A. and W. Galignani (Firm).

Galignani's Traveller's guide through Italy, or, A comprehensive view of the antiquities and curiosities of that classical and interesting country : containing sketches of manners, society, and custom online

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Online LibraryA. and W. Galignani (Firm)Galignani's Traveller's guide through Italy, or, A comprehensive view of the antiquities and curiosities of that classical and interesting country : containing sketches of manners, society, and custom → online text (page 1 of 45)
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___________ ^



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i- he country of Cesar, of Cicero, of Horace,
an d of Yirgjl: the l^nd which gave birth to
a Michael Aisgelo, a Raphael, a Titian, a
£*ante, an Ariosto, and a Tasso, must ever
possess claims to the admiration of the world I

Italy^ at-^nce the seat of valour, and the
cradle of the sciences and the arts, awakens all
those classical recollections which formed the
delight of our youth, and still remain, in
their native freshness, as a solace for declin-
ing years.

In Italy, temples, triumphal arches, aque-
ducts, ways, whole towns, exhibit, to our view,
at every step, the grandeur and unrivalled
magnificence of the ancient masters of the
world; and continually remind the traveller
of those august names which history has
consecrated to immortality; of those great
men, whom Italy has, in every age, produced t
all conspire to heighten the pleasure he re-
ceives from a delicious climate, a mild and
balmy air, and a rich and fertile country.

The plan of the following Guide embraces
the usual grand tour of Italy, and is fully de-
veloped in our Introduction, where the dif-
ferent routes leading to Italy are described at
length. This picture of Italy will be found,
not merely a useful pocket-companion abroad,
but an entertaining friend to converse with at



home. Besides our notices of antiquities and
curiosities, the general reader will, doubtless,
find much amusement in perusing the sketches
of manners, society, peculiar customs, and re-
ligious ceremonies; as well as an account of
the trade, commerce, manufactures, soil and
agriculture, and natural productions of this
favoured country. Here also will be seen all
the valuable parts of an Itinerary, without its
dryness; such as distances in posts and English
miles, time in performing the journey, cross-
roads, best inns, etc.

The Introduction contains every requisite
information respecting travelling in Italy; as
Post regulations, different monies, weights and
measures, a table of Italian time, heights of
the most elevated mountains, expenses of
living in Italy, etc. etc.

The author has not always trusted to his
own personal observations, but has availed
himself of every light which he could derive
from men as well as books. He has to thank
several respected friends for much valuable
and original information; besides which he
Begs to make his acknowledgments to the
following excellent works, viz. of Eustace,
Coxe, Forsyth, Reichard, Villers, Cha-
teauvieux, P. Petit-Radel, the Itineraire de
ITtalie, etc. etc. , after this it will be unne-
cessary to point out that this compendious
little work must necessarily offer advantages
which no single work of the same descrip***
can possibly present.



-*-taly is a great peninsula, the natural boundaries
°f which are the Alps, the Adriatic Gulph, and
hie Mediterranean Sea 5 its greatest length is s5o
eagues ; but its breadth is very unequal : its popu-
lation, including Sicily, amounts to about 18 mil-
lions and a half of inhabitants. This number
scattered over an extent of 14,000 square leagues,
assigns to each square league 1257 inhabitants ;
from which it follows that France and England
are much less populous.

There is no situation more happy than that
of Italy. This interesting country experiences nei-
ther the burning heats of the torrid zone, nor the
excessive cold of the northern regions. In the or-
dinary course of the season, it is not even exposed
to those variations of the atmosphere, which, in
other countries, so frequently affect the health of
I mankind and destroy the fruits of the earth. The
I immense plain of Lombardy, which extends from
\ Turin to /^enice t presents to the view of the tra-
i veller a most fertile and highly cultivated soil j and
; the maritime coasts of Genoa and Naples are co-
; vered with olive, orange, lemon, and citron trees;
f almost the whole year is a delightful spring, and
thus this rich and Beautiful country affords all the
conveniences and pleasures of life.

Italy has several fine lakes, particularly in the
northern part. The most considerable is the Lago
' Maggiore ; and the Borromean isles seem to rea-
lize the fables of the garden of the Hesperides. The
l lake of Como, though less extensive, is perhaps


superior to the Lago Maggiore in the beauty of its
ba-^ks, enriched with all the gifts of nature, and
covered with magnificent habitations. The superb
Jake of Garda is particularly distinguished for the
happy fertility of its banks and the picturesque
aspect of the hills that surround it. Several other
lakes, the Trasiineno, Bolseno, Rieti, Al'oano, Ce-
lajzo, and Ferano, are the ornament of the centre
and the south of the peninsula, and they all abound
in fish.

One might suppose that nature, so prodigal to-
wards Italy, placed it in the midst of the seas iu
order that it might participate in all the advan-
tages of external commerce. Its ports, bays,
gulphs, capes, and promontories are so multiplied
From Nice to the straits of Messina, and thence to
Venice, that there is no country in Europe, which,
considered under this point of yiev\u. can be pre-
ferred to it.

There is certainly no other country in the world
in which one may travel with so much pleasure
and advantage as in Italy. Besides that it enjoys
the most delightful and temperate climate, it pos-
sesses a prodigious quantity of ancient monuments,
which, while they attest its past glory, fill us with
admiration for the great men she has produced.
Here is hardly a spot that is not famous in history;
not a hill nor a river which has not been the
theatre of some remarkable action. But if to the
precious remains of ancient Pvome, we add all
the grand and admirable productions which the
genius of the fine arts has brought forth in mo-
dern Italy, in painting, sculpture, and architec-
ture, who will not acknowled^? that the philo-
sopher and the artist may here find an inexhaustible
fund of the richest materials for their meditations
and researches ? After the fall of the Roman em-
pire, the Italians, in the midst of the political re-


volutions which exposed them to all the vicissi-
tudes of fortune, were almost the only people
who preserved a taste lor the sciences and the arts.
The country they inhabit, presenting an almost
insurmountable barrier to the barbarians who at-
tacked it on all sides, was fruitful in great men;
several of them were at once painters, sculptors,
architects and even poets ; and among the painters
some of them were the historians of their art.

The Italian language is the most ancient and
nwst harmonious of all the living tongues, and
consequently the most suitable to song and poetry.
In genera], each state in Italy has its peculiar dia-
lect, and, it is only in Tuscany, and especially at
Sienna, that the purest Italian is spoken. The best
pronunciation is that of Rome. The Venetian
dialect is pleasing, but in Lombardy the people
make use of a very coarse jargon. The idiom of
Turin and Genoa is barbarous. That of the iSea-
politans, though harsh, is however very expres-
sive. Notwithstanding these popular dialects,
good Italian is understood, spoken, and written
m every part of Italy.

Music is the ruling passion of the Italians, and
Italy is universally acknowledged to be the first
country in the world for music, both with regard
to composition and execution.

Such are the multiplied and infinitely varied
objects which nature and art have brought toge-
ther as by enchantment in Italy. This most inte-
resting country is the theatre of some of the most
pleasing fictions of the poets, and of many of the
i:.ost splendid events recorded by historians. She
is the mother of heroes, of sages, and of saints.
She has been the seat of empire, and is still the
nursery of genius; and still, in spite of plunderers,
the repository of the nobler arts. Her scenery
rises far above rural beauty; it has a claim to ani-



niatfxm, and almost to genius. Every spot of her
surface, every river, every mountain, and every
forest, nay, every rivulet, hillock and thicket,
have been ennobled by the energies of mind, and.
are become monuments of intellectual worth and
glory. No country furnishes a greater number of
ideas, or inspires so many generous and exalting
sentiments. To have visited it at any period is an
advantage, and may justly be considered as the
complement of a classical education ; a journey
through it may be ranked among the minor bless-
ings of life, and as one of the means of mental

Geography and Scenery of Italy. — Italy is pecu-
liarly fortunate in the grand natural divisions which
separate it from the rest of Europe. The Alps,
the highest ridge of mountains in the ancient
world, separate it from the regions of the North,,
and serve as a barrier against the frozen tempests
that blow from the boreal continents, and as a
rampart against the inroads of their once savage
inhabitants. Annibal justly called these moun-
tains, Mcenia non Italics modb sed etiam Urbis

Most of the provinces still retain their ancient
names, such as, Latium (Lazio\ Etruria, Umbria,
Sabina, Campania, Apulia, (la Puglia) Calabria,
Samnium, etc. names blended with the fictions of
the fabulous ages, and with the first events re-
corded in the infancy of history.

The Adriatic Sea bathes it on the east, the Tyr-
rhene on the west; and on the south the Ionian
opens an easv communication with all the southern
countries. Numberless islands line its shores, and
appear as so many outposts to protect it against
the attacks of a maritime enemy ; or rather as so
many attendants to grace the state of the queen of
the Mediterranean. Such are its external borders.


111 the interior, the Apennines extend through its
whole length, and branching out into various ra-
mifications, divide it into several provinces mate-
rially different in their climates and productions.

Italy lies extended between the 08th and 46th
degree of northern latitude j a situation which ex-
poses it to a considerable degree of heat in summer
and of cold in winter j but the influence of the:
seas and of the mountains that surround or inter-
sect it, counteracts the effects of its latitude, and
produces a temperature that excludes all extremes
and renders every season delightful. However, as
xhe action of these causes is unequal, the climate
of the country at large, though every where ge-
nial and temperate, varies considerably, and more
so, sometimes, than the distance between the
places so differing, might induce a person to ex-

Mountains. — The principal mountains of Italy
are the Alps and Apennines. The chain pf the
Alps, which forms a semi-circle of about520 leagues,
begins on the coast of the Mediterranean near
Monaco, traverses Switzerland and the Tyrol, and
terminates at the gulph of Cornero which forms a
part of the Adriatic Sea. The greatest breadth ot*
the chain of the Alps does not exceed live days
journey. These mountains, on account of the
singular construction of their astonishing mass,
present a large field to the researches of the natur-
alist. Some, always covered with snow and ice,
rise to an inaccessible height. Mount Cenis is
more than 9000 feet above the level of the sea >
and Montblanc y which is said to be more than
1 5,ooo feet perpendicular, is undoubtedly the
highest mountain in Europe. Divers rivers de-
scend from the Alps ; and after having traversed.
Lombardy in all directions, fail into the Adrialie-
gulph. $uch axe the Adige, the AdUa 7 and the-


Tesino ; but the most considerable of all, either
from its breadth, or the length of its course is the
Fo, a beautiful stream celebrated in the earliest
songs of Greek mythology, by the name of Eri~
dan us.

The Apennines hold the second rank among
the mountains of Italy. These mountains which
are a branch of the Alps, divide the peninsula in
its whole length. They go off from the maritime
Alps, at Onnea, and extend at first without inter-
ruption all along the coasts of the gulph of Genoa,
leaving only a very small space between them and
the sea: then to the south of the territory of Mo-
dena, taking a direction towards the centre of
Italy, they separate Tuscany from the vast plain
watered by the Po : finally, going off to the south-
east, and more and more approaching the Adria-
tic, they terminate in the famous mount Gargano.
The highest summits of this chain of mountains are
the Cimone, the Sibitla, and the Velino. The lat-
ter is about 8000 feet above the sea. Several ri-
vers take their source in the Apennines ; the most
considerable are the Panaro, the Reno, the Amo,
and the Tiber.

In these mountains are quarries of different
kinds of marble, granite of several sorts, ores or
metallic veins, talc, alabaster, agate, jasper and
other precious stones.

Without entering into the particular variations
of soil and climate produced by the bearings of
the different mountains, Italy may be divided into
four regions, which, like the sister Naiads of Ovid,
though they have many features in common, have
also each a characteristic peculiarity.

The first of these regions is the vale of the Po f
which extends about 260 miles in length, and in
breadth, where widest, i5o. It is bounded by the
Alps and the Apennines on the north, ivest and


south 5 on the east it lies open to the Adriatic.
The second is the tract enclosed by the Apennines^
forming the Roman and Tuscan territories. The
third is confined to the Campania Felix, and its
immediate dependencies, such as the borders and
the islands of the bay of Naples and of the plains
of Pcestum. The last consists of Abruzzo, Apulia,
Calabria, and the southern extremities of Italy.

The first of these regions or climates has been
represented bv many as perhaps the most fertile
and most delicious territory in the known world j
to it we may apply literally the encomium which
Virgil seems to Have confined to the vicinity of

Non liqriidi gregibus fontes, non grnmina desunt,
Kt quantum longis carpcnt armcnta dichus
Exigua tantum gelidus nos nocte reponit.

It owes this fertility to the many streams that
descend from the bordering mountains and furnish
a constant supply to the majestic river that inter-
sects it: Fluviorum Rex Eridanus. But, while
the mountains thus water it with fertilizing rills,
they also send down occasional gales to cool it in
summer, and blasts that sometimes chill its cli-
mate, and give its winter some features of transal-
pine severity, slight indeed — as if merely to call the
attention of the inhabitants to that repository of
eternal snow which rises always before them— but
sufficient to check the growth of such plants, as like
the orange and the almond, shrink from frost, or
pine away under its most mitigated aspect. The
vine, though common and indeed luxuriant, is
supposed by many not to prosper in this climate,
because the wines are in general thin and sour 5
but this defect must be ascribed not solely to
the ciimate, which in warmth and uniformity far
excels that of Champagne or Burgundy, but to the
mode of cultivation. To allow the vine to raise


itself into the air, to spread from branch to branch,
and to equal its consort elms and poplars in eleva-
tion and luxuriancy, is beautiful to the eye and
delightful to the fancy, but not so favourable to
the quality of the wines, which become richer and
stronger when the growth is repressed, and the
energies of the plant are confined within a smaller

The second climate is protected from the blasts
of the north by an additional ridge of mountains,
so that it is less obnoxious to the action of frost,
and is indeed more liable to be incommoded by the
heats of summer than by wintry cold. Its produc-
tions accordingly improve in strength and flavor •
its wines are more generous and its orchards are
graced with oranges. It is, however, exposed oc-
casionally to chill, piercing blasts, and not entirely
unacquainted with the frosts and the snows of
transalpine latitudes.

In the third climate, that is, in the delicious
plains of Campagna, so much and so deservedly
celebrated by travellers, painters, and poets, na-
ture seems to pour out all her treasures with com-
placency; and trusts, without apprehensions her
tenderest productions to gales ever genial, and to
skies almost alwa} T s serene.

The plains of Apulia that lie beyond the Apen-
nines, opening to the rising sun, with the coasts of
Abruzzo and Calabria, form the last and fourth
division, differing from that which precedes in
increasing warmth only, and in productions more
characteristic of a southern latitude; such as the
aloes and the majestic palm; objects, which though
not common, occur often enough to give a no-
velty and variety to the scenery. I have confined
this distinction of climates principally to the plains;
as the mountains that limit them vary according
to their elevation, and at the same time enclose in
their windings, vallies which enjoy in the south


the cool temperature of the Milanese, and in the
north glow with all the sultriness of Abruzzo. Such,
in a few words, is the geography of Italy.

The climate of Italy is temperate, though in-
clined to heat. The rays of the sun are powerful
even in winter; and the summer, particularly
when the Sirocco blows, is sultry and sometimes
oppressive. The heat, however, is never intoler-
able, as the air is frequently cooled by breezes
from the mountains, and is refreshed on the sou-
thern coasts by a regular gale from the sea. This
breeze rises about eight in the morning, and blows
without interruption till four in the afternoon,
deliciously tempering the burning suns of Naples,
and sweeping before it the sullen vapours that brood
over the torrid Campania. Moreover, the wind-
ings and the recesses of the mountains afford, as
they ascend, several retreats, where, in the great-
est heats of summer, and during the very fiercest
glow of the dog-days, the traveller may enjoy the
vernal coolness and the mild temperature of Eng-
land. Such are the baths of Lucca, situated in a
long-withdrawing vale, and shaded by groves of
chesnuts ; such is Vallombrosa, encircled by the
forests of the Apennines and such too the situa-
tion of Horace's Sabine Villa, concealed in one of
the woody dales of mount Lucretilis, with the
oak and the ilex wafting freshness around it.

Online LibraryA. and W. Galignani (Firm)Galignani's Traveller's guide through Italy, or, A comprehensive view of the antiquities and curiosities of that classical and interesting country : containing sketches of manners, society, and custom → online text (page 1 of 45)