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holding cinerary urns. In the vicinity stood a building, used as a sort of refectory for supplying refreshments to persons engaged in burying the dead. A country-seat without the gate is ascribed to Cicero; but its character seems to be little known, and the conjecture rests on slender authority.
Our tour of observation ended where that of others generally begins —with the Villa of Diomede, standing upon an eminence close to the Appian Way, and affording a magnificent view of the shores of the bay of Naples. It is perhaps the most perfect of all the ruins, if indeed any thing can produce more vivid impressions, than the objects already described. From its elevation and prominence, it accidentally led to the discovery of the buried city, by peasants at work in a vineyard, about the middle of the last century. The house is two stories high, fitted up with all the splendour, which taste and luxury could devise. Mar. cus Arius Diomedes, the proprietor, seems to have been a man of great wealth, and sumptuous in his style of living. He had a splendid tomb on the other side of the way, which his ashes never reached ; for lis skeleton was found exhibiting his ruling passion strong in death—in his wine cellar, with his keys in one hand and his gold in the other. This servant was behind him, laden with splendid plate. Seventeen other skeletons, one of whom seems to have been the mistress of the Villa, were discovered in the same gloomy, subterranean arches, in the gardens of the mansion whither they had Aed for shelter from the fiery tempest, and where they all perished. Long ranges of amphoræ, for containing a stock probably of the choicest wines, are yet standing along the walls of the arcades.
Such is a very imperfect sketch of Pompeii and of some of the most prominent antiquities it contains. Although I have entered more into detail, than some of my readers will probably wish ; yet a small part only of the interesting ruins have been described. A volume might be written without exhausting the subject, or without being able to convey an adequate idea of the vivid and impressive picture, which the reality presents. So intensely are the feelings engaged, that the visitant does not dream of fatigue till the examination closes, although he is necessarily kept upon his feet during a long day, to enable him to catch a glance at such a multiplicity of objects.
EXCURSION TO PESTUM-VALE OF THE SARNO-NOCERA-LA CAVABAY AND TOWN OF SALERNO-EBOLI-SKETCH OF THE RUINS OF PESTUM.
OUR excursion to the ruins of Pæstum, fifty-four miles south of Naples, occupied three days, which were among the most pleasant I have passed in Europe. The American Chargé des Affaires and our old medical friend accompanied us, contributing largely to the pleasures of the jaunt. We left Naples at an early hour in the morning. The road as far as Pompeii has already been described. A few miles beyond the walls of the ancient city, it crosses the Sarno, a large and romantic stream, which falls into the bay near Castellamare. At its mouth stood the ancient Stabiæ, where the elder Pliny landed in his excursion from Cape Misenus, and fell a martyr to his philosophical curiosity, during the same eruption which overwhelmed Pompeii. The vale watered by the Sarno is one of the most rural, fertile, and delicious imaginable. Its broad alluvial borders are richly covered with vines, flax, hemp, corn, grain, and vegetables of various kinds. Orchards like those of the United States border the road. The country was all in bloom, and the flowery plains exhibited a gaiety of landscape, which can hardly be conceived in less sunny climes. But the inhabitants are miserable, and know not how to appreciate or improve the munificence of nature. We actually saw females harnessed like cattle to the plough, and dragging it through the light soil, while a man was lounging in the furrow, guiding the share! Woman, poor woman, is here emphatically degraded into the servant of servants, and it makes the heart bleed to witness the burdens she is often compelled to bear. There is no affectation nor sentimentality in this. It is plain, downright matter of fact, which stares the traveller in the face, at every step of his progress through Italy.
The general features of the district between the vale of the Sarno and the bay of Salerno, may be given in few words. It is a deep and romantic pass through the Apennines. The hills on either hand are lofty, broken, and picturesque; in many places beautifully wooded, and in others, the heights are crowned with villages and solitary convents, old fortresses, and towers, which sometimes appear almost beyond the reach of human footsteps. On the right, the mountains extend for many miles towards the Mediterranean, terminating in the
lofty cape of Sorrento, dividing the bay of Naples from that of Salerno, to the south. Several large towns occupy this gorge in the hills. Nocera has many
churches. We were detained half an hour in its streets, to permit a long religious procession of both sexes to pass. They were all in white masks, with red stockings, and the usual badges of ecclesiastics. The choral chant from so many voices fairly produced an echo among the hills. La Cava is another populous town, with many handsome buildings. The main street is bordered on both sides by arcades, serving the double purpose of sheltering the inhabitants from the rain and sun. It contains many churches and convents. Some of the latter are occupied as extensive schools, for the education of females, who in Italy pass the first sixteen or eighteen years of their lives in retirement, without mingling at all with the world.
Between La Cava and the village of Vietri, an old aqueduct and bridge, stretching across a deep ravine on the right of the road, form a massive and highly picturesque ruin. Indeed, few regions can present greater variety and richness of scenery, than this unfrequented part of Italy. The traveller would be compensated for an excursion to Pæstum, were it only for the sake of the views along the way. At 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon, we emerged suddenly from the defile in the mountains, and the Bay of Salerno spread full before us in all its glory, slumbering beneath skies as pure and brilliant as its own waters. It extends from the Cape of Sorrento to Pæstum, a distance of perhaps forty miles in a right line. Between these two points, it sweeps inland with a bold uniform curve, forming a gulf nearly twice the size of that of Naples, and not inferior to it in beauty. The mountains on its borders are decidedly superior; and nothing can be more romantic than its comparatively solitary shores, exhibiting here and there a village upon the rocks, and washed by the brightest waves I ever beheld.
On the right of the pass, as it opens upon the sea, a cluster of buildings hang upon the cliffs ; and still higher up a convent is perched upon the very apex. If any earthly consideration could tempt a man to turn monk, it would be such a retirement as this, where nature presents her brightest elements in the happiest combinations. The late King of Naples had the good taste to build him a neat lodge, between the outlet of the defile and Salerno ; but the present monarch prefers the lava beds of Portici. An excellent road, a sort of royal corso, extends along the shore, built the greater part of the way on terraces. The town of Salerno stands upon the beach, with a small port spreading in front, and high broken hills in the rear. It has a population of 15,000, but little trade, and is said to be very unhealthy
in summer. The streets were full of importunate and clamorous beggars. An excellent dinner, consisting among other things of two kinds of delicate fish from the bay, green peas, oranges, and wine of a peculiar flavour, was provided for us at the hotel, the balcony of which commands an enchanting view. A visit was paid to the Cathedral, for the purpose of examining columns and other antiquities from Pæstum, deposited in the court. They present nothing particularly worthy of notice. Numerous sarcophagi were observed, ornamented with bas-relief, and inscribed with epitaphs in the Saxon character. They are evidently of the middle ages, when the Normans overran this country, and Salerno was a town of importance. It was at that period the seat of science, literature, and the arts. Its medical school was the most celebrated in Europe. From the door of the church, there is a charming view of a high broken rock back of the town, surmounted by the ruins of an extensive fortress.
At 3 o'clock we renewed our journey towards Pæstum, crossing a wide alluvial plain, bordered on one side by the chain of Apennines, rising in rugged, fantastic peaks, and on the other, by the sea. Several pretty streams water the plain. This is the country of Salvator Rosa, and his pencil never sketched any thing half so picturesque as its natural scenery. Some of his peasantry were seen in the fields by the side of the road, with their swarthy Calabrian faces, sunburnt limbs, short white kilts, and pyramidal hats. So far as our observation goes, they are gentle and inoffensive in their manners, though they have acquired notoriety for their indolent habits, vices, and crimes. Several of the threshing floors, such as are described by Homer, attracted our attention. They consist of smooth hard areas, in the open field. Cattle are driven round on them to tread out the grain.
We reached the little village of Eboli, sixteen miles from Salerno and forty-three from Naples, at 6 o'clock in the evening, and took lodgings for the night in an old convent, now converted into a hospice for travellers. Its accommodations are wretched enough; dirty and dangerous; without conveniences or comforts. Its present master is said to have been eighteen years at the head of a band of robbers, in which time he was engaged in fifty murders. He is accused of having been accessory to the death of Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, a year or two since, between this place and Pæstum. To our inquiries whether there was at present any danger upon the road, he replied—“ No, thank God, those days are gone by.” He is a stout, broad-shouldered, athletic man, with nothing of the bandit in his face or manner. Al though the chambers are destitute of furniture, save a miserable bed, VOL. II.
I saw in one of them an image of the Virgin, scated in a little shrine with blue silk curtains, and a tiny lamp always kept burning before her. The chambermaid informed me, that this tutelary doll of the family cost thirty dollars, and was reckoned a good bargain. It is the only species of luxury in the house.
As we arrived at Eboli an hour before sunset, time was afforded for a charming walk to the village, at the distance of half a mile or more from our lodgings. The streets, houses, and inhabitants are in perfect contrast with the splendour of the skies and the luxuriant charms of the country. While the latter are as beautiful as nature can bestow, the foriner arc as mean, dirty, and repulsive as ignorance, poverty, superstition, and vice can render them. Two or three rosyfaced pricsts, lingering at the door of a tippling-shop, stared at us as intently as if we had come to take possession of the village and route them from their stalls. A hill back of the town affords a delightful view of the broad plain, stretching from the base of the mountains to the sea.
The rocks around us were crowned with convents, and shaded withı hanging woods. On the brow of this hill is an extensive garden. The keeper threw open the gate, and invited us to stroll in its alleys, plucking for each of the party a cluster of roses. We lingered here till the sun had gone down, and twilight began to fade. The softest and the richest skies I have ever witnessed were beheld from the heights of Eboli. Claude Lorrain, with all the magic of his pencil, never produced tints so exquisitely delicate and beautiful, as the blushes of the west and the purple light of the firmament on this evening.
In returning to our lodgings, we met groups of the peasantry, loitering from the fields to their dirty homes, with rural implements upon their shoulders, and carolling with light heafts, notwithstanding their poverty. A scene entirely new to us all afforded not a little amusement. It was a goatherd milking his flock and penning them for the night. The animals knew their keeper, and walked up to himn one after another, to have their udders drained, and then marched into the fold without bidding. Not one offered to go, before the process of milking was completed. The flock seemed quite as intelligent as the shepherd. A group of poor villagers stood round with their little mugs, ready to purchase the milk at a penny a pint. Such is a rural scene in Calabria. How different from the extensive farm-yards, the fifty cows, the rosy-checked lasses, and the foaming pails of our own country!
Early next morning we left Eboli and pursued our journey towards Pæstum, which is cleven miles beyond that village. The traveller here deserts the great road, leading to the straits of Messina, and en