« السابقةمتابعة »
with good humour. The softness of the climate, the picturesque prospects and views, the cheerfulness of the scene around, the recollection of classic incidents, even the peculiar costume of the people, and the incidental discoveries of their manners, contribute amply to repay the contingencies of such an excursion.
The Campagna di Roma, has, at first inspection, à desolate appearance, and the sight rests rather on remains of ruined grandeur, thau on instances of present prosperity. Neither can we adopt, without considerable abatement, the favourable sentiments, expressed by our author, respecting its salubrity. The soil is volcanic, the exhalations are mephitic; yet, before the heats of summer, or rather, after the rains of September, noihing need be dreaded by those who exercise common sense, and discretion. The tramontana, or north wind, is delightful in spring and autumn: its elastic quality animates all nature, and clears the sky from every cloud and vapour, which it conveys into the sea'. • The ponente, or west wind, deserves the character it had among the antient poets : their Zephyrs and Favonian breezes have lost none of their charms; and it requires the pen of a Virgil or Tibullus to describe the beauty of this cliinate when it is predominant: wafting, as it does, on its dewy wings, the perfume of orange groves, and aromatic meadows.'
The account of the first inhabitants of Latium, with which this work opens, is rather pleasing than recondite; nor will it satisfy the antiquary, who, though he knows that in after ages
the leaders of Colonies were considered as superior beings,' will doubt, whether they were esteemed other than mere men, by those who attended their councils and executed their decisions. Differing little, perhaps, from leaders by whom settlers of modern days are conducted, they sought the most favourable districts, and established themselves, where the necessaries of life might most rationally be expected to reward their exertions.
Our author's description of the manners of the antients is more accurate ; they certainly lived much in the open air, or at least, in vestibules, porticos, and peristyles : their houses were insulated, for various reasons; toward the street they had as few windows as possible; their rooms being chiefly lighted from internal courts. The larger houses had gardens and groves. They were built with a laudable attention to solidity; but whether they had, as we find asserted, conductors to prevent the destructive effects of lightning,' we believe, may remain undecided without any impeachment of their knowledge. The furniture of their rooms was mostly simple and serviceable; the walls were ornamented with paintings; not with pictures only, but with patterns, of which some of our furniture papers may give an idea. The Latins were at all times fond of flowers, trees, and the rural beauties of nature,
In the early times of the republic, the mode of living was frugal; from the plough, not from the palace, was Cincinnatus called to be dictator. But, under the Emperors, this district abounded with villas, and was magnificently adorned by Augustus and Hadrian, as it had been not long before by Lucullus, Pompey, Cicero, Varro, and Cæsar.
The remains of the edifices constructed by those eminent men, whether for religious or for social purposes, form no inconsiderable attraction of these rural scenes. We feel an inconceivable delight in treading, where the masters of the globe have trod before us, we examine the memorials they have left behind them, censure or applaud their taste without fear of giving offence, and canvas their actions, as history enables us, with a freedom which knows no hesitation, and an impartiality to which these recesses in their pristine glory were utter strangers.
But, beside what adventitious embellishments may contribute their zest to these retirements, the country itself possesses many native beauties. None can behold the lake of Nemi, or that of Albano, the cascades at Tivoli, the views of and from Castel Gandolfo, or those from the various projections on the coast, without feeling the pleasure they impart, without acknowledging that they combine whatever may gratify the eye, which here may rest in full satiety of delight.
Both these branches of enjoyment are united in this volume. We are occasionally entertained with a view of some antiquity; or of some modern town, or palazzo, which occupies it site. We meet with an easy discussion of what might have been many centuries ago, or we are directed to observe peculiarities which pass under our immediate observation. If the virtuoso will not always be instructed by the learning, he inay be amused by the comments, of the writer, and if no very deep additional insight into the principles of human nature is obtained by the moralist
yet it does not follow that the narrator is deficient in that kind of familiar remark, which is more generally acceptable than the most academic display of profound erudition.
The following is a pleasing account of a modern custom, which takes place at Rome in the month of September :
. Most of the nobility, and indeed all who are in easy circumstances, cither possess cr hire houses for this month, at one or other of the little towps within ten or twenty miles of the capital. This is called going into villeggiatura ; and it'forms one of the principal pleasures of their existence. They esteem it not only necessary for their health, but essential to their making a respectable appearance in society ; and individuals who have not the advantage of possessing a casino, hire lodgings in convents or private houses, for as much of the month of October as their finances will allow.
Ecclesiastics, lawyers, physicians, and others who dress as abati, in black, with short mantles over their shoulders, for the rest of the year, wear coloured coats during this month; and even cardinals change their usual habits for a purple frock. Towards the end of September every Ronian appears with a counienance enlivened by the expectation of an agreeable villeggiatura, except the few whom business or want of money detains in the metropolis ; and these endeavour to console themselves, by wearing the habit of villeggianti, and walking in the beautiful villas and vineyards which surround the city.
None, however, anticipate with so much ardour, or enjoy with so much avidity, the pleasures of the month of October as the scholars, and we may add the masters, of the different colleges and seminaries in which Rome abounds. Each of these houses has a casino at or near one of the castelli, as the little towns are usually denominated. On the happy day appointed for the change of habitation, a long train of coaches conveys the youthful villeggianti to the scene of delight, where, under the eye of their preceptors, they join in all the amusements which the country affords. Their studies are not, however, totally neglected, for, besides the lessons they receive on mineralogy and botany during their excursions, it is remarked, that some of their best exercises are composed spontaneously at these seasons of recreation.
The time of villeggiatura is indeed short, but that very reason contributes to render it more delightful. The mornings are usually employed in walks or friendly visits ; in the evening, those who have carriages take an airing, and afterwards, all assemble at one or other of the houses, where conversation and music for the young, and cards for the elder, engage their attention. On these occasions the nobility sometimes mix with those of an inferior class, particularly where balls or concerts are given. Races, and other amusements appropriate to the country, form also a part of their pleasure
Dinners are also given by the nobility and opulent citizens, not only by invitation, but to any of their friends who come from Rome, or from the neighbouring castelli, without previous advice, to pass the day with them. Few families of distinction go into the country without inviting two or three single men to spend the month of October at their casino; and as these are often literary men, (indeed few of those admitted into good society have not some pretensions to this character,) the villeggiatura usually is productive of poetical compositions, many of which could be cited as specimens of the taste and imagination which distinguish the Romans, and we may say the Italians in general; for it is to be remarked, that Rome being the centre of church preferment for the different states of Italy, society is there composed of men of genius and abilities from every part of the peninsula, and formerly from every country in Europe.
A society composed of persons such as we have endeavoured to de şcribe, assembled round a learned and respectable prelate, or an amiable woman of graceful manners and brilliant imagination, such as are frequently to be found in this country, will be allowed to give no very im, perfect idea of the most rational mode of relaxation, and will recal to the mind of every classical reader what he has been told by Plato and Cicero of the conversations at Athens and Tusculun,
From these societies, over which preside cheerfulness and decorum, all unmeaning ceremony, affectation, and pedantry, are excluded; the Romaus are here perfecuy at their ease, and appear to the greatest advantage. Few travellers are at this season in the vicinity of Rome, still fewer are sufficiently acquainted with the language to join in social intercourse with the natives : those who have bad that advantage will acknowledge that there is no fattery in the portrait ; and others will not be sorry to learn, that the inhabitants of this once celebrated region, though deprived of political influence, and commercial wealth, have yet enjoyments, which being less envied are perhaps more secure.'
pp. 45–49. We had lately an occasion of remarking the value of shade, in the opinion of Italians: we might have further instanced it, in the curious thought of composing 'u mup to exhibit the shaded topography of Rome, at the different hours of the day,' p. 56. $0 that a person, walking to a distance, may select that course which is least exposed to the rays and heat of the sun.
Whether, or not, Augustus is entitled to the distinction, the following trait in the character of the Velletrani, is pleasing. It is supposed that the Emperor was born in Velletri: it is, however, certain that he was nursed, and passed the first years of his infancy, at a small house, belonging to the Octavian family, in the suburbs of this town.'
* This place was afterwards held sacred, and supposed to inspire a supernatural awe to those who entered it without previous preparation.
Although the modern inhabitants of Velletri do not give credit to Pagan miracles, they have little less veneration for the memory of Augustus than was felt by their progenitors. Busts of marble, or casts from them, ornament their houses; and where these are not to be attained, at least a print of him appears on the wall. His portrait is the sign of the principal inn; and it would be difficult to find one • Velletrano,' however humble in birth and education, who is unacquainted with the principal features of his history.' p. 127.
Speaking of the Pontine marshes which were first drained by the consul Cornelius Cethegus, but afterwards returned to their swampy state, and were attempted to be recovered by Augustus, the writer pays the following well deserved tribute of respect to the late Pontiff,
Pius the Sixth, at a great expence, and with indefatigable perseverance, converted a very considerable part of these pernicious marches into pasturage, corn-fields, and rice-plantations. He made a canal twenty miles in length, which conveys the once stagnant waters into the sea ; and he intersected it with many lesser channels, which direct them so as to fertilize the fields which they once rendered useless and pestilential.
The many great qualities of Pius the Sixth, cannot perish in oblivion;
his hospitality to travellers of every nation, and his attention to British travellers in particular ought ever to be remembered. Adversity proved that he possessed yet nobler virtues: his uncommon magnanimity and resignation u:der trials wbich might appal the bravest, end his dignified contempt of menaces and insults of the most barbarous nature, can with difficulty be effaced from the annals of history. Yet should all this be unknown to posterity, still would the name of Braschi be revered as the munificent lover of the arts, in the noble erection of the Vatican museum ;, and as the benefactor of his subjects and of the public at large, in restoring so considerable a tract of country to cultivation and salubrity.' pp. 135, 136.
We take, if possible, greater interest than before, in the Tusculanum of Cicero, froin this writer's description of the state of the adjacent valley, through which passcs the little stream Marrana, formerly the ' Aqua Crabra.'
• Various little cascades are formed by this stream, and the water is as salubrious as it is beautiful. Paper, iron, and corn-mills, with a few cottages are formed of the straw of Indian wheat : in the inclosure round them is an oven of masonry ; each cottage has a little vineyard, a kitchen garden, and a spot reserved for a few flowers, which serve to ornament the church on feast days. The peasants, who inbabit them read and write: they are good and industrious ; and scarcely ever a crime is committed in this valley. The monks, who are their landlords, are very kind to them, and they are grateful. When Cardinal Rezzonico, nephew of Pope Clement XIII. was commendatory abbot of the monastery, he used to visit them frequently, and hear the children say their prayers. They have neither locks nor bolts to their doors; and, unless illness obliges them to have recourse to the charity of their landlords, live with great comfort and independence. A piece of ground, sufficient for all the above-mentioned comforts, may be hired for the value of seven shillings a year. pp. 144, 145.
Under the article Praneste, Palestrina, we have a dissertation, in the author's manner, on the deity Fortune, to whoin Sylla built here a celebrated and magnificent temple. Præneste is characterized as one of the most ancient cities of the world; perhaps even deriving its establishment from the Sicanians, the original inhabitants of Latium, before any foreign colonists landed on the coast. Plautus attributes it to the barbarians; Virgil to Cæculus, son of Vulcan. Others imagine it was founded by the Pelasgi, and some suppose by Janus, and his sons. There was in very antient times a temple dedicated to the goddess Fortune, at Praneste. We would reinind our author who seems to be embarråssed about the character of this deity, that she was of a foreign extraction ; and that we must seek her true office and attributes in those countries from whence she was derived. She was universally worshipped in Syria and Palestine, (a name evidently allied to Palestrina) and probably was intro