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racte, Rome and its environs. The apartments are tolerably neat, but present a waste of stucco. Among the ornaments is a long gallery of old family portraits. The garden affords the only attractions. Its groves are luxuriant and beautiful. A good statue of Venus coming out of the bath adorns one of the fountains, and a small Cicero, sitting in a philosophical attitude, occupies a thickly woven arbour. An Apollo, a Discobolus and several other statues repose in the shades. It is said, that on one occasion the whole family residing at this villa were made captives, while at dinner, and the house pillaged by a band of robbers from the neighbouring hills.

The ascent from this point to Tusculum is arduous, leading along unfrequented paths, through pastures and woodlands, enriched by the charms of nature, but wild and solitary. Every step extends the traveller's horizon, till he arrives at the ruins of the old town, scattered over the summit of the hill. After traversing the streets of Pompeii, nothing of this kind can surprise : otherwise, Tusculum would have excited our admiration. On several accounts, the latter is less interesting than the former. The village was destroyed at a much later period than the town, and by a fate less calculated to awaken feelings of sympathy. Extensive excavations have been made, and the remains cover a wide area. Fragments of marble columns, capitals, and entablatures strew the field, half huried in matted grass, and overgrown with bushes, which it is necessary to thrust aside to read the mutilated inscriptions. We left our mules at the entrance of the disinterred village, and walked up the main street, laid bare to the pavement, composed of large blocks of stone. The amphitheatre is hidden by a coronet of verdure; and enough of the theatre exists, to show it was once a handsome building.

On the brow of the hill, at a little distance from the ruins, stood a villa, which is the rival of Grotto-Ferrata, in claiming the eclat of Ci

For aught I know, the pretensions of the former may be as well grounded as those of the latter. The location is worthy of the taste of the great orator, statesman, and philosopher ; suited to that elevation of thought and to that love of elegant retirement, for which he was celebrated. In front of his house rose Mont Albanus, surmounted by the temple of Jupiter Latiaris, already alluded to; and farther to the east, the sylvan heights of Mount Algidum looked down into a deep rural vale, opening into the Campagna. On the other side, bis

eye

could rest upon Rome, the scene of his renown, and the object of his paternal cares. Such may have been the favourite retreat of the Father of his Country. The ruins of the house are extensive, and bear the marks of having been once splendid. It is said,

cero's name.

tiles have been found, inscribed with the name of Cicero ; but the evidence in this instance, as in the one mentioned above, is extremely vague and unsatisfactory. The name of old Cato is also associated with the hill, and the Porcian Meadows form a part of the flowery field in the environs of Tusculum.

In returning to Frascati, we visited the Villa Belvedere, belonging to the Prince Borghese, who married the celebrated Paulina, sister of Napoleon. He is one of the most wealthy of the Italian nobility, bis income amounting to something like half a million of dollars per annum. He is the proprietor of two of the most splendid villas in the vicinity of Rome ; of the largest palace in the city; and of much real estate in Tuscany and other parts of Italy. His chateau on the Alban Mount is an extensive and showy pile of buildings. A group of pretty little girls met us at the gate, and presented to each of the party a bunch of red and white roses—an image of their own sunny cheeks. The guardian of the mansion, in the absence of the prince, was courteous in his demeanour, and conducted us through the apartments, which are neat, but contain few ornaments except some good prints and frescos. Among the latter, Judith with the head of Holofernes is admirably executed. In the grounds back of the palace are fountains and water-works, much in the style of those at Chatsworth in England. They were put in motion for our amuseinent. The concert commenced with the blowing of a horn by a Triton in a grotto. In another alcove is a representation of Parnassus, with musicians seated upon the cliffs, who produce " a concord of sweet sounds," as the flood-gates are boisted and the fountains begin to play. The contrivance is rather bungling, and the eye readily perceives, that the music is ground out by an organ, placed under the mountain, the crank of which is turned by a water-wheel. It is fit only to amuse children, and gratify vulgar curiosity. The stale trick of wetting persons, by decoying them into a grotto, from the pavement of which streamlets suddenly spirt, is here resorted to ; but in this instance, a troop of rustics, who gathered round to witness the concert, were the only dupes.

Descending through the rural park of the Borghese, we visited another smaller palace, belonging, I believe, to the family of the Chigi. The rooms are rather elegant, and the ornaments exhibit a good deal of taste, the walls being hung with tapestry, and filled with statues, some of which are works of merit. Of these a head of Jupiter, a Diana, a Minerva, and above all, a full length likeness of Canova, as large as life, are the most interesting. The hall appropriated to music, is fitted up and adorned in a chaste and classical style. It may be

remarked in general terms, that although nature and art here offer the most abundant and the richest materials, these villas are wanting in simplicity, neatness, and rustic embellishment! The Romans, who for two months in the year are driven into exile by the Malaria to the heights of this beautiful hill, carry too much of the city along with them. Strange as it may seem, not a particle of correct taste in gardening is to be found in the oldest nation on the continent, except the few instances in which a new system has been introduced.

Having visited all the objects of interest upon the Alban Mount, we returned to Frascati and commenced our flight across the Campagna late in the afternoon, making the fifth time that this desert had been traversed by four different routes. The road is equally solitary with those which have already been described, and the tract as susceptible of being reclaimed. Passing under the Aqueduct denominated the Aqua Felice, the principal source whence the city is supplied with water, we re-entered the gates of Rome at sunset, and were happy to recognize many old acquaintances, if not in the faces of the inhabitants, at least in the Coliseum, the Triumphal Arches, and the ruins of the Forum, after an absence of a little more than a month. During the whole of this time, with the exception of one or two days, the weather was delightful, and the flowery region arrayed in all the bloom of spring. Few travellers have probably visited the south of Italy under more favourable circumstances; and I may be permitted to add without vanity, that few have examined it with more fidelity.

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LETTER LXXI.

SKETCIL OF ROME RESUMED— DESCRIPTION OF ST. PETER'S CHURCH.

June, 1826.

On the day after our arrival, we resumed an examination of Rome, and an unremitted round of observations was continued for three or four weeks. I hardly know what disposition to make of the numerous objects comprised, and the variety of facts gleaned, in this long term of active sight-seeing, added to the notes taken on our first visit and not yet exhausted. The sketch I have already given is so voluminous, that it will be drawing largely upon the patience of my readers, to ask their attention to a new series of topics, lying in a beaten track, and affording little room for originality of remark. Rome is in truth an endless subject. If half a dozen octavo volumes have been filled with the history of the walls alone, how exhaustless must be the antiquities and the modern works of art, embraced within their circuit ? I shall select from the number such as are deemed the most interesting, and be as concise in my notices, as the relative importance of the several topics will permit.

St. Peter's Church is among the first objects which the traveller will visit, and among the last which he will wish to attempt to describe. Like a knotty face, with many unique lines and peculiar features, it requires numerous sittings, before any thing approximating to an accurate portrait can be expected. I have seen it perhaps a hundred different times since my first entrance into Rome—at morning, evening, and noon-day; by moonlight, and in the blaze of two illuminations. To catch its different aspects, I have been round it, and over every part of it, from the vaults to the ball; but after all, it may be extremely difficult to convey an adequate idea of the structure; as it is sui generis, wholly beyond the limits of comparison. Let it not be inferred from this, that St. Peter's has overwhelmed my mind with utter amazement. One learned author, after giving a narrative of his journey through the rest of Italy, recoils from this Herculean labour of tourists, and “durst not violate the majesty of the divine fabric by his unpolished pen.” The poet Gray says he saw it, and o wasstruck dumb with astonishment."

If these travellers manifested no affectation in the expression of their feelings, their minds must have been differently constituted from those of ordinary visitants; for nine out of ten look at St. Peter's for the first time without any strong emotion, and are even obliged to reason themselves into admiration, by dint of repeated visits. Most persons are disappointed at the coup d'oeil; and my case claims no exemption from the common lot of humanity. The first glimpse of the Dome, caught at the distance of twelve or fourteen miles across the Campagna, produced a much more powerful effect upon my mind, than the front view of the church, within fifty paces. It requires the evidence of unquestionable admeasurement to satisfy the spectator, that its dimensions exceed those of many other buildings ; and although this optical deception, arising from the exactness of the proportions, may constitute the highest praise of the fabric, on reflection, its magnitude is in a great measure lost to the eye.

The location of St. Peter's is pre-eminently beautiful, though little except the Dome can be seen from other parts of the city. It stands on a gentle eminence, the brow of the Vatican Mount and the site of Nero's amphitheatre, * a few rods from the right bank of the Tiber. From a point near the Castle of St. Angelo, two comparatively narrow, crooked, and dirty streets, with a block of mean buildings between them, terminate in the Piazza in front of the church, of which nothing is till

you
enter the square.

One of the Pontiffs had it in contemplation to remove the intermediate range of old houses, uniting the two streets into a broad avenue, opening upon the Tiber and the bridge of St. Angelo. The improvement is so obvious, and the sacrifice of property would be so trifling, that it is surprising the project has never been carried into execution. At present the approaches are through passages lined with butchers' stalls and the boutiques of market-women. A chop-house and a tippling-shop for teamsters, the capitals on the sign of which outstare those of Paul V. on the front of St. Peter's, borders the eastern extremity of the square, and is one of the most conspicuous objects in the vicinity. A lure of “hot and cold dinners,” blazoned forth in letters legible from the doors of the church, induced us to step in on a rainy day for refreshments ; but the filth of the place and the low company compelled a hasty retreat.

seen

* This situation was selected by Constantine, the original founder of the Church, out of respect to the primitive christians and martyrs, who were cruelly persecuted by Nero, and thrown into his amphitheatre, to be torn to pieces by wild beasts. The ground was moreover supposed to be hallowed by the dust of St. Peter, who is said to have been crucified with his head downward; though some have doubted, whether he ever visited Rome. The tradition of the ecclesiastics holds, that this Apostle embarked on the coasts of Palestine, in the year 44, for Italy; that he touched at Naples and Baiæ, thence continuing his voyage, Æneas like, towards the mouth of the Tiber; that contrary winds drove his felucca far out to sea ; that he was driven ashore near the mouth of the Arno, and preached the gospel to

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