi, still wearing
his hood of clouds. We put off in a skiff to meet the boat, with two
Capuchin friars in long brown mantles and cowls, carrying rosaries at
their girdles.

Nearly opposite Brunnen is the meadow of Grutli, where the union of the
Swiss patriots took place, and the bond was sealed that enabled them to
cast off their chains. It is a little green slope on the side of the
mountain, between the two Cantons of Uri and Unterwalden, surrounded on
all sides by precipices. A little crystal spring in the centre is
believed by the common people to have gushed up on the spot where the
three "linked the hands that made them free." It is also a popular
belief that they slumber in a rocky cavern near the spot, and that they
will arise and come forth when the liberties of Switzerland are in
danger. She stands at present greatly in need of a new triad to restore
the ancient harmony.

We passed this glorious scene, almost the only green spot on the bleak
mountain-side, and swept around the base of the Axenberg, at whose foot,
in a rocky cave, stands the chapel of William Tell. This is built on the
spot where he leaped from Gessler's boat during the storm. It sits at
the base of the rock, on the water's edge, and can be seen far over the
waves. The Alps, whose eternal snows are lifted dazzling to the sky,
complete the grandeur of a scene so hallowed by the footsteps of
freedom. The grand and lonely solemnity of the landscape impressed me
with an awe, like that one feels when standing in a mighty cathedral,
when the aisles are dim with twilight. And how full of interest to a
citizen of young and free America is a shrine where the votaries of
Liberty have turned to gather strength and courage, through the storms
and convulsions of five hundred years!

We stopped at the village of Fluelen, at the head of the lake, and
walked on to Altorf, a distance of half a league. Here, in the
market-place, is a tower said to be built on the spot where the linden
tree stood, under which the child of Tell was placed, while, about a
hundred yards distant, is a fountain with Tell's statue, on the spot
from whence he shot the apple. If these localities are correct, he must
indeed have been master of the cross-bow. The tower is covered with rude
paintings of the principal events in the history of Swiss liberty. I
viewed these scenes with double interest from having read Schiller's
"Wilhelm Tell," one of the most splendid tragedies ever written. The
beautiful reply of his boy, when he described to him the condition of
the "land where there are no mountains," was sounding in my ears during
the whole day's journey:

"Father, I'd feel oppressed in that broad land,
I'd rather dwell beneath the avalanche!"

The little village of Burglen, whose spire we saw above the forest, in a
glen near by, was the birth-place of Tell, and the place where his
dwelling stood, is now marked by a small chapel. In the Schachen, a
noisy mountain stream that comes down to join the Reuss, he was drowned,
when an old man, in attempting to rescue a child who had fallen in--a
death worthy of the hero! We bestowed a blessing on his memory in
passing, and then followed the banks of the rapid Reuss. Twilight was
gathering in the deep Alpine glen, and the mountains on each side,
half-seen through the mist, looked like vast, awful phantoms. Soon they
darkened to black, indistinct masses; all was silent except the
deepened roar of the falling floods; dark clouds brooded above us like
the outspread wings of night, and we were glad, when the little village
of Amstegg was reached, and the parlor of the inn opened to us a more
cheerful, if not so romantic scene.



Leaving Amstegg, I passed the whole day among snowy, sky-piercing Alps,
torrents, chasms and clouds! The clouds appeared to be breaking up as we
set out, and the white top of the Reassberg was now and then visible in
the sky. Just above the village are the remains of Zwing Uri, the castle
begun by the tyrant Gessler, for the complete subjugation of the canton.
Following the Reuss up through a narrow valley, we passed the
Bristenstock, which lifts its jagged crags nine thousand feet in the
air, while on the other side stand the snowy summits which lean towards
the Rhone Glacier and St. Gothard. From the deep glen where the Reuss
foamed down towards the Lake of the Forest Cantons, the mountains rose
with a majestic sweep so far into the sky that the brain grew almost
dizzy in following their outlines. Woods, chalets and slopes of herbage
covered their bases, where the mountain cattle and goats were browsing,
while the herd-boys sang their native melodies or woke the ringing
echoes with the loud, sweet sounds of their wooden horns; higher up, the
sides were broken into crags and covered with stunted pines; then
succeeded a belt of bare rock with a little snow lying in the crevices,
and the summits of dazzling white looked out from the clouds nearly
three-fourths the height of the zenith. Sometimes when the vale was
filled with clouds, it was startling to see them parting around a
solitary summit, apparently isolated in the air at an immense height,
for the mountain to which it belonged was hidden to the very base!

The road passed from one side of the valley to the other, crossing the
Reuss on bridges sometimes ninety feet high. After three or four hours
walking, we reached a frightful pass called the Schollenen. So narrow is
the defile that before reaching it, the road seemed to enter directly
into the mountain. Precipices a thousand feet high tower above, and the
stream roars and boils in the black depth below. The road is a wonder of
art; it winds around the edge of horrible chasms or is carried on lofty
arches across, with sometimes a hold apparently so frail that one
involuntarily shudders. At a place called the Devil's Bridge, the Reuss
leaps about seventy feet in three or four cascades, sending up
continually a cloud of spray, while a wind created by the fall, blows
and whirls around, with a force that nearly lifts one from his feet.
Wordsworth has described the scene in the following lines:

"Plunge with the Reuss embrowned by terror's breath,
Where danger roofs the narrow walks of Death;
By floods that, thundering from their dizzy height,
Swell more gigantic on the steadfast sight,
Black, drizzling crags, that, beaten by the din,
Vibrate, us if a voice complained within,
Loose hanging rocks, the Day's blessed eye that hide,
And crosses reared to Death on every side!"

Beyond the Devil's Bridge, the mountains which nearly touched before,
interlock into each other, and a tunnel three hundred and seventy-five
feet long leads through the rock into the vale of Urseren, surrounded by
the Upper Alps. The little town of Andermatt lies in the middle of this
valley, which with the peaks around is covered with short,
yellowish-brown grass. We met near Amstegg a little Italian boy walking
home, from Germany, quite alone and without money, for we saw him give
his last kreutzer to a blind beggar along the road. We therefore took
him with us, as he was afraid to cross the St. Gothard alone.

After refreshing ourselves at Andermatt, we started, five in number,
including a German student, for the St. Gothard. Behind the village of
Hospiz, which stands at the bottom of the valley leading to Realp and
the Furca pass, the way commences, winding backwards and forwards,
higher and higher, through a valley covered with rocks, with the mighty
summits of the Alps around, untenanted save by the chamois and mountain
eagle. Not a tree was to be seen. The sides of the mountains were
covered with loose rocks waiting for the next torrent to wash them down,
and the tops were robed in eternal snow. A thick cloud rolled down over
us as we went on, following the diminishing brooks to their snowy source
in the peak of St. Gothard. We cut off the bends of the road by
footpaths up the rocks, which we ascended in single file, one of the
Americans _going ahead_ and little Pietro with his staff and bundle
bringing up the rear. The rarefied air we breathed, seven thousand feet
above the sea, was like exhilarating gas. We felt no fatigue, but ran
and shouted and threw snowballs, in the middle of August!

After three hours' walk we reached the two clear and silent lakes which
send their waters to the Adriatic and the North Sea. Here, as we looked
down the Italian side, the sky became clear; we saw the top of St.
Gothard many thousand feet above, and stretching to the south, the
summits of the mountains which guard the vales of the Ticino and the
Adda. The former monastery has been turned into an inn; there is,
however, a kind of church attached, attended by a single monk. It was so
cold that although late, we determined to descend to the first village.
The Italian side is very steep, and the road, called the Via Trimola, is
like a thread dropped down and constantly doubling back upon itself. The
deep chasms were filled with snow, although exposed to the full force of
the sun, and for a long distance there was scarcely a sign of

We thought as we went down, that every step was bringing us nearer to a
sunnier land--that the glories of Italy, which had so long lain in the
airy background of the future, would soon spread themselves before us in
their real or imagined beauty. Reaching at dusk the last height above
the vale of the Ticino, we saw the little village of Airolo with its
musical name, lying in a hollow of the mountains. A few minutes of
leaping, sliding and rolling, took us down the grassy declivity, and we
found we had descended from the top in an hour and a half, although the
distance by the road is nine miles! I need not say how glad we were to
relieve our trembling knees and exhausted limbs.

I have endeavored several times to give some idea of the sublimity of
the Alps, but words seem almost powerless to measure these mighty
mountains. No effort of the imagination could possibly equal their real
grandeur. I wish also to describe the _feelings_ inspired by being
among them,--feelings which can best be expressed through the warmer
medium of poetry.


I sit aloft on my thunder throne,
And my voice of dread the nations own
As I speak in storm below!
The valleys quake with a breathless fear,
When I hurl in wrath my icy spear
And shake my locks of snow!
When the avalanche forth like a tiger leaps,
How the vassal-mountains quiver!
And the storm that sweeps through the airy deeps
Makes the hoary pine-wood shiver!
Above them all, in a brighter air,
I lift my forehead proud and bare,
And the lengthened sweep of my forest-robe
Trails down to the low and captured globe,
Till its borders touch the dark green wave
In whose soundless depths my feet I lave.
The winds, unprisoned, around me blow,
And terrible tempests whirl the snow;
Rocks from their caverned beds are torn,
And the blasted forest to heaven is borne;
High through the din of the stormy band,
Like misty giants the mountains stand,
And their thunder-revel o'er-sounds the woe,
That cries from the desolate vales below!
I part the clouds with my lifted crown,
Till the sun-ray slants on the glaciers down,
And trembling men, in the valleys pale,
Rejoice at the gleam of my icy mail!


I wear a crown of the sunbeam's gold,
With glacier-gems en my forehead old--
A monarch crowned by God!
What son of the servile earth may dare
Such signs of a regal power to wear,
While chained to her darkened sod?
I know of a nobler and grander lore
Than Time records on his crumbling pages,
And the soul of my solitude teaches more
Than the gathered deeds of perished ages!
For I have ruled since Time began
And wear no fetter made by man.
I scorn the coward and craven race
Who dwell around my mighty base,
For they leave the lessons I grandly gave
And bend to the yoke of the crouching slave.
I shout aloud to the chainless skies;
The stream through its falling foam replies,
And my voice, like the sound of the surging sea,
To the nations thunders: "_I am free!_"
I spoke to Tell when a tyrant's hand
Lay heavy and hard on his native land,
And the spirit whose glory from mine he won
Blessed the Alpine dwellers with Freedom's sun!
The student-boy on the Gmunden-plain
Heard my solemn voice, but he fought in vain;
I called from the crags of the Passeir-glen,
When the despot stood in my realm again,
And Hofer sprang at the proud command
And roused the men of the Tyrol land!


I struggle up to the dim blue heaven,
From the world, far down in whose breast are driven
The props of my pillared throne;
And the rosy fires of morning glow
Like a glorious thought, on my brow of snow,
While the vales are dark and lone!
Ere twilight summons the first faint star,
I seem to the nations who dwell afar
Like a shadowy cloud, whose every fold
The sunset dyes with its purest gold,
And the soul mounts up through that gateway fair
To try its wings in a loftier air!
The finger of God on my brow is pressed--
His spirit beats in my giant breast,
And I breathe, as the endless ages roll,
His silent words to the eager soul!
I prompt the thoughts of the mighty mind,
Who leaves his century far behind
And speaks from the Future's sun-lit snow
To the Present, that sleeps in its gloom below!
I stand, unchanged, in creation's youth--
A glorious type of Eternal Truth,
That, free and pure, from its native skies
Shines through Oppression's veil of lies,
And lights the world's long-fettered sod
With thoughts of Freedom and of God!

When, at night, I looked out of my chamber-window, the silver moon of
Italy, (for we fancied that her light was softer and that the skies were
already bluer) hung trembling above the fields of snow that stretched in
their wintry brilliance along the mountains around. I heard the roar of
the Ticino and the deepened sound of falling cascades, and thought, if I
were to take those waters for my guide, to what glorious places they
would lead me!

We left Airolo early the next morning, to continue our journey down the
valley of the Ticino. The mists and clouds of Switzerland were exchanged
for a sky of the purest blue, and we felt, for the first time in ten
days, uncomfortably warm. The mountains which flank the Alps on this
side, are still giants--lofty and bare, and covered with snow in many
places. The limit of the German dialect is on the summit of St. Gothard,
and the peasants saluted us with a "_buon giorno_" as they passed. This,
with the clearness of the skies and the warmth of the air, made us feel
that Italy was growing nearer.

The mountains are covered with forests of dark pine, and many beautiful
cascades come tumbling over the rocks in their haste to join the Ticino.
One of these was so strangely beautiful, that I cannot pass it without a
particular description. We saw it soon after leaving Airolo, on the
opposite side of the valley. A stream of considerable size comes down
the mountain, leaping from crag to crag till within forty or fifty feet
of the bottom, where it is caught in a hollow rock, and flung upwards
into the air, forming a beautiful arch as it falls out into the valley.
As it is whirled up thus, feathery curls of spray are constantly driven
off and seem to wave round it like the fibres on an ostrich plume. The
sun shining through, gave it a sparry brilliance which was perfectly
magnificent. If I were an artist, I would give much for such a new form
of beauty.

On our first day's journey we passed through two terrific mountain
gorges, almost equalling in grandeur the defile of the "Devil's Bridge."
The Ticino, in its course to Lago Maggiore has to make a descent of
nearly three thousand feet, passing through three valleys, which lie
like terraces, one below the other. In its course from one to the other,
it has to force its way down in twenty cataracts through a cleft in the
mountains. The road, constructed with the utmost labor, threads these
dark chasms, sometimes carried in a tunnel through the rock, sometimes
passing on arches above the boiling flood. The precipices of bare rock
rise far above and render the way difficult and dangerous. I here
noticed another very beautiful effect of the water, perhaps attributable
to some mineral substance it contained. The spray and foam thrown up in
the dashing of the vexed current, was of a light, delicate pink,
although the stream itself was a soft blue; and the contrast of these
two colors was very remarkable.

As we kept on, however, there was a very perceptible change in the
scenery. The gloomy pines disappeared and the mountains were covered, in
their stead, with picturesque chesnut trees, with leaves of a shining
green. The grass and vegetation was much more luxuriant than on the
other side of the Alps, and fields of maize and mulberry orchards
covered the valley. We saw the people busy at work reeling silk in the
villages. Every mile we advanced made a sensible change in the
vegetation. The chesnuts were larger, the maize higher, the few
straggling grape-vines increased into bowers and vineyards, while the
gardens were filled with plum, pear and fig-trees, and the stands of
delicious fruit which we saw in the villages, gave us promise of the
luxuriance that was to come.

The vineyards are much more beautiful than the German fields of stakes.
The vines are not trimmed, but grow from year to year over a frame
higher than the head, supported through the whole field on stone
pillars. They interlace and form a complete leafy screen, while the
clusters hang below. The light came dimly through the green, transparent
leaves, and nothing was wanting to make them real bowers of Arcadia.
Although we were still in Switzerland, the people began to have that
lazy, indolent look which characterizes the Italians; most of the
occupations were carried on in the open air, and brown-robed, sandalled
friars were going about from house to house, collecting money and
provisions for their support.

We passed Faido and Giornico, near which last village are the remains of
an old castle, supposed to have been built by the ancient Gauls, and
stopped for the night at Cresciano, which being entirely Italian, we had
an opportunity to put in practice the few words we had picked up from
Pietro. The little fellow parted from us with regret a few hours before,
at Biasco, where he had relations. The rustic landlord at Cresciano was
an honest young fellow, who tried to serve us as well as he could, but
we made some ludicrous mistakes through our ignorance of the language.

Three hours' walk brought us to Bellinzona, the capital of the canton.
Before reaching it, our road joined that of the Splugen which comes down
through the valley of Bernardino. From the bridge where the junction
takes place we had a triple view, whose grandeur took me by surprise,
even after coming from Switzerland. We stood at the union of three
valleys--that leading to St. Gothard, terminated by the glaciers of the
Bernese Oberland, that running off obliquely to the Splugen, and finally
the broad vale of the Ticino, extending to Lago Maggiore, whose purple
mountains closed the vista. Each valley was perhaps two miles broad and
from twenty to thirty long, and the mountains that enclosed them from
five to seven thousand feet in height, so you may perhaps form some idea
what a view down three such avenues in this Alpine temple would be.
Bellinzona is romantically situated, on a slight eminence, with three
castles to defend it, with those square turreted towers and battlements,
which remind one involuntarily of the days of the Goths and Vandals.

We left Bellinzona at noon, and saw, soon after, from an eminence, the
blue line of Lago Maggiore stretched across the bottom of the valley. We
saw sunset fade away over the lake, but it was clouded, and did not
realize my ideal of such a scene in Italy. A band of wild Italians
paraded up and down the village, drawing one of their number in a
hand-cart. They made a great noise with a drum and trumpet, and were
received everywhere with shouts of laughter. A great jug of wine was not
wanting, and the whole seemed to me a very characteristic scene.

We were early awakened at Magadino, at the head of Lago Maggiore, and
after swallowing a hasty breakfast, went on board the steamboat "San
Carlo," for Sesto Calende. We got under way at six o'clock, and were
soon in motion over the crystal mirror. The water is of the most lovely
green hue, and so transparent that we seemed to bo floating in mid-air.
Another heaven arched far below us; other chains of mountains joined
their bases to those which surrounded the lake, and the mirrored
cascades leaped upward to meet their originals at the surface. It may be
because I have seen it more recently, that the water of Lago Maggiore
appears to be the most beautiful in the world. I was delighted with the
Scotch lakes, and enraptured with the Traunsee and "Zurich's waters,"
but this last exceeds them both. I am now incapable of any stronger
feeling, until I see the Egean from the Grecian Isles.

The morning was cloudy, and the white wreaths hung low on the mountains,
whose rocky sides were covered every where with the rank and luxuriant
growth of this climate. As we advanced further over this glorious
mirror, the houses became more Italian-like; the lower stories rested on
arched passages, and the windows were open, without glass, while in the
gardens stood the solemn, graceful cypress, and vines, heavy with
ripening grapes, hung from bough to bough through the mulberry orchards.
Half-way down, in a broad bay, which receives the waters of a stream
that comes down with the Simplon, are the celebrated Borromean Islands.
They are four in number, and seem to float like fairy creations on the
water, while the lofty hills form a background whose grandeur enhances
by contrast their exquisite beauty. There was something in the scene
that reminded me of Claude Melnotte's description of his home, by
Bulwer, and like the lady of Lyons, I answer readily, "I like the

On passing by Isola Madre, we could see the roses in its terraced
gardens and the broad-leaved aloes clinging to the rocks. Isola Bella,
the loveliest of them all, as its name denotes, was farther off; it rose
like a pyramid from the water, terrace above terrace to the summit, and
its gardens of never fading foliage, with the glorious panorama around,
might make it a paradise, if life were to be dreamed away. On the
northern side of the bay lies a large town (I forget its name,) with a
lofty Romanesque tower, and noble mountains sweep around as if to shut
out the world from such a scene. The sea was perfectly calm, and groves
and gardens slept mirrored in the dark green wave, while the Alps rose
afar through the dim, cloudy air. Towards the other end the hills sink
lower, and slope off into the plains of Lombardy. Near Arona, on the
western side, is a large monastery, overlooking the lower part of the
lake. Beside it, on a hill, is a colossal statue of San Carlo Borromeo,
who gave his name to the lovely islands above.

After a seven hours' passage, we ran into Sesto Calende, at the foot of
the lake. Here, passengers and baggage were tumbled promiscuously on
shore, the latter gathered into the office to be examined, and the
former left at liberty to ramble about an hour until their passports
could be signed. We employed the time in trying the flavor of the grapes
and peaches of Lombardy, and looking at the groups of travelers who had
come down from the Alps with the annual avalanche at this season. The
custom house officers were extremely civil and obliging, as they did not
think necessary to examine our knapsacks, and our passports being soon
signed, we were at liberty to enter again into the dominions of His
Majesty of Austria. Our companion, the German, whose feet could carry
him no further, took a seat on the top of a diligence for Milan; _we_
left Sesto Calende on foot, and plunged into the cloud of dust which was
whirling towards the capital of Northern Italy.

Being now really in the "sunny land," we looked on the scenery with a
deep interest. The first thing that struck me was a resemblance to
America in the fields of Indian corn, and the rank growth of weeds by
the roadside. The mulberry trees and hedges, too, looked quite familiar,
coming as we did, from fenceless and hedgeless Germany. But here the
resemblance ceased. The people were coarse, ignorant and savage-looking,
the villages remarkable for nothing except the contrast between splendid
churches and miserable, dirty houses, while the luxurious palaces and
grounds of the rich noblemen formed a still greater contrast to the
poverty of the people. I noticed also that if the latter are as lazy as
they are said to be, they make their horses work for them, as in a walk
of a few hours yesterday after noon, we saw two horses drawing heavy
loads, drop down apparently dead, and several others seemed nearly ready
to do the same.

We spent the night at the little village of Casina, about sixteen miles
from Milan, and here made our first experience in the honesty of Italian
inns. We had taken the precaution to inquire beforehand the price of a
bed; but it seemed unnecessary and unpleasant, as well as evincing a
mistrustful spirit, to do the same with every article we asked for, so
we concluded to leave it to the host's conscience not to overcharge us.
Imagine our astonishment, however, when at starting, a bill was
presented to us, in which the smallest articles were set down at three
or four times their value. We remonstrated, hut to little purpose; the
fellow knew scarcely any French, and we as little Italian, so rather
than lose time or temper, we paid what he demanded and went on, leaving
him to laugh at the successful imposition. The experience was of value
to us, however, and it may serve as a warning to some future traveler.

About noon, the road turned into a broad and beautiful avenue of
poplars, down which we saw, at a distance, the triumphal arch
terminating the Simplon road, which we had followed from Sesto Calende.
Beyond it rose the slight and airy pinnacle of the Duomo. We passed by
the exquisite structure, gave up our passports at the gates, traversed
the broad Piazza d'Armi, and found ourselves at liberty to choose one of
the dozen streets that led into the heart of the city.



_Aug. 21._--While finding our way at random to the "Pension Suisse,"
whither we had been directed by a German gentleman, we were agreeably
impressed with the gaiety and bustle of Milan. The shops and stores are
all open to the street, so that the city resembles a great bazaar. It
has an odd look to see blacksmiths, tailors and shoemakers working
unconcernedly in the open air, with crowds continually passing before
them. The streets are filled with venders of fruit, who call out the
names with a long, distressing cry, like that of a person in great
agony. Organ-grinders parade constantly about and snatches of songs are
heard among the gay crowd, on every side.

In this lively, noisy Italian city, nearly all there is to see may be
comprised in four things: the Duomo, the triumphal arch over the
Simplon, La Scala and the Picture Gallery. The first alone is more
interesting than many an entire city. We went there yesterday afternoon
soon after reaching here. It stands in an irregular open place, closely
hemmed in by houses on two sides, so that it can be seen to advantage
from only one point. It is a mixture of the Gothic and Romanesque
styles; the body of the structure is entirely covered with statues and
richly wrought sculpture, with needle-like spires of white marble rising
up from every corner. But of the exquisite, airy look of the whole mass,
although so solid and vast, it is impossible to convey an idea. It
appears like some fabric of frost-work which winter traces on the
window-panes. There is a unity of beauty about the whole, which the eye
takes in with a feeling of perfect and satisfied delight.

Ascending the marble steps which lead to the front, I lifted the folds
of the heavy curtain and entered. What a glorious aisle! The mighty
pillars support a magnificent arched ceiling, painted to resemble
fretwork, and the little light that falls through the small windows
above, enters tinged with a dim golden hue. A feeling of solemn awe
comes over one as he steps with a hushed tread along the colored marble
floor, and measures the massive columns till they blend with the
gorgeous arches above. There are four rows of these, nearly fifty in
all, and when I state that they are eight feet in diameter, and sixty or
seventy in height, some idea may be formed of the grandeur of the
building. Imagine the Girard College, at Philadelphia, turned into one
great hall, with four rows of pillars, equal in size to those around it,
reaching to its roof, and you will have a rough sketch of the interior
of the Duomo.

In the centre of the cross is a light and beautiful dome; he who will
stand under this, and look down the broad middle aisle to the entrance,
has one of the sublimest vistas to be found in the world. The choir has
three enormous windows, covered with dazzling paintings, and the ceiling
is of marble and silver. There are gratings under the high altar, by
looking into which, I could see a dark, lonely chamber below, where one
or two feeble lamps showed a circle of praying-places. It was probably a
funeral vault, which persons visited to pray for the repose of their
friends' souls. The Duomo is not yet entirely finished, the workmen
being still employed in various parts, but it is said, that when
completed there will be four thousand statues on the different parts of

The design of the Duomo is said to be taken from Monte Rosa, one of the
loftiest peaks of the Alps. Its hundreds of sculptured pinnacles, rising
from every part of the body of the church, certainly bear a striking
resemblance to the splintered ice-crags of Savoy. Thus we see how Art,
mighty and endless in her forms though she be, is in every thing but the
child of Nature. Her most divine conceptions are but copies of objects
which we behold every day. The faultless beauty of the Corinthian
capital--the springing and intermingling arches of the Gothic aisle--the
pillared portico or the massive and sky-piercing pyramid--are but
attempts at reproducing, by the studied regularity of Art, the
ever-varied and ever-beautiful forms of mountain, rock and forest. But
there is oftentimes a more thrilling sensation of enjoyment produced by
the creations of man's hand and intellect than the grander effects of
Nature, existing constantly before our eyes. It would seem as if man
marvelled more at his own work than at the work of the Power which
created him.

The streets of Milan abound with priests in their cocked hats and long
black robes. They all have the same solemn air, and seem to go about
like beings shut out from all communion with pleasure. No sight lately
has saddened me so much as to see a bright, beautiful boy, of twelve or
thirteen years, in those gloomy garments. Poor child! he little knows
now what he may have to endure. A lonely, cheerless life, where every
affection must be crushed as unholy, and every pleasure denied as a
crime! And I knew by his fair brow and tender lip, that he had a warm
and loving heart. I could not help regarding this class as victims to a
mistaken idea of religious duty, and if I am not mistaken, I read on
more than one countenance the traces of passions that burned within. It
is mournful to see a people oppressed in the name of religion. The
holiest aspirations of man's nature, instead of lifting him up to a
nearer view of Christian perfection, are changed into clouds and shut
out the light of heaven. Immense treasures, wrung drop by drop from the
credulity of the poor and ignorant, are made use of to pamper the luxury
of those who profess to be mediators between man and the Deity. The poor
wretch may perish of starvation on a floor of precious mosaic, which
perhaps his own pittance has helped to form, while ceilings and shrines
of inlaid gold mock his dying eye with their useless splendor. Such a
system of oppression, disguised under the holiest name, can only be
sustained by the continuance of ignorance and blind superstition.
Knowledge--Truth--Reason--these are the ramparts which Liberty throws up
to guard her dominions from the usurpations of oppression and wrong.

We were last night in La Scala. Rossini's opera of William Tell was
advertised, and as we had visited so lately the scene where that
glorious historical drama was enacted, we went to see it represented in
sound. It is a grand subject, which in the hands of a powerful composer,
might be made very effective, but I must confess I was disappointed in
the present case. The overture is, however, very beautiful. It begins
low and mournful, like the lament of the Swiss over their fallen
liberties. Occasionally a low drum is heard, as if to rouse them to
action, and meanwhile the lament swells to a cry of despair. The drums
now wake the land; the horn of Uri is heard pealing forth its summoning
strain, and the echoes seem to come back from the distant Alps. The
sound then changes for the roar of battle--the clang of trumpets, drums
and cymbals. The whole orchestra did their best to represent this combat
in music, which after lasting a short time, changed into the loud,
victorious march of the conquerors. But the body of the opera, although
it had several fine passages, was to me devoid of interest; in fact,
unworthy the reputation of Rossini.

The theatre is perhaps the largest in the world. The singers are all
good; in Italy it could not be otherwise, where everybody sings. As I
write, a party of Italians in the house opposite have been amusing
themselves with going through the whole opera of "_La fille du
Regiment_," with the accompaniment of the piano, and they show the
greatest readiness and correctness in their performance. They have now
become somewhat boisterous, and appear to be improvising. One young
gentleman executes trills with amazing skill, and another appears to
have taken the part of a despairing lover, but the lady has a very
pretty voice, and warbles on and on, like a nightingale. Occasionally a
group of listeners in the street below clap them applause, for as the
windows are always open, the whole neighborhood can enjoy the

This forenoon I was in the Picture Gallery. It occupies a part of the
Library Building, in the Palazzo Cabrera. It is not large, and many of
the pictures are of no value to anybody but antiquarians; still there
are some excellent paintings, which render it well worthy a visit. Among
these, a marriage, by Raphael, is still in a very good state of
preservation, and there are some fine pictures by Paul Veronese and the
Caracci. The most admired painting, is "Abraham sending away Hagar," by
Guercino. I never saw a more touching expression of grief than in the
face of Hagar. Her eyes are red with weeping, and as she listens in an
agony of tears to the patriarch's command, she still seems doubting the
reality of her doom. The countenance of Abraham is venerable and calm,
and expresses little emotion; but one can read in that of Sarah, as she
turns away, a feeling of pity for her unfortunate rival.

Next to the Duomo, the most beautiful specimen of architecture in Milan
is the ARCH OF PEACE, on the north side of the city, at the commencement
of the Simplon Road. It was the intention of Napoleon to carry the road
under this arch, across the Piazza d'Armi, and to cut a way for it
directly into the heart of the city, but the fall of his dynasty
prevented the execution of this magnificent design, as well as the
completion of the arch itself. This has been done by the Austrian
government, according to the original plan; they have inscribed upon it
the name of Francis I., and changed the bas-reliefs of Lodi and Marengo
into those of a few fields where their forces had gained the victory. It
is even said that in many parts which were already finished, they
altered the splendid Roman profile of Napoleon into the haggard and
repulsive features of Francis of Austria.

The bronze statues on the top were made by an artist of Bologna, by
Napoleon's order, and are said to be the finest works of modern times.
In the centre is the goddess of Peace, in a triumphal car, drawn by six
horses, while on the corners four angels, mounted, are starting off to
convey the tidings to the four quarters of the globe. The artist has
caught the spirit of motion and chained it in these moveless figures.
One would hardly feel surprised if the goddess, chariot, horses and all,
were to start off and roll away through the air.

With the rapidity usual to Americans we have already finished seeing
Milan, and shall start to-morrow morning on a walk to Genoa.



It was finally decided we should leave Milan, so the next morning we
arose at five o'clock for the first time since leaving Frankfort. The
Italians had commenced operations at this early hour, but we made our
way through the streets without attracting quite so much attention as on
our arrival. Near the gate on the road to Pavia, we passed a long
colonnade which was certainly as old as the times of the Romans. The
pillars of marble were quite brown with age, and bound together with
iron to keep them from falling to pieces. It was a striking contrast to
see this relic of the past standing in the middle of a crowded
thoroughfare and surrounded by all the brilliance and display of modern

Once fairly out of the city we took the road to Pavia, along the banks
of the canal, just as the rising sun gilded the marble spire of the
Duomo. The country was a perfect level, and the canal, which was in many
places higher than the land through which it passed, served also as a
means of irrigation for the many rice-fields. The sky grew cloudy and
dark, and before we reached Pavia gathered to a heavy storm. Torrents of
rain poured down, accompanied with heavy thunder; we crept under an old
gateway for shelter, as no house was near. Finally, as it cleared away,
the square brown towers of the old city rose above the trees, and we
entered the gate through a fine shaded avenue. Our passports were of
course demanded, but we were only detained a minute or two. The only
thing of interest is the University, formerly so celebrated; it has at
present about eight hundred students.

We have reason to remember the city from another circumstance--the
singular attention we excited. I doubt if Columbus was an object of
greater curiosity to the simple natives of the new world, than we three
Americans were to the good people of Pavia. I know not what part of our
dress or appearance could have caused it, but we were watched like wild
animals. If we happened to pause and look at anything in the street,
there was soon a crowd of attentive observers, and as we passed on,
every door and window was full of heads. We stopped in the marketplace
to purchase some bread and fruit for dinner, which increased, if
possible, the sensation. We saw eyes staring and fingers pointing at us
from every door and alley. I am generally willing to contribute as much
as possible to the amusement or entertainment of others, but such
attention was absolutely embarrassing. There was nothing to do but to
appear unconscious of it, and we went along with as much nonchalance as
if the whole town belonged to us.

We crossed the Ticino, on whose banks near Pavia, was fought the first
great battle between Hannibal and the Romans. On the other side our
passports were demanded at the Sardinian frontier and our knapsacks
searched, which having proved satisfactory, we were allowed to enter the
kingdom. Late in the afternoon we reached the Po, which in winter must
be quarter of a mile wide, but the summer heats had dried it up to a
small stream, so that the bridge of boats rested nearly its whole length
in sand. We sat on the bank in the shade, and looked at the chain of
hills which rose in the south, following the course of the Po, crowned
with castles and villages and shining towers. It was here that I first
began to realize Italian scenery. Although the hills were bare, they lay
so warm and glowing in the sunshine, and the deep blue sky spread so
calmly above, that it recalled all my dreams of the fair clime we had

We stopped for the night at the little village of Casteggio, which lies
at the foot of the hills, and next morning resumed our pilgrimage. Here
a new delight awaited us. The sky was of a heavenly blue, without even
the shadow of a cloud, and full and fair in the morning sunshine we
could see the whole range of the Alps, from the blue hills of Friuli,
which sweep down to Venice and the Adriatic, to the lofty peaks which
stretch away to Nice and Marseilles! Like a summer cloud, except that
they were far more dazzling and glorious, lay to the north of us the
glaciers and untrodden snow-fields of the Bernese Oberland; a little to
the right we saw the double peak of St. Gothard, where six days before
we shivered in the region of eternal winter, while far to the north-west
rose the giant dome of Mount Blanc. Monte Rosa stood near him, not far
from the Great St. Bernard, and further to the south Mont Cenis guarded
the entrance from Piedmont into France. I leave you to conceive the
majesty of such a scene, and you may perhaps imagine, for I cannot
describe the feelings with which I gazed upon it.

At Tortona, the next post, a great market was being held; the town was
filled with country people selling their produce, and with venders of
wares of all kinds. Fruit was very abundant--grapes, ripe figs, peaches
and melons were abundant, and for a trifle one could purchase a
sumptuous banquet. On inquiring the road to Novi, the people made us
understand, after much difficulty, that there was a nearer way across
the country, which came into the post-road again, and we concluded to
take it. After two or three hours' walking in a burning sun, where our
only relief was the sight of the Alps and a view of the battle-field of
Marengo, which lay just on our right, we came to a stand--the road
terminated at a large stream, where workmen were busily engaged in
making a bridge across. We pulled off our boots and waded through, took
a refreshing bath in the clear waters, and walked on through by-lanes.
The sides were lined with luxuriant vines, bending under the ripening
vintage, and we often cooled our thirst with some of the rich bunches.

The large branch of the Po we crossed, came down from the mountains,
which we were approaching. As we reached the post-road again, they were
glowing in the last rays of the sun, and the evening vapors that settled
over the plain concealed the distant Alps, although the snowy top of the
Jungfrau and her companions the Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn, rose above
it like the hills of another world. A castle or church of brilliant
white marble glittered on the summit of one of the mountains near us,
and as the sun went down without a cloud, the distant summits changed in
hue to a glowing purple, amounting almost to crimson, which afterwards
darkened into a deep violet. The western half of the sky was of a pale
orange, and the eastern a dark red, which blended together in the blue
of the zenith, that deepened as twilight came on. I know not if it was a
fair specimen of an Italian sunset, but I must say, without wishing to
be partial, that though certainly very soft and beautiful, there is no
comparison with the splendor of such a scene in America. The day-sky of
Italy better deserves its reputation. Although no clearer than our own,
it is of a far brighter blue, arching above us like a dome of sapphire
and seeming to sparkle all over with a kind of crystal transparency.

We stopped the second night at Arquato, a little village among the
mountains, and after having bargained with the merry landlord for our
lodgings, in broken Italian, took a last look at the plains of Piedmont
and the Swiss Alps, in the growing twilight. We gazed out on the
darkening scene till the sky was studded with stars, and went to rest
with the exciting thought of seeing Genoa and the Mediterranean on the
morrow. Next morning we started early, and after walking some distance
made our breakfast in a grove of chesnuts, on the cool mountain side,
beside a fresh stream of water. The sky shone like a polished gem, and
the glossy leaves of the chesnuts gleamed in the morning sun. Here and
there, on a rocky height, stood the remains of some knightly castle,
telling of the Goths and Normans who descended through these mountain
passes to plunder Rome.

As the sun grew high, the heat and dust became intolerable, and this, in
connection with the attention we raised everywhere, made us somewhat
tired of foot-traveling in Italy. I verily believe the people took us
for pilgrims on account of our long white blouses, and had I a scallop
shell I would certainly have stuck it into my hat to complete the
appearance. We stopped once to ask a priest the road; when he had told
us, he shook hands with us and gave us a parting benediction. At the
common inns, where we stopped, we always met with civil treatment,
though, indeed, as we only slept in them, there was little chance of
practising imposition. We bought our simple meals at the baker's and
grocer's, and ate them in the shade of the grape-bowers, whose rich
clusters added to the repast. In this manner, we enjoyed Italy at the
expense of a franc, daily. About noon, after winding about through the
narrow defiles, the road began ascending. The reflected heat from the
hills on each side made it like an oven; there was not a breath of air
stirring; but we all felt, although no one said it, that from the summit
we could see the Mediterranean, and we pushed on as if life or death
depended on it. Finally, the highest point came in sight--we redoubled
our exertions, and a few minutes more brought us to the top, breathless
with fatigue and expectation. I glanced down the other side--there lay a
real sea of mountains, all around; the farthest peaks rose up afar and
dim, crowned with white towers, and between two of them which stood
apart like the pillars of a gateway, we saw the broad expanse of water
stretching away to the horizon--

To where the blue of heaven on bluer waves shut down!"

It would have been a thrilling sight to see any ocean, when one has
rambled thousands of miles among the mountains and vales of the inland,
but to behold this sea, of all others, was glorious indeed! This sea,
whose waves wash the feet of Naples, Constantinople and Alexandria, and
break on the hoary shores where Troy and Tyre and Carthage have
mouldered away!--whose breast has been furrowed by the keels of a
hundred nations through more than forty centuries--from the first rude
voyage of Jason and his Argonauts, to the thunders of Navarino that
heralded the second birth of Greece! You cannot wonder we grew romantic;
but short space was left for sentiment in the burning sun, with Genoa to
be reached before night. The mountain we crossed is called the Bochetta,
one of the loftiest of the sea-Alps (or Apennines)--the road winds
steeply down towards the sea, following a broad mountain rivulet, now
perfectly dried up, as nearly every stream among the mountains is. It
was a long way to us; the mountains seemed as if they would never unfold
and let us out on the shore, and our weary limbs did penance enough for
a multitude of sins. The dusk was beginning to deepen over the bay and
the purple hues of sunset were dying away from its amphitheatre of
hills, as we came in sight of the gorgeous city. Half the population
were out to celebrate a festival, and we made our entry in the triumphal
procession of some saint.



Have you ever seen some grand painting of a city, rising with its domes
and towers and palaces from the edge of a glorious bay, shut in by
mountains--the whole scene clad in those deep, delicious, sunny hues
which you admire so much in the picture, although they appear unrealized
in Nature? If so, you can figure to yourself Genoa, as she looked to us
at sunset, from the battlements west of the city. When we had passed
through the gloomy gate of the fortress that guards the western
promontory, the whole scene opened at once on us in all its majesty. It
looked to me less like a real landscape than a mighty panoramic
painting. The battlements where we were standing, and the blue mirror of
the Mediterranean just below, with a few vessels moored near the shore,
made up the foreground; just in front lay the queenly city, stretching
out to the eastern point of the bay, like a great meteor---this point,
crowned with the towers and dome of a cathedral representing the
nucleus, while the tail gradually widened out and was lost among the
numberless villas that reached to the top of the mountains behind. A
mole runs nearly across the mouth of the harbor, with a tall light-house
at its extremity, leaving only a narrow passage for vessels. As we
gazed, a purple glow lay on the bosom of the sea, while far beyond the
city, the eastern half of the mountain crescent around the gulf was
tinted with the loveliest hue of orange. The impressions which one
derives from looking on remarkable scenery, depend, for much of their
effect, on the time and weather. I have been very fortunate in this
respect in two instances, and shall carry with me through life, two
glorious pictures of a very different character--the wild sublimity of
the Brocken in cloud and storm, and the splendor of Genoa in an Italian

Genoa has been called the "city of palaces." and it well deserves the
appellation. Row above row of magnificent structures rise amid gardens
along the side of the hills, and many of the streets, though narrow and
crooked, are lined entirely with the splendid dwellings of the Genoese
nobles. All these speak of the republic in its days of wealth and power,
when it could cope successfully with Venice, and Doria could threaten to
bridle the horses of St. Mark. At present its condition is far
different; although not so fallen as its rival, it is but a shadow of
its former self--the life and energy it possessed as a republic, has
withered away under the grasp of tyranny.

We entered Genoa, as I have already said, in a religious procession. On
passing the gate we saw from the concourse of people and the many
banners hanging from the windows or floating across the streets, that it
was the day of a festa. Before entering the city we reached the
procession itself, which was one of unusual solemnity. As it was
impossible in the dense crowd, to pass it, we struggled through till we
reached a good point for seeing the whole, and slowly moved on with it
through the city. First went a company of boys in white robes; then
followed a body of friars, dressed in long black cassocks, and with
shaven crowns; then a company of soldiers with a band of music; then a
body of nuns, wrapped from head to foot in blue robes, leaving only a
small place to see out of--in the dusk they looked very solemn and
ghost-like, and their low chant had to me something awful and sepulchral
in it; then followed another company of friars, and after that a great
number of priests in white and black robes, bearing the statue of the
saint, with a pyramid of flowers, crosses and blazing wax tapers, while
companies of soldiery, monks and music brought up the rear. Armed guards
walked at intervals on each side of the procession, to keep the way
clear and prevent disturbance; two or three bands played solemn airs,
alternating with the deep monotonous chanting of the friars. The whole
scene, dimly lighted by the wax tapers, produced in me a feeling nearly
akin to fear, as if I were witnessing some ghostly, unearthly spectacle.
To rites like these, however, which occur every few weeks, the people
must be well accustomed.

Among the most interesting objects in Genoa, is the Doria palace, fit
in its splendor for a monarch's residence. It stands in the _Strada
Nova_, one of the three principal streets, and I believe is still in the
possession of the family. There are many others through the city,
scarcely less magnificent, among which that of the Durazzo family may be
pointed out. The American consulate is in one of these old edifices,
with a fine court-yard and ceilings covered with frescoes. Mr. Moro, the
Vice Consul, did us a great kindness, which I feel bound to acknowledge,
although it will require the disclosure of some private, and perhaps
uninteresting circumstances. On leaving Frankfort, we converted--for the
sake of convenience--the greater part of our funds into a draft on a
Saxon merchant in Leghorn, reserving just enough, as we supposed, to
take us thither. As in our former case, in Germany, the sum was too
small, which we found to our dismay on reaching Milan. Notwithstanding
we had traveled the whole ninety miles from that city to Genoa for three
francs each, in the hope of having enough, left to enable _one_ at least
to visit Leghorn, the expenses for a passport in Genoa (more than twenty
francs) prevented this plan. I went therefore to the Vice Consul to
ascertain whether the merchant on whom the draft was drawn, had any
correspondents there, who might advance a portion of it. His secretary
made many inquiries, but without effect; Mr. Moro then generously
offered to furnish me with means to reach Leghorn, whence I could easily
remit a sufficient sum to my two comrades. This put an end to our
anxiety, (for I must confess we could not help feeling some), and I
therefore prepared to leave that evening in the "Virgilio."

The feelings with which I look on this lovely land, are fast changing.
What with the dust and heat, and cheating landlords, and the dull plains
of Lombardy, my first experience was not very prepossessing. But the
joyous and romantic anticipation with which I looked forward to
realizing the dream of my earliest boyhood, is now beginning to be
surpassed by the exciting reality. Every breath I drew in the city of
Columbus and Doria, was deeply tinctured with the magic of history and
romance. It was like entering on a new existence, to look on scenes so
lovely by nature and so filled with the inspiring memories of old.

"Italia too, Italia! looking on thee,
Full flashes on the soul the light of ages,
Since the fierce Carthagenian almost won thee,
To the last halo of the chiefs and sages
Who glorify thy consecrated pages!
Thou wert the throne and grave of empires."

The _Virgilio_ was advertised to leave at six o'clock, and I accordingly
went out to her in a little boat half an hour beforehand; but we were
delayed much longer, and I saw sunset again fade over the glorious
amphitheatre of palaces and mountains, with the same orange glow--the
same purple and crimson flush, deepening into twilight--as before. An
old blind man in a skiff, floated around under the bows of the boat on
the glassy water, singing to the violin a plaintive air that appeared to
be an evening hymn to the virgin. There was something very touching in
his venerable countenance, with the sightless eyes turned upward to the
sunset heaven whose glory he could never more behold.

The lamps were lit on the tower at the end of the mole as we glided out
on the open sea; I stood on deck and watched the receding lights of the
city, till they and the mountains above them, were blended with the
darkened sky. The sea-breeze was fresh and cool, and the stars glittered
with a frosty clearness, which would have made the night delicious had
not a slight rolling of the waves obliged me to go below. Here, besides
being half seasick, I was placed at the mercy of many voracious fleas,
who obstinately stayed, persisting in keeping me company. This was the
first time I had suffered from these cannibals, and such were my
torments, I almost wished some blood-thirsty Italian would come and put
an end to them with his stiletto.

The first ray of dawn that stole into the cabin sent me on deck. The
hills of Tuscany lay in front, sharply outlined on the reddening sky;
near us was the steep and rocky isle of Gorgona; and far to the
south-west, like a low mist along the water, ran the shores of
Corsica--the birth place of Columbus and Napoleon![***] As the dawn
brightened we saw on the southern horizon a cloud-like island, also
imperishably connected with the name of the latter--the prison-kingdom
of Elba! North of us extended the rugged mountains of Carrarra--that
renowned range whence has sprung many a form of almost breathing beauty,
and where yet slumber, perhaps, in the unhewn marble, the god-like
shapes of an age of art, more glorious than any the world has ever yet

[Footnote ***: By recent registers found in Corsica, it has been
determined that this island also gave birth to the discoverer of the new

The sun rose from behind the Apennines and masts and towers became
visible through the golden haze, as we approached the shore. On a flat
space between the sea and the hills, not far from the foot of Montenero,
stands Leghorn. The harbor is protected by a mole, leaving a narrow
passage, through which we entered, and after waiting two hours for the
visit of the health and police officers, we were permitted to go on
shore. The first thing that struck me, was the fine broad streets; the
second, the motley character of the population. People were hurrying
about noisy and bustling--Greeks in their red caps and capotes; grave
turbaned and bearded Turks; dark Moors; the Corsair-looking natives of
Tripoli and Tunis, and seamen of nearly every nation. At the hotel where
I stayed, we had a singular mixture of nations at dinner:--two French,
two Swiss, one Genoese, one Roman, one American and one Turk--and we
were waited on by a Tuscan and an Arab! We conversed together in four
languages, all at once.

To the merchant, Leghorn is of more importance than to the traveler. Its
extensive trade, not only in the manufactures of Tuscany, but also in
the productions of the Levant, makes it important to the former, while
the latter seeks in vain for fine buildings, galleries of art, or in
interesting historical reminiscences. Through the kind attention of the
Saxon Consul, to whom I had letters, two or three days went by

The only place of amusement here in summer is a drive along the sea
shore, called the Ardenza, which is frequented every evening by all who
can raise a vehicle. I visited it twice with a German friend. We met one
evening the Princess Corsini, wife of the Governor of Leghorn, on
horseback--a young, but not pretty woman. The road leads out along the
Mediterranean, past an old fortress, to a large establishment for the
sea bathers, where it ends in a large ring, around which the carriages
pass and re-pass, until sunset has gone out over the sea, when they
return to the city in a mad gallop, or as fast as the lean horses can
draw them.

In driving around, we met two or three carriages of Turks, in one of
which I saw a woman of Tunis, with a curious gilded head-dress, eighteen
inches in height.

I saw one night a Turkish funeral. It passed me in one of the outer
streets, on its way to the Turkish burying ground. Those following the
coffin, which was covered with a heavy black pall, wore white turbans
and long white robes--the mourning color of the Turks. Torches were
borne by attendants, and the whole company passed on at a quick pace.
Seen thus by night, it had a strange and spectral appearance.

There is another spectacle here which was exceedingly revolting to me.
The condemned criminals, chained two and two, are kept at work through
the city, cleaning the streets. They are dressed in coarse garments of a
dirty red color, with the name of the crime for which they were
convicted, painted on the back. I shuddered to see so many marked with
the words--"_omicidio premeditato_." All day they are thus engaged,
exposed to the scorn and contumely of the crowd, and at night dragged
away to be incarcerated in damp, unwholesome dungeons, excavated under
the public thoroughfares.

The employment of criminals in this way is common in Italy. Two days
after crossing St. Gothard, we saw a company of abject-looking
creatures, eating their dinner by the road-side, near Bellinzona. One of
them had a small basket of articles of cotton and linen, and as he rose
up to offer them to us, I was startled by the clank of fetters. They
were all employed to labor on the road.

On going down to the wharf in Leghorn, in the morning, two or three days
ago, I found F---- and B---- just stepping on shore from the steamboat,
tired enough of the discomforts of the voyage, yet anxious to set out
for Florence as soon as possible. After we had shaken off the crowd of
porters, pedlars and vetturini, and taken a hasty breakfast at the _Cafe
Americano_, we went to the Police Office to get our passports, and had
the satisfaction of paying two francs for permission to proceed to
Florence. The weather had changed since the preceding day, and the
sirocco-wind which blows over from the coast of Africa, filled the
streets with clouds of dust, which made walking very unpleasant. The
clear blue sky had vanished, and a leaden cloud hung low on the
Mediterranean, hiding the shores of Corsica and the rooky isles of
Gorgona and Capraja.

The country between Leghorn and Pisa, is a flat marsh, intersected in
several places by canals to carry off the stagnant water which renders
this district so unhealthy. It is said that the entire plain between the
mountains of Carrarra and the hills back of Leghorn has been gradually
formed by the deposits of the Arno and the receding of the
Mediterranean, which is so shallow along the whole coast, that large
vessels have to anchor several miles out. As we approached Pisa over the
level marsh, I could see the dome of the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower
rising above the gardens and groves which surround it.

Our baggage underwent another examination at the gate, where we were
again assailed by the vetturini, one of whom hung on us like a leech
till we reached a hotel, and there was finally no way of shaking him off
except by engaging him to take us to Florence. The bargain having been
concluded, we had still a few hours left and set off to hunt the
Cathedral. We found it on an open square near the outer wall, and quite
remote from the main part of the town. Emerging from the narrow and
winding street, one takes in et a glance the Baptistery, the Campo
Santo, the noble Cathedral and the Leaning Tower--forming altogether a
view rarely surpassed in Europe for architectural effect. But the square
is melancholy and deserted, and rank, untrampled grass fills the
crevices of its marble pavement.

I was surprised at the beauty of the Leaning Tower. Instead of all old,
black, crumbling fabric, as I always supposed, it is a light, airy,
elegant structure, of white marble, and its declension, which is
interesting as a work of art (or accident,) is at the same time pleasing
from its novelty. There have been many conjectures as to the cause of
this deviation, which is upwards of fourteen feet from the
perpendicular; it is now generally believed that the earth having sunk
when the building was half finished, it was continued by the architects
in the same angle. The upper gallery, which is smaller than the others,
shows a very perceptible inclination back towards the perpendicular, as
if in some degree to counterbalance the deviation of the other part.
There are eight galleries in all, supported by marble pillars, but the
inside of the Tower is hollow to the very top.

We ascended by the same stairs which were trodden so often by Galileo in
going up to make his astronomical observations; in climbing spirally
around the hollow cylinder in the dark, it was easy to tell on which
side of the Tower we were, from the proportionate steepness of the
staircase. There is a fine view from the top, embracing the whole plain
as far as Leghorn on one side, with its gardens and grain fields spread
out like a vast map. In a valley of the Carrarrese Mountains to the
north, we could see the little town of Lucca, much frequented at this
season on account of its baths; the blue summits of the Appenines shut
in the view to the east. In walking through the city I noticed two other
towers, which had nearly as great a deviation from the perpendicular. We
met a person who had the key of the Baptistery, which he opened for us.
Two ancient columns covered with rich sculpture form the doorway, and
the dome is supported by massive pillars of the red marble of Elba. The
baptismal font is of the purest Parian marble. The most remarkable thing
was the celebrated musical echo. Our cicerone stationed himself at the
side of the font and sang a few notes. After a moment's pause they were
repeated aloft in the dome, but with a sound of divine sweetness--as
clear and pure as the clang of a crystal bell. Another pause--and we
heard them again, higher, fainter and sweeter, followed by a dying note,
as if they were fading far away into heaven. It seemed as if an angel
lingered in the temple, echoing with his melodious lips the common
harmonies of earth. Even thus does the music of good deeds, hardly noted
in our grosser atmosphere, awake a divine echo in the far world of

The Campo Santo, on the north side of the Cathedral, was, until lately,
the cemetery of the city; the space enclosed within its marble galleries
is filled to the depth of eight or ten feet, with earth from the Holy
Land. The vessels which carried the knights of Tuscany to Palestine were
filled at Joppa, on returning, with this earth as ballast, and on
arriving at Pisa it was deposited in the Cemetery. It has the peculiar
property of decomposing all human bodies, in the space of two days. A
colonnade of marble encloses it, with windows of the most exquisite
sculpture opening on the inside. They reminded me of the beautiful
Gothic oriels of Melrose. At each end are two fine, green cypresses,
which thrive remarkably in the soil of Palestine. The dust of a German
emperor, among others, rests in this consecrated ground. There are other
fine churches in Pisa, but the four buildings I have mentioned, are the
principal objects of interest. The tower where Count Ugolino and his
sons were starved to death by the citizens of Pisa, who locked them up
and threw the keys into the Arno, has lately been destroyed.

An Italian gentleman having made a bargain in the meantime with our
vetturino, we found every thing ready on returning to the hotel. On the
outside of the town we mounted into the vehicle, a rickety-looking
concern, and as it commenced raining, I was afraid we would have a bad
night of it. After a great deal of bargaining, the vetturino agreed to
take us to Florence that night for five francs a piece, provided one
person would sit on the outside with the driver. I accordingly mounted
on front, protected by a blouse and umbrella, for it was beginning to
rain dismally. The miserable, bare-boned horses were fastened with
rope-traces, and the vetturino having taken the rope-lines in his hand,
gave a flourish with his whip; one old horse tumbled nearly to the
ground, but he jerked him up again and we rattled off.

After riding ten miles in this way, it became so wet and dreary, that I
was fain to give the driver two francs extra, for the privilege of an
inside seat. Our Italian companion was agreeable and talkative, but as
we were still ignorant of the language, I managed to hold a scanty
conversation with him in French. He seemed delighted to learn that we
were from America; his polite reserve gave place to a friendly
familiarity and he was loud in his praises of the Americans. I asked him
why it was that he and the Italians generally, were so friendly towards
us. "I hardly know," he answered; "you are so different from any other
nation; and then, too, you have so much sincerity!"

The Appenines were wreathed and hidden in thick mist, and the prospect
over the flat cornfields bordering the road was not particularly
interesting. We had made about one-third of the way as night set in,
when on ascending a hill soon after dark, F---- happened to look out,
and saw one of the axles bent and nearly broken off. we were obliged to
get out and walk through the mud to the next village, when after two
hours' delay, the vetturino came along with another carriage. Of the
rest of the way to Florence, I cannot say much. Cramped up in the narrow
vehicle, we jolted along in the dark, rumbling now and then through some
silent village, where lamps were burning before the solitary shrines.
Sometimes a blinding light crossed the road, where we saw the
tile-makers sitting in the red glare of their kilns, and often the black
boughs of trees were painted momentarily on the cloudy sky. If the
jolting carriage had even permitted sleep, the horrid cries of the
vetturino, urging on his horses, would have prevented it; and I decided,
while trying to relieve my aching limbs, that three days' walking in sun
and sand was preferable to one night of such travel.

Finally about four o'clock in the morning the carriage stopped; my
Italian friend awoke and demanded the cause. "Signor," said the
vetturino, "we are in Florence!" I blessed the man, and the city too.
The good-humored officer looked at our passports and passed our baggage
without examination; we gave the gatekeeper a paul and he admitted us.
The carriage rolled through the dark, silent streets--passed a public
square--came out on the Arno--crossed and entered the city again--and
finally stopped at a hotel. The master of the "Lione Bianco" came down
in an undress to receive us, and we shut the growing dawn out of our
rooms to steal that repose from the day which the night had not given.



_Sept. 11._--Our situation here is as agreeable as we could well desire.
We have three large and handsomely furnished rooms, in the centre of the
city, for which we pay Signor Lazzeri, a wealthy goldsmith, ten scudo
per month--a scudo being a trifle more than an American dollar. We live
at the _Cafes_ and _Trattone_ very conveniently for twenty-five cents a
day, enjoying moreover, at our dinner in the Trattoria del Cacciatore,
the company of several American artists with whom we have become
acquainted. The day after our arrival we met at the table d'hote of the
"Lione Bianco," Dr. Boardman of New York, through whose assistance we
obtained our present lodgings. There are at present ten or twelve
American artists in Florence, and we promise ourselves much pleasure and
profit from their acquaintance. B---- and I are so charmed with the
place and the beautiful Tuscan dialect, that we shall endeavor to spend
three or four months here. F---- returns to Germany in two weeks, to
attend the winter term of the University at his favorite Heidelberg.

Our first walk in Florence was to the Royal Gallery--we wished to see
the "goddess living in stone" without delay. Crossing the neighboring
_Piazza del Granduca_, we passed Michael Angelo's colossal statue of
David, and an open gallery containing, besides some antiques, the
master-piece of John of Bologna. The palace of the _Uffizii_, fronting
on the Arno, extends along both sides of an avenue running back to the
Palazzo Vecchio. We entered the portico which passes around under the
great building, and after ascending three or four flights of steps, came
into a long hall, filled with paintings and ancient statuary. Towards
the end of this, a door opened into the Tribune--that celebrated room,
unsurpassed by any in the world for the number and value of the gems it
contains. I pushed aside a crimson curtain and stood in the presence of
the Venus.

It may be considered heresy, but I confess I did not at first go into
raptures, nor perceive any traces of superhuman beauty. The predominant
feeling, if I may so express it, was satisfaction; the eye dwells on its
faultless outline with a gratified sense, that nothing is wanting to
render it perfect. It is the ideal of a woman's form--a faultless
standard by which all beauty may be measured, but without striking
expression, except in the modest and graceful position of the limbs. The
face, though regular, is not handsome, and the body appears small, being
but five feet in height, which, I think, is a little below the average
stature of women. On each side, as if to heighten its elegance by
contrast with rude and unrefined nature, are the statues of the
Wrestlers, and the slave listening to the conspiracy of Catiline, called
also The Whetter.

As if to correspond with the value of the works it holds, the Tribune is
paved with precious marbles and the ceiling studded with polished
mother-of-pearl. A dim and subdued light fills the hall, which throws
over the mind that half-dreamy tone necessary to the full enjoyment of
such objects. On each side of the Venus de Medici hangs a Venus by
Titian, the size of life, and painted in that rich and gorgeous style of
coloring which has been so often and vainly attempted since his time.

Here are six of Raphael's best preserved paintings. I prefer the "St.
John in the Desert" to any other picture in the Tribune. His glorious
form, in the fair proportions of ripening boyhood--the grace of his
attitude, with the arm lifted eloquently on high--the divine inspiration
which illumines his young features--chain the step irresistibly before
it. It is one of those triumphs of the pencil which few but Raphael have
accomplished--the painting of _spirit_ in its loftiest and purest form.
Near it hangs the Fornarina, which he seems to have painted in as deep a
love as he entertained for the original. The face is modest and
beautiful, and filled with an expression of ardent and tender
attachment. I never tire looking upon either of these two.

Let me not forget, while we are in this peerless hall, to point out
Guercino's Samian Sybil. It is a glorious work. With her hands clasped
over her volume, she is looking up with a face full of deep and
expressive sadness. A picturesque turban is twined around her head, and
bands of pearls gleam amidst her rich, dark brown tresses. Her face
bears the softness of dawning womanhood, and nearly answers my ideal of
female beauty. The same artist has another fine picture here--a sleeping
Endymion. The mantle has fallen from his shoulders, as he reclines
asleep, with his head on his hand, and his crook beside him. The silver
crescent of Dian looks over his shoulder from the sky behind, and no
wonder if she should become enamored, for a lovelier shepherd has not
been seen since that of King Admetus went back to drive his chariot in
the heavens.

The "Drunken Bacchus" of Michael Angelo is greatly admired, and indeed
it might pass for a relic of the palmiest times of Grecian art. The
face, amidst its half-vacant, sensual expression, shows traces of its
immortal origin, and there is still an air of dignity preserved in the
swagger of his beautiful form. It is, in a word, the ancient idea of _a
drunken god_. It may be doubted whether the artist's talents might not
have been employed better than in ennobling intoxication. If he had
represented Bacchus as he really is--degraded even below the level of
humanity--it might be more beneficial to the mind, though less beautiful
to the eye. However, this is a question on which artists and moralists
cannot agree. Perhaps, too, the rich blood of the Falernian grape
produced a more godlike delirium than the vulgar brandy which oversets
the moderns!

At one end of the gallery is a fine copy in marble of the Laocoon, by
Bandinelli, one of the rivals of Michael Angelo. When it was finished,
the former boasted it was better than the original, to which Michael
made the apt reply: "It is foolish for those who walk in the footsteps
of others, to say they go before them!"

Let us enter the hall of Niobe. One starts back on seeing the many
figures in the attitude of flight, for they seem at first about to
spring from their pedestals. At the head of the room stands the
afflicted mother, bending over the youngest daughter who clings to her
knees, with an upturned countenance of deep and imploring agony. In
vain! the shafts of Apollo fall thick, and she will soon be childless.
No wonder the strength of that woe depicted on her countenance should
change her into stone. One of her sons--a beautiful, boyish form,--is
lying on his back, just expiring, with the chill langour of death
creeping over his limbs. We seem to hear the quick whistling of the
arrows, and look involuntarily into the air to see the hovering figure
of the avenging god. In a chamber near is kept the head of a faun, made
by Michael Angelo, at the age of fourteen, in the garden of Lorenzo de
Medici, from a piece of marble given him by the workmen.

The portraits of the painters are more than usually interesting. Every
countenance is full of character. There is the pale, enthusiastic face
of Raphael, the stern vigor of Titian, the majesty and dignity of
Leonardo da Vinci, and the fresh beauty of Angelica Kauffmann. I liked
best the romantic head of Raphael Mengs. In one of the rooms there is a
portrait of Alfieri, with an autograph sonnet of his own on the back of
it. The house in which he lived and died, is on the north bank of the
Arno, near the Ponte Caraja, and his ashes rest in Santa Croce.

Italy still remains the home of art, and it is but just she should keep
these treasures, though the age that brought them forth has passed away.
They are her only support now; her people are dependent for their
subsistence on the glory of the past. The spirits of the old painters,
living still on their canvass, earn from year to year the bread of an
indigent and oppressed people. This ought to silence those utilitarians
at home, who oppose the cultivation of the fine arts, on the ground of
their being useless luxuries. Let them look to Italy, where a picture by
Raphael or Correggio is a rich legacy for a whole city. Nothing is
useless that gratifies that perception of beauty, which is at once the
most delicate and the most intense of our mental sensations, binding us
by an unconscious link nearer to nature and to Him, whose every thought
is born of Beauty, Truth and Love. I envy not the one who looks with a
cold and indifferent spirit on these immortal creations of the old
masters--these poems written in marble and on the canvass. They who
oppose every thing which can refine and spiritualize the nature of man,
by binding him down to the cares of the work-day world alone, cheat life
of half its glory.

The eighth of this month was the anniversary of the birth of the Virgin,
and the celebration, if such it might be called, commenced the evening
before, It is the custom, and Heaven only knows how it originated, for
the people of the lower class to go through the streets in a company,
blowing little penny whistles. We were walking that night in the
direction of the Duomo, when we met a band of these men, blowing with
all their might on the shrill whistles, so that the whole neighborhood
resounded with one continual, piercing, ear-splitting shriek. They
marched in a kind of quick trot through the streets, followed by a crowd
of boys, and varying the noise occasionally by shouts and howls of the
most horrible character. They paraded through all the principal streets
of the city, which for an hour sent up such an agonizing scream that you
might have fancied it an enormous monster, expiring in great torment.
The people seemed to take the whole thing as a matter of course, but it
was to us a novel manner of ushering in a religious festival.

The sky was clear and blue, as it always is in this Italian paradise,
when we left Florence a few days ago for Fiesole. In spite of many
virtuous efforts to rise early, it was nine o'clock before we left the
Porta San Gallo, with its triumphal arch to the Emperor Francis,
striding the road to Bologna. We passed through the public walk at this
end of the city, and followed the road to Fiesole along the dried-up bed
of a mountain torrent. The dwellings of the Florentine nobility occupy
the whole slope, surrounded with rich and lovely gardens. The mountain
and plain are both covered with luxuriant olive orchards, whose foliage
of silver gray gives the scene the look of a moonlight landscape.

At the base of the mountain of Fiesole we passed one of the summer
palaces of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and a little distance beyond, took a
foot-path overshadowed by magnificent cypresses, between whose dark
trunks we looked down on the lovely Val d'Arno. But I will reserve all
description of the view till we arrive at the summit.

The modern village of Fiesole occupies the site of an ancient city,
generally supposed to be of Etrurian origin. Just above, on one of the
peaks of the mountain, stands the Acropolis, formerly used as a
fortress, but now untenanted save by a few monks. From the side of its
walls, beneath the shade of a few cypresses, there is a magnificent view
of the whole of Val d'Arno, with Florence--the gem of Italy--in the
centre. Stand with me a moment on the height, and let us gaze on this
grand panorama, around which the Apennines stretch with a majestic
sweep, wrapped in a robe of purple air, through which shimmer the villas
and villages on their sides! The lovely vale lies below us in its garb
of olive groves, among which beautiful villas are sprinkled as
plentifully as white anemones in the woods of May. Florence lies in
front of us, the magnificent cupola of the Duomo crowning its clustered
palaces. We see the airy tower of the Palazzo Vecchio--the new spire of
Santa Croce--and the long front of the Palazzo Pitti, with the dark
foliage of the Boboli Gardens behind. Beyond, far to the south, are the
summits of the mountains near Siena. We can trace the sandy bed of the
Arno down the valley till it disappears at the foot of the Lower
Apennines, which mingle in the distance with the mountains of Carrara.

Galileo was wont to make observations "at evening from the top of
Fiesole," and the square tower of the old church is still pointed out as
the spot. Many a night did he ascend to its projecting terrace, and
watch the stars as they rolled around through the clearest heaven to
which a philosopher ever looked up.

We passed through an orchard of fig trees, and vines laden with
beautiful purple and golden clusters, and in a few minutes reached the
remains of an amphitheatre, in a little nook on the mountain side. This
was a work of Roman construction, as its form indicates. Three or four
ranges of seats alone, are laid bare, and these have only been
discovered within a few years. A few steps further we came to a sort of
cavern, overhung with wild fig-trees. After creeping in at the entrance,
we found ourselves in an oval chamber, tall enough to admit of our
standing upright, and rudely but very strongly built. This was one of
the dens in which the wild beasts were kept; they were fed by a hole in
the top, now closed up. This cell communicates with four or five others,
by apertures broken in the walls. I stepped into one, and could see in
the dim light, that it was exactly similar to the first, and opened into
another beyond.

Further down the mountain we found the ancient wall of the city, without
doubt of Etrurian origin. It is of immense blocks of stone, and extends
more or less dilapidated around the whole brow of the mountain. In one
place there stands a solitary gateway, of large stones, which looks as
if it might have been one of the first attempts at using the principle
of the arch. These ruins are all gray and ivied, and it startles one to
think what a history Earth has lived through since their foundations
were laid!

We sat all the afternoon under the cypress trees and looked down on the
lovely valley, practising Italian sometimes with two young Florentines
who came up to enjoy the "_bell'aria_" of Fiesole. Descending as sunset
drew on, we reached the Porta San Gallo, as the people of Florence were
issuing forth to their evening promenade.

One of my first visits was to the church of Santa Croce. This is one of
the oldest in Florence, venerated alike by foreigners and citizens, for
the illustrious dead whose remains it holds. It is a plain, gloomy pile,
the front of which is still unfinished, though at the base, one sees
that it was originally designed to be covered with black marble. On
entering the door we first saw the tomb of Michael Angelo. Around the
marble sarcophagus which contains his ashes are three mourning figures,
representing Sculpture, Painting and Architecture, and his bust stands
above--a rough, stern countenance, like a man of vast but unrefined
mind. Further on are the tombs of Alfieri and Machiavelli and the
colossal cenotaph lately erected to Dante. Opposite reposes Galileo.
What a world of renown in these few names! It makes one venerate the
majesty of his race, to stand beside the dust of such lofty spirits.

Dante's monument may be said to be only erected to his memory; he sleeps
at the place of his exile,

"Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore!"

It is the work of Ricci, a Florentine artist, and has been placed there
within a few years. The colossal figure of Poetry weeping over the empty
urn, might better express the regret of Florence in being deprived of
his ashes. The figure of Dante himself, seated above, is grand and
majestic; his head is inclined as if in meditation, and his features
bear the expression of sublime thought. Were this figure placed there
alone, on a simple and massive pedestal, it would be more in keeping
with his fame than the lumbering heaviness of the present monument.

Machiavelli's tomb is adorned with a female figure representing History,
bearing his portrait. The inscription, which seems to be somewhat
exaggerated, is: _tanto nomini nullum par elogium_. Near lies Alfieri,
the "prince of tragedy," as he is called by the Italians. In his life he
was fond of wandering among the tombs of Santa Croce, and it is said
that there the first desire and presentiment of his future glory stirred
within his breast. Now he slumbers among them, not the least honored
name of that immortal company.

Galileo's tomb is adorned with his bust. His face is calm and dignified,
and he holds appropriately in his hands, a globe and telescope. Aretino,
the historian, lies on his tomb with a copy of his works clasped to his
breast; above that of Lanzi, the historian of painting, there is a
beautiful fresco of the angel of fame; and opposite to him is the
scholar Lamio. The most beautiful monument in the church is that of a
Polish princess, in the transept. She is lying on the bier, her features
settled in the repose of death, and her thin, pale hands clasped across
her breast. The countenance wears that half-smile, "so coldly sweet and
sadly fair," which so often throws a beauty over the face of the dead,
and the light pall reveals the fixed yet graceful outline of the form.

In that part of the city, which lies on the south bank of the Arno, is
the palace of the Grand Duke, known by the name of the Palazzo Pitti,
from a Florentine noble of that name, by whom it was first built. It is
a very large, imposing pile, preserving an air of lightness in spite of
the rough, heavy stones of which it is built. It is another example of a
magnificent failure. The Marquis Strozzi, having built a palace which
was universally admired for its beauty, (which stands yet, a model of
chaste and massive elegance,) his rival, the Marquis Pitti, made the
proud boast that he would build a palace, in the court-yard of which
could bo placed that of Strozzi. These are actually the dimensions of
the court-yard; but in building the palace, although he was liberally
assisted by the Florentine people, he ruined himself, and his
magnificent residence passed into other hands, while that of Strozzi is
inhabited by his descendants to this very day.

The gallery of the Palazzo Pitti is one of the finest in Europe. It
contains six or seven hundred paintings, selected from the best works of
the Italian masters. By the praiseworthy liberality of the Duke, they
are open to the public, six hours every day, and the rooms are thronged
with artists of all nations.

Among Titian's works, there is his celebrated "Bella," a half-length
figure of a young woman. It is a masterpiece of warm and brilliant
coloring, without any decided expression. The countenance is that of
vague, undefined thought, as of one who knew as yet nothing of the
realities of life. In another room is his Magdalen, a large, voluptuous
form, with her brown hair falling like a veil over her shoulders and
breast, but in her upturned countenance one can sooner read a prayer for
an absent lover than repentance for sins she has committed.

What could excel in beauty the _Madonna della Sedia_ of Raphael? It is
another of those works of that divine artist, on which we gaze and gaze
with a never-tiring enjoyment of its angelic beauty. To my eye it is
faultless; I could not wish a single outline of form, a single shade of
color changed. Like his unrivalled Madonna in the Dresden Gallery, its
beauty is spiritual as well as earthly; and while gazing on the glorious
countenance of the Jesus-child, I feel an impulse I can scarcely
explain--a longing to tear it from the canvas as if it were a breathing
form, and clasp it to my heart in a glow of passionate love. What a
sublime inspiration Raphael must have felt when he painted it! Judging
from its effect on the beholder, I can conceive of no higher mental
excitement than that required to create it.

Here are also some of the finest and best preserved pictures of Salvator
Rosa, and his portrait--a wild head, full of spirit and genius. Besides
several landscapes in his savage and stormy style, there are two large
sea-views, in which the atmosphere is of a deep and exquisite softness,
without impairing the strength and boldness of the composition. "A
Battle Scene," is terrible. Hundreds of combatants are met in the shock
and struggle of conflict. Horses, mailed knights, vassals are mixed
together in wild confusion; banners are waving and lances flashing amid
the dust and smoke, while the wounded and dying are trodden under foot
in darkness and blood. I now first begin to comprehend the power and
sublimity of his genius. From the wildness and gloom of his pictures, he
might almost be called the Byron of painters.

There is a small group of the "Fates," by Michael Angelo, which is one
of the best of the few pictures which remain of him. As is well known,
he disliked the art, saying it was only fit for women. This picture
shows, however, how much higher he might have gone, had he been so
inclined. The three weird sisters are ghostly and awful--the one who
stands behind, holding the distaff, almost frightful. She who stands
ready to cut the thread as it is spun out, has a slight trace of pity on
her fixed and unearthly lineaments. It is a faithful embodiment of the
old Greek idea of the Fates. I have wondered why some artist has not
attempted the subject in a different way. In the Northern Mythology they
are represented as wild maidens, armed with swords and mounted on fiery
coursers. Why might they not also be pictured as angels, with
countenances of a sublime and mysterious beauty--one all radiant with
hope and promise of glory, and one with the token of a better future
mingled with the sadness with which it severs the links of life?

There are many, many other splendid works in this collection, but it is
unnecessary to mention them. I have only endeavored, by taking a few of
the best known, to give some idea of them as they appear to me. There
are hundreds of pictures here, which, though gems in themselves, are by
masters who are rarely heard of in America, and it would be of little
interest to go through the Gallery, describing it in guide-book fashion.
Indeed, to describe galleries, however rich and renowned they may be, is
in general a work of so much difficulty, that I know not whether the
writer or the reader is made most tired thereby.

This collection possesses also the celebrated statue of Venus, by
Canova. She stands in the centre of a little apartment, filled with the
most delicate and graceful works of painting. Although undoubtedly a
figure of great beauty, it by no means struck me as possessing that
exquisite and classic perfection which has been ascribed to it. The
Venus de Medici far surpasses it. The head is larger in proportion to
the size of the body, than that of the latter, but has not the same
modest, virgin expression. The arm wrapped in the robe which she is
pressing to her breast, is finely executed, but the fingers of the other
hand are bad--looking, as my friend said, as if the ends were _whittled_
off! The body is, however, of fine proportions, though, taken as a
whole, the statue is inferior to many other of Canova's works.

Occupying all the hill back of the Pitti Palace, are the Boboli Gardens,
three times a week the great resort of the Florentines. They are said to
be the most beautiful gardens in Italy. Numberless paths, diverging from
a magnificent amphitheatre in the old Roman style, opposite the
court-yard, lend either in long flights of steps and terraces, or gentle
windings among beds sweet with roses, to the summit. Long avenues,
entirely arched and interwoven with the thick foliage of the laurel,
which here grows to a tree, stretch along the slopes or wind in the
woods through thickets of the fragrant bay. Parterres, rich with flowers
and shrubbery, alternate with delightful groves of the Italian pine,
acacia and laurel-leaved oak, and along the hillside, gleaming among the
foliage, are placed statues of marble, some of which are from the
chisels of Michael Angelo and Bandinelli. In one part there is a little
sheet of water, with an island of orange-trees in the centre, from which
a broad avenue of cypresses and statues leads to the very summit of the

We often go there to watch the sun set over Florence and the vale of the
Arno. The palace lies directly below, and a clump of pine-trees on the
hillside, that stand out in bold relief on the glowing sky, makes the
foreground to one of the loveliest pictures this side of the Atlantic. I
saw one afternoon the Grand Duke and his family get into their carriage
to drive out. One of the little dukes, who seemed a mischievous imp, ran
out on a projection of the portico, where considerable persuasion had to
be used to induce him to jump into the arms of his royal papa. I turned
from these titled infants to watch a group of beautiful American
children playing, for my attention was drawn to them by the sound of
familiar words, and I learned afterwards they were the children of the
sculptor Powers. I contrasted involuntarily the destinies of each;--one
to the enjoyment and proud energy of freedom, and one to the confining
and vitiating atmosphere of a court. The merry voices of the latter, as
they played on the grass, came to my ears most gratefully. There is
nothing so sweet as to hear one's native tongue in a foreign land from
the lips of children!



A pilgrimage to Vallombrosa!--in sooth it has a romantic sound. The
phrase calls up images of rosaries, and crosses, and shaven-headed
friars. Had we lived in the olden days, such things might verily have
accompanied our journey to that holy monastery. We might then have gone
barefoot, saying prayers as we toiled along the banks of the Arno and up
the steep Appenines, as did Benevenuto Cellini, before he poured the
melted bronze into the mould of his immortal Perseus. But we are
pilgrims to the shrines of Art and Genius; the dwelling-places of great
minds are our sanctuaries. The mean dwelling, in which a poet has
battled down poverty with the ecstacy of his mighty conceptions, and the
dungeon in which a persecuted philosopher has languished, are to us
sacred; we turn aside from the palaces of kings and the battle-fields of
conquerors, to visit them. The famed miracles of San Giovanni Gualberto
added little, in our eyes, to the interest of Vallombrosa, but there
were reverence and inspiration in the names of Dante, Milton, and

We left Florence early, taking the way that leads from the Porta della
Croce, up the north bank of the Arno. It was a bright morning, but there
was a shade of vapor on the hills, which a practised eye might have
taken as a prognostic of the rain that too soon came on. Fiesole, with
its tower and Acropolis, stood out brightly from the blue background,
and the hill of San Miniato lay with its cypress groves in the softest
morning light. The _Contadini_ were driving into the city in their
basket wagons, and there were some fair young faces among them, that
made us think Italian beauty was not altogether in the imagination.

After walking three or four miles, we entered the Appenines, keeping
along the side of the Arno, whose bed is more than half dried up from
the long summer heats. The mountain sides were covered with vineyards,
glowing with their wealth of white and purple grapes, but the summits
were naked and barren. We passed through the little town of Ponte Sieve,
at the entrance of a romantic valley, where our view of the Arno was
made more interesting by the lofty range of the Appenines, amid whose
forests we could see the white front of the monastery of Vallombrosa.
But the clouds sank low and hid it from sight, and the rain came on so
hard that we were obliged to take shelter occasionally in the cottages
by the wayside. In one of these we made a dinner of the hard, black
bread of the country, rendered palatable by the addition of mountain
cheese and some chips of an antique Bologna sausage. We were much amused
in conversing with the simple hosts and their shy, gipsy-like children,
one of whom, a dark-eyed, curly-haired boy, bore the name of Raphael. We
also became acquainted with a shoemaker and his family, who owned a
little olive orchard and vineyard, which they said produced enough to
support them. Wishing to know much a family of six consumed in a year,
we inquired the yield of their property. They answered, twenty small
barrels of wine, and ten of oil. It was nearly sunset when we reached
Pellago, and the wet walk and coarse fare we were obliged to take on the
road, well qualified us to enjoy the excellent supper the pleasant
landlady gave us.

This little town is among the Appenines, at the foot of the magnificent
mountain of Vallombrosa. What a blessing it was for Milton, that he saw
its loveliness before his eyes closed on this beautiful earth, and
gained from it another hue in which to dip his pencil, when he painted
the bliss of Eden! I watched the hills all day as we approached them,
and thought how often his eyes had rested on their outlines, and how he
had carried their forms in his memory for many a sunless year. The
banished Dante, too, had trodden them, flying from his ungrateful
country; and many another, whose genius has made him a beacon in the
dark sea of the world's history. It is one of those places where the
enjoyment is all romance, and the blood thrills as we gaze upon it.

We started early next morning, crossed the ravine, and took the
well-paved way to the monastery along the mountain side. The stones are
worn smooth by the sleds in which ladies and provisions are conveyed up,
drawn by the beautiful white Tuscan oxen. The hills are covered with
luxuriant chesnut and oak trees, of those picturesque forms which they
only wear in Italy: one wild dell in particular is much resorted to by
painters for the ready-made foregrounds it supplies. Further on, we
passed the _Paterno_, a rich farm belonging to the Monks. The vines
which hung from tree to tree, were almost breaking beneath clusters as
heavy and rich as those which the children of Israel bore on staves from
the Promised Land. Of their flavor, we can say, from experience, they
were worthy to have grown in Paradise. We then entered a deep dell of
the mountain, where little shepherd girls were sitting on the rocks
tending their sheep and spinning with their fingers from a distaff, in
the same manner, doubtless, as the Roman shepherdesses two thousand
years ago. Gnarled, gray olive trees, centuries old, grew upon the bare
soil, and a little rill fell in many a tiny cataract down the glen. By a
mill, in one of the coolest and wildest nooks I ever saw, two of us
acted the part of water-spirits under one of these, to the great
astonishment of four peasants, who watched us from a distance.

Beyond, our road led through forests of chesnut and oak, and a broad
view of mountain and vale lay below us. We asked a peasant boy we met,
how much land the Monks of Vallombrosa possessed. "_All that you see_!"
was the reply. The dominion of the good fathers reached once even to the
gates of Florence. At length, about noon, we emerged from the woods into
a broad avenue leading across a lawn, at whose extremity stood the
massivs buildings of the monastery. On a rock that towered above it, was
the _Paradisino_, beyond which rose the mountain, covered with forests--

"Shade above shade, a woody theatre.
Of stateliest view"--

as Milton describes it. We were met at the entrance by a young monk in
cowl and cassock, to whom we applied for permission to stay till the
next day, which was immediately given. Brother Placido (for that was his
name) then asked us if we would not have dinner. We replied that our
appetites were none the worse for climbing the mountain; and in half an
hour sat down to a dinner, the like of which we had not seen for a long
time. Verily, thought I, it must be a pleasant thing to be a monk, after
all!--that is, a monk of Vallombrosa.

In the afternoon we walked through a grand pine forest to the western
brow of the mountain, where a view opened which it would require a
wonderful power of the imagination for you to see in fancy, as I did in
reality. From the height where we stood, the view was uninterrupted to
the Mediterranean, a distance of more than seventy miles; a valley
watered by a brunch of the Arno swept far to the east, to the mountains
near the Luke of Thrasymene; northwestwards the hills of Carrara
bordered the horizon; the space between these wide points was filled
with mountains and valleys, all steeped in that soft blue mist which
makes Italian landscapes more like heavenly visions than realities.
Florence was visible afar off, and the current of the Arno flashed in
the sun. A cool and almost chilling wind blew constantly over the
mountain, although the country below basked in summer heat. We lay on
the rocks, and let our souls luxuriate in the lovely scene till near
sunset. Brother Placido brought us supper in the evening, with his
ever-smiling countenance, and we soon after went to our beds in the
neat, plain chambers, to get rid of the unpleasant coldness.

Next morning it was damp and misty, and thick clouds rolled down the
forests towards the convent. I set out for the "Little Paradise," taking
in my way the pretty cascade which falls some fifty feet down the rocks.
The building is not now as it was when Milton lived here, having been
rebuilt within a short time. I found no one there, and satisfied my
curiosity by climbing over the wall and looking in at the windows. A
little chapel stands in a cleft of the rock below, to mark the
miraculous escape of St. John Gualberto, founder of the monastery. Being
one day very closely pursued by the Devil, he took shelter under the
rock, which immediately became soft and admitted him into it, while the
fiend, unable to stop, was precipitated over the steep. All this is
related in a Latin inscription, and we saw a large hollow in the rock
near, which must have been intended for the imprint left by his sacred

One of the monks told us another legend, concerning a little chapel
which stands alone on a wild part of the mountain, above a rough pile of
crags, called the "Peak of the Devil." "In the time of San Giovanni
Gualberto, the holy founder of our order," said he, "there was a young
man, of a noble family in Florence, who was so moved by the words of the
saintly father, that he forsook the world, wherein he had lived with
great luxury and dissipation, and became monk. But, after a time, being
young and tempted again by the pleasures he had renounced, he put off
the sacred garments. The holy San Giovanni warned him of the terrible
danger in which he stood, and at length the wicked young man returned.
It was not a great while, however, before he became dissatisfied, and in
spite all holy counsel, did the same thing again. But behold what
happened! As he was walking along the peak where the chapel stands,
thinking nothing of his great crime, the devil sprang suddenly from
behind a rock, and catching the young man in his arms, before he could
escape, carried him with a dreadful noise and a great red flame and
smoke over the precipice, so that he was never afterwards seen."

The church attached to the monastery is small, but very solemn and
venerable. I went several times to muse in its still, gloomy aisle, and
hear the murmuring chant of the Monks, who went through their exercises
in some of the chapels. At one time I saw them all, in long black
cassocks, march in solemn order to the chapel of St. John Gualberto,
where they sang a deep chant, which to me had something awful and
sepulchral in it. Behind the high altar I saw their black, carved chairs
of polished oak, with ponderous gilded foliants lying on the rails
before them. The attendant opened one of these, that we might see the
manuscript notes, three or four centuries old, from which they sung.

We were much amused in looking through two or three Italian books, which
were lying in the traveler's room. One of these which our friend Mr.
Tandy, of Kentucky, read, described the miracles of the patron saint
with an air of the most ridiculous solemnity. The other was a
description of the Monastery, its foundation, history, etc. In
mentioning its great and far-spread renown, the author stated then even
an English poet, by the name of Milton, had mentioned it in the
following lines, which I copied verbatim from the book:

"Thick as autumnal scaves that strow she brooks
In vallombrosa, whereth Etruian Jades
Stigh over orch d'embrover!"

In looking over the stranger's book, I found among the names of my
countrymen, that of S. V. Clevenger, the talented and lamented sculptor
who died at sea on his passage home. There were also the names of Mrs.
Shelley and the Princess Potemkin, and I saw written on the wall, the
autograph of Jean Reboul, the celebrated modern French poet. We were so
delighted with the place we would have stayed another day, but for fear
of trepassing too much on the lavish and unceasing hospitality of the
good fathers.

So in the afternoon we shook hands with Brother Placido, and turned our
backs regretfully upon one of the loneliest and loveliest spots of which
earth can boast. The sky became gradually clear as we descended, and the
mist raised itself from the distant mountains. We ran down through the
same chesnut groves, diverging a little to go through the village of
Tosi, which is very picturesque when seen from a distance, but extremely
dirty to one passing through. I stopped in the ravine below to take a
sketch of the mill and bridge, and as we sat, the line of golden
sunlight rose higher on the mountains above. On walking down the shady
side of this glen, we were enraptured with the scenery. A brilliant yet
mellow glow lay over the whole opposing height, lighting up the houses
of Tosi and the white cottages half seen among the olives, while the
mountain of Vallombrosa stretched far heavenward like a sunny painting,
with only a misty wreath floating and waving around its summit. The
glossy foliage of the chesnuts was made still brighter by the warm
light, and the old olives softened down into a silvery gray, whose
contrast gave the landscape a character of the mellowest beauty. As we
wound out of the deep glen, the broad valleys and ranges of the
Appenines lay before us, forests, castles and villages steeped in the
soft, vapory blue of the Italian atmosphere, and the current of the Arno
flashing like a golden belt through the middle of the picture.

The sun was nearly down, and the mountains just below him were of a
deep purple hue, while those that ran out to the eastward wore the most
aerial shade of blue. A few scattered clouds, floating above, soon put
on the sunset robe of orange and a band of the same soft color encircled
the western horizon. It did not reach half way to the zenith, however;
the sky above was blue, of such a depth and transparency, that to gaze
upward was like looking into eternity. Then how softly and soothingly
the twilight came on! How deep a hush sank on the chesnut glades, broken
only by the song of the cicada, chirping its "good-night carol!" The
mountains, too, how majestic they stood in their deep purple outlines!
Sweet, sweet Italy! I can feel now how the soul may cling to thee, since
thou canst thus gratify its insatiable thirst for the Beautiful. Even
thy plainest scene is clothed in hues that seem borrowed of heaven! In
the twilight, more radiant than light, and the stillness, more eloquent
than music, which sink down over the sunny beauty of thy shores, there
is a silent, intense poetry that stirs the soul through all its
impassioned depths. With warm, blissful tears filling the eyes and a
heart overflowing with its own bright fancies, I wander in the solitude
and calm of such a time, and love thee as if I were a child of thy soil!



_October 16._--My cousin, being anxious to visit Rome, and reach
Heidelberg before the commencement of the winter semestre, set out
towards the end of September, on foot. We accompanied him as far as
Siena, forty miles distant. As I shall most probably take another road
to the Eternal City, the present is a good opportunity to say something
of that romantic old town, so famous throughout Italy for the honesty of
its inhabitants.

We dined the first day, seventeen miles from Florence, at Tavenella,
where, for a meagre dinner the hostess had the assurance to ask us seven
pauls. We told her we would give but four and a half, and by assuming a
decided manner, with a plentiful use of the word "Signora" she was
persuaded to be fully satisfied with the latter sum. From a height near,
we could see the mountains coasting the Mediterranean, and shortly
after, on descending a long hill, the little town of Poggibonsi lay in
the warm afternoon light, on an eminence before us. It was soon passed
with its dusky towers, then Stagia looking desolate in its ruined and
ivied walls, and following the advice of a peasant, we stopped for the
night at the inn of Querciola. As we knew something of Italian by this
time, we thought it best to inquire the price of lodging, before
entering. The _padrone_ asked if we meant to take supper also. We
answered in the affirmative; "then," said he, "you will pay half a paul
(about five emits) apiece for a bed." We passed under the swinging bunch
of boughs, which in Italy is the universal sign of an inn for the common
people, and entered the bare, smoky room appropriated to travelers. A
long table, with well-worn benches, were the only furniture; we threw
our knapsacks on one end of it and sat down, amusing ourselves while
supper was preparing, in looking at a number of grotesque charcoal
drawings on the wall, which the flaring light of our tall iron lamp
revealed to us. At length the hostess, a kindly-looking woman, with a
white handkerchief folded gracefully around her head, brought us a dish
of fried eggs, which, with the coarse black bread of the peasants and a
basket full of rich grapes, made us an excellent supper. We slept on
mattresses stuffed with corn husks, placed on square iron frames, which
are the bedsteads most used in Italy. A brightly-painted caricature of
some saint or a rough crucifix, trimmed with bay leaves, hung at the
head of each bed, and under their devout protection we enjoyed a safe
and unbroken slumber.

Next morning we set out early to complete the remaining ten miles to
Siena. The only thing of interest on the road, is the ruined wall and
battlements of Castiglione, circling a high hill and looking as old as
the days of Etruria. The towers of Siena are seen at some distance, but
approaching it from this side, the traveler does not perceive its
romantic situation until he arrives. It stands on a double hill, which
is very steep on some sides; the hollow between the two peaks is
occupied by the great public square, ten or fifteen feet lower than the
rest of the city. We left our knapsacks at a _cafe_ and sought the
celebrated Cathedral, which stands in the highest part of the town,
forming with its flat dome and lofty marble tower, an apex to the
pyramidal mass of buildings.

The interior is rich and elegantly perfect. Every part is of black and
white marble, in what I should call the _striped_ style, which has a
singular but agreeable effect. The inside of the dome and the vaulted
ceilings of the chapels, are of blue, with golden stars; the pavement in
the centre is so precious a work that it is kept covered with boards and
only shown once a year. There are some pictures of great value in this
Cathedral; one of "The Descent of the Dove," is worthy of the best days
of Italian art. In an adjoining chamber, with frescoed walls, and a
beautiful tesselated pavement, is the library, consisting of a few huge
old volumes, which with their brown covers and brazen clasps, look as
much like a collection of flat leather trunks as any thing else. In the
centre of the room stands the mutilated group of the Grecian Graces,
found in digging the foundation of the Cathedral. The figures are still
beautiful and graceful, with that exquisite curve of outline which is
such a charm in the antique statues. Canova has only perfected the idea
in his celebrated group, which is nearly a copy of this.

We strolled through the square and then accompanied our friend to the
Roman gate, where we took leave of him for six months at least. He felt
lonely at the thought of walking in Italy without a companion, but was
cheered by the anticipation of soon reaching Rome. We watched him
awhile, walking rapidly over the hot plain towards Radicofani, and then,

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