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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ball that continually dances about three feet above the
pavement, by virtue of a wind conveyed secretly to a hole
beneath it with many other devices to wet the unwary
spectators, so that one can hardly step without wetting to
the skin. In one of these theatres of water, is an Atlas
spouting up the stream to a very great height; and
another monster makes a terrible roaring with a horn ;
but, above all, the representation of a storm is most
natural, with such fury of rain, wind and thunder, as one
would imagine oneself in some extreme tempest. The
garden has excellent walks and shady groves, abundance
of rare fruit, oranges, lemons, &c., and the goodly pros-
pect of Rome, above all description, so as I do not wonder
that Cicero and others have celebrated this place with
such encomiums. The Palace is indeed built more like a
cabinet than anything composed of stone and mortar ; it
has in the middle a hall furnished with excellent marbles
and rare pictures, especially those of Gioseppino d'Arpino;
the moveables are princely and rich. This was the last
piece of architecture finished by Giacomo della Porta, who


built it for Pietro Cardinal Aldobrandini, in the time of
Clement VIII.*

We went hence to another house and garden not far
distant, on the side of a hill called Mondragone, finished
by Cardinal Scipio Borghese, an ample and kingly edifice.
It has a very long gallery, and at the end a theatre for
pastimes, spacious courts, rare grots, vineyards, olive-
grounds, groves, and solitudes. The air is so fresh and
sweet, as few parts of Italy exceed it ; nor is it inferior to
any palace in the city itself for statues, pictures, and fur-
niture ; but, it growing late, we could not take such par-
ticular notice of these things as they deserved.

6th. We rested ourselves; and, next day, in a coach,
took our last farewell of visiting the circumjacent places,
going to Tivoli, or the old Tiburtum. At about six miles
from Rome, we pass the Teverone, a bridge built by Mam-
mea, the mother of Severus, and so by divers ancient
sepulchres, amongst others that of Valerius Volusi ; and
near it pass the stinking sulphureous river over the Ponte
Lucano, where we found a heap, or turret, full of inscrip-
tions, now called the Tomb of Plautius. Arrived at Tivoli,
we went first to see the Palace d'Este, erected on a plain,
but where was formerly an hill. The Palace is very ample
and stately. In the garden, on the right hand, are sixteen
vast conchas of marble, jetting out waters ; in the midst
of these stands a Janus quadrifrons, that cast forth four
girandolas, called from the resemblance [to a particular
exhibition in fire-works so named] the Fontana di Speccho
[looking-glass] . Near this is a place for tilting. Before
the ascent of the palace is the famous fountain of Leda,
and not far from that, four sweet and delicious gardens.
Descending thence are two pyramids of water, and in a
grove of trees near it the fountains of Tethys, Esculapius,
Arethusa, Pandora, Pomona, and Flora; then the pranc-
ing Pegasus, Bacchus, the Grot of Venus, the two Colosses
of Melicerta and Sibylla Tiburtina, all of exquisite marble,
copper, and other suitable adornments. The Cupids
pouring out water are especially most rare, and the urns
on which are placed the ten nymphs. The grots are richly
paved with pietra-commessa, shells, coral, &c.

* Cardinal Hippolito Aldobrandini was elected Pope in January, 1592, by
the name of Clement VIII., and died in March, 1605.

4645.] JOHN EVELYN. 181

Towards Roma Triumphans, leads a long and spacious
walk, full of fountains, under which is historized the whole
Ovidian Metamorphosis, in rarely sculptured mezzo relievo.
At the end of this, next the wall, is the city of Rome as it
was in its beauty, of small models, representing that city,
with its amphitheatres; naumachi, thermae, temples, arches,
aqueducts, streets, and other magnificences, with a little
stream running through it for the Tiber, gushing out of
an urn next the statue of the river. In another garden,
is a noble aviary, the birds artificial, and singing till an
owl appears, on which they suddenly change their notes.
Near this is the fountain of Dragons, casting out large
streams of water with great noise. In another grotto,
called Grotto di Natura, is an hydraulic organ ; and, below
this, are divers stews and fish-ponds, in one of which is
the statue of Neptune in his chariot on a sea-horse, in
another a Triton ; and, lastly, a garden of simples. There
are besides in the palace many rare statues and pictures,
bedsteads richly inlaid, and sundry other precious move-
ables : the whole is said to have cost the best part of a

Having gratified our curiosity with these artificial
miracles, and dined, we went to see the so famous natural
precipice and cascade of the river Anio, rushing down
from the mountains of Tivoli with that fury that, what
with the mist it perpetually casts up by the breaking of
the water against the rocks, and what with the sun shining
on it and forming a natural Iris, and the prodigious depth
of the gulf below, it is enough to astonish one that looks
on it. Upon the summit of this rock stand the ruins and
some pillars and cornices of the Temple of Sibylla Tybur-
tina, or Albunea, a round fabric, still discovering some of
its pristine beauty. Here was a great deal of gunpowder
drying in the sun, and a little beneath, mills belonging to
the Pope.

And now we returned to Rome. By the way, we were
showed, at some distance, the city Praeneste, and the
Hadrian villa, now only a heap of ruins ; and so came
late to our lodging.

We now determined to desist from visiting any more
curiosities, except what should happen to come in our
way, when my companion, Mr. Henshaw, or myself should


go to take the air ; only I may not omit that one after-
noon, diverting ourselves in the Piazza Navona, a mounte-
bank there to allure curious strangers, taking off a ring
from his finger, which seemed set with a dull, dark stone,
a little swelling out, like what we call (though untruly) a
toadstone, and wetting his finger a little in his mouth and
then touching it, it emitted a luculent flame as bright and
large as a small wax candle ; then, blowing it out, repeated
this several times. I have much regretted that I did not
purchase the receipt of him for making that composition
at what price soever ; for though there is a process in Jo.
Baptista Porta and others how to do it, yet on several
trials they none of them have succeeded.

Amongst other observations I made in Rome are these :
as to coins and medals, ten asses make the Roman dena-
rius, five the quinarius, ten denarii an aureus ; which
accompt runs almost exactly with what is now in use of
quatrini, baiocs, julios, and scudi, each exceeding the other
in the proportion of ten. The sestertius was a small silver
coin marked H. s. or rather LL S , valued two 'pounds and a
half of silver, viz. 250 denarii, about twenty-five golden
ducati. The stamp of the Roman denarius varied, having
sometimes a Janus bifrons, the head of Roma armed, or
with a chariot and two horses, which were called bigi ; if
with four, quadrigi ; if with a Victoria, so named. The
mark of the denarius was distinguished >\^ thus, or X ;
the quinarius of half value, had, on one side, the head of
Rome and V; the reverse, Castor and Pollux on horseback,
inscribed Roma, &c.

I observed that in the Greek church they made the
sign of the cross from the right hand to the left ; contrary
to the Latins and the schismatic Greeks ; gave the bene-
diction with the first, second, and little finger stretched
out, retaining the third bent down, expressing a distance
of the third Person of the Holy Trinity from the first two.

For sculptors and architects, we found Bernini and
Algardi were in the greatest esteem; Fiamingo, as a
statuary, who made the Andrea in St. Peter's, and is said
to have died mad because it was placed in an ill light.
Amongst the painters, Antonio de la Cornea, who has
such an address of counterfeiting the hands of the ancient
masters so well as to make his copies pass for originals ;

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 183

Pietro de Cortone, Monsieur Poussin, a Frenchman, and
innumerable more. Fioravanti, for armour, plate, dead
life, tapestry, &c. The chief masters of music, after Marc
Antonio, the best treble, is Cavalier Lauretto, an eunuch ;
the next Cardinal Bichi's eunuch, Bianchi, tenor, and
Nicholai, base. The Jews in Rome wore red hats, till the
Cardinal of Lyons, being short-sighted, lately saluted one
of them, thinking him to be a Cardinal as he passed by
his coach; on which an order was made, that they should
use only the yellow colour. There was now at Rome one
Mrs. Ward, an English devotee, who much solicited for an
order of Jesuitesses.

At executions I saw one, a gentleman, hanged in his
cloak and hat for murder. They struck the malefactor
with a club that first stunned him, and then cut his throat.
At Naples, they use a frame, like ours at Halifax (a

It is reported that Rome has been once no less than
fifty miles in compass, now not thirteen, containing in it
3000 churches and chapels, monasteries, &c. It is divided
into fourteen regions, or wards ; has seven mountains, and
as many campi, or valleys; in these are fair parks, or
gardens, called villas, being only places of recess and
pleasure, at some distance from the streets, yet within the

The bills of exchange I took up from my first entering
Italy till I went from Rome, amounted but to 616 ducati
di banco, though I purchased many books, pictures, and

18th. I intended to have seen Loretto, but, being
disappointed of monies long expected, I was forced to
return by the same way I came, desiring, if possible, to be
at Venice by the Ascension, and therefore I diverted to
take Leghorn in the way, as well to furnish me with credit
by a merchant there, as to take order for transporting
such collections as I had made at Rome. When on my
way, turning about to behold this once and yet glorious
city, from an eminence, I did not, without some regret,
give it my last farewell.

Having taken leave of our friends at Rome, where I had
sojourned now about seven months, autumn, winter, and
spring, I took coach, in company with two courteous Italian


gentlemen. In the afternoon, we arrived at a house, or
rather castle, belonging to the Duke of Parma, called
Caprarola,* situate on the brow of a hill, that overlooks a
little town, or rather a natural and stupendous rock ; wit-
ness those vast caves serving now for cellarage, where we
were entertained with most generous wine of several sorts,
being just under the foundation. The Palace was built by
the famous architect, Vignola, at the cost of Cardinal Alex.
Farnese, in form of an octagon, the court in the middle
being exactly round, so as rather to resemble a fort, or
castle ; yet the chambers within are all of them square,
which makes the walls exceedingly thick. One of these
rooms is so artificially contrived, that from the two opposite
angles may be heard the least whisper; they say any
perfect square does it. Most of the paintings are by
Zuccari. It has a stately entry, on which spouts an arti-
ficial fountain within the porch. The hall, chapel, and
great number of lodging chambers are remarkable ; but
most of all the pictures and witty inventions of Hannibal
Caracci; the Dead Christ is incomparable. Behind are
the gardens full of statues and noble fountains, especially
that of the Shepherds. After dinner, we took horse, and
lay that night at Monte Kossi, twenty miles from Rome.

19th. We dined at Viterbo, and lay at St. Lau-
renzo. Next day, at Kadicofani, and slept at Turnera.

21st. We dined at Sienna, where we could not pass
admiring the great church f built entirely both within and
without with white and black marble in polished squares,
by Macarino, showing so beautiful after a shower has
fallen. The floor within is of various coloured marbles,
representing the story of both Testaments, admirably
wrought. Here lies Pius the Second. The biblioteca is
painted by P. Perrugino and Eaphael. The life of ^Eneas
Sylvius is in fresco ; in the middle are the Three Graces,
in antique marble, very curious, and the front of this
building, though Gothic, is yet very fine. Amongst other
things, they show St. Catharine's disciplining cell, the
door whereof is half cut out into chips by the pilgrims and
devotees, being of deal wood.

Caprarola. There is a large descriptive account published of this Palace,
with magnificent plates of the buildings, pictures, and statues,
t See p. 97.

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 185

Setting out hence for Pisa, we went again to see the
Duomo in which the Emperor Henry VII. lies buried,
poisoned by a monk in the Eucharist. The bending tower
was built by Busqueto Delichio, a Grecian architect, and
is a stupendous piece of art.* In the gallery of curiosities
is a fair mummy ; the tail of a sea-horse : coral growing
on a man's skull ; a chariot automaton ; two pieces of rock
crystal, in one of which is a drop of water, in the other
three or four small worms ; two embalmed children ; divers
petrifactions, &c. The garden of simples is well furnished,
and has in it the deadly yew, or taxus, of the ancients ;
which Dr. Belluccio, the superintendant, affirms that his
workmen cannot endure to clip for above the space of half
an hour at a time, from the pain of the head which sur-
prises them.

We went hence for Leghorn, by coach, where I took
up ninety crowns for the rest of my journey, with letters
of credit for Venice, after I had sufficiently complained of
my defeat of correspondence at Rome.

The next day, I came to Lucca, a small but pretty ter-
ritory and state of itself. The city is neat and well-
fortified, with noble and pleasant walks of trees on the
works, where the gentry and ladies use to take the air. It
is situate on an ample plain by the river Serchio, yet the
country about it is hilly. The Senate-house is magni-
ficent. The church of St. Michael is a noble piece, as is
also St. Fredian, more remarkable to us for the corpse of
St. Richard, an English king,f who died here in his pilgrim-
age towards Rome. This epitaph is on his tomb :

Hie rex Richardus requiescit, sceptifer, almus :
Rex fuit Anglorum ; regnum tenet iste Polorum.
Regnum demisit ; pro Christo cuncta reliquit.
Ergo, Richardum nobis dedit Anglia sanctum.
Hie genitor Sanctse Wulburgse Virginis almae
Est Vrillebaldi sancti simul et Vinebaldi,
Suffragium quorum nobis det regna Polorum.

Next this, we visited St. Croce, an excellent structure
all of marble both without and within, and so adorned as
may vie with many of the fairest even in Rome ; witness
the huge cross, valued at 15,000, above all venerable for

* See pp. 89, 92, for other hanging towers at Pisa and Florence.
( Who this Richard King of England was, it is impossible to say ; the tomb
still exists, and has long been a crux to antiquaries and travellers. EDITOR.


that sacred volto which (as tradition goes) was miracu-
lously put on the image of Christ, and made by Nicodemus,
whilst the artist, finishing the rest of the body, was medi-
tating what face to set on it. The inhabitants are
exceedingly civil to strangers, above all places in Italy,
and they speak the purest Italian. It is also cheap living,
which causes travellers to set up their rest here more than
in Florence, though a more celebrated city; besides, the
ladies here are very conversable, and the religious women
not at all reserved ; of these we bought gloves and em-
broidered stomachers, generally worn by gentlemen in
these countries. The circuit of this state is but two easy
days' journey, and lies mixed with the Duke of Tuscany' s,
but having Spain for a protector (though the least bigoted
of all Roman Catholics), and being one of the fortified
cities in Italy, it remains in peace. The whole country
abounds in excellent olives, &c.

Going hence for Florence, we dined at Pistoia, where,
besides one church, there was little observable : only in
the highway we crossed a rivulet of salt water, though
many miles from the sea. The country is extremely
pleasant, full of gardens, and the roads straight as a line
for the best part of that whole day, the hedges planted
with trees at equal distances, watered with clear and
plentiful streams.

Rising early the next morning, we alighted at Poggio
Imperiale, being a Palace of the Great Duke, not far from
the city, having omitted it in my passage to Rome. The
ascent to the house is by a stately gallery as it were of
tall and overgrown cypress trees for near half a mile. At
the entrance of these ranges, are placed statues of the
Tyber and Arno, of marble ; those also of Virgil, Ovid,
Petrarch, and Dante. The building is sumptuous, and
curiously furnished within with cabinets of pietra-com-
messa in tables, pavements, &c., which is a magnificence,
or work, particularly affected at Florence. The pictures
are, Adam and Eve by Albert Durer, very excellent ; as is
that piece of carving in wood by the same hand standing
in a cupboard. Here is painted the whole Austrian line ;
the Duke's mother, sister to the Emperor, the foundress
of this palace, than which there is none in Italy that I had
seen more magnificently adorned, or furnished.


We could not omit in our passage to re-visit the same,
and other curiosities which we had neglected on our first
being at Florence. We went, therefore, to see the famous
piece of Andrea del Sarto, in the Annunciata ; the story is,
that the painter in a time of dearth borrowed a sack of
corn of the religious of that convent, and re-payment being
demanded, he wrought it out in this picture, which repre-
sents Joseph sitting on a sack of corn and reading to the
Blessed Virgin ; a piece infinitely valued. There fell down
in the cloister an old man's face painted on the wall in
fresco, greatly esteemed, and brake into crumbs; the
Duke sent his best painters to make another instead of it,
but none of them would presume to touch a pencil where
Andrea had wrought, like another Apelles; but one of
them was so industrious and patient, that, picking up the
fragments, he laid and fastened them so artificially toge-
ther, that the injury it had received was hardly discern-
ible. Andrea del Sarto lies buried in the same place.
Here is also that picture of Bartolomeo, who having
spent his utmost skill in the face of the angel Gabriel, and
being troubled that he could not exceed it in the Virgin,
he began the body and to finish the clothes, and so left it,
minding in the morning to work on the face ; but, when
he came, no sooner had he drawn away the cloth that was
hung before it to preserve it from the dust, than an admir-
able and ravishing face was found ready painted ; at which
miracle all the city came in to worship ; it is now kept in
the chapel of the Salutation, a place so enriched by the
devotees, that none in Italy, save Loretto, is said to exceed
it. This picture is always covered with three shutters, one
of which is of massy silver ; methinks it is very brown, the
forehead and cheeks whiter, as if it had been scraped.
They report that those who have the honour of seeing it
never lose their sight happy then we! Belonging to
this church is a world of plate, some whole statues of it,
and lamps innumerable, besides the costly vows hung up,
some of gold, and a cabinet of precious stones.

Visiting the Duke's repository again, we told at least
forty ranks of porphyry and other statues, and twenty-
eight whole figures, many rare paintings and relievos, two
square columns with trophies. In one of the galleries,
twenty-four figures, and fifty antique heads ; a Bacchus of


M. Angelo, and one of Bandinelli ; a head of Bernini, and
a most lovely Cupid, of Parian marble ; at the further end,
two admirable women sitting, and a man fighting with a
centaur ; three figures in little of Andrea : a huge candle-
stick of amber ; a table of Titian's painting, and another
representing God the Father sitting in the air on the
Four Evangelists ; animals ; divers smaller pieces of Ra-
phael ; a piece of pure virgin gold, as big as an egg. In
the third chamber of rarities is the square cabinet, valued
at 80,000 crowns, showing, on every front, a variety of
curious work ; one of birds and flowers, of pietra-comessa ;
one, a descent from the cross, of M. Angelo ; on the third,
our Blessed Saviour and the Apostles, of amber ; and, on
the fourth, a crucifix of the same. Betwixt the pictures,
two naked Venuses, by Titian ; Adam and Eve, by Durer ;
and several pieces of Pordenone, and del Frate. There is
aj globe of six feet diameter. In the Armoury, were an
entire elk, a crocodile, and, amongst the harness, several
targets and antique horse-arms, as that of Charles V.;
two set with turquoises, and other precious stones; a
horse's tail, of a wonderful length. Then, passing the Old
Palace, which has a very great hall for feasts and come-
dies, the roof rarely painted, and the side-walls with six
very large pictures representing battles, the work of Gio.
Vassari. Here is a magazine full of plate ; a harness of
emeralds ; the furnitures of an altar four feet high, and six
in length, of massy gold; in the middle, is placed the
statue of Cosmo II.; the bass-relievo is of precious stones,
his breeches covered with diamonds; the mouldings of
this statue, and other ornaments, festoons, &c. are gar-
nished with jewels and great pearls, dedicated to St.
Charles, with this inscription, in rubies :

Cosimus Secundus Dei gratia Magnus Dux Etrurise ex voto.

There is also a King on horseback, of massy gold, two feet
high, and an infinity of such like rarities. Looking at the
Justice, in copper, set up on a column by Cosmo, in 1555,
after the victory over Sienna, we were told that the Duke,
asking a gentleman how he liked the piece, he answered,
that he liked it very well, but that it stood too high for
poor men to come at it.

Prince Leopold has, in this city, a very excellent collec-

1645.] JOHN EVELYN. 189

tion of paintings, especially a St. Catharine of P. Veronese;
a Venus of marble, veiled from the middle to the feet,
esteemed to be of that Greek workman who made the
Venus at the Medicis' Palace in Rome, altogether as good,
and better preserved, an inestimable statue, not long since
found about Bologna.

Signer Gaddi is a lettered person, and has divers rarities,
statues, and pictures of the best masters, and one bust of
marble as much esteemed as the most antique in Italy, and
many curious manuscripts ; his best paintings are, a Virgin
of del Sarto, mentioned by Vassari, a St. John by Raphael,
and an Ecce Homo, by Titian.

The hall of the Academy de la Crusca is hung about
with impresses and devices painted, all of them relating
to corn sifted from the bran ; the seats are made like bread-
baskets and other rustic instruments used about wheat, and
the cushions of satin, like sacks.

We took our farewell of St. Laurence, more particularly
noticing that piece of the Resurrection, which consists of
a prodigious number of naked figures, the work of Pon-
tormo. On the left hand, is the Martyrdom of St. Lau-
rence, by Bronzino, rarely painted indeed. In a chapel is
the tomb of Pietro di Medici, and his brother John, of
copper, excellently designed, standing on two lions' feet,
which end in foliage, the work of M. Angelo. Over against
this, are sepulchres of all the ducal family. The altar has
a statue of the Virgin giving suck, and two Apostles.
Paulus Jovius has the honour to be buried in the cloister.
Behind the choir is the superb chapel of Ferdinand I.,
consisting of eight faces, four plain, four a little hollowed;
in the other are to be the sepulchres, and a niche of paragon,
for the statue of the Prince now living, all of copper gilt ;
above, is a large table of porphyry, for an inscription for the
Duke, in letters of jasper. The whole chapel, walls, pave-
ment, and roof, are full of precious stones united with the
mouldings, which are also of gilded copper, and so are the
bases and capitals of the columns. The tabernacle, with
the whole altar, is inlaid with cornelians, lazuli, serpentine,
agates, onyxes, &c. On the other side, are six very large
columns of rock crystal, eight figures of precious stones of
several colours, inlaid in natural figures, not inferior to the

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 20 of 46)