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LETTERS FROM ITALY.
room, which contains also the busts ( Continued from p. 312.)
of celebrated Italian authors. 3d, A (it will be necessary for the reader to con
school for the study of mechanics, nect the concluding paragraph of these containing models of mechanical in extracts in our last Number, with the ventions. This room contains a numfirst of those that follow, as
ber of very old paintings--the earliest obliged, from accidental circumstances, specimens of the art-by Cimabue to break off somewhat abruptly in the and others. Among those, gold-leaf middle of a letter.-Edit.]
blazes in the skies with imperishable Florence, 5th January 1818. splendour, to represent the glories of It is not so much the warmth of the “ far-darting Apollo." The painte their constitutions, as the customs of ings are much injured by time, but their country, that corrupt the won enough is left to shew their striking men of Italy. Where the sexual resemblance to those paintings, that passion is uncontrolled by the dread you may have seen from the East Inof disgrace or punishment, is it sur- dies,--the same minuteness and lae prising its indulgence should be un- borious finishing, and the same want limited ? Certainly not; and, there- of spirit and grace. In a part of this fore, those who ascribe the immorali- room (separated from the rest of the ty of the Italians to a peculiar degree room by a temporary curtain) two of inherent vicious inclinations, judge young men were drawing from a large erroneously,—they mistake the off- painting, intended for the Duomo at spring of custom for that of natural Leghorn; the subject of the painting depravity: Transport the people of was only finished in dead colouring. Great Britain into Italy; supply their 4th, The President's room, containing place with Italians ; let the laws and some paintings and books. Among customs, and religions of the two these paintings are the present Grand countries remain the same; in a woru, Duke of Tuscany, and some of his let the people change places in all re- ancestors; the unfortunate Queen of spects, and we shall find that virtue Etruria, and her little son, the King, and vice are not the creatures of this standing beside her; a portrait of Gaor that climate,--they are the crea- lileo, and of a blacksmith monk, who tures of education and legal restriction, holds in his hand, with great compla-take away these two means of hu- cency, a key, which he has just made. man improvement, and look at the 5th, A school for music and declamacondition of the people thus left to tion. There are several rooms in this themselves. *
department; one fitted up like a little A few days ago we had a thunder theatre; a school for counterpoint; storm here, with very brilliant light- a school for the violin ; and another ning. On the evening of the 29th for I know not what, with two old ult. a hard frost came on, and the miserable-looking harpsichords and weather has been very cold ever since. an organ. In a room off the library The tops of the neighbouring moun- is a tree of Italian sculptors, painters, tains are covered with snow. On the architects, engravers, and so forth. 27th ult. I visited what was original The two great theatres here, the ly the Convent of Santa Caterina, (in Cocomero and the Pergola, are filled the via Larga, near San Marco,) and with bad actors and indifferent singwhich was converted by the French ers; they are really not worth write into a school. It is now called the ing about. Luce dell'Antichita, and serves for
14th January the instruction of young Italians in I left Florence, at 12 o'clock noon, natural philosophy, &c. The profes- on foot, to walk about five miles sors are paid by Government, and, as into the country, in order to see a I understand, do not receive fees from manufactory of olive oil, establish the students, who are not able to give ed by the late Senator Venturi, near them. It contains, 1st, a room, with one of his country seats.
The day chemical apparatus. 2d, A library of was delightfully mild. It had oc12,000 volumes, chiefly in French and curred to the senator, that what is Italian. In the midst of the library called La Sansa, that is, the skin, is the room called the School of his- pulp, and bruised stone of the olive tory and mythology; a statue of that remain in the hair-cloth bags, Dante is at the farther end of this after the common mode of pressure
and extraction, and which used to be and settlings produce the inferior quaburned as fuel, contained a consider- lities in gradation. The oil is skimable quantity of oil, that might be ex- med off the surface of the water in the tracted by a more minute and careful tubs.So inuch for the oil manufacprocess; he, therefore, erected a ma- tories
. I thought it worth particular nufactory for this purpose, which has notice, as it has not been described been copied by all the neighbouring (at least so far as I know) by any tragentry and nobility who have olive veller in Italy, farms. It consists of a common vertical water-wheel, (such as one of our The Campanile, (or Belfry,) just water-mill wheels,) acting upon a very beside the Duomo of the famous Casimple system of horizontal and verti- thedral of Florence, designed by Brucal cog-wheels, which again act upon nelleschi, in the thirteenth century, two perpendicular wooden cylinders, is a curious square tower of considerwhich are turned slowly round on able height, and rich workmanship. their centres, each in the middle of a It is coated with marble, and looks large circular vat. To the one of these very like the work of one of the incylinders, in the first vat, is closely laid boxes that you sometimes see. joined a large mill-stone, in a vertical By the by, talking of marble, a celeposition ; to the other a kind of large brated English traveller says, someiron rake, with the teeth upwards, where or other, that the Ponte della stretching horizontally along the bot- Trinità of Florence is built of marble. tom of the second vat, from one side It is not; for I went on purpose to to the other. Into the first vat is look. It is built of common stone, thrown the sansa as it comes out of and has no marble about it, excepting the hair-cloth bags of the common the four statues at its extremities, and manufacturers, and cold water is added two or three pieces of marble, formto it, and it is mashed by the pressure ing two central ornaments above the and friction of the stone for a certain middle arch, and a small tablet or time. A sluice communicating with two at the ends. the second vat is then opened, and the mash runs from the one into the
19th February other. In the second vat more water Yesterday I visited the Medicean is added to the mash, and it is for Chapel, remarkable for the beautiful some time stirred about by the rake. incrustation of pietra dura, with These vats are in the upper part of which its inner walls are decorated. the building. After some time a Pilasters of Egyptian granite shoot up sluice in the second vat is opened, and as high as the perpendicular walls the
mash falls into the first of a series reach; jasper, Sicilian agate, and the of five receptacles of stone. Here it pietra duru, which is found in the is allowed to settle for some time, and neighbourhood of Volterra, and elsethe water and oil are drained off into where; and, in short, a profusion of another immediately below, and, after hard and beautiful stones, susceptible another settling, to a third, and so on of a fine and brilliant polish, please till it reaches the last, in the form of the eye in the interior of this building,
thick, impure, oily substance and surprise us when we reflect upHence it is put into a boiler, and, af- on the incredible labour necessary to ter being boiled, is strained through cụt and give lustre to these stones, and hair-cloth bags, and, finally, put into to form them into the elegant shapes filtering vessels, whence it drops slow, in which they appear upon the walls, ly in the form of a coarser sort of olive The coats of arms belonging to Flooil, fit for lamps and for other rence, and to other towns in Tus
In this way there is a cany, are inlaid upon the walls in de great quantity of oil saved, which gate, jasper, lapis lazuli, coral, &c. was forinerly lost.
In the common &c. in a beautiful manner, and all in way, the olives are gathered, mashed, their appropriate colours. These are and pressed in hair-cloth bags, while, displayed regularly along the lower from time to time, boiling water is part of the walls, in oblong compartthrown upon the bags, to wash out ments, of about two feet by eightthe oil. The first pressure, and the een inches. Bụt, alas ! alas ! begun first setiling in the tubs, produces the under the golden auspices of the finest oil. The subsequent pressures Niedici, this chapel is unfinished!
The encrustations are carried as high
Florence, 24th February. as the base of the dome, but all above I shall set out for Rome on the is bare and rugged stones and lime, 27th or 28th. To-day I learned that and fornis a most disagreeable con our route was uncertain,--either by trast with the splendour and richness Sienna or Perugia, but which I do not of the various coloured walls below. know. It was to have been by SienI looked up to the dome, and asked na, but the Perugia road is better, and the old Italian who shewed the chapel more interesting. why it was not yet finished?
I have visited the Laurentian chadiamine ! it will soon be finished ac- pel and library. I had been told that cording to that design which you see in that library was a very curious mathere," (pointing to a wooden modelex- nuscript, containing the remarks of hibiting a section of the chapel, painted Cosmo the Third upon England, as it is to be, “but the Grand Duke is written during his travels in that afraid that the weight of the pietra dura country about the middle of the 17th might destroy the dome, and occasion century, and containing also a numsome serious accident, and therefore ber of drawings, executed by a painter it is to be painted." The ancient de- whom he carried with him. I also sign was, to cover the whole inside learned that a certain Lord with pietra dura ; but the Grand was negociating for a copy of this cuDuke has something else to think of, rious and valuable MS. and copies of and cannot, or will not, finish the the drawings, and that the whole chapel as the Medici intended. Thus would be published in London at no you see the salvation of the dome, and very distant period. Being (from of the skulls of the Catholics, serves as dearly bought experience) rather inan apology (and perhaps a good one) clined to trust to my own senses, than for discontinuing the incrustation of to other people's sayings, I went, on pietra dura. In the sacristy of this the 18th instant, to the library, in ora chapel are some of the celebrated der to see the MS. in question, and works of Michael Angelo; of these to make such inquiries as I thought sculptures I shall not speak particular- proper ; - I did see it. It is an enora ly, being no connoisseur in that art, mous volume, bound in red Morocco, and of course not able to enter into and opening lengthways. It contains all the merits of the celebrated artist's a great number of drawings in Indian design and execution. The groups ink, of different cities, and towns, and are unfinished, some of the figures on- remarkable buildings, &c. in England, ly beginning to assume the contours as they appeared to the eyes of Cosmo of the human form, and to start into the Third, and his painter, in the life. They are all marked with the year 1669. On the pages opposite to shadowy tints of time, and some of each drawing are Cosmo's remarks them (such as the figure of Night) upon the place drawn; and a regular smoothed into a disagreeable greasy journal is carried on through the glitter of polish by handling, or other whole volume regarding the places friction. I looked upon them with which he visited, the remarkable persentiments of great respect, although sons with whom he met and conversed, without that rapture which a learned and his remarks upon men and things eye might have taught me to feel, and as they appeared to him in England which so many ridiculous travellers at that period. There is, however, pretend to feel, without knowing the less writing in the volume than I extrue nature of the things about which pected to find. One of the largest they rave. Such a profound know- drawings represents the city of Lonledge of the actual appearances of the don minutely delineated, as seen from human body in different states of ac- the opposite bank of the Thames. I tion and repose, and also so many other presume the view was taken from St things are necessary to enable one to George's Fields, as the city seems to judge fairly and rationally of these have been then confined to one side sculptures, that it is mere folly and of the river. I asked the librarian if childishness to pretend to criticise it was permitted to copy any of the them minutely without having well MS. or any of the drawings in the vostudied the art which produced them. lume. “ No; the Grand Duke would Indeed, the same observation applies to not allow that." “ Was no part of all the fine arts.
the volume ever copied by any body?”.
“Yes; the Grand Duke yielded so far pretesto di farlo assistere ad uns corsa di to the entreaties of the English ambas- cavalli tratto con esso con la massima fasador,” (Lord Burghersh”I suppose,) miliarita e fuori d'ogni formale etichetta. " as to permit him to copy four of 1 principali fra à Lordi fecero a gara per the drawings last year."
trattarlo alle loro magnetiche e deliziose the volume never be published in any fatto spogliato di quella ferocia che gli
ville, e il popolo tutto, sebbene non afpart of the Continent, or in England ?"
aveano inspirata le guerre civili,) si mostro ** No; the Grand Duke had positive- rispettoso anumiratore di un principe della ly declared that it should not be pub- casa Medici. Con questo favore scorse tutte lished.”. Here is question and an- le vicinanze di Londra, e si porto a Camswer for you, you may draw your own bridge, dove ascoltando nell' Universita conclusion. What a pity it is that una lezione sulla dottrina di Galileo, senti this curious volume is condemned to ancora gli elogj della propria famiglia. remain unpublished ? It is a very Ritornato a Londra, ebbe dal re nuovi thick volume, and the one half of it contrassegni di confidente amicizia e famiconsists of drawings.
liarita, e nell'atto del congedo Folle porchanges have taken place in the face tarsi al di lui allogjamento e cenare con esso
all'uso Italiane. Dimoro il principe in of England since 1669 ! Not satisfied Inghilterra per quasi tre mesi con indici. with what I heard about Cosmo's bile soddisfazione, e partito da Londra con journey, I made the following extract gran desiderio di tutti, accon,pagnato per from Galluzzi's History of the Grand ordine del Re da due principali gentiluomi. Duchy of Tuscany.
ni della sua corte fino al porto di Harwich, “ Indirizzò in seguito Cosimo 3o, il suo quivi imbarcossi per passare in Olanda. cammino verso la Galizia, e dopo aver so- Dopo un tragitto di venti ore arrivato a disfatto in Compostella alla sua devozione Rotterdam ebbe il piacere di trovarvi il passò alla Corugna dove era preparato l'im- Feroni, e gli altri Fiorentini che lo atten, barco per l'Inghilterra. Fra disagi soffer- devano,"* &c. ti dal Principe in tutti questi viaggi mancava solo quella della tempesta di mare, e questa appena fu staccato dalla Corugna so **** Cosmo then went to Galicia, and, afpragiunse improvvisamente, e deviandole ter having performed his devotions in Com. dalla direzione presa verso Plymouth lo postella, he crossed over to Corunna, where costrinse a prender terra in Irlanda nel every thing was prepared for his passage porto di Kinsale, e a Santa Maria delle to England. In order to complete the casorlinghe. Calmato di poi il vento, giunse talogue of disagreeable occurrences which felicemente a Plymouth il primo di Aprile the Prince had met with in the course of 1669, atteso in questo porto con impazien- his travels, a storm at sea only was awantza dai Fiorentini che dimoravano in Lond- ing, and he had scarcely left Corunnan ra. Oltre le salve delle Fortezze ed i com when one came suddenly on, which drove plimenti dovuti al suo rango, restò sorpre- him from his course towards Plymouth, so il principe Cosimo in vedersi accogliere and forced him to land in Ireland, at the in Plymouth in mezzo alle acclamazioni e port of Kinsale, at Santa Maria delle Sorgrida festose di un popolo numerossissimo, linghe. The storm having abated, he are ben si avvedde esser questo un effetto dei rived safely at Plymouth on the 1st of buoni trattamenti che quella nazione rice- April 1669, where he was expected with veva a Livorno.
Accompagnato e servito great impatience by the Florentines whe dai principali gentiluomini della provincia were settled in London. Besides the sa. giunse in Londra incontrato da un gran lutes of the batteries, and the compliments numero di personaggi che la fama e la cu- due to his rank, the Prince was surprised riosita vi aveva attirati. L'Inghilterra sotto to find himself received in Plymouth with il regno fortunato di Carlo Secondo era ned the shouts and exclamations of joy of an punto delle sue maggiore prosperità. L'af- immense concourse of people, which he fuenza del commercio estinguendo il fana. perceived to be an effect of the favourable tismo e sgombrando l'antica barbarie facea manner in which the English were treated rinascere le arti e fiorire le scienze; si pro- at Leghorn. Accompaniul and served by pagavano le cognizioni, si elevavano gli the principal gentry of the country, he arspiriti, e finalmente sulle tracce del Galileo rived in London, where he was met by a si preparava all'Europa un Isacco Newton. great number of persons of distinction, In tale stato trovo il Principe Cosimo quel- whom rumour and curiosity had attracted la nazione, la quale gia prevenuta dalla thither. England, under the fortunate gloria del padre (Ferdinando 2) e della reign of Charles the Second, was at the famiglia, lo ricevè con gli atti della più sine height of its prosperity. The aituence of ecra osservanza e stima particolare. Il re
commerce, by extinguishing fanaticisin, zo invito subito a Newmarket, dove col and softening the ancient barbarisan of the
outrageous fists of the thorough bass acI went on Sunday last to hear the companier. At every aberration from destruction of Jerusalem sung and the time (very frequent) this geneplayed by Florentine amateurs in the ralissimo came down souse upon the church of San Firenze. It appeared rattling bones, like a pair of old jack to me to be a kind of Pasticcio not boots forsaking their ancient rusty very well put together. I staid half nail, and lumbering down among all an hour and had enough. The singers the jingling paraphernalia of the (men) had some of them good voices, kitchen itself, --and then the belaand that kind of flexibility and natural boured wires of the instrument retaste which is common to the Italians. sponded in a faint and dolorous tone, The instrumental performers were like that of a child's sixpenny organ. tolerably good, one or two respectable; The performers were in the gallery, but what spoiled all, and would have at one end of the church above the spoiled the music of the spheres, was altår. This concert goes on every the wretched sound of an old cracked Sunday evening during Lent, and as spinet or harpsichord (heaven knows it costs nothing to the audience, it is which) that was dashed upon by the generally pretty well attenderl. Wo
men are not admitted either to hear
or to perform. Last night I went to people, had revived the arts, and encour
the Pergola to hear the perforiners aged the sciences, knowledge was gradu. from Rome, who have just come. ally extending,--the minds of the people The opera was entitled I Baccanali di were becoming more elevated,--and final- Roma, the music by Pietro Generali. ly, a Sir Isaac Newton was preparing for The principal singers were Signora Europe, in the footsteps of Galileo. In Teresa Bertinotti, (our old acquaintthis state did Cosme find the English ance,) Signora Adelaide Malanotti, nation, which, already prepossessed in his and Signor Botticelli; the principal favour by the glory of his father (Ferdi- tenor singer was ill, so could not apnand the Second) and of his family; re
pear, and his place was filled by a ceived him with every mark of the most sincere respect and regard. The King in- Signora N. N. "Bertinotti is not able Tited him immediately to Newmarket, to do what she attempts, although her where, under pretence of making him as
voice is still sweet. She understands sist at a horse race, he laid aside all formal her art well, but
has impaired her etiquette, and treated him with the great- strength, and the flexibility of her est familiarity. The principal lords vied voice. Signora Jalanotti is a good with each other in entertaining him at their counter-tenor singer, but I do not like magnificent and delightful country seats; the quality of her voice, it is too and the whole people (although not complete, reedy and instrumental ; she is old ly freed from that ferocity which the civil too, about 50. Botticelli is a good wars had inspired) showed themselves re- enough bass. The substitute tenor spectful admirers of a Prince of the house of Medici. Thus favoured, he visited all the
was nothing at all, had no voice, and environs of London, and went to Cam- sung out of tune. The music was bridge, where, listening in the University good and pleasing. The scenery and to a lecture on the doctrine of Galileo, he decorations likewise good. But what heard at the same time an eulogium upon can you expect for ? Pauls (1s.) ahis own family. Upon his return to Lon- head paid by the audience? don, he received from the King new proofs To-day walking up to Bello Sguardo, of confidential friendship and familiarity; from which you have a very fine and and, upon taking leave, he accompanied complete view of Florence and the him to his lodyings, and supped with him surrounding country, I saw beds of after the Italian fashion. The Prince remained in England for almost three The sun was very warm, and the day
French beans and peas in blossom, months, with inspeakable satisfaction; clear and beautiful. Friday and Sao and having set out from London with the great love of all, accompanied, by the turday last were perfect winter. The King's orders, by two of the principal gen
mountain tops all covered with snow, demen of his Court, as far as the port of and snow falling in small quantities Harwich, he embarked there for Holland. in the town, accompanied with a most After a passage of twenty hours, he arriva biting north wind. Such is the 12el at Rotterdam, where he had the plea- riableness of the Florentine climate at sure of finding il Feroni and the other Flo. this season. The Nlul di Petto is a Tentines who awaited him."
common enough disorder here, i vio