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LETTER LXXIX.

DEPARTURE FROM ROME--FALLS OF THE VELINO--RETURN TO FLORENCE

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On the morning of the 5th, we left Rome for Florence, by the way of Terni. In making our exit through the Porta del Popolo for the last time, and in crossing the Campagna di Roma, many a farewell look was cast behind. There is even amidst the ruins of the imperial city, and notwithstanding some slight deductions to be made from the pleasures of the traveller, an interest not to be found in any other place. Its associations are endless, and the mind is never tired of examining the infinite variety of objects it presents. My last day in Roine was as happy as the first, except from the thought that I should see it no

On the heights of Baccano, we turned and gazed upon the dome of St. Peter's burnished with the morning sun, upon the outstretched city, and the blue summits of the Alban Mount, till the last glimpse vanished behind the intervening hills.

The day was intensely hot ; the inhabitants of the villages along the road had all retired to their houses; and the solitary landscape drooped under a fervid sky. At evening we reached Terni, and immediately set out for the Falls of the Velino, embosomed among the bills, at the distance of five miles. The road leads up the vale of the Nera, between Monte St. Angelo, on the right, and Monte di Valle, on the left. It is a romantic, retired, and peaceful glen, bordered by high ridges of rocks, and slopes covered with olives. The banks of the headlong stream are shaded with trees of a rich foliage, clasped by the ivy and vine.

Climbing a zig-zag path, winding on terraces under the cliffs, hundreds of feet above the Nera, we reached the cataract about sunset, and had a charming view from three or four different stations, whence the whole descent of the waters, in several perpendicular pitches, is visible. The Velino is the artificial outlet or emissary of a lake, but of considerable size, rapid, and turbulent, hurrying beneath an arch of verdure, before it leaps a precipice of three hundred feet. It makes little pause, till its course down the rocks is completed, and its agitated current mingles with the more quiet Nera. These falls are, on the whole, the finest we have seen in Europe, except perhaps those of the Clyde. There must necessarily be a good deal of bustle, in an aggregate descent of six or seven hundred feet. The quantity of water is respect. able, though scarcely sufficient to present an image of grandeur ; and it is impossible to get rid of the idea, that the Velino is an artificial channel, scooped out by the Romans, and not opened by the hand of nature herself. Tourists have talked of clouds, rainbows, and thunders. We were too late to see an iris upon the spray; and the sound of the cataract did not meet us until within a few rods of the preci. pice. It is needless to add, that these falls, on which an Italian has written a book, dedicated " alla nobile Signora Contessa Silvia Antaldi Graziani," will bear no comparison with Niagara. Byron has exaggerated the scene beyond all bounds, and spoiled the pleasure of contemplating the reality, to those who have read his description. He was pardonable, because this cascade was the grandest object of the kind he had probably ever witnessed. His picture is a much better likeness of Niagara than of the Velino. We remained here till dark. It was a bright evening, and the twilight was exquisitely soft. The scenery is rich and beautiful, consisting of calcareous hills, rising in pointed crags and overhanging a woody vale, which Cicero in one of his visits compared to that of Tempe.

We took breakfast the next morning by candle-light, and commenced our journey over Monte Somma at 4 o'clock. The vale of the Clitumnus was now waving with yellow harvests, and its waters were as bright as ever. In retracing a route which had once been traversed, I read the Georgics of Virgil, with practical illustrations before me. The peasantry were busy in reaping their fields. Females use the sickle with as much dexterity as the men. They thrash their grain on open areas, such as are described by the rural poet of the Augustan age. Indeed most of his imagery may be traced in Italian scenery and the modes of cultivation.

Near Perugia we waved a farewell to the Tiber, and bade him bear our respects to Rome. Our ride along the shores of Thrasymenus at sunset was enchanting. Night overtook us at the little village of Camucia, and compelled us to take lodgings at a small tavern, instead of reaching Arezzo. The people treated us kindly, and gave us a supper of fish from the lake. Early next morning, we pursued our journey towards Florence, which was reached on the same evening, after a chapter of accidents, none of which were of a very serious nature. The coach-wheel had run off half a dozen times since leaving Rome, and one of the horses had twice fallen, requiring the aid of the peasantry to help him up. One of the disasters befel us in the midst of a severe thunder-storın, to the pelting of which we were exposed during a walk of several miles.

At Florence we remained some weeks, as well to avoid the oppressive heat of summer, as for the sake of seeing something more of Tuscany, than a short visit had permitted. Through the kind offices of the American Consul, who did every thing to render our stay in his native city both useful and agreeable, private lodgings were obtained at moderate prices, in a healthy and eligible situation. My window almost overhung the Arno, commanding a full view of its splendid quays and bridges, of the town, and the distant hills. The society of a pleasant family, and a circle of estimable friends, contributed largely to the pleasures, which a temporary residence in the Tuscan capital afforded. Of the little party at our table, was an acquaintance from New York, whose social virtues always rendered him a welcome guest. An Eng. lish tourist, who has acquired great celebrity, in his own country, by his philosophical writings and public lectures, was another inmate of the same roof. In a dissertation on the Fine Arts of Italy, which he read to me, and which will probably be hereafter published, he has taken occasion to pay a high compliment to our own Washington, whom he considers the most illustrious subject for the pencil and chisel, that ever existed in any country. We also had a whole family among our boarders. Two of the ladies gave us a concert daily on the harp and piano.

Our external resources were not less abundant. The hospitable doors of the Consul were always open to us, as they are to all our countrymen. His residence is fitted up with much taste, embellished with the arts of his native city, intermingled with the portraits of distinguished Americans. He introduced us to another branch of the Bonaparte family, consisting of a Countess, her daughter, and the intended of the latter, who were on a flying visit to this place. We found them quite republican in their attachments, affable, and agreeable in their manners. I was also made acquainted with a professor in the University of Pisa, now a resident of Florence. He is an eminent scholar, a man of great industry and research, who imparted to me many valuable ideas on the past bistory and present condition of his country. A gentleman, who had once been in the United States, introduced himself and took me to his father's, who is one of the first merchants in the city. He was perfectly acquainted withi Florence, and politely afforded me many facilities in examining its localities. In a word, we experienced no want of society either among the Italians or our own countrymen ; and all the leisure moments that could be spared from other pursuits, were agreeably occupied. Of the Americans at Florence, is an active, intelligent old man, who is now at the age of 80. He has been sixty years in Europe, and forty in the capi

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VOL. II.

tal of Tuscany. He is the proprietor of a beautiful villa, commanding a wide prospect into the vale of the Arno, and leads a bachelor's life, on an income of three thousand dollars per annum. Such is his regularity in taking a particular seat at the door of a coffee-house in the evening, that the Consul said to us one night, he would take us to our venerable countryman. He walked up to the place, and although it was too dark to distinguish persons, he ventured to call the veteran by name, who to our no small amusement promptly answered, and entercd freely into conversation.

A day or two after our arrival, there was a great parade at the Cascine. An aeronaut had given public notice, that at 5 o'clock in the afternoon he would ascend in a balloon from the bank of the Arno. The whole city assembled to witness the spectacle. All the bridges, heights, and house-tops were thronged with Florentine beauty. The Grand Duke was the patron of the show, and promised the adventurer a premium of $500, if he should descend on any part of his grounds. His Highness with his family and suite appeared among the multitude on this occasion. A sumptuous pavilion hung with crimson, had been purposely fitted up for his accommodation. The nobility were all out with their splendid equipages, reviving an image of the Corso at Rome. We witnessed a fine exhibition of style, both high and low. The gentry sat in their carriages, and the pedestrians stood upon their feet till dark, waiting with breathless anxiety, and expecting every moment to see the aerial navigator mount to the skies. He at length came forward with an apology, stating that his balloon could not be inflated. In a few days the notice was repeated, and the congregated city experienced another disappointment. The Grand Duke was so enraged at a second failure, after sitting the whole afternoon in his pavilion, that he directed two of the chemists to be imprisoned, and a new set to be introduced to the blow-pipes and crucibles. Although operations were continued daily, the show had not taken place when I left town.

We found the general aspect of Florence much less agreeable in mid-summer, than it was at our first visit in April. Excellent as its pavements are, and numerous and stately as are its palaces, it cannot be called a neat or cleanly city. Nuisances of all kinds are permitted to encumber and deform the streets, excepting those only through which the Grand Duke drives in his coach and six. Its police is much inferior to that of Rome. In the latter, particular places are set apart and labelled with “immondezza," where filth may be thrown. Slaughter-houses are also, as in Paris, confined to remote districts, and blood is not allowed to flow in the gutters. But in the capital of Tuscany,

all places are common for every species of nuisance. Animals are butchered upon promenades, and meat-shops are strung along the most fashionable streets, emitting an odour sufficient to deprive one of an appetite for dinner. The confined and disagreeable air, arising from such an accumulation of filth, drives the people from their houses to the public squares and the bridges of the Arno, in the evening, where they remain till midnight. Seats extend on both sides of the Ponte Santa Trinita from end to end, which at night are occupied by ladies, who sit motionless for hours, to catch a breeze from the river. When the moon is up and bright, so many white robes, and such a gallery of Florentine faces, form a novel and brilliant spectacle.

Another place of refuge from the heat of the city and the confinement of dwelling-houses, is the public square in front of the Cathedral. There is here a celebrated coffee-house, called by way of em. phasis the Bottegone, where half of Florence, from the nobility downward, or more properly upward, may be seen collected every evening, to eat ice-creams. Not only are all the saloons filled, but crowds are seated in chairs on the pavement at the door ; while others sit in their coaches, sending in their servants for refreshments. At a neighbouring coffee-house they call for orgeat. The proprietor informed me, that he has often sold twenty barrels in a day.

From the Cathedral a street leads to the square of the Grand Duke, which at particular hours is so thronged, that a passage can scarcely be effected. On Sunday, from 12 till 2 o'clock, the Florentine ladies of the higher classes make it an invariable rule to resort thither, and appear on 'Change in full dresses, with as much regularity as merchants. They walk back and forth for the distance of a hundred rods, to gaze and be gazed at. The custom is as ridiculous as it is novel ; and after meeting the same faces, in a few turns, the stranger begins to feel ashamed of such folly, and bolts the course.

What with these amusements, with the theatres, gardens, and religious festivals, the inhabitants of Florence are seldom to be seen at their houses, night or day. If you call in the evening, they are out; and in the day-time, you receive the same answer as at Rome-6 si dormi.” We sent thrice to a minister, to have our passports regulated, and the messenger each time found him asleep, forgetful of his official duties. Disturbed by a fourth call, he rubbed open his eyes long enough to return for answer, that his signature was not necessary, and then turned over to finish his siesta. “ They are asleep” is a motto, which may be applied to the Italians, not only physically but morally—in politics, science, literature, and the arts. They are living almost entirely upon the reputation, which the great

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