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straw hats. In the latter employment thousands are engaged. The peasant girls are celebrated for their personal accomplishments. Many of them have pretty faces, and a small fur hat, often poised on one side of the head, with red bodices tightly laced, gives them an air of nonchalance and archness. From costume as well as from a general resemblance of character, it has been inferred that they are of Grecian origin. It is certain that the Etrurians were a powerful and comparatively a civilized people, acquainted with letters and the arts, before the foundation of Rome; and many of the improvements of the latter were borrowed from the former.

In the vicinity of Florence, the Vale of the Arno becomes wide, and the river makes a bold sweep to the west, passing near the base of the hills on the left bank, and leaving a broad basin on the opposite side, rising by gentle slopes to the heights of the Apennines. The scenery is here in the highest degree rich and picturesque. Numerous white villages, and villas of the Florentine nobility, are seated upon the acclivities, swelling stage above stage, and beautifully shaded with foliage of a luxuriant growth and deep verdure. Italian scenery, like a splendid painting, seems to be made purposely for show; and to appear to advantage it must be seen under a favourable light, and at a proper distance. Its strong lights and shades often produce a fine coup d'œil, but its lines will not bear a close inspection. In running down one of these showy villas, and in attempting to seize the elements of the picture, I was often reminded of the rustic in chase of a rainbow. The bright illusion vanishes on a nearer approach, and the traveller is left to wonder, how coarse stucco walls, gardens and evergreens shorn into fantastic shapes, and weatherbeaten statues could by any possible combination thus allure and deceive his eye. If any of my readers have ever admired the splendour of dramatic scenes, and then gone behind the curtain among the rouged faces, tinsel dresses, and rude machinery, which produced the stage effect, they will be able to comprehend my meaning. Give England the skies of Italy, and the landscape of the former would transcend that of the latter; and take skies, woods, waters, and all, I have no hesitation in saying, that the valley of the Mohawk, the Connecticut, or the Merrimac surpasses the far-famed Vale of the Arno.

Passing the long Faubourg, which extends several miles on the road towards Pisa, we reached the gates of Florence at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The city stands so low, and the walls are so high, that the environs and a few of the more elevated towers only can be seen in approaching on this side. A stately and handsome arch forms an entrance through the massive ramparts, which are so thick and strong

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as to appear impregnable. The portals are guarded by a squad of soldiers, custom-house officers, and placemen of a subordinate rank, who gave us as much trouble as possible. After examining our passports, and inquiring if our trunks contained any contraband articles, one of them opened the coach door, and intimated in an under-tone, that by the payment of a liberal fee our luggage might be exempted from inspection. As we were in no particular haste, entertained no fears of an examination, and did not feel disposed to yield to extortion, such terms were promptly rejected. The officer was evidently irritated by the refusal, and determined to render the search as vexatious as he could. He made us leave the carriage, while he examined the boxes and packets. Our trunks were opened, and their contents underwent a minute inspection, some of them being strewed upon the ground. A friend at Marseilles had given me a paper or two of "Lorillard's particular," just enough to frighten away the moths of Italy. Upon this the officer pounced with avidity, snapped the resinous seal, tried to make out the black-letter label, and inspected the article with as much caution as he would so much fulminating powder.

Natives of the country appeared to fare no better than ourselves. During a delay of something more than half an hour, it was amusing to see others undergoing a search in the hands of these harpies. Among the rest an old market woman driving her donkey and small cart filled with vegetables, was brought to at the gate, and the contents of the vehicle emptied upon the pavement. In cases where the load cannot be taken out, the officers use an iron rod for probing the contents of easks and chests. I have frequently seen the panniers and wallets of the peasantry subjected to these odious restrictions. Perhaps, however, such extreme caution may be in some measure justifiable, particularly at this gate which leads to Leghorn, by the constant practice of smuggling. But the worst of it is, that the vexation generally falls upon those, who are least able to bear it, while such as possess a silver key enjoy a ready ingress or egress. Many of the higher classes procure from the government a permit to pass without delay or examination. This privilege is often abused, in some instances to an extent which compels the revenue officers to interfere, as was mentioned in my notice of Leghorn.

At about 4 o'clock we found ourselves in the centre of Florence, and comfortably settled for a week at the Locanda d'Inghilterra, where our New-York friends had taken lodgings the day previous, and invited us to join in the fellowship of the table. This hotel is one of the largest and most celebrated in Europe. It is kept by Schneider, a German emigrant, who has realized from its profits a princely fortune


His son has lately clandestinely married the daughter of the Governor of Leghorn, and mine host on the Arno, by way of showing that a runaway match would not dishonour a sprig of Italian nobility, gave a marriage portion of $200,000, together with a Florentine palace, a splendid carriage, and other outfits. In the mean time, the enterprising old German continues to levy his contributions upon the traveller, for which perhaps the latter receives an equivalent in neatness and comfort. The palace, (for so it may justly be styled,) is beautifully situated on the left bank of the Arno; in by far the finest part of the city. Spiral flights of marble steps, guarded by handsome copies of Egyptian and Roman antiques, lead to the chambers; and the terraces of the spacious court are crowded with statues,* intermingled with domestic plants. The accommodations are in all respects worthy of the exterior; and it is not surprising, that such a hotel is constantly full.

Our first glance at Florence was calculated to produce a deep and vivid impression. After winding through some of the more obscure streets, we emerged suddenly upon the banks of the Arno, lined on both sides by ranges of palaces, connected by four stately bridges, and exhibiting a partial view of the towers and domes on the opposite shore, as well as of the green swells of the Apennines beyond, gilded by the evening sun. In the river itself, I was prepared to be disappointed, after what had already been seen. It here preserves much the same character, as at Pisa and between the two cities, except in so far as it has been modified by art. It pursues a straight course, lengthwise through the city, dividing it into two nearly equal parts. The channel is here even wider, than it is sixty miles below, and the turbid water is scarcely of sufficient depth to cover the mud. At the lower extremity of the city, a dam has been thrown quite across, over which there is a fall of several feet, producing a faint murmur through the town, and a considerable bustle, when the river is high.

The embankments, like those at Pisa, are entirely artificial and constructed in the same manner, as also of the same material. If the Arno possessed any natural beauty, these quays, extending the whole length of the city, would destroy it; but fortunately there was nothing

* Happening to rise one morning at an early hour, to take a few turns upon the terrace before breakfast, I was not a little amused to see a scrub, busy in washing these statues, which had become somewhat tarnished during the winter. Apollo and the Muses seemed to turn up their noses at having a dish-clout flapped full in their faces. They however looked all the better for being subjected to a lustration. The graceful limbs of Venus were rendered as snowy and pure, as when she first rose from the foam of her native sea.

of this kind to be lost. As there is no navigation above the falls, the streets, called the Lung'Arno, are perfectly clean, and form the fashionable promenades. So variable is the current of this river, that although the banks are twelve or fifteen feet high, and notwithstanding the great breadth of the channel, the floods sometimes fill it to the brim and threaten to burst their barriers. From the lower bridge to the falls, and from the second bridge to the upper extremity of the town, the buildings extend to the very brink of the river, leaving no passage along the left bank, and only a part of the way on the right. Napoleon, while master of Tuscany, projected a splendid improvement, by continuing the Lung'Arno on both sides through the whole length of Florence, and thence to the Cascina, which is a sort of Champs Elysées, on the right bank of the river below. But the work will probably never be executed under the present prosing government. Some of the palaces between the two lower bridges present showy façades, and the view at this point has no ordinary share of magnificence. The streets in front of them, open on one side to the Arno, are spacious, and finely paved with large flags, similar to the side-walks in Broadway, fitted together in the most exact manner. Nearly all the pavements in the city are of the same description, and exceed in firmness, as well as in convenience and beauty, any I have elsewhere seen. They will endure for ages, and it is questionable, whether on the whole they will not be cheaper, than small stones which require to be taken up and re-adjusted every few years.

Although all the bridges are substantial structures, much cannot be said in favour of either their grandeur or beauty, with the exception of one, the Santa Trinita, which is of marble. Its arches are graceful, and its proportions elegant. It is probably one of the finest bridges in the world. Handsome statues guard its extremities. Fortunately this is the most exposed by its location, and shows to good advantage. The Ponte Vechio, or old bridge, is an oddity. It is wide, and the passage on both sides lined with shops of the ordinary size, which are all occupied by jewellers. A line of buildings suspended in air across the Arno has a grotesque, but by no means an agreeable appearance, as it prevents the eye from ranging up and down the river. Enough of silver, gold, and precious stones, wrought into ornaments of all kinds, is here deposited, to choke the current, should the bridge give way. But the Ponte Vechio is not the only curiosity of the kind in

* The Italians of both sexes and of all classes are extravagantly fond of jewelry; finger-rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants. Immense quantities of these articles are sold at Genoa, Leghorn, Florence, and the other great towns. Even

this quarter. A gallery also extends across the river, connecting two of the Ducal Palaces on the opposite shores. Like hundreds of other buildings at Florence, it was constructed during an age of jealousy between rulers and their subjects, to afford a secret and safe passage to those, who feared to encounter on the open bridges the effects of their own tyranny in the exasperated feelings of their enemies. Most of the old palaces are built for purposes of defence, looking more like castles or prisons, than like dwelling-houses. The lower windows are all grated with heavy bars of iron, and the doors are as massive, as the portals of a city.

On the Sunday after our arrival, we all went to the Cathedral, which stands on a public square of the same name, at some distance from the right bank of the Arno. It is a huge pile, striking the spectator with astonishment at its size, rather than with the grandeur or harmony of its proportions. Its form is that of a Roman cross, the head of which is octagonal, giving it an unique appearance. The front is unfinished, being rudely plastered; and the other sides are encased with black and white marble, like the Duomo at Genoa. Gothic pinnacles and statues crown the roof.

Over the point of intersection of the cross, rises a stupendous dome, which preserves the octagonal shape of the end of the church below. Its dimensions almost equal those of the dome of St. Peter's at Rome, being but fifteen feet less in breadth, and only thirteen less in height. It was designed by Brunellesco, a celebrated Florentine architect, in the 14th century, about a hundred years after the rest of the church was built, and anterior to that of St. Peter's. The former is indeed said to have suggested the first idea of the latter-a circumstance by no means improbable, as Michael Angelo used to say, that the work of Brunellesco could only be imitated, but not surpassed. This dome, which at present is said to be in danger of falling, is surmounted by a cross sixteen feet in height, and 320 feet from the ground. I have seen men at work on the very top, who were reduced almost to the size of sparrows. The piazza of the Cathedral has

a peasant girl sometimes has gold ornaments about her person to the value of $2000. They frequently descend from one generation to another, constituting the only dowry, and often the only property. I have seen females begging with knobs in their ears. Nothing is more common than to see a coachman or a servant, with two or three heavy gold rings upon his greasy fingers. The jewelry is of the most showy but rich kind; and the peasantry will consent to work hard and live poor for life, provided they can make a handsome display of their ornaments on festas.

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