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On the Sunday following Good Friday, we attended church at the Annunciation, where a regiment of Sardinian troops were paraded under arms along the aisles, and a band of martial music stationed near the High Altar. They actually went through the forms of public worship at the word of command from their officers, kneeling and rising in long lines with as much exactness as they would go through with the manual exercise. Peals of the trumpet gave notice of the elevation of the host, and of other stages in the holy rites. At the conclusion of the service, the band played some spirited marches, with which the priesthood seemed as highly pleased as the multitude.
At 11 o'clock the next day, the whole body of troops stationed at Genoa were paraded in the same church, to take the annual oath of allegiance to the King. They all knelt upon the pavement, and held up their right hands in concert, while the form was administered. On this occasion the Bishop made a long harangue, throwing himself into an oratorical attitude. At the close of his speech, the troops shouted "Viva il Re !"-Long live the King! As the cry was simultaneous, it was evidently preconcerted applause. Martial music from the same band as on the day previous, the notes of the bugle, reverberated from the lofty dome, and the pompous ceremonies of the church, gave a theatrical effect to the whole scene.
It would be impossible to describe in detail all the shows, chiefly of a religious character, which the streets of Genoa exhibited during the Holy Week. On one occasion we saw a crowd collected upon the steps of a church in the Strada Balbi, and, on stepping up, found a priest in the centre, blessing a tub of water, which he was dealing out to a ragged multitude, each bearing a pitcher, bottle, or jug, and pressing to receive a portion of the consecrated liquid. A benediction is pronounced upon every thing here: even I horses at certain seasons are led up and touched by holy hands. One day in passing through a public square, I observed an itinerant and street auctioneer, mounted upon a stool, with a basket before him, and encircled by a squalid group of purchasers. He was vending little prints of saints and martyrs, which were generally knocked off at about a sous a head. He kissed each picture as he drew it from the basket, and on holding it up for a bid, all the crowd took off their hats. But this habitual prevalence of religious feeling
does not seem to have much influence in the prevention of crimes. On the same day or the day after, in threading one of the narrow streets, we observed fresh blood upon the pavement, and on inquiry, a by-stander informed us, that a man had just stabbed another to the heart, who expired immediately.
There are few public amusements at Genoa. A minor theatre, and a temporary circus were open: but neither of them was worth attending. The foundations of a large Opera House have been laid, and a Russian Mountain is in progress. At this time the churches seem to be the most fashionable places of resort: though on one afternoon, we saw most of the nobility, taste, and beauty of the city upon the new Promenade, which has recently been opened near the ancient walls of the town. The Genoese horses and carriages are both handsome--much more so than the French. There were many of them upon the course, chasing one another round a circle perhaps half a mile in diameter, to show their equipages to the crowd. A lady of the first rank was pointed out to us, with a whiskered chasseur, six feet high, in a military coat, for her servente. It was ludicrous to see this grenadier obsequiously treading in the footsteps of a female, keeping a few feet behind her, stopping when she stopped, and crossing the streets when she crossed. To such service the bone and muscle of Italy are trained.
Of the manufactures of Genoa I have but a word to say. Like those of France, and unlike those of England, they are carried on in private establishments, upon a small scale. Immense quantities of coral are made into beads and other ornaments for exportation. We visited one of these manufactories, common all over town, and constituting perhaps the most prominent article of industry. Genoese jewelry is also splendid. All the shops are concentrated in one street, forming its only embellishments. We likewise examined several of the manufactories for damasks, silks, and other fine stuffs, which appeared in no respect inferior to those of Lyons. In one of the looms was a beautiful web for his Holiness the Pope; another for a Spanish nobleman; and a third for the Lima market. The Genoese are an ingenious people, and need only a free government to revive the spirit of industry and enterprise.
One morning was not unpleasantly employed, in a ramble
of along the wild and rocky banks of the Bisagno, and through the village of Albaro, standing upon its shore. Here Lord Byron resided for the last nine months, previous to his embarkation for Greece. An anecdote was told us respecting his departure, which perhaps is not new, as few incidents in his life have escaped the avidity of the public. On the night after sailing, the ship was overtaken by a tremendous storm in the Gulf, and the master was so frightened as to be incapable of performing his duty. Byron assumed the command, seized the helm, and guided her back into port. The furniture of the house in which he lived remains just as he left it, and is now in possession of his banker at Genoa. His mode of life was as eccentric here as in other places. With his countrymen he held no fellowship. He kept his horse, and used to ride to the city once a day to read the news. A gentleman informed us, that on receiving the intelligence that Lord Castlereagh had cut his throat, Byron remarked—“ it is the best thing he has ever done for his country!"
A full day was occupied in an excursion to Cocoletto, the reputed birth-place of Christopher Columbus. Although much obscurity still hangs over the cradle of this great man; yet the American traveller in particular will feel a satisfaction in visiting a spot, which tradition has associated with the Discoverer of the New World. I have neither time nor inclination at present to enter into a disquisition upon the contradictory authorities in relation to this subject, nor to balance the conflicting claims of rival places to the nativity of the adventurous navigator.
The village of Cocoletto is situated at the head of the Gulf, about fifteen miles from Genoa, on the road towards Savone. On arriving at the little hotel, enquiry was made for the house of Christopher Columbus, and some half a dozen villagers, who seemed to exult in the name, led the way to the antique and numble mansion. It stands upon the seashore, encircled by the Alps, and looking south upon a waste of waters. If the grandeur of natural scenery can inspire genius, and awaken young thought to noble pursuits, Cocoletto may hence an argument to strengthen her claim, and in this particular at least challenge competition. The low, arched ceilings, and decayed walls bear all the marks of great age; but one can hardly bring himself to the belief, that they have stood between three and four centuries. A small
chamber, perhaps ten feet square, is shown, in which it is pretended Columbus was born. Many fragments of the ceiling have been carried away as relics. The furniture of the room looks as if it might be coeval with the apartment. A little image of the Madonna, a cross, and a cup for the holy water, are suspended from the curtain at the head of the bed. The present tenant is a kind-hearted woman, who spread her frugal board and insisted on sharing its hospitality with the stranger from a distant land, which her illustrious predecessor had discovered. Her ideas of cosmography were not very precise, and like many other less pardonable Europeans, she seemed to consider all Americans, as the descendants of the Aborigines.
In front of the house is a small terrace, overhanging the shore; and when the Gulf is storiny and the waves run high, a shower of spray patters upon the roof. If this was really the birth-place of Columbus, it may almost be said, that he was cradled upon the sea: the first sounds he heard must have been its murmurs, and the first object of his vision, its blue expanse. As I stood leaning over the balustrade, watching the swells breaking at my feet, and the line of little boats moored along the beach, incredulity for a moment vanished, and imagination pictured the juvenile navigator, launching his adventurous bark, and sporting with that element, which was destined to conduct him to imperishable renown.
ROUTE FROM GENOA TO PISA-ITALIAN COACHES-CHIAVARI
-SESTRI-MOUNTAIN SCENERY--BORGHETTO-GULF OF
April, 1826.-On the 8th, a vetturino was engaged to take us from Genoa to Pisa, a distance of 'something more than 150 English miles, for sixty francs each, including dinner and lodgings during the journey. This is the ordinary mode of travelling in Italy. The vettura is a sort of public coach, with two, and sometimes three or four horses, generally owned by the driver, who performs the whole route with the same team, making long rests at the hotels, in the manner of
private carriages. Throngs of veturini are found in all the principal cities, who have a kind of exchange of their own, where they wage an active competition, besetting every person that passes with their importunities, and cries of their coaches for different places. They can hardly be said to have a home, leading a wandering life, and journeying on, like vessels employed in the carrying trade, clearing out for one port after another, and waiting for a new cargo. In point of honesty they may more properly be compared to pirates, having no fixed prices, and commonly demanding twice or thrice as much as they will ultimately consent to take. As much time and formality are required in striking a bargain with them, as in negotiating a national treaty. Duplicate bonds are regularly drawn, signed, sealed, and delivered; and the traveller often receives a Napoleon or two, as a farther pledge for the fidelity of the driver.
The road from Genoa to Pisa, like that between the former place and Nice, traverses the shore of the Mediterranean, crossing alternately lofty ridges and deep vales, springing from the western declivities of the Apennines, and forming one of the most romantic districts imaginable. All the combinations of natural scenery, which can arise from the grandest and most beautiful elements-from bright skies and still brighter waters from mountains now heaving their snowy tops to the clouds, and now sinking into woody slopes-from bold, picturesque promontories shooting into the sea-from deep, azure, and tranquil bays, setting up between the hills -from secluded, sunny glades, clothed in verdure, and even at this season teaming with fruits and flowers-from little white villages perched upon the crags, with perhaps its tiny port spreading beneath-in a word, from rocks, woods, and waves, wildness and cultivation, thrown together in the most romantic forms, are here successively presented to the eye.
Eustace, in his "Classical Tour," went from Leghorn to Genoa by water, partly, he said, because the road is uninteresting, and partly from a fear of banditti, by whom it is at times beset; and Madame Starke, though never wanting in a spirit of adventure herself, advises the traveller to take a felucca and navigate a waste of waters, to the loss of all this enchanting scenery. These hints and the accounts of other tourists led us to look upon the route with the same sort of dread, as was felt in our departure from Nice; but as we were travelling in Italy for information, we deemed it advisa