John Chetwode Eustace.

A classical tour through Italy, an. MDCCCII (Volume 1) online

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several heroes and Do^es. The materials are
always the finest marbles, and the ornaments
frequently of the best taste. The descriptions
as pompous as the tombs themselves, carry us
back to the heroic ages of the republic ; and in



lofty and classical language, relate the glorious
achievements of the doges and warriors of ancient
times. The appellations of Creticus, Africanus,
Asiaticus, grace many of the tombs, and seem to
revive and emulate the triumphs and the titles
of consular Rome. The conclusion of one of
these epitaphs deserves to be recorded ; it is the
last admonition which the dying hero addresses
to his countrymen, " Vos justitiam et concordiam,
quo sempiternum hoc sit imperium, conservate*r

Next to the churches we may rank the ScuolCy
or the chapels and halls of certain confraternities,
such as that of St. Roch, St. Mark, and that
of the Mercatanti ; all of noble proportions and
rich furniture, and all adorned with paintings rela-
tive to their respective denominations, by the best

But, why enlarge on the beauty, on the magni-
ficence, on the glories of Venice ? or, why de-
scribe its palaces, its churches, its monuments ?
That Liberty which raised these pompous edifices
in a swampy marsh, and opened such scenes of
grandeur in the middle of a pool, is now no more!
That bold independence which filled a few lonely
islands, the abode of sea-mews and of cormorants.

* Be ye mindful to preserve justice and unanimity, that
this our empire may be eternaL


with population and with commerce, is bowed into
slavery ; and the republic of Venice, with all its
bright series of triumphs, is now an empty name.
The City, with its walls and towers, and streets,
still remains ; but the spirit that animated the
mass is fled. Jacet ingens lit tore truncus*.

It is unnecessary, therefore, at present, to en-
large upon the former government of Venice;
suffice it to say, that it is now a petty province
of the Austrian empire, and that of all its former
territories, the Seven Ionian Islands only, once
considered as a very insignificant part of the Ve-
netian dominions, enjoy a nominal and precarious
independence. The unjust and cruel deed of de-
stroying a republic, weak, inoffensive, and respect-
able from its former fame, belongs to Bonapai'te ;
but the causes that led to it must be sought for in
the bosom of the republic itself. Had the same
virtues which fostered the infant commonwealth
still flourished ; had the courage which urged it
so often to unequal contest with the mighty power
of the Ottomans, continued to inspire its sons ;
had the spirit and the wisdom that directed its
councils during the famous league of Cambray,
influenced its decisions in 1797, it might still have

On the bleak shore it lies

A headless carcase, and a nameless thing.

Dry den.


stood ; and in defiance of the treachery, and of the
power of France, it might have preserved, if not
all its territories, at least its honor and inde-

But those virtues, that spirit, that wisdom,
were now no more ; they blazed out for the last
time in the war of the Morea*, and even the last
spark died away with the gallant Emo, Luxury
had corrupted every mind, and unbraced every si-
new. Pleasure had long been the only object of
pursuit ; the idol to which the indolent Venetians
sacrificed their time, their fortune, their talents.
To attend the Doge on days of ceremony, and act
their part in public pageantry ; or, perhaps, to
point out in the senate the best mode of com-
plimenting some powerful court, or of keeping or
patching up an inglorious peace with the piratical
powers of Africa, was the only business of the
nobility. To accompany their chosen ladies, to
while-away the night at their casinos, and to
slumber away the day in their palaces, was their
usual, their favorite employment. Hence Venice,
for so many ages the seat of independence, of
commerce, of wisdom, and of enterprise, gradually
sunk from her eminence, and at length became the
foul abode of eflfeminacy, of wantonness, and of

* A. D. 1718.


debauchery. Her arsenal, where so many storms
once fermented, and whence so many thunderbolts
had been levelled at the aspiring head of the Turk,
resigning its warlike furniture, became a scene of
banquetting; and instead of resounding to the
stroke of the anvil, re-echoed to the dance and the
concert*. In short, this once proud and potent
republic, like some of the degenerate Emperors of
Rome, seemed to prefer the glories of the theatre
to those of the field, and willingly rested its mo-
dern claim to consideration, on the pre-eminent
exhibitions of its well-known carnival-f-.

* Several noble halls in the arsenal had been for a long
time appropriated to the entertainment of royal guests, and
of strangers of very great distinction.

t " In fatti, un certo Egoismo sempre fatale alle repub-
bliche, un reflessibile raffredamento di quel zelo patrio che
tanto distinse gli aristocratici dei passati secoli, una falsa
clemenza nei tribunali, onde rimanevano i delitti senza il
castigo delle Leggi prescritto, una certa facilita di propalare
i secreti del Senato, sorpassata con indoleuza dagl' inquisitori
dello stato, una non curanza delle cose sacre e religiose,
un immoderate spirito di passatempi, una scandalosa impu-
denza nelle donne, un libertinaggio posato per cosi dire
in trionfo negli uomini erano fra gli altri disordini che dorai-
navano in una parte di Patrizi, e di Cittadini d'ogni condizi-
one si in Venezia, che nello Stato, Ne fanno fede gl' interni
sconvolgimenti degli anni 1762 e 1780, e la Loggia de
Liberi Muratori scoperta nel 1785, in che alcuni rispettabili
soggetti avevano ingresso : Queste furono Je cagioni estrin-
seche, che disponevano I'edificio ad un imminente pericolo


From a people so degraded, so lost to bold
and manly sentiments, no generous exertions, no
daring enterprise is to be expected in the hour
of danger. It is their policy to temporize, to
weigh chances, to flatter the great contending
Powers, and it must be their fate to sink under
the weight of the victorious. Such was the des^
tiny of Venice. After having first insulted, and
then courted the French republic, it at length,
with all the means of defence in its hands, re-

di crollare." — Such is the acknowledgment of a Venetian
author. Raccolta, vol. i. p. 16.

" In their transactions, a certain selfishness always fatal
to Republics, a coolness, whose effects were always reflected
back upon themselves, in that patriotic zeal which so much
distinguished the aristocracy of past ages, a false clemency
in the tribunals, which suffered oftences to pass without
the punishment prescribed by the laws, a certain facility
in divulging the secrets of the Senate, which was again
surpassed by the indolence of the Inquisitors of the state,
a disregard of the sacred concerns of religion, an immoderate
spirit of amusement, a scandalous impudence in the women,
a libertinism of which the men seemed to be proud — these
were the disorders which reigned amongst a great part of
the Patricians, and of the citizens of every rank; both in
the city and territory of Venice. This is sufficiently proved
by the internal disturbances of 1762 and 1780, and by the
Lodge of Free Masons discovered in 1785, into which several
respectable subjects had entered : These were the external
causes which Vjrought the fabric into imminent danger of


signed itself to hollow friendship; and sent a
thousand boats, to transport the armies of France
from the main land over the Lagune into the very
heart of the city. The English commodore in
the Adriatic, protested against such madness, and
offered to cover the city with his own ships — in
vain ! The people, who are always the last to
lose a sense of national honor, expressed their
readiness to stand forth and to defend their coun-
try — in vain ! The nobles trembled for their
Italian estates ; and in the empty hope of saving
their income, they betrayed their country, and
submitted to plunder, to slavery, and to indelible
disgrace. Not one arm was raised, not one sword
was drawn, and Venice fell, self-betrayed, and un-
pitied. Her enemies punished her pusillanimity,
by pillaging her public and her private treasures,
by defacing her edifices, by stripping her arsenal,
by carrying away her trophies ; and then they
handed her over as a contemptible prize, to a
foreign despot. A tremendous lesson to rich and
effeminate nations to rouse them to exertion, and
to prove, if such proof were wanting, that inde-
pendence must be preserved, as it can only be
obtained, by the sword ; that money may purchase
arms, but not freedom : that submission excites
contempt ; and that determined heroic resistance,
even should it fail, challenges and obtains con-
sideration and honor.


Non tamen ignavae
Percipient gentes quam sit non ardua virtus

Servitium fugisse manu

Ignorantque datos, ne quisquam serviat, enses*.


The population of Venice, previous to the late
revolution, amounted to about one hundred and
fifty thousand souls ; it is supposed to have de-
creased considerably since that event, and if the
present order of things should unfortunately con-
tinue, it will diminish, till, deserted like Sienna
and Pisa, this city shall become a superb solitude,
whose lonely grandeur will remind the traveller,
that Venice was once great, and independent.

The state of society in Venice seems to be
upon a more enlarged scale than formerly ; the
casinos indeed continue still to be the places of
resort, of card-parties and of suppers; but various
houses are open to strangers ; and balls and con-
certs, and club dinners are given frequently ; to
all which, introduction is not difficult. The carnival
was distinguished by plays in the day, and by
masked balls at night; the illumination of the

*^ The dastard nations yet, shall fail to know,
That valour's arm may ward the shameful blow.

And stop the march of slav'ry

And shall th' important truth be still unknown.
That swords were giv'n for this great use alone.
That men might not be slaves ?


theatre on snch nights is very beautiful. One
species of theatrical amusement at this season is
singular. It is a regular farce carried on at all
hours ; so that the idle part of the community may,
if they please, pass all the twenty-four hours in the
play-house, fall asleep, and awake, go out and
come in, and still 6nd the play going on with its
usual spirit. In such pieces, the actors seem to
be obliged to have recourse to their own ingenuity
for the dialogue, which, however, seldom flags for
want of materials ; such is their natural talent for
repartee and buffoonery.

A person accustomed to the rides, the walks,
the activity of ordinary towns, soon grows tired
of the conGnement of Venice, and of the dull,
indolent, see-saw motion of Gondolas. He longs
to expatiate in fields, and to range at large
through the streets, without the encumbrance of
a boat and a retinue of GondoUeri. We there-
fore left Venice on the sixth of March, without
much regret, and embarking at the inn door,
proceeded towards Fusina. As we rowed over
the Lagune, we prevailed upon our GondoUeri to
sing, according to an ancient custom, mentioned
I think by Addison, some stanzas of Tasso ; but
however beautiful the poetry might be, we thought
the tune and execution no ways superior to that
of a common ballad-singer in the streets of Lon-
don. This classical mode of singing verses alter-


nately, a remnant of the ancient pastoral * so
long preserved in Italy, has been much on the de-
cline in Venice since the French invasion, which
has damped the ardor of the people, and almost
extinguished their natural mirth and vivacity.
From Fusina we ascended the Brenta in the same
manner as we had descended it, and arrived late
at Padua.

The next morning, after a second visit to the
most remarkable edifices, such as St. Gmstina, the
Satito, the Cathedral, the Salone, we turned our
thoughts to the neighboring country, and con-
sidered what objects it presented to our curiosity.
The warm fountains and baths of Aponus, now
called Apono, lie about four miles from Padua.
They were frequented by the ancient Romans
under the Emperors, and have been celebrated by
Claudian, and by the Gothic king Theodoric, in
long and elaborate descriptions in verse and prose -)-.

* Alternis dicetis, amant alternse Camena.


Each in your turn your tuneful numbers bring ;
By turns the tuneful muses love to sing.


t The principal effects are described in the following
verses. Claudian addresses himself to the fountain :

Felices, proprium qui te meruere coloni.
Fas quibus est Aponon juris habere sui;


These writers attribute to them many strange and
wonderful effects ; however, making all due allow-
ances for poetical exaggeration, the waters are in
many cases of great advantage.

About seven miles southward of Padua, rises
the ridge of hills called the Colli Euganei, still
retaining the name of one of the earliest tribes
that peopled the Paduan territory. These moun-
tains, for so they might justly be termed, if the
enormous swell of the neighboring Alps did not
in appearance diminish their elevation, were for-

Non illis terrena lues, corrupta nee Axistri
Flamina, nee saevo Sirius igne nocet

Quod si forte malus membris exuberat humor
Languida vel nimio viscera felle virent ;

Non venas reserant, nee vulnere vulnera sanant,
Pocula nee tristi gramine mista bibunt :

Amissum lymphis reparant impune vigorem,

Paeaturque, jegro luxuriante, dolor.

Eidyl. Apon.

Thrice happy are the swains, a favor'd throng.

To whom thy treasures, Aponus, belong ;

No fell disease they fear, nor Auster's breath.

Nor Sirius, charg'd with pestilence and death ;

But if distemper fills the languid veins,

Or bile, malignant in th' intestines reigns.

No blood they draw, nor trenchant knife apply.

Nor goblet drugg'd with nauseous med'cines try ;

Thy waves alone their wasted strength restore ;

The grateful draught is drunk, and pain exists no more.


rnerly, it seems, inhabited by a race of sooth-
sayers, who vied with the Tuscans in the art of
looking into futurity. One of these seers, accord-
ing to Lucan, beheld the battle of Pharsalia while
seated on his native hill, and described to his as-
tonished auditors, all the vicissitudes of that
bloody contest *, on the very morning on which
it took place. Aulus Gellius relates the same
story, but attributes it to a priest of the name of
Cornelius, a citizen of Padua, without mention-
fng, as he frequently does, the author from whom
he derived the tale. But, whether it was a Paduan
priest or an Euganean soothsayer, who was gifted
with this extraordinary power of vision, it proves
at least that clainis to the faculty termed second

* Euganeo, si vera fides memorantibus, Augur
Colle sedens, Aponus teriis ubi fumifer exit,
Atque Antenorei dispergitur unda Timavi,
Venit sumraa dies, geritur res maxima, dixit,
Impia concurrunt Pompeii et Caesaris arma.

Luc. vii. 192.
(The poet's geography is not very accurate.)

Where Aponus first springs in smoky steam,

And full Timavus rolls his nobler stream.

Upon a hill that day, if fame be true,

A learned augur sate, the skies to view :

" 'Tis come, the great event is come," he cried;

" Our impious chiefs the vv^icked war decide."



sight, are not confined to modern times, or to the
northern regions of Great Britain *.

In one of the recesses of the Colli Euganei
stands the village of Arquato, distinguished by the
residence of Petrarca during the latter years of his
life, and by his death which took place in 1374.
He was buried in the church-yard of the same
village, and a monument was erected to his honor.
This monument and his villa have been preserved
by the people with religious care, and continue
even now to attract a number of literary visitants
of all countries, who, as they pass through Padua,
fail not to pay their respects to the manes of

The road to Jrquato, as far as Mo7ite Selice,
runs along a canal, over a very flat and very fer-
tile country bearing a strong resemblance to some
of the finest parts of the Netherlands. Villas and
large villages lie thick around, and the scene on
every side gives the traveller an idea of plenty
and of population. To relieve the flatness of the
adjacent country, mountains rise in various forms
in front, and Monte Selice (or Silicis) in parti-
cular, strikes the eye by its lofty conical form.
About eight miles from Padua, on the banks of
the canal, stands the castle of the Obizzi, an

Aul. GeH. lib. xv. 18.


ancient and illustrious family of Padua. This
edifice is much in the style of the old castles of
Romance. Lofty rooms, long galleries, winding
staircases, and dark passages, fit it admirably for
the purposes of a novelist, and render it equally
proper for the abode of a great baron, for the
receptacle of a band of robbers, for the scene
of nightly murders, or for the solitary walk of
ghosts and of spectres. But the predominant
taste of the country has fitted it up in a style well
calculated to dispel these gloomy transalpine illu-
sions, and to cure the spectator's mind of its
Gothic terrors. The apartments are adorned with
paintings, some of which are in fresco, on the walls
representing the glories and the achievements of
the Obizzian heroes in days of old, and others are
on canvas being originals or copies of great mas-
ters. The galleries, and one in particular of very
considerable length, are filled with Roman anti-
quities, altars, vases, armour, inscriptions, pillars^
&c. On the whole, the castle is very curious,
and ought to be made the object of a particular
•visit, as an incidental hour is not sufficient for an
examination in detail of the various curiosities
which it contains *.

* When we visited it, the proprietor was walking up and
down the great gallery, and giving directions to his servants


A little beyond the village of Cataio, we turned
off from the high road, and alighting from the
carriage on account of the swampiness of the
country, we walked and rowed occasionally
through lines of willows, or over tracts of marshy
land, for two or three miles, till we began to
ascend the mountain. Arquato is prettily situated
on the northern side of a high hill, with a valley
below it winding through the Euganean ridge.
It is not a very large, but a neat village.

Petrarca's villa is at the extremity farthest
from Padua. It consists of two floors. The first
is used for farming purposes, as it is annexed to
a farmer's house. The second story contains five
rooms, three of which are large, and two closets ;
the middle room seems to have been used as a
reception room or hall ; that on the right is a
kitchen ; that on the left has two closets, one of
which might have been a study, the other a bed-
chamber. Its fire-place is high, and its pastes
fuligine nigri (beams black with soot). To the
chief window is a balcony ; the view thence
towards the opening of the valley on the side.

to clear and arrange some new acquisitions. He seemed to
contemplate his collection with great complacency ; and it
must be owned that the number and arrangement of the
articles which compose it give a favorable opinion both of
his diligence and his judgment.


and in front towards two lofty conical hills, one
of which is topped with a convent, is calm and
pleasing. The only decoration of the apartments
is a deep border of grotesque painting running as
a cornice under the ceiling ; an old smoky picture
over the fire-place in the kitchen, said by the
good people to be an original by Michael Angela,
and a table and chair, all apparently, the picture
not excepted, as old as the house itself. On the
table is a large book, an Album, containing the
names, and sometimes the sentiments, of various
visitants. The following verses are inscribed in
the first page ; they are addressed to the tra-

Tu che devoto al sagro albergo arrivi,
Ove s'aggira ancor I'ombra immortale
Di chi un di vi depose il corpo frale.

La Patria, il nome, il sensi tuoi qui scrive *.

The walls are covered with names, compliments
and verses. Behind the house is a garden, with
a small lodge for the gardener, and the ruins of

* Thou, who with pious footsteps lov'st to trace
The honor'd precincts of this sacred place,
Where still th' immortal spirit hovers near
Of him, who left his fleshly burden here.
Inscribe thy name, tliy country, and impart
The new emotions that expand thy heart.


a tower covered with ivy. A narrow walk leads
through it, and continues along the side of the
hill, under the shade of olive trees ; a solitary
laurel* still lingers beside the path, and recalls
to mind both the poet and the lover. The hill
ascends steep from the garden, and winding
round, closes the vale and the prospect. Its
broken sides are well cultivated, and interspersed
with olives and with cottages. It was already
evening when we arrived. After having examined
the house, we walked for some time in the gar-
den ; a thousand violets perfumed the air ; the
nightingale was occasionally heard, as if making
its first essay; and, excepting his evening song,
'* most musical, most melancholy," all was still
and silent around. The place and the scenery
seemed so well described in the following beau-
tiful lines, that it was impossible not to recollect
and apply them, though probably intended by the
poet for another region.

Qui non palazzi, noti teatro, o loggia,
Ma'n lor vece un abete, ua t'aggio, uii pino,
Tra I'erba verde, e'l bel monte vicino,
Oade se sceade poetaudo e poggia,
Levaii di terra al ciel nostro intelletto :

* It is necessary to remark here, once for all, that the
Italian laurel is the hay-tree, the laurus of the ancients.



E'l rosignuol che dolcemente all' ombia

Tutte le notti si lamenta e piagiie *. Son. x.

The garden is entirely neglected, but the house
is kept in good repair ; a circumstance which
ctinnot but reflect much honor on the spirit of the
proprietor and on the inhabitants of the village,
when it is considered that more than four hun-
dred years have now elapsed since the death of
Petrarca, and that many a destructive war has
raged in the country, and many a wasting army
passed over it since that event. His body lies
interred in the church-yard of the village, in a
large stone sarcophagus raised on four low pillars,
and surmounted with a bust. As we stood and
contemplated the tomb by the pale light of the
uoon, we indulged the caprice of the moment,
and twining a branch of laurel into the form of a
crown, placed it on the head of the bust, and
hailed the manes of the Tuscan poet in the words
of his admirer.

No theatres, nor proud balconies here.
Nor lofty domes their pompous fabrics rear ;
But in their place the spreading beech is seen,
The fir, the pine, o'ershade the velvet green ;
These scenes — the hill along whose slope I stray,
And tune, ascending, my poetic lay —
And the sweet nightingale, that all night long
Trills in the shade her melancholy song —
These bid the buoyant spirit upwards rise,
And lift a raptur'd mortal to the skies.


Deh pioggia, o vento rio non faccia scoruo
Air ossa pie ; sol porti grati odori
L'aura che'I ciel suol far puro e sereuo.
Lascin le ninfe ogni lor antro ameno
E raccolte in corona al sasso intorno,
Liete ti can tin lodi e spargan fiori ! *

Aless. Piceolimini.

Several of the inhabitants who had gathered
round us during this singular ceremony, seemed
not a little pleased with the whim, and cheered
us with repeated vix^ds as we passed through the
village, and descended the hill. Though over-
turned by a blunder of the drivers, and for some
time suspended over the canal with imminent
danger of being precipitated into it, yet as the
night was bright and warm, and all the party
in high spirits, the excursion was extremely

Few names seem to have been so fondly che-

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