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Crossing an alluvial plain bordering upon the sea, and several miles in breadth, we reached Cestri just before dark, and took lodgings at the London Hotel-a high sounding name for the depth of the Apennines! The house has once been a palace, with all its showy appurtenances of chapels, galleries and gardens. In its gates and turrets, it still exhibits some wrecks of its former splendour. An old fortress crowns an eminence in the rear, and a pretty brook babbles by in front. I could gather nothing of its history from the jargon of its present tenants, who have converted one end of the stately edifice into a stable, and the other into lodging rooms, claiming but a slight superiority in point of neatness.

The next morning we resumed our journey at 4 o'clock, and saw the day dawn and the sun rise upon the mountains and waters about us. In climbing long ridges of the Apennines from this point, our progress was slow and toilsome. At every step the scenery assumed

a sterner, wilder, and more savage aspect, till on all sides we were surrounded by unbroken solitudes. For many miles there is not a house, nor a vestige of cultivation to be seen. The rocks here become granitic, and show themselves in enormous crags along the road. In many respects the hills bear a striking resemblance to the Highlands of Scotland. The formation is the same, and a scanty covering of heath and prickly gorse adds to the similarity. There is a sort of loneliness about these wastes, which at times becomes almost terrific, and the traveller is not sorry, when he finds himself rapidly descending again into deep and sunny vales, enlivened by bounding brooks, shaded by groves of chestnut or olives, and rendered cheerful by human habitations however humble.

We reached the little village of Borghetto at 10 o'clock, and passed an hour not unpleasantly in rambling upon the banks of the crystal stream which hurries down from the mountains, and in admiring the rural quiet of this retired vale. Spring breathed around us in all its freshness and beauty. The villagers seemed to be enjoying their narrow resources, happy in their solitudes. Their toils were suspended ; for it was a festa, and groups of the peasantry, arrayed in their best attire, exhibited an air of rustic contentment. A singular costume was here for the first time observed. The females wear on the head a white napkin, folded square, and projecting in front, to shade the face. Here also the ancient mode of wrapping children in swaddling clothes arrested our attention. It gives them the appearance of mummies, and must be extremely injurious to health, producing a stagnation of blood, and preventing a natural developement of their limbs.

The practice prevails among all the lower classes in this part of Italy, and may be one cause of a dwarfish population.

These warm and rich valleys, extending far into the bosom of the Apennines, are chiefly appropriated to the culture of corn, the olive, and vine. The mode of cultivating the latter is peculiar, forming a striking feature in the landscape. It is trained upon a tree, (the elm or mulberry,) the top of which is shorn into the form of an inverted hollow cone, four or five feet in diameter, and ten or fifteen from the ground. The wine is far inferior to that of France, and the French mode of cultivating the grape is preferable to all others, by exposing it fully to the sun, and giving it a chance to ripen.

In descending into Spezia, the road passes through extensive plantations of olives, the largest and finest I have ever seen, being of the size of full grown apple trees. This plant is supposed to be a native of Palestine, and its abundance on the whole coast of the Mediterranean, from Gibraltar to Naples, forming a beautiful border of verdure, has led to a belief that the first colonists of these shores were from Judea. But such a conjecture carries us back to as high an antiquity, as the Genoese Bishop claims for his countrymen. The olive was as prominent a product of Italy, at the period when Virgil wrote his Georgics, as it is at present.

The town of Spezia is delightfully situated on the Gulf of the same name, spreading southward to the mouth of the Arno, and bounded on the northwest by a lofty promontory, or more properly one range of the Apennines, extending for many miles along an uninhabited coast. At the extremity of this mountain, the brow of which is crowned with a strong fortress, erected by the British in 1814, is Porto Venere, a spacious haven sheltered from the winds by the surrounding hills and celebrated for its security even in the time of the Romans. Farther to the east is the harbour of Spezia, in the ancient bay of Luna. Moles and other improvements were projected by Napoleon, who intended to make of it another Toulon. The town is large and populous. Its streets are finely paved, and were thronged with genteel people, walking on a bright afternoon in their holyday attire. Here another new costume was observed. The women wear crimson headdresses, ornamented with a profusion of ribbons of the same colour, the reflection of which deepens the roseate hues of their cheeks. An extensive promenade, embellished with trees, and commanding a charming view of the shores of the Mediterranean for the distance of fifty or sixty miles towards Leghorn, has been opened between the gates of the town and the margin of the bay.

Nothing can exceed the deliciousness of the climate-the serenity



and softness of the skies, the brightness of the waters, and the picturesque beauty of the hills, in all this elysian region. At every step our senses were regaled with the charms of the landscape, and the breathing odours of spring. In leaving Spezia and riding along the margin of the bay, a scene disclosed itself to the east, which baffles description, and was absolutely enchanting. The conical tops of the Apennines, covered with snow, and gilded with the setting sun, shot up into the blue firmament above a cloud, which draped the central portions. It seemed almost like a studied spectacle in the great theatre of Nature, designed purposely for the admiration of mortals, with the elements for its scenery. The vapour curled for some minutes in white, fantastic wreaths round the peaks, leaving at times only specks of the glaciers visible, till at length the whole cloud rose gradually and concealed the mountains.

At evening we reached the Magra, a broad torrent sweeping down furiously from the Apennines over a bed formed of the ruins of the hills. It was the boundary between ancient Etruria and Liguria, the latter extending from this stream to the Var in the vicinity of Nice, mentioned in a former letter. Its channel is so wide, its shores so flat, and its current at certain seasons so impetuous, that no attempts to bridge it have hitherto been made. After traversing its right bank for some miles, we reached the point where it is forded. A group of guides were collected upon the strand, ready to conduct us across. Stripping off their shoes, stockings, and pantaloons, they plunged in, one to each horse, pursuing a zig-zag course to keep upon the shoals. Another carriage led the way, and ours followed. The water was up to the horses' sides, and so rapid as sensibly to bear the coach down stream. In the obscurity of twilight, in a desolate region, and under the protection of guides wholly unknown to us, the adventure was not without some slight apprehension, although it might be without danger. In high floods, the torrent is crossed lower down in a ferryboat.

On arriving at Sarzana, situated a few miles below, on the opposite shore, it was found that our fellow travellers in fording the Magra were two gentlemen from New-York, whom chance threw into company with us, in the bed of a mountain torrent. As they were pursuing the same route as ourselves, with much the same objects in view, more agreeable associations and stronger ties than those growing out of a romantic incident, afterwards brought us frequently in contact, much to our instruction and social enjoyment, and it is hoped not without mutual gratification.

I seize this opportunity to say, that the depth of erudition and

strength of memory, which one of these gentlemen manifested, struck me with perfect astonishment. Vanity had led me to fancy myself decently acquainted with the Latin and Greek classics; but the learning of my friend made me ashamed of my limited attainments. If a bill or a stream, a plant or ruin, chanced to suggest an idea in a Roman historian, orator, or poet, he could not only give me chapter and verse, but repeat the passage in the language of the author. In the course of our rambles, whole pages of Livy, Cæsar, Tacitus, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, and the rest, were poured forth without effort, as if nothing were necessary but to hoist the floodgates of memory. I do not recollect an individual within the sphere of my observation or reading, except perhaps Charles James Fox, who could quote so much of Homer; yet this gentleman has all his life been engaged in a laborious profession, requiring no farther knowledge of the dead languages, than would enable him to cite Grotius, Bacon, and the Pandects. If Eustace had met with such a companion in his "Classical Tour," he might not have subjected himself to the imputation of borrowing quotations from the books of others.

At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 10th, we left Sarzana. Of this town little was seen, except the comforts of a decent hotel, and it is believed there is little to be seen, although it claims a high antiquity. It was badly lighted by a few dim lamps at the time of our entrance, and not lighted at all at the hour of our departure. In every point of view, it is an unimportant place, and the Genoese never made a worse bargain, than when they took it in exchange for Leghorn, excepting always the commutation of a Republic for a Monarchy. Sarzana is the south-eastern extremity of the dominions of the King of Sardinia, unless his territory like his title extends to Jerusalem.

In our ride this morning, we passed the ruins of the ancient Luni. The country bordering both sides of the road here resembles continuous gardens, exuberant in fertility and in the highest state of improvement. Fields of wheat were observed already in the ear, and the flax was in full blossom. From these facts some idea may be formed of the mildness of the climate and the forwardness of the season. In the same parallel of latitude in our country, the latter of the above mentioned products is not sown so early as the 10th of April, and should it peep from the ground for many days after, it would be nipped by frosts.

At 8 o'clock we reached Massa, and persuaded the coachman to pause half an hour at the gate, to give us an opportunity of looking at the town. It is beautifully situated at the foot of the Apennines, which rise in green swells above it, and is girt on all sides with flow

ery fields. An arched gateway leads into a spacious public square, on one side of which the Ducal Palace, a colossal fabric, presents its weather-beaten and decaying front. Our attention during a short stay was chiefly occupied with the marble shops, where ornaments of all kinds are manufactured in great quantities. Two or three of these establishments were visited and the proprietors showed us whatever was to be seen. The marble is of a beautiful quality, as many of our own luxurious countrymen are aware. Carrara, where inexhaustible quarries of it are found, wrought, and thence exported to all parts of the world, is situated among the mountains, five miles from Massa. It was our wish to visit this great manufactory; but the vetturino could not be driven from his route, as the digression was not in the bond. Here are forged many of the gods and goddesses, heroes and poets, who are rough hewn from the mountains, and subsequently put on board of transports for Rome, or Florence, to be retouched and sold by the first artists. It is believed, that many of them are made to order by apprentices, and shipped for other countries, without ever having navigated the waters of the Arno or Tiber. But so that the world admires, where is the difference?-Carrara is the school for all young artists, and for all the drudges of the profession.

At the old town of Pietra Santa, situate on a low, marshy plain, some eight or ten miles farther on, we were compelled to stop two hours or more, while our fellow-citizens and fellow-travellers whipped by alla posta, at the rate of at least ten knots. A tolerable breakfast was obtained at a hotel, which Madam Starke has proscribed, under the double charge of bad air and bad water, two items never forgotten in her book, and in which she is perhaps the greatest connoisseur living. There is not a stream, fountain, spring, or well in Italy, from the sacred brook of Egeria, down to the humble cistern, which she has not tasted and put to the test, minutely recording her experience for the benefit of mankind. It is but an act of justice, however, to remark, that her book contains what its titlepage imports-" Information to Travellers"-a recommendation to which some others have a less undoubted claim.

During our tedious pause at Pietra Santa, we strolled through the silent streets of the town, and examined two or three of the churches, which smell of the neighbouring shop at Carrara, but perhaps deserve credit on the score of patriotism, for displaying a profusion of those ornaments, which the district so abundantly supplies. They are extremely rich in marbles of a beautiful quality. Even the organ in one of them is supported by four magnificent columns, cut from solid blocks, and the pillars of the nave are equally massive and splendid. The

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