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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also a paper of a red astringent powder, I suppose of bole;
a small instrument of silver, cleft in the middle at one end
to take up the prepuce withal ; a fine linen cloth wrapped
up. These being all in order, the women brought the
infant swaddled, out of another chamber, and delivered it
to the Rabbi, who carried and presented it before an altar,
or cupboard, dressed up, on which lay the five Books of
Moses, and the Commandments, a little unrolled. Before
this, with profound reverence, and mumbling a few words,
he waved the child to and fro awhile ; then he delivered it
to another Rabbi, who sate all this time upon a table.
Whilst the ceremony was performing, all the company fell
singing a Hebrew hymn, in a barbarous tone, waving
themselves to and fro; a ceremony they observe in all
their devotions. The Jews in Rome all wear yellow hats,
live only upon brokage and usury, very poor and despicable,
beyond what they are in other territories of Princes where
they are permitted.

18th. I went to see the Pope's Palace, the Vatican,
where he for the most part keeps his Court. It was
first built by Pope Simachus, and since augmented to a
vast pile of building by his successors. That part of it
added by Sextus V. is most magnificent. This leads us
into divers terraces arched sub dio, painted by Raphael
with the Histories of the Bible, so esteemed, that artists
come from all parts of Europe to make their studies from
these designs. The foliage and grotesque about some of
the compartments are admirable.* In another room are

* Painted by John of Udine, scholar of Raphael, from the designs of
Raphael. Painter's Voyage of Italy, p. 17.


represented at large, maps and plots of most countries in
the world, in vast tables, with brief descriptions. The
stairs which ascend out of St. Peter's portico into the first
hall, are rarely contrived for ease ; these lead into the hall of
Gregory XIII., the walls whereof, half way to the roof, are
incrusted with most precious marbles of various colours
and works. So is also the pavement inlaid work ; but
what exceeds description is, the volta, or roof itself, which
is so exquisitely painted, that it is almost impossible for the
skilfullest eye to discern whether it be the work of the
pencil upon a flat, or of a tool cut deep in stone.' The
B/ota dentata, in this admirable perspective, on the left
hand as one goes out, the Stella, &c., are things of art
incomparable. Certainly this is one of the most superb
and royal apartments in the world, much too beautiful for
a guard of gigantic Switzers, who do nothing but drink
and play at cards in it. Going up these stairs is a
painting of St. Peter, walking on the sea towards our

Out of this I went into another hall, just before the
chapel, called the Sala del Conclave, full of admirable
paintings ; amongst others, is the Assassination of Coligni,
the great [Protestant] French Admiral, murdered by the
Duke of Guise, in the Parisian massacre at the nuptials of
Henry IV. with Queen Margaret; under it is written,
"Coligni et sociorum csedes:" on the other side, "Rex
Coligi necem probat."

There is another very large picture, under which is
inscribed :

"Alexander Papa III., Frederic! Primi Imperatoris iram et impetum
fugiens, abdidit se Venetijs ; cognitum et a senatu perhonorifice suscep-
tum, Othone Imperatoris filio navali pralio victo captoq ; Fredericus,
pace facta, supplex adorat ; fidem et obedientiaiu pollicitus. Ita Pon-
tifici sua dignitas Venet. Reip. beneficio restituta JICLXXVIII."*

This inscription I the rather took notice of, because
Urban VIII. had caused it to be blotted out during the
difference between him and that State; but it was now

* " Pope Alexander III., flying from the wrath and violence of the Emperor
Frederick I., took shelter at Venice, where he was acknowledged, and most
honourably received by the Senate. The Emperor's son, Otho, being con-
quered and taken in a naval battle, the Emperor, having made peace, became
a suppliant to the Pope, promising fealty and obedience. Thus his dignity
was restored to the Pontiff, by the aid of the Republic of Venice, MCLXXYIII."


restored and refreshed by his successor, to the great
honour of the Venetians. The battle of Lepanto is another
fair piece here.

Now we came into the Pope's chapel, so much cele-
brated for the Last Judgment painted by M. Angelo
Buonarotti. It is a painting in fresco, upon a dead wall
at the upper end of the chapel, just over the high altar, of
a vast design and miraculous fancy, considering the multi-
tude of naked figures and variety of posture. The roof
also is full of rare work. Hence, we went into the sacristia,
where were showed all the most precious vestments, copes,
and furniture of the chapel. One priestly cope, with the
whole suite, had been sent from one of our English Henrys,
and is shown for a great rarity. There were divers of the
Pope's pantoufles that are kissed on his foot, having rich
jewels embroidered on the instep, covered with crimson
velvet; also his tiara, or triple crown, divers mitres,
crosiers, &c., all bestudded with precious stones, gold, and
pearl, to a very great value ; a very large cross, carved (as
they affirm) out of the holy wood itself; numerous uten-
sils of crj'stal, gold, agate, amber, and other costly materials
for the altar.

We then went into those chambers painted with the
Histories of the burning of Rome, quenched by the pro-
cession of a Crucifix ; the victory of Constantine over
Maxentius ; St. Peter's delivery out of Prison ; all by
Julio Romano,* and are therefore called the Painters'
Academy, because you always find some young men or
other designing from them ; a civility which is not refused
in Italy, where any rare pieces of the old and best masters
are extant, and which is the occasion of breeding up many
excellent men in that profession.

The Sala Clementina's Suffito is painted by Cherubin
Alberti, with an ample landscape of Paul Bril's.

We were then conducted into a new gallery, whose sides
were painted with views of the most famous places, towns,
and territories in Italy, rarely done, and upon the roof
the chief Acts of the Roman Church since St. Peter's pre-
tended See there. It is doubtless one of the most magni-
ficent galleries in Europe. Out of this we came into the
Consistory, a noble room, the volto painted in grotesque,

* A famous scholar of Raphael.


as I remember. At the upper end, is an elevated throne
and a baldacchino, or canopy of state, for his Holiness,
over it.

From thence, through a very long gallery (longer, I
think, than the French Kings at the Louvre), but only of
bare walls, we were brought into the Vatican Library.
This passage was now full of poor people, to each of
whom, in his passage to St. Peter's, the Pope gave a mezzo
grosse. I believe they were in number near 1500 or 2000

This library is the most nobly built, furnished, and
beautified of any in the world ; ample, stately, light, and
cheerful, looking into a most pleasant garden. The walls
and roof are painted, not with antiques and grotesques,
like our Bodleian at Oxford, but emblems, figures, dia-
grams, and the like learned inventions, found out by the
wit and industry of famous men, of which there are now
whole volumes extant. There were likewise the effigies of
the most illustrious men of letters and fathers of the
church, with divers noble statues, in white marble, at the
entrance, viz., Hippolytus and Aristides. The General
Councils are painted on the side-walls. As to the ranging
of the books, they are all shut up in presses of wainscot,
and not exposed on shelves to the open air, nor are the
most precious mixed amongst the more ordinary, which are
showed to the curious only ; such are those two Virgils
written on parchment, of more than a thousand years old ;
the like, a Terence; the Acts of the Apostles in golden
capital letters ; Petrarch's Epigrams, written with his own
hand ; also a Hebrew parchment, made up in the ancient
manner, from whence they were first called Volumina, with
the Cornua; but what we English do much inquire after,
the book which our Henry VIII. writ against Luther.*

The largest room is 100 paces long; at the end is the
gallery of printed books ; then the gallery of the Duke of
Urban's library, in which are MSS. of remarkable minia-

* This very book, by one of those curious chances that occasionally happen,
has recently been brought to England, where the Editor has seen it ; and,
what is very remarkable, wherever the title of Defender of the Faith is sub-
joined to the name of Henry, the Pope has drawn his pen through the title.
The name of the King occurs in his own hand-writing both at the beginning
and end ; and, on the binding, are the Royal Arms. The present possessor
purchased it in Italy for a few shillings from an old book-stall.


ture, and divers China, Mexican, Samaritan, Abyssinian,
and other oriental books.

In another wing of the edifice, 200 paces long, were all
the books taken from Heidelberg, of which the learned
Gruter, and other great scholars, had been keepers. These
walls and volto are painted with representations of the
machines invented by Domenico Fontana for erection of
the obelisks ; and the true design of Mahomet's sepulchre,
at Mecca.

Out of this we went to see the Conclave, where, during
a vacancy, the Cardinals are shut up till they are agreed
upon a new election ; the whole manner whereof was
described to us.

Hence we went into the Pope's Armoury, under the
Library. Over the door is this inscription :


I hardly believe any Prince in Europe is able to show a
more completely furnished library of Mars, for the quality
and quantity, which is 40,000 complete for horse and foot,
and neatly kept. Out of this we passed again by the long
gallery, and at the lower end of it down a very large pair
of stairs, round, without any steps as usually, but descend-
ing with an evenness so ample and easy, that a horse-litter,
or coach, may with ease be drawn up ; the sides of the
vacuity are set with columns : those at Amboise, on the
Loire, in France, are something of this invention, but
nothing so spruce. By these, we descended into the
Vatican gardens, called Belvedere, where entering first
into a kind of court, we were showed those incomparable
statues (so famed by Pliny and others) of Laocoon with
his three sons embraced by a huge serpent, all of one
entire Parian stone, very white and perfect, somewhat
bigger than the life, the work of those three celebrated
sculptors, Agesandrus, Polydorus, and Artemidorus, Rho-
dians ; it was found amongst the ruins of Titus's Baths,
and placed here. Pliny says this statue is to be esteemed
before all pictures and statues in the world ; and I am of
his opinion, for I never beheld anything of art approach it.
Here are also those two famous images of Nilus with the
Children playing about him, and that of Tyber ; Romulus
and Remus with the "Wolf; the dying Cleopatra; the


Venus and Cupid, rare pieces; the Mercury; Cybel;
Hercules ; Apollo ; Antinolis : most of which are, for
defence against the weather, shut up in niches with wainscot
doors. We were likewise showed the relics of the Hadrian
Moles, viz. the Pine, a vast piece of metal which stood on
the summit of that mausoleum ; also a peacock of copper,
supposed to have been part of Scipio's monument.

In the garden without this (which contains a vast circuit
of ground) are many stately fountains, especially two
casting water into antique lavers, brought from Titus's
Baths; some fair grots and water-works, that noble cascade
where the ship dances, with divers other pleasant inven-
tions, walks, terraces, meanders, fruit-trees, and a most
goodly prospect over the greatest part of the city. One
fountain under the gate I must not omit, consisting of
three jettos of water gushing out of the mouths or probosces
of bees (the arms of the late Pope), because of the
inscription :

Quid miraris Apem, quse mel de floribus haurit ?
Si tibi mellitam gutture fundit aquam.

23rd. We went without the walls of the city to visit
St. Paul's, to which place it is said the Apostle bore his own
head after Nero had caused it to be cut off. The church
was founded by the Great Constantine ; the main roof is
supported by 100 vast columns of marble, and the mosaic
work of the great arch is wrought with a very ancient
story A 440 ; as is likewise that of the facciata. The gates
are brass, made at Constantinople in 1070, as you may
read by those Greek verses engraven on them. The church is
near 500 feet long and 258 in breadth, and has five great
aisles joined to it, on the basis of one of whose columns is
this odd title : " PI. Eugenius Asellus C. C. Prsef. Urbis
V. S.I. reparavit." Here they showed us that miraculous
Crucifix which they say spake to St. Bridget : and, just
before the Ciborio, stand two excellent statues. Here are
buried part of the bodies of St. Paul and St. Peter. The
pavement is richly interwoven with precious oriental
marbles about the high altar, where are also four excel-
lent paintings, whereof one, representing the stoning of
St. Stephen, is by the hand of a Bolognian lady, named
Lavinia. The tabernacle on this altar is of excellent

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 143

architecture, and the pictures in the Chapel del Sacramento
are of Lanfranco. Divers other relics there be also in this
venerable church, as a part of St. Anna ; the head of the
Woman of Samaria ; the chain which bound St. Paul, and
the Eculeus used in tormenting the primitive Christians.
The church stands in the Via Ositensis, about a mile from
the walls of the city, separated from any buildings near it
except the Trie Fontana, to which (leaving our coach) we
walked, going over the mountain or little rising, upon
which story says a hundred seventy and four thousand
Christians had been martyred by Maximianus, Dioclesian,
and other bloody tyrants. On this stand St. Vincent's
and St. Anastasius; likewise the Church of St. Maria
Scala del Cielo, in whose Tribuna is a very fair mosaic
work. The Church of the Trie Fontana (as they are
called) is perfectly well built, though but small (whereas
that of St. Paul is but Gothic), having a noble cupola in
the middle ; in this they show the pillar to which St. Paul
was bound, when his head was cut off, and from whence
it made three prodigious leaps, where there immediately
broke out the three remaining fountains, which give
denomination to this church. The waters are reported to
be medicinal ; over each is erected an altar and a chained
ladle, for better tasting of the waters. That most excellent
picture of St. Peter's Crucifixion is of Guido.

25th. I went again to the Palazzo Farnese, to see some
certain statues and antiquities which, by reason of the
Major-Domo not being within, I could not formerly obtain.
In the hall stands that triumphant Colosse of one of the
family, upon three figures, a modern, but rare piece. About
it stood some Gladiators ; and, at the entrance into one of
the first chambers, are two cumbent figures of Age and
Youth, brought hither from St. Peter's, to make room for
the Longinus under the cupola. Here was the statue of a
ram running at a man on horseback, a most incomparable
expression of Fury, cut in stone ; and a table of pietra-
commessa, very curious. The next chamber was all painted
a fresco, by a rare hand, as was the carving in wood of the
ceiling, which, as I remember, was in cedar, as the Italian
mode is, and not poor plaster, as ours are ; some of them
most richly gilt. In a third room, stood the famous
Venus, and the child Hercules strangling a serpent, of


Corinthian brass, antique, on a very curious basso-relievo ;
the sacrifice to Priapus ; the Egyptian Isis, in the hard black
ophite stone, taken out of the Pantheon, greatly celebrated
by the antiquaries : likewise two tables of brass, containing
divers old Roman laws. At another side of this chamber,
was the statue of a wounded Amazon falling from her
horse, worthy the name of the excellent sculptor, whoever
the artist was. Near this was a bass-relievo of a Baccha-
nalia, with a most curious Silenus. The fourth room was
totally environed with statues ; especially observable was
that so renowned piece of a Venus looking backward over
her shoulder, and divers other naked figures, by the old
Greek masters. Over the doors are two Venuses, one of
them looking on her face in a glass, by M. Angelo ; the
other is painted by Caracci. I never saw finer faces,
especially that under the mask, whose beauty and art are
not to be described by words. The next chamber is also
full of statues ; most of them the heads of Philosophers,
very antique. One of the Csesars and another of Hannibal
cost 1200 crowns. Now I had a second view of that never-
to-be- sufficiently-admired gallery, painted in deep relievo,
the work of ten years' study, for a trifling reward. In the
wardrobe above they showed us fine wrought plate, porce-
lain, mazers of beaten and solid gold, set with diamonds,
rubies, and emeralds ; a treasure, especially the workman-
ship considered, of inestimable value. This is all the Duke
of Parma's. Nothing seemed to be more curious and rare
in its kind than the complete service of the purest crystal,
for the altar of the chapel, the very bell, cover of a book,
sprinkler, &c., were all of the rock, incomparably sculptured,
with the holy story in deep Levati ; thus was also wrought
the crucifix, chalice, vases, flower-pots, the largest and
purest crystal that my eyes ever beheld. Truly I looked
on this as one of the greatest curiosities I had seen in
Rome. In another part, were presses furnished, with
antique arms, German clocks, perpetual motions, watches,
and curiosities of Indian works. A very ancient picture
of Pope Eugenius ; a St. Bernard ; and a head of marble
found long since, supposed to be a true portrait of our
Blessed Saviour's face.

Hence, we went to see Dr. Gibbs, a famous poet and
countryman of ours, who had some intendency in an


Hospital built on the Via Triumphalis, called Christ's
Hospital, which he showed us. The Infirmatory, where
the sick lay, was paved with various coloured marbles, and
the walls hung with noble pieces ; the beds are very fair ;
in the middle is a stately cupola, under which is an altar
decked with divers marble statues, all in sight of the sick,
who may both see and hear mass, as they lie in their beds.
The organs are very fine, and frequently played on to
recreate the people in pain. To this joins an apartment
destined for the orphans; and there is a school: the
children wear blue, like ours in London, at an hospital of
the same appellation. Here are forty nurses, who give
suck to such children as are accidentally found exposed and
abandoned. In another quarter, are children of a bigger
growth, 450 in number, who are taught letters. In another,
500 girls, under the tuition of divers religious matrons, in a
monastery, as it were, by itself. I was assured there were
at least 2000 more maintained in other places. I think
one apartment had in it near 1000 beds; these are in a
very long room, having an inner passage for those who
attend, with as much care, sweetness, and conveniency as
can be imagined, the Italians being generally very neat.
Under the portico, the sick may walk out and take the air.
Opposite to this, are other chambers for such as are sick of
maladies of a more rare and difficult cure, and they have
rooms apart. At the end of the long corridor is an apothe-
cary's shop, fair and very well stored; near which are cham-
bers for persons of better quality, who are yet necessitous.
Whatever the poor bring is, at their coming in, delivered to-
a treasurer, who makes an inventory, and is accountable
to them, or their representatives, if they die.

To this building joins the house of the commendator,
who, with his officers attending the sick, make up ninety
persons ; besides a convent and an ample church for the
friars and priests who daily attend. The church is
extremely neat, and the sacristia is very rich. Indeed it is
altogether one of the most pious and worthy foundations I
ever saw. Nor is the benefit small which divers young
physicians and chirurgeons reap by the experience they
learn here amongst the sick, to whom those students have
free access. Hence, we ascended a very steep hill, near
the Port St. Pancratio, to that stately fountain called Acqua
Paula, being the aqueduct which Augustus had brought to



Rome, now re-edified by Paulus V. ; a rare piece of archi-
tecture, and which serves the city after a journey of thirty-
five miles, here pouring itself into divers ample lavers, out
of the mouths of swans and dragons, the arms of this Pope.
Situate on a very high mount, it makes a most glorious
show to the city, especially when the sun darts on the
waters as it gusheth out. The inscriptions on it are :

Paulus V.RomanusPontifex Opt. Max. Aquaeductus ab AugustoCaesare
extructos, ssvi longinqua vetustate collapsos, in ampliorem formam
restituit anno salutis M. D. CIX. Pont. V.

And, towards the fields,

Paulus V. Rom. Pontifex Optimus Maximus, priori ductu longissimi
temporis injuria pene diruto, sublimiorem


[One or more leaves are here wanting in Mr. Evelyn's MS. descrip-
tive of other parts of Rome, and of his leaving the City.]

Thence to Velletri, a town heretofore of the Volsci, where
is a public and fair statue of P. Urban VIII., in brass, and
a stately fountain in the street. Here we lay, and drank
excellent wine.

28th. We dined at Sermonetta, descending all this
morning down a stony mountain, unpleasant, yet full
of olive-trees ; and, anon, pass a tower built on a rock,
kept by a small guard against the banditti who infest these
parts, daily robbing and killing passengers, as my Lord
Banbury and his company found to their cost a little
before. To this guard we gave some money, and so were
suffered to pass, which was still on the Appian to the Tres
Taberna (whither the brethren came from Rome to meet
"St. Paul, Acts, c. 28) ; the ruins whereof are yet very fair,
resembling the remainder of some considerable edifice, as
may be judged by the vast stones and fairness of the arched
work. The country environing this passage is hilly, but
rich ; on the right hand stretches an ample plain, being
the Pomptini Campi. We reposed this night at Piperno,
in the post-house without the town ; and here I was
extremely troubled with a sore hand, from a mischance at
Rome, which now began to fester, upon my base, unlucky,
stiff-necked, trotting, carrion mule ; which are the most
wretched beasts in the world. In this town was the poet
Virgil's Camilla born.

The day following, we were fain to hire a strong convoy

J645.] JOHN EVELYN. 147

of about thirty firelocks, to guard us through the cork-
woods (much infested with the banditti) as far as Fossa
Nuova, where was the Forum Appii, and now stands a
church with a great monastery, the place where Thomas
Aquinas both studied and lies buried. Here we all
alighted, and were most courteously received by the Monks,
who showed us many relics of their learned Saint, and at
the high altar the print forsooth of the mule's hoof which
he caused to kneel before the Host. The church is old,
built after the Gothic manner; but the place is very
agreeably melancholy. After this, pursuing the same
noble [Appian] way (which we had before left a little), we
found it to stretch from Capua to Rome itself, and after-
wards as far as Brundusium. It was built by that famous
Consul, twenty-five feet broad, every twelve feet some-
thing ascending for the ease and firmer footing of horse
and man ; both the sides are also a little raised for those
who travel on foot. The whole is paved with a kind of
beach-stone, and, as I said, ever and anon adorned with
ome old ruin, sepulchre, or broken statue. In one of
these monuments Pancirollus tells us that, in the time of
Paul III., there was found the body of a young lady,
swimming in a kind of bath of precious oil, or liquor, fresh
and entire as if she had been living, neither her face dis-
coloured, nor her hair disordered; at her feet burnt a
lamp, which suddenly expired at the opening of the vault ;
having flamed, as was computed, now 1500 years, by the
conjecture that she was Tulliola, the daughter of Cicero,

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 16 of 46)