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  • 1852
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worse than they. I was doubly pained on making this discovery, from the fact that I saw more fasting and praying, and more clergymen in these countries than any where else. To judge from appearances, I should have taken the Sicilians and Neapolitans for the most pious people in the world. But their behaviour towards strangers is rude in the extreme. Never had I been so impudently stared out of countenance as in these Sicilian towns: fingers were pointed at me amidst roars of laughter; the boys even ran after me and jeered at me–and all because I wore a round straw hat. In Messina I threw this article away, and dressed according to the fashion which prevails here and in my own country; but still the gaping did not cease. In Palermo it was not only the street boys who stood still to gaze at me, the grandees also did me the same honour, whether I drove or walked. I once asked a lady the reason of this, and requested to know if my appearance was calculated either to give offence or to excite ridicule; she replied that neither was the case, but that the only thing the citizens remarked in me was that I went about alone with a servant. In Sicily this was quite an uncommon circumstance, for there I always saw two ladies walking together, or a lady and gentleman. Now the grand mystery was solved; but notwithstanding this, I did not alter my mode of action, but continued to walk quietly about the town with my servant, for I preferred being laughed at a little to giving any one the trouble of accompanying me about every where. At first this staring made me very uncomfortable; but man can adapt himself to every thing, and I am no exception to the rule.

The vegetation in Sicily is eminent for its luxuriant loveliness. Flowers, plants, and shrubs attain a greater height and magnitude than we find elsewhere. I saw here numerous species of aloes, which we cultivate laboriously in hot-houses, growing wild, or planted as hedges around gardens. The stems, from which blossoms burst forth, often attain a height of from twenty to thirty feet. Their flowering season was already past.

October 10th.

After a sojourn of five days I bade farewell to Palermo, and took my departure in wet weather. This was the first rain I had seen fall since the 20th of April. The temperature remained very warm; on fine days the thermometer still stood at 20 or 22 degrees Reaumur in the sun at noon.

The vessel on which I now embarked was a royal mail-steamer. We left Palermo at noon; towards evening the sea became rather rough, so that the spray dashed over me once or twice, although I continually kept near the steersman.

At the commencement of our journey nothing was to be seen but sky and water. But the next day, as we approached the Neapolitan coast, island after island rose from the sea, and at length the mainland itself could be discerned. Capri was the first island we approached closely. Soon afterwards my attention was drawn to a great cloud rising towards the sky; it was a smoky column from the glowing hearth of Vesuvius. At length a white line glittered on the verge of the horizon, like a band through the clear air. There was a joyful cry of “Napoli! Napoli!” and Naples lay spread before me.


Sojourn at Naples–Sickness–Laziness of the people–Royal palace– Rotunda–Strada Chiaga and Toledo–St. Carlo Theatre–Largo del Castello–Medina square–Marionettes–St. Jesu Nuovo–St. Jesu Maggiore–St. Maria di Piedigrotta–Public gardens–Academy “degli Studii”–Cathedral of St. Januarius–St. Jeronimo–St. Paula Maggiore–St. Chiara–Baths of Nero–Solfatara–Grotto “del Cane”– Resina–Ascent of Vesuvius–Caserta.

My imagination was so powerfully excited, I may say over-excited, by the accounts I had heard and read concerning this fairy city, that here once more my expectations were far from being realised. This was, perhaps, partly owing to the circumstance that I had already seen Constantinople and had just quitted Palermo, the situation of which latter town had so enchanted me that my enthusiasm was here confined within very narrow bounds, and I felt inclined to prefer Palermo to Naples.

At two o’clock in the afternoon I landed, and the kind assistance of Herr Brettschneider at once procured me an excellent room in Santa Lucia, with a prospect of the harbour and the bay, besides a view of Vesuvius and the region surrounding it. As usual, I wished to commence my researches at once; but already in Palermo I had felt an unceasing pain in my side, so that my last walks there had been attended with considerable difficulty.

Here I became really ill, and was unable to quit my room. I had a boil on my back, which required the care of the surgeon, and kept me in my room for a fortnight, until the fever had abated.

If this misfortune had happened to me in the East, or even while I was in quarantine at Malta, who knows whether I should not have been looked upon as having a “plague-boil,” and shut up for forty days?

During my imprisonment here, my only relaxation during the hours when I was free from fever and it did not rain, was to sit on the balcony, contemplating the beautiful prospect, and looking on the bustling, lively populace. The Neapolitans appeared to me very ill- behaved, boisterous, and quarrelsome, and seemed to entertain a great horror of work. The latter circumstance seems natural enough, for they require little for their daily support, and we hardly find that the common people any where work more than is necessary to shield them from immediate want; this is particularly the case in Italy, where the heat is oppressive during the day, and the temperature of the evening so agreeable, every one wishes to enjoy himself rather than to work.

I sometimes saw men employ themselves for half a day together in pushing bullets with a little stick through a ring fastened to the ground: this is one of the most popular games. The women are always sitting or standing in front of the houses, chattering or quarrelling; and the children lie about in the streets all day long. The veriest trifle suffices to breed a quarrel among old or young, and then they kick one another with their feet–a very graceful practice for women or girls! Even with their knives they are ready on all occasions.

For making observations on the Neapolitans no better post can be chosen than a lodging in the quarter St. Lucia. The fishermen, lazzaroni, and sailors live in the little side lanes, and spend the greater part of the day in the large street of St. Lucia, the chief resort both for pedestrians and people on horse-back and in carriages. In and about the harbour we find numerous vendors of oysters and crabs, which they bring fresh from the sea. The lazzaroni no longer go about half naked, and the common people are dressed in a decent though not in a picturesque manner.

Here a number of handsome equipages rolled by; their lady occupants were very fashionably attired.

Even among the better classes it is usual for the men to purchase all the household necessaries, such as fish, bread, poultry, etc. Poultry is very much eaten in Italy, particularly turkeys, which are sometimes sold ready cut up, according to weight. On Sundays and holydays the shops containing wares and provisions, and the meat and poultry stalls, are opened in the same way as on a week-day. Throughout all Italy we do not see them closed for the observance of a Sunday or holyday.

On the fifteenth day I had so far recovered that I could begin my tour of observation, using, however, certain precautions.

At first I confined my researches to churches, palaces, and the museum, particularly as the weather was unprecedentedly bad. It rained, or rather poured, almost every day, and in these cases the water rushes in streams out of the by-lanes towards the sea. The greater part of Naples is built on an acclivity, and there are no gutters, so that the water must force its way along the streets: this has its peculiar advantages; for the side-lanes, which are filthy beyond description, thus get a partial cleansing by the stream.

As I am not a connoisseur, it would be foolish in me to attempt a criticism upon the splendid productions of art which I beheld here, in Rome, and at Florence and other places. I can only recount what I saw.

During my excursions I generally regulated my movements according to the divisions and instructions contained in August Lewald’s hand- book, a work which every traveller will find very serviceable and correct.

I began with the royal palace, which was situate near my lodging at St. Lucia, with one front facing the sea, and the other turned towards the fine large square. This building contains forty-two windows in a row. I could see nothing of its interior excepting the richly decorated chapel, as the royal family resided there during the whole time of my stay, and thus the apartments were not accessible to strangers.

Opposite the castle stands the magnificent Rotunda, called also the church of San Francesco de Paula. Adjoining this church on either side were arcades in the form of a half circle, supported by handsome pillars, beneath which several shops are established. The roof of the Rotunda is formed by a splendid cupola resting on thirty-four marble pillars. The altars, with the niches between, occupied by colossal statues, are ranged round the walls, and in some instances decorated by splendid modern paintings. A great quantity of lapis lazuli has been used in the construction of the grand altar. In the higher regions of the cupola two galleries, with tasteful iron railings, are to be seen. The entire church, and even the confessionals, are covered with a species of grey marble. The peculiar appearance of this place of worship is exceedingly calculated to excite the visitor’s wonder, for to judge from its exterior he would scarcely take the splendid building before him for a church. It was built on the model of the famous rotunda at Rome; but the idea of the porticoes is taken from St. Peter’s.

Two large equestrian statues of bronze form the ornaments of the square before this church. Quitting this square, we emerge into the two finest and most frequented streets in the town, namely, the Chiaga and Toledo. Not far off is the imposing theatre of St. Carlo, said to be not only the largest in Italy, but in all Europe. Its exterior aspect is very splendid. A large and broad entrance extends in front, with pillars, beneath the shelter of which the carriages drive up, so that the spectators can arrive and depart without the chance of getting wet. This evening there was to be a “particularly grand performance.” I entered the theatre, and was much struck with its appearance. It contains six tiers, all parcelled off into boxes, of which I counted four-and-twenty on the grand circle. Each box is almost the size of a small room, and can easily accommodate from twelve to fifteen people. A fairy-like spectacle is said to be produced when, on occasions of peculiar festivity, the whole exterior is lighted up. Here, as in nearly all the Italian theatres, a clock, shewing not only the hours but the minutes, is fixed over the front of the stage. A “particular performance” commences at six o’clock, and usually terminates an hour or two before midnight. This evening I saw a little ballet, then two acts of an opera, and afterwards a comedy, the whole concluding with a grand ballet. It is usual on benefit-nights to give a great variety of entertainments in order to attract the public; on these occasions the prices are also reduced one-fifth.

The greatest square, Largo del Castello, almost adjoins the theatre; it is of an oblong form, and contains many palace-like buildings, including the finance and police offices. A pretty spring, the water of which falls down some rocks and forms a cascade, is also worthy of mention.

A little to the left we come upon the Medina-square, boasting the finest fountain in Naples. Between these two squares, beside the sea-shore, lies Castel Nuovo, said to be built quite in the form of the Bastille. It is strongly fortified, and serves as a defence for the harbour. This is a very lively neighbourhood. Many an hour’s amusement have I had, watching the motley crowd, particularly on Sundays and holydays, when it is frequented by improvisators, singers, musicians, and mountebanks of every description.

Not far from the harbour is a long street in which numerous kitchens and many provision-stalls are established. Here I walked in the evenings to see the people assembled round the macaroni-pots: it is advisable, however, to leave watch and purse at home, and even one’s pocket-handkerchief is not safe.

Of the shouting and crowding here no conception can be formed. Large kettles are placed in front of the shops, and the proprietors sit beside them, plunging a great wooden fork and spoon into the cauldron to fill the plates of expectant customers. Some eat their favourite dish with fat and cheese, others without, according to the state of their exchequer for the time being; but one and all eat with their fingers. The army of hungry mortals seems innumerable; and during feeding-time the stranger finds no little difficulty in forcing a passage, notwithstanding the breadth of the street. Not far from this thoroughfare of the people two “Punchinellos” are erected. In one of these the Marionettes are a foot and a half, and in the other no less than three feet high.

There is, besides, a theatre for the people, where pieces of tragic and comic character are performed, in all of which the clown plays a prominent part. The remaining theatres, the Nuovo, the Carlini, and others, are about the size of those in the Leopold- and Josephstadt at Vienna, and can accommodate about 800 spectators. Their exteriors and interiors are alike undistinguished; but in some of them the singing and playing are very creditable. In one of these theatres we are obliged to descend instead of to ascend to reach the pit and the first tier of boxes.

Naples contains more than three hundred churches and chapels. I visited a number of them, for I entered every church that came in my way. St. Fernando, a church of no great size, but of very pleasing appearance, struck me particularly. The ceiling of this edifice is covered with frescoes, and the walls enriched with marble. At the two side altars we find a pair of very fine half-length pictures of saints.

St. Jesu Nuovo, another exceedingly handsome church, stands on the borders of the Lago Maggiore, and is full of magnificent frescoes, surrounded by arabesque borders. The latter appear as though they were gilded, and the effect thus produced is remarkably fine. This spacious building contains a number of small chapels, partitioned off by massive gratings. The great cupola is exceedingly handsome, and every chapel boasts a separate one.

St. Jesu Maggiore does not carry out its appellation, for it is a small unpretending church, though some splendid gothic ornaments beautify the exterior.

St. Maria di Piedigrotta, another little church, is much frequented, from the fact that the common people place great confidence in the picture of the Virgin there displayed. The church contains nothing worthy of notice.

The grotto of Pausilipp, a cavern of immense length, now called Puzzoli, is not far distant. This grotto, hewn out of a rock, is about 1200 paces long, between 50 and 60 feet in height, and of such breadth that two carriages can easily pass each other. A little chapel cut out of the rock occupies the middle of the cavern, and both grotto and chapel are illuminated night and day. As in the whole of Naples, the pavement here is formed of lava from Mount Vesuvius.

Immediately above the grotto, in the direction of the town, we come upon a simple gravestone of white marble–the monument of the poet Virgil. A long flight of steps leads to the garden containing this monument: the poet’s ashes do not, however, rest here; the spot where he sleeps cannot be accurately determined, and this monument is only raised to his memory. The prospect from these heights as well repays a visit as the grotto of Pausilipp, where we wander for a long time in deep darkness, until we suddenly emerge into the broad light of day, to find ourselves surrounded by a most lovely landscape.

The public garden of Naples is also situate in this quarter of the town. It extends to the lower portion of the Strada Chiaga, is of great length without being broad, and displays a vast number of beautiful statues, prospects, and rare plants; a large and handsome street, containing many fine houses, adjoins it on one side. I also rode to the Vomero, on which are erected the king’s pleasure-palace and a small convent. A glorious prospect here unfolds itself: Naples with its bay, Puzzoli, and a number of beautiful islands, the lake Agnaro, the extinct craters of Solfatara, Baiae, Vesuvius with its chain of mountains, and the stupendous ocean, lie grouped, in varied forms and gorgeously blending colours, before the gaze of the astonished spectator. This is the place of which the Neapolitans say, with some justice, “Hither should men come, and gaze, and die!”

Still the prospects from St. Rosalia’s Mount, and from the royal palace Favorita at Palermo, had pleased me better; for there the beauties of nature are more crowded together, are nearer to the spectator: he can obtain a more complete view of them, while in varied gorgeousness they do not yield the palm even to the fairy pictures of Naples.

I more than once spent half a day in the Academy “degli Studii,” for in this place much was to be seen. The entrance to the building is indescribably beautiful; both the portico and the handsome staircases are ornamented with statues and busts executed in most artistic style. A door on the right leads us to a hall in which the paintings from Pompeii and Herculaneum are displayed; several of these relics have no small pretensions to beauty, and the colours of almost all are still wonderfully bright and fresh. In the great hall at the end of the courtyard we find on one side the Farnese Hercules, and on the other the Bull, both works of the Athenian Glycon. These two antiques, particularly the latter, have been in a great measure restored.

The gallery of great bronzes is considered the first in the world, for here we find united the finest works of ancient times. So many beautiful creations of art were here brought together, that if I attempted a description of them I should not know where to begin.

Opposite the gallery of bronzes is that allotted to the marbles, among which a beautiful Venus stands prominently forth.

In the gallery of Flora, a statue of the same goddess, called the Farnese, is also the principal attraction.

A statue of Apollo playing on the lyre, of porphyry, is the greatest masterpiece in the hall of coloured marbles; while in the gallery of the Muses a basin of Athenian porphyry occupies the first place.

In the Adonis room the beautiful Venus Anadyomene engrossed my chief attention; and in the cabinet of Venus the Venus Callipygos forms an exquisite sidepiece to the Venus de Medicis.

The upper regions of this splendid building contain an extensive library and a picture-gallery.

I also paid a visit to the catacombs of St. Januarius, which extend three stories high on a mountain, and are full of little niches, five or six of which are often found one above the other.

In the chapel Santa Maria della Pieta, in the palace St. Severino, I admired three of the finest and most valuable marble statues that can be found any where; I mean, “Veiled Innocence,” “Malice in a Net,” and a veiled recumbent figure of Christ. All three are by the sculptor Bernini.

The largest church in the town is the cathedral dedicated to St. Januarius. This structure rests on a hundred and ten columns of Egyptian and African granite, standing three by three, embedded in the walls. The church has not a very imposing appearance. The chief altar, beneath which the body of St. Januarius is deposited, is ornamented with many kinds of valuable marble. Here I saw a great number of pictures, most of them of considerable merit. The chapel of St. Januarius, also called the “chapel of the treasure,” is one of the most gorgeous shrines that can be conceived. The Neapolitans built it as a thank-offering at the cessation of a plague. The cost was above a million of ducats, and the wealth of this chapel is greater than that of any church in Christendom. It is built in a circular form, and all the resources of art have been lavished on the decoration of the chief altar. Every spot is covered with treasures and works of art, and the roof is supported by forty-two Corinthian pillars of dark-red stone. All the decorations of the high altar, the immense candelabra and massive flower-vases, are of silver. At a grand festival, when every thing is richly illuminated, the appearance of this chapel must be gorgeous in the extreme. The head and two bottles of the blood of St. Januarius are preserved here; the people assert that this blood liquefies every year. The frescoes on the ceiling are splendidly painted; and on the square before the church is to be seen an obelisk surmounted by a statue of St. Januarius.

St. Jeronimo has an imposing appearance when one first enters. The whole roof of this church as far downwards as the pillars is covered with beautiful arabesques and figures. It also contains some fine paintings, and is, besides, renowned for its architecture.

St. Paula Maggiore, another spacious church, is well worth seeing on account of its magnificent arabesques and fresco-paintings; besides these it also contains some handsome monuments and statues of marble. Two very ancient pillars stand in front of this church.

St. Chiara, a fine large church, offers some fine monuments and oil- paintings.

Among the excursions in the neighbourhood of Naples, that to Puzzoli is certainly the most interesting. After passing through the great grotto, we reach the ancient and rather important town of Puzzoli, with 8000 inhabitants. Cicero called this place a little Rome. In the centre of the town stands the church of St. Proculus, which was converted from a heathen into a Christian temple, and is surrounded by fine-looking Corinthian pillars.

Remarkable beyond all else is the ruined temple of Seropis. Almost the entire magnitude and arrangement of this magnificent building can yet be discerned. A few of the pillars that once supported the cupola are still erect, and several of the cells, which surrounded the temple and were once used as baths, can still be seen. Every thing here is of fine white marble. The greater portion of the ruin was dismantled, to be used in the construction of the royal villa of Caserta.

The harbour of Puzzoli is related to have been the finest in Italy. From this place Caligula had a bridge erected to Baiae, about 4000 paces in length. He undertook this gigantic work in consequence of a prophecy that was made to him, that he would no more become emperor than he could ride to Baiae on horseback. This prophecy he confuted, and became emperor. Of the amphitheatre and the colosseum not a trace remains. A little chapel now occupies the site on which they stood; tradition asserts that it is built on the very spot where St. Januarius was thrown to the bears.

Not far from this chapel we are shewn the labyrinth of Daedalus; several of its winding walks still exist, through which it would be difficult to find the way without a cicerone.

We ascended the hill immediately beyond the city, on which some remains of Cicero’s villa are yet to be seen: here we enjoyed a splendid prospect.

In this region we continually wander among ruins, and see every where around us the relics of the past. Thus a short walk brought us from Cicero’s villa to the ruins of three temples–those of Diana, Venus, and Mercury. Of the first, one side and a few little cells, called the “baths of Venus,” alone remain. Part of Venus’s temple stands in the rotunda. It was built on acoustic principles, so that any one who puts his ear to a certain part of the wall can hear what is whispered at the opposite extremity. A few fragments of the rotunda were the only trace left of the temple of Diana.

The vapour baths of Nero, hewn out of the rock, consist of several passages, into which it is impossible to penetrate far on account of the heat. A boy ran to the spring and brought us some boiling water; he returned from his expedition fiery red in the face, and covered with perspiration. These poor lads are accustomed to remain at the spring until they have succeeded in boiling some eggs; but I would not allow any such cruelty, and did not even wish them to fetch me the water, but Herr Brettschneider would have it so in spite of me.

From this place we crossed by sea to Baiae, where at one time many of the rich people had their villas. Their proceedings here are said, however, to have been of so immoral a character, that at length it was considered wrong to have resided here any time. Every visitor must be enchanted with the fertility of this region, and with its lovely aspect. A castle, now used as a barrack for veterans, crowns the summit of a rock which stands prominently forth. A few unimportant traces can still be here discovered of an ancient temple of Hercules. Some masonry, in the form of a monument, marks the alleged spot where Agrippina was murdered and buried by order of her son.

The immense reservoir built by order of the emperor Augustus for the purpose of supplying the fleet with fresh water, is situate in the neighbourhood of Baiae; it is called Piscina. This giant structure contains several large chambers, their roofs supported by numerous columns. To view this reservoir we are compelled to descend a flight of steps.

Not far from the before-mentioned building we come upon the “Cento Camarelle,” a prison consisting of a multitude of small cells.

On our way back we visited Solfatara, the celebrated crater plain, about 1000 feet in length by 800 in breadth, skirted by hills. Its volcanic power is not yet wholly extinct; in several places brimstone-fumes (whence the plain derives its name,) are still seen rising into the air, which they impregnate with a most noxious odour. On striking the ground with a stick a sound is produced, from which we can judge that the whole space beneath us is hollow. This excursion is a very disagreeable one; we are continually marching across a mere crust of earth, which may give way any moment. I found here a manufactory of brimstone and alum. A little church belonging to the Capuchins, where we are shewn a stone on which St. Januarius was decapitated after the bears had refused to tear him to pieces, stands on a hill near the Solfatara.

Towards evening we reached the “Dog’s Grotto.” A huntsman from the royal preserve Astroni accompanied us, and fetched the man who keeps the keys of the grotto. This functionary soon appeared with a couple of dogs, to furnish us with a practical illustration of the convulsions caused by the foul air of the cavern. But I declined the experiment, and contented myself with viewing the grotto. It is of small extent, about eight or ten feet long, not more than five in breadth, and six or eight high. I entered the cave, and so long as I remained erect felt no inconvenience. So soon as I bent towards the ground, however, and the lower stratum of air blew upon my face, I experienced a most horrible choking sensation.

After we had satisfied our curiosity the huntsman led us to the neighbouring hunting-lodge, and to a little lake where a number of ducks are fattened. This man spoke of another and a much more remarkable grotto, of which he possessed the keys, and which he should have great pleasure in shewing us. Though twilight was rapidly approaching we determined to go, as the place was not far off. The man opened the door, and invited us to enter the cavern, advising us at the same time to bend down open-mouthed, as we had done in the Dog’s Grotto, and at the same time to fan the air upwards with our hands, that we might the better inhale it,–a proceeding which he asserted to be peculiarly good for the digestive organs. His eloquence was so powerful, that we could not help suspecting the man; and it struck us as very strange that he was so particularly anxious we should enter the cavern together. This, therefore, we refused to do; and Herr Brettschneider remained outside with our guide, while I entered alone and did as he had directed. Though the lower stratum of air in the Dog’s Grotto had been highly mephitic, the atmosphere here was more stifling still. I rushed forth with the speed of lightning; and now we clearly saw through the fellow’s intention. If Herr Brettschneider and myself had entered together, he would undoubtedly have shut the door, and we should have been stifled in a few moments. We did not allow him to notice our suspicions, but merely said that we could not spend any more time here to-day on account of the lateness of the hour. Our worthy friend accompanied us through a wild and gloomy region, with his gun on his shoulder; and I was not a little afraid of him, for he kept talking about his honesty and the good intentions he had towards us. We kept, however, close beside him, and watched him narrowly, without betraying any symptom of apprehension; and at length, to our great relief, we gained the open road.

The royal villa of Portici lies about four “miglia” from Naples, and we made an excursion thither by railway. Both the palace and the gardens are handsome, and of considerable size. Thence we proceeded to Resina. Portici and Resina are so closely connected together by villas and houses, that a stranger would take them for one place. Beneath Resina lies Herculaneum, a city destroyed seventy-nine years after the birth of our Saviour. In the year 1689 a marquis caused a well to be dug in his garden, when, at a depth of sixty-five feet, the labourers came upon fragments of marble with divers inscriptions. It was not until 1720 that systematic excavations were made. Even then great caution was necessary, as Resina is unfortunately built upon Herculaneum, and the safety of the houses became endangered.

At Resina we procured torches and a guide, and descended to view the subterranean city. We saw the theatre, a number of houses, several temples, and the forum. Some fine frescoes are still to be distinguished on the walls of the apartments. The floors are covered with mosaic; but still this place does not offer nearly so many objects of interest as another which was overwhelmed at the same time–Pompeii.

Pompeii is without doubt the most remarkable city of its kind that exists. A great portion of the town is surrounded by walls, and entire rows of houses, several temples, the theatre, the forum, in short a vast number of buildings, streets, and squares lay open before us. The more I wandered through the streets and open places, the more I involuntarily wondered not to find the inhabitants and labourers employed in repairing the houses; I could hardly realise the idea that so many beautiful houses and well preserved apartments should be untenanted. The deserted aspect of this town had a very melancholy effect in my eyes.

Though a great portion of the town has already been dug out, only three hundred skeletons have been found,–a proof that the greater portion of the inhabitants effected their escape.

In many houses I found splendid tesselated pavements, representing flowers, wreaths, animals, and arabesques; even the halls and courtyards were decorated with a larger kind of mosaic work. The walls of the rooms are plastered over with a description of firm polished enamel, frequently looking like marble, and covered with beautiful frescoes. In Sallust’s house a whole row of wine jugs still stands in the cellar. In the houses the division of the rooms, and the purposes to which the different apartments were devoted, can still be distinctly traced. In general they are very small, and the windows seldom look out upon the street. Deep ruts of carriages can be seen in the streets. All the treasures of art which could be removed, such as statues, pictures, etc., were carried off to Naples, and placed in the museum there.


In the agreeable society of Herr M. and Madame Brettschneider, I rode away from Resina at eleven in the forenoon. A pleasant road, winding among vineyards, brought us in an hour’s time to the neighbourhood of the great lava-field, Torre del Greco. It is a fearful sight to behold these grand mounds of lava towering in the most various forms around us. All traces of vegetation have vanished; far and wide we can descry nothing but hardened masses, which once rushed in molten streams down the mountain. A capitally- constructed road leads us, without the slightest fatigue, through the midst of this scene of devastation to the usual resting-place of travellers, the “Hermitage.”

At this dwelling we made halt, ascended to the upper story, and called for a bottle of Lacrimae Christi. The view here, and at several other points of our ascent, is most charming.

The hermit seems, however, to lead any thing but a solitary life, for a day seldom passes on which strangers do not call in to claim his attention in proportion as they run up a score. The clerical gentleman is, in fact, no more and no less than a very common innkeeper, and partakes of the goodly obesity frequently noticed among persons of his class. We stayed three quarters of an hour in the domicile of this hermit-host, and afterwards rode on towards the heights, along a beautiful road among fields of lava. In half an hour’s time, however, we were completely shut in by lava-fields, and here the beaten track ended. We now dismounted, and continued our ascent on foot. It is difficult for one who has not seen it to picture to himself the scene that lay around us. Devastation every where; lava covering the whole region in heaps upon heaps, fantastically piled one on the other. Here a huge isolated mound rises, seemingly cut off on all sides from the lava around; there we see how a mighty stream once rushed down the mountain-side, and cooled gradually into stone. Immense chasms are filled with lava masses, which have lain here for many years cold and motionless, and will probably remain for as many more, for their fury has spent itself.

The lava is of different colours, according as it has been exposed to the atmosphere for a longer or a shorter period. The oldest lava has the hue of granite, and almost its hardness, for which reasons it is largely used for building houses and paving streets.

From the place where we left our donkeys we had to climb upwards for nearly an hour over the lava before reaching the crater. The ascent is somewhat fatiguing, as we are obliged to be very careful at every step to avoid entangling our feet among the blocks of lava; still the difficulty is not nearly so great as people make out. It is merely necessary to wear good thick boots, and then all goes extremely well. The higher we mount, the more numerous do the fissures become from which smoke bursts forth. In one of these clefts we placed some eggs, which were completely boiled in four minutes’ time. Near these places the ground is so hot that we could not have stood still for many minutes; still we did not get burnt feet or any thing of the kind.

On reaching the crater we found ourselves enveloped in so thick a fog that we could not see ten paces in advance. There was nothing for it but to sit down and wait patiently until the sun could penetrate the mist and spread light and cheerfulness among us. Then we descended into the crater, and approached as closely as possible to the place from which the smoky column whirls into the air. The road was a gloomy one, for we were shut in as in a bowl, and could discern around us nothing but mountains of lava, while before us rose the huge smoky column, threatening each moment to shroud us in darkness as the wind blew it in clouds in our direction. When the ground was struck with a stick, it gave forth a hollow rumbling sound like at Solfatara. In the neighbourhood of the column of smoke we could see nothing more than at the edge from which we had climbed downwards–a peculiar picture of unparalleled devastation. The circumference of the crater seems not to have changed since the visit of Herr Lewald, who a few years ago estimated its dimensions at 5000 feet. After once more mounting to the brim, we walked round a great part of the edge of the basin.

At the particular desire of Herr M., who was well acquainted with all the remarkable points about the volcano, our guide now led the way to the so-called “hell,” a little crater which formed itself it in the year 1834. To reach it we had to climb about over fields of lava for half an hour. The aspect of this hell did not strike me as particularly grand. An uneven wall of lava suddenly rose fifteen paces in advance of us, with whole strata of pure sulphur and other beautifully-coloured substances depending from its projecting angles. One of these substances was of a snowy-white colour, light, and very porous. I took a piece with me, but the next day on proceeding to pack it carefully, I found that above half had melted and become quite soft and damp, so that I was compelled to throw the whole away. The same thing happened to a mass of a red colour that I had brought away with me, and which had a beautiful effect, like glowing lava, clinging to the fissures and sides of the rocks. We held pieces of paper to the fissures in this wall, and they immediately became ignited. Herr M. then threw in a cigar, which also burst into a flame. The heat proceeding from these clefts was so great, that we could not bear to hold our hands there for an instant. At one place, near a fissure, we laid our ears to the ground, and could hear a rushing bubbling sound as though water was boiling beneath us. There was really much to see in this hell, without the discomfort of being enveloped in the offensive sulphurous smoke of the chief crater.

After staying for several hours in and about the crater we left it, and returned by the steep way over the cone of cinders. The descent here is almost perpendicular, and we could hardly escape with whole skins if it were not for the fact that we sink ankle-deep into sand and cinders at every step.

To avoid falling, it is requisite to bend the body backwards and step upon the heel. By observing this precaution, the worst that can happen to one is to sit down involuntarily once or twice, without danger to life or limb. In twelve minutes we had reached the spot where our donkeys stood. We reached Resina during the darkness of night, having spent eight hours in our excursion.

My last trip was to the Castle of Caserta, distant sixteen miglia from Naples, in the direction of Capua. It is considered one of the finest pleasure-palaces in Europe, and I was exceedingly pleased with its appearance. The building is of a square form, with a portico 507 feet long, supported by ninety-eight columns of the finest marble. The staircase and halls in the upper story alone must have cost enormous sums, as well as the chapel on the first floor, which is very rich and gorgeous. The saloons and apartments are decorated in a peculiarly splendid manner with a multiplicity of frescoes, oil-paintings, sculptures, gildings, costly silk-hangings, marbles, etc. A pretty little theatre, with well-painted scenery, is to be found in the palace. The garden is extensive, particularly as regards length. A hill, from which a considerable stream rushes foaming over artificial rockwork into the deeper recesses of the garden, rises at its extremity. Scarcely has this river sunk to rest, flowing slowly and majestically through a bed formed of large square stones, before it is compelled to form another cascade, and another, and one more, until it almost reaches the castle, near which a large basin has been constructed, from whence the water is led into the town. Seen from the portico, these waterfalls have a lovely appearance. From Caserta we drove ten miles farther on to the celebrated aqueduct which supplies the whole of Naples with water. It is truly a marvellous work. Over three stupendous arched ways, one above the other, the necessary quantity of water flows into the city.

This was my last excursion; on the following day, the 7th of November, at three in the morning, I left Naples. Apart from the delightful reminiscences of lovely natural scenes, I shall always think with pleasure on my sojourn in Naples in connexion with Herr Brettschneider and his lady. I was a complete stranger to them when I delivered my note of introduction, and yet they at once welcomed me as kindly and heartily as though I had belonged to their family. How many hours, and even days, did they not devote to me, to accompany me sometimes to one place, sometimes to another; how eagerly did they seek to shew me all the riches of nature and art displayed in this favoured city! I was truly proud and delighted at having found such friends; and once more do I offer them my sincere thanks.


Caserta–Costume of the peasants–Rome–Piazza del Popolo–Dogana– St. Peter’s–Palaces–Borghese, Barberini, Colonna, etc.–Churches– Ancient Rome–The Colliseum–Departure for Florence–Bad weather– Picturesque scenery–Siena–Florence–Cathedral and palaces– Departure from Florence–Bologna–Ferrara–Conclusion.

November 7th.

I travelled by the mail-carriage. By seven in the morning we were at Caserta, and an hour later at Capua, a pretty bustling town on the banks of a river. Our road was most picturesque; we drove among vineyards and gardens through the midst of a lovely plain. On the right were mountains, increasing in number as we proceeded, and imparting a rich variety to the landscape. At noon we halted before a lovely inn. From this point the country increases in beauty at every step. The heights are strikingly fertile, and in the valley an excellent road winds amid pleasant gardens. The mountains frequently seem to approach as though about to form an impenetrable pass; while ruins crown the summits of the rocks, and give a romantic appearance to the whole. At about three o’clock we reached the little town of Jeromania, lying in the midst of vegetable- gardens. Above this town the handsome convent of Monte Cassino stands on a rock, and in its neighbourhood we notice the ruins of an amphitheatre.

To-day the weather was not in the least Italian, being, on the contrary, gloomy and rough, as we generally find it in Austria at the same season of the year. Yesterday it was so cold at Naples that Mount Vesuvius was covered with snow during several hours.

The dress of the peasants in these regions is of a more national character than I had yet found it. The women wear short and scanty petticoats of blue or red cloth, tight-fitting bodices, and gaily- striped aprons. Their head-dress consists of a white handkerchief, with a second above it folded in a square form. The men look like robbers; with their long dark-blue or brown cloaks, in which they wrap themselves so closely that it is difficult to get a glimpse of their faces, and their steeple-crowned black hats, they quite resemble the pictures of the bandits in the Abruzzi. They glide about in so spectral a manner, and eye travellers with such a sinister look, that I almost became uncomfortable.

From Jeromania we had still a few miles to travel until we entered the Roman territory near Ceprano.

In Naples, and in fact throughout the whole of Italy, the passports are continually called for,–a great annoyance to the traveller. In the course of to-day my passport was “vise” five times, making once in every little town through which we had passed.

It was our fortune at Ceprano to lodge with a very cheating host. In the evening, when I inquired the price of a bedroom and breakfast, they told me a bed would cost two pauls, and breakfast half a paul; but when I came to pay, the host asked three pauls for my bed-room, and another for a cup of the worst coffee I have ever drunk; and the whole company was subjected to the same extortion. We expostulated and complained, but were at length compelled to comply with the demand.

November 8th.

The landscape remains the same, but the appearance of the towns and villages is not nearly so neat and pretty as in the Neapolitan domain. The costume of the peasants is like that worn by the people whom we met yesterday, excepting that the women have a stiff stomacher, fastened with a red lace, instead of the spencer. The dress of the men consists of short knee-breeches, brown stockings, heavy shoes, and a jacket of some dark colour. Some wear, in addition to this, a red waistcoat, and a green sash round the waist. All wear the conical hat. In cold weather the dark bandit’s cloak is also seen.


As we approach Rome the country becomes more and more barren; the mountains recede, and the extended plains have a desert, uncultivated look. Towns and villages become so thinly scattered, that it seems as though the whole region were depopulated. The road is rather narrow, and as the country is in many places exceedingly marshy, a great portion of it has been paved. For many miles before we enter Rome we do not pass a single town or village. At length, some three hours before we reach the city, the dome of St. Peter’s is seen looming in the distance; one church after another appears, and at length the whole city lies spread before us.

Many ruins of aqueducts and buildings of every kind shewed at every step what treasures of the past here awaited us. I was particularly pleased with the old town-gate Lateran, by which we entered.

It was already quite dark when we reached the Dogana. I at once betook myself to my room and retired to rest.

I remained a fortnight at Rome, and walked about the streets from morning till night. I visited St. Peter’s almost every day, and went to the Vatican several times.

All the squares in Rome (and there are a great many) are decorated with fountains, and still more frequently with obelisks. The finest is the Piazza del Popolo. To the right rises the terrace-hill Picino, rich in pillars, statues, fountains, and other ornaments,–a favourite walk of the citizens. On this hill, which is arranged after the manner of a beautiful garden, we have a splendid view. The city of Rome here appears to much greater advantage than when we approach it from the direction of Naples. We can see the whole town at one glance, with the yellow Tiber flowing through the midst, and a vast plain all around. The background is closed by beautiful mountain-ranges, with villas, little towns, and cottages on the declivities. But I missed one feature, to which I had become so accustomed that the most beautiful view appeared incomplete without it–the sea. To make up for this drawback, we here encounter wherever we walk such a number of ruins, that we soon become forgetful of all around us, and live only in the past.

The Piazza del Popolo forms the termination of the three principal streets in Rome; on the largest and finest of these, the Corso, many palaces are to be seen.

The splendid post-office, of white marble, rises on the Colonna square. Two clocks are erected on this building; one with our dial, one with the Italian. At night both are illuminated,–a very useful as well as an ornamental arrangement. The ancient column of Antoninus also stands in this square.

The facade of the Dogana boasts some pillars from the temple of Antonius Pius.

The objects I have just enumerated struck me particularly as I wended my way to St. Peter’s. I cannot describe how deeply I was impressed by the sight of this colossal structure. I need only state the fact, that on the first day I entered the cathedral at nine in the morning, and did not emerge from its gates until three in the afternoon.

I sat down before the pictures in mosaic, underneath the huge dome and the canopy; then I stood before the statues and monuments, and could only gaze in wonder at every thing.

The expense of building and decorating this church is said to have amounted to 45,852,000 dollars. It occupies the site of Nero’s circus. Two arcades, with four rows of pillars and ninety-six statues, surround the square leading to the church.

The facade of St. Peter’s is decorated with Corinthian pillars, and on its parapet stand statues fifty-two feet in height.

The entrance is so crowded with statues, carved work, and gilding, that several hours may be spent in examining its wonders. The traveller’s attention is particularly attracted by the gigantic gates of bronze.

I cannot adequately describe the splendour of the interior, nor have I seen any thing with which I could compare it.

The most beautiful mosaics, monuments, statues, carvings in bronze, gilded ornaments, in short every thing that art can produce, are here to be found in the highest perfection. Oil-paintings alone are excluded. Every thing here is in mosaic; even the cupola displays mosaic work instead of the usual fresco-paintings. Immense statues of white marble occupy the niches.

Beneath the cupola, the finest portion of the building, stands the great altar, at which none but the Pope may read mass. Over this altar extends a giant canopy of bronze, with spiral pillars richly decorated with arabesques. The weight of metal used in its construction was 186,392 pounds, and the cost of the gold for gilding was 40,000 dollars; the entire canopy is worth above 150,000 dollars. The cupola was executed by Michael Angelo; it rests on four massive pillars, each of them furnished with a balcony. In the interior of these pillars chapels are constructed, where the chief relics are kept, and only displayed to the people from the balcony at particular times. I was in the church at the time when the handkerchief which wiped the drops of agony from our Lord’s brow, and a piece of the true cross, were shewn.

The pulpit stands in a very elevated position, and was executed in bronze by Bernini; 219,161 pounds of metal, and 172,000 dollars, were spent upon its construction. In the interior is concealed the wooden pulpit from which St. Peter preached; and immediately beside this we find a pillar of white marble, said to have belonged to Solomon’s temple at Jerusalem.

The lions on the monument of Clement XIII., by Canova, are considered the finest that were ever sculptured.

I was fortunate enough to penetrate into the catacombs of St. Peter’s, a favour which women rarely obtain, and which I only owed to my having been a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. These catacombs consist of handsome passages and pillars of masonry, which do not, however, exceed eight or nine feet in height. A number of sarcophagi, containing the remains of emperors and popes, are here deposited.

The roof of St. Peter’s covers an immense area, and is divided into a number of cupolas, chambers, and buildings. A fountain of running water is even found here. From this roof we have a splendid view as far as the sea and the Apennines; we can descry the entire Vatican, which adjoins the church, as well as the Pope’s gardens.

I ascended to the ball in the great cupola, where there is nothing to be seen, as there is not the slightest opening, much less a window, left in it. Nothing is to be gained by mounting into this dark narrow receptacle but the glory of being able to say, “I have been there!” It is far more interesting to look down from the windows and galleries of the great cupola into the body of the church itself; for then we can estimate the grandeur of the colossal building, and the people who walk about beneath appear like dwarfs.

Two noble fountains deck the square in front of St. Peter’s, and in the midst towers a magnificent obelisk from Heliopolis, said to weigh 992,789 pounds. Near this obelisk are two slabs, by standing on either of which we can see all the rows of columns melted as it were into one.

My journey to Jerusalem also obtained for me an audience of the Pope. His Holiness received me in a great hall adjoining the Sixtine Chapel. Considering his great age of seventy-eight years, the Pope has still a noble presence and most amiable manners. He asked me some questions, gave me his blessing, and permitted me at parting to kiss the embroidered slipper.

My second walk was to the Vatican. Here I saw the immense halls of Raphael, the staircases of Bramante and Bernini, and the Sixtine Chapel, containing Michael Angelo’s masterpieces, the world-renowned frescoes. The immense wall behind the high altar represents the last judgment, while the ceilings are covered with prophets and sybils.

The picture-gallery contains many works of the great masters, as does also the gallery of vases and candelabra.

The Biga chamber. The biga is an antique carriage of white marble, drawn by two horses.

In the gallery of statues the figure representing Nero as Apollo playing on the lyre is the finest.

In the gallery of busts those of Menelaus and Jupiter pre-eminently attract attention.

The name of the Laocoon cabinet indicates the masterpiece it contains, as also the cabinet of the Apollo Belvidere. The latter statue was found in Nero’s baths at Porto d’Anzio.

The celebrated torso of the Belvidere, a fragment of Greek art, which Michael partly used as his model, is placed in the square vestibule. Never was flesh so pliably counterfeited in stone as in this masterpiece.

A long gallery contains a series of tapestries, the designs for which were drawn by Raphael.

The Vatican contains ten thousand rooms, twenty large halls, eight large and about two hundred small staircases.

The Quirinal palace, the summer residence of the Pope, lies on the hill of the same name (Monte Cavallo), which is quite covered with villas and beautiful houses, on account of the salubrity of the air.

I visited most of the private palaces and picture-galleries. The principal are, the Colonna palace, on the Quirinal hill; and the Barberini palace, where we find a portrait of Raphael’s mistress, Fornarina, painted by himself, and an original picture of Beatrice Cenci by Guidosteri.

The finest of all the Roman palaces is that of Borghese; from its form, which resembles a piano, this building has obtained the name of “il Cembalo di Borghese.” The gallery contains sixteen hundred paintings, most of them masterpieces by celebrated artists.

The Farnese palace is remarkable for its architecture, and the Stoppani for its architect, Raphael. Besides these there are many other palaces. I saw but few villas, for the weather was generally bad, and it rained almost every day.

I visited the Villa Borghese on a Sunday, when there is a great bustle here; for a stream of people on foot, on horseback, and in carriages, sets in towards its beautiful park, situate just beyond the Piazza del Popolo, in the same way that the crowds flock to our beloved “Prater” on a fine day in spring. I also saw the Villa Medicis and the Villa Pamfili. The latter boasts a very extensive park.

I took care to visit most of the churches. My plan was to go out early in the morning, and to inspect several churches until about eleven o’clock, when it was time to repair to the galleries. When I went to the principal churches,–for instance, those of St. John of Lateran, St. Paul, St. Maria Maggiore, St. Lawrence, and St. Sebastian,–I was always accompanied by a guide specially appointed to conduct strangers to the churches. I could fill volumes with the description of the riches and magnificence they display.

The church of St. John of Lateran possesses the wooden altar at which St. Peter is said to have read mass, the wooden table at which Jesus sat to eat the last supper, and the heads of the disciples Peter and Paul. Near this church, in a building specially constructed for it, is the Scala Santa (holy staircase), which was brought from Jerusalem and deposited here. This is a flight of twenty-eight steps of white marble, covered with boards, which no one is allowed to ascend or descend in the regular way, every man being required to shuffle up and down on his knees. Near this holy stair a common one is built, which it is lawful to ascend in the regular way.

The basilica of St. Paul lies beyond the gate of the same name, in a very insalubrious neighbourhood. It is only just rebuilt, after having been destroyed by fire.

The basilica Maria Maggiore, in which is deposited the “holy gate,” has the highest belfry in Rome, and above its portico we see a beautiful chamber where the new Pope stands to dispense the first blessing among the people. In the chapel of the Crucifix five pieces of the wood of the Saviour’s manger are preserved in a silver urn.

St. Lorenzo, a mile from the town, is a very plain-looking edifice. Here we find the Campo Santo, or cemetery. The graves are covered with large blocks of stone.

St. Bessoriana is also called the church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, from the fact that a piece of the cross is preserved here, besides the letters I.N.R.I., some thorns, and a nail.

St. Sebastian in the suburbs, one of the most ancient Roman churches, is built over the great catacombs, in which 174,000 Christians were buried. The catacombs are some stories deep, and extend over a large area.

All the above-named basilicas are so empty, and stand on such lonely spots, that I was almost afraid to visit them alone.

The handsome church of Sta. Maria in Trastavare contrasts strangely with the quarter of the town in which it lies. This part of Rome is inhabited by people calling themselves descendants of the ancient Trojans.

Sta. Maria ad Martyres, or the Rotunda, once the Pantheon of Agrippa, is in better preservation than any other monument of ancient Rome. The interior is almost in its pristine condition; it contains no less than fifteen altars. In this church Raphael is buried. The Rotunda has no windows, but receives air and light through a circular opening in the cupola.

The best view of ancient Rome is to be obtained from the tower of the Senate-house. From this place we see stretched out beneath us, Mount Palatine, the site of ancient Rome; the Capitol, in the midst of the city; the Quirinal hill (Monte Cavallo), with the summer residence of the Pope; the Esquiline mount, the loftiest of the hills; Mount Aventine; the Vatican; and lastly, Monte Testaccio, consisting entirely of broken pottery which the Romans throw down here.

I also paid a visit to the Ponte Publicius, the most ancient bridge in Rome, in the neighbourhood of which Horatius Cocles achieved his heroic action; and the Tullian prison, beneath the church of St. Joseph of Falignani, where Jugurtha was starved to death. The staircase leading up to the building is called “the steps of sighs.” The Capitol has unfortunately fallen into decay; we can barely distinguish a few remains of temples and other buildings.

Of the graves of the Scipios I could also discover little more than the site; the subterranean passages are nearly all destroyed.

The Marsfield is partly covered with buildings, and partly used as a promenade.

Cestius’ grave is uncommonly well preserved, and a pyramid of large square stones surrounds the sarcophagus. The aqueducts are built of large blocks of stone fastened together without mortar. They are now no longer used, as they have partly fallen into decay, and some of the springs have dried up.

The hot baths of Titus are well worthy a visit, though in a ruined condition. Here the celebrated Laocoon group was found. Near these baths is the great reservoir called the “Seven Halls of Titus.”

One of the greatest and best-preserved buildings of ancient Rome is the amphitheatre of Flavius, or the Colliseum, once the scene of the combats with wild beasts. It was capable of holding 87,000 spectators. Four stories yet remain. This building is seen to the greatest advantage by torchlight. I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity of joining a large party, and we were thus enabled to divide the expense. The triumphal arch of Titus, of white marble, covered with glorious sculptures; the arches of Septimus Severus, that of Janus, and several other antique monuments, are to be seen near the Colliseum.

The beautiful bridge of St. Angelo, constructed entirely of square blocks of stone, leads across the Tiber to the castle of the same name, the tomb of Hadrian. The emperor caused this large round building to be erected for his future mausoleum. It is built of immense stone blocks, and now serves as a fortress and state-prison.

The temple of Marcus Aurelius is converted into the Dogana. That of Minerva Medica lies in the midst of a vineyard, and is built in the form of a rotunda. The upper part has sunk in.

There are twelve obelisks in the different public squares of Rome, all brought from Egypt.

I have still to mention the 108 fountains, from which fresh water continually spouts into the air. Foremost among them in size and beauty is the Fontana Trevi.

I was prevented by the bad weather from making trips to any distance, but one afternoon I drove to Tivoli. The road leading thither is called the Tiburtinian. After travelling for about six miles we become conscious of a dreadfully offensive sulphurous smell, and soon find that it proceeds from a little river running through the Solfatara. A ride of eighteen Italian miles brought us to the town of Tivoli, lying amidst olive-woods on the declivity of the Apennines, and numbering about 7000 inhabitants. Towards evening I took a short walk in the town, beneath the protection of an umbrella, and was not much pleased. Next morning I left the house early, and proceeded first to the temple of Sybilla, built on a rock opposite to the waterfall. Afterwards I went to view the grotto of Neptune, and that through which the Arno flows, rushing out of the cavern to fall headlong over a ledge of lofty rocks, and form the cascade of Tivoli. The best view of this fall is obtained from the bridge. Besides many pretty minor cascades, I saw a number of ruins; the most remarkable among these was the villa of Mecaenas.

November 23d.

At six o’clock this morning I commenced my journey to Florence with a Veturino. Almost the whole distance the weather was in the highest degree unfavourable–it was foggy, rainy, and very cold. A journey through Italy during autumn or winter is far from agreeable; for there are generally cold and rain to be encountered, and no warm rooms to be found in the inns, where fires are never kindled until after the guests have arrived. And the fires they light in the grates are, after all, quite inadequate to warm the damp, unaired rooms, and the traveller feels scorched and cold almost at the same moment. The floors are all of stone, but a few straw-mats are sometimes spread beneath the dining-tables.

The landscape through which we travelled to-day did not possess many attractions. For about forty miles, as far as Ronciglione, we saw neither town nor village. The aspect of Ronciglione is rather melancholy, though it boasts a broad street and many houses of two stories. But the latter all have a gloomy look, and the town itself appears to be thinly populated. We passed the night here.

According to Italian custom, I had made a bargain with the proprietor of our vehicle for the journey, including lodging and board. I was well satisfied, for he strictly kept his contract. But whoever expects more than one meal a day under an arrangement of this sort will find himself grievously mistaken; the traveller who wishes to take any thing in the morning or in the middle of the day must pay out of his own pocket. I found every thing here exceedingly expensive and very bad.

November 24th.

To-day we passed through some very pretty, though not populous districts. In the afternoon we at length reached two towns,– namely, Viterbo, with 13,000 inhabitants, lying in a fruitful plain; and Montefiascone, built on a high hill, and backed by lofty mountains, on which a celebrated vine is cultivated. At the foot of the hill, near Montefiascone, lies a small lake, and farther on one of considerable size, the Lago de Balsana, with a little town of the same name, once the capital of the Volsci. An ancient fortress rises in the midst of this town, surrounded by tall and venerable houses as with a wreath.

We had now to cross a considerable mountain, an undertaking of some difficulty when we consider how heavily the rain had fallen. By the aid of an extra pair of horses we passed safely over the miserable roads, and took up our quarters for the night in the little village of Lorenzo. We had already reached the domain of the Apennines.

November 25th.

We had now only a few more hours to travel through the papal dominions. The river Centino forms the boundary between the States of the Church and Tuscany. The greater portion of the region around us gave tokens of its volcanic origin. We saw several grottoes and caverns of broken stone resembling lava, basaltic columns, etc.

The Dogana of Tuscany, a handsome building, stands in the neighbourhood of Ponte Centino. The country here wears a wild aspect; as far as the eye can stretch, it rests upon mountains of different elevations. The little town of Radicofani lies on the plateau of a considerable hill, surrounded by rocks and huge blocks of stone. A citadel or ancient fortress towers romantically above the little town, and old towers look down from the summit of many a hill and cliff. The character of the lower mountain-range is exceedingly peculiar; it is split into gaps and fissures in all directions, as though it had but recently emerged from the main.

For many hours we almost rode through a flood. The water streamed down the streets, and the wind howled round our carriage with such violence that we seriously anticipated being blown over. Luckily the streets in the Tuscan are better than those in the Roman territory, and the rivers are crossed by firm stone bridges.

November 26th.

To-day our poor horses had a hard time of it. Up hill and down hill, and past yawning chasms, our way lay for a long time through a desert and barren district, until, at a little distance from the village of Buonconvento, the scene suddenly changed, and a widely- extended, hilly country, with beautiful plains, the lovely town of Siena, numerous villages great and small, with homesteads and handsome farms, and solitary churches built on hills, lay spread before us. Every thing shewed traces of cultivation and opulence.

Most of the women and girls we met were employed in plaiting straw. Here all wear straw hats–men, women, and children. At five in the evening we at length reached


Our poor horses were so exhausted by the bad roads of the Apennines, that the driver requested leave to make a day’s halt here. This interruption to our journey was far from being unwelcome to me, for Siena is well worthy to be explored.

November 27th.

The town numbers 16,000 inhabitants, and is divided almost into two halves by a long handsome street. The remaining streets are small, irregular, and dirty. The Piazza del Campo is very large, and derives a certain splendour of appearance from some palaces built in the gothic style. In the midst stands a granite pillar, bearing a representation in bronze of Romulus and Remus suckled by the she- wolf. I saw several other pillars of equal beauty in different parts of the town, while in Rome, where they would certainly have been more appropriate, I did not find a single one. All the houses in the streets of Siena have a gloomy appearance; many of them are built like castles, of great square blocks of stone, and furnished with loopholes.

The finest building is undoubtedly the cathedral. Though I came from the “city of churches,” the beauty of this edifice struck me so forcibly, that for a long time I stood silently regarding it. It is, in truth, considered one of the handsomest churches in Italy. It stands on a little elevation in the midst of a large square, and is covered outside and inside with white marble. The lofty arches of the windows, supported by columns, have a peculiarly fine effect; and the frescoes in the sacristy are remarkable alike for the correctness of outline and brilliancy of colour.

The drawings are said to be by Raphael; and the freshness of colour observed in these frescoes is ascribed to the good qualities of the Siena earth. The mass-books preserved in the sacristy contain some very delicate miniatures on parchment.

Some of the wards in the neighbouring hospital are also decorated with beautiful frescoes, which appear to date from the time of Raphael.

The grace and beauty of the women of Siena have been extolled by many writers. As to-day was Sunday, I attended high mass for the purpose of meeting some of these graceful beauties. I found that they were present in the usual average, and no more; beauty and grace are no common gifts.

In the afternoon I visited the promenade, the Prato di Lizza, where I found but little company. A fine prospect is obtained from the walls of the town.

November 28th.

The country now becomes very beautiful. The mountains are less high, the valleys widen, and at length hills only appear at intervals, clothed with trees, meadows, and fields. In the Tuscan dominions I noticed many cypresses, a tree I had not seen since my departure from Constantinople and Smyrna. The country seems well populated, and villages frequently appear.

At five in the evening we reached


but I did not arrive at Madame Mocalli’s hotel until an hour and a half later; for the examination of luggage and passes, and other business of this kind, always occupies a long time.

The country round Florence is exceedingly lovely, without being grand. The charming Arno flows through the town: it is crossed by four stone bridges, one of them roofed and lined with booths on either side. Florence contains 8000 houses and 90,000 inhabitants. The exterior of the palaces here is very peculiar. Constructed chiefly of huge blocks of stone, they almost resemble fortresses, and look massive and venerable.

The cathedral is said to be the finest church in Christendom; I thought it too simple, particularly the interior. The walls are only whitewashed, and the painted windows render the church extremely dark. I was best pleased with the doors of the sacristy, with the celebrated works of Luca del Robbin, and the richly decorated high altar.

The Battisterio, once a temple of Mars, with eight very fine doors of bronze, which Michael Angelo pronounced worthy to be the gates of Paradise, stands beside the cathedral.

The other principal churches are:–St. Lorenzo, also with a white interior and grey pillars, containing some fine oil paintings, and the chapel of the Medici, a splendid structure, decorated with costly stones, and monuments of several members of the royal family.

St. Croce, a handsome church, full of monuments of eminent men, is also called the Italian Pantheon; the sculptures are beautiful, and the paintings good. The remains of Michael Angelo rest here, and the Buonaparte family possess a vault beneath a side chapel. Another chapel of considerable size contains some exquisite statues of white marble.

St. Annunciate is rich in splendid frescoes; those placed round the walls in the courtyard of the church, and surrounded by a glass gallery, are particularly handsome. On the left as we enter we find the costly chapel of our Lady “dell’ Annunciata,” in which the altar, the immense candelabra, the angels and draperies, in short every thing is of silver. This wealthy church contains in addition some good pictures and a quantity of marble.

St. Michele is outwardly beautified by some excellent statues. The interior displays several valuable paintings and an altar of great beauty, beneath a white marble canopy in the Gothic style.

St. Spirito contains many sculptures, among which a statue of the Saviour in white marble claims particular attention.

All these churches are rather dark from having stained windows.

Foremost among the palaces we may reckon the Palais Pitti, built on a little hill. This structure has a noble appearance; constructed entirely of pieces of granite, it seems calculated to last an eternity. Of all the palaces I had seen, this one pleased me most; it would be difficult to find a building in the same style which should surpass it. As a rule, indeed, I particularly admired the Florentine buildings, which seemed to me to possess a much more decided _national_ appearance than the palaces of modern Rome.

The picture-gallery of this palace numbers five hundred paintings, most of them masterpieces, among which we find Raphael’s Madonna della Sedia. Besides the pictures, each apartment contains gorgeous tables of valuable stone.

Behind the palace the Boboli garden rises, somewhat in the form of a terrace. Here I found numerous statues distributed with much taste throughout charming alleys, groves, and open places. From the higher points a splendid view is obtained.

The palace degli Ufizzi, on the Arno, has an imposing effect, from its magnificent proportions and peculiar style of architecture. Some of the greatest artistic treasures of the world are united in the twenty halls and cabinets and three immense galleries of this building.

The Tribuna contains the Venus de Medicis, found at Tivoli, and executed by Cleomenes, a son of Apollodorus of Athens. Opposite to it stands a statue of Apollino.

In the centre of the hall of the artists’ portrait-gallery we find the celebrated Medician vase.

The cabinet of jewels boasts the largest and finest onyx in existence.

The Palazzo Vecchio resembles a fortified castle. The large courtyard, surrounded by lofty arcades, is crowded with paintings and sculptures. A beautiful fountain stands in the midst; and two splendid statues, one representing Hercules and the other David, adorn the entrance. The glorious fountain of Ammanato, drawn by sea-horses and surrounded by Tritons, is not far off.

In the Gherardeska palace we find a fresco representing the horrible story of Ugolino.

The Palazzo Strozzi should not be left out of the catalogue; it has already stood for 360 years, and looks as though it had been completed but yesterday.

In the Speccola we are shewn the human body and its diseases, modelled in wax by the same artist who established a similar cabinet at Vienna (in the Josephinum). In the museum of natural history stuffed animals and their skeletons are preserved.

The traveller should not depart without visiting the “workshops for hard stones,” where beautiful pictures, table-slabs, etc. are put together of Florentine marble. Splendid works are produced here; I saw flowers and fruits constructed of stone which would not have dishonoured the finest pencil. The enormous table in the palace degli Ufizzi is said to have cost 40,000 ducats. Twenty-five men were employed for twenty years in its construction; it is composed of Florentine mosaic. This table did not strike me particularly; it appeared overloaded with ornament.

Of the environs of Florence I only saw the Grand Duke’s milk-farm, a pleasant place near the Arno, amid beautiful avenues and meadows.


December 3d.

At seven in the evening I quitted Florence, and proceeded in the mail-carriage to Bologna, distant about eighty miles. When the day broke, we found ourselves on an acclivity commanding a really splendid view. Numerous valleys, extending between low hills, opened before our eyes, the snow-clad Apennines formed the background, and in the far distance shone a gleaming stripe–the Adriatic sea. At five in the evening of

December 4th

we reached Bologna.

This town is of considerable extent, numbers 50,000 inhabitants, and has many fine houses and streets; all of these, however, are dull, with the exception of a few principal streets. Beggars swarm at every corner–an unmistakable token that we are once more in the States of the Church.

December 5th.

This was a day of rest. I proceeded at once to visit the cathedral, which is rich in frescoes, gilding, and arabesques. A few oil- paintings are also not to be overlooked.

In the church of St. Dominic I viewed with most interest the monument of King Enzio.

The picture-gallery contains a St. Cecilia, one of the earlier productions of Raphael.

A fine fountain, with a figure of Neptune, graces the principal square. In the Palazzo Publico I saw a staircase up which it is possible to ride.

The most remarkable edifices at Bologna are the two square leaning towers at the Porta Romagna. One of these towers is five, and the other seven feet out of the perpendicular. Their aspect inspired me with a kind of nervous dread; on standing close to the wall to look up at them it really appeared as though they were toppling down. In themselves these towers are not interesting, being simply constructed of masonry, and not very lofty.

The finest spot in Bologna is the Campo Santo, the immense cemetery, with its long covered ways and neat chapels, displaying a number of costly monuments, the works of the first modern sculptors. Three large and pleasant spots near these buildings serve as burial-places for the poorer classes. In one the men are interred, in the second the women, and in the third the children.

A hall three miglia in length, resting on 640 columns, leads from this cemetery to a little hill, surmounted by the church of the Madonna di St. Luca, and from thence almost back into the town. The church just mentioned contains a miraculous picture, namely, a true likeness of the Virgin, painted by St. Luke after a vision. The complexion of this picture is much darker than that of the commonest women I have seen in Syria. But faith is every thing, and so I will not doubt the authenticity of the picture. The prospect from the mountains is exceedingly fine.

I returned in the evening completely exhausted, and half an hour afterwards was already seated in the post-carriage to pursue my journey to Ferrara.

On the whole the weather was unfavourable; it rained frequently, and the roads were mostly very bad, particularly in the domains of the Pope, where we stuck fast four or five times during the night. On one occasion of this kind we were detained more than an hour, until horses and oxen could be collected to drag us onwards. We were twelve hours getting over these fifty-four miles, from six in the evening till the same hour in the morning.

December 6th.

This morning I awoke at Ferrara, where the carriage was to be changed once more. I availed myself of a few spare hours to view the town, which, on the whole, rather resembles a German than an Italian place. It has fine broad streets, nice houses, and few arched ways in front of them. In the centre of the town stands a strong castle, surrounded by fortifications; this was once the residence of the bishop.

At nine o’clock we quitted this pretty town, and reached the Po an hour afterwards. We were ferried across the stream; and now, after a long absence, I once more stood on Austrian ground. We continued our journey through a lovely plain to Rovigo, a place possessing no object of interest. Here we stayed to dine, and afterwards passed the Adige, a stream considerably smaller than the Po. The country between Rovigo and Padua was hidden from us by an impenetrable fog, which prevented our seeing fifty paces in advance. At six o’clock in the evening we reached Padua, our resting-place for the night.

Early next morning I hastened onwards, for I had already seen Padua, Venice, Trieste, etc. in the year 1840.

I reached my native town safely and in perfect health, and had the happiness of finding that my beloved ones were all well and cheerful.

During my journey I had seen much and endured many hardships; I had found very few things as I had imagined them to be.

Friends and relations have expressed a wish to read a description of my lonely wanderings. I could not send my diary to each one; so I have dared, upon the representations of my friends, and at the particular request of the publisher of this book, to tell my adventures in a plain unvarnished way.

I am no authoress; I have never written anything but letters; and my diary must not, therefore, be judged as a literary production. It is a simple narration, in which I have described every circumstance as it occurred; a collection of notes which I wrote down for private reference, without dreaming that they would ever find their way into the great world. Therefore I would entreat the indulgence of my kind readers; for–I repeat it–nothing can be farther from my thoughts than any idea of thrusting myself forward into the ranks of those gifted women who have received in their cradle the Muses’ initiatory kiss.


{23} A florin is worth about 2s. 1d.

{30} TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: “Use of the Reaumur scale was once widespread, but by the late 19th century it had been supplanted by other systems.” (Encyc. Brit.) Some conversions to currently-used scales (rounded down) are given here:–

Reaumur Fahrenheit Celsius
16 68 20
18 72 22
20 77 25
22 81 27
24 86 30
26 90 32
28 95 35
30 99 37
32 104 40
34 108 42
36 113 45
38 117 47
40 122 50
43 128 53

{40} They receive a dollar from the landlord for every guest whom they bring to his house.

{48} Boats built very slenderly, and which have a great knack of upsetting,–a circumstance which renders it necessary for the occupant to sit like a statue; the slightest movement of the body, or even of the head or arm, draws upon you a reproof from the boatman.

{53} A piastre is worth about one and three-quarters pence.

{54} About one pound sterling.

{71a} A khan is a stone building containing a few perfectly empty rooms, to receive the traveller in the absence of inns, or shelter against the night air and against storm. Generally in these khans a Turk is found, who dispenses coffee without milk to the visitors.

{71b} Its height is 9100 feet.–ED.

{79} The well-known artist and author.–ED.

{85} Smyrna is _one_ of the cities that claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer.–ED.

{101} Cakes or “scones” in Scotland are baked in the same way.–ED.

{165} I had cut my hair quite close, because I was seldom sure of having time and opportunity during my long journey to dress and plait it properly.

{167} This Emir could not maintain his position on Mount Lebanon, and was summoned to Constantinople. At the time of our visit they were still awaiting his return, though he had been absent more than six months.

{236} This is a work of the young Viennese artist, Leander Russ, who visited Egypt in the year 1832.

{261} A beshlik is worth five piastres in Turkey, and only four in Egypt.