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 18 of 46)
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they showed us huge bones, which they affirm to have
been of some giant.

We went to see the ruins of the old haven, so compact
with that bituminous sand in which the materials are laid,
as the like is hardly to be found, though all this has not
been sufficient to protect it from the fatal concussions of
several earthquakes (frequent here) which have^ almost
demolished it, thirteen vast piles of marble only remain-
ing ; a stupendous work in the bosom of Neptune ! To
this joins the bridge of Caligula, by which (having now
embarked ourselves) we sailed to the pleasant Baia, almost
four miles in length, all which way that proud Emperor
would pass in triumph. Here we rowed along towards a
villa of the orator Cicero's, where we were showed the
ruins of his Academy ; and, at the foot of a rock, his Baths,
the waters reciprocating their tides with the neighbouring
sea. Hard at hand, rises Mount Gaurus, being, as I
conceived, nothing save a heap of pumices, which here
float in abundance on the sea, exhausted of all inflammable
matter by the fire, which renders them light and porous,
so as the beds of nitre, which lie deep under them, having
taken fire, do easily eject them. They dig much for
fancied treasure said to be concealed about this place.
From hence, we coasted near the ruins of Portus Julius,
where we might see divers stately palaces that had been
swallowed up by the sea after earthquakes. Coming to
shore, we pass by the Lucrine Lake, so famous heretofore
for its delicious oysters, now producing few or none, being
divided from the sea by a bank of incredible labour, the
supposed work of Hercules ; it is now half choked up with
rubbish, and by part of the new mountain, which rose
partly out of it, and partly out of the sea, and that in the

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 159

space of one night and a day, to a very great altitude, on
the 29th September, 1538, after many terrible earthquakes,
which ruined divers places thereabout, when at midnight
the sea retiring near 200 paces, and yawning on the sud-
den, it continued to vomit forth flames and fiery stones in
such quantity, as produced this whole mountain by their
fall, making the inhabitants of Pozzolo to leave their
habitations, supposing the end of the world had been

From the left part of this, we walked to the Lake
Avernus, of a round form, and totally environed with
mountains. This lake was feigned by the Poet for the
gates of hell, by which JEneas made his descent, and
where he sacrificed to Pluto and the Manes. The waters
are of a remarkable black colour ; but I tasted of them
without danger ; hence, they feign that the river Styx has
its source. At one side, stand the handsome ruins of a
temple dedicated to Apollo, or rather Pluto, but it is con-
troverted. Opposite to this, having new lighted our
torches, we enter a vast cave, in which having gone about
two hundred paces, we pass a narrow entry which leads us
into a room of about ten paces long, proportionable broad
and high ; the side walls and roof retain still the golden
mosaic, though now exceedingly decayed by time. Here
is a short cell, or rather niche, cut out of the solid rock,
somewhat resembling a couch, in which they report
that the Sibylla lay, and uttered her Oracles; but it is
supposed by most to have been a bath only. This subter-
ranean grot leads quite through to Cuma, but is in some
places obstructed by the earth which has sunk in, so as we
were constrained back again, and to creep on our bellies,
before we came to the light. It is reported Nero had
once resolved to cut a channel for two great galleys that
should have extended to Ostia, 150 miles distant. The
people now call it Licola.

From hence, we ascended to that most ancient city of
Italy, the renowned Cuma, built by the Grecians. It
stands on a very eminent promontory, but is now a heap
of ruins. A little below, stands the Arco Felice, hereto-
fore part of Apollo's Temple, with the foundations of divers
goodly buildings; amongst whose heaps are frequently
found statues and other antiquities, by such as dig for


them. Near this is the Lake Acherutia, and Acheron.
Returning to the shore, we came to the Bagni de Tritoli
and Diana, which are only long narrow passages cut
through the main rock, where the vapours ascend so hot,
that entering with the body erect you will even faint with
excessive perspiration; but, stooping lower, as sudden a
cold surprises. These sudatories are much in request
for many infirmities. Now we entered the haven of the
Baise, where once stood that famous town, so called from
the companion of Ulysses here buried not without great
reason celebrated for one of the most delicious places that
the sun shines on, according to that of Horace :

Nullus in Orbe locus Bails prselucet amcenis.

Though, as to the stately fabrics, there now remain little
save the ruins, whereof the most entire is that of Diana's
Temple, and another of Venus. Here were those famous
poles of lampreys that would come to hand when called by
name, as Martial tells us. On the summit of the rock
stands a strong castle garrisoned to protect the shore from
Turkish pirates. It was once the retiring place of Julius

Passing by the shore again, we entered Bauli, obser-
vable from the monstrous murder of Nero committed on
his mother Agrippina. Her sepulchre was yet showed us
in the rock, which we entered, being covered with sundry
heads and figures of ^beasts. We saw there the roots of a
tree turned into stone, and are continually dropping.

Thus having viewed the foundations of the old Cimmeria,
the palaces of Marius, Pompey, Nero, Hortensius, and
other villas and antiquities, we proceeded towards the
promontory of Misenus, renowned for the sepulchre
of ^Eneas's Trumpeter. It was once a great city, now
hardly a ruin, said to have been built from this place
to the promontory of Minerva, fifty miles distant, now
discontinued and demolished by the frequent earth-
quakes. Here was the villa of Caius Marius, where Tibe-
rius Caesar died ; and here runs the Aqueduct, thought to
be dug by Nero, a stupendous passage, heretofore nobly
arched with marble, as the ruins testify. Hence, we
walked to those receptacles of water called Piscina Mira-
bilis, being a vault of 500 feet long, and twenty-two in


breadth, the roof propped up with four ranks of square
pillars, twelve in a row ; the walls are brick, plastered over
with such a composition as for strength and politure
resembles white marble. 'Tis conceived to have been
built by Nero, as a conservatory for fresh water ; as were
also the Centi Camerelli, into which we were next led.
All these crypta being now almost sunk into the earth,
show yet their former amplitude and magnificence.

Returning towards the Baia, we again pass the Elysian
Fields, so celebrated by the poets, nor unworthily, for their
situation and verdure, being full of myrtles and sweet
shrubs, and having a most delightful prospect towards the
"Tyrrhene Sea. Upon the verge of these remain the ruins
of the Mercato di Saboto, formerly a Circus ; over the
arches stand divers urns, full of Roman ashes.

Having well satisfied our curiosity among these antiqui-
ties, we retired to our felucca, which rowed us back again
towards Pozzolo, at the very place of St. Paul's landing.
Keeping along the shore, they showed us a place where
"the sea-water and sands did exceedingly boil. Thence, to
the island Nesis, once the fabulous Nymph ; and thus we
leave the Baia, so renowned for the sweet retirements of
ihe most opulent and voluptuous Romans. They certainly
were places of uncommon amenity, as their yet tempting
-site, and other circumstances of natural curiosities, easily
invite me to believe, since there is not in the world so
many stupendous rarities to be met with, as in the circle of
a few miles which environ these blissful abodes.

8th. Returned to Naples, we went to see the Arsenal,
well furnished with galleys and other vessels. The city
is crowded with inhabitants, gentlemen and merchants.
The government is held of the Pope by an annual
tribute of 40,000 ducats and a white jennet; but the
Spaniard trusts more to the power of those his natural
subjects there ; Apulia and Calabria yielding him near
four millions of crowns yearly to maintain it. The country
is divided into thirteen Provinces, twenty Archbishops,
and one-hundred-and-seven Bishops ; the estates of the
nobility, in default of the male line, reverting to the King.
Besides the Vice-Roy, there is amongst the Chief Magis-
trates a High Constable, Admiral, Chief Justice, Great
Chamberlain, and Chancellor, with a Secretary; these



being prodigiously avaricious, do wonderfully enrich them-
selves out of the miserable people's labour, silks, manna,
sugar, oil, wine, rice, sulphur, and alum ; for with all these
riches is this delicious country blest. The manna falls at
certain seasons on the adjoining hills in form of a thick
dew. The very winter here is a summer, ever fruitful, so
that in the middle of February we had melons, cherries,
apricots, and many other sorts of fruit.

The building of the city is for the size the most magni-
ficent of any in Europe, the streets exceeding large, well-
paved, having many vaults and conveyances under them
for the sulliage ; which renders them very sweet and clean,
even in the midst of winter. To it belongeth more than
3000 churches and monasteries, and these the best built
and adorned of any in Italy. They greatly affect the
Spanish gravity in their habit ; delight in good horses ;
the streets are full of gallants on horseback, in coaches and
sedans, from hence brought first into England by Sir
Sanders Duncomb. The women are generally well-featured,
but excessively libidinous. The country-people so jovial
and addicted to music, that the very husbandmen almost
universally play on the guitar, singing and composing songs
in praise of their sweethearts, and will commonly go to the
field with their fiddle ; they are merry, witty, and genial ;
all which I much attribute to the excellent quality of the
air. They have a deadly hatred to the French, so that
some of our company were flouted at for wearing red cloaks,
as the mode then was.

This I made the non ultra of my travels, sufficiently
sated with rolling up and down, and resolving within
myself to be no longer an individuum vagum, if ever I got
home again ; since, from the report of clivers experienced
and curious persons, I had been assured there was little
more to be seen in the rest of the civil world, after Italy,
France, Flanders, and the Low Countries, but plain and
prodigious barbarism.

Thus, about the 7th of February, we set out on our re-
turn to Rome by the same way we came, not daring to
adventure by sea, as some of our company were inclined to
do, for fear of Turkish pirates hovering on that coast ; nor
made we any stay save at Albano, to view the celebrated
place and sepulchre of the famous duellists who decided the

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 163

ancient quarrel between their imperious neighbours with
the loss of their lives. These brothers, the Horatii and
Curiatii, lie buried near the highway, under two ancient
pyramids of stone, now somewhat decayed and overgrown
with rubbish. We took the opportunity of tasting the
wine here, which is famous.

Being arrived at Rome on the 13th February, we were
again invited to Signor Angeloni's study,* where with
greater leisure we surveyed the rarities, as his cabinet and
medals especially, esteemed one of the best collections of
them in Europe. He also showed us two antique lamps,
one of them dedicated to Pallas, the other Laribus Sacru',
as appeared by their inscriptions ; some old Roman rings
and keys ; the Egyptian Isis, cast in iron ; sundry rare
basso-relievos; good pieces of painting, principally the
Christ of Correggio, with this painter's own face admirably
done by himself; divers of both the Bassanos ; a great
number of pieces by Titian, particularly the Triumphs ;
an infinity of natural rarities, dried animals, Indian habits
and weapons, shells, &c. ; divers very antique statues of
brass ; some lamps of so fine an earth, that they resembled
cornelians, for transparency and colour ; hinges of Corin-
thian brass, and one great nail of the same metal found in
the ruins of Nero's golden house.

In the afternoon, we ferried over to Transtevere, to the
Palace of Gichi,f to review the works of Raphael : and,
returning by St. Angelo, we saw the castle as far as was
permitted, and on the other side considered those admirable
pilasters supposed to be of the foundation of the Pons
Sublicius, over which Horatius Codes passed ; here anchor
three or four water-mills, invented by Belizarius : and
thence had another sight of the Farnesi's gardens, J and
of the terrace where is that admirable painting of Raphael,
being a Cupid playing with a Dolphin, wrought a fresco,
preserved in shutters of wainscot, as well it merits, being
certainly one of the most wonderful pieces of work in the

14th. I went to Santa Cecilia, a church built and
endowed by Cardinal Sfrondaeti, who has erected a
stately altar near the body of this martyr, not long before
found in a vesture of silk girt about, a veil on her head,

*See p. 110. f See. p. 134. JSee p. 102.


and the bloody scars of three wounds on the neck ; the
body is now in a silver chest, with her statue over it, in
snow-white marble. Other Saints lie here, decorated with
splendid ornaments, lamps, and incensories of great cost.
A little farther, they show us the Bath of St. Cecilia, to
which joins a Convent of Friars, where is the picture of the
Flagellation by Vanni, and the columns of the portico,
taken from the Baths of Septimius Severus.

15th. Mr. Henshaw and I walked by the Tyber, and
visited the Stola Tybertiua (now St. Bartholomew's),
formerly cut in the shape of a ship, and wharfed with
marble, in which a lofty obelisk represented the mast.
In the Church of St. Bartholomew is the body of the
Apostle. Here are the ruins of the Temple of j?Escula-
pius, now converted into a stately hospital and a pretty
convent. Opposite to it, is the convent and church of St.
John Calabita, where I saw nothing remarkable, save an old
broken altar. Here was the Temple of Fortuna Virilis.
Hence, we went to a cupola, now a church, formerly dedi-
cated to the Sun. Opposite to it, Santa Maria Schola
Grseca, where formerly that tongue was taught, said to
be the second church dedicated in Rome to the Blessed
Virgin, bearing also the title of a Cardinalate. Behind
this stands the great altar of Hercules, much demolished.
Near this, being at the foot of Mount Aventine, are the
Pope's salt-houses. Ascending the hill, we came to St.
Sabina, an ancient fabric, formerly sacred to Diana;
there, in a chapel, is an admirable picture, the work of
Li via Fontana, set about with columns of alabaster, and
in the middle of the church is a stone, cast, as they report,
by the Devil at St. Dominic, whilst he was at mass. Hence,
we travelled towards a heap of rubbish, called the Marmo-
rata, on the bank of the Tyber, a magazine of stones, and
near which formerly stood a triumphal arch, in honour of
Horatius vanquishing the Tuscans. The ruins of the
bridge yet appear.

We were now got to Mons Testaceus, an heap of pot-
sherds, almost 200 feet high, thought to have been thrown
there and amassed by the subjects of the Commonwealth
bringing their tribute in earthen vessels, others (more
probably) that it was a quarter of the town where potters
lived; at the summit Rome affords a noble prospect.

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 165

Before it is a spacious green, called the Hippodrome,
where Olympic games were celebrated, and the people
mustered, as in our London Artillery-ground. Going
hence, to the old wall of the city, we much admired the
pyramid, or tomb, of Caius Cestius, of white marble, one
of the most ancient entire monuments, inserted in the
wall, with this inscription :

"C. Cestius L. F. Fob. Epulo (an order of priests) Pr. Tr. pi. VII.
Vir. Epulonum."

And a little beneath :

" Opus absolutum ex testamento diebus CCCXXX. arbitratu. Ponti
P. F. Cla. Melse Heredis et Pothi L."

At the left hand, is the Port of St. Paul, once Ter-
gemina, out of which the three Horatii passed to encounter
the Curiatii of Albano. Hence, bending homewards by
St. Saba, by Antoninus's Baths (which we entered) is the
marble Sepulchre of Vespasian. The thickness of the
walls and stately ruins show the enormous magnitude of
these baths. Passing by a corner of the Circus Maximus,
we viewed the place where stood the Septizonium, demo-
lished by Sextus V., for fear of its falling. Going by
Mons. Coelius, we beheld the devotions of St. Maria in
Navicula, so named from a ship carved out in white
marble standing on a pedestal before it, supposed to be the
vow of one escaped from shipwreck. It has a glorious
front to the street. Adjoining to this are the Horti
Mathsei, which only of all the places about the city I
omitted visiting, though I was told inferior to no garden
in Rome for statues, ancient monuments, aviaries, foun-
tains, groves, and especially a noble obelisk, and main-
tained in beauty at an expense of 6000 crowns yearly,
which, if not expended to keep up its beauty, forfeits the
possession of a greater revenue to another family; so
curious are they in their villas and places of pleasure, even
to excess.

The next day, we went to the once famous Circus Cara-
calla, in the midst of which there now lay prostrate one
of the most stately and ancient obelisks, full of Egyptian
hieroglyphics. It was broken into four pieces, when over-
thrown by the Barbarians, and would have been purchased
and transported into England by the magnificent Thomas


Earl of Arundel, could it have been well removed to the
sea. This is since set together and placed on the stupen-
dous artificial rock made by Innocent X., and serving for
a fountain in Piazza Navona, the work of Bernini, the
Pope's architect. Near this is the Sepulchre of Metellus,
of massy stone, pretty entire, now called Capo di Bove.
Hence, to a small oratory, named Domine quo vadis,
where the tradition is, that our Blessed Saviour met St.
Peter as he fled, and turned him back again.

St. Sebastian's was the next, a mean structure (the
facciata excepted), but is venerable, especially for the
relics and grots in which lie the ashes of many holy men.
Here is kept the pontifical chair sprinkled with the blood
of Pope Stephen, to which great devotion is paid ; also a
well full of martyrs' bones, and the sepulchre of St. Sebas-
tian, with one of the arrows [used in shooting him].
These are preserved by the Fulgentine Monks, who have
here their monastery, and who led us down into a grotto
which they affirmed went divers furlongs under ground ;
the sides, or walls, which we passed were filled with bones
and dead bodies, laid (as it were) on shelves, whereof some
were shut np with broad stones, and now and then a cross,
or a palm, cut in them. At the end of some of these sub-
terranean passages, were square rooms with altars in them,
said to have been the receptacles of primitive Christians,
in the times of persecution, nor seems it improbable.

17th. I was invited, after dinner, to the Academy
of the Humorists, kept in a spacious hall belonging
to Signer Mancini, where the wits of the town meet
on certain days to recite poems, and debate on several
subjects. The first that speaks is called the Lord, and
stands in an eminent place, and then the rest of the Vir-
tuosi recite in order. By these ingenious exercises, besides
the learned discourses, is the purity of the Italian tongue
daily improved. The room is hung round with devices, or
emblems, with mottoes under them. There are several
other Academies of this nature, bearing like fantastical
titles. In this of the Humorists is the picture of Guarini,
the famous author of the Pastor Fido, once of this society.
The chief part of the day we spent in hearing the academic

18th. We walked to St. Nicholas in Carcere; it has

1645. J JOHN EVELYN. 167

a fair front, and within are parts of the bodies of St.
Mark and Marcellino; on the Tribuna is a painting of
Gentileschi, and the altar of Caval ; Baglioni, with some
other rare paintings. Coming round from hence, we
passed by the Circus Flaminius, formerly very large, now
totally in ruins. In the afternoon, we visited the English
Jesuits, with whose Superior, P. Stafford, I was well ac-
quainted; who received us courteously. They call their
church and college St. Thomasso de gli Inglesi, and is a
seminary. Amongst other trifles, they show the relics of
Becket, their reputed martyr. Of paintings there is one
of Durante, and many representing the sufferings of
several of their society executed in England, especially
F. Campion.

In the Hospital of the Pelerini della S. Trinita, I had
seen the feet of many pilgrims washed by Princes, Cardi-
nals, and noble Romans, and served at table, as the ladies
and noble women did to other poor creatures in another
room. It was told us that no less than 444,000 men had
been thus treated in the Jubilee of 1600, and 25,500
women, as appears by the register, which brings store of

Returning homeward, I saw the Palace of Cardinal
Spada, where is a most magnificent hall painted by Daniel
da Volterra and Giulio Piacentino, who made the fret in
the little Court ; but the rare perspectives are of Bolognesi.
Near this is the Monte Pieta, instituted as a bank for the
poor, who, if the sum be not great, may have money upon
pawns. To this joins St. Martino, to which belongs a
Schola, or Corporation, that do many works of charity.
Hence, we came through Campo di Fiori, or herb-market,
in the midst of which is a fountain casting water out of a
dolphin, in copper ; and in this piazza is common execu-
tion done.

19th. I went, this afternoon, to visit my Lord John
Somerset, brother to the Marquis of Worcester, who had
his apartment in Palazzo della Cancellaria, belonging to
Cardinal Francesco Barberini, as Vice-chancellor of the
Church of Rome, and Protector of the English. The
building is of the famous architect, Bramante, of incrusted
marble, with four ranks of noble lights; the principal
entrance is of Fontana's design, and all marble; the


portico within sustained by massy columns ; on the second
peristyle above, the chambers are rarely painted by Sal-
viati and Vasari ; and so ample is this Palace, that six
princes with their families have been received in it at one
time, without incommoding each other.

20th. I went as was my usual custom and spent an
afternoon in Piazza Navona, as well to see what anti-
quities I could purchase among the people who hold
market there for medals, pictures, and such curiosities, as
to hear the Mountebanks prate, and distribute their medi-
cines. This was formerly the Circus, or Agonales, dedi-
cated to sports and pastimes, and is now the greatest mar-
ket of the city, having three most noble fountains, and
the stately palaces of the Pamfilii, St. Giacomo de Spag-
noli belonging to that nation, to which add two convents
for Friars and Nuns, all Spanish. In this church was.
erected a most stately Catafalco, or Capella ardente, for
the death of the Queen of Spain ; the church was hung
with black, and here I heard a Spanish sermon, or funebral
oration, and observed the statues, devices, and impresses
hung about the walls, the church and pyramid stuck with
thousands of lights and tapers, which made a glorious
show. The statue of St. James is by Sansovino ; there are
also some good pictures of Caracci. The facciata, too, is
fair. Returning home, I passed by the stumps of old
Pasquin, at the corner of a street, called Strada Pontificia ;
here they still paste up their drolling lampoons and scur-
rilous papers. This had formerly been one of the best
statues for workmanship and art in all the city, as th&
remaining bust does still show.

21st. I walked in the morning up the hill towards
the Capuchins, where was then Cardinal Oimfrio (brother
to the late Pope Urban VIII.) of the same order.
He built them a pretty church, full of rare pictures, and
there lies the body of St. Felix, that they say still does
miracles. The piece at the great altar is by Lanfranc.
It is a lofty edifice, with a beautiful avenue of trees, and in
a good air. After dinner, passing along the Strada del
Corso, I observed the column of Antoninus, passing under

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 18 of 46)