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shores, has been as much elevated and choked by ruins, as the other parts of the city, and even more; for the armies of barbarous invaders were in the habit of wantonly throwing into the Tiber such spoils of the arts, as they were unable to bear away. For myself, I could not but fancy, that every rebound of the water from the bottom to the surface was sent up by same statue or fragment of a column--perhaps by the colossal head of a Hercules, or the torso of a Neptune. Should the course of the river ever be changed and its bed examined, a project by no means impracticable, treasures of inestimable value would no doubt be brought to light.
The shores of the Tiber have no quays. From the Ripetta, where there is a little port and a ferry, to the bridge of St. Angelo, the right bank called Tratevere, (corresponding with the Transtiberim of the Romans,) is woody, rural, and picturesque; but all the rest of the way, on both sides, with few exceptions, the houses rise out of the water, leaving no passage along the margin. This arrangement brings the rear of the buildings to the river, and as they are uniformly shattered, gloomy, and dirty, the borders appear bleak and ruinous. St. Angelo (the ancient Pons Elius) is the upper bridge within the walls of the city. It was originally built by the Emperor Adrian, and repaired by Pope Clement IX. who added the high balustrades and ranges of statues, which give it rather an imposing appearance. As it is the great thoroughfare to St. Peter's, and as perhaps one third of the population of the city is beyond the river, the passage is constantly crowded.
Close to the northern end of the bridge, and on the right bank of the Tiber, is the tomb of Adrian, or the castle of St. Angelo. It is an enormous round tower, seated upon an eminence, two stories high, and crowned with a bronze angel volant, which forms a conspicuous object at a distance. This aerial spirit is said to be intended for the archangel Michael, whom St. Gregory saw in a vision, and was admonished that a pestilence, then raging in the city, should be stayed. St. Angelo has from time immemorial been the Citadel of Rome, on the possession of which hung the fate of the city. It has been taken and retaken perhaps a thousand times, notwithstanding the flaming sword of its guardian. The interior contains nothing worth seeing, if the Pope had the courtesy to admit strangers. In the conversion
of a tomb into a castle, the dust of Adrian seems to have been entirely forgotten.
Just below St. Angelo, the Tiber strikes against the basin of Mount Janiculum, and thence makes a bold sweep to the left, passing under the Ponte Sisto, repaired by Pope Sixtus V. but remarkable neither for its beauty nor its associations. An extended terrace and the Farnese gardens, on the right bank, furnish a temporary relief to the eye. The Tiber is here divided into two nearly equal branches by the small island of Esculapius, connected with the shores by bridges, (the Pons Fabricius and the Pons Cestius,) and thickly covered with old buildings. The nucleus of this island is said to have been formed of sheaves of grain, which Tarquin the Proud had reaped on the Campus Martius, and which the Roman people threw into the river, contending that it was unlawful to eat bread that grew on a plain dedicated to the tutelary god of the city. On the lower extremity of the island stood the temple of Esculapius, now the church and convent of St. Bartholomew. The story of this temple is briefly as follows: during a pestilence at Rome, the Sibylline books enjoined the necessity of sending to Epidaurus to the god of medicine. The serpent, which under the name of Esculapius was brought home in the ship with the embassy, swam ashore to this spot where the shrine was erected. Traces of the vessel and of the emblematic serpent are still visible on the foundations of the edifice. But we derived more pleasure from the little orange grove planted round the cloisters of the Convent, than from the obscure fragments of the temple.
A little below the island of Esculapius are the ruins of the old Pons Palatinus, now very appropriately denominated the Ponte Rotto, or broken bridge. Half of it was swept away by the floods of the Tiber, in the 16th century, and the remaining part is yet standing, extending out from the foot of Mount Janiculum, and with its rotary fish-nets always in motion, forming a dreary but picturesque object. On the left bank, within a few rods of this bridge, a group of
* The modern Romans fish by water. Their scoop-nets are converted into the floats of a large wheel, resembling the arms of a wind-mill, which are kept in motion by the current of the Tiber, while the fishermen look on, or sleep in the sun. If a straggler happens to be caught in the toils, the wheel is thrown out of gear, and the net emptied of its contents. Fishing in this way seems to be the most indolent of all employments.
interesting remains attract the attention of the traveller. The first is the Cloaca Maxima, constructed in the time of the elder Tarquin. It is a stupendous arch, sixteen feet wide and thirty in height. At the time of our several visits, only about four or five feet of it were above the level of the water, where it disgorges its accumulated filth into the Tiber. Some fifty yards from its mouth, a section of it has been laid open, where its construction may be examined, though it is filled with mud as high as the turning of the arch. It is built of tremendous blocks of stone laid without cement. The masonry is coarse but substantial, like the character of the old Romans in the age, when its eternal foundations were planted. A stream sufficiently large to turn a paper-mill gurgles through the obstructed passage, and at this point is joined by the silver waters of the Argentaria, a copious fountain coming in from the direction of the Aventine, at which tradition says the steeds of Castor and Pollux once drank. The Emperor of Austria, in his late visit to Rome, also took a sip. Indeed the crystal stream, contrasted with the impurities in which it is soon lost, offers many temptations to the spectator.
In the vicinity of this opening in the Cloaca Maxima, are the remains of the four-fronted Arch of Janus, constructed of huge blocks of Greek marble, in rather a rude state, and supposed to have been a part of an Exchange, or Market, several of which were in this quarter, between the Forum and the Tiber. The small triumphal arch of Severus, at the distance of a few paces, resembles the one already described, erected in honour of the same Emperor. Returning to the bank of the river, the visitant finds, near the end of the Ponte Rotto, the ruins of the temple of Fortuna Virilis, consisting of several fluted Ionic pillers and a cornice, now woven into a little church. Here also is the house in which Pontius Pilate is said to have lived, before his departure for transalpine Gaul. But this must be a hoax, as the building is comparatively modern. The cicerone, however, reckons it as one of his strong points. Not far hence are likewise the fragments of the temple of Modesty, incorporated into a modern church, one of whose officers took us into the gallery, to see the capitals of ancient pillars. The shrine is as rich as ever, exhibiting its mosaic pavement, composed of porphyry and other costly materials. A colossal stone mask, four or five feet in diameter, and supposed to have belonged to a fountain,
is deposited in the vestibule. Tradition says that its marble lips once uttered oracles, and it is hence denominated the Mouth of Truth, (Bocca della Verita.)
Pursuing our course down the Tiber, twenty rods below the Cloaca Maxima, we found the temple of Vesta, a beautiful edifice nearly entire. It is a small Rotunda, one story high, with a dome like the Pantheon, (though not open at top,) and surrounded with a colonnade consisting of nineteen Corinthian Pillars of Parian marble, exquisitely finished. The number of columns was originally twenty; but some barbarian has cut away one of them, which was probably tumbled into the river. This temple, like all its fellows, has been converted into a chapel, and the undying taper at the altar is now substituted in place of the eternal fire of the Vestals, the custom of keeping alive the holy flame probably having a common origin. The position of the edifice corresponds exactly with the temple of Vesta, described in the graphic lines of Horace ;* and the poet and his subject in this instance furnish a mutual commentary on each other.
A short distance below was the Pons Sublicius, the first bridge ever thrown across the Tiber. It was built of wood by Ancus Martius, to connect Mount Janiculum with the city, and was soon immortalized by the well known feats of Horatius Cocles, in resisting the passage of Porsenna. The ruins are still seen, rising in dark masses just above the level of the water. It should have been mentioned, that the Pons Triumphalis, a little below St. Angelo is in the same ruinous condition so that only three out of the six bridges, which at different times have connected the two sections of the city are now standing, and to none of them is Rome much indebted-for her grandeur. Although the Tiber is infinitely superior to the Arno, its borders within the walls are mean in com
* "Vidimus flavum Tiberim, retortis
Littore Etrusco violenter undis,
A commentator on Horace, now before me, in expounding the words marked in Italics, learnedly remarks-" Undis repulsis a littore Etrusco, vel a Tyrrheno mari, in quod Tiberis influit"-thus bringing the tides of the Mediterranean for the first time up to Rome, against the headlong and impetuous current of the Tiber: whereas the phrase expresses the rebound of the river from the foot of Mount Janiculum, on the Etrurian shore, to the temple of Vesta on the left bank-exactly true in point of fact.
parison with the magnificent quays and ranges of palaces at Pisa and Florence. The navigation of the river is next to nothing; and though the form of a custom-house is kept up, and the papal flag is seen flying upon the masts of the small craft lying in the ancient harbour, the importations seem to be confined to a few heavy articles, such as marbles and statues from Carrara, which cannot conveniently be transported by land from Civita Vecchia, the nearest seaport.
CAPITOLINE HILL-TARPEIAN ROCK-MA
MERTINE PRISON--TEMPLE OF JUPITER FERETRIUS--CHURCH OF ARACOLI-STATUE OF AURELIUS-SENATOR'S HOUSEMUSEUM.
April, 1826.--In the foregoing letters, I have attempted, in as concise and intelligible a manner as possible, to sketch the outlines of the view presented from the Tower on the Capitoline Hill, together with some of the groups of objects which fell in our way, endeavouring at the same time as far as was practicable, to dwell on the iniquities of Rome. The other relics of the ancient city are scarcely susceptible of generalization, or reducible to any principle of association either of time or place. They are scattered over a wide space, and require separate excursions of several miles.
Few, very few traces of that once proud and glorious eminence, the Capitoline Hill, crowned with the citadel of Rome and with the temples of the gods, are now to be found. The researches of antiquaries have been unable to settle even the site of an edifice which once covered four acres of ground; was adorned in front with triple, and on the other sides with double ranges of columns, displaying to the dazzled eye its brazen portals and its roof of gold. It is said to have stood upon the Tarpeian Rock,* approached by a hundred steps. But even the rock itself, the immovable rock
"Hinc ad Tarpeiam sedem et Capitolia ducit, Nunc aurea, olim silvestribus horrida dumis."
The contrast expressed in the last line has been reversed; and what was once "golden" has again become horrible, if not with brambles, with something infinitely worse.