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At 6 o'clock, on a bright afternoon, after crossing the beds of one or two tremendous torrents, which sweep down from the Bochetta, and after passing the splendid faubourg of San Pierre d'Arena, bordered by the sea on one side, and palaces and gardens on the other, we doubled a bold promontory, round which the road winds, whence the city and harbour of Genoa all at once burst fully upon our view. The colossal, picturesque tower, used as a light-house, rising to a giddy height from the crags at the extremity of this high bluff-the two immense moles jutting out from either shore, and nearly interlocking the port-the blue waters of the basin, covered with vessels riding at anchor, and enlivened by the busy din of commerce-the town itself, in all its architectural grandeur, lifting its domes and battlements in the form of an amphitheatre round the harbour-the lofty semi-circular ridges of the Apennines, overhanging the city, with their green acclivities sprinkled with white buildings-presented a magnificent panorama, gilded at the moment of our entrance with the beams of the setting sun. A more advantageous and prepossessing picture of Genoa, splendid as its outlines are, could not have been presented from any quarter, as our subsequent rambles evinced; nor was our ride along the terrace skirting the harbour, and thence beneath the ancient barrier, through Strada Balbi, the finest street in the city, calculated to weaken our first impressions. Half a dozen Genoese gentlemen in the coach, who had said little during the afternoon, appeared to feel a just degree of local pride in pointing out for the admiration of strangers the magnificence of their city; and after entering the faubourg San Pierre d'Arena, scarcely an object of interest was permitted to escape our attention, till our arrival at the Hotel de Yorck, nearly in the centre of the town. At one moment we glided rapidly under the arched ramparts, and at another by the palace of Andrew Doria; now in front of the pillared courts of the University, or along the magnificent façade of the Durazzo. In a word, the whole street is lined with palaces, and in architectural grandeur and beauty can scarcely be surpassed.
Every circumstance conspired on the day of our arrival to give us an exaggerated idea of Genoese splendour. On entering the Hotel, we found that even that had been a palace, columns, saloons, and some of the paintings of which still remained. From the windows of our chambers, the eye surveys other ranges of handsome buildings, bordering upon the Piazza Annunziata, and forming a continuation of the Strada Balbi. But the Hotel de Yorck possesses attractions of more importance to the traveller, than its fine situation, or its claim to
the honour of having once been the residence of Genoese nobility. A Swiss emigrant has fitted it up in the neatest style with carpets and other fire-side comforts; and it is without exception the best, as well as one of the cheapest hotels we have found upon the continent. By an odd coincidence, the waiter appointed to attend us had passed two or three years of his life in Pearl-street, New-York, in making macaroni.
SKETCH OF GENOA-PRINCIPAL STREETS-ASPECT OF THE TOWN— HARBOUR-MOLES AND DEFENCES-ROYAL NAVY-ARRIVAL OF THE
On the morning after our arrival, a valet-de-place was procured to take us the ordinary rounds, and show us the wonders of the town with all convenient despatch. The first hour's walk satisfied us, that the finest part of Genoa had already been seen. Strada Nuova and Strada Nuovissima are in the same style of magnificence as the Strada Balbi, with which they are connected, opening a wide and superb passage through nearly the whole extent of the city, bordered on both sides by long façades of palaces, three or four stories high, and enriched with the several orders of Grecian architecture. If a stranger should merely ride through these three streets, and make his exit without farther examination, he would suppose Genoa to be one of the most splendid places in the world. But the moment you depart either to the right or left of this broad and beautiful avenue, you are lost in an inextricable labyrinth of crooked, dark, dirty lanes, lined with gloomy buildings, four, five, or six stories high, often nearly meeting at top, utterly excluding the rays of the sun, and almost the light of day. A mere belt of the blue heavens is discernible from the depth of these fissures, in fair weather; but when the skies are overcast, the gloom is intolerable. The width of these streets, if such they may be called, does not generally exceed six or eight feet, a considerable part of which is occupied by incumbrances before the shops and boutiques. They are of course too narrow for carriages, if the steepness of the hills on which Genoa is built did not preclude such a mode of conveyance. At any rate, from one or the other of the two causes, there is scarcely a street in the city, with the exception of the three above named, through which a coach or cart can pass. The consequence is, that the labour generally performed by dumb beasts here devolves in a great measure upon human beings. Donkies are sometimes put in requisition; but in most cases, men and women themselves stoop to the burden, carrying enormous loads, and presenting the most abject and revolting pictures of servitude. one time you see gangs of galley-slaves, chained together, with their irons clanking upon the pavements, attended by drivers, and staggering under loads, which humane masters would not impose upon brutes: at
another time, two men, (often infirm, gray-headed, old men, their limbs trembling with age,) are seen bearing a sedan chair, in which is seated perhaps some fat, bloated nobleman, some lazy ecclesiastic, or wealthy dandy, who is afraid of soiling his pumps and silk stockings. I have seen, not without feelings of indignation and disgust, the King himself, a squab of a monarch, who battens upon anchovies and sugar-plums,* together with his royal spouse and court panders, borne about the streets of Genoa, in processions, by the degenerate, degraded descendants of Andrew Doria, and his high-spirited republiThe agricultural toils of our negroes at the South, however severe, are nothing in comparison with such servile offices. Add to these groups of slaves and regal pall-bearers, doomed to carry about inert masses of flesh and blood, the innumerable squads of royal guards, parading in all the public places; long processions of rosyfaced, greasy priests and monks," leading captive silly women," and eternally bawling the "ora pro nobis ;" troops of tattered, squalid beggars besetting the stranger at every turn-put all these items together, and you may form some idea of the streets of Genoa.
With the view of obtaining a more accurate knowledge of the outlines of the city, we made the entire circuit of the Harbour, which is one of the finest imaginable, except that its entrance is too much exposed to the south-westerly winds. It was embosomed naturally by ranges of the Apennines, sweeping round it, and terminating in two high capes, inclining towards each other, as they project into the Gulf. To these natural defences against the winds and waves, have been added gigantic works of art, worthy of the enterprising spirit, which characterised the Republic at the period of their construction. From the two bluffs forming the chops of the channel, immense moles composed of consolidated masses of rock, and impregnable to the sea which at times beats against them with violence, have been extended towards each other, so as to leave an entrance of moderate breadth, though still deemed too wide for the stormy character of this part of the Mediterranean.
Besides these colossal barriers, another rampart of solid masonry, thirty or forty feet in height, pierced at the bottom with numerous
A respectable citizen of Genoa informed us, that his Sardinian Majesty is so passionately fond of sweet-meats and sugar-candy, as to keep a boy behind him at the theatre, on purpose to supply him with confectionary during the play. In such cases the King, when he wants a plum, puts his hand behind his back, and the lad fills it with lozenges and kisses, without a word being spoken! I have no reason to doubt, that this anecdote is founded on fact.
large arches communicating with the town, and wide enough at the top for two or three persons to walk abreast, sweeps more than half way round the port. In winter it forms the principal promenade of the citizens, being guarded by walls on the summit, open to the sun, sheltered by the long ranges of buildings on one side, and bordered on the other by the shipping in the harbour. At the time of our visit, the vernal sun was by no means ungrateful in the fickle and rather inhospitable climate of Genoa, exposed as it is to bleak winds from the Alps and Apennines; and this walk, although it presented nothing rural save the nursling plants and flowers sunning themselves in the windows of the houses, was often selected for exercise, instead of the confined, gloomy alleys of the town. The thoroughfare at the base of the wall on the left, or the shifting panorama of the port on the right, always presented something new for observation. Midway stands a long range of buildings appropriated to what is called the Franc Port. They are all numbered, kept under lock and key, and rigidly guarded by public officers. By a singular regulation, females, ecclesiastics, and the military, are allowed in no case to enter, and all other persons are prohibited, except on special business. Here merchandise may be deposited for any length of time, and reshipped free of duty, the proprietor merely paying for the storage. Many of the warehouses are owned by foreigners, and others rented by the government. This establishment is said to have conduced greatly to the commercial prosperity of Genoa. In the same neighbourhood are the barracks, spacious enough to accommodate two thousand troops.
At the junction of this terrace with the ancient mole, we embarked in a boat, and completed the circuit of the harbour, gliding among the large quantities of shipping riding at anchor in the basin. several hundred vessels, great and small, not a single American deck was to be seen, and the boatman thought there was not then one in port, although our commerce with this place is at times considerable. In the general shock of the mercantile world, our trade with the Mediterranean seems to have decreased, and owing to this or other causes, the American Consul at Genoa, who by the bye is an Englishman, has recently failed in business. Most of the shipping in the harbour appeared to be coasters, though some fifty foreign vessels were lying at Quarantine, near the Light-house. There has been a sad decline in commercial prosperity since the proud days of the Republic.
One of the finest views of Genoa is obtained from the water, midway between the two moles, at the entrance of the port; and to this point the boatman was requested to conduct us, where our little bark