A carriage can ascend the mountain as far as S. Oreste, and here we left it near the gate of the town and followed a foot-path, which turns up to the left by a small chapel. It is about two miles to the top. Most of the convents are in ruIns. Lucia is the first which comes in sight, on the crest of the nearest peak, then Sfa. Romana on the eastern slope. Then, by the pilgrims' road which winds through an a venue of ancient ilexes and elms, we reached the gates of Sta. The long drive, and the steep walk' in the great heat, had made us faint with hunger and thirst.
The monks came out with wine, and slices of Bologna sausage and delicious coarse bread, to a room at the gate, for ladies are not allowed to enter the walls, and never was refreshment more acceptable. There are only thirteen monks now, who live an active life of charity, and whose advice and instruction are widely sought by the country people around.
There is little fear of their suppression, as they have scarcely any finances, and their humble dwellings on the bare crag, far from all hun1an habitations, could not be sold for anything, and would be useless to the present Government. He said the people came to hill1 every day, and they asked why they had such sufferings to bear, that they had been quite happy before, and had never wished or sought for any change; and that he urged them to patience and prayer, and to the faith that though outward events might change and earthly C01l1- forts be swept away, God, who led His children by lnysterious teaching which we could not fathon1, was Himself always the same.
The three monks went with us to the top, where the temple of Apollo, the" guardian of the holy Soracte," for- merly stood,- and where the Hirpini, as the people of the surrounding district were called, came to offer their annual sacrifices, and were, on that account, says Pliny, exempted from military service and other public duties. On the supposed site of the ancient temple, feet above the level of the sea, perched on the highest points of the perpendicular crags, its walls one with their precipices, now stands the monastery of S.
It is a sublime position, removed from and above everything else. Hawks circle around its huge cliffs, and are the only sign of life. Silvestro, Summit of Soractt:. On a lower terrace are the church and hermitage of S. An- tonio, ruined and deserted. To these solitudes came Con- stantine to seek for Sylvester the hermit, whom he found here in a cave and led away to raise to the papal throne, walking before him as he rode upon his mule, as is represented in the ancient frescoes of the Quattro Incoronati.
While he lay there concealed, the Emperor Constantine was attacked by a horrible leprosy: And, as he proceeded in his chariot to the place where the bath was to be prepared, the mothers of these children threw themselves in his way with dishevelled hair, weeping, and crying aloud for mercy. Then Constantine was moved to tears, and he commanded that the children should be restored to their mothers with great gifts, in recom- pense of what they had suffered.
Paul appeared at his bedside, and they stretched their hands over him, and said-' Be- cause thou hast feared to spill the innocent blood, Jesus Christ has sent us to bring thee good counsel. Send to Sylvester, who lies hidden among the mountains, and he shall show thee the pool, in which having washed three times, thou shalt be clean of thy leprosy; and henceforth thou shalt adore the God of the Christians, and thou shalt cease to per- secute and oppress them. And he, when he saw the soldier5 of the Emperor, supposed it was to lead him to death: Paul, which were in the possession of cer ain pious Christians.
Constantine, having beheld them, saw that they were the same who had appeared to him in his dream. Then Syl- vester baptized him, and he came out of the font cured of his malady. On the right of the entrance is S. Buonaventura; then come S. Anne, the Virgin, S. Sebastian, but all have been much injured by the goat-herds who used to shelter their flocks here when the church was utterly deserted.
The beautiful old high-altar ic;; richly carved in stone taken from the nlountain itself. Behind it are a curious holy water basin, and a priest's chan1- ber. A n1artyr's stone-" Pietra di Paragone "-may be seen in the wall. Beneath the lofty tribune is the cell of Sylvester, half cut in the mountain itself. It encloses the sloping n1ass of rock which fornled the bed of his henni tage, and his stone seat. Here also is the altar on which, first Sylvester hin1self, and afterwards Gregory the Great, said Inass. On the walls are diIn frescoes of the seventh century, faintly lighted by the rays stealing in above the altar-Christ, S.
G-regory, and the Archangel: A long inscription in the upper church tells the story of a later sainted nlonk of Soracte, N onnosus, who is reported to have performed three lniracles here. The first was when a lnonk broke a valuable lalnp-" una lan1pada orientale "-quite into sn1all pieces in this church, and was in despair about the con- sequences, when Nonnosus fell on his knees and prayed, and the culprit saw the fragments miraculously joined toge- ther again. In the second, the olive-gardens of the convent failed, and the abbot was about to send out to buy up the oil of the paesani, when N onnosus took the convent oil- "il poco che fu "-and it was miraculously multiplied.
In the third, he liftecl by the force of prayer a large stone, which had fallen, back to its mountain ledge, where it may still be seen in proof of the power of this saint. Sylvester would sow one day his turnips for the meal of the morrow, and that they were miraculously brought to perfection during the night.
There is a grand view from this over all the wide-spreading country, but especially into the blue gorges of the Sabina, and the lllonks described the beautiful effect when each of the countless villages which can be seen fronl hence, lights its bonfire on the eve of the Ascension. The last monks who lived in S. Silvestro were Franciscans, and they left it in , because seven of their number were then killed by lightning in a storn1. Our monastic friends accolTIpanied us on our return as far as Sta. Pliny mentions these exhalations. The shepherds pursuing them canle upon the cave whence the pestilential vapours issued, which destroyed all who came within their reach.
Cata says that there were also wild goats upon Soracte, of such wonderful activity, that they could. Fragments of ancient columns and altars abound there, and in the piazza is pr - served a curious prin1itive cannon. Rignano gives a title to the eldest son of Duke Massimo. The citadel was strongly defended by nature, being situated on an insular rock connected with the neighbouring heights by a kind of isthmus, and was consequently almost impregnable. It was never taken by siege, but capitulated to the Romans, after vainly joining with the Falisci, in an atten1pt to succour Veii.
There are some small remains of the foundations of walls and towers, and of reticulated work, visible here and there all1id the thickets of wild-pear, descendants of the fruit-trees n1entioned by Livy, which are covered with blossom in spnng. This road may be traced in the valley below, running towards the Grammiccia and the natural opening of the crater on the east; and it was only here, as the remains testify, that carriages could enter the city.
The squared blocks with which the place is strewed, show that these were parallelograms of volcanic stone. They may yet be traced by their foundations round the summit of the hill. The desolation is complete: Silvanus, instead of Ceres, is in full possession of the soil. The deep hollow on the south, with its green carpet: The stream of the Gran1n1iccia probably once bore the nan1e of Capenas.
This village is supposed to mark the site of the Flavinium of Virgil: Six miles north of Civita Castellana is Corchiallo, a most picturesque village occupying an Etruscan site, and surround- ed, like almost all the towns of Etruria, with ravines full of mu- tilated sepulchres. One of these, half a mile distant, on the way to Falleri, is inscribed Larth.
Arnies, in Etruscan cha- racters. It contains some obscure Roman remains, and there are Inany EtIuscan tombs in the neighbouring valleys. Gallese was early the seat of a bishopric.
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Six miles north-west of Corchiano is Vigllanello, and four miles beyond it Soriano, both Etruscan sites.. Silvestro " a Inile and a half west of Ponte Felice, on the way to Corchiano " , with the lost town of Fescellllium, mentioned by Dionysius and Virgil, and cele- brated in the history of Latin poetry for the nuptial songs called Carmina Fescennina, to which, according to Festus, it gave its natTIe. These most interesting places may be visited from Civita Castellana, taking the railway to Borghetto. Here a carriage may be engaged for the whole excursion at about 20 francs a day.
Or Ronciglione, where the Aquila Nera is a humble but tolerable inn, may be reached by diligence from Rome, and excursions made from thence. If a carriage be taken from Rome to Ronciglione, N epi and Sutri-a few miles off the road in opposite directions-may be vIsited on the way.
Caprarola is three miles beyond Ronciglione. I T is a delightful drive of about an hour and a half through the forest fronl Civita Castellana to N epi. The road passes near the castle and Benedictine church of San! Elia cannot be ascertained; but they were men who combined the imitation of forms and compositions characteristic of various ages of Roman art, with a technical execution which can only be traced as far back as the tenth century. Their work, though it has suffered from the ravages of time, illustrates a phase hitherto comparatively unknown. They seem to have been men accustomed to mosaics, for they mapped out their colours so as to resemble that species of work.
They used, not the thin water-colour of the early catacomb painters at Rome or Naples, but the body-colour of the later artists, who painted of the chapel of S. On a rough surface of plaster they laid in the flesh tones of a uniform yellowish colour, above which coarse dark outlines marked the forms, red tones the half-tints, and blue the shadows.
The lights and darks were stippled on with white or black streaks, and a ruddy touch on the cheeks eemed intended to mark the robust health of the personage depicted. The hair and draperies were treated in the same manner. They were painted of an even general tone streaked with black or white lines to indicate curls, folds, light and shadow. The result was a series of flat unrelieved figures, which were, in addition, without the charm of good drawing or expression. On his right S. Paul in a similar attitude was separated from S. Elias, in a warrior's dress, pointed with his left hand to S.
To the Saviour's left S. Peter, whose form is now but dimly visible, and probably another saint were depIcted. A back-ground of deep blue, spotted with red clouds of angular edges, relieved the figures. This was in fact an apsis picture similar to those in the numerous churches of Rome, and in arrangement not unlike that of SSe Cosmo e Damiano.
The form of the Redeemer indeed, his head, of regular features, with a nose a little depressed and the flesh curiously wrinkled, his high forehead, and long black hair fall- ing in locks, his double-pointed, beard, tunic, mantle and sandals, had a general likeness with those of SSe Cosmo ed Damiano. The saints, on the other hand, in their slender forms, S. Elias with his small head and long body, were reminiscent of later mosaics, whilst their attitude, and movement, their draperies, depicted with lines, their defective feet and hands, were not unlike those of SSe N ereo ed Achilleo.
The N eo- Greek influence might be traced in other parts of the paintings of S. Beneath the green foreground, where the four rivers gushed from under the feet of the Saviour, and the Lamb stood pouring its blood into a chalice, an ornament separated.
In the uppermost of these, Jerusalem, and in the intervals of three windows, twelve sheep in triple groups, between palms, were depicted. Bethlehem, no doubt, closed the arrangement on the right, but is now gone. In the next lower course, the Saviour sat enthroned between two angels and six female saints, amongst which S. Catherine in a rich costume and diadem and S. Lucy may still be recognized. The rich ornaments, the round eyes and oval faces, of these female saints, were not without admixture of the foreign element which had left its impress on Rome in the seventh and eighth centuries.
The painters covered the sides of the tribune with three courses of pictures, fragments of which remain. On the upper to the right, the prophets with scrolls, on the second, martyrs with the chalice, on the third, scenes from the Old Testament On the left the lowe"t course was likewise filled up with biblical subjects taken from the RevelatIOn.
The aisles and nave were also doubtless painted, but the pictures have unfortunately disappeared. The painters inscribed their names as folJows beneath the feet of the Saviour in the apsis-J oh. Romani et Nicholaus N epr J ohs. Elia are far more instructive and interesting than those of a later date, and even than the mosaics of the eleventh century at Rome. Its position is not higher than that of the surrounding plain, but it is cut off by deep ravines like Civita Castellana.
At the entrance of the town Castle of N epi. Below this a little rivulet tun1bles over the cliffs to a great depth. The piazza has a handsome town-hall, with a large fountain and. The cathedral has a fine can1panile; its first bishop was S. At the Ronlan entrance to the town stands the most picturesque castle, with a double gateway.
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Outside this there is a charming spot; the great machicolated towers hang over the edge of the cliffs, against which rises an old mill, and, below, a waterfall sparkles and loses itself in a mass of luxuriant evergreens. Turning to the right are some grand renlains of ancient Etruscan wall, probably the same which were scaled by Camillus, when he came to avenge the desertion of the city from the Roman alliance to that of Etruria.
Again a drive of two hours, through woods of oaks and deep lanes overhung with golden broom, and then along the plain which is bounded by the beautiful Ciminian Hills, upon which Ronciglione and Caprarola gleam in the sun- light, and-crossing the high road from ROine to Siena-we reach Sutri. The little town is visible at a great distance, and occupies a c.
Camillus met then1 with his army as they were escaping towards Rome, and moved by their anguish, bade them be of good cheer, for he would soon transfer their troubles to their conquerors, and this he did, for that very day he reached the town, found it undefended, and the Etruscans occupied in collecting the spoil. Before night the rightful inhabitants were restored, and their victors driven out. From the rapidity with which his l1larch was effected, "ire Sutrium n became henceforth a proverb for doing anything in a hurry.
Soon after the town was again taken by the Etruscans, and again restored by Camillus: As we approach the town on the Roman side, the rocks on the left of the road are filled with tOlllbs. They are cut in the tufa, but many seem to have been fronted with more durable stone-work. The cliffs are crested by grand old ilexes which hang downwards in the most luxuriant masses of foliage, unspoilt by the axe.
There is no appearance of anything more than this, and it is startling, when one turns aside fronl the road and crossing a strip of green n1eadow passes through a gap in the rocks, to find oneself sud- denly in a Roman Amphitheatre, perfect in all its forn1s, almost in all its details, with corridors, staircases, vomi- tories, and twelve ranges of seats onc above the other, not built, but hewn out of the solid rock, all one with the cliffs which outwardly 11lake no sign.
The Coliseulll is grander, but scarcely so impressive as this vast ruin in its absolute desertion, where Nature, from which it was taken by Art, has once more asserted her rights, and where the flou'ers and the maiden-hair fern, clalnbering everywhere up the S UTRI. All around the great ilexes girdle it in, with here and there the tall spire of a cypress shooting up into the clear air. The silence is almost awful, and there is a strange witchery in the solitude of this place, which nothing leads up to, and which bears such an impress of the greatness of those who conceived it, and made it, and once thronged the ranges of its rock-hewn benches, now so unspeakably desolate.
Dennis considers that the amphi- theatre of Sutri was "perhaps the type of all those celebrated structures raised by Inlperial Rome, even of the Coliseum itself. For we have historical evidence that ROlne derived her theatrical exhibitions from Etruria. Livy tells us that ludi sce71ici, a new thing for a warlike people, who had hitherto only known the games of the circus, were intro- duced into Rome in the year , in order to appease the wrath of the gods for a pestilence then devastating the city, and that ludiones were sent for from Etruria, who acted to the sound of the pipe, in the Etruscan fashion.
I I r, '''''-''''-''' i "",t. On the other side of the narrow ravine, the rocky barrier is still fringed with ilexes and perforated with tombs. A lIttle path attracted us to the entrance of one of these, just beneath the villa and the old clipped garden of the Mar- chese Savorelli. Over the door is inscribed in Italian: Pray or pass on. Several tombs had apparently been thrown toge- ther at a very early period of Christianity, and formed a very long narrow Christian church, of which the pavement, roof, pillars, and seats were all one, and all carved out of the living rock.
From the ante-chapel or entrance tomb, still surrounded with its couches for the dead after the man- ner of Etruria, one looks down an avenue of low pillars green with damp, and separated froill the aisles by rock- hewn seats, to the altar, beyond which, from an inner sanc- tuary, a light streams in upon the gloom. On the rock walls are mouldering frescoes-the Annunciation, the Sa- lutation, the Last Supper; several saints, and a grand angel with a face raised in low relief. It is a touching and most un- earthly sanctuary, and carries one back to the earliest tin1es of Christian life and Christian suffering more forcibly than the IllOst celebrated Roman catacomb.
A poor woman, while we were there, was kneel- in the dinlness, so 10st in prayer, that she seenled quite un- conscious of the strangers wandering about, though they must be rare enough at Sutri. The chapel beyond the altar had a traditional communication with the Roman catacombs, but it has been walled up now, in consequence of stories of persons having been lost there.
A ruin on the cliff near the Villa Savorelli, is shown as the building in which Charlemagne staid when he was on his way to Ronle in the time of his" great father" Adrian 1. In a wood below is the Grotta d'Orlando, a cave to which the great hero of chivalrous romance is supposed to have been lured by the witcheries of a beautiful maiden of Sutri of whonl he was enanloured, and where he was shut up by her. Another story says that the Sutri maiden was not the love but the mother of Orlando, and that the Paladin was born here.
But tradition is wonderfully alive at Sutri. The house of Pontius Pilate is shown, and to the curse which he brought upon his own people, it is said that the lawless nature is due for which the natives of Sutri have ever since been renlark- able. At a corner of the principal street is the head of a beast, be it ass or sheep, which is believed always to be watching the hiding-place of great treasure with its stone eyes, but the authorities of the town, who will not search for it themselves, have forbidden all other enterprise in that direction.
Some of the old palaces have beautifully-wrought cressets still projecting from their walls. The dirty Cathedral has a lofty tower with trefoiled windows, and an opus-alexandrinum pavement. It contains a portrait of Benedict VII. It is about an hour's drive from Sutri to Ronciglione, re- tracing the road by which we came for some distance. Here the little inn of the Aquila N era is a tolerable resting-place, and though the rooms are humble, the people are most civil and anxious to please. There is a handsome cathedral of the last century, and a large fountain in the upper town, and below the inn is one of the deep ravines so peculiar and apparently so necessary to Etruscan cities, perforated with tombs, and with a ruined castle La Rocca and an old church La Providenza clinging to its sides.
It is most pleasant in these old places to have plenty of time, and no fixed plans to tie one down. The walks in the still evening light along the edge of these wonderful gorges. And then it is so pleasant to make friends with the cordial, open-handed, open-hearted pea- santry, who are so pleased to be talked to, so happily natured, so willing to understand a joke, and so merry, while so civil. And if there is rather a stuffy sensation of domestic fog in some of the little inns, it is atoned for by the delicious morning afterwards; and as for the fleas, if they only come thick enough and go on long enough, there is a moment when you aln10st try to persuade yourself that you really like them.
It is almost necessary to sleep at Ronciglione in order to have a day at Caprarola, and what is there for which such a day does not compensate? Caprarola is alike a climax of nature and of art, certainly one of the most perfectly glorious places even of Italy. No view is more singular, more his- torical, or more lovely. No royal palace in any country of Europe has such a situation, or has the beauty of this mas- terpiece of Vignola in its solitude, its desertion, and decay.
Beneath its waves the lost city of Succinium was believed to exist. It was said that Fabius, after his great defeat of the Etruscans at Sutrium, was the first Roman who dared to enter the Ciminian wood, and the terror which was excited when his intention of doing so became known at Rome, caused the senate to despatch especial envoys to deter him.
The little lake lies, deep-blue, in the vast bason of an extinct crater. Part of the hollow is taken up by the water, and the rest by the wooded hill of Monte Venere, which looks as if it had been thrown up by the same convulsion which hollowed the bed of the waters at its foot. Virgil was here, and speaks of the lake and its mountain, and as we drive through the adjoining forests we think of Macaulay, and " -the stags that champ the boughs Of the Ciminian hill. The road is generally a dusty hollow in the tufa, which, as we pass, is fringed with broom in full flower, and all the little children we meet have made themselves wreaths and gathered long branches of it, and wave them like golden sceptres.
Along the brown ridges of thymy tufa by the wayside, flocks of goats are scrambling, chiefly white, but a few black and dun colour- ed creatures are lllingled with them, mothers with their little dancing elf-like kids, and old bearded patriarchs who love to claIllber to the very end of the most inaccessible places, and to stand there embossed against the clear sky, in tri- uphant quietude.
The handsome shepherd dressed in white linen lets thelll have their own way, and the great rough white dogs only keep a lazy eye upon thelll as they them- selves lie panting and luxuriating in the sunshine. Deep down below us, it seems as if all Italy were opening out, as the mists roll stealthily away, and r: V olscian, Hernican, Sabine, and Alban hills, Soracte-nobly beautiful-rising out of the soft quiet lines of the Canlpagna, and the Tiber winding out of the rich llleadow-iands into the desolate wastes, till it is lost from sight before it reaches where a great nlysterious de rises solen1nly through the mist, and reminds one of the tinles when years ago, in the old happy vetturillo days, we used to stop the carriage on this very spot, to have our first sight of S.
N ear a little deserted chapel, a road branches off on the right, a rough stony road enough, which soon descends abruptly through chestnut woods, and then through deep clefts cut in the tufa and overhung by shrubs and flowers, 68 DA YS NEAR ROME. Why do not lre people conle ere? As we emerge from our rocky way the wonder- ful position of the place bursts upon us at once.
The grand, tremendous palace stands backed by chestnut woods, which fade into rocky hills, and it looks down from a high-terraced platform upon the little golden-roofed town beneath, and then out upon the whole glorious rain- bow-tinted view, in which, as everywhere we have been, lion-like Soracte, couching over the plain, is the st con- spicuous feature. The idea does not embrace only the palace itself, but is carried round the whole platform of the hill-side in a series of build- ings, encHng in a huge convent and church, built by Odoardo Farnese.
N or was the judgment of the prelate in selecting so good an architect less remarkable than his greatness of mind in constructing so noble and magnificent an edifice, which is not indeed in a position to be much enjoyed by the public, being in a remote and solitary district, but is nevertheles: This spiral stair ascends from the ground to the third or uppermost floor, it is supported on double columns, and adorned with rich and varied cornices: The plan is unique, or nearly so, being a pentagon, enclosing a circular court.
Each of the five sides measures feet on plan, and the court is 65 feet ifl diameter, while the three stories are each about 30 feet in height, S0 that its dimensions are very considerable, and certainly quite sufficiently so for palatial purposes. The object of adopting the form here used, was to give it a fortified or castellated appearance, as all citadels of that age were pentagons, and this palace is accordingly furnished with small sham bastions at each angle, which are supposed to suggest that idea of de- fensibility.
Above the terrace fonned by these bastions and their curtains, the palace rises in two grand stories of " Orders," the lower arcaded in the centre, the upper including the stories of windows. This last is certainly a defect, but in spite of this, the whole is so well designed, the angles are so bold, and the details are so elegant, that it is one of the finest palaces in Italy, and we may admire the ingenuity of the archi 70 DA YS NEAR ROll-IE.
But all these defects have been overcome in a man. There is the most overwhelming sense of strength and imperviousness to time in the huge rock-like bastions upon which the palace stands. As it has five sides, from every view of it you have an angle, and the effect is very singular. In the great hall are a fountain and a grotto, like those in the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, yet roofed in and not too large in this vast chanlber.
The walls of the hall have frescoes of the towns which belonged to the Farneses: The chapel has windows of ancient stained glass, and between them frescoes of the apostles, with S. The design of the elaborate ceiling is curiously repeated in the pa vemen t. Ranutio Farnese is receiving the golden rose from his uncle. And there are many scenes from the life of the great Pope himself; how he presi ded at the Council of Trent; how he lllade peace between Francis 1.
There is also a ppr- trait of Henry II. Many other rooms are very interesting,-the private study and bed-room of the Cardinal with his secret staircase for escape; the rOOln covered with huge maps like the gallery at the Vatican, and with the wonderful fresco of the " 1vIaura," for which 12, scudi have been refused; the room with the frescoes of the appearances of S. Michael the Archangel to Gregory the Great at Rome, and to the shep- herds of Are we really in Arcadia, when the old steward opens the door from the dark halls where the Titanic forms of the frescoed figures loom upon us through the gloom, to the garden where brilliant sunshine is lighting up long grass walks between clipped hedges, adding to the splendour of the flame-coloured marigolds upon the old walls, and even" gilding the edges of the dark spires of the cypresses which were planted three hundred years ago?
From the upper terraces we enter an ancient wood, carpetted with flowers- yellow orchis, iris, lilies, saxifrage, cyclamen, and Solomon's seal. And then we pause, for at the end of the avenue we nleet with a huge figure of Silence, with his finger on his lips. Here the turfy solitudes are encircled with a concourse of stone figures, in every variety of attitude, a perfect population. Some are standing quietly gazing down upon us, others are playing upon different Illusical instruments, others are listening. Two Dryads are whispering important secrets to one another in a corner; one impertinent Faun is blowing his horn so loudly into his companion's ears, that he stops them with both his hands.
A nYIllph is about to step down from her pedestal, and will probably take a bath as soon as we are gone, though certainly she need not be shy about it, as drapery is not much the fashion in these sylvan gardens. Above, behind the Casino, is yet another water-sparkling staircase guarded by a vast number of huge lions and griffins, and beyond this all is tangled wood, and rocky mountain- side.
How we pity the poor King and Queen of Naples, the actual possessors, but who can never come here now.
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The whole place is like a dream which you wish Illa y never end, and as one gazes through the stony crowd across the green glades to the rosy-hued Illountains, one dreads the return to a world, where Fauns and Dryads are still sup- posed to be mythical, and which has never known Caprarola. O N descending the Ciminian Hill towards Viterbo, one overlooks the great plain of Etruria, once crowded with populous cities, now deserted and desolate.
It is a deeply interesting historical view, second only to that on the other side of the hill. The numerous cities in the plain were so many trophies of the power and civilization of his nation. There stood V olsinii, renowned for her wealth and arts, on the shores of her crater-lake-there Tuscania reared her towers in the west-there Vulci shone out from the plain, and Cosa from the mountain-and there Tarquinii, chief of all, asserted her metropolitan supremacy from her cliff-bound heights.
How changed is now the scene! Save Tuscania, which still retains her site, all within view are now desolate. Tarquinii has left scarce a vestige of her greatness on the grass-grown heights she once occupied; the very site of V oIsinii is for- gotten; silence has long reigned in the crumbling theatre of Ferentum ; the plough yearly furrows the bosom of Vulci; the fox, the owl, and the bat, are the sole tenants of the vaults within the ruined walls of Cosa; and of the rest, the greater part have neither building, habitant, nor name-nothing but the sepulchres around them to prove they ever had an existence.
Viterbo, which the old chroniclers called "the city of beautiful fountains and beautiful women," is now right1y known as "the Nuremberg of Italy. Such wonderful old houses, with sculptured cornices, Gothic windows, and heavy outside staircases resting on huge corbels! Such a wealth of sparkling water playing around the grand Gothic fountains, and washing the carved lions and other monsters which adorn them!
The great piazza is so curious, where the houses are hung with stone shields of arms, where two lions on tall pillars guard the way, and where stands the Palazzo Publico, within whose court is such a fine view of the city and the hills beyond. On the opposite side of the piazza, raised high against the wall of the church of S. Si Veneri non posse mori natura dedisset, N ec fragili Galiana mori mundo potuisset.
Organa jam fidibus pereunt caritura canoris. Anno milleno centeno terque deceno Octonoque diem claus it dilecta Tonanti. Every wall, every doorway, every sculpture, is vast of its kind, and every design is noble. Its ancient name would appear from inscriptions to have been Sllrrina. The Cathedral of S. Lorenzo stands in the lower part of the town, on a rising ground, which was once occu- pied by a temple of Hercules, and which was called "Castellum Herculis" as late as the thirteenth century.
N ear it is a Bridge with Etruscan foundations in blocks of six courses. The cathedral stands in a kind of close, and is Cathedral of Viterbo. In the great hall which still exists, met the conclaves at which Urban IV. Pedro Juliani-a Portuguese was killed by the fall of the ceiling in This room is supported by a single pillar, standing in the open space below, which projects through the floor so as to form a fountain.
He was a churchman of easy access, conversed freely with humbler men, if men of letters, and was therefore accused of lowering the dignity of the pontificate. He was perhaps hasty and unguarded in his language, but he had a more inexpiable fault. He had no love for monks or friars: Hence his death was foreshown by gloomy prodigies, and held either to be a divine judzment, or a direct act of the Evil One. Two visions revealed to different holy men the Evil One hewing down the supports, and so over- whelming the reprobate pontiff.
There is not luuch to see in the cathedral, beyond a beautiful font, pictures of several of the native popes, and the tomb of poor John XXI. He was returning from the crusades wIth his cousin Prince Edward, and was met here by Guy de: The deed is commemorated by Dante, who alludes to the fact that his sorrowing father ex- posed the heart of Prince Henry to public pity on London Bridge, and who sees the Inurderer in the seventh circle of hell, plunged in a river of boiling blood.
Colui fesse in grembo a Dio Lo cor che in su '1 Tamigi ancor si cola. Passing through the detached Chapel of the Hol y Sepulchre beyond the council-chamber , which contains a curious fresco portrait of our Saviour, we may emerge on a terrace below the finest part of the papal palace, a lofty wall pierced with Gothic windows and supporterl by flying buttresses. Quite at the other end of the town, close to the Tuscan gate, stands the fine old castle called La Rocca, like all the town- castles in this part of Italy.
In front of it is a beautiful foun- tain approached by Inany steps. The neighbouring Church of S. Francesco has an outside pulpit, whence S. Bernardino of Siena used to address the people. I - - -";i1: He answered his relations who came to congratulate hin1 on his election,-" 'Vould that ye came to a cardinal in good health and not to a dying pope. RI through the moonlit night.
It is a grand subject, grandly carried out, and should be seen in early morning, when alone there is sufficient light in the church to illumine the barren distances of the picture, and reveal figures otherwise unseen. Francesco in Viterbo; but although the work was finished with infinite care and zeal by Sebastiano, who executed a twilight landscape therein, yet the invention was 1ichael Angelo's, and the cartoon was prepared by his hand. The picture was esteemed a truly beautiful one by all who beheld it, and acquired a great increase of reputation for Sebas- tiano.
The Ma- donna, behind, clasping her hands in an agony of grief, strongly ex- presses the deep, passionate, overwhelming affliction of a mother, weep- ing for her child in a despair that knows no comfort. This is its charn ; there is nothing ideal, nothing beautiful, nothing elevated. She is advanced in life; she is in poverty; she seems to belong to the lower orders of women: N ext to S. Francesco, the most interesting church in Viterbo is that of Sta. The interior was once painted all over with frescoes of the rare n1aster Lorenzo di Viterbo, who spent twenty-five years upon the work, completing it in The church was used as a hospital during the plague, after which it was thought necessary to whitewash it all over, only a greatly- revered figure of the Virgin and one or two saints being pre- VOL.
But the chapel of the Virgin was uninjured. It stands on the right of the nave, fron1 which it is separated by a curious screen of wrought- iron, and it is covered all over with frescoes from the story of the Madonna. In the picture of the Nativity, her figure, kneeling in a long white veil, is perfectly lovely. The oblong fresco of the Sposalizio, crowded with figures, is most interesting, not only as a melnorial of thirteenth-century art, but of all the persons living in Viterbo at that time, as every figure is a portrait.
Few who visit the church will agree with the following criticism, yet it is not without interest. He describes how Nardo Maz- zatosta, having caused a chapel in S. Lorenzo not only designs with the examples of Piero in his mind, he endeavours also to reproduce his architecture and per- spective. In some portraits his realism is not without power; but vul- garity and affectation are striking. He is not correct as a draughtsman.
Selvaggia de' Vergiolesi by Giuseppe Tigri
His colour is cold and dull. His perspective is false, his forms rigid. These features are, however, more striking in the Nativity than in the Annunciation, which recalls Benozzo. N or are the reminiscences of that master confined to one subject. Catherine, and a Madonna giving suck to the infant Saviour, all of them completed before , betray the same rude hand, and the influence of Gozzoli. In the Chiesa degli Osservanti del Paradiso is a replica by Sebastian del Plombo of his famous "flagellation" in the church of S.
Pietro in Montorio at Rome. Noone should stay at Viterbo without going to visit the Church oj Sta. Rosa, to look upon the incorruptible patron- ess of the town. There was no sign of her when we first entered the church, where the people, in loud voices, were singing " Benediction," but the service being over, we were directed to ring a bell, when a wooden screen drew up,..
The dead face still wears a calm, rather touching, expression. A number of country people had flocked to the grille with us, n10st of whon1 knelt. Third Order of S. In the thirteenth century she was as conspicuous for her eloquence as for her charity; and for the extraordinary moral influence she exercised over the people of Viterbo. She obtained her position as patroness of the city rather through politics than piety. By her fiery addresses she' excited her fellow-citizens to rise against Frederic II. They were defeated, and she was driven into exile, but lived to return triumphantly when the Emperor died, and after her death May 8, she was canonized by the Pope she had served, and invoked by the party she had advocated.
The chapel, however, was burnt down, though she had got out of her grave and rung the bell to prevent it; all her fine clothes, too, were burned off her back, and her very ring was melted on her finger; but she remained unconsumed, though her face and hands are as black as a negro's. However, they say she was very fair four hundred years ago, before she was singed, and that she never was embalmed even after her first death, but was preserved solely in the odour of sanctity. This remarkable saint began, with praiseworthy industry, to work miracles as soon as she was born, by raising a child from the dead, while she was yet a baby herself; and miracles she still continues to perform every day -as the nun who exhibited her informed me.
On inquiring what kind of miracles they were, I was informed that she cures all sorts of diseases, heals sores, and even re-establishes some lame legs; but she does not, by any means, always choose to do it, thinking it proper that the infirmities of many should continue. I have no doubt that the nun, who related her history to me, really and truly believes in it all.
She knelt before the saint in silent devotion first, and then gave me a bit of cord, the use of which perplexed me much; and while I was turning it round and round in my fingers, and wondering what she expected me to do with it, S. I inquired the use of them, and was told they had been round the body of the saint, where they had acquired such virtues, that, tied round any other body, they would save it from 'molte disgrazie. Here she held her principal residence till the last year of her life , taking part in the education of the younger nuns. Of the sonnets which she con1posed here, one n1ay be given.
In the last conflict with our ancient foe, So dire to Nature, anned with Faith alone, The heart, from usage long, on Him will call. The streets of Viterbo are full of old palaces. The old Palazzo Chigi is very curious. The loggia is covered with frescoes. Some of the tapestry, with a beauti- ful frieze of "putti," is interesting as representing all' the fashionable amusements of its tinle. The tall tower is now so ruinous, that its ascent, by a series of ladders, is almost dangerous, but it has a splendid view.
It is a resting-place for innumerable pigeons, who do not belong to the inmates, but are allowed a home here and provide for then1selves. It is well worth visiting on account of its connection with Olympia Palnfili, the fan10us "papessa," sister-in-law of Innocent X. The attraction to this alliance was the fact that her husband had a brother, over whom she obtained unbounded ascend- ancy, and who rose under her guidance to obtain a cardinal's hat in , and the papal tiara in Her husband being then dead, Donna Olympia took up her residence at the Vatican, and employed the eleven years of her brother- in-law's life in the sale of benefices, appointn1ents, and offices of every description, for which she did not hesitate to drive the hardest bargains possible.
No step of domestic government or foreign policy decided on, no grace, favour, or promotion accorded, no punishment inflicted, was the pontiff's own work. His invaluable sister-in-law did all. He was absolutely a puppet in her hands. The keys of S. Another day a report was brought to him from England that a play had been represented before Cromwell, called 'The Marriage of the Pope;' in which Donna Olympia is represented rejecting his addresses on account of his extreme ugliness, till, having in vain offered her one of the keys to induce her to consent, he attains his object at the cost of both of them.
There is another even more interesting palace in this neighbourhood, that of Duke Lante at Bagnaja. It is the perfect ideal of a Roman villa. A straight road, a mile in length, leads from the gate to the famous sanctuary of La Quercia. In the square before it two ancient fairs are held, which are of great antiquity, the first founded in by Frederick II. Over the central door is a fine representation of the Madonna surrounded by angels, and over the side doors S.
Peter 1artyr, by Luca della Robbia. The monks of the adjoining convent are devoted to education, and when we visited the church its vast aisles were peopled with large groups of children, which the friars in their white robes were teaching. The ceiling is gilt and very magni- But the great charm of the place is its glorious Gothic cloister and fountain, with the inscription, "He who drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but he who drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.
Alexandrine de la Ferronays thus describes the scene to M. Two miles further, a tall tower and a quaint castle guard- ing a little village announces Bagnaja. The castle was the old residence of the Lante family, and though neglected now and let out to poor families, it still retains n1uch that is interesting in the interior. A steep street leads up to the iron gate of the later villa, which admits one to a glorious garden, designed by Vignola at the Salne time with the villa itself. It is a perfect paradise.
In the centre of the clipped. On either side stand the buildings of the villa, onc for the family, the other for the guests. They were begun by Cardinal Riario, and finished by Cardinal Gambara. The great hall has fine frescoes by the Zuccheri brothers, and the real comfort and elegance of the rooms attest the frequent presence of the present Duchess, who is of American birth. Beyond the villa the walks are of indescribable beauty: But the great object of our stay at Viterbo was to see the Etruscan ren1ains in its neighbourhood, to which three hard- worked days must be devoted, for distance and difficulty make it utterly impossible that any traveller can ever have visited Castel d'Asso, Norchia, and Bieda, on the same day, and gone on to Ronciglione, as is indicated in: Etruscan Tomb, Castel d' Asso.
As usual, on all subjects connected with Etruria, the nlost correct account is that of: The place does t present anyone of the sublimities described in Murray's Handbook; it has t any of the natural advantages of scenery which render most of the Etruscan sites so attractive, but it is very curious, and the careful antiquarian, and real lover of historical detail, will not find it unworthy of a visit. There the national chief, or dictator, was elected; hence laws were promulgated, and peace and war declared, not by one state only, but by all Etruria, collected for her own internal government, or for de..
The best time for a visit to Castel d'Asso is the winter; in the sumlller, the tombs such is their size! The so-called guides at Viterbo are utterly ignorant, inefficient, and useless. It is an excellent carriage-road as far as the hot suphureous baths of the Bulicame, mentioned by Dante.
Soon after leaving the Baths, the road becomes the Inerest track in tbe wilderness, but can still be pursued in a carriage with a careful driver. It is necessary to take ahnost all turns to the left, and as far as possible to keep in sight the tower of Castel d' Asso. At length one arrives upon the edge of a very narrow side-gorge just opposite the ruin. Here one must leave the carriage, tether the horse, and fight one's way through the thick wild roses and honeysuckle into the nlain glen. Before we reach it, the tombs begin to appear on the right of the way, and continue to follow the face of the cliffs into the principal ravine, though, perhaps, small as they appear, those at the entrance of the side glen are the best specimens of the whole.
The low opening at the base of the tombs admits to the interior, consisting generally of two chalnbers. All the tombs have been rifled, but are strewn with broken pottery; brass arms and scarabei have been found there. They were like a street, the dwellings of which correspond to each other.
It would appear that these cavern mouths had formerly been covered up with earth, and that nothing remained above- ground but the smooth face of the rock, with its false Egyptian door and narrow cornice. The difficulties of finding the way to the sepulchres of Castel d' Asso are not to be compared to those of reaching the famous temple-tombs of N orchia, which is about fourteen miles from Viterbo.
Travellers occasionally pass the night there, but the S. The Etruscan sites of N orchia and Bieda are each about four miles fron1 Vetralla.
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The road to N orchia does not lead one, as 1-Iurray says, over" bare moors," but through a forest of brushwood; nor does the eye, when you arrive there, " range along the face of the cliffs and trace a long and almost unbroken line of ton1bs," for though a vast number of tombs exist, they are at great intervals from one another, and exceedingly difficult to discover. We had taken the guide who is generally recommended from Vetralla to direct us to the temple-tombs, and at first, when we left the carriage, he n1arched on so confidently, that we had faith in his knowledge.
After a long hot walk we reached a little ruined Romanesque church, occupying the end of a promon- tory between two ravines, and marking the site of an ancient village, called Orcle in the ninth century, a name which has been supposed to come from Hercules, who was worshipped by the Etruscans as Ercle. The church was ruined and the village pulled down at a very early period, when the place was utterly deserted on account of the malaria, and all the inhabitants removed to Vitorchiano.
To our dismay our so- called guide began to try to persuade us that the ruins of the church were the famous Etruscan n10nument. Dismally enough for ourselves we were so foolish as to follow the only indica- tions which "Murray" gives, and which led us in every direction but the right one.
Each little ton1b we came upon, generally with the same external mouldings as those at Castel d' Asso, our contadini persisted was the celebrated monument, while the guide aimlessly scrambled about amongst the bushes, and tried to mislead us by ecstasies over imaginary discoveries, which often made us clamber up after him, to find nothing whatever. At last, when we actually found, in the valley to the right of the church, a tomb on which two human heads were sculptured, they would search no further. The contadini declared that we must now have seen sufficient of these freaks of nature scherzi della natura , for such they per- sisted the sepulchres to be, and the guide now changed his tone, and swore that though the temple-tomb had certainly existed,-he had forgotten it at first, but remen1bered it now perfectly-it had fallen down with a piece of the rock years ago, and not a vestige of it remained.
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