John Chetwode Eustace.

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

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vero etiam fontes. Nam praeter ilium, quasi parentem caete-

rorum, sunt minores capita discreti ; sed flumini miscentur,

quod ponte transmittitur. Is terminus sacri profanique. In

superiore parte navigare tantum, infra etiam natare con-

cessum. Balineum Hispellates, quibus ilium locum Divus

Augustus dono dedit, publico praebent et hospitium. Nee

desunt villae, quae secutee fluminis amoenitatem, margini insis-

tunt. In summ^, nihil erit, ex quo non capias voluptatem.

Nam studebis quoque, et leges multa multorum omnibus co-

lumnis, omnibus parietibus inscripta, quibus fons ille Deus-

que celebratur. Plura laudabis, nounuUa ridebis, quanquam

tu vero, quae tua humanitas, nulla ridebis. Vale *."

C. Plin. Lib. viii. Epist. S.

* C. Pliny to his friend Romanus.

" Have you ever seen the sources of the Clitumnus ? If
not, (and I think, if you had, you would have mentioned it to
me) go and see them. I saw them not long since, and I re-
gret that I did not see them sooner. There is a rising ground
of moderate elevation, thickly shaded with aged cypresses.
At the foot of this, a fountain gushes out in several unequal
veins, and having made its escape, forms a pool, whose
broad bosom expands, so pure and chrystal-Iike, that you


Some changes have however taken place, not
indeed in the great features of nature, but in

may count small pieces of money that you throw in, and the
shining pebbles. Thence it is impelled forward, not by the
declivity of the ground, but as it Avere, by its own abundance
and weight. Though yet at its source, it is already a spa-
cious river, capable of bearing vessels, which it transports
iu every direction, even such as come upwards, and strive
against the stream ; it is so powerful that oars give no assist-
ance downwards, but upwards, oars and poles can scarce
get the better of the current. It is a delightful recreation to
those who amuse themselves with floating upon its surface,
to exchange alternately, as they alter their direction, labor
for ease, and ease for labor. Some parts of the banks are
clothed with the wild ash, some with poplars, and the trans-
parent river gives back the image of every one of them dis-
tinctly, as if they were submerged beneath its waters. The
coldness of the water is equal to that of snow, and its color
nearly so. Hard by, is an ancient and venerable temple.
There stands the god Clitumnus himself, not naked, but
adorned with the prcetexta *. The oracles which are delivered
there, indicate, not only the presence, but the prophetic
power of the deity. Several chapels are scattered about the
neighborhood, each containing an image of the god ; each
has a sanctity, and each a divinity pecuHar to itself : some
also contain fountains. For besides the Clitumnus, who is
as it were the father of all the rest, there are some smaller
streams, distinct at the source, but which mingle with the
river as soon as it passes the bridge. There ends every
thing sacred and profane. Above the bridge, navigation
^nly is allowed; below it, swimming is permitted. The in-

* The dress worn by the Roman youth, before they came
to man's estate.


those ornamental parts which are under the in-
fluence of cultivation. The ancient cypresses that
shaded the hill, the ash and the poplar that hung
over the river, have fallen long since, and have
been replaced by mulberries, vines, and olives,
less beautiful but more productive. The sacred
grove has not been spared ; the little chapels have
disappeared, and the statue of the god has yielded
his place to the triumphant cross. This circum-
stance is rather fortunate, as to it the temple owes
its preservation.

This temple consists of the cella and a Corin-
thian portico, supported by four pillars and two
pilasters ; the pilasters are fluted ; two of the pil-
lars are indented with two spiral lines winding
round, and two ornamented with a light sculpture
representing the scales of fish. The inscription on
the frieze is singular, " Deus angeloj^nm, qui fecit

habitants of Hispella, to whom Augustus made a present of
the place, supply a bath and an inn for the accommodation
6f the public. Along the banks are a number of villas, to
which the beauty of the stream has given birth. In a word,
there is nothing with which you will not be delighted. For
you may even indulge your propensity for study, and may
read many inscriptions written by different persons on every
pillar and every wall, in honor of the fountain and the god.
Many you will applaud, some you will laugh at, though in
fact, such is your good-nature, that you will laugh at none.


resurrectionem* y Underneath is a vault or crypta:
the entrance is on the side as the portico hangs
over the river ; the walls are solid, the proportions
beautiful, and the whole worthy of the Romans,
to whom it is ascribed. I am however inclined
to think, that the portico has been altered or re-
paired since the construction of the temple, as it
is more ornamented than the general form of the
edifice would induce us to expect. Besides, the
capitals of the pilasters differ from those of the
pillars, a circumstance very unusual in Roman
architecture. It is not improbable, that this tem-
ple suffered considerably before it was converted
into a Christian church, and that when repaired
for that purpose, the ancient pillars, perhaps
thrown into the river, might have been replaced
by columns from the ruins of the various other
fanes, which, as Pliny informs us, were inter-
spersed up and down the sacred grove, around the
residence of the principal divinity.

The Clitumnus still retains its ancient name,
and recalls to the traveller's recollection many
a pleasing passage in the poets, connecting the
beauty of the scenery about him with the pomps
of a triumph, and transporting him from the

Th« god of the angels, who made the resurrectioa.


tranquil banks of the rural stream to the crowds
of the Forum, and to the majestic temples of the

Hinc albi, Clitumne, greges et maxima taurus
Victima, saepe tuo perfusi flumine sacro,
Romanos ad templa DeAm duxere triumphos *.

Fir. Geo. ii. 146.

Propertius confines his softer muse to the beauty
of the scenery, and seems to repose with com-
placency on the shaded bank,

Qui Formosa suo Clitumnus flumina luco
Integit et niveos abluit uuda boves f.

Lib. ii. 17.

Though white herds are still seen wandering
over the rich plain watered by this river, yet a
very small portion of it is employed in pasturage.
Its exuberant fertility is better calculated for till-
age, and every year sees it successively covered
with wheat, grapes, mulberries, and olives.

From Le Vene to Spokto is about nine miles.
The ancient town of Spoletum is situated on the

* There flows Clitumnus through the flow'iy plain ;
Whose waves, for triumphs after prosp'rous war,
The victim ox and snowy sheep prepare.


f Where fair Clitumnus bids his waters flow
Through arching groves, and bathes his herds of snow.


side and summit of a hill. It is well known
that Annibal attacked this town immediately
after the defeat of the Romans at Thrasimenus,
and the inhabitants still glory in having repulsed
the Carthaginian general, flushed as he was with
conquest, and confident of success. An inscrip-
tion over the great arch of an ancient gate com-
memorates this event so honorable to the people
of Spokto.

I have observed, as I have already hinted, with
great satisfaction, not only in Spokto, but in many
Italian towns, particularly such as were founded
by Roman colonies, a vivid recollection of the
glory of their ancestors. Notwithstanding the
lapse of so many ages, notwithstanding so many
cruel and destructive invasions, though insulted
and plundered, and almost enslaved, the Italians
remember with generous pride, that the Romans
were their ancestors, and cherish the records of
their glorious achievements, as an inheritance of
honor, a birth-right to fame. Unhappy race ! it
is the only possession, which their invaders cannot
wrest from them — " Maneant meliora nepotes!*""
Two other gates seem by their form and materials,
to have some claim to antiquity. Some vast
masses of stone, forming the piers of a bridge, the

* May a better fate attend their posterity.


rains of a theatre, and of a temple, said to be
dedicated to Concord (though the latter scarce
exhibit enough to constitute even a ruin) as being
Roman, deserve a passing look.

The cathedral, in a commanding situation,
presents a front of five Gothic arches, supported
by Grecian pillars, and within, consists of a Latin
cross, with a doable range of pillars, of neat and
pleasing architecture. The order is Corinthian.
The two side altars are uncommonly beautiful.
Two vast candelabra, near the high altar, deserve
attention. The view from the terrace of the cathe-
dral is very extensive and beautiful. Near it, a
very fine fountain of an elegant form pours out,
though near the summit of a high hill, a torrent
of the purest water. The Roman pontiffs, it must
be acknowledged, have, in this respect, retained
the sound maxim of antiquity, and endeavored to
unite the useful and the agreeable. Never have I
seen water employed to more advantage, or poured
forth in greater abundanee, than in the Roman
territories. It is sometimes drawn from distant
sources, sometimes collected from various springs
gathered into one channel, and ahvays devoted to
public purposes.

The castle is a monument of barbarous an-
tiquity, built by Theodoric, destroyed during the
Gothic war, and repaired by Narses, the rival and
successor of Behsarius. It is a vast stone building,


surrounded by a stone rampart, standing on a high
hill that overlooks the town, but as it is com-
manded by another hill still higher, it loses at
present much of its utility in case of an attack.
Behind the castle, a celebrated aqueduct, supported
by arches of an astonishing elevation, runs across
a deep dell, and unites the town by a bridge, to
the noble hill that rises behind it, called Monte
Luco. This hill is covered with evergreen oaks,
and adorned by the white cells of a tribe of hermits
established on its shaded sides. These liermits are
of a very different description from most others
who bear the name. They are not bound by
vows nor teased with little petty observances ; and
notwithstanding this kind of independence, they
are said to lead very pure and exemplary lives.
The aqueduct is Roman, but said to have been
repaired by the Goths. The town of Spoleto is in
general well-built, and though occasionally da-
maged by earthquakes, as we were informed by
various inscriptions on the public buildings, yet
it possesses many noble edifices and beautiful

The road from Spoleto is bordered by a stream
on the left, and by wooded hills on the right.
About two miles from the town we began to
ascend the Somma. The road is excellent, and
winds up the steep without presenting any thing
particularly interesting, till you reach the summit.


whence you enjoy a delightful and extensive view
over Spoleto, and the vale of Clitumnus on one side,
and on the other towards Terni, and the plains of
the Nar. Monte Somma is supposed to have taken
its name from a temple of Jupiter Summanus
placed on its summit, is near five thousand feet
high, fertile, shaded with the olive, the ilex, and
various forest trees, well cultivated, and enlivened
with several little towns. The descent is long
and rapid, and extends to the stage next to

This ancient town, the Interamna of the Ro-
mans, retains no traces of its former splendor, if
it ever was splendid, though it may boast of some
tolerable palaces, and, what is superior to all pa-
laces, a charming situation. The ruins of the
amphitheatre in the episcopal garden consist of
one deep dark vault, and scarcely merit a visit.
Over the gate is an inscription, informing the tra-
veller that this colony gave birth to Tacitus the
historian, and to the emperors Tacitus and Flo-
rian ; few country towns can boast of three such

The principal glory of Terni, and indeed one
of the noblest objects of the kind in the world, is
the celebrated cascade in its neighborhood, called
the " Caduta delle Marmore*!' To enjoy all the

* The marble cascade.


beauties of this raagnificent fall, it will be proper
first to take a view of it from the side of the hill
beyond the Nar. The way to it runs through the
valley along the Nar, sometimes overshaded by the
superincumbent mountain with its groves of pine,
ilex, and beech, rustling above, and at every turn
exhibiting new scenery of rocks, woods, and waters.
At length you climb the steep shaggy sides of the
hill, and, from a natural platform, behold the cas-
cade opposite. This point enables you to see, with
much advantage, the second fall, when the river
bursting from the basin into which it was first
precipitated, tumbles over a ridge of broken rocks
in various sheets half veiled in spray and foam.
Hence are taken most of the views hitherto pub-
lished, and when we visited it, we found two
Roman artists employed on the spot. If the con-
templation of this scene for ever shifting to the
eye, should be found tiresome, the remainder of the
day may be spent very agreeably in traversing the
surrounding woods, and exploring the vale of the
Nar and its enclosing mountains. The second day
must be devoted to the examination of the cascade
from above, and the excursion commenced from
the earliest dawn. Mules, or one horse chairs,
are commonly hired, though, if the weather be
cool, and the traveller a good walker, it may
easily be performed on foot.

The upper road to the Caduta crosses a plain


varied with olives, vines, and corn fields, and
climbs the mountain through a defile, whose sides
are clad with vines below, and with box and ilex
above. . Through the dell, the Nar, " sulfurea
albus aqud*,^' of a wheyish color, tumbles foaming
along his rocky channel. In the centre of the
defile rises an insulated eminence, topped with
the ruins of the village of Papignia destroyed by
the French.

Ascending still higher, you come to an angle,
where the road is worked through the rock, and
forming a very elevated terrace, gives you a view
of Terni and its plain ; of the dell below with the
Nar ; of the mountains around with their woods ;
and of the Velino itself, at a considerable distance,
just bursting from the shade, and throwing itself
down the steep. The road still continues along
the precipice, then crosses a small plain bounded
by high mountains, when you quit it, and follow
a pathway that brings you to a shed, placed on
the point of a hill just opposite to the cascade,
and so near to it, that you are occasionally covered
with its spray.

Here we sat down, and observed the magnifi-
cent phenomenon at leisure. At a little distance
beyond the cascade, rise two hills of a fine swell-

With his white, sulphureous waters.


ing form, covered with groves of ilex. The
Vel'mo passes near one of these hills, and suddenly
tumbling over a ridge of broken rock, rushes
headlong down in one vast sheet, and in three
streamlets. The precipice is of brown rock ; its
sides are smooth and naked ; it forms a semicircle,
crowned with wood on the right, and on the left
it rises steep, and feathered with evergreens. On
the one side it ascends in broken ridges, and on
the other, sinks gradually away, and subsides in a
narrow valley, through which the Nar glides gently
along till its junction with the Vel'mo^ after which
it rolls through the deli in boisterous agitation.
The arti6cial bed of the Velino is straight, but
before it reaches it, it wanders through a fertile
plain spread between the mountains, and extend-
ing to the lake Pie de Lugo.

This beautiful expanse of water, about a mile
in breadth, fills the defile, and meanders between
the mountains for some miles. The way to it
from the fall, is by a path winding along the foot
of the mountain, and leading to a cottage, where
you may take a boat, and cross to a bold promon-
tory opposite. There, seated in the shade, you
may enjoy the view of the waters, of the border-
ing mountains, of the towns perched on their
sides, the village Pie de Lugo, and rising behind it
the old castle of Labro, whose dismantled towers
crown a regular hill, while its shattered walls run


in long lines down the declivity. We were here
entertained with an echo tlie most articulate, the
most retentive, and the most musical I ever heard,
repeating even a whole verse of a song, in a softer
and more plaintive tone indeed, but with sur-
prising precision and distinctness. We sat for
some time on the point of the promontory, partly
to enjoy the view, and partly to listen to the
strains of this invisible songstress, and then crossed
the lake to the village now called Pie di Luco, or
" ad Pedes Luci*." This name is probably derived
from a grove which formerly covered the hill, and
was sacred to Velinia, the goddess who presided
over the '^ Lacus Velinus-|-." Around and above
the lake are the " Roscida rura Velini;}:," so cele-
brated for their dews and fertility, and always so
interesting for their variety and beauty.

We would willingly have followed the banks
of the Velino up to its source, and visited Reate,
now Rieti, with its vale of Tempe, alluded to by
Cicero; but the day was on the decline, and it
would have been imprudent to have allowed our-
selves to be benighted, either amid the solitudes
of the mountain, or on its declivity. We there-
fore returned, again visited the cascade, ranged

* The foot of the grove. f The Velinian lake.

\ The dewy fields of the Velinus.


through a variety of natural grottos and caverns,
formed in its neighborhood by the water, before
the present spacious bed was opened to receive
it; and then descending the hill we hastened to

After having minutely examined the scenery
of this superb waterfall, I cannot but wonder
that Addison should have selected it as a proper
gulph to receive the Fury Alecto, and transmit
her to the infernal regions. The wood-crowned
basin of rock that receives the Velinus; the silver
sheet of war descending from above ; the white
spray that rises below, and conceals the secrets of
the abyss ; the Iris that plays over the watery
cavern, and covers it with a party-colored blaze,
are all features of uncommon beauty, and better
adapted to the watery palaces of the Naiads of
the neighboring rivers.

Centum quae sylvas, centum quae flumina servant f.

Vir. Geo. iv. 383.

* The first artificial vent of the Velinus on record was
made by the consul Curius Dentatus, but it did not fully
answer the purpose. The Velinus still continued to inun-
date the vale of Reate, and occasioned, in Cicero's time,
several legal contests between the inhabitants of that city
and those of Interamna, who opposed its full discharge into
the Nar. The present bed was opened, or at least enlarged,
by the late Pope Pius the Sixth, and gives the river a free
passage down the steep.

t Who rule the wat'ry plains, and hold the woodland
shade. Dry den.


Addison's conjecture is founded upon one parti-
cular expression, "Est locus Italiae medio*," and
two verses in Virgil's description :

Urget utrimque latus nemoris, medioque fragosus
Dat sonitum saxis et torto vertice torrens f.

Mn. Lib. vii. 566.

But the first expression may merely imply that
Amsanctus was at a distance from the coasts, and
extremities of Italy; and the description contained
in the verses may be applied to any wood, and to
the roar and agitation of any torrent ; while, if
intended to represent the thunder of the falling
Velinus, they convey, what Virgil's descriptions
are seldom supposed to do, a very faint idea of
their object. Besides, in opposition to these cri-
tical conjectures, we have the positive authority
of the ancients, and particularly of Cicero and
Titus Livius, who inform us in plain terms, that
the vale or lake of Amsanctus was in the terri-
tories of the Hirpini, which lay on and along the

* There is a place in the centre of Italy.

f On either side

Thick forests the forbidden entrance hide.
Full in the centre of the sacred wood
An arm arises of the Stygian flood,
Which, breaking from beneath with bellowing sound,
Whirls the black waves and rattling stones around.

Dry den.


Apennines, to the south of Beneventum, and about
twenty-five or thirty miles east of Naples =*. In
that territory, not far from Frie?2to, a lake even
now bears the name of Ansanto, and emits a
vapor, or rather throws up in the middle a torrent
of sulphur, " to7'to mrtice^j' and if we may credit
travellers, agrees in every respect with Virgil's
description;!:. However, I cannot close these re-
marks better, than by inserting the verses of
Virgil, which actually allude to the river in ques-
tion, and to the neighboring Nar, as they give the
characteristic features in the usual grand manner
of the poet. The Fury, says Virgil,

Tartarean! intendit vocem : qua protinus omne
Contremuit nemus, et sylvse intonuere profundse.
Audiit et Triviae longe lacus, audiit amnis
SulfureA Nar albus aqu&, fontesque Velini§.

^n. vii. 514.

The Nar now called the A^er«, is the southern

* Cic. De Div. i. 36.

f In a whirling vortex. " Whirls the black waves."

X See Swinburne.

§ to her crooked horn,

Adds all her breath ; the rocks and woods around,
And mountains tremble at th' infernal sound.
The sacred lake of Trivia from afar,
The Veline fountains, and sulphureous Nar,
Shake at the baleful blast, the signal of the war.

Dry den.



boundary of Umbria, and tnaverses, in its way to
Narni about nine miles distant, a vale of most
delightful appearance. The Apennine, in its
mildest form, ^^ coruscis ilicibusfremensf^ bounds
this plain ; the milky Nar intersects it, and fertility
equal to that of the neighboring vale of Cli-
tumnus, compressed into a smaller space, and of
course placed more immediately within the reach
of observation, adorns it on all sides with vegeta-
tion and beauty ; so that it resembles a noble and
extensive park, the appendage of some princely
palace, laid out and cultivated to please the eye,
and to amuse the fancy.

The ancient Roman colony of Narni stands
on the summit of a very high and steep hill,
whose sides are clothed with olives, and whose
base is washed by the Neva. At the foot of
the hill we alighted, in order to visit the cele-
brated bridge of Augustus. This noble row of
arches thrown over the stream and the deBle in
which it rolls, to open a communication between
the two mountains, and to facilitate the approach
to the town, was formed of vast blocks of white
stone fitted together without cement. All the
piers and one arch still remain ; the other arches

Shaking the sounding forest on his sides.

Dry den.


are fallen, and their fall seems to have been oc-
casioned by the sinking of the middle pier: other-
wise a fabric of so much solidity and strength
must have been capable of resisting the influence
of time and of weather. The views towards the
bridge on the high road and the plain on one side
and on the other through the remaining arch
along the river, are unusually picturesque and
pleasing. We proceeded through this dell, along
the Nar tumbling and murmuring over its rocky
channel, and then, with some difficulty, worked
our way through the olives and evergreens that
line the steep, up to the town.

We were particularly struck uith the romantic
appearance of Ncniii. Its walls and towers spread
along the uneven summit, sometimes concealed in
groves of cypress, ilex, and laurel, and sometimes
emerging from the shade, and rising above their
waving tops ; delightful views of the vales, towns,
rivers, and mountains, opening here and there
unexpectedly on the eye ; a certain loneliness and
silence, even in the streets; the consequence and
sad memorial of ages of revolution, disaster, 'and
suflPering, are all features pleasing and impressive.

Few towns have sfaffered more than Narni^
but its greatest wounds were inflicted by the

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