John Chetwode Eustace.

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

. (page 17 of 27)
Online LibraryJohn Chetwode EustaceA classical tour through Italy, an. MDCCCII (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


lishment of its churches and palaces ; so that no
city in Italy, if we except Rome, presented more at-
tractions to the artist, or furnished more delightful
entertainment to the traveller of taste. But, alas !
such were the decorations and the glory of Parma.



Ch. VI. THROUGH ITALY. 351

The French, though in peace with the sovereign
of this unfortunate city, in their late wide- wasting
progress, entered its walls, raised heavy contribu-
tions on its inhabitants, and stripped it of its best
and most valuable ornaments — its unrivalled paint-
ings. Many, without doubt, still remain, because
painted on walls and ceilings, and therefore at-
tached to the spot ; but the master-pieces are gone,
and the indignant Parmensians can only show the
traveller the place where they once were.

The arts and sciences were by no means neg-
lected in Parma. An university, two academies,
schools of painting, &c. announce the application,
and a long catalogue of great names might be pro-
duced to prove the success, of the Parmensians in
every literary pursuit. The dukes have, for manv
years past been the active patrons of literature,
and by their judicious encouragement attracted
strangers of talents to their territories. Among
these we may rank the Abbate Frugoni, a Genoese,
and the Abbb Coiidillac, a Frenchman ; the former
a poet of great reputation, and next in fame to
Metastasio; the latter preceptor to the prince, and
author of a well-known " Course of Education."
The royal press of Parma was established in the
year 1765: it is conducted by Bodoni, and has
produced several beautiful editions, Greek, Latin,
and Italian, together with various works in the
Oriental languages.



252 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch.Vl.

The public walk on the ramparts is extremely
pleasing. The country round is well wooded, and
the town and territory of Parma seemed to have
been in a flourishing state till the entrance of the
French army. Since that fatal period, its pros-
perity has been on the decline, its government
unsettled, its inhabitants impoverished and discon-
tented. The contributions raised by the French
amounted to five millions of French livres : a sum
enormous for so small a territory, and equalling
two years of its regular income.

Petrarca resided some years at Parma, or in its
neighborhood, and seems to have been delighted
with the beauty of the country, with the generous
spirit of its princes, and with the open manly
manners of its inhabitants. To the honor of their
descendants, it may be added, that notwithstanding
the lapse of ages, the change of government, and
the galling pressure of recent revolutions, these
qualities are said to be still perceptible.

Two stages from Parma the traveller arrives
at Forum Lepidi Regium\ now called Reggio, an
ancient Roman colony, destroyed by Alaric, and
rebuilt by Charlemagne. The cathedral, the
church of S. Prospero, and that of the Augustin-
friars, together with the Town-house, and the
Poj^ta Niiova, are considered as deserving some
attention. It possesses no antiquities. However,
the traveller will visit it with some respect, as the



CA, VI. THROUGH ITALY. 253

country of Ariosto — the copious, the fantastic
Ariosto!

Two more stages brought us to Modena (Ma-
tina), lately the capital of a dukedom, now a de-
pendence on the will of Bonaparte. Though an
ancient Roman colony, called by Cicero, " Jirmis-
sima et splendidissima Colonia*" it presents no traces
of antiquity ; it has been the scene of so many
bloody contests, has been so often destroyed and
has so often risen from its ruins, that not only no
vestige of its former splendor remains at present,
but it is even uncertain whether it occupies the
same site as the ancient city. But whatever might
have been its strength and magnificence in ancient
times, they have been probably far surpassed by
its present (I should rather have said its late)
prosperity. It is a well built town, its streets are
wide, and several of its public edifices have a noble
appearance. Its cathedral is Gothic, and like most
of its churches, rather inferior to the expectation
naturally excited by the general features of the
town. The ducal palace is of vast size ; and
though built in a German, that is, in a heavy and
fanciful style of architecture, is on tlie whole
rather magnificent. It contains several handsome
apartments, and, what still more merits the atten-



* A colony of great strength and splendor.



254 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VL

tion of travellers, a gallery of paintings, a noble
library, and a numerous and curious collection of
sketches, by the. first masters, of prints, of medals,
and of Cameos*.

The arts and sciences, particularly the latter,
have long flourished at ModenOj under the foster-
ing care of its Princes of the house of Este, a
family so much and so justly celebrated by Tasso
and Ariosto, for its generous feelings and its noble
munificence. " Tu Magnanimo Alfonso," says
the former to a Prince of this line, his patron,

Tu Maguanimo Alfonso, il qual ritogli
Al furor di fortuna, e guidi in porto
Me peregrino errante, e fra gli scogli
E fra I'onde agitato e quasi assorto ;
Queste mie carte in lieta fronte accogli
Che quasi in voto a te sacrate i' porto f.

Gierus. Lib. Canto 1. 4.

The latter, in a less poetical, but equally grate-
ful style, expresses his obligations to the same



* This latter collection has either been removed or
plundered by the French.

t August Alphonso ! whose benignant hand
Welcom'd a wand'ring stranger in thy land.
And guided safe, mid rocks and billows tost,
My sinking bark ; to thee, much-honor'd host,
The grateful ofF'rings of my Muse belong ;
Nor thou disdaiu the dedicated song.

Hunt's Translation.



C/t.VI. THROUGH ITALY. 255

family, and enlarges upon its heroical qualities and
its prospects of glory*. Under such encourage-
ment, it is not wonderful that genius should
flourish, and that men of learning should flock
from all quarters, to enjoy the advantages of such
liberal patronage.

Among the illustrious personages who have
done honor to Modma, by their virtues and
talents, one of the earliest, and if the good qua-
lities of the heart give double lustre to the bril-
liant endowments of the head, one of the greatest
is Cardinal Sadokti. This eminent prelate rose to
notice in the fostering aera of Leo the Tenth,
became intimately connected with the most con-
spicuous characters of that period, and shone
himself, with no small lustre, in the midst of its
brightest luminaries. In the turbulent pontifi-
cates that succeeded the aera of Leo, when the
animosities, kindled by the Reformation blazed
out with unquenchable fury, and every bosom
glowed with rage almost infernal against the op*
ppnents of his own creed, this worthy bishop pre-
served the native candor of his soul, and the cha-
racteristic mildness of his sacred office. Above
passion and resentment, he treated the supporters
of the new opinions with paternal tenderness, and



See Orlando Furioso, Canto, i. 3, 4.



256 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VI.

while he condemned their creed, he cherished,
and whenever an opportunity occurred, he pro-
tected their persons. " Fond to spread friend-
ships, and to cover hates," he made it the busi-
ness of his Hfe, to diffuse his own spirit, a spirit
of charity, peace, and indulgence, into all around
him ; and while he zealously endeavoured to clear
up the subjects in debate, and to remove misap-
prehensions, he still more strenuously exerted
himself to calm the rage of contest, and to infuse
a milder temper into the disputants. Even in
these days of tranquil discussion, when a general
spirit of toleration seems to have gradually dif-
fused itself over the Christian world, such a con-
ciliating character if placed in an elevated station,
would engage our esteem and reverence ; but at
the aera of the Reformation, that age of division
and madness, such gentleness, moderation, and
candor, were godlike qualities indeed.

The works of Sadoleti, consisting principally
of letters, addressed to the most conspicuous
persons of the age, are still extant : and as they
are drawn up in a pure and elegant style, and
frequently treat of subjects of great interest and
importance, they are equally amusing and in-
structive, and are calculated to give a very favor-
able idea of the taste, the knowledge, and the
piety of the author.

From the time of Sadoleti, that is from the



Ch.Vl. THROUGH ITALY. ^257

middle of the sixteenth century, down to the pre-
sent period, a regular succession of men eminent
for their talents and learning, either natives of its
territory, or attracted to its walls by the liberal
patronage of its princes, has continued to adorn
Modena, and to support its literary reputation.
Instead of giving a long and dry catalogue of
names, I will mention only two authors ; but
these of a reputation so splendid as to throw a
lustre on any city. One is the Abbate Muratori,
an Ex-Jesuit, the Duke's librarian, perhaps the
most learned antiquary, the most inquisitive, and
at the same time, the most impartial historian,
that the last century has produced. His works
consist of nearly fifty volumes in folio; of these,
his Annali jy Italia^ are perhaps the most instruc-
tive and the most entertaining. The other is the
Abhate TiiYiboschi, Ex-Jesuit and librarian as his
predecessor Muratori^ and like him eminent for
his profound knowledge of history and of anti-
quities. His principal work is a history of Italian
literature, entitled Italia Literaria, in sirteen vo-
lumes, a work replete with erudition, seasoned
with curious anecdote, and enriched with much
judicious and amusing criticism.

In justice to the Muses of Modena, I must
add the name of the playful Tassoni, who in his
Secchia Rapita (Rape of the Bucket), gave Boileau
and Pope, the hint and the model of the Liitrin,

VOL. I. s



125S CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VL

and of the Rape of the Lock ; taught them to
trifle with the splendor of poetry without de-
grading it, and enabled them, even on frivolous
subjects, to display the ease, the pliancy, and the
perfection of their respective languages. The
important " Bucket," celebrated in this poem, was
carried off from a well in one of the streets of
Bologna, by a party of Modenese troops, during
a petty war between these neighboring cities, and
has ever since been most carefully preserved as
an invaluable trophy, in a vault under the great
tower.

The naturalist may find some occupation in
the territory of Modena, by investigating the na-
ture of its wells supplied by perennial sources,
and uninfluenced by the state of the atmosphere,
as well as by inspecting its petrifactions and its
mineral fountains.

The Campi Macri (the lecm plains), celebrated
in opposition to their name, for their fertility, and
the excellent pasturage which they afforded to a
famous breed of cattle, were the plains which lie
between Parma and Modena, and extend beyond
the latter city towards Bologna.



Vh. Ylh THROUGH ITALY. 859



CHAP. VIL



Bologna, its University, Academies — Imola — Fa-^
mntia — Forli — ForlimpopoU — Cesena — Rubicon
— St. Marino — Rimini.

The traveller, as he rolls along the Via Emiliai
from Modena to Bologna, amidst scenes of the
neatest cultivation and of the most luxuriant
fertility, will recollect, that the very fields which
spread around him, the very country which he is
traversing, was the hloody theatre of the last un-
availing efforts of Roman liherty. The interview
of the Triumvirs took place in an island formed
by the Rhenus, at a little distance from Bologna*.
As the river is small, and the island observable
only on examination, the traveller generally passes
without being aware of the circumstance. The
stream still retains its ancient name, and is called
tbe Rheno.



* This island is two miles from Bologna, three miles
long, and one broad ; it contains two villages, St. Viola, to
the south ; St. Giovanni, to the north.



260 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VIL

From Modena to Bologna, the distance is three
stages, about twenty-four miles : about six miles
from the former town is Fort Urbano, erected by
Urban VITI. to mark and defend the entrance
into the Ecclesiastical State. Bologna (Bononia
Felsinia) was a Roman colony, though it retains
few or no traces of its antiquity, and is a rich,
populous, extensive, and most flourishing city.
Its history, like that of the preceding towns, is
contained in a few -words. First, great and pros-
perous under its founders, then in the succeeding
revolutions of the empire, pillaged, destroyed,
and rebuilt ; sometimes enslaved, and sometimes
free, it underwent and survived all the vicissitudes
of the barbarous ages. At last, after various
contests with the neighboring states, and with
their own tyrants, the inhabitants of Bologna
made a voluntary submission to Pope Nicolas III.
in 1278, and afterwards to John XXII. in 1327,
which they have frequently renewed since, at dif-
ferent periods. ^

But, in this voluntary submission, the Bo-
lognese did not mean so much to acknowledge
the Pope as their direct sovereign, as to put
their city under his protection as liege lord :
hence, they cautiously retained the management
of their finances, the election of their magistrates,
and the administration of their laws ; that is to
say, the essential forms of a republic, and only



Ch. VII. THROUGH ITALY. 261

employed the name and authority of the Pontiff to
repress the ambition of powerful and factious citi-
zens, or to awe the hostility of their neighbors the
Dukes of Modena, and of their rivals the Vene-
tians. Hence, they always resisted every encroach-
ment on their privileges, and not unfrequently,
expelled the papal legates when inclined to over-
strain the prerogatives of their office. This
guarded and conditional dependence produced at
Bologna all the advantages that accompany liberty ;
industry, commerce, plenty, population, know-
ledge, and refinement.

The French, in their late invasion, found, but
did not leave, the Bolognese in possession of these
blessings. They deprived their city of its freedom
and independence, separated it from the Roman
state, and annexed it to the Italian Republic, to
share with it the name of a Commonwealth,
and, to bear, in reality, the oppressive yoke of
an avaricous and insulting tyrant. Mr. Burke,
speaking of this event says, " The Pontiff has seen
his free, fertile and happy city and state of Bo-
logna, the cradle of regenerated law, the seat of
sciences and of arts, the chosen spot of plenty and
delight ; — converted into a Jacobin ferocious re-
public, dependent on the homicides of France."

The streets in Bologna are narrow, and the
exterior of the public buildings by no means pro-
portioned to the fame and to the opulence of the



262 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VIL

city. The cathedral is a modern edifice, of Ro-
man architecture, but in a bad style ; the inside is
light, and though it did not appear so to me, is
considered by several connoisseurs, as beautiful.
One altar, erected by the late bishop, of the finest
marbles, chastest decorations, and best propor-
tions, cannot fail to attract the eye of the obser-
ver ; it is exquisite in its kind, and was, in our
opinion, almost the only object in the cathedral
worthy of attention.

The church of St. Petronius is considered as
the principal church. It is Gothic, of great ex-
tent and antiquity, and though not beautiful, is
celebrated as well for several grand ceremonies,
which have been performed in it, such as the
coronation of Charles V. by Clement VII. as for
the meridian of the famous astronomer Cassinij
traced on its pavement. It was built about the
years 440 or 450, but rebuilt in a very different
style in 1390, and seems still to remain, in a great
degree, unfinished. The prelate, its founder first,
and now its patron, flourished in the reign of
Theodosius, and was a man of great activity and
general benevolence. He enlarged the extent of
the city, adorned it with several public buildings,
procured it the favor and largesses of the Emperor,
and by his long and unremitting exertions to pro-
mote its welfare, seems to have a just claim to the
gratitude and veneration of its inhabitants. S.



Ch. VII. THROUGH ITALY. 263

Salvador, S. Paolo, and above all, La Madonna di
S. Luca, deserve a particular visit. This latter
church stands on a high hill, about five miles from
Bologna. It is in the form of a Greek cross, of
the Corinthian order, and is crowned with a dome.

As the people of Bologna have a peculiar de-
votion to the Blessed Virgin, and crowds flock
from all quarters to visit this her sanctuary, for
their accommodation, in all seasons and in all
weather, a portico has been carried from the gates
of the city up the hill to the very entrance of the
temple, or rather to the square before it. This
immense building was raised by the voluntary con-
tributions of persons of every class in Bologna ;
the richer erected one or more arches, according
to their means ; the middling classes gave their
pecuniary aid in proportion ; and the poorest in-
sisted on contributing their labor to the grand
undertaking. It is in reality a most noble monu-
ment of public piety, and alone sufficient to prove
that the spirit and magnificence of the ancient Ro-
mans still animate the modern Italians, and may,
in a fortunate combination of circumstances, once
more blaze out in all their pristine glory.

The church is of a fine and well proportioned
form, rich in marbles, but overloaded, as we ima-
gined, with ornaments. It is needless to add, that
from such an elevation the view is beautiful, lost
on one side in the windings of the neighboring



264 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VIL

Apennines, and extending on the other over a
plain of immense extent, and unparalleled popula-
tion and fertility. One circumstance struck us
particularly while on the hill. It was the end of
March, the sky was clear, and the weather warm
nearly as it may be on a bright day in England in
the month of May, so warm in short, as to ren-
der the shade not only pleasing, but desirable ;
yet, in various parts of the hill, and near the
church, the snow lay deep, and in vast masses
likely to resist for some time, the increasing
warmth of the season. So great is the influence
of such mountains as the Alps and Apennines, on
the climate of the adjacent countries.

The two brick towers, Degli As'melli and Dei
Garisendi, are deformed monuments of a barbarous
age, and remarkable only for their unmeaning
elevation and dangerous deviation from the per-
pendicular.

Bologna is decorated with many palaces of
vast extent, and some few of noble architecture.
Among the latter is the Palazzo Ranuzzi, said
to be of Palladio ; also those of Lambertim, Orsi,
Benthogli, Malvezzi, Campeggi, Pepoli, Legnanij
&c. These palaces, and indeed almost all the
churches and public buildings in Bologna, are
ornamented with a profusion of paintings, by the
first masters, Giddo, Gucrcbii, the Caracci, Cara-
'vaggio, Giordano, and particularly Albano. Of the



C/j. Vir. THROUGH ITALY. 265

latter artist it has been said, that the Loves seem
to have mixed his colors, and the Graces to have
fashioned his forms ; such is the soft glow of his
tints, snch the ease and the beauty of his groups
and figures ! The greater number, and the best of
this celebrated artist's compositions are to be seen
at Bologna, and may furnish the admirer of paint-
ing with many an hour's, or rather, many a day's
entertainment. No city has given more encou-
ragement to painting, or contributed more to its
perfection, than Bologna ; no one has produced a
greater number of illustrious painters, or enjoyed
a higher reputation in the art than its well known
school.

To perpetuate the skill and the honors of this
school, an academy has been established, under
the title of the Clementine Academy, with a suf-
ficient number of eminent professors to direct, and
of medals and premiums to animate and reward
the zeal of the young artists. Public instructions
are given gratis, models furnished, accommoda-
tions supplied, and every possible encouragement
afforded to attract scholars, and enable them to
develop and perfect their talents.

This excellent institution, so well calculated to
preserve the reputation of the school of Bologna,
originated in the beginning of the last century, and
has already produced several artists of reputation ;
among whom we may rank its first president.



266 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch, VIL

Carlo Cignani. The halls and apartments of this
academy are very spacious, and form part of the
palace belonging to the Imtituto di Bologna. This
latter establishment, one of the most magnificent
of the kind in Italy, or perhaps in the world, oc-
cupies an immense and very noble edifice, where
the various arts and sciences have their respective
halls decorated in a grand style, and furnished with
appropriate apparatus. In this palace sits the
Academy of Sciences, a singular monument of
that enthusiasm for knowledge, which has always
formed a distinctive feature in the Italian cha-
racter.

This Academy of high reputation in the re-
public of letters, owes its origin in the seven-
teenth century, to a noble youth of the name of
Eustachio Manfredi, who, at the early age of six-
teen, formed a literary society, and collected at
certain stated assemblies in his own house, all the
men of taste and talents in Bologna. The spirit of
the founder has never abandoned the academy,
which still continues to enrich the learned world
with its productions, and to support the fame and
the glory of its origin.

In the same palace, are a library containing
at least one hundred and fifty thousand volumes,
open to the public six days in the week ; an obser-
vatory furnished with an excellent astronomical
apparatus ; a vast chemical laboratory ; a cabinet



\



Ch. VII. THROUGH ITALY. 267

of natural history ; an experimental cabinent with
ail kinds of instruments for physical operations ;
two halls of architecture, one for the civil, the
other for the military branches of this art ; a ma-
rine hall ; a gallery of antiquities ; another of
statues, and a third of paintings ; a hall of ana-
tomy and midwifery, celebrated for a remarkable
collection of wax figures, representing the female
form in all the stages, and in all the incidents of
paturition. In fine, a chapel for the use of the
united members of the Institute. Almost all these
halls and apartments are adorned with pictures and
paintings in fresco, on the walls and ceilings, and
form one of the most magnificent abodes ever con-
secrated to the arts and sciences. I have already
observed, that regular instructions are given to
young painters in the hall of the academy ; I must
here add, that professors attend and deliver lec-
tures gratis, at stated periods, to all students, on
the different arts, in their respective halls.

Bologna owes this superb establishment to one
of its citizens, General Count Marsigli, who, after
having passed many years in the Imperial service,
returned to his native country, and devoted the
remainder of his days, his talents, and his fortune,
to the propagation of the arts and sciences, in its
bosom. He bestowed upon the city his valuable
collections of every kind, and by his exertions
formed a society of men of the first tale«ts and



268 CLASSICAL TOUR Ch. VIL

reputation, in each art and science, which assumed
the name of the Instituto di Bologna. To lodge
this society, and receive the above-mentioned col-
lections, the city purchased the Palazzo Cellesi,
and had it fitted up in its present style combining
grandeur and convenience. This arrangement took
place in the year 1714. Since that period the
Instituto has been enriched by the donations of
several illustrious persons, and particularly of
Benedict XIV. a pontiff of an enlightened and
capacious mind, who encouraged the sciences, in
all parts of the Roman state, but particularly in Bo-
logna, his native city. An Englishman, accustomed
to the rich endowments of his own country, will
hear with astonishment, that this grand establish-
ment, so well furnished with all the materials of
science, and so well supplied with professors of
the first abilities and reputation, does not possess
an annual income of seven hundred pounds a
year ; and his surprise will increase, when it is
added, that the want of a larger income has
hitherto been abundantly supplied by the zeal
and the indefatigable assiduity of the governors


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Online LibraryJohn Chetwode EustaceA classical tour through Italy, an. MDCCCII (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 27)