Edward Hutton.

The cities of Lombardy; online

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Cisalpine Gaul ....

The Lakes : Maggiore, Lugano, Como

To Milan: Varese, Castiglione D'Olona

The Story of Milan .

Milan : S. Ambrogio

S. Lorenzo and S. Eustorgio

The Duomo

The Sforza

Milan in the Sixteenth Century

The Galleries

Chiaravalle and Feminism in the Thir
teenth Century

The* Certosa of Pavia .

Pavia ....

Monza ....

Bergamo ....

Brescia ....

Lago D'Iseo, Lago di Garda and
Battlefields .

XIII. Mantua















Cremona .

. -

. 219


Crema and


. 234




. 243


The ^milian Way

. 262



. 268



. 283



. 288


Canossa .

. 297


. 305


Outside Mantua .
San Mamette, Lago Lugano .
AzzANo— Lago di Como .
CoLONNE DI S. Lorenzo, Milan
CittX Alta, Bergamo
S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo .
Il Duomo Vecchio, Brescia
The Gates of the North
Mantua ....
Cremona ....
Montefiorino, Modena .
The Top of the World



• 30

. 46

. 80

. 170

. 176

. 190

. 202

. 208

. 226

. 288

. 298



Map of Lombardy . . . Front End Paper


Salome, by Masolino . . . . -54

From the fresco in the Baptistery, Castiglione d'Olona
(Photo, Alinari)

The Church of S. Ambrogio, Milan . . .88

(Photo, Brogi)

The Duomo, Milan . . . . .98

The Church of S. Maria delle Grazie, Milan . no
Head of Christ . . . . . .116

From the painting attributed to LEONARDO DA ViNCi,
Brera, Milan. (Photo, Brogi)

Certosa di Pavia. . . . . .136

(Photo, Alinari)

On the Road

The Bridge, Pavia

(Photos, R. W. Garden)


Victory . . . . . . .186

From the bronze in the Museum, Brescia

Palazzo del Comune, Piacenza . . .248

(Photo, Alinari)




> 262

Facade of the Duomo, Modena . . j

(Photos, R. W. Garden) /

Madonna della Scodella . . . ,278

From the painting by Correggio, Gallery of Parma.
(Photo, Anderson)

Francesco d'Este, Duke of Modena. . . 296

From the painting by Velasquez, in the Gallery, Modena.
(Photo, Anderson)



WHEN I think of Lombardy, there comes back
into my mind a country wide and gracious,
watered by many a great river, and lying, a Uttle
vaguely, between always far-away mountains ; a world
that is all a garden, where one passes between fair
hedgerows, from orchard to orchard, among the vines,
where the fields are green with promise or shining with
harvest, and there are meadows on the lower slopes of
the mountains. And the whole of this wide garden
seems to me, as is no other country in the world, to be
subject to the sun, the stars and the great and beautiful
clouds of an infinite sky ; every landscape is filled with
them, and beneath them the cities seem but small
things, not cities truly, but rather sanctuaries, hidden
in that garden for our delight, reverence and meditation,
at the end of the endless ways, where only the restless
poplars tell the ceaseless hours.

It is my purpose in this book to consider the nature
and the history of this country, to recapture and to
express as well as I may my delight in it, so that some-
thing of its beauty and its genius may perhaps dis-
engage itself from my pages, and the reader feel what I
have felt about it though he never stir ten miles from


his own home. But first it might seem necessary
to describe in a way very definite and even rigid the
situation of this country, and especially to define its
relation, both geographic and historical, to the peninsula
of Italy, of which for ages it has politically formed a part.

The traveller who, on a day of early spring, descends
towards the south from the cruel ice and snow of the
St. Gothard, or the barren loneliness of the Simplon,
will presently see stretched out before him, as far as
the eye can reach, a vast green and golden plain — *'the
waveless plain of Lombardy " — scattered with many
fair cities and broken in the south by a range of faint,
far-away mountains. In his first enthusiasm he takes
this to be Italy : in fact, it is Cisalpine Gaul.

This vast plain, everlastingly defended on the north
against the Germanics and less brutally on the west
against Gaul by the Alps, is closed on the east by
the sea. From Italy it is divided by those far-away
mountains — the Apennines.

I say that this country between the Alps, the Apen-
nines and the sea, does not really form a part of Italy,
though to-day it is united to her, and may be said, ever
since the Roman Conquest, to have depended upon
Italy, and to have drawn all that was really vital in
its life from her. Let me explain myself.

Peninsulas, one has often remarked it on the map,
commonly gain in breadth as they approach the conti-
nent, and in Italy this tendency is so pronounced that,
roughly, south of the Apennines we have an altogether
peninsular, north of them an altogether continental
country ; moreover, here the division is marked by a lofty
and difficult chain of mountains. It is Nature herself
which has shut off all that vast continental plain to
the north of the Apennines from the true Italy to the
south of them, and men have always felt this difference.
For when one comes to examine that plain which


expands like a tree trunk near the ground as it ap-
proaches the Alps and sends its roots far back into the
mass of Europe, we shall be more than ever impressed
by its non-Italian character. We shall find that it is
dominated far more by the Alps than by the Apennines,
and that it contains a lowland and a river of true
continental proportions which Italy cannot match,
and for which, indeed, there is no room in that narrow
and mountainous peninsula. Nor does the ethno-
graphy of this country in any way contradict its
geography. The peoples of the valley of the Po are
very different from the Italians in their origin, in their
history and in their language ; their heroic and violent
opposition, first to the Romans and then to the Teutons,
is characteristic, and is due not to their Latin, but to
their Gaulish blood. For though from time to time the
Italians have come over the Apennines, into this plain,
even as the Germans have come over the Alps, the marrow
of this people is Gaulish still ; they are a military people,
a race of soldiers. But if we thus assert that geographic-
ally, ethnographically and historically Cisalpine Gaul is
not Italy, that even to-day it is Gaulish rather than
Italian, how are we to consider its relation to Italy of
which politically it has for so long formed a part ?

Italy is, and has always been, a place apart and
separate from the mass of Europe ; and because of
this she has been able to do her work both secular and
religious. What has secured her ? Cisalpine Gaul.
The valley of the Po, all this vast plain appears in
history as the cockpit of Europe, the battlefield of
the Celt, the Phoenician, the Latin and the Teuton,
strewn with victories, littered with defeats, the theatre
of those great wars which have builtj and secured
Europe and the modern world. Here, in this Gaulish
country, Hannibal waited before he made that great
descent upon Italy, in which the Oriental so nearly
overthrew Europe ; here Caesar conceived and by


a single act founded the Empire, which here the
Barbarians overthrew; here Charlemagne re-estab-
lished it, and here even in our own day Italy founded
her unity and once more — may it be for ever — the
Barbarian was driven out.

Yes, if, as we must, we consider Italy as the shrine, the
sanctuary and the citadel of Europe, here are her gates :
they are three in number, the Alps, the Apennines and
the Plain between them, and the greatest of these is the
Plain. The mountains look upon it from the north
and from the south, the outer and the inner gates of
Italy : this is the drawbridge between them ; it bears
its scars, as it bears its destiny, upon its forehead.

The country which lies thus between the Alps and the
Apennines, the inner and the outer gates of Italy,
and which, though not Italian, has played so great a
part in the fulfilment of her destiny, is for the most part
a vast plain, fundamentally divided from west to east
into two not unequal parts by a great river, the Po,
and everywhere watered and nourished by its two
hundred tributaries. To the north of the Po lie two
great provinces : to the west Lombard3^ to the east
Venetia, separated by the Lago di Garda and the
Mincio. To the south lie three smaller provinces,
Parma, Modena and Romagna, now gathered into the
single new province of Emilia : and these are the more
Italian parts of the great plain. To the west of all
these, on both sides of the Po, stretches the huge pro-
vince of Piedmont at the foot of the Alps. Of these
six provinces those of Venetia and Piedmont lie outside
the subject of this book ; their history and their
development have been very different from those of
the rest of Cisalpine Gaul, and though geographically
they seem to form parts of it, even the Romans re-
cognised that they were controlled by forces outside
it and that both racially and politically they were
separate from it. Venetia, whose destiny in the Middle


Ages and for long after was determined by that of
Venice, was peopled by a race which was always hostile
to the Gauls of the upper and middle valley, and which
helped the Romans to subdue them ; while Piedmont,
which has lately given a king of the Switzer House
of Savoy to modern Italy, was, so far as it lies to the south
of the Po, included by the Romans in the province
of Liguria and largely, so far as it lies to the north of
that river, was in the territory of the Inalpini — the
mountain folk who were not brought within the Roman
power till the time of Augustus.^ We are left, then,
with four great provinces, Lombardy to the north,
Parma, Modena and Romagna to the south of the Po :
these, and especially the first three, were the real
Cisalpine Gaul.

The history of this vast country before the Roman
Conquest, is, as is history everywhere before that
event, vague and obscure. But this at least seems
certain : before the advent of the Gauls continental
Italy, all this great valley of the Po that is, was in
the hands of the Etruscans, who built towns here, cut
canals and roads, and to some extent, at any rate, cleared
the forests. Mantua was a town of theirs and, always
saved by its marshes, it remains to this day; Melpum,
as Pliny calls it, perhaps the greatest of their cities,
has perished.

The Gauls seem to have come into this valley from
over the Alps, first as traders and then, according
to the authorities which Livy followed, in the reign of
Tarquinius Prisons, but at any rate not before the
second half of the third century of the City, as invaders
and conquerors, such conquerors, in fact, that the most
famous date in the early history of Rome is that of their
capture of the City in 388 B.C. They were, and still

^ With Venetia I have already dealt in my Venice and Venetia
(Methuen, 191 1) ; with Piedmont and Liguria I hope to deal in
another volume.


are, on both sides of the Alps a great military people.
" With the Gauls," says Sallust,i " the Romans fought
not for glory but for existence." The Gauls, the elder
Cato^ tells us, "devote themselves mainly to two things
— fighting and debate." They were, too, a pastoral
rather than an agricultural people.

The advent of the Gauls into the valley of the Po,
whenever it may have begun, was a long process,
which renewed itself from time to time, notably in the
third century before our era, and continued, doubtless,
till a comparatively late time. When Rome began to
undertake their conquest we find them settled somewhat
as follows on either side the Po. To the north of that
river, from west to east we find the Insubres, the first
comers, settled about Milan and as far east as the Adda ;
the Cenomani, who followed them, were settled between
the Adda and the Adige about the towns of Mantua,
Cremona, Brescia and Bergamo. Both these tribes
crossed the Graian Alps by the Little St. Bernard.
South of the Po, again from west to east, we find the
Boii about Piacenza, Parma and Bologna ; the Lingones,
a marsh people, probably the last to submit to the
Roman yoke, about Ferrara ; and the Senones, the last
of the larger Gaulish tribes to cross the Alps, settled
in the country about Rimini and Senigaglia. These
three tribes are thought to have crossed the Pennine
Alps by the Great St. Bernard. Such were the chief
Gallic tribes that settled in the valley ; all were Celtic
and all were people of the plain, only inhabiting those
parts of the hills which were close to the plain. In
Roman history the more formidable of these tribes
would appear to have been the Insubres and the Boii ;
but all the Gauls were born soldiers, and the Romans
from the beginning realist-d this and set apart a treasure
in the capitol for the almost perpetual Gallic war.^

1 Bell. Jug. c. 114. - Cato, Grig. I. ii. fr. 2 (Jordan).

^ Cf. Appian, B.G., ii. 41, and Livy, xxvii. 10.


That first sack of Rome by the Gauls in 388 B.C.,
which makes so picturesque an episode in the legends
of the City, was followed, according to Polybius, thirty
years later by another invasion of Italy, in which this for-
midable people got as far as Alba and found the Romans
afraid to meet them. Twelve years later we find them
again attacking Rome; but the Romans were ready,
and they retreated before the armies of the City and her
allies. Then followed a formal peace which the Gauls
observed for thirty years ; but it is easy to see how
dangerous an enemy these barbarians were to Latium ;
how terrible they appeared in the Roman imagination
is proved by the legends that the Roman tradition
still preserves concerning them, in which, for instance,
we see Titus Manlius meeting a Gallic giant in single
combat on the banks of the Anio.

These Gallic incursions into Italy continued until in
the year 296, for the first time, the Romans were able
to inflict a signal defeat upon the Galli and the Samnites
in Gallic territory at Sentinum, on the north side of the
Apennines. Livy tells us that in that fight there fell
25,000 Gauls, a slaughter which later writers vastly
exaggerate. Nevertheless, some years later the Senones
laid siege to Arezzo, then an Etruscan town under the
protection of Rome. It was L. Caecilius Metellus who,
at the head of a Roman army, came to its relief. It is
said by Livy that the Romans first sent ambassadors
to the Senones to induce them to retire, but that these
were murdered. However that may be, P. Cornelius
Dolabella presently entered the country of the Senones,
burning as he went, putting the men to the sword and
carrying off the women and children. The fighting
men of the Senones were then before Arezzo. There
they met Metellus and defeated him. Neverthe-
less, Arezzo did not fall, and Dolabella was in 283 B.C.
able to give the Senones a complete defeat. Most
of them fell in battle, as was their custom, and the


Romans thus, for the first time, were able to get a
footing north of the Apennines and on the Adriatic
coast. Here they established a burgess-colony, the
first in Gallic territory ; and they called it Sena Gallica
to distinguish it from Sena in Etruria.

As might be expected, this breaking of the Senones
stirred their neighbours the Boii, who, with the frightened
Etruscans, began a march on Rome : Rome met them
at Lake Vadimon, that is, Lago di Bassano, and cut
them to pieces : but they would not be denied. In
the next year they gathered all their youth and again
with the Etruscans were signally defeated. Rome was
learning her business and, pitting order and civilisation
against the natural military qualities of the Gauls,
won these hard victories.

The fear that had hurled the Boii against Rome was
well founded. They had seen the burgess-colony of
Sena Gallica established in Gaulish territory ; they
were now to see set up the Latin colony of Ariminum,
that is, of Rimini. They were not slow to understand
that Rome intended their total destruction, and great
military people as they were, they but waited to recruit
their strength and to find allies to renew the war.

Their first act was to ally themselves with the
Insubres, the greatest of the Gallic peoples, and then
with their new friends to invite other Gauls from over
the Alps to help them in their fight for existence.
In 225 B.C., then, the greatest army the Gauls had
yet put in the field entered Italy, to decide, as it proved,
who were to be masters. Yet even so the Gauls fought
under this disadvantage : that they were not one.
For the Veneti (if Gauls they were) and the Cenomani
had allied themselves with Rome, and it was necessary
to leave a force in Gaul to watch them. Nevertheless,
it is said the Gaulish army entered Italy with 50,000
foot and 20,000 horse. Against them Rome was able
to bring, for all Italy was alarmed, some 150,000 foot


and 6000 horse. In spite of this formidable army
Italy was open so far as Clusium (Chiusi), which the
Gauls plundered : then suddenly learning that a
Roman force was already outflanking them, they
retired on the road towards Faesulse (Fiesole) where a
battle was fought in which the Italians were defeated.
But Fortune, the great decider of war, was against
them. For they had still to reckon with the out-
flanking army of the Romans under the consul L.
iEmilius Papus ; and then by chance L. Atilius Regulus,
the other consul, at this time returned from Sardinia,
and, landing his troops at Pisa, went to meet them.
The Gauls, who after their victory had taken the
level road northward along the Etruscan coast, were
thus caught between two great forces. Nevertheless,
they were not cast down, but, like the great and skilful
soldiers they were, forming two lines of battle they
faced both armies near Telamo at the mouth of the
Ombrone. There the battle was joined and Rome
proved completely victorious. It is said that 40,000
Gauls fell on that day, while 10,000 were made prisoners.
■'Thus," says Polybius, "was the most formidable of
the Celtic invasions brought to naught after threatening
all Italy, and especially Rome, with great and terrible

In the following year the Boii submitted along with
the Lingones, thus bringing all the territory south of the
Po into the hands of the Romans. In 223 B.C. the
Roman army was able to cross the Po, which it did
near Piacenza, under C. Flaminius, and to meet the
Insubres. In the next year M. Claudius Marcellus and
Cn. Cornelius Scipio took Acerrae (the modern village
of Gera, near Cremona, on the Adda), and finally Medio-
lanian (Milan), the chief stronghold of the Insubres, by
storm. The Insubres ^bmitted without terms.

That great but insecure peace was followed by the
foundation in the heart of Cisalpine Gaul of two Roman


fortresses, each of 6000 men, one at Placentia (Piacenza)
on the southern bank of the Po, the other at Cremona,
lower down on the northern shore; Mutina (Modena),
too, was defended by walls, and preparations were
already on foot for continuing the great Flaminian
road, lately advanced to Rimini, through these forts
to Piacenza, when a sudden unexpected disaster pre-
vented this achievement. In the year 218 B.C., Hannibal
and his Orientals made their descent upon Italy.

Hannibal doubtless hoped, by marching through the
two Gauls, to obtain a great assistance from these
brave fighting peoples in his attack upon Italy and
Rome. Nor was he disappointed, for when in the
early autumn of 218 B.C. he came into the valley of the
Po over the Alps,^ his forces diminished and weakened
by that great passage, the Boii and the Insubres so
lately vanquished had already invaded the colonies of
Placentia and Cremona and were engaged in the siege
of Mutina. Yet, as always, the Veneti, the Cenomani
and the Ligures were on the Roman side, and Publius
Cornelius Scipio, the nephew of the conqueror of the
Insubres, the son of the conqueror of Hanno and the
father of Scipio Africanus, appearing suddenly on the
scene, was able, more or less, to cause the Boii and the
Insubres to waver. Scipio met Hannibal in the first
engagement, an affair of cavalry, on the right bank of
the Ticino, not far from Vercelli, and the Roman defeat
secured to Hannibal the allegiance of the Gauls, the
finest fighting material in Italy and perhaps in Europe,
who thenceforth followed the Oriental throughout his
Italian campaigns.

It might be an interesting question to decide what
the fate of Hannibal would have been without his
European allies : I mean those Iberian and especially
those Gallic troops which formed so great a part of
his fighting strength : a question, perhaps, impossible to
^ Mommsen thinks he crossed by the Little St. Bernard.


answer. Nevertheless, it was the Gauls who, apart
from his own genius, won for him his most famous
victory of the Trebia, for the Iberians and the Libyans
suffered there but little loss. The Gauls, on the other
hand, suffered terribly. We shall speak fully of the
battle of the Trebia, which threw all Italy open to the
Oriental, when we come to its lonely site in that great
loop of the river near Piacenza. Here it remains
to be said that the Gauls, some 60,000 foot and 4000
horse, marched with Hannibal over the Apennines into
the Serchio valley, into the Val d' Arno, into Italy,
and again at Trasimenus bore the brunt of the battle —
that was a bloody April day for them, — and at Cannae
left 4000 of their number dead upon the field, more than
two-thirds of the whole Carthaginian loss. It is well
that we should recall that these Oriental victories were,
so far as the fighting went, mainly the work of Europeans,
of the Gauls.

It may well be that these heavy losses at the Trebia, at
Trasimenus and at Canna? undid Hannibal in spite of
his victories. At any rate, Cannae is his last victory.
His communications with Cisalpine Gaul were cut off
and he could not replenish the exhausted companies
of his most desperate and gallant fighters. Yet it
was just what he tried to do ; and it might seem that
with his usual omniscience he understood that on his
success in getting Gaulish soldiers depended his campaign,
as much as on his breaking of the Latin league. In 207,
eleven years after crossing the Alps, he caused his
younger brother Hasdrubal to follow him by the same
road through Gaul. Hasdrubal was successful in
finding Gaulish allies ; but by this time luck, as always
the greatest factor in war, had deserted the Carthaginians.
M. Livius Salinator had been sent to assail Hasdrubal
on the Metaurus in Sena Gallica. C. Claudius Nero,
the other consul, being with Hannibal in the south,
as it happened intercepted a letter from Hasdrubal,


and in a moment turned northward, joined his colleague,
compelled Hasdrubal to fight, and overwhelmingly
defeated his enemy. In that battle Hasdrubal had
posted his Gauls against the right wing of the Roman
army where Nero had placed his best soldiers : they fell
in thousands, and Hasdrubal's head was ignominiously
flung into the camp of Hannibal. If that great man
did not despair, it was only because the son of Hamilcar
was living and by his efforts he still hoped to recruit
the Gauls. In the summer of 205 B.C. Mago landed
on the coast of Liguria, seized Genua and gathered -in
all the Gauls. For two years he was able to maintain
himself in Cisalpine Gaul, but never to reach Hannibal.

Online LibraryEdward HuttonThe cities of Lombardy; → online text (page 1 of 25)