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road being impaffable: it was one continued swal. low. We were very sorry to do so much mischief to the corn-fields and vines, but the poftilions did not seem to have the least consideration for them; they acted as the post-master at Bron had ordered them, and I think broke down and spoiled more
fences and vines than was necessary. We passed The Tre- another river to day, the famous Trebia ; it was bia river.
neither dangerous nor deep. The weather is very disagreeable here: all this day we have travelled
through a thick fog, but just clear enough to find Piacenza. our way. When we reached the town, its appear.
ance was by no means inviting, nor did it improve upon a nearer acquaintance. We drove through a considerable part of it, in order to reach the inn, the best here (sign of St. Mark). The town feems like an assemblage of wretched villages. The houses look like barns, bleak, and ready to fall to ruin; the windows few, narrow, and barred, and the doors as large as those of barns in Eng. land. I cannot imagine how this town acquired the appellation of Piacenza; for it is the most unpleasant, raw, foggy, nasty place imaginable. We do not intend to remain here longer than tomorrow, having fixed our little journey to Parma for Monday : therefore adieu ; for I must go see what is remarkable at Piacenza, which I shall impart to you most faithfully. I have just concluded the bargain with our host for our dinners and suppers whilst we stay; he demanded forty pauls a-head for each repast, besides our fires; but I
have worn him down to twenty-four. What an odious country, where if you do not make the agreement beforehand, you are at the mercy of the inn-keeper, who charges unconscionably; and if you complain to a magistrate, instead of redress, you will probably be benefited in future by following the advice the man of law will lavish upon you, and all gratis ; “ Never to trust an inn« keeper again, but to make your bargain before, a band.”
We have been to fee the famous Equestrian EquesStatues of bronze, in the market-place, fronting trian. Aathe town-house; they represent two Dukes of the Farnese family. Alexander Farnese, third Duke of Plaisance; and the other, Ranutio, his son, and succeflor. These statues were erected at public expence, and are the work of John of Bologna (this artist was born at Douay in Flanders, and was the scholar of Michael Angelo). Although the French bestow the most extravagant praises on all the statues of this master, and are in raptures when they speak of Henry the Fourth's on Pontneuf at Paris, which is far from being void of faults; nor are these, I assure you. Lalande, like the rest of his countrymen, commends them much more than they deserve. There are some striking faults in the anatomy of both; the horses bellies are too big, they seem like mares in foal; that of Henry IV. is liable to the same objection : too great a distance is observable between the eyes and ears of each ; (this is so apparent, that it must R2
strike the eyes of a common farrier :) consequently the eyes are most unnaturally near the nostrils. They have an abundance of tail and main, particularly Alexander's charger, the best of the two, more than any living horse ever had; the near leg of Ranutio's, which he is about to put to the ground, appears lame and hurt by the timorous manner in which it seems to descend; yet the attitudes of the horles altogether are good. The Duke's are clothed in Greek drapery; a kind of mantle hangs over their shoulders, which flows gracefully behind, as if agitated by the wind. The whole of the drapery is treated in a large manner; perhaps it may be found too airy and fluttering. Their persons are short, and their muscles too strongly marked. The pedestals are ridiculously small, and the genii, or children that decorate them, though in a good taste, too much twisted and twined: those at the base are in a cold manner, and detached more than necessary from the pedestal. The bas reliefs do not appear to have been the work of the same master; there is a hardness in the design, and, by a very bad contrivance of the artist, the groups in front are quite separated from those which form the ground; and being sculptured flat and thin, leave a void between them and the others; this offends the eye when viewed from one side, and also produces too dark a shadow on the bas relief. There is a Latin inscription on each pedestal : M- translates them thus for me; one, that if Alexander, im
ports, “ That he had conquered the Flemings, « and had spread the renown of Piacenza to the “ remoteft quarters of the world, &c. therefore
« the town, to Thew their gratitude, erected this e “monument to its invincible sovereign.” The
other pedestal reports Ranutio to be “ the guar-
To-morrow we devote to seeing the churches, Di pictures, &c.
We have just dined, and to give you an idea of what our host calls an excellent dinner, I present you with a bill of fare; (for I am sure you like to know what we eat, as well as what we see, that you may seem to live and accompany us in all our actions ;) a soup composed of bad butter, water, and a small quantity of whole rice; some
boiled lettuce, sausages seasoned with carrawayand seeds and currants, a lean pigeon boiled, and a be fresh-killed hen roasted in the frying pan. As we
have dined extremely late, I have ordered grapes and Parmesan-cheese for supper; not choosing to
have a second edition of the same fare, at least En not before to-morrow. Would you believe that
the Piacenzas who have the cheese of the Parmesan and of Lodi (and of a better kind than what is brought to England) give the preference to the R3
cheese of Gruyere *, which you and I detest for its fetid odour, &c.
The weather here is raw and cold, with the accompaniment of a rainy fog. Wood is extremely dear, so our kind host dines the voiturins, postilions, and such sort of poor people, in an open shed like a Dutch barn. Hearing a great noise, like quarrelling, under the window, I inquired what the matter was, when it appeared that a poor voiturin called for two fascines of wood, at a paul each (the same we pay) to make a fire, and a gill of wine instead of supper, choosing rather to be warmed than fed.
Sunday evening. Cathe After passing a very bad night in wretched dial.
beds, we set out this morning to see the Cathedral, &c. This church, called here il duomo, is
an old one in a bad Gothic taste. There is a Camillo picture over the altar, by Camillo Procaccino, Procacci
brother to the Giulio Cæsare Procaccino, who painted the famous Cena in the church of the Annunciata at Genoa; though brothers by nature, they are not so by art ; 'for Camillo is not equal to Giulio, yet they both studied in the school of the Carrachis. The Chanoine, who shewed us the pictures, said, the subject of this was the Virgin fick in bed. On each side of the sanctuary is a picture; the subject of that on the left, is the carrying her body to interment; in that to the
* A cheese much esteemed by the French.