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 15 of 46)
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calamitate f ractum, Circi Maximi minis humo, limoq ; alte demersum,
multa impensa extraxit, hunc in 'locum magno labore transtulit,
formaq ; pristina accurate vestitum, Cruci invictissimse dicavit anno

On the fourth :

Constantinus per Crucem Victor a Silvestro hie Baptizatus Crucis
gloriam propagavit.

Leaving this wonderful monument, (before which is a
stately public fountain, with a statue of St. John in the
middle of it) we visited his Holiness's Palace, being a
little on the left hand, the design of Fontana, architect to
Sextus V. This I take to be one of the best Palaces in

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 12?

Borne ; but not staying, we entered the church of St. John
di Laterano, which is properly the Cathedral of the Roman
See, as I learned by these verses engraven upon the archi-
trave of the portico :

Dogmate Papali datnr, et simul Imperial!

Quod sim cunctarum mater caput Ecclesiaru

Hinc Salvatoris coelestia regna datoris

Nomine Sanxerunt, cum cuncta peracta fuerunt ;

Sic vos ex toto conversi supplice voto

Nostra quod haec sedes ; tibi Christe sit inclyta sedes.

It is called Lateran, from a noble family formerly dwell-
ing it seems hereabouts, on Mons Cselius. The church is
Gothic, and hath a stately tribunal ; the paintings are of
Pietro Pisano. It was the first church that was conse-
crated with the ceremonies now introduced, and where
altars of stone supplied those of wood heretofore in use,
and made like large chests for the easier removal in times
of persecution ; such an altar is still the great one here
preserved, as being that on which (they hold) St. Peter
celebrated mass at Rome ; for which reason none but the
Pope may now presume to make that use of it. The
pavement is of all sorts of precious marbles, and so are
the walls to a great height, over which it is painted a fresco
with the life and acts of Constantine the Great, by most
excellent masters. The organs are rare, supported by four
columns. The soffito is all richly gilded, and full of
pictures. Opposite to the porta is an altar of exquisite
architecture with a tabernacle on it all of precious stones,
the work of Targoni ; on this is a coena of plate, the in-
vention of Curtius Vanni, of exceeding value ; the tables
hanging over it are of Giuseppe d'Arpino. About this
are four excellent columns transported out of Asia by the
Emperor Titus, of brass double gilt, about twelve feet in
height ; the walls between them are incrusted with marble
and set with statues in niches, the vacuum reported to be
filled with holy earth, which St. Helena sent from Jeru-
salem to her son, Constantine, who set these pillars where
they now stand. At one side of this is an oratory full of
rare paintings and monuments, especially those* of the
great Connestabile Colonna. Out of this we came into
the Sacristia, full of good pictures of Albert and others.
At the end of the church is a flat stone supported by four


pillars which they affirm to have been the exact height of
our Blessed Saviour, and say they never fitted any mortal
man that tried it, but he was either taller or shorter ; two
columns of the veil of the Temple which rent at his
passion ; the stone on which they threw lots for his seam-
less vesture; and the pillar on which the cock crowed,
after Peter's denial; and, to omit no fine thing, the just
length of the Virgin Mary's foot as it seems her shoemaker
affirmed ! Here is a sumptuous cross beset with precious
stones, containing some of the very wood of the holy
cross itself; with many other things of this sort : also
numerous most magnificent monuments, especially those
of St. Helena, of porphyry; Cardinal Farneze; Martin I.,
of copper ; the pictures of Mary Magdalen, Martin V.,
Laurentius Valla, &c., are of Gaetano; the Nunciata,
designed by M. Angelo ; and the great crucifix of Ser-
moneta. In a chapel at one end of the porch is a statue
of Henry IV. of France, in brass, standing in a dark hole,
and so has done many years ; perhaps from not believing
him a thorough proselyte. The two famous (Ecumenical
Councils were celebrated in this Church by Pope Simachus,
Martin I., Stephen, &c.

Leaving this venerable church, (for in truth it has a
certain majesty in it) we passed through a fair and large
hospital of good architecture, having some inscriptions
put up by Barberini, the late Pope's nephew. We then
went by St. Sylvia, where is a noble statue of St. Gre-
gory P., begun by M. Angelo ; a St. Andrew, and the
bath of St. Cecilia. In this church are some rare paint-
ings, especially that story on the wall of Guido Rheni.
Thence, to St. Giovanni e Paula, where the friars are
reputed to be great chymists. The choir, roof, and paint-
ings in the tribuna are excellent.

Descending the Mons Cselius, we came against the
vestiges of the Palazzo Maggiore, heretofore the Golden
House of Nero ; now nothing but a heap of vast and
confused ruins, to show what time and the vicissitude of
human things does change from the most glorious and
magnificent to the most deformed and confused. We next
went into St. Sebastian's Church, which has a handsome
front : then we passed by the place where Romulus and
Remus were taken up by Faustulus, the Forum Romanum,


and so by the edge of the Mons Palatinus ; where we
saw the ruins of Pompey's house, and the Church of
St. Anacletus ; and so into the Circus Maximus, heretofore
capable of containing a hundred and sixty thousand
spectators, but now all one entire heap of rubbish, part of
it converted into a garden of pot-herbs. We concluded
this evening with hearing the rare voices and music at the
Chiesa Nova.

21st. I was carried to see a great virtuoso, Cavaliero
Pozzo, who showed us a rare collection of all kind of
antiquities, and a choice library, over which are the effigies
of most of our late men of polite literature. He had a
great collection of the antique basso-relievos about Rome,
which this curious man had caused to be designed in
several folios : many fine medals ; the stone which Pliny
calls Enhydros ; it had plainly in it the quantity of half
a spoonful of water, of a yellow pebble colour, of the
bigness of a walnut. A stone paler than an amethyst,
which yet he affirmed to be the true carbuncle, and harder
than a diamond; it was set in a ring, without foil, or
anything at the bottom, so as it was transparent, of
a greenish yellow, more lustrous than a diamond. He
had very pretty things painted on crimson velvet, designed
in black, and shaded and heightened with white, set in
frames ; also a number of choice designs and drawings.

Hence, we walked to the Suburra and ^Erarium Saturni,
where yet remain some ruins and an inscription. From
thence to St. Pietro in vinculis, one of the seven churches
on the Esquiline, an old and much-frequented place of
great devotion for the relics there, especially the bodies of
the seven Maccabean brethren, which lie under the altar.
On the wall is a St. Sebastian, of mosaic, after the Greek
manner: but what I chiefly regarded, was, that noble
sepulchre of Pope Julius II., the work of M. Angelo; with
that never-sufficiently-to-be-admired statue of Moses, in
white marble, and those of Vita Contemplativa and Activa,
by the same incomparable hand. To this church belongs
a monastery, in the court of whose cloisters grow two tall
and very stately palm-trees. Behind these, we walked a
turn amongst the Baths of Titus, admiring the strange
and prodigious receptacles for water, which the vulgar call
the Setti Sali, now all in heaps.


22nd. Was the solemn and greatest ceremony of all
the State Ecclesiastical, viz., the procession of the Pope
(Innocent X.) to St. John di Laterano, which, standing
on the steps of Ara Celi, near the Capitol, I saw pass in
this manner: First went a guard of Switzers to make
way, and divers of the avant-guard of horse carrying
lances. Next followed those who carried the robes of the
Cardinals, two and two ; then the Cardinal's mace-bearers;
the caudatari, on mules ; the masters of their horse ; the
Pope's barber, tailor, baker, gardener, and other domestic
officers, all on horseback, in rich liveries ; the squires be-
longing to the Guard; five men in rich liveries led five
noble Neapolitan horses, white as snow, covered to the
ground, with trappings richly embroidered ; which is a
service paid by the King of Spain for the kingdoms of
Naples and Sicily, pretended feudatories to the Pope ;
three mules of exquisite beauty and price, trapped in
crimson velvet ; next followed three rich litters with
mules, the litters empty ; the master of the horse alone,
with his squires ; five trumpeters ; the armerieri estra
muros ; the fiscal and consistorial advocates ; capellani,
camerieri de honore, cubiculari and chamberlains, called

Then followed four other camerieri, with four caps
of the dignity-pontifical, which were Cardinals' hats car-
ried on staves ; four trumpets ; after them, a number of
noble Romans and gentlemen of quality, very rich, and
followed by innumerable staffieri and pages ; the secreta-
ries of the chancellaria, abbreviatori-accoliti in their long
robes, and on mules ; auditori di rota ; the dean of the
roti and master of the sacred palace, on mules, with grave,
but rich foot-clothes, and in flat episcopal hats ; then went
more of the Roman and other nobility and courtiers, with
divers pages in most rich liveries on horseback ; fourteen
drums belonging to the Capitol ; the marshals with their
staves ; the two syndics ; the conservators of the city, in
robes of crimson damask; the knight-confalionier and
prior of the R. R., in velvet toques ; six of his Holiness's
mace-bearers ; then the captain, or governor, of the Castle
of St. Angelo, upon a brave prancer ; the governor of the
city ; on both sides of these two long ranks of Switzers ;
the masters of the ceremonies ; the cross-bearer on horse-


back, with two priests at each, hand on foot ; pages, foot-
men, and guards, in abundance. Then came the Pope
himself, carried in a litter, or rather open chair, of crimson
velvet, richly embroidered, and borne by two stately
mules ; as he went, he held up two fingers, blessing the
multitude who were on their knees, or looking out of their
windows and houses, with loud vivas and acclamations of
felicity to their new Prince. This chair was followed by
the master of his chamber, cup-bearer, secretary, and phy-
sician ; then came the Cardinal-Bishops, Cardinal- Priests,
Cardinal-Deacons, Patriarchs, Archbishops, and Bishops,
all in their several and distinct habits, some in red, others
in green flat hats with tassels, all on gallant mules richly-
trapped with velvet, and led by their servants in great
state and multitudes ; after them, the apostolical protono-
tari, auditor, treasurer, and referendaries ; lastly, the
trumpets of the rear-guard, two pages of arms in helmets
with feathers and carrying lances ; two captains ; the pon-
tifical standard of the Church ; the two alfieri, or cornets,
of the Pope's light horse, who all followed in armour and
carrying lances; which, with innumerable rich coaches,
litters, and people, made up the procession. What they
did at St. John di Laterano, I could not see, by reason of
the prodigious crowd ; so I spent most of the day in view-
ing the two triumphal arches which had been purposely
erected a few days before, and till now covered ; the one
by the Duke of Parma, in the Foro Romano, the other by
the Jews in the Capitol, with nattering inscriptions. They
were of excellent architecture, decorated with statues and
abundance of ornaments proper for the occasion, since they
were but temporary, and made up of boards, cloth, &c.,
painted and framed on the sudden, but as to outward
appearance solid and very stately. The night ended with
fire-works. What I saw was that which was built before
the Spanish Ambassador's house, in the Piazza del Trinita,
and another, before that of the French. The first ap-
peared to be a mighty rock, bearing the Pope's Arms,
a dragon, and divers figures, which being set on fire by
one who flung a rocket at it, kindled immediately, yet
preserving the figure both of the rock and statues a very
long time ; insomuch as it was deemed ten thousand
reports of squibs and crackers spent themselves in order.



That before the French Ambassador's Palace was a Diana
drawn in a chariot by her dogs, with abundance of other
figures as large as the life, which played with fire in the
same manner. In the mean time, the windows of the
whole city were set with tapers put into lanterns, or
sconces, of several coloured oiled paper, that the wind
might not annoy them; this rendered a most glorious
show. Besides these, there were at least twenty other
fire-works of vast charge and rare art for their invention
before divers Ambassadors, Princes, and Cardinals' Palaces,
especially that on the castle of St. Angelo, being a pyramid
of lights, of great height, fastened to the ropes and cables
which support the standard-pole. The streets were this
night as light as day, full of bonfires, cannon roaring,
music playing, fountains running wine, in all excess of joy
and triumph.

23rd. I went to the Jesuits' College again, the front
whereof gives place to few for its architecture, most of
its ornaments being of rich marble. It has within a
noble portico and court, sustained by stately columns, as
is the corridor over the portico, at the sides of which are
the schools for arts and sciences, which are here taught
as at the University. Here I heard Father Athanasius
Kircher upon a part of Euclid, which he expounded. To
this joins a glorious and ample church for the students ;
a second is not fully finished ; and there are two noble
libraries, where I was showed that famous wit and histo-
rian, Famianus Strada. Hence, we went to the house
of Hippolito Vitellesco, (afterwards bibliothecary of the
Vatican library,) who showed us one of the best collections
of statues in Rome, to which he frequently talks as if
they were living, pronouncing now and then orations,
sentences, and verses, sometimes kissing and embracing
them. He has a head of Brutus scarred in the face by
order of the Senate for killing Julius; this is much
esteemed. Also a Minerva, and others of great value.
This gentleman not long since purchased land in the
kingdom of Naples, in hope, by digging the ground, to
find more statues; which it seems so far succeeded, as
to be much more worth than the purchase. We spent
the evening at the Chiesa Nova, where was excellent
music; but, before that began, the courteous fathers led

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 133

me into a nobly furnished library, contiguous to their most
beautiful convent.

28th. I went to see the garden and house of the Aldo-
brandini, now Cardinal Borghese's. This Palace is, for
architecture, magnificence, pomp, and state, one of the
most considerable about the city. It has four fronts, and
a noble piazza before it. Within the courts, under arches
supported by marble columns, are many excellent statues.
Ascending the stairs, there is a rare figure of Diana, of
white marble. The St. Sebastian and Hermaphrodite
are of stupendous art. For paintings, Our Saviour's Head,
by Coreggio ; several pieces of Raphael, some of which are
small; some of Bassano Veronese; the Leda, and two
admirable Venuses, are of Titian's pencil; so is the Psyche
and Cupid ; the Head of St. John, borne by Herodias ; two
heads of Albert Durer, very exquisite. We were shown
here a fine cabinet and tables of Florence-work in stone.
In the gardens are many fine fountains, the walls covered
with citron-trees, which, being rarely spread, invest the
stone-work entirely; and, towards the street, at a back-
gate, the port is so handsomely clothed with ivy as much
pleased me. About this palace are many noble antique
bassi-relievi : two especially are placed on the ground,
representing armour, and other military furniture of the Ro-
mans; beside these, stand about the garden numerous rare
statues, altars, and urns. Above all, for antiquity and
curiosity (as being the only rarity of that nature now
known to remain) is that piece of old Roman painting
representing the Roman Sponsalia, or celebration of their
marriage, judged to be 1400 years old, yet are the colours
very lively and the design very entire, though found
deep in the ground. For this morsel of painting's sake
only, it is said the Borghesi purchased the house, be-
cause this being on a wall in a kind of banqueting-
house in the garden, could not be removed, but passes with
the inheritance.

29th. I a second time visited the Medicean Palace,
being near my lodging, the more exactly to have a view
of the noble collections that adorn it, especially the bassi-
relievi and antique friezes inserted about the stone-work
of the house. The Saturn, of metal, standing in the por-
tico, is a rare piece ; so is the Jupiter and Apollo, in the


hall. We were now led into those rooms above we could
not see before, full of incomparable statues and antiquities;
above all, and haply preferable to any in the world, are
the Two Wrestlers, for the inextricable mixture with each
others' arms and legs is stupendous. In the great chamber
is the Gladiator, whetting a knife ; but the Venus is with-
out parallel, being the master-piece of one whose name
you see graven under it in old Greek characters ; nothing
in sculpture ever approached this miracle of art. To this
add Marcius, Ganymede, a little Apollo playing on a pipe;
some relievi incrusted on the palace-walls ; and an antique
vasa of marble, near six feet high. Among the pictures
may be mentioned the Magdalen and St. Peter, weeping.
I pass over the cabinets and tables of pietra commessa,
being the proper invention of the Florentines. In one of
the chambers is a whimsical chair, which folded into so
many varieties, as to turn into a bed, a bolster, a table, or
a couch. I had another walk in the garden, where are
two huge vasas, or baths of stone.

I went farther up the hill to the Pope's Palaces at
Monte Cavallo, where I now saw the garden more exactly,
and found it to be one of the most magnificent and plea-
sant in Rome. I am told the gardener is annually allowed
2000 scudi for the keeping of it. Here I observed hedges
of myrtle above a man's height ; others of laurel, oranges,
nay, of ivy and juniper; the close walks, and rustic grotto;
a cryptall, of which the laver, or basin, is of one vast,
entire, antique porphyry, and below this flows a plentiful
cascade; the steps of the grotto and the roofs being of rich
mosaic. Here are hydraulic organs, a fish-pond, and an
ample bath. From hence, we went to taste some rare
Greco ; and so home.

Being now pretty weary of continual walking, I kept
within, for the most part, till the 6th December; and,
during this time, I entertained one Signor Alessandro,
who gave me some lessons on the theorbo.

The next excursion was over the Tiber, which I crossed
in a ferry-boat, to see the Palazzo di Ghisi, standing
in Transtevere, fairly built, but famous only for the paint-
ing a fresco on the volto of the portico towards the garden;
the story is the Amours of Cupid and Psyche, by the
hand of the celebrated Raphael d'Urbino. Here you

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 135

always see painters designing and copying after it, being
esteemed one of the rarest pieces of that art in the world ;
and with great reason. I must not omit that incomparable
table of Galatea (as I remember), so carefully preserved in
the cupboard at one of the ends of this walk, to protect it
from the air, being a most lively painting. There are
likewise excellent things of Baldassare, and others.

Thence we went to the noble house of the Duke of
Bracciano, fairly built, with a stately court and fountain.

Next, we walked to St. Mary's Church, where was the
Taberna Meritoria, where the old Roman soldiers received
their triumphal garland, which they ever after wore. The
high altar is very fair, adorned with columns of porphyry :
here is also some mosaic work about the choir, and the
Assumption is an esteemed piece. It is said that this
church was the first that was dedicated to the Virgin at
Rome. In the opposite piazza is a very sumptuous

12th December. I went again to St. Peter's, to see the
chapels, churches, and grots under the whole church (like
our St. Faith's under Paul's), in which lie interred a multi-
tude of Saints, Martyrs, and Popes; amongst them our
countryman, Adrian IV., (Nicholas Brekespere) in a chest
of porphyry; St. J. Chrysostom ; Petronella; the heads of
St. James Minor, St. Luke, St. Sebastian, and our Thomas
& Becket; a shoulder of St. Christopher; an arm of
Joseph of Arimathea; Longinus; besides 134 more
Bishops, Soldiers, Princes, Scholars, Cardinals, Kings,
Emperors, their wives ; too long to particularize.

Hence we walked into the cemetery, called Campo
Santo, the earth consisting of several ship-loads of mould,
transported from Jerusalem, which consumes a carcase in
twenty-four hours. To this joins that rare hospital, where
once was Nero's Circus ; the next to this is the Inquisition-
house and prison, the inside whereof, I thank God, I was
not curious to see. To this joins his Holiness's Horse-

On Christmas-eve, I went not to bed, being desirous of
seeing the many extraordinary ceremonies performed then
in their churches, as midnight masses and sermons. I
walked from church to church the whole night in admira-
tion at the multitude of scenes and pageantry which the


friars had with much industry and craft set out, to catch
the devout women and superstitious sort of people, who
never parted without dropping some money into a vessel
set on purpose ; but especially observable was the puppetry
in the Church of the Minerva, representing the Nativity.
I thence went and heard a sermon at the Apollinare ; by
which time it was morning. On Christmas-day, his Holi-
ness sang mass, the artillery at St. Angelo went off, and
all this day was exposed the cradle of our Lord.

29th. We were invited by the English Jesuits to dinner,
being their great feast of Thomas [a Becket] of Canter-
bury. We dined in their common refectory, and after-
wards saw an Italian comedy acted by their alumni before
the Cardinals.

1645. January. We saw pass the new officers of the
people of Rome ; especially, for their noble habits were
most conspicuous, the three Consuls, now called Conserva-
tors, who take their places in the Capitol, having been
sworn the day before between the hands of the Pope. We
ended the day with the rare music at the Chiesa Nova.

6th. Was the ceremony of our Saviour's baptism in
the Church of St. Athanasius, and at Ara Cell was
a great procession, del Bambino, as they call it, where
were all the magistrates, and a wonderful concourse of

7th. A sermon was preached to the Jews, at Ponte Sisto,
who are constrained to sit till the hour is done ; but it is
with so much malice in their countenances, spitting, hum-
ming, coughing, and motion, that it is almost impossible
they should hear a word from the preacher. A conversion
is very rare.

14th. The heads of St. Peter and St. Paul are exposed
at St. John Laterano.

15th. The zitelle, or young wenches, which are to have
portions given them by the Pope, being poor, and to marry
them, walked in procession to St. Peter's, where the
Veronica was showed.

I went to the Ghetto, where the Jews dwell as in a
suburb by themselves; being invited by a Jew of my
acquaintance to see a circumcision. I passed by the
Piazza Judea, where their seraglio begins; for, being
environed with walls, they are locked up every night. In

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 137

this place remains yet part of a stately fabric, which my
Jew told me had been a palace of theirs for the ambassador
of their nation, when their country was subject to the
Romans. Being led through the Synagogue into a pri-
vate house, I found a world of people in a chamber : by
and bye came an old man, who prepared and laid in order
divers instruments brought by a little child of about seven
years old in a box. These the man laid in a silver basin ;
the knife was much like a short razor to shut into the
haft. Then they burnt some incense in a censer, which
perfumed the room all the while the ceremony was per-
forming. In the basin was a little cap made of white
paper like a capuchin's hood, not bigger than the finger ;

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 15 of 46)