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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as big as life, in white marble, exceedingly valued ; like-
wise the Rape of the Sabines ; two cumbent figures of
Alexander and Mammea ; two monstrous feet of a colosse
of Apollo ; the sepulchre of Agrippina ; and the standard,
or antique measure, of the Roman foot. Ascending by the
steps of the other corner, are inserted four basso-relievos,
viz. the triumph and sacrifice of Marcus Aurelius, which
last, for the antiquity and rareness of the work, I caused
my painter, Carlo Neapolitano, to copy. There are also
two statues of the Muses, and one of Adrian, the Emperor :
above stands the figure of Marius, and by the wall Marsyas
bound tS a tree ; all of them excellent and antique. Above,
in the lobby, are inserted into the walls those ancient laws,
on brass, called the Twelve Tables ; a fair Madonna of
Pietro Perugino, painted on the wall ; near which are the
archives, full of ancient records.

In the great hall are divers excellent paintings of Cava-
liero Giuseppe d'Arpino, a statue in brass of Sextus V.
and of Leo X., of marble. In another hall, are many
modern statues of their late Consuls and Governors, set
about with fine antique heads; others are painted by
excellent masters, representing the actions of M. Scaevola,
Horatius Codes, &c. The room where the Conservator!
now feast upon solemn days, is tapestried with crimson
damask, embroidered with gold, having a state or baldu-
quino of crimson velvet, very rich ; the frieze above rarely
painted. Here are in brass, Romulus and Remus sucking
the wolf, of brass, with the Shepherd, Faustulus, by them;
also the boy plucking the thorn out of his foot, of brass, so
much admired by artists. There are also holy statues and
heads of Saints. In a gallery near adjoining are the names
of the ancient Consuls, Praetors, and Fasti Romani, so
celebrated by the learned ; also the figure of an old woman;


two others representing Poverty ; and more in fragments.
In another large room, furnished with velvet, are the
statue of Adonis, very rare, and divers antique heads. In
the next chamber, is an old statue of Cicero, one of another
Consul, a Hercules in brass, two women's heads of incom-
parable work, six other statues ; and, over the chimney, a
very rare basso-relievo, and other figures. In a little
lobby before the chapel, is the statue of Hannibal, a
Bacchus very antique, bustos of Pan and Mercury, with
other old heads. All these noble statues, &c., belong to
the city, and cannot be disposed of to any private person,
or removed hence, but are preserved for the honour of the
place, though great sums have been offered for them by
divers Princes, lovers of art and antiquity. We now left
the Capitol, certainly one of the most renowned places in
the world, even as now built by the design of the famous
M. Angelo.

Returning home by Ara Coeli, we mounted to it by
more than 100 marble steps, not in devotion, as I observed
some to do on their bare knees, but to see those two
famous statues of Constantine, in white marble, placed
there out of his baths. In this Church is a Madonna,
reported to be painted by St. Luke, and a column, on
which we saw the print of a foot, which they affirm to have
been that of the Angel, seen on the Castle of St. Angelo.
Here the feast of our Blessed Saviour's nativity being
yearly celebrated with divers pageants, they began to make
the preparation. Having viewed the Palace and fountain,
at the other side of the stairs, we returned weary to our

On the 7th, we went again near the Capitol, towards
the Tarpeian rock, where it has a goodly prospect of the
Tyber. Thence, descending by the Tullianum, where
they told us St. Peter was imprisoned, they showed us a
chapel (S. Pietro de Vincoli) in which a rocky side of it
bears the impression of his face. In the nave of the
church gushes a fountain, which they say was caused by
the Apostle's prayers, when having converted some of his
fellow -captives he wanted water to make them Christians.
The painting of the Ascension is by Raphael. We
then Avalked about Mount Palatinus and the Aventine,
and thence to the Circus Maximus, capable of holding

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 107

40,000 spectators, now a heap of ruins, converted into
gardens. Then, by the Forum Boarium, where they have
a tradition that Hercules slew Cacus, some ruins of his
temple remaining. The Temple of Janus Quadrifrons,
having four arches, importing the four Seasons, and on
each side niches for the months, is still a substantial and
pretty entire antiquity. Near to this is the Arcus Argen-
tariorum. Bending now towards the Tyber, we went into
the Theatre of Marcellus, which would hold 80,000 per-
sons, built by Augustus, and dedicated to his nephew ; the
architecture, from what remains, appears to be inferior to
none. It is now wholly converted into the house of the
Savelli, one of the old Roman families. The people were
now generally busy in erecting temporary triumphs and
arches with statues and flattering inscriptions against his
Holiness's grand procession to St. John di Laterani,
amongst which the Jews also began one in testimony of
gratitude for their protection under the Papal State. The
Palazzo Barberini, designed by the present Pope's archi-
tect, Cavaliero Bernini, seems from the size to be as princely
an object, as any modern building in Europe. It has a
double portico, at the end of which we ascended by two
pair of oval stairs, all of stone, and void in the well. One of
these led us into a stately hall, the volto whereof was newly
painted a fresco, by the rare hand of Pietro Berretini il
Cortone. To this is annexed a gallery completely fur-
nished with whatever art can call rare and singular, and a
library full of worthy collections, medals, marbles, and
manuscripts ; but, above all, an Egyptian Osyris, remark-
able for its unknown material and antiquity. In one of
the rooms near this hangs the Sposaliccio of St. Sebastian,
the original of Annibal Caracci, of which I procured a
copy, little inferior to the prototype ; a table, in my judg-
ment, superior to anything I had seen in Rome. In the
court is a vast broken guglia, or obelisk, having divers
hieroglyphics cut on it.

8th. We visited the Jesuit's Church, the front whereof
is esteemed a noble piece of architecture, the design
of Jacomo della Porta, and the famous Vignola. In this
church lies the body of their renowned Ignatius Loyola,
an arm of Xaverius, their other Apostle; and, at the
right end of their high altar, their champion, Cardinal


Bellarmine. Here, Father Kircher (professor of Mathe-
matics and the oriental tongues) showed us many singular
courtesies, leading us into their refectory, dispensatory,
laboratory, gardens, and finally (through a hall hung
round with pictures of such of their order as had been
executed for their pragmatical and busy adventures) into
his own study, where, with Dutch patience, he showed us
his perpetual motions, catoptrics, magnetical experiments,
models, and a thousand other crotchets and devices, most
of them since published by himself, or his industrious
scholar, Schotti.

Returning home, we had time to view the Palazzo de
Medicis, which was an house 'of the Duke of Florence
near our lodging, upon the brow of Mons Pincius, having
a fine prospect towards the Campo Marzo. It is a magni-
ficent, strong building, with a substruction very remarkable,
and a portico supported with columns towards the gardens,
with two huge lions, of marble, at the end of the balustrade.
The whole outside of ihefacciata is incrusted with antique
and rare basso-relievos and statues. Descending into the
garden, is a noble fountain governed by a Mercury of
brass. At a little distance, on the left, is a lodge full of
fine statues, amongst which the Sabines, antique and
singularly rare. In the arcade near this stand twenty-
four statues of great price, and hard by is a mount planted
with cypresses, representing a fortress, with a goodly
fountain in the middle. Here is also a row balustred with
white marble, covered over with the natural shrubs, ivy,
and other perennial greens, divers statues and heads being
placed as in niches. At a little distance, are those famed
statues of Niobe and her family, in all fifteen, as large as
the life, of which we have ample mention in Pliny, esteemed
among the best pieces of work in the world for the passions
they express, and all other perfections of that stupendous
art. There is likewise in this garden a fair obelisk, full of
hieroglyphics. In going out, the fountain before the front
casts water near fifty feet in height, when it is received in
a most ample marble basin. Here they usually rode the
great horse every morning ; which gave me much diversion
from the terrace of my own chamber, where I could see all
their motions. This evening, I was invited to hear rare
music at the Chie'sa Nova ; the black marble pillars within

1C44.] JOHN EVELYN. 109

led us to that most precious oratory of Philippus Nerius,
their founder ; they being of the oratory of secular priests,
under no vow. There are in it divers good pictures, as
the Assumption of Girolamo Mutiano ; the Crucifix ; the
Visitation of Elizabeth ; the Presentation of the Blessed
Virgin; Christo Sepolto, of Guido Rheno, Caravaggio,
Arpino, and others. This fair church consists of fourteen
altars, and as many chapels. In it is buried (besides their
Saint) Caesar Baronius, the great annalist. Through this,
we went into the sacrista, where, the tapers being lighted,
one of the Order preached ; after him stepped up a child
of eight, or nine years old, who pronounced an oration
with so much grace, that I never was better pleased than
to hear Italian so well and so intelligently spoken. This
course it seems they frequently use, to bring their scholars
to a habit of speaking distinctly, and forming their action
and assurance, which none so much want as ours in
England. This being finished, began their motettos, which,
in a lofty cupola richly painted, were sung by eunuchs,
and other rare voices, accompanied by theorboes, harpsi-
chords, and viols, so that we were even ravished with the
entertainment of the evening. This room is painted by
Cortona, and has in it two figures in the niches, and the
church stands in one of the most stately streets of Rome.

10th. We went to see Prince Ludovisio's villa, where
was formerly the Viridartum of the poet, Sallust. The
house is very magnificent, and the extent of the ground
exceedingly large, considering that it is in a city ; in
every quarter of the garden are antique statues, and walks
planted with cypress. To this garden belongs a house
of retirement, built in the figure of a cross, after a par-
ticular ordonnance, especially the staircase. The whiteness
and smoothness of the excellent pargeting was a thing
I much observed, being almost as even and polished, as if
it had been of marble. Above, is a fair prospect of the
city. In one of the chambers hang two famous pieces of
Bassano, the one a Vulcan, the other a Nativity ; there is
a German clock full of rare and extraordinary motions ;
and, in a little room below, are many precious marbles,
columns, urns, vases, and noble statues of porphyry, oriental
alabaster, and other rare materials. About this fabric is
an ample area, environed with sixteen vast jars of red


earth, wherein the Romans used to preserve their oil, or
wine rather, which they buried, and such as are properly
called testa. In the Palace I must never forget the famous
statue of the Gladiator, spoken of by Pliny, so much
followed by all the rare artists as the many copies testify,
dispersed through almost all Europe, both in stone and
metal. There is also a Hercules^a head of porphyry, and
one of Marcus Aurelius. In the villa-house is a man's
body flesh and all, petrified, and even converted to marble,
as it was found in the Alps, and sent by the Emperor to
one of the Popes ; it lay in a chest, or coffin, lined with
black velvet, and one of the arms being broken, you may
see the perfect bone from the flesh which remains entire.
The Rape of Proserpine, in marble, is of the purest white,
the work of Bernini. In the cabinet near it are innume-
rable small brass figures, and other curiosities. But what
some look upon as exceeding all the rest, is a very rich
bedstead (which sort of gross furniture the Italians much
glory in, as formerly did our grandfathers in England in
their inlaid wooden ones) inlaid with all sorts of precious
stones and antique heads, onyxes, agates, and cornelians,
esteemed to be worth 80 or 90,000 crowns. Here are also
divers cabinets and tables of the Florence work, besides
pictures in the gallery, especially the Apollo a conceited
chair to sleep in with the legs stretched out, with hooks,
and pieces of wood to draw out longer or shorter.

From this villa, we went to see Signor Angeloni's study,
who very courteously showed us such a collection of rare
medals as is hardly to be paralleled ; divers good pictures,
and many outlandish and Indian curiosities, and things
of nature.

From him, we walked to Monte Cavallo, heretofore
called Mons Quirinalis, where we saw those two rare
horses, the work of the rivals Phidias and Praxiteles,
as they were sent to Nero [by Tiridates King] out of
Armenia. They were placed on pedestals of white marble
by Sextus V., by whom I suppose their injuries were
repaired, and are governed by four naked slaves, like
those at the foot of the Capitol. Here runs a most noble
fountain, regarding four of the most stately streets for
building and beauty to be seen in any city of Europe.
Opposite to these statues is the Pope's summer palace,

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. ]_]_]_

built by Gregory XIII.; and, in ray opinion, it is, for
largeness and the architecture, one of the most conspicuous
in Rome, having a stately portico which leads round the
court under columns, in the centre of which there runs a
beautiful fountain. The chapel is incrusted with such
precious materials, that nothing can be more rich, or
glorious, nor are the other ornaments and moveables about
it at all inferior. The hall is painted by Lanfranci, and
others. The garden, which is called the Belvedere di
Monte Cavallo, in emulation to that of the Vatican, is
most excellent for air and prospect ; its exquisite fountains,
close walks, grots, piscinas, or stews for fish, planted
about with venerable cypresses, and refreshed with water-
music, aviaries, and other rarities.

1 2th. We saw Dioclesian's Baths, whoseruins testify the
vastness of the original foundation and magnificence;
by what M. Angelo took from the ornaments about it,
'tis said he restored the then almost lostart of archi-
tecture. This monstrous pile was built by the labour of
the primitive Christians, then under one of the ten great
persecutions. The Church of St. Bernardo is made out
of one only of these ruinous cupolas, and is in the form
of an urn with a cover.

Opposite to this, is the Fontana delle Therme, otherwise
called Fans Felix ; in it is a basso-relievo of white marble,
representing Moses striking the rock, which is adorned
with camels, men, women, and children drinking, as large
as life ; a work for the design and vastness truly magnifi-
cent. The water is conveyed no less than twenty-two
miles in an aqueduct by Sextus V. ex agro Columna, by
way of Prseneste as the inscription testifies. It gushes
into three ample lavers raised about with stone, before
which are placed two lions of a strange black stone, very
rare and antique. Near this are the store-houses for the
city's corn, and over-against it the Church of St. Susanna,
where were the gardens of Sallust. The facciata of this
church is noble, the soffito within gilded and full of
pictures ; especially famous is that of Susanna, by Baldassa
di Bologna. The tribunal of the high altar is of exquisite
work, from whose marble steps you descend under-ground
to the repository of divers Saints. The picture over this


altar is the work of Jacomo Siciliano. The foundation is
for Bernadine Nuns.

Santa Maria della Vittoria presents us with the most
ravishing front. In this church was sung the Te Deum
by Gregory XV., after the signal victory of the Emperor
at Prague ; the standards then taken still hang up, and
the impress waving this motto over the Pope's arms,
Extirpentur, I observed that the high altar was much
frequented for an image of the Virgin. It has some rare
statues : as Paul ravished into the third heaven, by Fia-
mingo, and some good pictures. From this, we bent
towards Dioclesian's Baths, never satisfied with contem-
plating that immense pile, in building which 150,000
Christians were destined to labour fourteen years, and
were then all murdered. Here is a monastery of Carthu-
sians, called Santa Maria degli Angeli, the architecture of
M. Angelo, and the cloister encompassing walls in an
ample garden.

Mont Alto's villa is entered by a stately gate of stone
built on the Viminalis, and is no other than a spacious
park full of fountains, especially that which salutes us at the
front ; stews for fish ; the cypress walks are so beset with
statues, inscriptions, relievos, and other ancient marbles,
that nothing can be more stately and solemn. The citron
trees are uncommonly large. In the Palace joining to it
are innumerable collections of value. Returning, we
stepped into St. Agnes church, where there is a tribunal of
antique mosaic, and on the altar a most rich ciborio of
brass, with a statue of St. Agnes in oriental alabaster.
The church of Santa Constanza has a noble cupola. Here
they showed us a stone ship borne on a column heretofore
sacred to Bacchus, as the relievo intimates by the drunken
emblems and instruments wrought upon it. The altar is
of rich porphyry, as I remember. Looking back, we had
the entire view of the Via Pia down to the two horses
before the Monte Cavallo, before mentioned, one of the
most glorious sights for state and magnificence that any
city can shoAV a traveller. We returned by Porta Pia and
the Via Salaria, near Campo Scelerato, in whose gloomy
caves the wanton Vestals were heretofore immured alive.

Thence to Via Felix, a straight and noble street, but

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 113

very precipitous, till we came to the four fountains of
Lepidus, built at the abutments of four stately ways,
making an exact cross of right angles; and, at the
fountains, are as many cumbent figures of marble, under
very large niches of stone, the water pouring into huge
basins. The church of St. Carlo is a singular fabric for
neatness, of an oval design, built of a new white stone ;
the columns are worth notice. Under it is another church
of a structure nothing less admirable.

Next, we came to Santa Maria Maggiore, built upon the
Esquiline Mountain, which gives it a most conspicuous
face to the street at a great distance. The design is mixed,
partly antique, partly modern. Here they affirm that the
Blessed Virgin appearing, showed where it should be built
300 years since. The first pavement is rare and antique ;
so is the portico built by P. P. Eugenius II. The ciborio
is the work of Paris Romano, and the tribunal of Mosaic.

We were showed in the church a concha of porphyry,
wherein they say Patricius, the founder, lies. This is one
of the most famous of the seven Roman Churches, and is,
in my opinion at least, after St. Peter's, the most magnifi-
cent. Above all, for incomparable glory and materials,
are the two chapels of Sextus V. and Paulus V. That of
Sextus was designed by Dom. Fontana, in which are two
rare great statues, and some good pieces of painting ; anr 1
here they pretended to show some of the Holy Innocents*
bodies slain by Herod : as also that renowned tabernacle
of metal, gilt, sustained by four angels, holding as many
tapers, placed on the altar. In this chapel is the statue of
Sextus, in copper, with basso-relievos of most of his famous
acts, in Parian marble ; but that of P. Paulus, which we
next entered, opposite to this, is beyond all imagination
glorious, and above description. It is so encircled with
agates, and other most precious materials, as to dazzle and
confound the beholders. The basso-relievos are for the
most part of pure snowy marble, intermixed with figures of
molten brass, double gilt, on lapis lazuli. The altar is a
most stupendous piece; but most incomparable is the
cupola painted by Giuseppe Rheni, and the present Bagli-
oni, full of exquisite sculptures. There is a most sumptuous
sacristia ; and the piece over the altar was by the hand of
St. Luke; if you will believe it. Paulus V. hath here



likewise built two other altars ; under the one lie the bones
of the Apostle, St. Matthias. In another oratory, is the
statue of this Pope, and the head of the Congo Ambassador,
who was converted at Rome, and died here. In a third
chapel, designed by Michael Angelo, lie the bodies of Platina,
and the Cardinal of Toledo, Honorius III., Nicephorus IV.,
the ashes of St. Hierom, and many others. In that of
Sextus V., before mentioned, was showed us part of the
crib in which Christ was swaddled at Bethlehem ; there is
also the statue of Pius V. ; and, going out at the further
end, is the resurrection of Lazarus, by a very rare hand.
In the portico, is this late inscription : " Cardinal Antonio
Barberino Archypresbytero, aream marmoream quam
Christianorum pietas exsculpsit, laborante sub Tyrannis
ecclesia, ut esset loci sanctitate venerabilior, Franciscus
Gualdus Arm. Eques S. Stephani e suis sedibus hue trans-
tulit et ornavit, 1632." Just before this portico, stands a
very sublime and stately Corinthian column, of white
marble, translated hither for an ornament from the old
Temple of Peace, built by Vespasian, having on the plinth
of the capital the image of our Lady, gilt on metal ; at the
pedestal runs a fountain. Going down the hill, we saw the
obelisk taken from the Mausoleum of Augustus, and
erected in this place by Domenico Fontana, with this
epigraph : " Sextus V. Pont. Max. Obeliscum ex Egypto
advectum, Augusti in Mausoleo dicatum, eversum, deinde
et in plures confractum partes, in via ad S. Rochum
jacentem, in pristinam faciem restitution Salutiferse Cruci
felicius hie erigi jussit, anno MDLXXXVIII., Pont. Ill" :
and so we came weary to our lodgings.

At the foot of this hill, is the Church of St. Prudentia,
in which is a well filled with the blood and bones of several
martyrs, but grated over with iron, and visited by many
devotees. Near this stands the church of her sister,
S. Praxedeis, much frequented for the same reason. In a
little obscure place, cancelled in with iron work, is the
pillar, or stump, at which they relate our Blessed Saviour
was scourged, being full of bloody spots, at which the
devout sex are always rubbing their chaplets, and convey
their kisses by a stick having a tassel on it. Here, besides
a noble statue of St. Peter, is the tomb of the famous
Cardinal Cajetan, an excellent piece : and here they hold

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 115

that St. Peter said his first mass at Rome, with the same
altar and the stone he kneeled on, he having been first
lodged in this house, as they compute about the forty-
fourth year of the Incarnation. They also show many
relics, or rather rags, of his mantle. St. Laurence in
Panisperna did next invite us, where that martyr was
cruelly broiled on the gridiron, there yet remaining. St.
Bridget is buried in this church under a stately monument.
In the front of the pile is the suffering of St. Laurence
painted a fresco on the wall. The fabric is nothing but
Gothic. On the left, is the Therma Novatii ; and, on the
right, Agrippina's Lavacrum.

14th. We passed again through the stately Capitol and
Campo Vaccino towards the Amphitheatre of Vespasian,
but first stayed to look at Titus's Triumphal Arch, erected
by the people of Rome, in honour of his victory at Jerusa-
lem ; on the left hand whereof he is represented drawn in
a chariot with four horses abreast ; on the right-hand, or
side of the arch within, is sculptured in figures, or basso-
relievo as big as the life (and in one entire marble) the Ark
of the Covenant, on which stands the seven-branched
candlestick described in Leviticus, as also the two Tables
of the Law, all borne on men's shoulders by the bars, as
they are described in some of St. Hierom's bibles ; before
this, go many crowned and laureated figures, and twelve
Roman fasces, with other sacred vessels. This much con-
firmed the idea I before had ; and, therefore, for the light

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 13 of 46)