John Evelyn.

Diary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 46)
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tique-house, where, after strict examination by the Syndics,
we were had to the Ducal Palace, and there our names-
being taken, we were conducted to our inn, kept by one
Zacharias, an Englishman. I shall never forget a story
of our host Zachary, who, on the relation of our peril, told
us another of his own, being shipwrecked, as he affirmed
solemnly, in the middle of a great sea somewhere in the
West Indies, that he swam no less than twenty-two
leagues to another island, with a tinder-box wrapped up
in his hair, which was not so much as wet all the way ;.
that picking up the carpenter's tools with other provisions
in a chest, he and the carpenter, who accompanied him,
(good swimmers it seems both) floated the chest before
them ; and, arriving at last in a place full of wood, they
built another vessel, and so escaped ! After this story,
we no more talked of our danger, Zachary put us quite

17th. Accompanied by a most courteous marchand, called
Tomson, we went to view the rarities. The city is built
in the hollow or bosom of a mountain, whose ascent is
very steep, high, and rocky, so that, from the Lantern and
Mole to the hill, it represents the shape of a theatre ; the
streets and buildings so ranged one above another, as

Mr. Evelyn was so struck with this circumstance of the fragrancy of
the air of this coast, that he has noticed it again in his dedication of the
" Fumifugium " to King Charles the Second.

44.] JOHN EVELYN. 85

our seats are in play-houses ; but, from their materials,
beauty, and structure, never was an artificial scene more
beautiful to the eye, nor is any place, for the size of it,
so full of well-designed and stately palaces, as may be
easily concluded by that rare book in a large folio which
the great virtuoso and painter, Paul Rubens, has pub-
lished, though it contains [the description of] only one
street and two or three churches.

The first palace we went to visit was that of Hieronymo
del Negros, to which we passed by boat across the harbour.
Here I could not but observe the sudden and devilish
passion of a seaman, who plying us was intercepted by
another fellow, that interposed his boat before him and
took us in ; for the tears gushing out of his eyes, he put
his finger in his mouth and almost bit it off by the joint,
showing it to his antagonist as an assurance to him of
some bloody revenge, if ever he came near that part of
the harbour again. Indeed, this beautiful city is more
stained with such horrid acts of revenge and murders,
than any one place in Europe, or haply in the world, where
there is a political government, which makes it unsafe to
strangers. It is made a galley matter to carry a knife
whose point is not broken off.

This palace of Negros is richly furnished with the rarest
pictures ; on the terrace, or hilly garden, there is a grove
of stately trees, amongst which are sheep, shepherds, and
wild beasts, cut very artificially in a grey stone ; fountains,
rocks, and fish-ponds : casting your eyes one way, you would
imagine yourself in a wilderness and silent country ; side-
ways, in the heart of a great city ; and backwards, in the
midst of the sea. All this is within one acre of ground.
In the house, I noticed those red-plaster floors which are
made so hard, and kept so polished, that for some time
one would take them for whole pieces of porphyry. I
have frequently wondered that we never practised this
{art] in England for cabinets and rooms of state,* for it
appears to me beyond any invention of that kind ; but by
their careful covering them with canvass and fine mat-
tresses, where there is much passage, I suppose they

There are such at Hardwick Hall, in Derbyshire, a seat of the Duke of


are not lasting in their glory, and haply they are often

There are numerous other palaces of particular curio-
sities, for the marchands being very rich, have, like our
neighbours^ the Hollanders, little or no extent of ground
to employ their estates in : as those in pictures and hang-
ings, so these lay it out on marble houses and rich furni-
ture. One of the greatest here for circuit is that of the
Prince Doria, which reaches from the sea to the summit
of the mountains. The house is most magnificently built
without, nor less gloriously furnished within, having whole
tables* and bedsteads of massy silver, many of them set
with agates, onyxes, cornelians, lazulis, pearls, turquoises,
and other precious stones. The pictures and statues are
innumerable. To this palace belong three gardens, the
first whereof is beautified with a terrace, supported by
pillars of marble : there is a fountain of eagles, and one of
Neptune, with other sea-gods, all of the purest white
marble ; they stand in a most ample basin of the same
stone. At the side of this garden is such an aviary as Sir
Francis Bacon describes in his Sermones fidelium, or Essays,
wherein grow trees of more than two feet diameter, besides
cypress, myrtles, lentsicuses, and other rare shrubs, which
serve to nestle and perch all sorts of birds, who have air
and place enough under their airy canopy, supported with
huge iron work, stupendous for its fabric and the charge.
The other two gardens are full of orange-trees, citrons,,
and pomegranates, fountains, grots, and statues. One of
the latter is a colossal Jupiter, under which is the sepulchre
of a beloved dog, for the care of which one of this family
received of the King of Spain 500 crowns a-year, during
the life of that faithful animal. The reservoir of water
here is a most admirable piece of art ! and so is the grotto
over-against it.

We went hence to the Palace of the Dukes, where is
also the Court of Justice ; thence to the Merchant's Walk,
rarely covered. Nearf the Ducal Palace we saw the
public armoury, which was almost all new, most neatly
kept and ordered, sufficient for 30,000 men. We were

* One of which, Lassells says, weighed 24,000 Ibs. " Voyage through.
Italy," lb'70, p. 94.
t Lassells says, in the Palace. '

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 87

shewed many rare inventions and engines of war peculiar
to that armoury, as in the state when guns were first
put in use. The garrison of the town chiefly consists of
Germans and Corsicans. The famous Strada Nova, built
wholly of polished marble, was designed by Rubens, and
for stateliness of the buildings, paving, and evenness of
the street, is far superior to any in Europe, for the number
of houses ; that of Don Carlo Doria is a most magnificent
structure. In the gardens of the old Marquess Spinola, I
saw huge citrons hanging on the trees, applied like our
apricots to the walls. The churches are no less splendid
than the palaces : that of St. Francis is wholly built of
Parian marble ; St. Laurence, in the middle of the city,
of white and black polished stone, the inside wholly in-
crusted with marble and other precious materials ; on the
altar of St. John stand four sumptuous columns of por-
phyry ; and here we were shewed an emerald, supposed
to be one of the largest in the world.* The church of
St. Ambrosio, belonging to the Jesuits, will, when finished,
exceed all the rest ; and that of the Annunciada, founded
at the charges of one family,f in the present and future
design can never be outdone for cost and art. From the
churches we walked to the Mole, a work of solid huge
stone, stretching itself near 600 paces into the main sea,
and secures the harbour, heretofore of no safety. Of all
the wonders of Italy, for the art and nature of the design,
nothing parallels this.J We passed over to the Pharos,
or Lantern, a tower of very great height. Here we took
horses, and made the circuit of the city as far as the new
walls, built of a prodigious height, and with Herculean
industry; witness those vast pieces of whole mountains
which they have hewn away, and blown up with gun-
powder, to render them steep and inaccessible. They are
not much less than twenty English miles in extent,

* Lassells calls it a great dish, in which they say here that our Saviour
ate the Paschal Lamb with his Disciples ; but he adds that he finds no autho-
rity for it hi any ancient writer, and the Venerable Bede writes, that the dish
used by our Saviour was of silver. Of an authentic relic of St. John he
observes that Baronius writes credibly.

j- Two brothers, named Lomellini, allow the third part of their gains.

J The break-water at Plymouth is at least as stupendous a work.

Lassells says, finished in eighteen months, and yet six miles in com-
pass. P. 83.


reaching beyond the utmost buildings of the city. From
one of these promontories we could easily discern the
island of Corsica; and from the same, eastward, we saw
a vale having a great torrent running through a most
desolate barren country ; and then turning our eyes more
northward, saw those delicious villas of St. Pietro d' Arena,
which present another Genoa to you, the ravishing retire-
ments of the Genoese nobility. Hence, with much pain,
we descended towards the Arsenal, where the galleys lie
in excellent order.

The inhabitants of this city are much affected to the
Spanish mode and stately garb.* From the narrowness
of the streets, they use sedans and litters, and not coaches.

19th. We embarked in a felucca for Livorno, or
Leghorn ; but the sea running very high, we put in at
Porto Venere, which we made with, peril, between two
narrow horrid rocks, against which the sea dashed with
great velocity ; but we were soon delivered into as great
a calm and a most ample harbour, being in the Golfo
di Spetia. From hence, we could see Pliny's Delphini
Promontorium, now called Capo fino. Here stood that
famous city of Luna, whence the port was named Lunaris,
being about two leagues over, more resembling a lake
than a haven, but defended by castles and excessive high
mountains. We landed at Lerici, where, being Sunday,
was a great procession, carrying the Sacrament about the
streets in solemn devotion. After dinner, we took post-
horses, passing through whole groves of olive-trees, the
way somewhat rugged and hilly at first, but afterwards
pleasant. Thus we passed through the towns of Sarzana
and Massa, and the vast marble quarries of Carrara, and
lodged in an obscure inn, at a place called Viregio. The
next morning, we arrived at Pisa, where I met my old
friend, Mr. Thomas Henshaw, who was then newly come

* Thus described by Lassells : "broad hats without hat-bands, broad
leather girdles with steel buckles, narrow breeches, with long-waisted doublets
and hanging sleeves. The great ladies go in guard infantas (child-preservers) ;
that is, in horrible overgrown vertigals of whalebone, which being put about
the waist of the lady, and full as broad on both sides as she can reach with
her hands, bear out her coats in such a manner, that she appears to be as
broad as long. The men look like tumblers that leap through hoops, and the
women like those that anciently danced the hobby-horse in country mummings."
P. 96.


out of Spain, and from whose company I never parted till
more than a year after.

The city of Pisa is as much worth seeing, as any in
Italy ; it has contended with Rome, Florence, Sardinia,
Sicily, and even Carthage. The palace and church of
St. Stefano (where the order of knighthood called by that
name was instituted) drew first our curiosity, the outside
thereof being altogether of polished marble ; within, it is
full of tables relating to this Order; over which hang
divers banners and pendants, with other trophies taken by
them from the Turks, against whom they are particularly
obliged to fight ; though a religious order, they are per-
mitted to marry. At the front of the palace, stands a
fountain, and the statue of the great Duke Cosmo. The
Campanile, or Settezonio, built by John Venipont, a
German, consists of several orders of pillars, thirty in a
row, designed to be much higher. It stands alone on the
right side of the cathedral, strangely remarkable for this,
that the beholder would expect it to fall, being built ex-
ceedingly declining, by a rare address of the architect;
and how it is supported from falling I think would puzzle
a good geometrician. The Duomo, or Cathedral, standing
near it, is a superb structure, beautified with six columns
of great antiquity; the gates are of brass, of admirable
workmanship. The cemetery called Campo Santo, is made
of divers galley ladings of earth formerly brought from
Jerusalem, said to be of such a nature, as to consume
dead bodies in forty hours. 'Tis cloistered with marble
arches ; and here lies buried the learned Philip Decius,
who taught in this University. At one side of this church,
stands an ample and well-wrought marble vessel, which
heretofore contained the tribute paid yearly by the city to
Caesar. It is placed, as I remember, on a pillar of opal
stone, with divers other antique urns. Near this, and in
the same field, is the Baptistery of San Giovanni, built
of pure white marble, and covered with so artificial a
cupola, that the voice uttered under it seems to break out
of a cloud. The font and pulpit, supported by four lions,
is of inestimable value for the preciousness of the materials.
The place where these buildings stand they call the Area.
Hence, we went to the College, to which joins a gallery so
furnished with natural rarities, stones, minerals, shells,


dried animals, skeletons, &c., as is hardly to be seen in
Italy. To this the Physic Garden lies, where is a noble
palm-tree, and very fine water-works. The river Arno
runs through the middle of this stately city, whence the
main street is named Lung 'Arno. It is so ample that
the Duke's galleys, built in the arsenal here, are easily
conveyed to Livorno ; over the river is an arch, the like
of which, for its flatness, and serving for a bridge, is no-
where in Europe. The Duke has a stately Palace, before
which is placed the statue of Ferdinand the Third ; over
against it is the Exchange, built of marble. Since this
city came to be under the Dukes of Tuscany, it has been
much depopulated, though there is hardly in Italy any
which exceeds it for stately edifices. The situation of it
is low and flat ; but the inhabitants have spacious gardens,
and even fields within the walls.

21st. We took coach to Livorno, through the Great
Duke's new park full of huge cork-trees, the underwood
all myrtles, amongst which were many buffaloes feeding,
a kind of wild ox, short-nose with horns reversed ; those
who work with them command them, as our bear-wards
do the bears, with a ring through the nose, and a cord.
Much of this park, as well as a great part of the country
about it, is very fenny, and the air very bad.

Leghorn is the prime port belonging to all the Duke's
territories ; heretofore a very obscure town, but since
Duke Ferninand has strongly fortified it (after the modern
way), drained the marshes by cutting a channel thence to
Pisa navigable sixteen miles, and has raised a Mole,
emulating that at Genoa, to secure the shipping, it is
become a place of great receipt ; it has also a place for the
galleys, where they lie safe. Before the sea is an ample
piazza for the market, where are the statues in copper of
the four slaves, much exceeding the life for proportion,
and, in the judgment of most artists, one of the best
pieces of modern work.* Here, especially in this piazza,
is such a concourse of slaves, Turks, Moors, and other
nations, that the number and confusion is prodigious;
some buying, others selling, others drinking, others play-

* They had attempted to steal a galley, meaning to have rowed it them-
selves ; but were taken in this great enterprise. Lassdls, p. 233.

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 91

ing, some working, others sleeping, fighting, singing,
weeping, all nearly naked, and miserably chained. Here
was a tent, where any idle fellow might stake his liberty
against a few crowns, at dice, or other hazard ; and, if he
lost, he was immediately chained and led away to the gal-
leys, where he was to serve a term of years, but from
whence they seldom returned : many sottish persons, in a
drunken bravado, would try their fortune in this way.

The houses of this neat town are very uniform, and
excellently painted d fresco on the outer walls, with
representations of many of their victories over the Turks.
The houses, though low on account of the earthquakes
which frequently happen here, (as did one during my
being in Italy), are very well built; the piazza is very
fair and commodious, and, with the church, whose four
columns at the portico are of black marble polished, gave
the first hint to the building both of the church and
piazza in Covent Garden with us, though very imperfectly

22nd. From Livorno, I took coach to Empoly, where
we lay, and the next day arrived at Florence, being
recommended to the house of SignorBaritiere, in the Piazza
del Spirito Santo, where we were exceedingly well treated.
Florence is at the foot of the Apennines, the west part
full of stately groves and pleasant meadows, beautified
with more than a thousand houses and country palaces
of note, belonging to gentlemen of the town. The river
Arno runs through this city, in a broad, but very shallow
channel, dividing it, as it were, in the middle, and over it
are four most sumptuous bridges, of stone. On that nearest
to our quarter are the four Seasons, in white marble ; on
another are the goldsmiths' shops ; at the head of the
former stands a column of ophite, upon which a statue of
Justice, with her balance and sword, cut out of porphyry,
and the more remarkable for being the first which had
been carved out of that hard material, and brought to
perfection, after the art had been utterly lost ; they say
this was done by hardening the tools in the juice of
certain herbs. This statue was erected in that corner,
because there Cosmo was first saluted with the news of
Sienna being taken.

Near this is the famous Palazzo di Strozzi, a princely


piece of architecture, in a rustic manner. The Palace of
Pitti was built Toy that family, but of late greatly beauti-
fied by Cosmo with huge square stones of the Doric,
Ionic, and the Corinthian orders, with a terrace at each
side having rustic uncut balustrades, with a fountain that
ends in a cascade seen from the great gate, and so forming a
\ista to the gardens. Nothing is more admirable than
the vacant staircase, marbles, statues, urns, pictures,
court, grotto, and water-works. In the quadrangle is a
huge jetto of water in a volto of four faces, with noble
statues at each square, especially the Diana of porphyry
above the grotto. We were here showed a prodigious
great loadstone.

The garden has every variety, hills, dales, rocks, groves,
aviaries, vivaries, fountains, especially one of five jettos,
the middle basin being one of the longest stones I ever
saw. Here is everything to make such a Paradise
delightful. In the garden I saw a rose grafted on an
orange-tree. There was much topiary-work, and columns
in architecture about the hedges. The Duke has added
an ample laboratory, over-against which stands a fort on
a, hill, where they told us his treasure is kept. In this
Palace the Duke ordinarily resides, living with his Swiss
guards, after the frugal Italian way, and even selling what
he can spare of his wines, at the cellar under his very
house, wicker bottles dangling over even the chief entrance
into the Palace, serving for a vintner's bush.

In the Church of Santo Spirito the altar and reliquary
are most rich, and full of precious stones ; there are four
pillars of a kind of serpentine, and some of blue. Hence
we went to another Palace of the Duke's, called Palazzo
Vecchio, before which is a statue of David, by Michael
Angelo, and one of Hercules, killing Cacus, the work of
Baccio Bandinelli. The quadrangle about this is of the
Corinthian order, and in the hall are many rare marbles,
as those of Leo the Tenth and Clement VII., both Popes
of the Medicean family ; also the acts of Cosmo, in rare
painting. In the chapel is kept (as they would make one
believe) the original Gospel of St. John, written with his
own hand; and the famous Florentine Pandects, and
divers precious stones. Near it is another pendent Tower
like that of Pisa, always threatening ruin.

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 93

Under the Court of Justice is a stately arcade for men
to walk in, and over that, the shops of divers rare artists
who continually work for the great Duke. Above this is
that renowned Ceimeliarcha, or Repository, wherein are
hundreds of admirable antiquities, statues of marble and
metal, vases of porphyry, &c. ; but amongst the statues
none so famous as the Scipio, the Boar, the Idol of
Apollo, brought from the Delphic Temple, and two tri-
umphant columns. Over these hang the pictures of the
most famous persons and illustrious men in arts or arms,
to the number of 300, taken out of the museum of Paulus
Jovius. They then led us into a large square room, in
the middle of which stood a cabinet of an octangular
form, so adorned and furnished with crystals, agates, and
sculptures, as exceeds any description. This cabinet is
called the Tribuna, and in it is a pearl as big as an hazel
nut.* The cabinet is of ebony, lazuli, and jasper; over
the door is a round of M. Angelo ; on the cabinet, Leo
the Tenth, with other paintings of Raphael, del Sarto,
Perugino, and Coreggio, viz. a St. John, a Virgin, a Boy,
two Apostles, two heads of Durer, rarely carved. Over
this cabinet is a globe of ivory, excellently carved; the
Labours of Hercules, in massy silver, and many incom-
parable pictures in small. There is another, which had
about it eight Oriental columns of alabaster, on each
whereof was placed a head of a Caesar, covered with a
canopy so richly set with precious stones, that they re-
sembled a firmament of stars. Within it was our Saviour's
Passion, and the twelve Apostles in amber. This cabinet
was valued at two hundred thousand crowns. In another,
with calcedon pillars, was a series of golden medals.
Here* is also another rich ebony cabinet cupolaed with a
tortoise-shell, and containing a collection of gold medals
esteemed worth 50,000 crowns; a wreathed pillar of ori-
ental alabaster, divers paintings of Da Vinci, Pontorno,
del Sarto, an Ecce Homo of Titian, a Boy of Bronzini, &c.
They shewed us a branch of coral fixed on the rock, which
they affirm does still grow. In another room, is kept
the Tabernacle appointed for the chapel of St. Laurence,

* Sir Gore Ouseley brought from Persia a picture of the Khan, which, in
1816, was in his house in Bruton-street, on whose dress are represented
pearls of such a size, as to make the one here spoken of very insignificant.


about which are placed small statues of Saints, of precious
materials ; a piece of such art and cost, that, having been
these forty years in perfecting, it is one of the most curious
things in the world. Here were divers tables of Pietra
Commesso, which is a marble ground inlaid with several
sorts of marbles and stones of various colours, represent-
ing flowers, trees, beasts, birds, and landscapes. In one is
represented the town of Leghorn, by the same hand who
inlaid the altar of St. Laurence, Domenico Benotti, of
whom I purchased nineteen pieces of the same work for a
cabinet. In a press near this they shewed an iron nail,
one half whereof being converted into gold by one Thurn-
heuser, a German chymist, is looked on as a great rarity ;
but it plainly appeared to have been soldered together.
There is a curious watch, a monstrous turquoise as big as
an egg, on which is carved an emperor's head.

In the armoury are kept many antique habits, as those
of Chinese kings ; the sword of Charlemagne ; Hannibal's
head-piece ; a loadstone of a yard long, which bears up
861bs weight, in a chain of seventeen links, such as
the slaves are tied to. In another room are such rare
turneries in ivory, as are not to be described for their
curiosity. There is a fair pillar of oriental alabaster;
twelve vast and complete services of silver plate, and one of
gold, all of excellent workmanship; a rich embroidered
saddle of pearls sent by the Emperor to this Duke ; and
here is that embroidered chair set with precious stones in
which he sits, when, on St. John's day, he receives the
tribute of the cities.

25th. We went to the Portico where the famous
statue of Judith and Holofernes stands, also the Medusa,
all of copper ; but what is most admirable is the Rape of

Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 46)