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and crucifixes without number rose in a long line. At length came the grandest part of the spectacle. An image of the Madonna of the day, made of wax, as large as life, dressed in the richest Florentine silks, crowned with a diadem, loaded with a profusion of the most gorgeous ornaments, and seated under a golden canopy, was borne on the shoulders of four men, in as much state, as the Pope rode round the aisles of St. Peter's. As much reverence was also shown to the Virgin as to his Holiness; for the people all knelt and said an Ave Maria, as the pageant passed.

Is it possible to witness these daily exhibitions, in which homage is exclusively rendered to the Madonna, without believing the Catholic religion, as practised in Italy, but little elevated above idolatry? I have no reason to think, that one in fifty of the crowd here assembled, raised his thoughts higher than the tawdry image to which he bowed. It is idle to talk of symbols. There must have been a long train of associations, to run from a waxen figure to the Virgin, from the Virgin to the Saviour, and from the latter to the Supreme Being. The multitude are not accustomed to such an abstraction, refinement, and concatenation of ideas. But if God be the ultimate object of worship, as some contend, where is the necessity of the intervention of so many emblems? There are images enough of the Saviour and even of the Father in Italy, to supersede the introduction of another divinity.

In walking along the Lung 'Arno one evening with an Italian friend, we saw a living Saint, or at least he sustains that character in the eyes of the Florentines. He is a monk, who dwells in a convent, near the gate leading to Leghorn. He was going towards his cell, and we pursued him, keeping a few paces in the rear, to elude observation. His march was arrested once in every two or three rods, by persons who darted out from the side-walks, and knelt in the street, to receive his benediction. He blessed them all. A sort of bustle took place in the act of genuflection, and words were muttered in a half whisper, which we could not understand. He often goes abroad on such excursions. The people all know his walk even in the dark, and never permit him to pass unnoticed.

The American Consul pointed out to me, in one of our rambles to the Cascine, the house which belonged to Americus Vespucius, the pretended discoverer of America, and who succeeded in giving name to the New World. A long inscription on the front records the fame or infamy of its former proprietor. We paused and read it, although I did not feel a very lively interest in a man, who had deprived Columbus of a share of his glory. Some of the family of Ves

pucci, (as the name is here written,) are still living. They are of noble birth, and I believe yet own the tenement.

On a certain day in the year, the boatmen are permitted to navigate the Arno, within the limits of the city. They make a festival of it, as they do of every thing. The anniversary happened during our visit. All the barks on the river were decked with splendid flags, and moved from the Santa Trinita, to the sound of martial music. The Lung 'Arno and bridges were covered with spectators, adding to the novelty and brilliancy of the exhibition.

I have described the sacred spectacles of Florence; and let us now for a moment turn to the profane. The latter appeared to me as little calculated to exalt the national character as the former. There are several theatres in the city, two of which only were open at the time of our visit. The Pergola or Opera-house is by far the most prominent. It is a large, splendid, and beautiful building, enriched with frescos and other decorations in good taste. The boxes, hung with crimson curtains, may with propriety be denominated saloons, much better finished and furnished than the best apartments in most Italian palaces. In fact they may be considered as the evening pavilions of the nobility and higher classes of society, who here hold their soirées, instead of receiving their friends at home. By drawing the curtain, coffee, ice-creams, and other refreshments can be served up in as good style, and with as much retirement, as in a private dwelling.

On the first night of our attendance at the Pergola, the play was a melo-drama in two acts, entitled "Amazilda and Zamoro." It is a new piece, which was brought out at this theatre the present year, "under the special patronage of Leopold II. Grand Duke of Tuscany." We saw only the first act, and that was quite enough. It is a Persian tale, and the scene is laid in Astracan and its environs. The story afforded an opportunity of introducing all the splendour of oriental costumes and parades, which is a great object with those who seek to gratify the eye, rather than the ear, the mind, or the heart. To show that no sort of interest is excited by either the plot or the characters in an Italian play, it is only necessary to state that the action of the drama is interrupted by the intervention of the ballet, or what with us is the after-piece. Now, who would endure such a pause and such a diversion of the mind, in a French or English tragedy or comedy? Yet the Italians hear the first act of an opera, take their coffee and icecreams, witness an interlude of an hour or two, and then enter upon the second part of a play, with the dramatis personæ of both pieces mingled together in their minds. The truth is, that although they are

in the highest degree a musical, theatre-going, spectacle-loving people, they have very little taste or relish for the regular drama.

The ballet at the Pergola was denominated " Genserico in Roma, ballo istorico, tragico, pantomimo, in cinque atti." Its very name is sufficient to prove the absurdity of its character. A historical, tragical, and pantomimical dance! What a solecism in taste-what a monster in the dramatic art! To make the matter worse, the scene is laid in the Roman Capitol and the Roman Senate, the seat of gravity, dignity, and wisdom, associated in the mind with all that is lofty, imperial, and grand. The spectator sees the Conscript Fathers, Military Tribunes, Prætors, Lictors, Roman matrons, people, and soldiers enter successively, unite in the dumb show, and cut pigeon-wings and pirouettes. Had Signor Antonio Monticini, the author of the piece, been present, I should have inquired of him, which was Cato, Sempronius, Scipio, Pompey, Tully, and Cæsar, in his senatorial group, who handed down their partners with so much grace, and tripped it so nimbly" on the light fantastic toe." Compare the dramatic proprieties of this play with those of Addison's Cato, Julius Cæsar, and Coriolanus, or with the dignity of French tragedy, and you have precisely the difference between the Italian and English stage, as the latter was modelled by Shakspeare and Garrick, or as that of France has since been by Voltaire and Talma. It is true, that Italy has produced a liberal share of histrionic talent; but the dramas of Alfieri, Goldoni, and others are seldom brought upon the boards, while such spectacles as the above are substituted in their places.

At a second visit to the Pergola, we heard the celebrated David sing at a great concert. He is perhaps the first vocalist in Italy; a man of genius, possessing extraordinary natural powers, which he is fast ruining by intemperance. His performances are inimitably and indescribably fine. The boxes on this evening were illuminated by all the beauty, gaiety, and fashion of Florence. Galleries of Grecian faces, polished brows, and dark languishing eyes, softened by the influence of melting music, presented altogether a brilliant scene.

We went several times to the Goldoni, which is constructed precisely in the manner of the old Roman amphitheatres. The spectators sit under the open air, looking alternately at the stars upon the stage, and the still brighter ones which sparkle in an Italian firmament above their heads. On one evening of my attendance, the moon peeped in at the aperture, and the effulgence of her orb attracted quite as much of my attention, as the progress of the play, or a pretty group of warbling actresses, who sang like nightingales to the listening skies. The pieces here performed are of much the same charac

ter, as I have already described. It is the most popular theatre in the city, and is open twice a day; once at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and again in the evening.

Not far from the theatre is the Goldoni Garden, which is open on the evenings of all festivals, for promenades and fetes champetres. It is a cool and delightful retreat. The grounds are spacious, laid out with walks, and shaded with trees, amidst the foliage of which are suspended coloured lamps. In the centre rises an orchestra, occupied by a numerous band of musicians, and about it is an extensive floor, a step from the ground, which is the arena for dancing. At intervals of five or ten minutes, the music strikes up, and whoever chooses to enter the lists, selects his partner, and waltzes half a dozen times round the circle, while the multitude seated upon the benches about the garden look on and applaud. The walks open into numerous saloons, where refreshments of all kinds are to be had. People of the first rank attend; though the dancers are commonly of the lower orders, and sometimes evince rudeness instead of grace.

Such are some of the resources for public amusement in the Tuscan capital. But there are others of a graver, more elevated, and rational character. The extensive and rich collections of the arts are always open to the gratification of the traveller. We repeated our visits frequently to the gallery, to renew an acquaintance with old favourites, and to discover new subjects for admiration. Having said so much on the pictures and statues of Rome, as well as on the more prominent articles in this collection, I forbear to retrace the cabinets and corridors a second time, for the purpose of supplying the deficiencies of a former sketch. With all the additions and amendments it would be in my power to make, a notice of such a collection must necessarily be left very imperfect.

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We paid an interesting visit to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which is a noble institution, worthy of the days of the Medici, though the great men who gave splendour to that age are now wanting, to elicit genius and talent by their patronage. This Academy was founded by Leopold I., who by way of distinction in modern times, may be called the Great. Its various departments comprise schools for design, architecture, statuary, and painting. In the rooms appropriated to the two former, are beautiful models for buildings, exhibiting the most finished proportions of the Grecian orders; for the Italians themselves are now convinced, that after putting ingenuity to the rack for centuries, to invent new combinations, the remains of antiquity after all form the only standards of a correct taste. To a new country, this fact is worthy of attention. An attempt to improve upon the

models of Greece, is just as absurd, as are experiments to discover perpetual motion. The apartments for painting and sculpture contain casts and copies of all the great works in Italy. This institution, as well as the gallery, is furnished with all the appurtenances and conveniences for young artists, who may prosecute their studies free of expense. The productions of such as excel in their profession line the walls.

Soon after our return to Florence, the American Consul introduced us to a large reading-room near the Ponte Santa Trinita. Opposite the door stands a stately granitic column, reared by Cosimo I. in honour of the conquest of Siena. It is surmounted by a statue of Justice, which is emblematic neither of the ruin of the Sienese, nor of the district over which the goddess presides; for according to the jests of the Florentines, she looks down upon some of the greatest knaves in the city. The proprietor of the reading-room, however, is not of the number, but an intelligent clever man. His apartments contain a large circulating library, and are furnished with the Journals of Italy, France, England, and the north of Europe. Italian newspapers are the most barren, dull, and insipid productions that can be imagined. They are precisely what the French government is now labouring to make the journals of that country, by the restoration of the censorship. Their dimensions are upon the scale of seven by nine, and their contents comprise little else, than notices of ecclesiastical movements, feasts, celebrations, and the multifarious functions of the Pope. One paper only is published in each of the great cities, and that in most instances issues but once or twice a week. In a word, the press is entirely prostrate in Italy, and has been degraded into the most servile instrument of church and state. Some attempts have been made to revive its freedom; but they have soon been crushed by the despotism of the governments.

I could not perceive, that the climate of Florence in summer differs materially from that of New-York. The thermometer, on the warmest days, stands at about 90 degrees of Farenheit in the shade. It appeared to me that the rarefaction of the air is greater, and the heat more oppressive, than it is in our country. Severe thunder-storms occurred almost daily, rebellowing among the hills with tremendous peals. The Arno would sometimes in the course of a few hours swell from a rill to a torrent. In one instance, a furious tornado swept up the Valdarno in fearful violence, unroofing and prostrating many houses in the vicinity of Leghorn and Pisa. In a word, the skies of Tuscany are far from being forever bright and cloudless, though the proportion of fine weather throughout the year is doubtless greater, than in almost any other country.

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