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GENOA CONTINUED-UNIVERSITY--HOSPITALS--CHURCHES--CATHEDRAL-ST. MATHEW'S-ST. STEPHEN'S-ST. MARIA-ANNUNZIATA—— CEREMONIES OF HOLY WEEK--KING'S BIRTH-DAY-PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS--MANUFACTURES--ALBARO-BIRTH-PLACE OF COLUMBUS.
THE University at Genoa occupies one of the most splendid palaces in the Strada Balbi, presenting a noble front to the street. It is three stories high, enriched with a suitable proportion of marble pillars. The portals are of the Tuscan order, guarded by two lions. A terrace on one side of the court, crowned with plants and flowers, gives the entrance a cheerful appearance. The apartments, though sufficiently spacious, by no means correspond with the exterior in grandeur. Their walls are hung with pictures all of a religious cast, and not very celebrated as specimens of the arts. A large library, rich in the various departments of learning, and a botanical garden, are among the appurtenances of the institution. The Janitor conducted us through the room appropriated to Natural Philosophy, and showed us the apparatus, tolerably complete; as also through the Museum of Natural History, which is small and unimportant compared with those of France. In short, the interior of the University contains few objects worthy of notice. The number of Professors is twenty-four-in the faculties of law and theology, four each; in the medical department, seven; and in the sciences and belles-letters, nine. Ample provision appears to be made at Genoa for public instruction. Besides the University, there is a Royal College; an Academy for architecture, painting and sculpture; a school for the deaf and dumb; and three public libraries. A gentleman to whom we took letters of introduction, and from whom we received every attention which hospitality could require, introduced us to a large Reading Room, containing the English and French papers, together with the periodicals and new publications, among which several from our own country were observed.
The charitable institutions of Genoa reflect the highest credit upon the humanity and munificence of its citizens. We visited the two principal Hospitals, the Albergo de' Poveri and the Albergo Grande, which in extent and arrangement call forth the unqualified admiration of the traveller. The former is situated without the old walls, in a sunny vale opening from the Apennines, and approached by a broad avenue, bordered with groves of ilex. It is a grand, but somewh
irregular pile of buildings, sufficiently spacious to accommodate 2200 persons. The vestibule is decorated with marble columns, and filled with the statues of some of the principal benefactors to the institution In ascending the noble flight of steps, one would suppose he was entering the palace of a king, instead of a poor-house. Over the entrance are inscribed the words of Solomon, which were never quoted with more propriety--" Nor say there is no Providence." In the interior there is a pretty chapel, containing among other embellishments, the celebrated bas-relief in white marble of the Virgin supporting on her bosom the dead Saviour, by Michael Angelo, and reckoned among his finest productions. Nothing can exceed the af fecting simplicity of the design, or the beauty of the execution. The present number of inmates in this Hospital, or rather Work-House, is 1700, of whom 500 are males and 1200 females, chiefly young persons, who are here clothed, fed, and educated. They are employed in manufactures and the mechanic arts of various kinds. The superintendent conducted us through the long ranges of workshops, presenting a pretty scene of cheerful industry.
The Grand Hospital is upon a still more extended scale. Its dimensions are something like 400 feet square, being the largest building in the city. Its architecture is of the Doric order, simple, grand, and beautiful. These edifices are all the works of the Republic. Seventy-five full length statues of its benefactors, and numerous busts are among its decorations. It is appropriated entirely to the sick of both sexes. Large as the establishment is, the wards were all filled, and exhibited an air of neatness and comfort. Iron bedsteads contribute greatly to its cleanliness. Its extensive pharmacy is open to the city, and the profits arising from the sale of medicine are appropriated towards defraying the expenses of the institution. Besides these two immense establishments, Genoa contains a hospital for ineurables, and two houses of refuge for females, where they are trained to habits of industry, and employed chiefly in the manufacture of artificial flowers. In short, I have seen few cities where more ample provision has been made for the poor, and it may be added, few cities stand more in need of such charities.
The churches of Genoa are not less numerous and splendid than the palaces. Religious enthusiasm and a faith beyond all others fond of outward pomp have consecrated to holy purposes the trophies of war, and much of the wealth accumulated by a lucrative trade. At the time most of these edifices were erected, the Genoese had acquired the ascendency in the Mediterranean, and pushed their commerce to every part of its shores. Their ships returned laden with the spoils
of the east-with the marbles and precious stones of Greece, Egypt, and Africa, together with a taste for oriental splendour. Public munificence vied with private zeal in raising temples, shrines and altars, better suited to the oracles of the Delphic god, or the divinity at Ephesus, than to the meek and lowly religion of the Redeemer. The same spirit still exists, without the same wealth to support it, and the consequence is, that the slender resources of the community are exhausted in the maintenance of a showy faith. A poor woman who begs a sous at the door of the sanctuary, instead of appropriating it to feed her starving children, will perhaps cast it at the feet of the first image to which she kneels, as a contribution towards buying a new tiara, or a new set of ribbons for the Madonna, who it must always be remembered is the great object of worship, not to say of idolatry, in Italy.
We visited perhaps a majority of the forty churches at Genoa, of which a few only will be selected for notice. The first in point of ecclesiastical importance is the Cathedral, called by way of distinction Il Duomo. It is a Gothic structure covered on the outside with black and white marble, in wide alternate stripes, giving it a fantastic appearance, and to my taste destroying all the grandeur which its colossal proportions would otherwise produce. Misshapen, spiral columns, add to the deformity of the exterior. The inside exhibits a compound of meanness and splendour. Superb pillars of Parian marble rise along the nave, and chapels and altars glittering with gold and with gems, extend on all sides round the walls. Most of the ornaments are tawdry, and some of them ludicrous. Near the entrance, a statue of a saint stared us in the face, wearing a cardinal's hat made of wood! The ordinary crowns for the images of the Virgin and her Bambino, (for both are uniformly invested with badges of royalty,) are of tin, sometimes washed with silver. Their waxen or wooden faces are generally daubed with rouge, and their persons bedizzened with all the finery imaginable-embroidered petticoats, silks, laces, furbelows, rings, beads, and trinkets of every description. Such trumpery is often mingled with the pictures and statues by the first Italian
In the Cathedral we found little to admire, though much to dazzle. It was brilliantly lighted up at noon day, and crowds were kneeling on the Mosaic pavement, before the altars while the priesthood, clad in gorgeous robes, were busy in burning incense and muttering their prayers. We observed a group of people collected round a little crucifix, which was stretched upon the floor, and to which they in turn knelt, kissing the forehead, hands, and feet, as well as the wounds of this
rude image of the bleeding Saviour. The picture was affecting, and of too serious a character to excite any other feelings than compassion for such mistaken notions of piety.
This church lays peculiar claims to veneration, as well from its great antiquity, as from other circumstances still more imposing. It is said to occupy the site of an ancient hospice, in which St. Lawrence lodged on his way from Spain to Rome. After the martyrdom of that Saint, about the middle of the third century, the building which had been sanctified by his pilgrim feet, was converted into a church, and assumed the name of the martyr. He and Saint John the Baptist are joint patrons of the city. The ashes of the latter are said to rest in an urn of iron, beneath one of the altars in this church, having been brought hither from a town in Lysia, where he died. Among the relics of the Cathedral is the celebrated Catino, or emerald dish out of which tradition says that the Saviour ate the pascal lamb with his Disciples. It was brought from the Holy Land by Guillaume Embriaco, as one of the spoils of the first Crusade. When the French took possession of Genoa, Napoleon sent it to Paris, to undergo an analysis by the Institute. Lady Morgan states, that it was found to be composed of glass. Since the restoration of the Bourbons, this sacred relic has been returned to the church, but like the dust of St. John, it is now kept out of sight.
The Cathedral bears several curious inscriptions, one of which ascribes the foundation of Genoa, the capital of ancient Liguria, to Janus, the double-faced god recognized among the divinities of Rome. In the thirteenth century, a Genoese archbishop wrote a formal treatise, still extant, to prove that the city was built 700 years anterior to Rome; rebuilt at the time of Abraham; and after another destruction, restored for the third time, 1246 years before the Christian era! This is laying claim to a tolerably high origin; yet it does not appear from authentic history, that Genoa was a town of much importance in the time of the Romans. The Ligurians were a fierce, warlike, and comparatively uncivilized nation, retreating to the fastnesses of their mountains when invaded, and struggling for liberty against the dominion of their conquerors.
We went to the church of St. Mathew, to see the tomb of Andrew Doria. A young priest lighted a flambeau, and conducted us down a flight of steps into the vault, which consists of a noble arch of white marble, adorned with bas-relief and embossed with gold. It is a splendid sepulchre, rather imperial than republican in its character, and destitute of that simplicity, which one would wish to find in every thing connected with such a man. He shares a common tomb with
the rest of his family. The solitude and silence of the crypt, hallowed by the dust of the hero; the glare of the taper upon the fretted roof and antique sculpture, imparted a deep solemnity to this mansion of the dead. On our return to the cheerful light of day, half an hour was spent in examining the church of St. Mathew, the interior of which is among the richest at Genoa, being filled with presents from the Doria family. The Gothic front is inscribed with the deeds of the chief, who reposes below. We were shocked, while sauntering about the aisles, to come suddenly upon a rude image of the Saviour, large as life, gashed with wounds, and besmeared with blood, stretched out like a corpse in one of the recesses, where it had been stowed away as a part of the lumber of the church, to be borne through the streets on the next religious festival.
On taking leave of the young priest who conducted us to the vault, and presenting to him the ordinary pittance for his trouble, he seized our hands and pressed them to his lips. A salutation of this kind was so sudden and unexpected, that there was no time for resistance: otherwise a descendant of Andrew Doria and Christopher Columbus should never with us have debased himself by such an act of servility. I suppose however the hand of a republican is at least as good as the toe of a Pope; and the stripling therefore did not stoop to any extraordinary degree of humility. In Italy, every thing is done by kissing. Full grown, bearded men kiss each other on both cheeks, at meeting and parting, as a common salutation—an unmanly custom, displeasing to the eye of a stranger. Devotees kiss not only crosses and crucifixes, the faces and feet of statues, but the very doors and steps of the churches. A practice so universally prevalent is strongly characteristic of the effeminacy of Italian manners.
The antique gothic church of St. Stephen was visited almost solely for the purpose of examining a celebrated painting over the High Altar, partly by Raphael and partly by his pupil Julio Romano. The subject is the stoning of St. Stephen, and the picture has been much admired by connoisseurs, as well as by some who are not connoisseurs. Even to our unskilful eyes, the composition, expression, and colouring, all appeared striking. The history of the picture is at least amusing. It was presented to the church by Pope Leo X. On the conquest of Genoa by the French, it emigrated beyond the Alps, and figured for some years in the Louvre, whence it was restored, at the solicitation of David the painter, by order of the Holy Alliance.
The church of St. Maria de Carignan, founded by the Saoli family, in 1552, is decidedly the most showy edifice of the kind in the city, lifting its lofty front and triple towers above all other objects in the vicinity. It