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LETTER LXXXII.

DEPARTURE FROM FLORENCE-TRESPIANO-PASSAGE OF THE APENNINES -SCENERY-PIETRA MALA-ARRIVAL AT BOLOGNA-SKETCH OF THE CITY-FOUNTAIN OF JOHN DI BOLOGNA-CHURCH OF ST. PETRONIUS-PALAZZO PUBBLICO-CATHEDRAL-GALLERY-SHRINE OF ST. DOMINICK-MONTE NOLA-UNIVERSITY-CAMPO SANTO-CHIESA DEL SERVI-THEATRE.

September, 1826.

EARLY on the morning of the 6th, we left Florence for Bologna. The Piazza del Duomo was covered with wares, preparatory to the feast of the Madonna, and a great Fair on the 8th. Passing under the noble arch of the Porta San Gallo, we soon began to ascend the acclivities of the mountains, whence a last and lingering look was thrown back into the Valdarno, encircled with so many charms of nature, embellished by so many monuments of the arts, and endeared to us by so many pleasing associations. The vale was still dressed in all its summer pride; and our parting view was one of the finest that had been obtained during a long visit. Waving another farewell to the circle of our friends, we were soon lost among the ridges of the Apennines.

Three miles from Florence, we passed the great cemetery of the city, denominated Trespiano. The enclosure contains eight or ten acres, laid out in a perfect square, girt with a substantial wall, and covered with a beautiful coat of verdure. A stone pyramid, surmounted by a cross, rises in the centre. There are few sepulchral monuments. A grove of cypress, on the opposite side of the road, gives to the scenery a character suited to a depository of the dead.

The hills for some distance are of moderate elevation and clothed with olives. Hedges like those in England, filled with blackberries, line the road. The vales are fertile and rural, abounding in vineyards, now purple with the ripening vintage. We here passed another of the seats of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The front exhibits the face of a large old-fashioned clock, and looks more like a convent than a palace. At noon the vetturino came to at the Albergo Ghereto, a dirty little tavern, and insisted on stopping two hours. It was a dull place, and recourse was had to our books for amusement. Onward we continued to climb ridge after ridge, till one of the highest, between Taliaferro and Maschere, afforded a wide and glorious view, extending to the plains of Pisa and Leghorn. The route is so zig-zag, that the points of compass had been lost, and a bright sun could hardly re

concile us to the position of those cities. Beyond Maschere, we crossed a noble bridge and terrace made by Napoleon. It is on the same scale with all his public works. The natural growth of this region is oak, chestnut, and pine, interspersed with cypress. There are few houses and few inhabitants.

Just at dusk we reached the solitary inn of Covigliaio, standing upon the summit of the Apennines, which are here two thousand feet above the level of the sea. Some hard stories are told of this tavern by tourists.* We found it filled with travellers, who were at table, drinking wine, and exhibiting a scene of noisy mirth. The hostess gave us a good supper and comfortable lodgings. On looking from the windows next morning, it was discovered that we were in a region of much wildness and grandeur. The mountains rose around us in rude and naked masses, often shooting up into fantastic needles, partially shrouded in mist. Ruins that have slidden down, strew the slopes at their bases. The formation is secondary, and the rocks are friable. A pale sunrise gilded their sombre peaks.

We left at an early hour. A shepherd was observed unpenning his fold, with his dog at his side. The general aspect of the country is savage, barren, and desolate. At Pietra Mala, the vetturino paused for an examination of our passports; and I ran half a mile to look at

*"One inexplicable gang of ruffians had long been felt, but could not be followed, on the road between Florence and Bologna. Travellers daily disappeared, and could never be traced by their spoils. Two Pisans of my acquaintance, passing through Pietra Mala, put up at a solitary inn on the Apennines, and asked for beds. The landlady told them that she must send two miles off to borrow sheets of the curate. A desolate house and a wretched supper, set in opposition with diamond rings on the coarse fingers of their hostess, alarmed her guests, who had heard of the invisible murders committed on this road. They communicated their suspicion to the Vetturino, and having concerted their plan, they desired him, in the landlady's hearing, to call them up at five in the morning, and retired to bed. There they kept a fearful watch until all were asleep, when stealing from their beds, they set off before midnight, and thus escaped alive from those dreadful confines.

"Not long afterward, a member of the gang being taken, made a discovery of the rest. All the banditti were surprised while feasting at the parsonage, and their horrible mystery was at length revealed. It was the law of their society to murder all the passengers they stopped, to kill and bury the horses, burn the carriages and baggage, reserving only the money, jewels, and watches. Biondi, the curate, was their captain; the mistress of the inn was their accomplice, and, in the manner just mentioned, she sent him notice of every traveller that lodged at her house.-Forsyth's Remarks on Italy.

*Mr. Dodsworth and Signora Patriarchi_

the traces of a volcano, where blue lambent flames have at certain periods been seen issuing from the surface. The craters, or more properly circular level beds of volcanic substances, are three in number, of small dimensions, and exhibiting at present neither flame nor heat. I collected several specimens of the stones, which appear to be partially calcined, are of a reddish hue, and have a strong vitriolic smell.

As my visit had been prolonged beyond what suited the convenience of the vetturino, he had gone on leaving me to overtake him in climb ing the hills. Feeling for my watch, to note the time of my absence, I found that was missing as well as the coach, and that it had been left under my pillow, at the little tavern three and a half miles back. As travellers have told so many frightful tales of this inn, and as our doors were without fastenings, a degree of precaution was used, which had seldom or never before been resorted to, and which in this instance led to a vexatious accident.

Here was a fine dilemma. By going forward, I stood a chance to lose my watch; by returning for it, I should be left upon the top of the Apennines. At length a peasant was despatched on horseback to the tavern, with directions to follow, till he overtook me; while I set out in pursuit of the vetturino. Fortunately it was a gusty day. and on reaching a gorge in the mountains, where a dozen coaches had been capsized by the wind, he stopped short, and refused to pass till the squall was over. I met in my walk upon the storm-beaten hills, a solitary Greek on foot, in his national costume, which was tattered and presented but too striking an image of his unfortunate country. He laid his hand upon his breast, and saluted me in passing. Two peasants, who looked quite too much like banditti, issued from a bypath, and asked me some indifferent questions about the road.

After a walk of four miles, I overtook the carriage at the Dogana, on the confines of the Papal State, where the keys of St. Peter and the triple crown were again seen over the door. The morning furnished a chapter of accidents. My companion in stepping from the coach had wrenched his ankle, and was unable to walk. All the brandy and camphor of the Locanda della Stella, as well as the kind services of the hostess, were put in requisition. In the mean time, I began to give up the peasant and my watch for lost, when at last the old mountaineer, in his heavy shoes, blue stockings, and white cap, came trotting up with the unusual appendage of a watch in his pocket. He was liberally rewarded for his fidelity. I thanked him, and told him he was an honest man, to which he replied—" si, signore, sono honesto, ma molto povero"-yes, I am honest, but very poor. He shared with us an omelet and a glass of red wine, and then kissing our hands, returned

to his sheep-fold or his rude hut upon the mountains, with an approving conscience. I have uniformly found the lower classes in Italy honest, civil, and kind-hearted. Trunks, books, clothing, and other articles have daily been exposed without detriment; and only one instance of incivility is remembered. At a custom-house near Leghorn, a lad beset us for a fee. On being repulsed, he exclaimed, "Iddio retarda vostro viaggio"-God impede your journey!

From this point, we continued to descend the mountains, which often rise in bleak and barren ridges of sand. A high wind, which appeared to roll over in torrents from vale to vale, often involved us in tempests of dust. Some of the loftier swells presented a wide view into the vale of the Po, and the plains stretching to the Adriatic. As the atmosphere was not clear, the sea was invisible. At 4 o'clock we reached the foot of the hills, and came to the banks of the Reno, the bed of a mountain torrent, with a broad sandy channel, and a scanty rill of water. The vales here again become fertile, and the loaded vineyards appeared in all their glory.

Passing the magnificent seat of Cardinal Ferrara and the splendid suburbs of Bologna, we entered its gates, under the favourable light of a clear sunset, and saw no reason to dissent from Napoleon's partiality, who used to call it, "mia cara citta di Bologna." The streets are broad, neatly paved, and clean; uniformly lined with arcades over the side-walks, and with ranges of stately buildings, which have a light and cheerful appearance, in comparison with the sombre castles of FloThere is also a show of considerable magnificence in the churches and other public edifices. The two words "my dear," in plain English, but not addressed to us, were the first which met our ears. Excellent accommodations were obtained at the Pellegrino. While at supper, our arrival was welcomed by a serenade from the "Ciechi,” a band of blind musicians, who salute all new comers, with the expectation of a fee. In one or two instances, odes of congratulation were brought to us, which had probably been previously addressed to fifty other travellers, the name only being changed.

The next day I rambled over the city alone, as my friend was too lame to go out. On my way to the Piazza del Gigante, two sturdy beggars beset me opposite the prison, and at the same moment, the wretched inmates of the cells thrust out their bronze arms through the grates, with the most furious and importunate cries. Such an image was less prepossessing, than the splendid arcades and gilded domes, which spread before me. At the Place of the Giant, I examined the celebrated Fountain, embellished by the chisel of John di Bologna; it appeared to me unworthy of the eulogies, which have

been lavished upon it by others. The group consists of a colossal statue of Neptune, surrounded by four Sea-nymphs, and as many Cupids playing with dolphins. In the attitude, port, and bearing of the principal figure, there is much dignity, much that bespeaks and becomes the god. But he is figuratively as well as literally accompanied by a scaly brood. The mermaids press their exuberant breasts in vain; for they yield neither milk nor water. Their postures are horrible; and their extremities terminate in fishes. They are in all respects monsters. The Cupids are in better taste; but the bronze Mercury, in the Florentine Gallery, by the same artist, is worth a hundred such monuments. Scanty rills spirt from the Fountain, which is contemptible in comparison with those of Rome.

The Square of the Giant, so named from the statue of Neptune, is surrounded by the Palazzo Pubblico, the Palazzo Vechio, and the church of St. Petronius-all of brick, ornamented with pillars and tracery, venerable in aspect, but void of architectural grandeur. My first visit was to the church. Its front is unfinished, and the holes are left in which the scaffolding was erected. The lower part is encased with marble. It is of the Gothic order. The interior is finished, and exhibits the usual degree of Italian splendour. Some of the chapels are rich and elegant. The walls were hung with notices of the Feast of the Madonna, in commemoration of her nativity, which continues for three days. Groups of people were kneeling in the aisles. The canopy of the high altar is superb, resting on rich columns, and surmounted by angels and warriors in white marble. Under the altar is a vault, grated in front and dimly lighted by lamps, in which the bloody corse of the Saviour is seen stretched out upon a couch. A circle of poor people were looking in, saying their prayers. Banners are suspended round the choir, bearing the arms of different families, and inscriptions requesting prayers for their departed spirits.

The pavement exhibits the celebrated meridian of Cellini, two hundred feet in length, and designating the progress of the sun through the zodiac. On one side, the ascending, and on the other, the descending signs are delineated. The sun is admitted through a hole in the roof, eighty feet from the floor, and falls upon the point corresponding with the day and month. At each end of the line, handsome monuments are erected against the wall, bearing inscriptions explanatory of the work, and complimentary to the genius of the artist. Near by stands a clock with two faces, pointing out with its double hands the true and the solar time. Petronius, to whom the church is dedicated, seems to have been a clever saint, who did much for Bologna, and deserved the honours which are paid to his memory, Charles V. of

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