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stands a curious little antique fabric, which may be termed the nucleus of the church, possessing extraordinary sanctity, and explaining the reason why so noble an edifice has been erected for the accommodation of such a handful of inhabitants. This holy shrine is nothing less than the oratory of St. Francis, who was a native of the old town of Assisium, seated on the brow of the mountains, in full view of the church of our Lady. It is another casa santissima, scarcely inferior to that of Loretto in reputation. Its dimensions are perhaps fifteen feet by ten, ornamented with a profusion of tiny pinnacles, and filled with sacred relics. The walls of the interior are covered with votive tablets and the offerings of devotees. It has an altar before which a throng of ragged peasants were kneeling, while an image of the Saint himself held a lamp, to light though not to enlighten their devotions. There is a large convent adjoining the church; but the crack of the postillion's whip gave notice, that no time remained for visiting cloisters.
After crossing a ridge of hills, which projects like a promontory into the plain, we entered the vale of the Clitumnus, and soon arrived at the large old town of Foligno. Under its antique walls flows a copious stream, which is tributary to the Tiber, and the beautiful evirons are in direct contrast with the penury and filth of the decaying city. The principal street runs in nearly a direct line from gate to gate. It was absolutely thronged with beggars, who importunately beset us at every step. There was a very perceptible change in the character of the people the moment we entered the papal dominions, upon the shores of Thrasymenus, and the shades of degradation become deeper and deeper, in proportion as you penetrate the heart of the Roman State. The inhabitants of Tuscany, during the happy age of republican freedom, formed habits of activity and industry, traces of which are still found among the peasantry. They acquired an impulse, which notwithstanding all subsequent oppression, has not yet wholly ceased. But the subjects of his Holi ness have been slaves almost from time immemorial; and the effects are palpable at every step, as the traveller advances. Under a clime less temperate, and with a soil less spontaneously productive, the people would apparently all freeze and starve; unless indeed these very bounties of nature may have co-operated with the moral and religious
institutions of the country, in augmenting the wretchedness of the population.
We paused at Foligno only long enough to change horses, and were happy to leave at its gates the clamorous cries for charity, as well as to escape the stench of confined streets, to the breathing fragrance of the environs. The vale of the : Clitumnus is worthy of all the panegyrics, which have been lavished on its rural beauties by poets and tourists, from Virgil to Byron. Nature here wantons in luxuriance, while the indolence of the inhabitants has left her to fling over the landscape many of her wild and negligent graces. This district from the earliest times seems to have been appropriated in considerable part to grazing; and descendants of the snow-white victims, which once graced the triumphs and sacrifices of Rome, are still found straying in the rich pastures, beautifully enamelled with the species of red clover alluded to in a paragraph above. If the cattle, like the inhabitants themselves, have degenerated, some of them are still large and handsome, of a fine colour, with wide branching horns, frequently wreathed with garlands. Intermingled with the pastures, are rich fields of grain, vineyards, and plantations of fruit trees.
Half a mile from the post of Venne, (the first after passing Foligno,) we reached the banks of the Clitumnus, and immediately left our coaches, to linger by the classic stream as long as our stay would possibly permit. Next to the waters of the Sorgia at Vaucluse, these fountains are the most pellucid I have ever seen. They possess indeed almost the transparency of the atmosphere itself, and the eye can scarcely distinguish, where the two fluids come in contact. Every pebble and aquatic plant upon the bottom is as clearly seen through one medium as the other. In copiousness as well as in purity, the Clitumnus rivals if it does not surpass the Sorgia. It bursts forth all at once a river. Pliny and a party of his friends from Rome, (whose description we read upon the bank,) came up to the very source in a boat. The fountains, four or five in number, gush from beneath a ledge of rocks, at the base of the Apennines, and by the side of a terrace in the road. They are forced up with great violence, and uniting with many smaller ones in the vicinity, meander sweetly through a rich meadow covered with matted grass. As the quantity of water is equable, the channel is always filled to the brim, but never overflows. A serious innovation
has been made upon the natural beauty of the stream by diverting a part of it through a canal, to be used for mecha. nical purposes.
The little temple which is said to have been erected to Jupiter Clitumnus, and to have contained a statue of the god, stands by the side of the road, and close upon the brink of the stream, something more than half a mile from its highest source. Its construction is entirely unique, growing in part out of its position upon a steep declivity. The lower story, called the crypt, is subterranean on one side, and with a slight opening through the wall in front. Its ceiling forms the pavement of the upper story, and is composed of large flat stones, which were evidently taken from the ruins of other buildings, as they contain mutilated inscriptions on the under faces.
The principal floor of the temple is above the crypt. Its dimensions do not exceed eight feet by ten, open on one side, with a blind wall on the other. Four small Corinthian pillars, and two pilasters, ornament the front. These have all the appearance of being very ancient; and the most rational conjecture seems to be, that this fantastic little structure is a piece of patch-work, of comparatively modern origin, formed out of the wreck of the Roman temple, which according to Pliny and other authorities, stood by the fountains of the Clitumnus. It is certain that the religious character of the edifice has undergone a change; for it is now dedicated to the Virgin, whose altar and image give sanctity to the inmost shrine.
The next post brought us to Spoleto, a large town of great antiquity, situated on a gentle acclivity at the southern extremity of the vale of the Clitumnus, of which it commands an enchanting view. More than two thousand years ago, it was of sufficient strength to withstand a siege and repel the arms of Hannibal; and in the eternal succession of wars, by which Italy has been visited since that period, Spoleto has always been deemed an important post, as commanding a pass of the mountains leading to Rome. An immense Gothic fortress, erected by Theodoric, crowns an insulated hill, which overlooks the town, and forms a picturesque object at a distance. The ramparts and gates, are massive, resembling rather a garrison than a city. Like all the other towns on this route, the interior is dirty, gloomy, and mean, exhibiting an image of poverty and decay.
In making our exit under the lofty walls, we had a fine view of the environs, embracing one or two palaces and convents on the right, and a colossal structure on the left, crossing a deep ravine, and serving in the double capacity of a bridge and an aqueduct. On the east of this pass, dividing the town from the mountain, are hanging groves of ilex, sprinkled with numerous white hermitages, perched at apparently inaccessible heights upon the rocks, and half concealed by the foliage. They enjoy an undisturbed retirement, and are inhabited by a peculiar class of anchorites, who lead a secluded life from choice, without having ever bound themselves by the formality of a vow.
Our ascent for several miles up the acclivities of Monte Somma, dragged as usually by mixed teams of horses and oxen, (the latter having on this occasion the new appendage of a string of bells,) was extremely slow and toilsome. The top of this mountain, over which the road runs, is five thousand feet in height. It commands a most enchanting prospect backward into the vale of Clitumnus, over the antique towers of Spoleto, rising at the outlet of the pass. The last glimpse of scenery, which had been a constant source of pleasure during the day, was absolutely painful to the mind.
From the top of Monte Somma, we descended rapidly into a deep gorge, which opens on the southern side. The road follows the bed of a mountain torrent, savage, waste, and wild-a perfect contrast to the soft, flowery landscape, to which we had just bidden good night. For many miles these solitudes, formed by lofty ridges of the Apennines, rising like walls on either hand, and shutting out the light of the sun, are unbroken by a habitation of any kind, and affording no means of succour in case of accident. The scenery in itself, shaded with the gloom of twilight, is absolutely terrific ; and the feelings of the traveller are not the more pleasurable from a knowledge of the fact, that the fastnesses along the road have at times been the favourite haunts of banditti. However remote might be the danger of robberies, at present, the sound of the vesper bell at Terni, stealing up the ravine and breaking the dreariness of the waste, was by no means unwelcome to our ears. The town is effectually concealed from view by the woody environs spreading from the outlet of the pass to the very walls.
We arrived just before sunset, aud much to our regret, had not time to visit the falls of Velino, which are at the dis
tance of five miles, among the mountains, requiring several hours to make the excursion. The disappointment, however, was somewhat alleviated by the probability of returning by the same route to the north of Italy: and as our anxiety to reach Rome increased in proportion to our approach, it was cluded not to lose a day at present, for the sake of visiting the cascade. Terni possesses little interest of any kind, except as the birth-place of the historian Tacitus ; and even his memory is kept alive by no monumental records. There are few antiquities, and still fewer works of modern art to attract the attention of the traveller. We inquired in vain at the shops of booksellers, for the Annals and the History of their own immortal townsman, as well as for some of the other Latin Classics, wishing to find a higher source of amusement for the evening, than a decaying and poverty-stricken city can afford.
ROUTE TO ROME-VALE OF THE NAR-PASSAGE THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS-NARNI--OTRICOLI--CIVITA CASTELLANA-—MOUNT SORACTE--BACCANO--CAMPAGNA DI ROMA-- MILVIAN BRIDGE-PORTA DEL POPOLO-ARRIVAL AT ROME.
April, 1826.--At five o'clock on the morning of the 23d, we commenced our last day's journey towards Rome. In emerging from the narrow, dark, gloomy streets of Terni, into the beautiful plain, in the midst of which it is situated, the mind experiences no small degree of surprise, that such poverty and wretchedness can be surrounded with so many bounties of nature. The vale of the Nar maintains its ancient character for fertility, and the peasant apparently might mow his four crops of grass in the year, as he is said to have done in the age of Pliny. At any rate, one crop at this early season was in readiness for the scythe, and covered the banks of the little stream with all the luxuriance of vegetation.
Half a mile from the village of Narni, our carriages were left to climb a long hill, while we hastened to view the ruins of the bridge of Augustus, extending from one mountain to another across the Nar, where the river makes its exit from