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the great festivals almost insufferable. Select passages from the scriptures, in the Hebraic character, cover the walls. The Grand Duke and Dutchess of Tuscany not long since paid the Synagogue a visit, and the congregation in return presented the latter with a gorgeous dress, sparkling with the gems of the East. Several natives of Jerusalem, Judea, the shores of Africa, and the isles of the sea, are here gathered together, and find a quiet asylum.
Our visit to the Protestant burying-ground was to me extremely interesting, fond as I am of brooding over cemeteries and reading epitaphs. In certain moods of the mind, it is more agreeable to linger round the mansions of the dead, than to frequent the habitations of the living. This grave-yard, according to my taste, is worth a hundred of the Campo Santo at Pisa. In the latter, the hand of art alone is visible; in the former, nature and art are charmingly blended. The enclosure is small, situated in the suburbs of the town, where the sacred repose of the tomb is undisturbed by the din and levity of the streets. A neat iron railing, supported by stone pillars, encircles the area, fringed on all sides by rows of cypress, and the whole beautifully shaded by weeping willows, which hang their long rich tresses over the white marble monuments. There is almost thought-certainly sentiment in this tree, the very image of which is melancholy and sepulchral above all others. The sod is perfectly green and enamelled with flowers, among which the wild poppy is conspicuous, rearing its crimson petals above the rank grass, and by a sort of heedless gaiety striking the mind by contrast; as the most cheerful music sometimes only serves to sadden the feelings.
The monuments taken collectively, are the handsomest and in the best taste I have ever seen. They are of fine statuary marble, uniformly chaste in design, and executed with all the exactness of the Italian chisel. Their dates reach as far back as the year 1746, when the cemetery was commenced by Mr. Bateman, an Englishman, who munificently gave a sufficient sum to purchase the ground, and defray the expenses of the enclosure. Among the most beautiful monuments, is one to the memory of captain Gamble, of the United States Navy, who died at Pisa in 1818. It is of the purest Carrara marble, and consists of a square pedestal surrounded with four eagles, above which rises a fluted column, surmounted by an urn and girt with a cincture of stars. Those in memory of captain M'Knight, of the United States Marines; Miss Bowdoin, and Mr. Reed, of Boston; Mr. Seton, and Mr. Pollok, of New-York; Mr. Hawley, of Connecticut ; Mr. De Bull, of Baltimore; and two Midshipmen in the United States Navy, are all beautiful. The tombs of the English, Irish and Scotch
are extremely numerous; but none of them are very remarkable or interesting to a stranger, except that of Dr. Smollett, the immortal historian, novelist and poet. His monument is a plain pyramid, rising on a square pedestal, inscribed merely with the date of his death at Leghorn, his age, and his country. He could scarcely have selected a more rural and quiet spot for his grave, even upon the banks of his native Leven, whose praises he has so sweetly sung.
Some of our friends in France were so kind as to give us several letters to Leghorn; but our stay was so short, and our anxiety to reach the South of Italy before the beginning of summer was so great, that none of them were delivered. We had not even time in this short visit, to pay our respects to the veteran American Consul, the correspondent and friend of Mr. Jefferson, who has been here many years, and if reports be true, has amassed a handsome fortune. After dining comfortably at the Royal Oak, we returned to Pisa on the same evening, highly gratified with the incidents and pleasures of the excursion.
VALE OF THE ARNO-ARRIVAL AT FLORENCE-SKETCH OF THE CITYEXTERNAL APPEARANCE-BRIDGES-CATHEDRAL-BAPTISTRY-CAMPANILE.
AT Pisa a coach was chartered to take us to Florence, with the express condition of furnishing a relay of horses midway, to relieve us from the necessity of resting two or three hours at some unimportant village or dirty hotel; and early on the morning of the 14th instant, we set out for the capital of Tuscany, under the auspices of a bright and charming day. The distance is about fifty English miles, in an eastern direction, and the journey was accomplished in nine hours, giving us ample time to examine the little which is to be seen between the two places. An excellent road, sometimes hilly, but always smooth, pursues the left bank of the Arno the whole way, often on the very margin, and seldom out of sight of the river. A classic stream of so much celebrity was a welcome companion, and its banks were surveyed with an attention proportioned to their fame.
The outlines of the Vale of the Arno may be conveyed to the reader in few words. On leaving Pisa, or more properly Lucca, the Apennines make a bold sweep towards the Adriatic, receding from the western coast of Italy, and their declivities sinking into swells of moderate elevation. The loftier peaks in the chain, still covered with snow, are seen in the distance, rising in a long line round the head of the vale, and behind the green slopes, which form the fore-ground. On the left bank of the river, none of the hills exceed a few hundred feet in height; and on both sides, the formation is the same, consisting of chalky limestone and argillaceous slate, imperfectly shaded with verdure. Plantations of olives occupy the bases, and above these rise groves of fir, chestnut, and pine, generally of a dwarfish growth towards the summits.
The Arno itself, like almost every river we have yet seen in Italy, partakes of the character of a torrent, forming little else than a channel for the floods, which descend from the mountains at certain seasons. It may be considered as an extremely sensitive hydrometer, swelling with every shower, and shrinking almost to a rill during a drought. Its bed is two or three times the breadth of its ordinary current, exposing to view long tracts of naked gravel, washed down from the hills, presenting a picture of perfect desolation. Here no plants nor
flowers, as on some of our streams, skirt the very brink, deriving nutriment from a rich animal deposit, playing as it were with the gentle current, and hanging enamoured over its glassy surface. On the contrary, the Arno scourges a hundred times a year whatever falls within its reach, piling still higher its wastes of sands. In many places dikes are thrown up, to confine its floods within due limits. Neither the complexion of the hurried, turbid waters, nor the aspect of the misshapen boats by which they are navigated, affords much relief to the eye, and the stream itself is, on the whole, far from being picturesque or interesting.
But the secondary banks, spreading from the shores to the foot of the hills, are rich, green, and beautiful. The vale is often several miles in width, and one of the most highly cultivated, as well as of the most productive in the world. It appeared to me, that no soil, however manured and tilled, could support the exuberance of foliage sometimes found along the road. The ground is laid out in small squares, or parallelograms, bordered with thick rows of elms, mulberries, or poplars, with heavy vines hanging in luxuriant festoons from tree to tree. These plantations are so dense over the whole landscape, as to constitute a perfect forest, through which the eye can penetrate but a short distance, till from some eminence it stretches over wide tracts of matted verdure.
The beds opening between the lines of trees, and cultivated with as much precision as an ordinary garden, are sown with flax, wheat, grain, and vegetables of all descriptions, one crop succeeding another in rapid succession, and indeed often seen mingled together in the same field. All the tillage is done by manual labour, and the mode is very similar to that described in my notice of Lucca. But exact as this culture now is, it might evidently be much improved, by adopting the French mode of cultivating the vine, and by removing the trees, which exhaust the soil; though this would make serious innovations upon the beauty of the landscape. Flax is a staple article in all this part of Italy. Females are seen along the roads, with the distaff stuck in a belt at the left side, twirling the spool dangling below, and spinning as they walk, or while engaged in watching their flocks. Fields of the raw material, hanging its blue blossoms, by the side of patches of wheat full in the ear, and beneath vines shooting their tendrils from branch to branch, presented novel scenery for the middle of April.
The Vale of the Arno is as populous, as it is productive, though the houses are so constructed and situated, as to add nothing to the beauty Here are no neat of the landscape, except when seen at a distance. little cottages, sprinkled over the fields, half concealed by foliage, and
wreathed with flowers, as in some parts of England. What relief and what an additional charm would such lodges, peeping from among the trees, and overshadowed by the vine, furnish in this hot climate! But with very few exceptions, the people of Italy seem to have no taste for retirement and a rural life. Even the peasantry are fond of herding together in crowded, dirty towns, and often walk several miles to their daily labours. This circumstance, together with the paucity of animals both domesticated and wild, renders the Italian landscape extremely inanimate, in comparison either with our own, or that of Great Britain. No children are seen frolicking at cottage doors; no cattle are heard to low in their pastures; and the rustic laugh, after the toils of the day, never gives cheerfulness to the fields. At evening the country is as solitary as the desert. The labourers retire to their villages, shutting themselves up within high walls, confined streets, and cheerless houses.
We passed something like a dozen of these populous villages between Pisa and Florence, scattered at distant intervals along the road. When occupying eminences, they appear remarkably well at a distance, as the buildings are generally white, and contrast finely with the green slopes on which they are seated, often exhibiting a liberal share of domes and pinnacles. But the moment you enter the gates, the charm vanishes. Though the pavements are uniformly good, the streets are dark and narrow, lined with houses built of small stones and mortar, with stuccoed walls, and often without window sashes, giving them an unfinished and gloomy appearance. I have not yet seen a village in Italy, which may not be considered a prison, in comparison with those of New-England and the Middle States. The traveller dreads to enter, and rejoices when he again breathes a free air.
The Tuscan peasantry have perhaps justly been ranked among the better portions of the population of Italy. So far as my observation has extended, they are generally industrious, temperate, and frugal in their habits, cultivating their lands with neatness, and pursuing their respective occupations with assiduity. But to this remark there are many exceptions, and there is certainly among them a great deal of poverty. Our coach was pursued by beggars half of the way between Pisa and Florence. This may probably be in part owing to an overstocked population, but still more to a bad government and worse religion. In the age of the Republic, Tuscany supported twice the number of inhabitants within the same territory. Swarms of mendicants are now seen, either from a want of employment, or a want of inclination. The pictures of rural industry along the road were, however, often striking and agreeable, particularly among the females, who were busy in weeding their fields, training their vines, and braiding their