Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

poor creatures called up to the door, in order to buy from them myself, not from a motive of gluttony, but that our hoft might not make a hard bargain with them. They wear a kind of waistcoat, and trowsers of Aannel; their heads are bare, as are their legs and feet. I intend to go on board the galleys before we quit Genoa, when I shall be able to give you a more exact descrip. tion of them. The great scarcity of fish is not owing to a want of abundance in the gulph, but to a tax upon this article, when exposed for sale in the inarkets, which raises the price to the buyer above that of butchers meat, although that is sold at twelve sols the pound; the Genoese do not eat much meat. The poorer fort especially live almost entirely upon chesnuts * and macaroni. Bread is excellent here, but very deart; the corn with which it is made comes from Sicily. The air is so much warmer at this place than at Turin, that we cannot bear a fire in our apartment. Here are great plenty of Aowers, which are fold extremely cheap, and come out of the gardens in the environs of Genoa. These bouquets are com

· * The chesnuts that Campo Maroni afford are excellent, and have not that cloying sweetness of those in England. Water melons are in great plenty, and grapes; but these are not as yet quite ripe. Here are also green pease of a very good kind; the brocoli would be excellent, if the Italians knew how to dress it. :

+ Fourteen bakers work night and day the year round. The price of rolls, of the size of those called French rolls at Bath, are dearer by a halfpenny than in that town. .

posed

posed of roses, carnations, China.pinks, Catalo. nian-jessamin, violets"; the green of lavendercotton, dictany of Crete, and a very aromatic sweet scented rosemary; lavender in great plenty, and knotted marjoram of an exquisite smell.

I inclose you the copies of our letters to the families of Spinola Balbis, and Durazzo, from the ambassadress of Spain, and France; both these families are (unluckily) at Novi. This circumstance will, however, leave us at liberty to quit the town when we have seen every thing worth notice. Madama Balbis and Madama Durazzo have the character of being uncommonly polite to strangers; the former has distinguished many English by her obliging prejudices to that nation; the latter is deemed to be rather partial to the French.

We are just returned from a walk about the Genoa town. The Strada Nuova, and Strada Balbi, are Streets. the widest and best streets. The architecture of Palaces. the palaces that adorn them is adınirable, and would appear to much greater advantage was the area wider. This circumstance must always be re. gretted by the lovers of architecture, as it is im. possible for a spectator to place himself in such a manner, as to see the fronts in a proper point of view: the houses are also extremely high. Although there is a profusion of marble in this country, many of the palaces are painted upon the outside with representations of rustic bases, co.

M 2

lumns,

St. Siro Church.

lúmns, entablatures, frizes, &c. which ought to have been executed in marble. Where this painting is well preserved, it deceives at a little distance, by a truth in the perspective. The colours chiefly made use of, are not as well chosen as I think they might have been ; for instance, that of Grimaldi is almost black; of Durazzo, yellow and white; others, shades of green and a dirty brickdust red. The marble ornaments of most of the door-cases are magnificent, and in a great style of architecture. The famous church of St. Siro is lined throughout with marble; this is the old cathedral, remarkable for the councils held here, and the plots formed for revolutions, many of which have taken place according to the annals of this city. It now belongs to the convent of the Theatins. This church is so ornamented and gilt, as to appear loaded, and encumbered, one decoration hiding another. The cieling is painted by Carloni, but indifferently, the colouring too yellow. In a chapel is a Nativity, by Cambiagi; this picture has but a small degree of merit.Returning home in the dulk of the evening, and passing by a church, which we perceived to be illuminated, we went in, and there found a very considerable audience, and a fine band of music. The altar was richly decked; fifty-four large wax tapers, in candlesticks of silver, about four feet high, were placed pyramidically at its sides, and it was covered with relics, chefs of saints, garlands of Aowers, a magnificent sun, angels, &c. in

silver.

ncu

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

filver. The appearance altogether was rather thea-, trical than religious ; the music good, and the. symphonies fo lively, that they seemed to me to announce the entry of the ballet. I could think of nothing but dancing; and had I not been sure I was in a church, I should have believed myself at the overture of an opera: nor by the countenances and manners of the congregation, could you sup-, pose they were assisting at a religious ceremony. However, superstition is not wanting; the people who enter the church, both male and female, drop down at once upon their knees, bow their heads profoundly, then seize the holy-water brush, and sprinkle and cross themselves with great ardour, striking their breasts at the same time. I. plainly perceived, that the fair Genoese knew how to unite gallantry with devotion; and that many. of those ladies, who had been the most precile in crossing and sprinkling, had been no less just to the hour of assignation. There is more love in an Italian church than in a French theatre. Many handsome women assisted at this spiritual concert, but they do not owe their beauty entirely to Nature; their complexions are for the most part brown; and have generally fine black eyes, whose fire they augment by rouge (but not laid on in the French stile); the Genoese endeavour to imitate Nature. They turn to good account the great veils they wrap their heads in, as they can orgner with more privacy, by their artful manner of halfconcealing their faces. Some -noble ladies were

M 3

there;

n an

[ocr errors]

there ; they wore a black gauze hood pulled down so as to cover their faces, but not conceal them.

I observed a few pictures in this church, but the lamps that were burning before them smoked so much, that I could not see whether they were good or bad.The situation of this town is fine; it forms a great amphitheatre, scooped out as it were down to the sea. Excepting the streets ! mentioned, all the others are extremely narrow* :

I should also except the Piazza del Annonciata, which is tolerably large, where the coaches assemble and wait; also the Porto St. Thomaso, before the palace of P. Doria, is considerable enough. The houfes are flat-roofed, and have either a low parapet round the top of the wall, or a balustrade, on which are placed flower-pots, containing myrtles, Catalonia jesfamine, and other odoriferous green-house plants, which live out all the winter in this mild climate: I also observed several annuals and perennials, as coxcombs, tricolars, cardinals, female balsamines, stocks, and wall-flowers still in perfection, with the addition of some fine carnations. There are light arbours, or what the French call Berceaus of Trelisje, painted and fixed on these fat roofs, over which they trail wood. bine, jessamine, gourd, &c. to protect them from the heat of the sun, and the women in fine wea. ther pass most of their time on the tops of their

• Narrow fo as that, from the upper stories of the houses, two persons leaning out of the opposite windows might shake hands acrcas.

houses,

« AnteriorContinuar »