The Project Gutenberg EBook of Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor Car, by 
Francis Miltoun

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor Car

Author: Francis Miltoun

Illustrator: Blanche McManus

Release Date: November 17, 2013 [EBook #44212]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)

Every attempt has been made to replicate the original as printed.

No attempt has been made to correct or normalize the spelling of non-English words.

Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text.

No attempt has been made to correct or normalize the printed spelling of French or Italian names or words.

Some illustrations have been moved from mid-paragraph for ease of reading.

In certain versions of this etext, in certain browsers, clicking on this symbol will bring up a larger version of the image.

(etext transcriber's note)


Italian Highways and Byways
From a Motor Car

Rambles on the Riviera$2.50
Rambles in Normandy2.50
Rambles in Brittany2.50
The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine2.50
The Cathedrals of Northern France2.50
The Cathedrals of Southern France2.50
In the Land of Mosques and Minarets3.00
Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country3.00
Castles and Chateaux of Old Navarre and the Basque Provinces3.00
Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor Car3.00
The Automobilist Abroadnet 3.00
 Postage Extra
New England Building, Boston, Mass.


I t a l i a n   H i g h w a y s   a n d
Byways   from   a   Motor   Car

B y   F r a n c i s   M i l t o u n

O. N. I.

Author of “Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine,” “Castles and
Chateaux of Old Navarre,” “In the Land of Mosques and
Minarets,” etc.

With Pictures
B y   B l a n c h e   M c M a n u s


L.   C.   P A G E   &   C O M P A N Y

Copyright, 1909
By L. C. Page & Company
All rights reserved

First Impression, May, 1909

Electrotyped and Printed at
C. H. Simonds & Co., Boston, U.S.A.


I. The Way about Italy 1
II. Of Italian Men and Manners23
III. Chianti and Macaroni41
IV. Italian Roads and Routes60
V. In Liguria81
VI. The Riviera di Levante108
VII. On Tuscan Roads124
VIII. Florentine Backgrounds144
IX. The Road to Rome164
X. The Campagna and Beyond181
XI. La Bella Napoli196
XII. The Beautiful Bay of Naples207
XIII. Across Umbria to the Adriatic225
XIV. By Adriatic’s Shore237
XV. On the Via Æmilia260
XVI. I Venetia277
XVII. Through Italian Lakeland309
XVIII. Milan and the Plains of Lombardy333
XIX. Turin and the Alpine Gateways346
XX. From the Italian Lakes to the Riviera360
 Index: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, Z371

List of Illustrations

In Bologna (See page 266)Frontispiece
Map of Italyfacing 2
Italy in the XVIII Century (map)24
Barberino di Mugellofacing 26
A Chianti Sellerfacing 32
A Wayside Trattoriafacing 42
Road Map of North Italyfacing 72
Italian Road Signs77
Profile Road Map, Bologna—Florence79
Palazzo Doria, Genoafacing 100
Genoa (map)101
Sun Dial, Genoa106
Rapallofacing 110
Rapallo and its Gulf (map)111
Lucca (arms)122
On a Tuscan Highwayfacing 124
Florence and Its Palaces (map)134
Torch-holders, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence136
Palazzo Vecchio, Florencefacing 136
A Lantern, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence137
San Gimignanofacing 138
Volterra (map)140
Villa Palmieri (diagram)148
Palazzo Della Signoria, Sienafacing 164
Orvietofacing 168
Arms of Various Papal Families172
Castle of Sant’Angelo, Romefacing 174
Palazzo Vaticano (diagram)175
The Borgia Window, Romefacing 176
Papal Arms of Caesar Borgia177
Arms of a Medicis Prelate178
Villa Medici, Romefacing 178
Subiacofacing 190
Villa d’Este, Tivolifacing 192
Hadrian’s Villa (diagram)194
Naples (diagram)196
Castello dell’Ovo, Naplesfacing 202
The Bay of Naples (map)208
Ischiafacing 212
Lava Beds of Vesuvias (map)213
The Excavations of Pompeii (diagram)216
The Environs of Pompeiifacing 218
Assisi (arms)228
Assisi: Its Walls, Castle, and Church (diagram)229
Architectural Detail, Perugiafacing 230
Palazzo Ducale, Urbinofacing 232
Brindisi; The Terminal Column of the Appian Way240
Trajan’s Arch, Anconafacing 242
Castel Malatesta, Riminifacing 244
Palazzo di Teodorico, Ravennafacing 248
Column to Gaston de Foix, Ravenna249
The Madonna of Chioggia252
Borgia Arms254
Ferrarafacing 254
Casa del Petrarca, Arqua259
Bologna (diagram)267
The Leaning Towers of Bolognafacing 268
Parma (arms)272
Piacenza (diagram)275
Padua (arms)278
In Paduafacing 280
Palaces of the Grand Canal, Venice (diagram)289
The so-Called “House of Desdemona,” Venice290
Vicenza (diagram)300
Vicenzafacing 302
Seal of Verona304
Pallazzo Ducal, Mantua311
On the Lago Di Gardafacing 314
Castle of Bresciafacing 316
Bergamofacing 318
The Italian Lakes (map)319
On the Lago Di Comofacing 322
On the Lago Di Maggiorefacing 326
Ortafacing 330
A Lombard Fêtefacing 334
The Ancient Castle of Milanfacing 338
The Iron Crown of Lombardy345
Palazzo Madonna, Turinfacing 346
On the Strada, Moncenisiofacing 350
Castle of Fénisfacing 358

{pg 1}

Italian Highways and Byways
From a Motor Car

decorative bar



ONE travels in Italy chiefly in search of the picturesque, but in Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice or Milan, and in the larger towns lying between, there is, in spite of the romantic association of great names, little that appeals to one in a personal sense. One admires what Ruskin, Hare or Symonds tells one to admire, gets a smattering of the romantic history of the great families of the palaces and villas of Rome and Florence, but absorbs little or nothing of the genuine feudal traditions of the background regions away from the well-worn roads.

Along the highways and byways runs the itinerary of the author and illustrator of this book,{2} and they have thus been able to view many of the beauties and charms of the countryside which have been unknown to most travellers in Italy in these days of the modern railway.

Alla Campagna was our watchword as we set out to pass as many of our Italian days and nights as possible in places little celebrated in popular annals, a better way of knowing Italy than one will ever know it when viewed simply from the Vatican steps or Frascati’s gardens.

The palaces and villas of Rome, Florence and Venice are known to most European travellers—as they know Capri, Vesuvius or Amalfi; but of the grim castles of Ancona, of Rimini and Ravenna, and of the classic charms of Taormina or of Sarazza they know considerably less; and still less of Monte Cristo’s Island, of Elba, of Otranto, and of the little hidden-away mountain towns of the Alps of Piedmont and the Val d’Aoste.

The automobile, as a means of getting about, has opened up many old and half-used byways, and the automobile traveller of to-day may confidently assert that he has come to know the countryside of a beloved land as it was not even possible for his grandfathers to know it.

The Italian tour may be made as a conducted tour, as an educative tour, as a mere butterfly{3} tour (as it often has been), or as a honeymoon trip, but the reason for its making is always the same; the fact that Italy is a soft, fair, romantic land where many things have existed, and still exist, that may be found nowhere else on earth.

The romance of travel and the process of gathering legends and tales of local manners and customs is in no way spoiled because of modern means of travel. Many a hitherto unexploited locality, with as worthy a monumental shrine as many more celebrated, will now become accessible, perhaps even well known.

The pilgrim goes to Italy because of his devotion to religion, or to art or architecture, and, since this is the reason for his going, it is this reason, too, which has caused the making of more travel books on Italy than on all other continental countries combined. There are some who affect only “old masters” or literary shrines, others who crave palaces or villas, and yet others who haunt the roulette tables of Monte Carlo, Biarritz, or some exclusive Club in the “Eternal City.” European travel is all things to all men.

The pilgrims that come to Italy in increasing numbers each year are not all born and bred of artistic tastes, but the expedition soon brings{4} a glimmer of it to the most sordid soul that ever took his amusements apart from his edification, and therein lies the secret of pleasurable travel for all classes. The automobilist should bear this in mind and not eat up the roadway through Æmilia at sixty miles an hour simply because it is possible. There are things to see en route, though none of your speeding friends have ever mentioned them. Get acquainted with them yourself and pass the information on to the next. That is what the automobile is doing for modern travel—more than the stage or the railway ever did, and more than the aeroplane ever will!

One does not forget the American who went home to the “Far West” and recalled Rome as the city where he bought an alleged panama hat (made probably at Leghorn). He is no myth. One sees his like every day. He who hurried his daughter away from the dim outlined aisles of Milan’s Gothic wonder to see the new electric light works and the model tramway station was one of these, but he was the better for having done a round of the cathedrals of Italy, even if he did get a hazy idea of them mixed up with his practical observations on street-lighting and transportation.

Superficial Italian itineraries have been made{5} often, and their chronicles set down. They are still being made, and chronicled, but the makers of guide books have, as yet, catered but little to the class of leisurely travellers, a class who would like to know where some of these unexploited monuments exist; where these unfamiliar histories and legends may be heard, and how they may all be arrived at, absorbed and digested. The people of the countryside, too, are usually more interesting than those of the towns. One has only to compare the Italian peasant and his picturesque life with the top-hatted and frock-coated Roman of to-day to arrive quickly to a conclusion as to which is typical of his surroundings. The Medicis, the Borgias, and the Colonnas have gone, and to find the real romantic Italian and his manner of life one has to hunt him in the small towns.

The modern traveller in Italy by road will do well to recall the conditions which met the traveller of past days. The mere recollection of a few names and dates will enable the automobilist to classify his impressions on the road in a more definite and satisfying manner than if he took no cognizance of the pilgrims who have gone before.

Chaucer set out ostensibly for Genoa in 1373 and incidentally met Petrarch at Padua and{6} talked shop. A monk named Felix, from Ulm on the banks of the Danube, en route for Jerusalem, stopped off at Venice and wrote things down about it in his diary, which he called a “faithful description.” Albrecht Durer visited Venice in 1505 and made friends with many there, and from Venice went to Bologna and Ferrara. An English crusading knight in the same century “took in” Italy en route to the Holy Land, entering the country via Chambéry and Aiguebelle—the most delightful gateway even to-day. Automobilists should work this itinerary out on some diagrammatic road map. Martin Luther, “with some business to transact with the Pope’s Vicar,” passed through Milan, Pavia, Bologna and Florence on his way to Rome, and Rabelais in 1532 followed in the train of Cardinal du Bellay, and his account of how he “saw the Pope” is interesting reading in these days when even personally-conducted tourists look forward to the same thing. Joachim du Bellay’s “visions of Rome” are good poetry, but as he was partisan to his own beloved Loire gaulois, to the disparagement of the Tiber latin, their topographical worth is somewhat discounted.

Sir Philip Sidney was in Padua and Venice in 1573, and he brought back a portrait of him{7}self painted in the latter city by Paul Veronese, as tourists to-day carry away wine glasses with their initials embossed on them. The sentiment is the same, but taste was better in the old days.

Rubens was at Venice in 1600, and there are those who say that Shakespeare got his local colour “on the spot.” Mr. Sidney Lee says no!

Back to the land, as Dante, Petrarch, even Horace and Virgil, have said. Dante the wayfarer was a mighty traveller, and so was Petrach. Horace and Virgil took their viewpoints from the Roman capital, but they penned faithful pictures which in setting and colouring have, in but few instances, changed unto this day.

Dante is believed to have been in Rome when the first sentence was passed upon him, and from the Eternal City one can follow his journeyings northward by easy stages to Siena and Arezzo, to the Alps, to Padua, on the Aemilian Way, his wandering on Roman roads, his flight by sea to Marseilles, again at Verona and finally at Ravenna, the last refuge.

This was an Italian itinerary worth the doing. Why should we modern travellers not take some historical personage and follow his (or her) footsteps from the cradle to the grave?{8} To follow in the footsteps of Jeanne d’Arc, of Dante Alighieri, or of Petrarch and his Laura—though their ways were widely divergent—or of Henri IV, François I, or Charles V, would add a zest and reason for being to an automobile tour of Europe which no twenty-four hour record from London to Monte Carlo, or eighteen hours from Naples to Geneva could possibly have.

There is another class of travellers who will prefer to wax solemn over the notorious journey to Italy of Alfred de Musset and Georges Sand. It was a most romantic trip, as the world knows. De Musset even had to ask his mother’s consent to make it. The past mistress of eloquence appeared at once on the maternal threshold and promised to look after the young man—like a mother.

De Musset’s brother saw the pair off “on a misty melancholy evening,” and noted amongst other dark omens, that “the coach in which the travellers took their seats was the thirteenth to leave the yard,” but for the life of us we cannot share his solemnity. The travellers met Stendhal at Lyons. After supper “he was very merry, got rather drunk and danced round the table in his big topboots.” In Florence they could not make up their minds whether to{9} go to Rome or to Venice, and settled the matter by the toss of a coin. Is it possible to care much for the fortunes of two such heedless cynics?

It is such itineraries as have here been outlined, the picking up of more or less indistinct trails and following them a while, that gives that peculiar charm to Italian travel. Not the dreamy, idling mood that the sentimentalists would have us adopt, but a burning feverishness that hardly allows one to linger before any individual shrine. Rather one is pushed from behind and drawn from in front to an ever unreachable goal. One never finishes his Italian travels. Once the habit is formed, it becomes a disease. We care not that Cimabue is no longer considered to be throned the painter of the celebrated Madonna in Santa Maria Novella, or that Andrea del Sarto and his wife are no longer Andrea del Sarto and his wife, so long as we can weave together a fabric which pleases us, regardless of the new criticism,—or the old, for that matter.

We used to go to the places marked on our railway tickets, and “stopped off” only as the regulations allowed. Now we go where fancy wills and stop off where the vagaries of our automobile force us to. And we get more no{10}tions of Italy into our heads in six weeks than could otherwise be acquired in six months.

One need not go so very far afield to get away from the conventional in Italy. Even that strip of coastline running from Menton in France to Reggio in Calabria is replete with unknown, or at least unexploited, little corners, which have a wealth of picturesque and romantic charm, and as noble and impressive architectural monuments as one may find in the peninsula.

Com è bella, say the French honeymoon couples as they enter Italy via the Milan Express over the Simplon; com è bella, say one and all who have trod or ridden the highways and byways up and down and across Italy; com è bella is the pæan of every one who has made the Italian round, whether they have been frequenters of the great cities and towns, or have struck out across country for themselves and found some creeper-clad ruin, or a villa in some ideally romantic situation which the makers of guide-books never heard of, or have failed to mention. All this is possible to the traveller by road in Italy, and one’s only unpleasant memories are of the buona mano of the brigands of hotel servants which infest the large cities and towns—about the only brigands one meets in Italy to-day.{11}

The real Italy, the old Italy, still exists, though half hidden by the wall of progress built up by young liberty-loving Italy since the days of Garibaldi; but one has to step aside and look for the old régime. It cannot always be discovered from the window of a railway carriage or a hotel omnibus, though it is often brought into much plainer view from the cushions of an automobile. “Motor Cars and the Genus Loci” was a very good title indeed for an article which recently appeared in a quarterly review. The writer ingeniously discovered—as some of the rest of us have also—the real mission of the automobile. It takes us into the heart of the life of a country instead of forcing us to travel in a prison van on iron rails.

Let the tourist in Italy “do”—and “do” as thoroughly as he likes—the galleries of Rome, Florence, Siena, and Venice, but let him not neglect the more appealing and far more natural uncontaminated beauties of the countryside and the smaller towns, such as Caserta, Arezzo, Lucca, Montepulciana, Barberino in Mugello and Ancona, and as many others as fit well into his itinerary from the Alps to Ætna or from Reggio to Ragusa. They lack much of the popular renown that the great centres possess, but they still have an aspect of the{12} reality of the life of mediævalism which is difficult to trace when surrounded by all the up-to-date and supposedly necessitous things which are burying Rome’s ruins deeper than they have ever yet been buried. It is difficult indeed to imagine what old Rome was like, with Frascati given over to “hunt parties” and the hotel drawing rooms replete with Hungarian orchestras. It is difficult, indeed!

Italy is a vast kinetoscope of heterogeneous sights and scenes and memories and traditions such as exist on no other part of the earth’s surface. Of this there is no doubt, and yet each for himself may find something new, whether it is a supposed “secret of the Vatican” or an unheard of or forgotten romance of an Italian villa. This is the genus loci of Italy, the charm of Italy, the unresistible lodestone which draws tens of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands thither each year, from England and America. Italy is the most romantic touring ground in all the world, and, though its highways and byways are not the equal in surface of the “good roads” of France, they are, in good weather, considerably better than the automobilist from overseas is used to at home. At one place we found fifty kilometres of the worst road we had ever seen in Italy immedi{13}ately followed by a like stretch of the best. The writer does not profess to be able to explain the anomaly. In general the roads in the mountains are better than those at low level, so one should plan his itineraries accordingly.

The towns and cities of Italy are very well known to all well-read persons, but of the countryside and its manners and customs this is not so true. Modern painters have limned the outlines of San Marco at Venice and the Castle of St. Angelo at Rome, on countless canvases, and pictures of the “Grand Canal” and of “Vesuvius in Eruption” are familiar enough; but paintings of the little hill towns, the wayside shrines, the olive and orange groves, and vineyards, or a sketch of some quaint roadside albergo made whilst the automobile was temporarily held up by a tire blow out, is quite as interesting and not so common. There is many a pine-clad slope, convent-crowned hill-top and castled crag in Italy as interesting as the more famous, historic sites.

To appreciate Italy one must know it from all sides and in all its moods. The hurried itinerary which comprises getting off the ship at Naples, doing the satellite resorts and “sights” which fringe Naples Bay, and so on to Rome, Florence and Venice, and thence{14} across Switzerland, France and home is too frequently a reality. The automobilist may have a better time of it if he will but be rational; but, for the hurried flight above outlined, he should leave his automobile at home and make the trip by “train de luxe.” It would be less costly and he would see quite as much of Italy—perhaps more. The leisurely automobile traveller who rolls gently in and out of hitherto unheard of little towns and villages is in another class and learns something of a beloved land and the life of the people that the hurried tourist will never suspect.

The genuine vagabond traveller, even though he may be a lover of art and architecture, and knows just how bad Canova’s lions really are, is quite as much concerned with the question as to why Italians drink wine red instead of white, or why the sunny Sicilian will do more quarrelling and less shovelling of dirt on a railroad or a canal job than his northern brother. It is interesting, too, to learn something—by stumbling upon it as we did—about Carrara marble, Leghorn hats and macaroni, which used to form the bulk of the cargoes of ships sailing from Italian ports to those of the United States. The Canovas, like the Botticellis, are always there—it is forbidden to export art treasures{15} from Italy, so one can always return to confirm his suspicions—but the marble has found its competitor elsewhere, Leghorn hats are now made in far larger quantities in Philadelphia, and the macaroni sent out from Brooklyn in a month would keep all Italy from starvation for a year.

The Italian picture and its framing is like no other, whether one commences with the snow-crested Alps of Piedmont and finishes with Bella Napoli and its dazzling blue, or whether he finishes with the Queen of the Adriatic and begins with Capri. It is always Italy. The same is not true of France. Provence might, at times, and in parts, be taken for Spain, Algeria or Corsica; Brittany for Ireland and Lorraine for Germany. On the contrary Piedmont, in Italy, is nothing at all like neighbouring Dauphiné or Savoie, nor is Liguria like Nice.

As for the disadvantages of Italian travel, they do undoubtedly exist, as well for the automobilist as for him who travels by rail. In the first place, in spite of the picturesque charm of the Italian countryside, the roads are, as a whole, not by any means the equal of those of the rest of Europe—always, of course, excepting Spain. They are far better indeed in Al{16}geria and Tunisia. Hotel expenses are double what they are in France for the same sort of accommodation—for the automobilist at any rate. Garage accommodation is seldom, if ever, to be found in the hotel, at least not of a satisfactory kind, and when found costs anywhere from two to three, or even five, francs a night. Gasoline and oil are held at inflated figures, though no one seems to know who gets all the profit that comes from the fourteen to eighteen francs which the Italian garage keeper or grocer or druggist takes for the usual five gallons.

With this information as a forewarning the stranger automobilist in Italy will meet with no undue surprises except that bad weather, if he happens to strike a spell, will considerably affect a journey that would otherwise have proved enjoyable.

The climate of Italy is far from being uniform. It is not all orange groves and palm trees. Throughout Piedmont and Lombardy snow and frost are the frequent accompaniments of winter. On the other hand the summers are hot and prolific in thunder storms. In Venetia, thanks to the influence of the Adriatic, the climate is more equable. In the centre, Tuscany has a more nearly regular climate.{17} From Naples south, one encounters almost a North African temperature, and the south wind of the desert, the sirocco, here blows as it does in Algeria and Tunisia, though tempered somewhat by having crossed the Mediterranean.

There are a hundred and twenty-five varieties of mosquitoes in Italy, but with most of them their singing is worse than their stinging. The Pontine Marches have long been the worst breeding places for mosquitoes known to a suffering world. The mosquitoes of this region were supposed to have been transmitters of malaria, so one day some Italian physicians caught a good round batch of them and sent them up into a little village in the Apennines whose inhabitants had never known malaria. Straightway the whole population began to shake with the ague. That settled it, the mosquito was a breeder of disease.

The topography of Italy is of an extraordinary variety. The plains and wastes of Calabria are the very antitheses of that semi-circular mountain rampart of the Alps which defines the northern frontier or of the great solid mass of the Apennines in Central Italy. Italy by no means covers the vast extent of territory that the stranger at first presupposes. From the northern frontier of Lombardy to the{18} toe of the Calabrian boot is considerable of a stretch to be sure, but for all that the actual area is quite restricted, when compared with that of other great continental powers. This is all the more reason for the automobilist to go comfortably along and not speed up at every town and village he comes to.

The automobilist in Italy should make three vows before crossing the frontier. The first not to attempt to see everything; the second to review some of the things he has already seen or heard of; and the third to leave the beaten track at least once and launch out for himself and try to discover something that none of his friends have ever seen.

The beaten track in Italy is not by any means an uninteresting itinerary, and there is no really unbeaten track any more. What one can do, and does, if he is imbued with the proper spirit of travel, is to cover as much little-travelled ground as his instincts prompt him. Between Florence and Rome and between Rome and Naples there is quite as much to interest even the conventional traveller as in those cities themselves, if he only knows where to look for it and knows the purport of all the remarkable and frequent historical monuments continually springing into view. Obscure villages,{19} with good country inns where the arrival of foreigners is an event, are quite as likely to offer pleasurable sensations as those to be had at the six, eight or ten franc a day pension of the cities.

The landscape motives for the artist, to be found in Italy, are the most varied of any country on earth. It is a wide range indeed from the vineyard covered hillsides of Vicenza to the more grandiose country around Bologna, to the dead-water lagoons before Venice is reached, to the rocky coasts of Calabria, or to the chestnut groves of Ætna and the Roman Campagna.

The travelling American or Englishman is himself responsible for many of the inconveniences to which he is subjected in Italy. The Italian may know how to read his own class distinctions, but all Americans are alike to him. Englishmen, as a rule, know the language better and they get on better—very little. The Frenchman and the German have very little trouble. They have less false pride than we.

The American who comes to Italy in an automobile represents untold wealth to the simple Italian; those who drive in two horse carriages and stop at big hotels are classed in the same category. One may scarcely buy anything in a decent shop, or enter an ambitious looking{20} café, but that the hangers-on outside mark him for a millionaire, while, if he is so foolish as to fling handfuls of soldi to an indiscriminate crowd of ragamuffins from the balcony of his hotel, he will be pestered half to death as long as he stays in the neighbourhood. And he deserves what he gets! There is a way to counteract all this but each must learn it for himself. There is no set formula.

Beggars are importunate in certain places in Italy be-ridden of tourists, but after all no more so than elsewhere, and the travelling public, as much as anything else, conduces to the continued existence of the plague. If Italy had to choose between suppressing beggars or foregoing the privilege of having strangers from overseas coming to view her monuments she would very soon choose the former. If the beggars could not make a living at their little game they too would stop of their own accord. The question resolves itself into a strictly personal one. If it pleases you to throw pennies from your balcony, your carriage or your automobile to a gathered assembly of curious, do so! It is the chief means of proving, to many, that they are superior to “foreigners!” The little-travelled person does this everywhere,—on the terrace of Shepheard’s at Cairo, on the{21} boulevard café terraces at Algiers, from the deck of his ship at Port Said, from the tables even of the Café de la Paix;—so why should he not do it at Naples, at Venice, at Rome? For no reason in the world, except that it’s a nuisance to other travellers, decidedly an objectionable practice to hotel, restaurant and shop keepers, and a cause of great annoyance and trouble to police and civic authorities. The following pages have been written and illustrated as a truthful record of what two indefatigable automobile travellers have seen and felt.

We were dutifully ravished by the splendours of the Venetian palaces, and duly impressed by the massiveness of Sant’Angelo; but we were more pleased by far in coming unexpectedly upon the Castle of Fénis in the Valle d’Aoste, one of the finest of all feudal fortresses; or the Castle of Rimini sitting grim and sad in the Adriatic plain; or the Villa Cesarini outside of Perugia, which no one has ever reckoned as a wonder-work of architecture, but which all the same shows all of the best of Italian villa elements.

Our taste has been catholic, and the impressions set forth herein are our own. Others might have preferred to admire some splendid{22} church whilst we were speculating as to some great barbican gateway or watch tower. A saintly shrine might have for some more appeal than a hillside fortified Rocca; and again some convent nunnery might have a fascination that a rare old Renaissance house, now turned into a macaroni factory, or a wine press, might not.{23}



ITALIAN politics have ever been a game of intrigue, and of the exploiting of personal ambition. It was so in the days of the Popes; it is so in these days of premiers. The pilots of the ships of state have never had a more perilous passage to navigate than when manœuvring in the waters of Italian politics.

There is great and jealous rivalry between the cities of Italy. The Roman hates the Piedmontese and the Neapolitan and the Bolognese, and they all hate the Roman,—capital though Rome is of Church and State.

ITALY In The XVIII Century

The Evolution of Nationality has ever been an interesting subject to the stranger in a strange land. When the national spirit at last arose Italy had reached modern times and become modern instead of mediæval. National character is born of environment, but nationalism is born only of unassailable unity, a thor{24}ough absorbing of a love of country. The inhabitant of Rouen, the ancient Norman capital, is first, last and all the time a Norman, but he is also French; and the dweller in Rome or Milan is as much an Italian as the Neapolitan, though one and all jealously put the Campagna,{25} Piedmont, or the Kingdom of Naples before the Italian boot as a geographical division. Sometimes the same idea is carried into politics, but not often. Political warfare in Italy is mostly confined to the unquenchable prejudices existing between the Quirinal and the Vatican, a sort of inter urban warfare, which has very little of the aspect of an international question, except as some new-come diplomat disturbs the existing order of things. The Italian has a fondness for the Frenchman, and the French nation. At least the Italian politician has, or professes to have, when he says to his constituency: “I wish always for happy peaceful relations with France ... but I don’t forget Magenta and Solferino.”

The Italians of the north are the emigrating Italians, and make one of the best classes of labourers, when transplanted to a foreign soil. The steamship recruiting agents placard every little background village of Tuscany and Lombardy with the attractions of New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Buenos Ayres, and a hundred or so lire paid into the agent’s coffers does the rest.

Calabria and Sicily are less productive. The sunny Sicilian always wants to take his gaudily-painted farm cart with him, and as there is no{26} economic place for such a useless thing in America, he contents himself with a twenty-hour sea voyage to Tunisia where he can easily get back home again with his cart, if he doesn’t like it.

Every Italian peasant, man, woman and child, knows America. You may not pass the night at Barberino di Mugello, may not stop for a glass of wine at the Osteria on the Futa Pass, or for a repast at some classically named borgo on the Voie Æmilia but that you will set up longings in the heart of the natives who stand around in shoals and gaze at your automobile.

They all have relatives in America, in New York, New Orleans or Cripple Creek, or perhaps Brazil or the Argentine, and, since money comes regularly once or twice a year, and since thousands of touring Americans climb about the rocks at Capri or drive fire-spouting automobiles up through the Casentino, they know the new world as a land of dollars, and dream of the day when they will be able to pick them up in the streets paved with gold. That is a fairy-tale of America that still lives in Italy.

Barberino di Mugello

Barberino di Mugello

Besides emigrating to foreign lands, the Italian peasant moves about his own country to an{27} astonishing extent, often working in the country in summer, and in the towns the rest of the time as a labourer, or artisan. The typical Italian of the poorer class is of course the peasant of the countryside, for it is a notable fact that the labourer of the cities is as likely to be of one nationality as another. Different sections of Italy have each their distinct classes of country folk. There are landowners, tenants, others who work their land on shares, mere labourers and again simple farming folk who hire others to aid them in their work.

The braccianti, or farm labourers, are worthy fellows and seemingly as intelligent workers as their class elsewhere. In Calabria they are probably less accomplished than in the region of the great areas of worked land in central Italy and the valley of the Po.

The mezzadria system of working land on shares is found all over Italy. On a certain prearranged basis of working, the landlord and tenant divide the produce of the farm. There are, accordingly, no starving Italians, a living seemingly being assured the worker in the soil. In Ireland where it is rental pure and simple, and foreclosure and eviction if the rent is not promptly paid, the reverse is the case. Landlordism of even the paternal kind—if there is{28} such a thing—is bad, but co-operation between landlord and tenant seems to work well in Italy. It probably would elsewhere.

The average Italian small farm, or podere, worked only by the family, is a very unambitious affair, but it produces a livelihood. The house is nothing of the vine-clad Kent or Surrey order, and the principal apartment is the kitchen. One or two bedrooms complete its appointments, with a stone terrace in front of the door as it sits cosily backed up against some pleasant hillside.

There are few gimcracks and dust-harbouring rubbish within, and what simple furniture there is is clean—above all the bed-linen. The stable is a building apart, and there is usually some sort of an out-house devoted to wine-pressing and the like.

A kitchen garden and an orchard are near by, and farther afield the larger area of workable land. A thousand or twelve hundred lire a year of ready money passing through the hands of the head of the family will keep father, mother and two children going, besides which there is the “living,” the major part of the eatables and drinkables coming off the property itself.

The Italians are as cleanly in their mode of{29} life as the people of any other nation in similar walks. Let us not be prejudiced against the Italian, but make some allowance for surrounding conditions. In the twelfth century in Italy the grossness and uncleanliness were incredible, and the manners laid down for behaviour at table make us thankful that we have forks, pocket-handkerchiefs, soap and other blessings! But then, where were we in the twelfth century!

No branch of Italian farming is carried on on a very magnificent scale. In America the harvests are worked with mechanical reapers; in England it is done with sickle and flail or out of date patterns of American machines, but in Italy the peasant still works with the agricultural implements of Bible times, and works as hard to raise and harvest one bushel of wheat as a Kansas farmer does to grow, harvest and market six. The American farmer has become a financier; the Italian is still in the bread-winning stage. Five hundred labourers in Dakota, of all nationalities under the sun, be it remarked, on the Dalrymple farm, cut more wheat than any five thousand peasants in Europe. The peasant of Europe is chiefly in the stage of begging the Lord for his daily bread, but as soon as he gets out west in America, he{30} buys store things, automatic pianos and automobile buggies. No wonder he emigrates!

The Italian peasant doesn’t live so badly as many think, though true it is that meat is rare enough on his table. He eats something more than a greasy rag and an olive, as the well-fed Briton would have us believe; and something more than macaroni, as the American fondly thinks. For one thing, he has his eternal minestra, a good, thick soup of many things which Anglo-Saxons would hardly know how to turn into as wholesome and nourishing a broth; meat of any kind, always what the French call pate d’Italie, and herbs of the field. The macaroni, the olives, the cheese and the wine—always the wine—come after. Not bad that; considerably better than corned beef and pie, and far, far better than boiled mutton and cauliflower as a steady diet! Britons and Americans should wake up and learn something about gastronomy.

The general expenses of middle-class domestic town life in Italy are lower than in most other countries, and the necessities for outlay are smaller. The Italian, even comfortably off in the working class, is less inclined to spend money on luxurious trivialities than most of us. He prefers to save or invest his surplus.{31} One takes central Italy as typical because, if it is not the most prosperous, considered from an industrial point of view, it is still the region endowed with the greatest natural wealth. By this is meant that the conditions of life are there the easiest and most comfortable.

A middle class town family with an income of six or seven thousand lire spends very little on rent to begin with; pretence based upon the size of the front door knob cuts no figure in the Italian code of pride. This family will live in a flat, not in a villini as separate town houses are called. One sixth of the family income will go for rent, and though the apartment may be bare and grim and lack actual luxury it will possess amplitude, ten or twelve rooms, and be near the centre of the town. This applies in the smaller cities of from twenty to fifty thousand inhabitants. With very little modification the same will apply in Rome or Naples, and, with perhaps none at all, at Florence.

The all important servant question would seem to be more easily solved in Italy than elsewhere, but it is commonly the custom to treat Italian servants as one of the family—so far as certain intimacies and affections go—though, perhaps this of itself has some unanticipated objections. The Italian servants have{32} the reputation of becoming like feudal retainers; that is, they “stay on the job,” and from eight to twenty-five lire a month pays their wages. In reality they become almost personal or body servants, for in few Italian cities, and certainly not in Italian towns, are they obliged to occupy themselves with the slogging work of the London slavey, or the New York chore-woman. An Italian servant, be she young or old, however, has a seeming disregard for a uniform or badge of servitude, and is often rather sloppy in appearance. She is, for that, all the more picturesque since, if untidy, she is not apt to be loathsomely dirty in her apparel or her manner of working.

A Chianti Seller

The Italian of all ranks is content with two meals a day, as indeed we all ought to be. The continental morning coffee and roll, or more likely a sweet cake, is universal here, though sometimes the roll is omitted. Lunch is comparatively a light meal, and dinner at six or seven is simply an amplified lunch. The chianti of Tuscany is the usual wine drunk at all meals, or a substitute for it less good, though all red wine in Italy seems to be good, cheap and pure. Adulteration is apparently too costly a process. Wine and biscuits take the place of afternoon tea—and with advantage. The wine com{33}monly used en famille is seldom bought at more than 1.50 lira the flagon of two and a half litres, and can be had for half that price. Sugar and salt are heavily taxed, and though that may be a small matter with regard to salt it is something of an item with sugar.

Wood is almost entirely the fuel for cooking and heating, and the latter is very inefficient coming often from simple braziers or scaldini filled with embers and set about where they are supposed to do the most good. If one does not expire from the cold before the last spark has departed from the already dying embers when they are brought in, he orders another and keeps it warm by enveloping it as much as possible with his person. Italian heating arrangements are certainly more economical than those in Britain, but are even less efficient, as most of the caloric value of wood and coal goes up the chimney with the smoke. The American system of steam heat—on the “chauffage centrale” plan—will some day strike Europe, and then the householder will buy his heat on the water, gas and electric light plan. Till then southern Europe will freeze in winter.

In Rome and Florence it is a very difficult proceeding to be able to control enough heat—by any means whatever—to properly warm{34} an apartment in winter. If the apartment has no chimney, and many haven’t in the living rooms, one perforce falls back again on the classic scaldini placed in the middle of the room and fired up with charcoal. Then you huddle around it like Indians in a wigwam and, if you don’t take a short route into eternity by asphyxiation, your extremities ultimately begin to warm up; when they begin to get chilly again you recommence the firing up. This is more than difficult; it is inconvenient and annoying.

The manners and customs of the Italians of the great cities differ greatly from those of the towns and villages, and those of the Romans differ greatly from those of the inhabitants of Milan, Turin or Genoa. The Roman, for instance, hates rain—and he has his share of it too—and accordingly is more often seen with an umbrella than without one. Brigands are supposedly the only Italians who don’t own an umbrella, though why the distinction is so apparent a mere dweller beyond the frontier cannot answer.

In Rome, in Naples, and in all the cities and large towns of Italy, the population rises early, but they don’t get down to business as speedily as they might. The Italian has not, however, a prejudice against new ideas, and the Italian{35} cities and large towns are certainly very much up-to-date. Italians are at heart democrats, and rank and title have little effect upon them.

The Italian government still gives scant consideration to savings banks, but legalizes, authorizes and sometimes backs up lotteries. At all times it controls them. This is one of the inconsistencies of the tunes played by the political machine in modern Italy. Anglo-Saxons may bribe and graft; but they do not countenance lotteries, which are the greatest thieving institutions ever invented by the ingenuity of man, in that they do rob the poor. It is the poor almost entirely who support them. The rich have bridge, baccarat, Monte Carlo and the Stock Exchange.

It may be bad for the public, this legalized gambling, but all gambling is bad, and certainly state-controlled lotteries are no worse than licensed or unlicensed pool-rooms and bucket shops, winked-at dice-throwing in bar rooms, or crap games on every corner.

The Italian administration received the enormous total of 74,400,000 lire for lottery tickets in 1906, and of this sum 35,000,000 lire were returned in prizes, and 6,500,000 went for expenses. A fine net profit of 33,000,000 lire, all{36} of which, save what stuck to the fingers of the bureaucracy in passing through, went to reduce taxation which would otherwise be levied.

The Italian plays the lottery with the enthusiastic excitement of a too shallow and too confident brain.

Various combinations of figures seem possible of success to the Italian who at the weekend puts some bauble in pawn with the hope that something will come his way. After the drawing, before the Sunday dawns, he is quite another person, considerably less confident of anything to happen in the future, and as downcast as a sunny Italian can be.

This passion for drawing lots is something born in him; even if lotteries were not legalized, he would still play lotto in secret, for in enthusiasm for games of chance, he rivals the Spaniard.

But Italy is not the country of illiterates that the stranger presupposes. Campania is the province where one finds the largest number of lettered, and Basilicate the least.

Military service begins and is compulsory for all male Italians at the age of twenty. It lasts for nineteen years, of which three only are in active service. The next five or six in the reserve, the next three or four in the Militia and{37} the next seven in the “territorial” Militia, or landguard.

Conscription also applies to the naval service for the term of twelve years.

The military element, which one meets all over Italy, is astonishingly resplendent in colours and plentiful in numbers. At most, among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of officers of all ranks, there can hardly be more than a few score of privates. It is either this or the officers keep continually on the move in order to create an illusion of numbers!

Class distinctions, in all military grades, and in all lands, are very marked, but in Italy the obeisance of a private before the slightest loose end of gold braid is very marked. The Italian private doesn’t seem to mark distinctions among the official world beyond the sight of gold braid. A steamboat captain, or a hall porter in some palatial hotel would quite stun him.

The Italian gendarmes are a picturesque and resplendent detail of every gathering of folk in city, town or village. On a festa they shine more grandly than at other times, and the privilege of being arrested by such a gorgeous policeman must be accounted as something of a social distinction. The holding up of an auto{38}mobilist by one of these gentry is an affair which is regulated with as much pomp and circumstance as the crowning of a king. The writer knows!!

Just how far the Italian’s criminal instincts are more developed than those of other races and climes has no place here, but is it not fair to suppose that the half a million of Italians—mostly of the lower classes—who form a part of the population of cosmopolitan New York are of a baser instinct than any half million living together on the peninsula? Probably they are; the Italian on his native shore does not strike us as a very villainous individual.

But he is usually a lively person; there is nothing calm and sedentary about him; though he has neither the grace of the Gascon, the joy of the Kelt, or the pretence of the Provençal, he does not seem wicked or criminal, and those who habitually carry dirks and daggers and play in Black Hand dramas live for the most part across the seas.

The Italian secret societies are supposed hot beds of crime, and many of them certainly exist, though they do not practise their rites in the full limelight of publicity as they do in America.

The Neapolitan Camarra is the best organ{39}ized of all the Italian secret societies. It is divided, military-like, into companies, and is recruited, also in military fashion, to make up for those who have died or been “replaced.”

The origin of secret societies will probably never be known. Italy was badly prepared to gather the fruits to be derived from the French Revolution, and it is possible that then the activity of the Carbonari, Italy’s most popular secret society, began. The Mafia is more ancient and has a direct ancestry for nearly a thousand years.

A hundred and twenty-five years ago the seed of secret dissatisfaction had already been spread for years through Italy. The names of the societies were many. Some of them were called the Protectori Republicani, the Adelfi, the Spilla Nera, the Fortezza, the Speranza, the Fratelli, and a dozen other names. On the surface the code of the Carbonari reads fairly enough, but there is nothing to show that any attempt was made to stamp out perhaps the most generally honoured of the traditions of Naples—that of homicide.

The long political blight of the centuries, the curse of feudalism, the rottenness of ignorance and superstition, had eaten out nearly every vestige of political and self-respecting spirit.{40} After the restoration of the Bourbons the influences of the secret societies in Southern Italy were manifested by the large increase of murders.{41}



A Chapter for Travellers by Road or Rail

THE hotels of Italy are dear or not, according to whether one patronizes a certain class of establishment. At Trouville, at Aix-les-Bains in France, at Cernobbio in the Italian Lake region, or on the Quai Parthenope at Naples, there is little difference in price or quality, and the cuisine is always French.

The automobilist who demands garage accommodation as well will not always find it in the big city hotel in Italy. He may patronize the F. I. A. T. Garages in Rome, Naples, Genoa, Milan, Florence, Venice, Turin and Padua and find the best of accommodation and fair prices. For a demonstration of this he may compare what he gets and what he pays for it at Pisa—where a F. I. A. T. garage is wanting—and note the difference.

The real Italian hotel, outside the great centres, has less of a clientèle of snobs and malades{42} imaginaires than one finds in France—in the Pyrenees or on the Riviera, or in Switzerland among the Alps, and accordingly there is always accommodation to be found that is in a class between the resplendent gold-lace and silver-gilt establishments of the resorts and working-men’s lodging houses. True there is the same class of establishment existing in the smaller cities in France, but the small towns of France are not yet as much “travelled” by strangers as are those of Italy, and hence the difference to be remarked.

The real Italian hotels, not the tourist establishments, will cater for one at about one half the price demanded by even the second order of tourist hotels, and the Italian landlord shows no disrespect towards a client who would know his price beforehand—and he will usually make it favourable at the first demand, for fear you will “shop around” and finally go elsewhere.

A Wayside Trattoria

The automobile here, as everywhere, tends to elevate prices, but much depends on the individual attitude of the traveller. A convincing air of independence and knowledge on the part of the automobilist, as he arrives, will speedily put him en rapport with the Italian landlord. Look as wise as possible and always ask the{43} price beforehand—even while your motor is still chugging away. That never fails to bring things to a just and proper relation.

It is at Florence, and in the environs of Naples, of all the great tourist centres, that one finds the best fare at the most favourable prices, but certainly at Rome and Venice, in the great hotels, it is far less attractive and a great deal dearer, delightful though it may be to sojourn in a palace of other days.

The Italian wayside inns, or trattoria, are not all bad; neither are they all good. The average is better than it has usually been given the credit of being, and the automobile is doing much here, as in France, towards a general improvement. A dozen automobiles, with a score or more of people aboard, may come and go in a day to a little inn in some picturesque framing on a main road, say that between Siena and Rome via Orvieto, or to Finale Marina or Varazze in Liguria, to one carriage and pair with two persons and a driver. Accordingly, this means increased prosperity for the inn-holder, and he would be a dull wit indeed if he didn’t see it. He does see it in France, with a very clear vision; in Italy, with a point of view very little dimmed; in Switzerland, when the governmental authorities will let him; and{44} in England, when the country boniface comes anywhere near to being the intelligent person that his continental compeer finds himself. This is truth, plain, unvarnished truth, just as the writer has found it. Others may have their own ideas about the subject, but this is the record of one man’s experiences, and presumably of some others.

The chief disadvantages of the hotel of the small Italian town are its often crowded and incomplete accessories, and its proximity to a stable of braying donkeys, bellowing cows, or an industrious blacksmith who begins before sun-up to pound out the same metallic ring that his confrères do all over the world. There is nothing especially Italian about a blacksmith’s shop in Italy. All blacksmith interiors are the same whether painted by “Old Crome,” Eastman Johnson or Jean François Millet.

The idiosyncrasies of the inns of the small Italian towns do not necessarily preclude their offering good wholesome fare to the traveller, and this in spite of the fact that not every one likes his salad with garlic in liberal doses or his macaroni smothered in oil. Each, however, is better than steak smothered in onions or potatoes fried in lard; any “hygienist” will tell you that.{45}

The trouble with most foreigners in Italy, when they begin to talk about the rancid oil and other strange tasting native products, is that they have not previously known the real thing. Olive oil, real olive oil, tastes like—well, like olive oil. The other kinds, those we are mostly used to elsewhere, taste like cotton seed or peanut oil, which is probably what they are. One need not blame the Italian for this, though when he himself eats of it, or gives it you to eat, it is the genuine article. You may eat it or not, according as you may like it or not, but the Italian isn’t trying to poison you or work off anything on your stomach half so bad as the rancid bacon one sometimes gets in Germany or the kippers of two seasons ago that appear all over England in the small towns.

As before intimated, the chief trouble with the small hotels in Italy is their deficiencies, but the Touring Club Italiano in Italy, like the Touring Club de France in France, is doing heroic work in educating the country inn-keeper. Why should not some similar institution do the same thing in England and America? How many American country hotels, in towns of three or five thousand people, in say Georgia or Missouri, would get up, for the chance traveller who dropped in on them unexpectedly,{46} a satisfactory meal? Not many, the writer fancies.

There is, all over Europe, a desire on the part of the small or large hotel keeper to furnish meals out of hours, and often at no increase in price. The automobilist appreciates this, and has come to learn in Italy that the old Italian proverb “chi tardi arriva mal alloggia” is entirely a myth of the guide books of a couple of generations ago. A cold bird, a dish of macaroni, a salad and a flask of wine will try no inn-keeper’s capabilities, even with no notice beforehand. The Italian would seemingly prefer to serve meals in this fashion than at the tavola rotonda, which is the Italian’s way of referring to a table d’hôte. If you have doubts as to your Italian Boniface treating you right as to price (after you have eaten of his fare) arrange things beforehand a prezzo fisso and you will be safe.

As for wine, the cheapest is often as good as the best in the small towns, and is commonly included in the prezzo fisso, or should be. It’s for you to see that you get it on that basis of reckoning.

The padrona of an Italian country inn is very democratic; he believes in equality and fraternity, and whether you come in a sixty-horse{47} Mercédès or on donkey-back he sits you down in a room with a mixed crew of his countrymen and pays no more attention to you than if you were one of them. That is, he doesn’t exploit you as does the Swiss, he doesn’t overcharge you, and he doesn’t try to tempt your palate with poor imitation of the bacon and eggs of old England, or the tenderloins of America. He gives you simply the fare of the country and lets it go at that.

Of Italian inns, it may be truly said the day has passed when the traveller wished he was a horse in order that he might eat their food; oats being good everywhere.

The fare of the great Italian cities, at least that of the hotels frequented by tourists, has very little that is national about it. To find these one has to go elsewhere, to the small Italian hotels in the large towns, along with the priests and the soldiers, or keep to the byways.

The polenta, or corn-meal bread, and the companatico, sardines, anchovies or herrings which are worked over into a paste and spread on it butter-wise, is everywhere found, and it is good. No osteria or trattoria by the roadside, but will give you this on short order if you do not seek anything more substantial. The minestra, or cabbage soup—it may not be cabbage at all,{48} but it looks it—a sort of “omnium gatherum” soup—is warming and filling. Polenta, companatico, minestra and a salad, with fromaggio to wind up with, and red wine to drink, ought not to cost more than a lira, or a lira and a half at the most wherever found. You won’t want to continue the same fare for dinner the same day, perhaps, but it works well for luncheon.

Pay no charges for attendance. No one does anyway, but tourists of convention. Let the buono mano to the waiter who serves you be the sole largess that you distribute, save to the man-of-all-work who brings you water for the thirsty maw of your automobile, or to the amiable, sunshiny individual who lugs your baggage up and down to and from your room. This is quite enough, heaven knows, according to our democratic ideas. At any rate, pay only those who serve you, in Italy, as elsewhere, and don’t merely tip to impress the waiter with your importance. He won’t see it that way.

The Italian albergo, or hotel of the small town, is apt to be poorly and meanly furnished, even in what may be called “public rooms,” though, indeed, there are frequently no public rooms in many more or less pretentious Italian inns. If there ever is a salon or reception room{49} it is furnished scantily with a rough, uncomfortable sofa covered with a gunny sack, a small square of fibre carpeting (if indeed it has any covering whatever to its chilly tile or stone floor), and a few rush covered chairs. Usually there is no chimney, but there is always a stuffy lambrequined curtain at each window, almost obliterating any rays of light which may filter feebly through. In general the average reception room of any Italian albergo (except those great joint-stock affairs of the large cities which adopt the word hotel) is an uncomfortable and unwholesome apartment. One regrets to say this but it is so.

Beds in Italian hotels are often “queer,” but they are surprisingly and comfortably clean, considering their antiquity. Every one who has observed the Italian in his home, in Italy or in some stranger land, even in a crowded New York tenement, knows that the Italian sets great store by his sleeping arrangements and their proper care. It is an ever-to-be-praised and emulated fact that the common people of continental Europe are more frequently “luxurious” with regard to their beds and bed linen than is commonly supposed. They may eat off of an oilcloth (which by some vague conjecture they call “American cloth”){50} covered table, may dip their fingers deep in the polenta and throw bones on the tile or brick floor to the dogs and cats edging about their feet, but the draps of their beds are real, rough old linen, not the ninety-nine-cent-store kind of the complete house-furnishing establishments.

The tiled floor of the average Italian house, and of the kitchens and dining room of many an Italian inn, is the ever at hand receptacle of much refuse food that elsewhere is relegated to the garbage barrel. Between meals, and bright and early in the morning, everything is flushed out with as generous a supply of water as is used by the Dutch housvrou in washing down the front steps. Result: the microbes don’t rest behind, as they do on our own carpeted dining rooms, a despicable custom which is “growing” with the hotel keepers of England and America. Another idol shattered!

What you don’t find in the small Italian hotels are baths, nor in many large ones either. When you do find a baignoir in Europe (except those of the very latest fashion) it is a poor, shallow affair with a plug that pulls up to let the water out, but with no means of getting it in except to pour it in from buckets. This is a fault, sure enough, and it’s not the Ameri{51}can’s idea of a bath tub at all, though it seems to suit well enough the Englishman en tour.

France is, undoubtedly, the land of good cooks par excellence, but the Italian of all ranks is more of a gourmet than he is usually accounted. There may be some of his tribe that live on bread and cheese, but if he isn’t outrageously poor he usually eats well, devotes much time to the preparing and cooking of his meals, and considerably more to the eating of them. The Italian’s cooking utensils are many and varied and above all picturesque, and his table ware invariably well conditioned and cleanly. Let this opinion (one man’s only, again let it be remembered) be recorded as a protest against the universally condemned dirty Italian, who supposedly eats cats and dogs, as the Chinaman supposedly eats rats and mice. We are not above reproach ourselves; we eat mushrooms, frog legs and some other things besides which are certainly not cleanly or healthful.

More than one Italian inn owes its present day prosperity to the travel by road which frequently stops before its doors. Twenty-five years ago, indeed much less, the vetturino deposited his load of sentimental travellers, accompanied perhaps by a courier, at many a{52} miserable wayside osteria, which fell far short of what it should be. To-day this has all changed for the better.

Tourists of all nationalities and all ranks make Italy their playground to-day, as indeed they have for generations. There is no diminution in their numbers. English minor dignitaries of the church jostle Pa and Ma and the girls from the Far West, and Germans, fiercely and wondrously clad, peer around corners and across lagoons with field glasses of a size and power suited to a Polar Expedition. Everybody is “doing” everything, as though their very lives depended upon their absorbing as much as possible of local colour, and that as speedily as possible. It will all be down in the bill, and they mean to have what they are paying for. This is one phase of Italian travel that is unlovely, but it is the phase that one sees in the great tourist hotels and in the chief tourist cities, not elsewhere.

To best know Italian fare as also Italian manners and customs, one must avoid the restaurants and trattoria asterisked by Baedeker and search others out for himself; they will most likely be as good, much cheaper, more characteristic of the country and one will not be eternally pestered to eat beefsteak, ham and{53} saurkraut, or to drink paleale or whiskey. Instead, he will get macaroni in all shapes and sizes, and tomato sauce and cheese over everything, to say nothing of rice, artichokes and onions now and again, and oil, of the olive brand, in nearly every plat. If you don’t like these things, of course, there is no need going where they are. Stick to the beefsteak and paleale then! Romantic, sentimental Italy is disappearing, the Italians are becoming practical and matter of fact; it is only those with memories of Browning, Byron, Shelley, Leopold Robert and Boeklin that would have Italy sentimental anyway.

Maximilien Mission, a Protestant refugee from France in 1688, had something to say of the inns at Venice, which is interesting reading to-day. He says:—“There are some good inns at Venice; the ‘Louvre,’ the ‘White Lyon,’ the ‘Arms of France;’ the first entertains you for eight livres (lire) per day, the other two somewhat cheaper, but you must always remember to bargain for everything that you have. A gondola costs something less than a livre (lire) an hour, or for a superior looking craft seven or eight livres a day.”

This is about the price of the Venetian water craft when hired to-day, two centuries and more{54} after. The hotel prices too are about what one pays to-day in the smaller inns of the cities and in those of the towns. All over Italy, even on the shores of the Bay of Naples, crowded as they are with tourists of all nationalities and all ranks, one finds isolated little Italian inns, backed up against a hillside or crowning some rocky promontory, where one may live in peace and plenitude for six or seven francs a day. And one is not condemned to eating only the national macaroni either. Frankly, the Neapolitan restaurateur often scruples as much to put macaroni before his stranger guests as does the Bavarian inn-keeper to offer sausage at each repast. Some of us regret that this is so, but since macaroni in some form or other can always be had in Italy, and sausages in Germany, for the asking, no great inconvenience is caused.

Macaroni is the national dish of Italy, and very good it is too, though by no means does one have to live off it as many suppose. Notwithstanding, macaroni goes with Italy, as do crackers with cheese. There are more shapes and sizes of macaroni than there are beggars in Naples.

The long, hollow pipe stem, known as Neapolitan, and the vermicelli, which isn’t hollow,{55} but is as long as a shoe string, are the leading varieties. Tiny grains, stars, letters of the alphabet and extraordinary animals that never came out of any ark are also fashioned out of the same pasta, or again you get it in sheets as big as a good sized handkerchief, or in piping of a diameter of an inch, or more.

The Romans kneaded their flour by means of a stone cylinder called a maccaro. The name macaroni is supposed to have been derived from this origin.

Naples is the centre of the macaroni industry, but it is made all over the world. That made in Brooklyn would be as good as that made in Naples if it was made of Russian wheat instead of that from Dakota. As it is now made it is decidedly inferior to the Italian variety. By contrast, that made in Tunis is as good as the Naples variety. Russian wheat again!

A macaroni factory looks, from the outside, like a place devoted to making rope. Inside it feels like an inferno. It doesn’t pay to get too well acquainted with the process of making macaroni.

The flour paste is run out of little tubes, or rolled out by big rollers, or cut out by little dies, thus taking its desired forms. The long, stringy macaroni is taken outside and hung up{56} to dry like clothes on a line, except that it is hung on poles. The workmen are lightly and innocently clad, and the workshops themselves are kept at as high a temperature as the stoke-room of a liner. Whether this is really necessary or not, the writer does not know, but he feels sure that some genius will, some day, evolve a process which will do away with hand labour in the making of macaroni. It will be mixed by machinery, baked by electricity and loaded up on cars and steamships by the same power.

The street macaroni merchants of Naples sell the long ropy kind to all comers, and at a very small price one can get a “filling” meal. You get it served on a dish, but without knives, forks or chop sticks. You eat it with your fingers and your mouth.

The meat is tough in Italy, often enough. There is no doubt about that. But it is usually a great deal better than it is given credit for being. The day is past, if it ever existed, when the Anglo-Saxon traveller was forced to quit Italy “because he could not live without good meat.” This was the classic complaint of the innocents abroad of other days, whether they hailed from Kensington or Kalamazoo. They should never have left those superlatively ex{57}cellent places. The food and Mazzini were the sole topics of travel talk once, but to-day it is more a question of whether one can get his railway connection at some hitherto unheard of little junction, or whether the road via this river valley or that mountain pass is as good as the main road. These are the things that really matter to the traveller, not whether he has got to sleep in a four poster in a bedroom with a tile or marble floor, or eat macaroni and ravioli when he might have—if he were at home—his beloved “ham” and blood-red beefsteaks.

The Italian waiter is usually a sunny, confiding person, something after the style of the negro, and, like his dark-skinned brother, often incompetent beyond a certain point. You like him for what he is though, almost as good a thing in his line as the French garçon, in that he is obliging and a great deal better than the mutton-chopped, bewhiskered nonentity who shuffles about behind your chair in England with his expectant palm forever outstretched.

The Italian camerière, or waiter, takes a pride in his profession—as far as he knows it, and quite loses sight of its commercial possibilities in the technicalities of his craft, and his seeming desire only to please. Subito momento is his ever ready phrase, though often{58} it seems as though he might have replied never.

Seated in some roadside or seashore trattoria one pounds on the bare table for the camerière, orders another “Torino,” pays his reckoning and is off again. Nothing extraordinarily amusing has happened the while, but the mere lolling about on a terrace of a café overlooking the lapping Mediterranean waves at one’s feet is one of the things that one comes to Italy for, and one is content for the nonce never to recur to palazzos, villas, cathedrals, or picture galleries. There have been too many travellers in past times—and they exist to-day—who do not seek to fill the gaps between a round of churches and art galleries, save to rush back to some palace hotel and eat the same kind of a dinner that they would in London, Paris or New York—a little worse cooked and served to be sure. It’s the country and its people that impress one most in a land not his own. Why do so many omit these “attractions?”

The buona mano is everywhere in evidence in Italy, but the Italian himself seems to understand how to handle the question better than strangers. The Italian guest at a hotel is fairly lavish with the quantity of his tips, but each is{59} minute, and for a small service he pays a small fee. We who like to impress the waiter—for we all do, though we fancy we don’t—will often pay as much to a waiter for bringing us a drink as the price of the drink. Not so the Italian; and that’s the difference.

Ten per cent, on the bill at a hotel is always a lavish fee, and five would be ample, though now and again the head waiter may look askance at his share. Follow the Italian’s own system then, give everybody who serves you something, however little, and give to those only, and then their little jealousies between each other will take the odium off you—if you really care what a waiter thinks about you anyway, which of course you shouldn’t.

These little disbursements are everywhere present in Italy. One pays a franc to enter a museum, a picture gallery or a great library, and one tips his cabman as he does elsewhere, and a dozen francs spent in riding about on Venetian gondolas for a day incurs the implied liability for another two francs as well.{60}



THE cordiality of the Italian for the stranger within his gates is undeniable, but the automobilist would appreciate this more if the Latin would keep his great highways (a tradition left by the Romans of old, the finest road-builders the world has ever known) in better condition.

Italy, next to France, is an ideal touring ground for the automobilist. The Italian population everywhere seems to understand the tourist and his general wants and, above all, his motive for coming thither, and whether one journeys by the railway, by automobile or by the more humble bicycle, he finds a genial reception everywhere, though coupled with it is always an abounding curiosity which is at times annoying. The native is lenient with you and painstaking to the extreme if you do not speak his language, and will struggle with lean scraps{61} of English, French and German in his effort to understand your wants.

Admirably surveyed and usually very well graded, some of the most important of the north and south thoroughfares in Italy have been lately so sadly neglected that the briefest spell of bad weather makes them all but impassable.

There is one stretch between Bologna and Imola of thirty-two kilometres, straightaway and perfectly flat. It is a good road or a bad road, according as one sees it after six weeks of good weather or after a ten days’ rainy spell. It is at once the best and worst of its kind, but it is badly kept up and for that reason may be taken as a representative Italian road. The mountain roads up back of the lake region and over the Alpine passes, in time of snow and ice and rain—if they are not actually buried under—are thoroughly good roads. They are built on different lines. Road-building is a national affair in Italy as it is in France, but the central power does not ramify its forces in all directions as it does across the border. There is only one kind of road-building worth taking into consideration, and that is national road-building. It is not enough that Massachusetts should build good roads and have them degenerate into mere wagon tracks when they get to{62} the State border, or that the good roads of Middlesex should become mere sloughs as soon as they come within the domain of the London County Council. Italy is slack and incompetent with regard to her road-building, but England and America are considerably worse at the present writing.

Entering Italy by the Riviera gateway one leaves the good roads of France behind him at Menton and, between Grimaldi, where he passes the Italian dogana and its formalities, and Ventimiglia, or at least San Remo, twenty-five kilometres away, punctures his tires one, three or five times over a kilometre stretch of unrolled stone bristling with flints, whereas in France a side path would have been left on which the automobilist might pass comfortably.

It isn’t the Italian’s inability to handle the good roads question as successfully as the French; it is his woefully incompetent, careless, unthinking way of doing things. This is not saying that good roads do not exist in Italy. Far from it. But the good road in Italy suddenly descends into a bad road for a dozen kilometres and as abruptly becomes a good road again, and this without apparent reason. Lack of unity of purpose on the part of individual road-building bodies is what does it.{63}

Road-building throughout Italy never rose to the height that it did in France. The Romans were great exploiters beyond the frontiers and often left things at home to shuffle along as best they might whilst their greatest energies were spent abroad.

One well defined Roman road of antiquity (aside from the tracings of the great trunk lines like the Appian or Æmilian Ways) is well known to all automobilists entering Naples via Posilippo. It runs through a tunnel, alongside a hooting, puffing tram and loose-wheeled iron-tired carts all in a deafening uproar.

This marvellous tunnelled road by the sea, with glimpses of daylight now and then, but mostly as dark as the cavern through which flowed the Styx, is the legitimate successor of an engineering work of the time of Augustus. In Nero’s reign, Seneca, the historian, wrote of it as a narrow, gloomy pass, and mediæval superstition claimed it as the work of necromancy, since the hand of man never could have achieved it. The foundation of the roadway is well authenticated by history however. In 1442 Alphonso I, the Spaniard, widened and heightened the gallery, and Don Pedro of Toledo a century later paved it with good solid blocks of granite which were renewed again by Charles{64} III in 1754. Here is a good road that has endured for centuries. We should do as well to-day.

There are, of course, countless other short lengths of highway, coming down from historic times, left in Italy, but the Roman viae with which we have become familiar in the classical geographies and histories of our schooldays are now replaced by modern thoroughfares which, however, in many cases, follow, or frequently cut in on, the old itineraries. Of these old Roman Ways that most readily traced, and of the greatest possible interest to the automobilist who would do something a little different from what his fellows have done, is the Via Æmilia.

With Bologna as its central station, the ancient Via Æmilia, begun by the Consul Marcus Æmilius Lepidus, continues towards Cisalpine Gaul the Via Flamina leading out from Rome. It is a delightfully varied itinerary that one covers in following up this old Roman road from Placentia (Piacenza) to Ariminum (Rimini), and should indeed be followed leisurely from end to end if one would experience something of the spirit of olden times, which one can hardly do if travelling by schedule and stopping only at the places lettered large on the maps.{65}

The following are the ancient and modern place-names on this itinerary:

Connecting with the Via Æmilia another important Roman road ran from the valley of the Casentino across the Apennines to Piacenza. It was the route traced by a part of the itinerary of Dante in the “Divina Commedia,” and as such it is a historic highway with which the least sentimentally inclined might be glad to make acquaintance.

Another itinerary, perhaps better known to the automobilist, is that which follows the Ligurian coast from Nice to Spezia, continuing thence to Rome by the Via Aurelia. This coast{66} road of Liguria passed through Nice to Luna on the Gulf of Spezia, the towns en route being as follows:—

Varium fl.The Var (river)
CemeneliumCimiez, back of Nice
Portus Herculis Monoeci    Monaco
Albium IntermeliumVentimiglia
Albium IngaunumAlbenga
Vada SabbataVado, near Savona
Portus DelphiniPortofino
TigulliaTregesco, near Sestri
Portus VenerisPorto Venere
Portus EriciLerici

The chief of these great Roman roadways of old whose itineraries can be traced to-day are:

Via ÆmiliaThe most celebrated of N. Italy
Via Æmilia-Scauri    Built long after the original Via Æmelia
Via AmeriaFrom Rome to Amelia
Via AppiaOf which the main trunk line ran from Rome to Capua
Via Aquilla 
Via Ardentina 
Via AureliaFrom Rome to Pisa
Via Cassia 
Via FlaminiaThe Great North Road of the Romans
Via LatinaOne of the most ancient of Roman roads
Via Laurentia 
Via OstiensisFrom Rome to Ostia
Via SalariaLeading from Rome through the valley of the Tiber
Via ValeriaFrom the Tiber to the Adriatic at Ancona


These ancient Roman roads were at their best in Campania and Etruria. Campania was traversed by the Appian Way, the greatest highway of the Romans, though indeed its original construction by Appius Claudius only extended to Capua. The great highroads proceeding from Rome crossed Etruria almost to the full extent; the Via Aurelia, from Rome to Pisa and Luna; the Via Cassia and the Via Clodia.

The great Roman roads were marked with division stones or bornes every thousand paces, practically a kilometre and a half, a little more than our own mile. These mile-stones of Roman times, many of which are still above ground (milliarii lapides), were sometimes round and sometimes square, and were entirely bare of capitals, being mere stone posts usually standing on a squared base of a somewhat larger area.

A graven inscription bore in Latin the name of the Consul or Emperor under whom each stone was set up and a numerical indication as well.

Caius Gracchus, away back in the second cen{68}tury before Christ, was the inventor of these aids to travel. The automobilist appreciates the development of this accessory next to good roads themselves, and if he stops to think a minute he will see that the old Romans were the inventors of many things which he fondly thinks are modern.

The automobilist in Italy has, it will be inferred, cause to regret the absence of the fine roads of France once and again, and he will regret it whenever he wallows into a six inch deep rut and finds himself not able to pull up or out, whilst the drivers of ten yoke ox-teams, drawing a block of Carrara marble as big as a house, call down the imprecations of all the saints in the calendar on his head. It’s not the automobilist’s fault, such an occurrence, nor the ox-driver’s either; but for fifty kilometres after leaving Spezia, and until Lucca and Livorno are reached, this is what may happen every half hour, and you have no recourse except to accept the situation with fortitude and revile the administration for allowing a roadway to wear down to such a state, or for not providing a parallel thoroughfare so as to divide the different classes of traffic. There is no such disgracefully used and kept highway in Europe as this stretch between Spezia and Lucca, and one{69} must of necessity pass over it going from Genoa to Pisa unless he strikes inland through the mountainous country just beyond Spezia, by the Strada di Reggio for a détour of a hundred kilometres or more, coming back to the sea level road at Lucca.

Throughout the peninsula the inland roads are better as to surface than those by the coast, though by no means are they more attractive to the tourist by road. This is best exemplified by a comparison of the inland and shore roads, each of them more or less direct, between Florence and Rome.

The great Strada di grande Communicazione from Florence to Rome (something less than three hundred kilometres all told, a mere mouthful for a modern automobile) runs straight through the heart of old Siena, entering the city by the Porta Camollia and leaving by the Porta Romana, two kilometres of treacherous, narrow thoroughfare, though readily enough traced because it is in a bee-line. The details are here given as being typical of what the automobilist may expect to find in the smaller Italian cities. There are, in Italy, none of those unexpected right-angle turns that one comes upon so often in French towns, at least not so many of them, and there are no cork-screw{70} thoroughfares though many have the “rainbow curve,” to borrow Mark Twain’s expression.

On through Chiusi, Orvieto and Viterbo runs the highroad direct to the gates of Rome, for the most part a fair road, but rising and falling from one level to another in trying fashion to one who would set a steady pace.

It is with respect to the grades on Italian roads, too, that one remarks a falling off from French standards. North of Florence, in the valley of the Mugello, we, having left the well-worn roads in search of something out of the common, found a bit of seventeen per cent. grade. This was negotiated readily enough, since it was of brief extent, but another rise of twenty-five per cent. (it looked forty-five from the cushions of a low-hung car) followed and on this we could do nothing. Fortunately there was a way around, as there usually is in Europe, so nothing was lost but time, and we benefited by the acquisition of some knowledge concerning various things which we did not before possess. And we were content, for that was what we came for anyway.

From Florence south, by the less direct road via Arezzo, Perugia and Terni, there is another surprisingly sudden rise but likewise brief. It{71} is on this same road that one remarks from a great distance the towers of Spoleto piercing the sky at a seemingly enormous height, while the background mountain road over the Passo della Somma rises six hundred and thirty metres and tries the courage of every automobilist passing this way.

To achieve many of these Italian hill-towns one does not often rise abruptly but rather almost imperceptibly, but here, in ten kilometres, say half a dozen miles, the Strada di grande Communicazione rises a thousand feet, and that is considerable for a road supposedly laid out by military strategists.

As a contrast to these hilly, switch-back roads running inland from the north to the south may be compared that running from Rome to Naples, not the route usually followed via Vallombrosa and Frosinone, but that via Velletri, Terracina and Gaeta. Here the highroad is nearly flat, though truth to tell of none too good surface, all the way to Naples. Practically it is as good a road as that which runs inland and offers to any who choose to pass that way certain delights that most other travellers in Italy know not of.

At Cisterna di Roma, forty-eight kilometres from Rome, one is in the midst of the Pontine{72} Marshes it is true, and it is also more or less of a marvel that a decent road could have been built here at all. From this point of view it is interesting to the automobilist who has a hobby of studying the road-building systems of the countries through which he travels. Of the Pontine Marshes themselves it is certain that they are not salubrious, and malaria is most prevalent near them. Appius Claudius, in 312 B. C., tried to drain the marsh and so did Cæsar, Augustus and Theodoric after him, and the Popes Boniface VIII, Martinus V and Sixtus V, but the morass is still there in spite of the fact that a company calling itself Ufficio della Bonificazione delle Paludi Pontine is to-day working continuously at the same problem.

Putting these various classes of Italian roads aside for the moment there remains but one other variety to consider, that of the mountain roads of the high Alpine valleys and those crossing the Oberland and, further east, those in communication with the Austrian Tyrol. On the west these converge on Milan and Turin via the region of the lakes and the valleys of Aosta and Susa, and in the centre and east give communication from Brescia, Verona and Venice with West Germany and Austria.

Road Map of North Italy

These are the best planned and best kept{73} roads in Italy, take them by and large. The most celebrated are those leading from Turin into France; via Susa and the Col du Mont Genevre to Briançon, and via Mont Cenis to Modane and Grenoble; via the Val d’Aosta and the Petit Saint Bernard to Albertville in France, or via the Grand Saint Bernard to Switzerland.

Just north of the Lago di Maggiore, accessible either from Como or from Milan direct via Arona, is the famous road over the Simplon Pass, at an elevation of 2,008 metres above the sea. By this road, the best road in all Italy, without question, one enters or leaves the kingdom by the gateway of Domodossola.

On entering Italy by this route one passes the last rock-cut gallery near Crevola and, by a high-built viaduct, thirty metres or more above the bed of the river, it crosses the Diveria. Soon the vineyards and all the signs of the insect life of the southland meet the eye. Italy has at last been reached, no more eternal snow and ice, no more peaked rooftops, the whole region now flattens out into the Lombard plain. Domodossola has all the ear-marks of the Italian’s manner of life and building of houses, albeit that the town itself has no splendid monuments.{74}

Another entrance to the Italian lake region through the mountain barrier beyond is by the road over the San Bernardino Pass and Bellinzona. The San Bernardino Pass is not to be confounded with those of the Grand and Petit Saint Bernard. The present roadway dates from 1822, when it was built by the engineer Pocobelle, at the joint expense of the Sardinian and Grisons governments. Its chief object was to connect Genoa and Turin directly with Switzerland and west Germany. The pass crosses the Rheinwald at a height of 2,063 metres.

This passage across the Alps was known to the ancient Romans, and down to the fifteenth century it was known as the Vogelberg. A mission brother, Bernardino of Siena, preaching the gospel in the high valleys, erected a chapel here which gave the pass the name which it bears to-day.

In part the road tunnels through the hillsides, in part runs along a shelf beside the precipice, and here and there crosses a mountain torrent by some massive bridge of masonry.

Like most of the mountain roads leading into Italy from Switzerland and Germany the southern slope descends more abruptly than that on the north. The coach driver may trot his horses down hill, though, so well has the descent been{75} engineered, and the automobilist may rush things with considerably more safety here than on the better known routes.

Another celebrated gateway into Italy is that over the Splugen Pass from Coire (in Italian nomenclature: Colmo dell’Orso). It was completed by the Austrian government in 1823 to compete with the new-made road a few kilometres to the west over the Bernardino which favoured Switzerland and Germany and took no consideration whatever of the interests of Austria. The summit of the Splugen Pass is 2,117 metres above sea-level and on a narrow ridge near by runs for six kilometres the boundary between Switzerland and Italy.

Entering Italy by the Splugen Pass one finds the dogana a dull, ugly group of buildings just below the first series of facets which drop down from the crest. It is as lonesome and gloomy a place of residence as one can possibly conceive as existing on the earth’s surface. One forgets entirely that it is very nearly the heart of civilized Europe; there is nothing within view to suggest it in the least, not a scrap of vegetation, not a silvery streak of water, not a habitation even that might not be as appropriately set upon a shelf of rock by the side of Hecla.{76}

The French army under Maréchal Macdonald crossed the pass in 1800 when but a mere trail existed, but with a loss of a hundred men and as many horses.

Of late years the passage of the Col has been rendered the easier by the cutting of two long galleries. Another engineering work of note is met a little farther on in the Gorge of San Giacomo, a work completed by Carlo Donegani in the reign of the Emperor Francis II, and, just beyond, the boiling torrent of the Liro is spanned by a daring bridge of masonry.

Road signs in Italy are not as good or as frequent as one finds in France, but where they exist they are at least serviceable. The Roman milestone of old has ceased to serve its purpose, though solitary examples still exist, and their place is taken by the governmental “bornes” and the placards posted at the initiation of the Touring Club and various automobile organizations in certain parts, particularly in the north.

The signboards of the Touring Club Italiano are distinctly good as far as they go, but they are infrequent.

All hotels and garages affiliated with the club hang out a characteristic and ever welcome sign, and there one is sure of finding the best{77} welcome and the best accommodations for man and his modern beast of burden, the mechanical horses of iron and bronze harnessed to his luxurious tonneau or limousine.

Italian Road Signs

With regard to road maps for Italy there exist certain governmental maps like those of the Ordnance Survey in England or of the État Major in France, but they are practically useless for the automobilist, and are only interesting from a topographic sense.

Taride, the French map publisher, issues a cheap series of Italian road maps, covering the entire peninsula in three sheets printed in three colours, with main roads marked plainly in red. They are easily read and clear and have the advantage of being cheap, the three sheets costing but a franc each, but one suspects that they were not composed entirely from first hand, well-authenticated, recent sources of information.{78} Little discrepancies such as just where a railway crosses a road, etc., etc., are frequently to be noted. This is perhaps a small matter, but the genuine vagabond tourist, whether he is plodding along on foot or rolling smoothly on his five inch pneumatics, likes to know his exact whereabouts at every step of the way. On the whole the Italian “Taride” maps are fairly satisfactory, and they are much more easily read than the more elaborate series in fifty-six sheets on a scale of 1-1,250,000 issued by the Touring Club Italiano, or the thirty-five sheets of the Carta Stradale d’Italia Sistema Becherel-Marieni, which by reason of the number of sheets alone are in no way as convenient as the three sheet map.

The Becherel-Marieni maps are, however, beautifully printed and have a system of marking localities where one finds supplies of gasoline, a mechanician or a garage which is very useful to the automobilist, besides giving warning of all hills and, with some attempt at precision, also marking the good, mediocre and bad roads. This is important but, as the writer has so often found that a good road of yesterday has become a bad road of to-day, and will be perhaps a worse one to-morrow, he realizes that the fluctuating quality of Italian roads prevents{79}{80} any genius of a map-maker from doing his best. These maps in seven colours are perhaps the best works of their kind in Italy, at least ranking with the Touring Club maps, and completely cover the country, whereas the other series is not as yet wholly complete.

Profile Road Map, Bologna—Florence

Membership in the great Touring Club Italiano is almost a necessity for one who would enjoy his Italian tour to the full. The “Annuario,” giving information as to hotels and garages and miniature plans of all the cities and principal towns—presented gratis to members—is all but indispensable, while the three pocket volumes entitled Strade di Grande Communicazione, with the kilometric distances between all Italian places except the merest hamlets and the profile elevations (miniature maps, hundreds of them) of the great highways are a boon and a blessing to one who would know the easiest and least hilly road between two points. The accompanying diagram explains this better than words.{81}



THE most ravishingly beautiful entrance into Italy is by the road along the Mediterranean shore. The French Riviera and its gilded pleasures, its great hotels, its chic resorts and its entrancing combination of seascape and landscape are known to all classes of travellers, but at Menton, almost on the frontier, one is within arm’s reach of things Italian, where life is less feverish, in strong contrast to the French atmosphere which envelops everything to the west of the great white triangle painted on the cliff above the Pont Saint Louis and marking the boundary between the two great Latin countries.

The “Route Internationale,” leading from France to Italy, crosses a deep ravine by the Pont Saint Louis with the railway running close beside.

Not so very long ago there was a unity of speech and manners among the inhabitants of{82} Menton and the neighbouring Italian towns of Grimaldi, Mortola and Ventimiglia, but little by little the Ravine of Saint Louis has become a hostile frontier, where the custom house officials of France and Italy regard each other, if not as enemies, at least as aliens. The two peoples are, however, of the same race and have the same historic traditions.

It was just here, on passing the frontier, that we asked a deep-eyed, sun-burnt young girl of eighteen or twenty if she was an Italian, thinking perhaps she might be a Niçoise, who, among the world’s beautiful women, occupy a very high place. She replied in French-Italian: “Oui, aussi bien Venitienne!” This was strange, for most Venetians, since Titian set the style for them, have been blondes.

A château of the Grimaldi family crowns the porphyry height just to the eastward of the Italian frontier, and below is the Italian Dogana, where the automobilist and other travellers by road go through the formalities made necessary by governmental red tape. Red tape is all right in the right place, but it should be cut off in proper lengths, so that officials need not be obliged to quibble over a few soldi while individuals lose a dozen francs or more in valuable time.{83}

This matter of customs formalities at Grimaldi is only an incident. The automobilist’s troubles really commence at a little shack in Menton, on French soil, just before the Pont Saint Louis is crossed. Here he has his “passavant” made out, an official taking a lot of valuable time to decide whether the cushions of your automobile are red, orange or brown. You stick out for orange because they were that colour when you bought the outfit, but the representative of the law sticks out too—he for red. The result is, you compromise on brown, and hope that the other customs guardian on duty at the frontier post by which you will enter France again will be blessed with the same sense of colour-blindness as was his fellow of Menton. Once this formality gone through—and you pay only two sous for the documents—you have no trouble getting back into France again by whichever frontier town you pass. There are no duties to pay and no disputes, so really one cannot complain. It is for his benefit anyway that the “passavant” describing the peculiarities of automobile is issued.

At the Grimaldi Dogana on entering Italy you are made to pay duty on what little gasoline you may have in your tanks, even for as little as a litre. Presumably you pass your machine{84} through the Italian customs with one of the “triptyches” issued by any of the great automobile clubs or touring associations, as otherwise you have to put down gold, and a thousand or fifteen hundred francs in gold one does not usually carry around loose in his pocket. We passed through readily enough, but a poor non-French, non-Italian speaking American who followed in our wheel-tracks had not made his preparations beforehand, and French banknotes didn’t look good enough to the Italian customs official, and a day was lost accordingly while the poor unfortunate rolled back down hill to Menton and sought to turn the notes into gold. The banks having just closed he was not able to do this as readily as he thought he might, and it was well on after sunrise that he followed our trail—and never caught up with us all the way to Grosetto.

Mortola is the first town of note that one passes on entering Italian soil, but beyond its aspect, so alien to that of the small town in France, it is not worthy of remark.

Ventimiglia comes next, where the traveller by rail goes through equally annoying customs formalities to those experienced by the traveller by road at Grimaldi. These are not apt to be so costly, as the customs officials take him{85} at his word, graciously chalk his luggage and pass him on. The Guardie-Finanze, or customs officer, of Italy is a genteel looking young person with a bowler hat, topped with a feather cockade. He is even as gay and picturesque as the “carabinieri reales,” though he is a mere plebeian among the noblesse of soldierdom.

The Vintimille of the French, or the Ventimiglia of the Italians, was the ancient Intemilium of the Romans. To-day, on the left bank of the Roja, is a new city made up of the attributes of a great railway and frontier station and a numerous assemblage of alberghi, hotels, restaurants and the like.

Ventimiglia is not unlovely, neither is it lovely in a picturesque romantic sense. Its site is charming, on the banks of the tumbling Roja at the base of the Alps of Piedmont, just where they plunge, from a height of a thousand or twelve hundred metres, down into the lapping Mediterranean waves.

Ventimiglia is, practically, the frontier town of Piedmont, and it was fought for by all the warring houses of these parts in the middle ages. The Genoese held it for a time, then the Counts of Provence and the Duke of Savoy. It was a game of give-and-take all round, and in{86} the mêlée most of the town’s mediæval monuments have disappeared.

Across the Nervia, to the north, is Monte Appio, one of the chief spurs of the Maritime Alps in Italy. On a jutting crag of rock, in plain view from the town below, is an ancient Roman castellum. Two fragmentary towers alone remain, and as a ruin, even, it is beneath consideration. One only notices it in passing and recalls the more magnificent Tower of Augustus at La Turbie, high above Monte Carlo’s rock, and still in plain view of Ventimiglia—with a good glass.

A fine relic of the Dorias—that great family of great Genoese—is still to be seen in picturesque ruin at Dolce Acqua, a few miles further up the valley of the torrent.

Bordighera is the first of the Italian Riviera winter stations for invalids. That describes it perfectly. Its surroundings are delightful enough, but there is little that is attractive about the place itself. The automobilist will have no trouble finding his way through the town if he keeps straight on but drives carefully and avoids the invalids and baby carriages.

It was a sailor of Bordighera who gave the order to “wet the ropes”—an old seafaring{87} trick, known the world over—when the obelisk on the Piazza san Pietro at Rome, erected by Sixte-Quint, was tottering on its base. In return for the service he asked the favour of the Pope that his native town should have the honour of supplying the churches of Rome with their greenery on Palm Sunday. The supplying of palm branches and the exploiting of semi-invalids are the chief industries of Bordighera.

San Remo is very like Bordighera, except that it is an improvement on it. The quarter where the great hotels are found looks like all towns of its class, but the old town with its narrow canyon-like streets, its buttressed roofs and walls, still breathes of the mediæval spirit. It is as crowded a quarter, where dwell men, women and children,—seemingly children mostly,—as can be found east of Grand, Canal or Hester Streets, in down-town New York. The automobile tourist will not care much for San Remo unless he is hungry, in which case the Hotel de Paris will cater for him a little better than any other of the town’s resort hotels.

The road continues close beside the sea, as it has since Fréjus in the Var was passed, sweeping around bold promontories on a shelf of rock, tunnelling through some mountain{88} spur, dipping down to sea-level here and rising three or five hundred metres ten kilometres further on.

This delightfully disposed road by the sea may well be reviled by the automobilist because of the fact that every half dozen kilometres or so it crosses the railway at the same level. These level crossings are about as dangerous as the American variety; in a way more so. They are barred simply by a great swinging tree-trunk, which, of all things, swings outwards and across the road when not in use. Even when closed this bar is so placed that an automobile at speed could well enough slip beneath it, and the passengers who were not thrown out and killed by this operation surely would be by the train which would probably come along before they could pick themselves up.

These railway barriers are almost always closed, whether a train is due or not, and it is commonly said that they are only opened for the automobilist on the payment of a few soldi. This, the writer knows to be calumny. It is conceivable that the circumstance has been met with, and it is conceivable that, in many more instances, stranger automobilists have scattered coin in their wake which led to the development of the practice, but all the same one{89} need not, should not, in fact, countenance any such practice of blackmail. The mere fact that these obstructions are there is enough of a penance for the automobilist, who in ten hours of running will certainly lose one or two hours waiting for the gates to be opened.

These Italian coast line vistas are quite the most savagely beautiful of any along the Mediterranean. We rave over the strip dominated by La Turbie and Monte Carlo’s rock, and over the Corniche d’Or of the Estérel in France, but really there is nothing quite so primitive and unspoiled in its beauty as this less-known itinerary. The background mountains rise, grim, behind, and beneath. At the bottom of the cliff, a hundred metres below the road on which you ride, break the soapy waves of the sea. Gulls circle about uttering their shrill cries, an eagle soars above, and far below a fisherman pushes lazily at his oar in the conventional stand-up Mediterranean fashion, or a red-brown latteen-rigged fishing boat darts in or out of some half-hidden bay or calanque. The whole poetic ensemble is hard to beat, and yet this part of the average Italian journey is usually rolled off in express trains, with never a stop between the frontier and Genoa, most of the time passing through the fifty rock-cut tunnels which allow{90} the railway access to these parts. To see this wonderful strip of coast line at its best it must be seen from the highroad.

At Arma, as the road runs along at the water’s very edge, is an old square donjon tower, reminding one of those great keeps of England and of Foulque’s Nerra in Normandy. Its history is lost in oblivion, but it is a landmark to be noted.

Porto Maurizio is the very ideal of a small Mediterranean sea-port. It is a hill-top town too, in that it crowns a promontory jutting seawards, forming a sheltering harbour for its busy coming and going of small-fry shipping.

Olive oil and a sweet white wine, like that of Cyprus, grown on the hillsides roundabout, form the chief of the merchandise sent out from the little port; but the whole town bears a prosperous well-kept air that makes one regret that it had not a battery of “sights,” in order that one might linger a while in so pleasant a place. Porto Maurizio’s church is a remarkably vast and handsome building.

Oneglia, the birthplace of the great Genoese admiral, Andrea Doria, lies just beyond. Wine in skins, hung up on rafters to mellow, seems to be Oneglia’s substitute for wine cellars, but otherwise the hurried traveller at Oneglia re{91}marks nothing but that it is a “resort” with big hotels and big gardens and many guests lolling about killing time. The older part of the town, with the wine skins, is decidedly the most interesting feature.

At Marina-Andora is the ruin of an old castle with a ghostly legend to it to add an attraction it might not otherwise have. A Papal Nuncio was one day murdered here within its walls and “in extremis” the prelate called down curses upon the surrounding country, praying that it might wither and dry up. It must have been an efficacious imprecation as the country roundabout looks like a desert waste. Not an olive nor an orange grove is in sight and only a few scrubby vineyards dot the landscape.

At the Capo delle Melle, a dozen kilometres beyond, it all changes and the land blossoms again, though truth to tell both the wine and olive products have the reputation of falling off in quality as one goes further east.

Alassio is a now well-developed Italian seaside resort. The Italians and the Germans fill it to overflowing at all seasons of the year, and prices are mounting skywards with a rapidity which would do credit to Monte Carlo itself. There is a considerable fishing and coastwise{92} trade at Alassio which along the quais endows it with a certain picturesqueness, and the chief hotel is quartered in a seventeenth century palazzo, formerly belonging to the Marchese Durante. Alassio took its name from Alassia, a daughter of Otho the Great, who, fleeing from the paternal roof, came here with her lover long years ago. This was the beginning of the development of Alassio as a Mediterranean resort. And the Germans have been coming in increasing numbers ever since.

Off shore is the isle of Gallinaria. It has a circular tower on it, and a legend goes with it that the name of the island is derived from a species of hens and chickens which were bred here. The connection seems a little vague, but for the sake of variation, it is here given.

Here and there as the road winds along the coast some vine-clad ruin of a castle tower is passed, and the background foot-hills of the Alps are peopled with toy villages and towns like Switzerland itself.

Albenga is primarily a great big overgrown coast town of to-day, but was formerly the ancient metropolis of a minor political division of Liguria, and the one time ally of Carthage. Evidences of this fallen pride of place are not wanting in Albenga to-day. There are innu{93}merable great brick and stone towers, now often built into some surrounding structure. Three may be remarked as landmarks of the town’s great civic and military glory of the past: the Torre de Marchese Malespina, the Torre dei Guelfi, and another, unnamed, built up into the present Casa del Commune.

Albenga is not a resort, since it has the reputation of being an unhealthful place, but probably this is not so as there is no particular squalidness to be noticed, save that incident to the workaday affairs of factories, workshops and shipping. The inhabitants of the neighbouring towns profess to recognize the native of Albenga at a glance when they hail him with the remark: “Hai faccia di Albenga.”—“You have the Albenga face.” This is probably local jealousy only, and is not really contempt.

A short way out from Albenga is the Ponte Lungo, an old Roman bridge of the time of the Emperor Honorius. Savona, the largest place between the frontier and Genoa, is still fifty kilometres to the eastward, but midway between it and Albenga is Finale Marina, a town of one main street, two enormous painted churches, an imposing fortification wall, a palm-planted promenade and a municipal palace bearing,{94} over its portal, the arms of a visiting Spanish monarch who ruled here temporarily in the fifteenth century.

The Castello Gavone, on a hillside above the town and back from the coast, is a ruin, but its picturesque outer walls, with diamond-cut stone facets, like those of the great round tower of Milan or of Tantallon Castle in Scotland, are quite remarkable.

Finale Marina’s Albergo Grimaldi is housed in an old château of some noble of the days when the town was the capital of a Marquisate. Not much changed is the old château, except to put new wine in the old bottles and new linen on the antique beds. To be sure there are electric push-buttons in the chambers, but as they are useless they can hardly be taken into consideration.

The Albergo Grimaldi has scant accommodation for automobiles. Three might range themselves along the wall in the lower corridor, and would indeed be well enough housed, though in no sense is there the least semblance of a garage. You pay nothing additional for this, and that’s something in Italy where automobiles—in the small towns—are still regarded as mechanical curiosities and their occupants as fanatics with more money than good sense.{95} The Italian country population is by no means hostile to the automobilist, but their good nature, even, is often exasperating.

Finale Marina is the best stopping place between Menton and Genoa if one is travelling by road, and would avoid the resorts.

Noli, just beyond the Capo di Noli, is an unimportant small town; nevertheless it is the proud possessor of a collection of ruined walls and towers which would be a pride to any mediæval “borgo.” Noli, like Albenga, was once the chief town of a little political division; but to-day it is a complete nonentity.

In bright sunshine, from the road winding over the Capo di Noli, one may see the smoke of Genoa’s chimneys and shipping rising, cloud-like, on the horizon far away to the eastward, and may even descry that classic landmark, the great lighthouse called “La Lanterna” at the end of the mole jutting out between San Pier d’Arena and Genoa.

A castle-crowned rocky islet, the Isola dei Bergeggi, lies close off shore beneath the Capo di Vado, itself crowned with a seventeenth century fortress cut out of the very rock.

Still following the rocky coastline, one draws slowly up on Savona. Savona is backed up by olive gardens and pine-clad hills, while above,{96} away from the coast, roll the first foot-hills of the Apennines, their nearby slopes and crests dotted, here and there, with some grim fortress of to-day or a watch tower of mediæval times. The Alps are now dwindling into the Apennines, but the change is hardly perceptible.

Above the roofs and chimneys of the town itself rises an old tower of masonry on which is perched a colossal madonna, a venerated shrine of the Ligurian sailor-folk. It bears an inscription which seems to scan equally well in school-book Latin or colloquial Italian.

“In mare irato, in subita procella
Invoco te, nostra benigna stella.”

Mago, the Carthaginian, made Savona a refuge after his sack of Genoa. The Genoese, in turn, came along and blocked up the port out of sheer jealousy, lest it might become a commercial rival of Genoa itself.

The bay of Savona is delightful, even Wordsworth, who mostly sang of lakes and larks, remarked it, though in no way is it superior in beauty to a score of other indentations in the Mediterranean coastline from Marseilles around to Naples.

The automobilist will best remember Savona{97} for its exceedingly bad exits and entrances, and the clean and unencumbered streets in the town itself. Here are great wide park-like thoroughfares flagged with flat smooth stones which are a dream to the automobilist. There never were such superbly laid paving blocks as one finds in Savona.

As one leaves Savona he actually begins to sense the smoke and activities of Genoa in his nostrils, albeit they are a good fifty kilometres away as yet; around a half a dozen jutting barrier capes, and across innumerable railway tracks.

Varazze is not a stopping point on many travellers’ Italian journeyings and, to state it frankly, perhaps, for the majority, it is not worth visiting. It is a sort of overflow Sunday resort for the people of Genoa, in that each of its two hotels have dining accommodation for a hundred people or more. Aside from this it is endowed with a certain quaint picturesqueness. It has a palm-tree-lined quay which borders a string of ship-building yards where the wooden walls of Genoa’s commerce-carrying craft were formerly built in large numbers, and where, to-day, a remnant of this industry is still carried on. Great long-horned white oxen haul timber through the crooked streets and{98} along the quays, and there is ever a smell of tar and the sound of sawing and hammering. An artist with pen or brush will like Varazze better than any other class of traveller. The automobilist will have all he can manage in dodging the ox teams and their great trundling loads of timber.

There is a fragment of a ruined castle near by on the outskirts of the town, and farther away, back in the hills, is a monastery called “Il Deserto,” and properly enough named it is. It was founded by a lady of the Pallavicini family who as a recompense—it is to be presumed—insisted on being represented in the painted altar-piece as the Madonna, though clad in mediæval Genoese dress. What vanity!

Cogoletto, practically a Genoese suburb, claims to be the birth place of Columbus. Perhaps indeed it is so, as his father Dominico was known to be a property owner near Genoa. Savona, Oneglia and Genoa itself all have memories of the family, so the discoverer was of Ligurian parentage without doubt.

“Sestri-Ponente! Cornigliano-Ligure! San Pier d’Arena!” (with its Villa Serra and its Babylonian-like gardens) cry out the railway employees at each stop of the Genoa-bound train; and the same names roll up on the auto{99}mobilist’s road map with a like persistency. Each class of traveller wonders why Genoa is not reached more quickly, and the automobilist, for the last dozen kilometres, has been cursed with a most exasperating, always-in-the-way tramway, with innumerable carts, badly paved roads and much mud. The approaches to almost all great cities are equally vile; Genoa is no exception and the traffic in the city—and in all the built up suburbs—keeps to the left, a local custom which is inexplicable since in the open country it goes to the right.

Voltri is a long drawn-out, uninteresting, waterside town with more chimneys belching smoke and cinders in strong contrast to the pine-clad background hills, in which nestle the suburban villas of the Doria, the Galliera and the Brignole families of other days.

Pegli is but a continuation of Voltri, Genoa La Superba is still a dozen kilometres away. Pegli is a resort of some importance and its chief attraction is the Villa Pallavicini, with a labyrinth of grottoes, subterranean lakes, cement moulded rocks, Chinese pagodas and the like. It is not lovely, but is commonly reckoned a sight worth stopping off to see. The Italians call this hodge podge “a ferocity of invention.” The phrase is worthy of perpetuation.{100}

The Palazzo Pallavicini was the suburban residence of the banker of the Court of Rome, but he was a sort of renegade financier, for he went off to England with the churchly funds and became an English country gentleman, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. His “past” was known, for some poet-historian of the time branded him with the following couplet:—

“Sir Horatio Palvasene,
Who robbed the Pope to pay the Queen.”

The Villa Doria at Pegli was a work of Canzio built for one of the richest merchants of Genoa in the days of Charles V. It was, like its contemporaries, a gorgeous establishment, but in popular fancy it enjoys not a whit of the enthusiasm bestowed upon the stagy, tricky bric-à-brac and stucco Villa Pallavicini.

The entrance to “Genoa la Superba” by road from the west is a sorry spectacle, a grim, crowded thoroughfare decidedly workaday and none too cleanly. From San Pier d’Arena one comes immediately within the confines of Genoa itself, just after circling the western port and passing the sky-piercing “La Lanterna,” one of the most ancient lighthouses extant, dating from 1547.{101}

Palazzo Doria, Genoa

Palazzo Doria, Genoa

Genoa is neglected or ignored by most travellers and searchers after the picturesque in Italy. This is a mistake, for Genoa’s park of Acquasola, the gardens of the Villa Rosazza and of the Villa de Negroni, and the terraces of the Palazzo Doria offer as enchanting a series of panoramas as those of Rome or Florence, and quite different, in that they have always the vista of the blue Mediterranean as a background.

Map Genoa

Genoa is a bizarre combination of the old and the new, of the mountain and the plain, of great docks and wharves, and of streets of stairs rising almost vertically.{102}

The general effect of Genoa is as if everything in it had been piled one on top of another until finally it had to spread out at the base. Enormous caserns fringe the heights and great barracks line the wharves, while in between, and here, there and everywhere, are great and venerable palaces and churches of marble, many of them built in layers of black and white stone, indicating that they were built by the commune in mediæval days, or by one of the four great families of Doria, Grimaldi, Spinola or Fieschi, the only ones who had the privilege of using it.

Genoa’s labyrinth of twisting, climbing streets and alleys are all but impracticable for wheeled traffic, and, for that reason, strangers, who do not walk “en tour” as much as they ought, save in the corridors of picture galleries and the aisles of churches, know not Genoa save its main arteries—nor ever will, unless they change their tactics.

The automobile is only useful in Genoa in getting in and out of town, and even that is accomplished with fear and trembling by the most cold-blooded chauffeur that ever lived. What with the vile roads, the magnificent distances and the ceaseless irresponsible traffic of carts and drays, tramways and what not, Genoa is{103} indeed, of all other cities on earth, in need of a boulevard for the new traffic. To get to your hotel at the further end of the town as you make your entrance by the road circling the base of “La Lanterna,” can only be likened to a trip down Broadway in New York at four o’clock in the afternoon. That would not be pleasure; neither is getting in and out of Genoa at any time between five in the morning and seven at night.

To what degenerate depths these great palaces of the Genoa of other days have fallen only the curious and inquisitive are likely to know. One into which we penetrated—looking for something which wasn’t there—was a veritable hive of industry, and as cosmopolitan as Babylon. It was near the Bourse and one entered marble halls by a marble staircase, flanked by a marble balustrade and finished off with newel posts supported by marble lions. The great entrance hall was surrounded by a colonnade of svelt marble columns, and in the centre ascended a monumental marble staircase. Two marble fountains played in an inner courtyard, which was paved with marble flags, and a statue, also marble, in a niche faced the great doorway.

On the first floor were more marble columns{104} and a frescoed vaulting. From the corridors opened a battery of doors into offices of all sorts of industrial enterprises, from one given to exploiting a new combustible to another which was financing a rubber plantation in Abyssinia. A chestnut-roaster was perambulating the corridors with his stock in trade, furnace all alight, and a brown-robed monk was begging his daily bread.

On the next floor, up another marble staircase, were still other business offices,—shipping firms, wine-factors and one Guiseppe Bellini, representing an American factory, whose output of agricultural machinery is found in all four quarters of the globe. Breakfast foods were there, too, and there was a big lithograph of a Fall River Line Steamer on the walls. A whole city of merchants and agents were cloistered here in the five stories of this one-time ducal abode.

Up under the roof was a photographer and an artist’s studio, where a long-haired Italian (Signor something or other, the sign read) painted the bluest of blue sky pictures, and the most fiery Vesuvian eruptions, to sell to tourists through the medium of the hotel porters of the town below.

Thus it was that an antique shrine of gal{105}lantry and romance had become the temple of twentieth century commerce. The noble arms, with a heraldic angel still to be seen over the entrance doorway, count for nothing to-day, but exist as a vivid reminder of a glorious past. In 1500 the palace was the shrine of an artistic nobility; to-day it is a temple of chicanery.

The new part of Genoa imitates Milan, as Milan imitates Paris. The galleries or arcades of Milan, Genoa and Naples, full of shops, cafés and restaurants, would be admirable institutions in a more northerly clime, where the sun is less strong and rain more frequent. Here their glass roofs radiate an insufferable heat, which only in the coldest and most intemperate months is at all bearable. Nevertheless these arcades are an amusing and characteristic feature of the large Italian cities.

Hotels in Genoa for the automobilist are of all ranks and at all prices. Bertolini’s has garage accommodation for twenty-five automobiles, and charges two francs and a half to four francs a night for the accommodation, which is dear or not accordingly as you may feel.

The Albergo Unione, on the Palazzo Campetto, has no garage (you will have to seek out the F. I. A. T. garage a mile or more away), but you get something that is thoroughly Ital{106}ian and very well appointed too, at most reasonable prices.

The Genoese suburban villas are a part of Genoa itself, in that they were built and inhabited by nobles of the city.

Sun Dial, Genoa

To the east of Genoa, at Albaro, is a collection of villas which comes upon one as a great surprise.

In reality they are suburban palaces, with here and there more modest villas, and again mere modest dwellings. All are surrounded with hedges of aloes, vines, olive and orange groves, and the effect is of the country.

In the Villa del Paradiso{107} Lord Byron was once a guest. Its loggia was a favourite lounging place, and the whole aspect of the villa and its grounds is as paradisal as one has any right to expect to find on earth.

The Villa Cambiaso was built in 1557 by Alessi from designs, it is commonly said, of the great Michael Angelo. The ancient Sardinian Palazzo Imperiali is also here, and is popularly known as the Albero d’Oro.

A dozen miles to the east the gardens of the Villa de Franchi extend down, stair by stair, and fountain by fountain, to the Mediterranean rocks. The villa is a typical terrace-house, long, and almost dwarfish on the front, where the “piano nobile” is also the ground floor; but on the side facing the sea it is a story higher, and of stately proportions, and is flanked by widely extending wings. It is the typical Ligurian coast villa, one of a species which has set the copy for many other seacoast villas and grounds.{108}



THE gorgeous panorama of coast scenery continues east of Genoa as it has obtained for some three hundred kilometres to the west. In fact the road through Nervi and Recco is finer, if anything, and more hilly, though less precipitous, than that portion immediately to the westward of Genoa.

Between Genoa and Spezia the railway passes through fifty tunnels. The traveller by the high road has decidedly the best of it, but there are always those level crossings to take into consideration though fewer of them.

Nervi is a place of German hotels, much beer and an unaccommodating tram line. The Grand Hotel gives access to the gardens of the villa of the Marchese Gropollo, and this of itself is an attraction that Nervi’s other rather tawdry inns lack.

Recco is an attractive and populous town, but has no monuments of note.{109}

The highroad here climbs up the mountain of Portofino where the promontory joins the mainland, and drops down the other side to Rapallo, Santa Margherita, Cervara and Portofino. High up on the mountain cape is the Monastery of San Fruttoso, a picturesque and solitary conventual establishment in whose chapel are many tombs of the Dorias, all with good Gothic sculptures. In the convent of Cervara, en route to the village of Portofino on the east side of the cape, François I, just after he lost “all save honour” at the battle of Pavia, was imprisoned previous to his voyage to Spain in the galleys which were to carry him a captive to the domain of Charles Quint.

The roads along here are quite the best of the whole extent of the eastern and western Italian Rivieras. They are encumbered with a new class of traffic not met with further west. Up over the mountain of Portofino winds the road in genuine mountain fashion though beautifully graded and kept. At almost any turning one is likely to meet a great lumbering char-a-banc crowded with tourists, with five, six or eight horses caparisoned like a circus pageant, with bells around their necks, pheasants’ feathers bobbing in their top-knots, and a lusty Ligurian on the hindermost seat blowing a{110} coaching horn for all he is worth. This is the Italian and German pleasure seeker’s way of amusing himself. He likes it, the rest of us don’t!

Santa Margherita is now a full-blown resort with great hotels, bathing-machines and all the usual attributes of a place of its class. Lace-making and coral-fishing are the occupations of the inhabitants who do not live off of exploiting the tourists. Both products are made here (and in Belgium and Birmingham) in the imitation varieties, so one had best beware.

If one doesn’t speak Italian, German will answer in all these resorts of the Levantine Riviera, quite as well as French or English. The “Tea-Shop” and “American Bar” signs here give way to those of “Munich” and “Pilsner.”

The village of Portofino itself is delightful; a quaint little fishing port surrounded by tree-clad hills running to the water’s edge. There is a Hôtel Splendide, once a villa of the accepted Ligurian order, and a less pretentious, more characteristic, Albergo Delfino lower down on the quay. The arms of the little port are a spouting dolphin as befits its seafaring aspect, so the Albergo Delfino certainly ought to have the preference for this reason if no other.{111}


On the cliff road running around the promontory from Portofino to Rapallo are a half a dozen more or less modern villas of questionable architecture, but of imposing proportions, and one and all delightfully disposed.

Map Rapallo and its Gulf

The Villa Pagana is the property of the Marchese Spinola, and the Castel Paraggi, the property of a gentleman prosaically named Brown, is theatrically and delightfully disposed, though bizarre in form.

Rapallo, at the head of the bay, is a continuation of what has gone before. There are great hotels and pensions, and many of them. Its campaniles and church towers set off the framing of Rapallo delightfully. The Hôtel de{112} l’Europe has more than once been the abode of Queen Margherita of Italy, and most of the notables who pass this way. The hotel curiously enough seems none the worse for it; it is good, reasonable in price and conveniently situated on the quay, overlooking a picturesque granite tower built up from a foundation sunk in the waters of the Mediterranean. The Corsair Dragutte, a buccaneer of romantic days, came along and plundered these Ligurian towns as often as he felt like it. Frequently they paid no attention to his visits, save to give up what blackmail and tribute he demanded; but Rapallo built this tower as a sort of watch tower or fortress. It is an admirable example of a sentinel watch tower, and might well be classed as a diminutive fortress-château.

From Rapallo to Chiavari the coast road winds and rises and falls with wonderful variety between villa gardens and vineyards. On the slopes above are dotted tiny dwellings, and church towers point skywards in most unexpected places.

The chief architectural attributes of Chiavari are its arcaded house fronts, a queer blend of round and pointed arches, and columns of all orders. The effect is undeniably good. The{113} town was one of the most important in the old Genoese Republic, save the capital itself.

The towers scattered here and there through the town and in the neighbourhood are all feudal relics, albeit they are fragmentary. The Castle which the native points out with pride is neither very magnificent nor very elegant, but is indicative of the style of building of the feudal time in these parts. Decidedly the best things of Chiavari are its house fronts, and some crazy old streets running back from the main thoroughfares. There are some slate quarries in the neighbourhood and a ten foot slab, larger than the top of a billiard table, can be cut if occasion requires. The church of San Salvatore near Lavagna, where the quarries are, was founded by Pope Innocent IV in 1243.

Lavagna, near by, has a Palazzo Rosso, in that it is built of a reddish stone, though that is not its official name. It was an appanage of the Fieschi family, who owned to Popes, Cardinals and soldiers in the gallant days of the Genoese Republic. Sestri-Levante, a half a dozen kilometres beyond Chiavari, is the last of the Riviera resorts. It is a mere strip of villa and hotel-lined roadway with a delightful water front and a charming and idyllic background.

Spezia is reached only by climbing a lengthy{114} mountain road up over the Pass of the Bracco; sixty kilometres in all from Sestri to Spezia. The highroad now leaves the coast to wind around inland over the lower slopes of the Apennines. The railway itself follows the shore.

It is a finely graded road with entrancing far-away vistas of the sea, the distant snow-capped summits of the mountains to the north and, off southward, the more gently rising Tuscan hills.

After having climbed some twenty-one hundred feet above the sea, the highroad runs down through the valley of the Vara, until finally at Spezia, Italy’s great marine arsenal, one comes again to the Mediterranean shore.

Just before Spezia is reached, snuggled close in a little bay, is Vernazza—where the wine comes from, at least, the wine the praises of which were sung by Boccaccio “as the paragon of wines.” Wine is still a product of the region, but its quality may not be what it once was.

Spezia is a snug, conservative and exclusive military and naval town. The gold-lace and blue-cloth individuals of the “service” dominate everything, even to the waiters in the hotels and cafés. No one else has a show.

The Hotel Croix de Malte (with a French{115} name be it observed) is the chic hotel of Spezia, with prices on a corresponding scale, and no garage. The Albergo Italia, equally well situated, a typical Italian house of its class, is more modest in its prices and better as to its food. It has no garage either, but under the circumstances, that of itself is no drawback. Across the street, in a vacant store, you may lodge your automobile for two francs a night, or for one franc if you tell the ambitious and obliging little man who runs it that he demands too much. He is really the best thing we found in Spezia. We had run out of gasoline in entering the city, the long run down hill flattened out into a plain just before the town was reached, but he accommodatingly sent out a five gallon tin (“original package” goods from Philadelphia) and would take no increase in price for his trouble. Such a thing in the automobile line ought to be encouraged. We pay “through the nose,” as the French say, often enough as it is.

Spezia’s suburban villas are a natural outcome of its environment, but they are all modern and have, none of them, the flavour of historic romanticism about them.

An ancient castle tower on the hills above Spezia is about the only feudal ruin near by.{116} The viper, the device of the Viscontis, is still graven above its entrance door to recall the fact that the device of the Milanese nobles was a viper, and that their natures, too, took after that of the unlovely thing. The Viper of Milan and the Viscontis is a worthy cage companion to the hedgehog of François I.

Spezia’s gulf is all that Spezia is not; romantic, lovely and varied. It was described in ancient times by Strabo, the geographer, and by Persius. Little of its topographical surroundings or climatic attributes have changed since that day.

The road down the coast from Spezia is marked on the maps as perfectly flat, but within a dozen kilometres, before Arcola is reached, is as stiff a couple of hair-pin turns as one will remember ever having come across suddenly in his travels. They are not formidable hills, perhaps, but they are surprising, and since one has to drop down again immediately to sea level they seem entirely unnecessary.

The river Magra which enters the sea just east of Spezia divided the Genoese territory from that of Tuscany.

“Macra che per cammin corto
Lo Gonovese parta dal Toscano.”
Dante, “Paradisio.”


Sarzana is not a tourist point, but the traveller by road will not be in a hurry to pass it by. It has, curiously enough, an Albergo della Nuova York, built on the fortification walls of feudal days. It is not for this, though, that one lingers at Sarzana. The Bonapartes were originally descended from Sarzana ancestry. It was proven by contemporary documents that a certain Buonaparte, a notary, lived here in 1264. Supposedly, it was this limb of the law who became the chief of the Corsican family.

The old feudal castle of Sarzana, with its round tower, its moat and its later Renaissance gateway is the very ideal of mouldy mediævalism.

From Sarzana, it is, figuratively speaking, but a step to Carrara and Massa, the centres of the marble industry. Of all the materials the artist requires, none is so much sought after as the pure white marble of Carrara. The sculptured marble of Carrara goes out into the world from thousands of ateliers to thousands of resting places but it all comes from this great white mountainside in the Apennines which has made the region famous and rich. This little Tuscan town of Carrara owes its all to its, seemingly, inexhaustible stores of milk-white, fine-grained marbles. More especially is{118} the marble of Carrara in demand for statuary; but in all the finer forms of carven stone it finds its place supreme.

Men and beasts, oxen, horses and mules, and carts of all shapes and sizes, make the vicinity of Carrara the centre of an uproar that would be maddening if one had to live in it; but it is all very interesting to the stranger, and speaks more loudly than words of the importance of the great industry of the neighbourhood.

All around are great heaps—mountains almost—of broken, splintered marble; the débris merely of the great blocks which have, in times past, been quarried and sent to all quarters of the earth.

The quarries of Carrara have been worked ever since the Roman epoch, and the tufted hillsides round about have been burrowed to their bowels in taking out this untold wealth which, without exaggeration, has been as great as that of many mines of gold.

Quite twenty per cent. of the population work at the industry, and five hundred men are actually engaged in hewing out and slicing off the great blocks. Ten thousand, at least, find their livelihood dependent upon the industry, and two hundred thousand tons is a normal annual{119} output; in price, valued at from 150 to 1,500 francs the cubic metre.

At Massa one joins the main road again running south by the shore. One never hears of the conventional tourist stopping at Massa; but we found the Hotel Massa and its dinner in the garden worth the taking and agreed that the Château, in base rococo style, (now the public administrative buildings), a curiosity worth seeing. Massa has a Napoleonic memory hanging over it, too, in that it was once the residence of the Little Corporal’s sister. Massa’s Castello, high above all else in the town, is grim, lofty and spectacular though to be viewed only from without. Massa is worth making a note of, even by the hurried traveller.

Since leaving Sarzana the high road has become worse and worse, until in the vicinity of Carrara and Massa it is almost indescribably bad. There is no such stretch of bad road in Europe as this awful fifty kilometres, for it continues all the way to Lucca and Livorno. The vast amount of traffic drawn by ten head of oxen at a time is what does it of course, and as there is no way around one has to go through it, though it’s a heart-breaking job to one that cares anything for his automobile.

Pietrasanta, eight kilometres farther on, was,{120} for us, an undiscovered beauty spot and historic shrine; at least, none of us had ever heard of it till we passed the portals. Now we know that the walls, through which we passed, were the same that the blood-thirsty, battling Lorenzo di Medici besieged in 1482; and that the ancient bronze font in the Baptistery was the work of Donatello. We were glad that Massa and Pietrasanta were counted in, as they should be by everyone passing this way, even though they did take up half a day’s time—all on account of the awful road—part of which time, however, you are eating that excellent lunch in the garden of the Hotel Massa. That time will not be lost anyway, one must eat somewhere.

Eight kilometres beyond Massa is Viareggio, an unlovely, incipient seaside resort for dwellers in the Tuscan towns; but a historic spot nevertheless, and interesting from that viewpoint at any rate.

Viareggio has no villas or palaces of note, and its chief associations for the traveller lie in its memories of Shelley and Ouida, the Marquise de la Ramée. There is a monument, erected to Shelley in 1894, commemorating the fact that he was drowned here, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and his body consumed by fire, on the shore.{121}

It was in the village of Massarosa, near Viareggio, that that much-abused and very abusive old lady, Ouida, the Marquis de la Ramée, died in January, 1908. Since 1877 she had made Italy her home, and for years she had lived here alone, not in poverty or misery, for she had a “civil pension” which was more than sufficient to keep the wolf from the door. She died miserable and alone however. Ouida was a more real, more charitable person than she was given credit for being. She didn’t like the English, and Americans she liked still less, but she loved the Italians. Whose business was it then if she chose to live among them, with her unkempt and unwholesome-looking dogs and her slatternly maid-of-all-work? Ouida, as she herself said, did not hate humanity; she hated society; and she had more courage than some of the rest of us in that she would have nothing to do with it.

The vineyards lying back of Viareggio may not be the most luxuriant in Italy, but they blossom abundantly enough.

Lucca is thirty-five kilometres from Viareggio and the road still bad—on to Livorno, turning to the right instead of the left at Viareggio, it is worse.

Lucca has a right to its claim as one of the{122} most ancient cities of Tuscany, for it is one of the least up-to-date of Italian cities. When Florence was still sunk in its marsh Lucca was already old, and filled with a commercial importance which to-day finds its echo in the distribution of the Lucca olive oil of trade which one may buy at Vancouver, Johannesburg or Rio. Indeed the label on the bottle of olive oil is the only reminiscence many have of Lucca.


The decadence came to Lucca in due time and it degenerated sadly, about its last mag{123}nificent ray being that shot out when Napoleon gave the city to his sister Eliza Bacciochi, with the title of Princess of Lucca. She was a real benefactress to the country, but with the fall of Napoleon all his satellites were snuffed out, too, and then the benign influences of the Princess Eliza were forgotten and ignored.

Southwest from Lucca, with Pisa lying between, is the great port of Leghorn, whence are shipped the marbles of Carrara, the oil of Lucca, the wines of Chianti and the Leghorn hats and braids of all Tuscany. These four things keep Livorno going.

Leghorn is as modern as Lucca is antiquated and is the most cosmopolitan of all Italian cities.

When Philip III expelled the Moors from Spain Cosmo II, Duke of Livorno, invited two thousand of them to come to his Dukedom.

Montesquieu remarked upon this conglomerate population, and approved of it apparently, as he called the founding and populating of the city the master work of the Medici dynasty.{124}



THE valley of the Arno, as the river flows through the heart of Tuscany from its source high in the hills just south of Monte Falterona, is the most romantic region in all Italy. It is the borderland between the south and the north, and, as it was a battle-ground between Guelph and Ghibellines, so too is it the common ground where the blood of the northerner and southerner mingles to-day.

As great rivers go, the Arno is neither grand nor magnificent, but, though its proportions are not great, its banks are lined with historic and artistic ruins, from the old fortress at Marina di Pisa to Poppi, the ancient capital of the Casentino, perched so quaintly upon its river-washed rock.

Pisa, Leghorn and Lucca are a triumvirate of Tuscan towns which should be viewed and considered collectively. One should not be in{125}cluded in an itinerary without the others, though indeed they have little in common, save the memories of the past.

ON A TUSCAN HIGHWAY Blanche McManus 1908

Pisa is another of these dead cities of Europe, like Bruges, Leyden, and Rothenburg. Once ardent and lively in every activity of life, its population now has sunk into a state of lethargy. Industry and commerce, and the men who should busy themselves therewith, are in the background, hidden behind a barrier of bureaucracy. Pisa, a town of twenty-six thousand inhabitants, has a tribunal of nine civil judges, a criminal court presided over by sixty-three more, and a “roll” of more than half a hundred notaries. Then there is a service of Domains, of Registry and of Public Debt; besides an array of functionaries in charge of seminaries, orphan asylums, schools and colleges. All these belong to the state.

Pisa, sitting distant and proud on the banks of the Arno, enjoys a softer climate than most of the coast cities or interior towns of central Italy. The Tyrrhenian Sea is but a gulf of the Mediterranean, but just where it bathes the shore about the mouth of the Arno, it has a higher temperature than most northern Mediterranean waters.

Pisa is more of a sanitarium than it is a gay{126} watering place however. The city is, in fact, like its celebrated leaning tower, half tottering on the brink of its grave. Commerce and industry are far from active and its streets are half deserted; many of them are literally grass-grown and all the others are paved with great flat clean-swept flags, a delight for the automobilist, whose chief experience of pavements has been in France and Belgium.

The entrance to Pisa by road from the north is one of the most pleasing of that of any Italian city. For the last half dozen kilometres the road steadily improves until it becomes one of the best as it circles around that wonderful triumvirate of architectural splendours, the Duomo, the Baptistery and the tottering Torre. The group is one of the scenic surprises of Italy, and the automobilist has decidedly the best opportunity of experiencing the emotions it awakes, for he does not have to come out from town (for the monuments are some ways from the centre) to see it. It is the first impression that the traveller by road gets of Pisa and of its architectural wonders, as he draws suddenly upon it from the slough-like road through which he has literally ploughed his way for many kilometres. And it is an impression he will never forget.{127}

All along the banks of the Arno, as it flows through Pisa, are dotted here and there palaces of Renaissance days. One is now a dependence of a hotel; another has been appropriated by the post office; others are turned into banks and offices; but there are still some as well ordered and livable as in their best days.

The Palazzo Agostini on the Lung’ Arno, its façade ornamented with terra cotta medallions, is now a part of the Hotel Nettuno which, as well as any other of Pisa’s hotels, cares for the automobilist in a satisfactory manner. Its garage accommodations are abominably confined, and to get in and out one takes a considerable risk of damaging his mud-guards, otherwise they are satisfactory, though one pays two francs a night for them, which one should not be obliged to do. Here is another point where France is superior to Italy as an automobile touring ground.

Pisa and its palaces are a delight from every point of view, though indeed none of the edifices are very grand, or even luxurious. They strike a middle course however, and are indicative of the solid comfort and content in which their original owners must have lived at Pisa in latter Renaissance times.

Pisa’s Campo Santo is the most famous ex{128}ample of graveyard design and building in all the world. It is calm and dignified, but stupendous and startling in its immensity.

From Pisa to Florence by road, following the valley of the Arno, one passes through the typical Tuscan countryside, although the hill-country lies either to one side or the other. It is the accessible route however, and the one usually claimed by the local garage and hotel keepers to be one of the best of Italian roads. It is and it isn’t; it all depends upon the time of the year, the fact that the road may recently have been repaired or not, and the state of the weather. We went over it in a rain which had been falling steadily for three days and found it very bad, though unquestionably it would have been much more comfortable going in dry weather. It is the approved route between the two cities however, and unless one is going directly down the coast to Rome, via Grosseto, Pisa is the best place from which to commence the inland détour.

Cascina, a dozen kilometres away, was the scene of a sanguinary defeat of the Pisans by the Florentines on the feast of San Vittorio in 1364, and each year the event is celebrated by the inhabitants. It seems singular that a people should seek to perpetuate the memory{129} of a defeat, but perhaps the original inhabitants sympathized with Florence rather than with Pisa.

Pontedera is a big country town at the juncture of the Era and the Arno. It has no monuments and no history worth remarking, but is indicative of the prosperity of the country round about. Pontedera has no hotel with garage accommodations, and if you get caught in a thunder storm, as we did, you will have to grin and bear it and plug along.

San Miniato de Tedeschi rises on its hill top a few kilometres farther on in an imposing manner. It is the most conspicuous thing in the landscape for a wide radius. Francesco Sforza was born here, and Frederic II made it the seat of the Imperial vicarage. San Miniato is a hill town of the very first rank, and like others of the same class—Fiesole, Colle and Volterra—(though its hill-top site may have nothing to do with this) it had the privilege of conferring nobility on plebeians. The Grand Duke of Tuscany in the nineteenth century accordingly made “an English gentleman of Hebrew extraction”—so history reads—the Marquis of San Miniato. At any rate it was probably as good a title as is usually conferred on any one, and served its soi-disant owner well enough for a{130} crest for his note paper or automobile door. One wonders what the gentleman took for his motto. History does not say.

Empoli is a thriving town, engaged principally in killing fowls and sending them to the Florence market, plaiting straw to be made into hats, and covering chianti bottles with the same material.

The Ghibellines would have made Empoli their capital in 1260, after their meeting or “parliament” here. It was proposed too, that Florence should be razed. One man only, Farinata degli Uberti, opposed it. “Never,” said he, “will I consent that our beloved city, which our enemies have spared, shall be destroyed or insulted by our own hands.”

The old palace in which the Ghibelline parliament met still stands on the Piazza del Mercato.

No automobilist who “happens” on Empoli will ever want to see it again, on account of the indignities which will be heaped on his automobile, though the Albergo Guippone, run by a mother and son in most competent, but astonishing, fashion, is the real thing. The food and cooking are extraordinarily good, and the house itself new and cleanly. You eat at a big round table, with a great long-necked bottle of chianti swung on a balance in the centre. It must hold{131} at least two gallons, and, without the well-sweep arrangement for pouring out its contents, you would go dry. The wine served is as good as the rest of the fare offered. The fault with Empoli’s hotel is that there is no garage and the proprietors recommend no one as competent to house your automobile, saying you can take your choice of any one of a half a dozen renters of stallagio near by. They are all bad doubtless; but the one we tried, who permitted us to put the automobile in an uncovered dirty hole with horses, donkeys and pigs, took—yes, took, that’s the word—two lire for the service! If you do go to Empoli keep away from this ignorant, unprogressive individual.

North of Empoli, on the direct road from Lucca to Florence, are Pistoja and Prato.

Pistoja is one of the daintiest of Tuscan cities, but not many of the habitués of Florence know it, at least not as they know Pisa or Siena.

Its past is closely intermingled with Florentine and Italian history, and indeed has been most interesting. Practically it is a little mountain city, though lying quite at the base of the Apennines, just before they flatten out into the seashore plain. Its country people, in town for a market-day, are chiefly people of the hills,{132} shepherds and the like, but their speech is Tuscan, the purest speech of Italy, the nearest that is left us to the speech of Boccaccio’s day.

Pistoja’s old walls and ramparts are not the least of its crumbling glories. They are a relic of the Medicis and the arms and crests of this family are still seen carved over several of the entrance gates. One has only to glance upward as he drives his automobile noisily through some mediæval gateway to have memories of the days when cavalcades of lords and ladies passed over the same road on horseback or in state coaches.

All is primitive and unworldly at Pistoja, but there is no ruinous decay, though here and there a transformed or rebuilt palace has been turned into some institution or even a workshop.

Prato, a near neighbour of Pistoja on the road to Florence, is also a fine relic of an old walled Tuscan town. Aside from this its specialty is churches, which are numerous, curious and beautiful, but except for the opportunity for viewing them the lover of the romantic and picturesque will not want to linger long within the city.

Between Empoli and Florence is seen at a distance the Villa Ambrogiana; a transforma{133}tion by Ferdinand I of an old castle of the Ardinghelli; its towers and pinnacles still well preserved, but the whole forming a hybrid, uncouth structure.

Further on at Montelupo there is a castle, now in ruins, built and fortified by the Florentines in 1203. It owes its name, Montelupo, to the adoption of the word lupo, wolf, by the Florentines when they sought to destroy a neighbouring clan called the Capraja (capra, goat).

Signa is reached after crossing the Arno for the first time. The city walls, towers and pinnacles, with their battlements and machicolations, are still as they were when the Florentines caused them to be erected to guard the high road leading to their city.

Suburban sights, in the shape of modern villas, market gardens and what not, announce the approach to Florence, which is entered by a broad straight road, the Strada Pisana, running beneath the Porta S. Frediano. Instinctively one asks for the Lung’ Arno that he may get his bearings, and then straightway makes for his hotel or pension.


Hotels for the automobilist in Florence are numerous. The Automobile Club de France vouches for the Palace Hotel, where you pay two francs and a half for garage, and for the{134}{135} Grand Hotel de la Ville with no garage. The writer prefers the Hotel Helvetia, or better yet the Hotel Porta Rossa, a genuine Italian albergo, patronized only by such strangers as come upon it unawares. It is very good, reasonable in price, and you may put your automobile in the remissa, which houses the hotel omnibus, for a franc a night. It is convenient to have your automobile close at hand instead of at the F. I. A. T. garage a mile or more away, and the hotel itself is most central, directly to the rear of the Strozzi Palace.

“What sort of city is this Florence?” asked Boniface VIII, amazed at the splendour of the Florentine procession sent to Rome to honour his jubilee. No one was found ready with an answer, but at last a Cardinal timidly remarked, “Your Holiness, the City of Florence is a good city.” “Nonsense,” replied the Pope, “she is far away the greatest of all cities! She feeds, clothes and governs us all.... She and her people are the fifth element of the universe.”

One comes to Florence for pictures and palaces, and, for as long or short a time as fancy suggests, the automobile and the chauffeur, if you have one, take a needed repose. Your automobile safely housed, your chauffeur will{136} most likely be found, when wanted, at the Reininghaus on the Piazza Vittorio-Emanuel drinking German beer and reading “Puck” or “Judge” or “Punch” or “Le Rire.” This is a café with more foreign papers, one thinks, than any other on earth.


Palazzo Vecchio, Florence


Down through the heart of Tuscany, and{137} through the Chianti district, runs the highroad from Florence to Rome, via Siena. It is a delightful itinerary, whether made by road or rail, and, whether one’s motive is the admiration and contemplation of art or architecture, or the sampling of the chianti, en route, the journey through the Tuscan Apennines will ever remain as a most fragrant memory. It is a lovely country of vineyards and wheatfields, intermingled, and, here and there, clumps of mulberry trees,{138} and always great yoked oxen and contadini working, walking or sleeping.

These, indeed, are the general characteristics of all the countryside of central Italy, but here they are superlatively idyllic. The simple life must be very nearly at its best here, for the almost unalterable fare of bread and cheese and wine, which the peasants, by the roadside, seem always to be munching and drinking, is not conducive to grossness of thought or action.

From Florence to Rome there are three principal roads favoured by automobilists: that via Siena and Grosseto, 332 kilometres; via Siena, Orvieto and Viterbo, 325 kilometres; and via Arezzo, Perugia and Terni, 308 kilometres. They are all equally interesting, but the latter two are hilly throughout and the former, in rainy weather, is apt to be bad as to surface.

The towers of Tuscany might well be made the interesting subject of an entire book. Some of them, existing to-day, date from the Etruscans, many centuries before Christ, and Dionysius wrote that the Etruscans were called Tyrrhene or Turreno because they inhabited towers, or strong places—Typeie.

In the twelfth century, local laws, throughout Tuscany, reduced all towers to a height of fifty braccia. Pisa, Siena and Florence in the{139} past had several hundred towers, but Volterra and San Gimignano in the Val d’Elsa are the only remarkable collections still grouped after the original manner. “San Gimignano delle belle Torri” is a classic phrase and has inspired many chapters in books and many magazine articles.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

Massimo d’Azeglio, whose opinions most people who write books on Italy exploit as their own, said, with reason, that San Gimignano was as extraordinary a relic of the past as Pompeii. Of all the fifty odd towers of the city, none is more imposing than that of the Palazzo Publico, rising up above the very apartment, where, in the thirteenth century, Dante was received when he was sent from Florence to parley with the Guelphs of San Gimignano.

San Gimignano’s Palazzo del Commune dates from 1298, but its tower was an afterthought, built a century later. This tower of the Palazzo del Commune is, perhaps, the best preserved of all the “belle torri” of the city.


San Gimignano and Volterra are much alike, though the latter’s strong point lies more in its fortification walls. Volterra and its Etruscan lore and pottery have ever been a source of pride among Italian antiquarians. The Etruscans of old must have been passionately fond{140} of pottery, for, so plentifully were the environs of Volterra strewn with broken pitchers, that one suspects that each square yard must have contained a well. Some one called the Etruscans lunatics, who were shut up in Volterra and allowed to pursue their craze for pottery in peace; but they were harmless lunatics, who devoted themselves to the arts of peace, rather than those of war. The alabaster bric-à-brac trade and traffic still exists, and provides a livelihood for a large part of the population of the city; but thousands of Tuscans, many of them from Volterra, doubtless, have deserted their{141} former arts for the pleasure of dragging a hand organ from street to street, in London and New York, and gathering soldi by ministering to the pleasures of the populace. It is easy for the superior person to sneer at the hand organ, as he sneers, by the way, at the phonograph and the pianola, but dull alleys and mean streets are brightened by the music of the itinerant Italian.

“It is a vision of the moyen-age,” wrote Paul Bourget when he first saw Volterra’s Etruscan walls. High up on its rocky plateau sits Volterra, protected by its walls and gorges and ravines, in almost impregnable fashion.

With this incentive no automobilist north or southbound should omit San Gimignano or Volterra from his itinerary. They are but a few kilometres off the main road, from Poggibonzi via Val d’Elsa between Siena and Florence.

On a height overlooking Volterra, just over the Romitorio, and almost within sight of San Gimignano’s towers, Campanello, the celebrated brigand, was captured, a quarter of a century ago. He had quartered himself upon an unsuspecting, though unwilling, peasant, as was the fashion with brigands of the time, and, through a “faux pas,” offended a youth who was in love with one of his host’s daughters. This was his undoing. The youth informed the{142} local authorities; and Campanello led away himself by the blind passion of love, fell precipitately into the trap which the injured youth had helped to set.

Thus ended another brigand’s tale, which in these days are growing fewer and fewer. One has to go to Corsica or Sardinia to experience the sensation of being held up, or to the Paris boulevards where apaches still reign, or to the east end of London.

Going south from Florence by this road the automobilist has simply to ask his way via the “Strada per Siena;” after Siena it is the “Strada per Roma;” and so on from one great town to another. In finding one’s way out of town the plan is simple, easily remembered and efficient; there are no false and confusing directions such as one frequently gets in France. You are either on the Via This or That which ultimately leads to the Strada of the same name, or you are not. Start right and you can’t miss the road in Italy.

Among all the secondary cities of Italy, none equals Siena in romantic appeal. Its site is most picturesque, its climate is salubrious, and it has an entirely mediæval stamp so far as the arrangement of its palaces is concerned. Siena possesses something unique in church architecture,{143} as might be expected of a city which once contained sixty places of worship, a special patois, and women of surpassing beauty. More than by anything else, Siena is brought to mind by the recollection of that Saint Catherine, who, according to Pope Pius II, made all who approached her better for her presence.

The railway and its appurtenances, automobiles and their belongings, the electric light and the telegraph, are almost the only signs of modernity in Siena to-day. The rest is of the middle ages, and the chief characters who stand out to-day are not the political personages of our time; but Bianca Capello and Marie de Medici and Charles V, who of all other aliens is best remembered of Siena, because of the Holbein reproduction of his face and figure which he presented to its citizens.{144}



THE hills and valleys around Florence offer delightful promenades by road to the automobilist as well as to those who have not the means at hand of going so far afield. A commercial enterprise is exploiting them by means of a great char-a-banc, or “sightseeing” automobile, which detracts from the sentiments and emotions which might otherwise be evoked, and at the same time annoys the driver of a private automobile, for the reason that this public conveyance often crowds him on a narrow road and prevents his passing. However, this is better than being obstructed, as in former days, by a string of forty lazy cabs and their drivers.

The round to Fiesole, San Miniato, Vallombrosa, and on through the Casentino of romantic memory is delightful and may be made in a day or a week, as one’s fancy dictates.

The new road from Florence to Fiesole, that is the road made in the mid-nineteenth century,{145} was not a piece of jobbery or graft, but was paid for by patents of nobility given by the municipality of Fiesole to those who furnished the means. This was in the days when a Grand Duke ruled Tuscany and monarchical institutions found favour.

Fiesole had its Libro d’Oro, and inscribed thereon as noble any individual who would pay the required price. From fifteen hundred lire upward was the price for which marquises, counts and barons were created in Florence’s patrician suburb.

Coming out from Florence by another gateway, through the Porta San Gallo, runs the Fiesole highway. A landmark, which can be readily pointed out by anyone, is the villa once possessed by Walter Savage Landor and inhabited by him for nearly thirty years. Here the famous men of letters of the middle years of the last century visited him. Here he revelled amid memories of Boccaccio and wrote the Pentameron. There is talk of buying the place and consecrating it to his memory.

All the way from Florence to Fiesole the roads are lined with typical Florentine villas and country houses. The Villa at Poggio Cajano was built by Lorenzo the Magnificent, who employed Giuliano da San Gallo as his{146} architect. In 1587 Francesco I died within its walls, and the profligate Bianca Capello, whose history had best stay buried, also died here on the following day. Their brother Ferdinand was responsible for their taking off, as they had already prepared to put him out of the way by the administration of a dose of poison. He stood over them, with dagger drawn, and made them eat their own poisoned viands.

The Villa Petraja was a strong-hold of the Brunelleschi family which defended itself ably against the Pisans and the marauders of Sir John Hawkwood in 1364, when that rollicking rascal sold his services to the enemies of Florence. The old tower of the castle, as it then was, still remains, but the major portion of the present structure dates from quite modern times.

The Villa Medici in Careggi was built by Cosimo Pater from the designs of Michelozzi, and though no longer royal it is to-day practically unchanged in general outline. It, too, was one of the favourite residences of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and the conclaves of the famous Platonic Academy were held here on the seventh of November, the anniversary of the date of the birth and death of Plato. Here died both Cosimo and Lorenzo, the latter on{147} the eighth of April, 1492, just after his celebrated interview with Savonarola. The Orsi family came into possession of the villa later on, then “an English gentleman” and then a certain Signor Segré.

Between Careggi and Fiesole, and on towards Vallombrosa, the villas and palatial country houses of the Florentines are scattered as thickly as the leaves of the famous vale itself.

The Villa Salviati is a fine sixteenth century work with a blood-red memory of the middle ages, at one time the property of the singer Mario, remembered by a former generation. The Villa Rinuccini has its grounds laid out in the style of an English formal garden, and the Villa Guadagni was once the home of the historian, Bartolommeo della Scala.

Of all the Florentine suburban villas none has a tithe of the popular romantic interest possessed by the Villa Palmieri. The Villa Palmieri is best seen from its approach by the highroad, up hill, from Florence. At the right of the iron gate, the cancello, runs the old road to Fiesole. Upward still the road runs, through the cancello, through a wind-break of trees and around to the north façade by which one enters. The entire south side of the house is in the form of a loggia, with a great wide terrace in{148} front, below which is the sloping garden with its palm trees and azaleas.


The Villa Palmieri and its gardens are somewhat the worse for stress of time; and the wind and the hot sun have burned up the shrubs and trees since the days when Zocchi the draughtsman made that series of formal drawings of Italian gardens, that of the Villa Palmieri among the number, which are so useful to the compilers of books on Italian villas and gardens.

Fiesole sits proudly on its height a thousand feet above the level of the sea. The following anonymous lines—“newspaper verse” they may be contemptuously described by some—{149}make as admirable a pen picture of the little town as it were possible to reproduce.

“A little town on a far off hill—
(Fiesole, Fiesole!)
Mossy walls that defy Time’s will,
Olive groves in the sun a-thrill
Thickets of roses where thrushes trill
Winds that quiver and then are still—
Fiesole, Fiesole!”

Fiesole forms an irregular ground plan, rising and falling on the unequal ground upon which it is built. The long and almost unbroken line of Cyclopean walls towards the north is the portion which has suffered least from time or violence. The huge stones of which the Etruscan wall is composed are somewhat irregular in shape and unequal in size, seldom assuming a polygonal form. This Cyclopean construction varies with the geological nature of the rock employed. In all the Etruscan and Pelasgic towns it is found that, when sandstone was used, the form of the stones has been that of the parallelopipedon or nearly so, as at Fiesole and Cortona; whereas, when limestone was the subjacent rock, the polygonal construction alone is found, as at Cosa and Segni. This same observation will be found to apply to every part of the world, and in a marked degree{150}{151} to the Cyclopean constructions of Greece and Asia Minor, and even to the far-distant edifices raised by the Peruvian Incas. Sometimes the pieces of rock are dovetailed into each other; others stand joint above joint; but, however placed, the face, or outward front, is perfectly smooth. No projection, or work advancing beyond the line of the wall, appears in the remains of the original structure.


Fiesole is a built-up fabric in all its parts; its foundation is architecture, and its churches, palaces and villas are mere protuberances extending out from a concrete whole. Fiesole is one of the most remarkably built towns above ground.

Fiesole’s great charm lies in its surrounding and ingredient elements; in the palaces and villas of the hilltops always in plain view, and in its massive construction of walls, rather than in its specific monuments, though indeed its Duomo possesses a crudity and rudeness of constructive and decorative elements which marks it as a distinct, if barbarous, Romanesque style.

The views from Fiesole’s height are peculiarly fine. On the north is the valley of the Mugello, and just below is the Villa of Scipione Ammirato, the Florentine historian. Towards the south, the view commands the{152} central Val d’Arno, from its eastern extremity to the gorge of the Gonfolina, by which it communicates with the Val d’Arno di Sotto, with Florence as the main object in the rich landscape below.

The following is a mediæval point of view as conceived by a Renaissance historian. He wrote it of Lorenzo the Magnificent, but the emotions it describes may as well become the possession of plebeian travellers of to-day.

“Lorenzo ever retained a predilection for his country house just below Fiesole, and the terrace still remains which was his favourite walk. Pleasant gardens and walks bordered by cypresses add to the beauty of the spot, from which a splendid view of Florence encircled by its amphitheatre of mountains is obtained.”

“In a villa overhanging the towers of Florence, on the steep slopes of that lofty hill crowned by the mother city, the ancient Fiesole, in gardens which Tully might have envied, with Ficino, Landino, and Politian at his side, he delighted his hours of leisure with the beautiful visions of Platonic philosophy, for which the summer stillness of an Italian sky appears the most congenial accompaniment.”

This is the twentieth century, but those of mood and mind may experience the same as did{153} Lorenzo di Medici four hundred years ago. The hills and vales, the Arno and the City of the Lily, with its domes and towers, have little changed during the many passing years.

Out from Florence by the Porta alla Croce runs the road to Vallombrosa, which may be reached also from Fiesole without entering Florence by taking the road leading over the Ponte a Mensola. Just beyond Pontassieve, some twenty kilometres distant, the road to Vallombrosa leaves the Arezzo highway and plunges boldly into the heart of the Apennines.

Of Vallombrosa Lamartine said: “Abbey monumental, the Grande Chartreuse of Italy built on the summit of the Apennines behind a rocky rampart, protected by precipices at every turn, by torrents of rushing water and by dark, dank forests of fir-pines.” The description is good to-day, and, while the ways of access are many, including even a funiculaire from Pontassieve to Vallombrosa, to approach the sainted pile in the true and reverend spirit of the pilgrim one should make his way by the winding mountain road—even if he has to walk. Indeed, walking is the way to do it; the horses hereabouts are more inert than vigorous; they mislead one; they start out bravely, but, if they don’t fall by the wayside, they come{154} home limping. But for the fact that the road uphill to Vallombrosa is none too good as to surface and the turns are many and sharp, it is accessible enough by automobile.

Various granges, hermitages and convent walls are passed en route. At Sant’Ellero was a Benedictine nunnery belonging to the monks of Vallombrosa in the thirteenth century, and in its donjon tower—a queer adjunct for a nunnery by the way—a band of fleeing Ghibellines were besieged by a horde of Guelphs in 1267.

Domini and Saltino mark various stages in the ascent from the valley. Up to this latter point indeed one may come by the funiculaire, but that is not the true pilgrim way.

Up to within a couple of kilometres of the summit chestnuts, oaks, and beech are seen, justifying Milton’s simile, the accuracy of which has been called in question on the ground that the forest consisted entirely of fir.

“Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades,
High overarch’d, embower.”

Four miles beyond Paterno, after passing through a fine forest of pines, the traveller arrives at the Santuario of Vallombrosa:{155}

“Cosi fu nominata una badia,
Ricca e bella ne men religiosa
E cortese a chiunque vi venia.”
Orl. Fur. can. 22, st. 36.

Among the remarkable men who have been monks of Vallombrosa, was Guido Aretino, who was a member of this house when he first became known as a writer upon music (about A. D. 1020). After having visited Rome twice, upon the invitation of two succeeding popes, he was prevailed upon by the abbot of a monastery at Ferrara to settle there. Some writers have ascribed to this Guido the invention of counterpoint, which is scarcely less absurd than ascribing the invention of a language to any individual. However, it is pretty certain that he was the first person to use, or to recommend the use of “lines” and “spaces” for musical notation.

High above the convent of Vallombrosa itself rises Il Paradisino (1,036 metres) with a small hermitage, while Monte Secchieta is higher still, 1,447 metres. Vallombrosa, its convent and its hermitages are in the midst of solitude, as indeed a retreat, pious or otherwise, should be. If only some of us who are more worldly than a monk would go into a retreat occasionally{156} and commune with solitude awhile, what a clarifying of ideas one would experience!

Back of Vallombrosa and the Paradisino the upper valley of the Arno circles around through Arezzo, Bibbiena and Poppi and rises just under the brow of Monte Falterona which, in its very uppermost reaches, forms a part of the Casentino.

From Pontassieve where one branches off for Vallombrosa one may descend on Arezzo either by Poppi-Bibbiena or Montevarchi, say seventy kilometres either way.

The Casentino and the Valley of the Arno form one of the most romantically unspoiled tracts in Italy, although modern civilization is crowding in on all sides. The memories of Saint Francis, La Verna, Saint Romuald the Camaldoli and Dante and the great array of Renaissance splendours of its towns and villages, will live for ever.

Here took place some of the severest conflicts in the civil wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, and in numerous ruins of castles and hill-forts are retained memorials of the many struggles.

Just where the Arno traverses the plain of Campaldino was the scene of a celebrated battle on the 11th of June, 1289. The Aretines, who formed the chief portion of the Ghibelline{157} party, were routed with a loss of 1,700 men killed, and 2,000 taken prisoners. Among the former was the celebrated Guglielmino Ubertini, Bishop of Arezzo, who fell fighting desperately in the thickest of the fray, having rallied his troops upon the bridge at Poppi, half a mile further on. Dante was present at this battle, being then twenty-four years old, and serving in the Guelph cavalry.

The Casentino is the most opulent district in all the region of the Apennines. Six centuries ago the Counts Palatine of Tuscany held it; then came the Popes, and then Dante and his followers. The chronicles of the Casentino are most fascinating reading, particularly those concerned with the Counts of Guidi.

Guidoguerra IV, Count Palatine of Tuscany in the early thirteenth century, was a sort of Robin Hood, except that he was not an outlaw. He made a road near the home of the monks of Camaldoli, and intruded armed men into their solitude, “and worse still, play actors and women,” where all women had been forbidden: moreover, he had all the oxen of the monks driven off. He played pranks on the minstrels and buffoons who came to his palace. One minstrel, named Malanotte, he compelled to spend a bad night on the rooftop in the{158} snow; another, Maldecorpo, had to lie and sizzle between two fires; while a third, Abbas, he tonsured by pulling out his hair.

Literally translated Casentino means “the valley enclosed.” It is a most romantic region, and the praises of its mountain walls and chestnut woods have been sung by all sojourners there, ever since Dante set the fashion.

The life of the peasant of the Casentino to-day is much the same as in Dante’s time, and his pleasures and sorrows are expressed in much the same manner as of old. Strange folksongs and dances, strange dramas of courtship, and strange religious ceremonies all find place here in this unspoiled little forest tract between Florence and Arezzo; along whose silent paths one may wander for hours and come across no one but a few contented charcoal-burners who know nothing beyond their own woods.

On the lower levels, the highway leading from Florence to Perugia and Foligno rolls along, as silent as it was in mediæval times. It is by no means a dull monotonous road, though containing fewer historic places than the road by Siena or Viterbo. It is an alternative route from north to south; and the most direct one into the heart of Umbria.

On arriving from Florence by the highroad{159} one passes through the long main street of Montevarchi, threading his way carefully to avoid, if possible, the dogs and ducks which run riot everywhere.

A great fertile plain stretches out on each side of the Arno, the railway sounding the only modern note to be heard, save the honk! honk! (the French say coin, coin, which is better) of an occasional passing automobile.

Up and down the hills ox teams plough furrows as straight as on the level, and the general view is pastoral until one strikes the forests neighbouring upon Arezzo, eighty kilometres from Florence.

Here all is savage and primeval. Here was many a brigand’s haunt in the old days, but the Government has wiped out the roving banditti; and to-day the greatest discomfort which would result from a hold-up would be a demand for a cigar, or a box of matches. At Palazzaccio, a mere hamlet en route, was the hiding place of the once notorious brigand Spadolino; a sort of stage hero, who affected to rob the rich for the benefit of the poor—a kind of socialism which was never successful. Robin Hood tried it, so did Macaire, Gaspard de Besse and Robert le Diable and they all came to timely capture.

Spadolino one day stopped a carriage near{160} Palazzaccio, cut the throats of its occupants and gave their gold to a poor miller, Giacomo by name, who wanted ninety francesconi to pay his rent. This was the last cunning trick of Spadolino, for he was soon captured and hung at the Porta Santa Croce at Florence, as a warning to his kind.

Not every hurried traveller who flies by express train from Florence to Rome puts foot to earth and makes acquaintance with Arezzo. The automobilist does better, he stops here, for one reason or another, and he sees things and learns things hitherto unknown to him.

Arezzo should not be omitted from the itinerary of any pilgrim to Italy. It was one of the twelve cities of the Etruscan federation, and made peace with Rome in 310 A. D. and for ever remained its ally.

The Flaminian Way, built by the Consul Flaminius in 187 B. C., between Aretium (Arezzo) and Bononia (Bologna), is still traceable in the neighbourhood.

Petrarch is Arezzo’s deity, and his birthplace is to be found to-day on the Via del Orto. On the occasion of the great fête given in 1904 in honour of the six hundredth anniversary of his birth, the municipality made this place a historic monument.{161}

Vasari, who as a biographer has been very useful to makers of books on art, was also born at Arezzo in 1512. His house is a landmark. Local guides miscall it a palace, but in reality it is a very humble edifice; not at all palatial.

The Palazzo Pretoria at Arezzo has one of the most bizarre façades extant, albeit its decorative and cypher panels add no great architectural beauty.

Arezzo’s cathedral is about the saddest, ugliest religious edifice in Italy. Within is the tomb of Pope Gregory X.

Poppi and Bibbiena are the two chief towns of the upper valley. Each is blissfully unaware of the world that has gone before, and has little in common with the life of to-day, save such intimacy as is brought by the railroad train, as it screeches along in the valley between them half a dozen times a day.

Poppi sits on a high table rock, its feet washed by the flowing Arno. The town itself is dead or sleeping; but most of its houses are frankly modern, in that they are well kept and freshly painted or whitewashed.

The only old building in Poppi, not in ruins, is its castle, occupying the highest part of the rock; a place of some strength before the use of heavy guns. It was built by Lapo in 1230,{162} and bears a family resemblance to the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence. The court-yard contains some curious architecture, and a staircase celebrated for the skill shown in its construction. It resembles that in the Bargello at Florence, and leads to a chapel containing frescoes which, according to Vasari, are by Spinello Aretino.

Poppi is a good point from which to explore the western slopes of Vallombrosa or Monte Secchieta. The landlord and the local guides will lead one up through the celebrated groves at a fixed price “tutto compreso,” and, if you are liberal with your tip, will open a bottle of “vino santo” for you. Could hospitality and fair dealing go further?

Bibbiena, the native town of Francesco Berni, and of the Cardinal Bibbiena, who was the patron of Raphael, has many of the characteristics of Poppi, in point of site and surroundings. It is the point of departure for the convent of La Verna, built by St. Francis of Assisi in 1215; situated high on a shoulder of rugged rock. The highest point of the mountain, on which it stands, is called La Penna, the “rock” or “divide” between the valleys of the Arno and the Tiber. To the eastward are seen Umbria and the mountains of Perugia; on the west, the valley of the Casentino and the chain{163} of the Prato Magno; to the northward is the source of the Arno, and to the northeast, that of the Tiber.

To the east, just where the Casentino, by means of the cross road connecting with the Via Æmilia, held its line of communication with the Adriatic, is the Romagna, a district where feudal strife and warfare were rampant throughout the middle ages. From its story it would seem as though the region never had a tranquil moment.

The chain of little towns of the Romagna is full of souvenirs of the days when seigneuries were carved out of pontifical lands by the sword of some rebel who flaunted the temporal power of the church. These were strictly personal properties, and their owners owed territorial allegiance to the Pope no more than they did to the descendants of the Emperors.

Rex Romanorum as a doctrine was dead for ever. Guelph and Ghibelline held these little seigneuries, turn by turn, and from the Adriatic to the Gulf of Spezia there was almost constant warfare, sometimes petty, sometimes great. It was warfare, too, between families, between people of the same race, the most bloody, disastrous and sad of all warfare.{164}



SIENA, crowning its precipitous hillside, stands, to-day, unchanged from what it was in the days of the Triumvirate. Church tower and castle wall jut out into a vague mystery of silhouetted outline, whether viewed by daylight or moonlight. The great gates of the ramparts still guard the approach on all sides, and the Porta Camollia of to-day is the same through which the sons of Remus entered when fleeing from their scheming Uncle, Romulus.

Siena’s Piazza Vittorio Emanuele is a landmark. Dante called it “a great square where men live gloriously free,” though then it was simply the Piazza; and the picture is true to-day, in a different sense. In former days it was a bloody “mis-en-scène” for intrigue and jealousy; but, to-day, simply the centre of the life and movement of a prosperous, thriving, though less romantic city of thirty thousand souls.{165}

Palazzo della Signoria, Siena

Palazzo della Signoria, Siena

This great Piazza is rounded off by a halo of magnificent feudal palaces, whose very names are romantic.

All about Siena’s squares and street corners are innumerable gurgling, spouting fountains, many of them artistically and monumentally beautiful, and a few even dating from the glorious days of old.

Dante sang of Siena’s famous fountains which, in truth, form a galaxy of artistic accessories of life hardly to be equalled in any other city of Siena’s class. Leaving that “noble extravagance in marble,” Siena’s Cathedral, and its churches quite apart, the city ranks as one of the most interesting tourist points of Italy.

Siena has still left a relic of mediævalism in the revival of its ancient horse racing festa, when its great Piazza Vittorio Emanuele is built up and barricaded like a circus of Roman times. Chariot races, gladiatorial combats and bull fights, all had their partisans among municipalities, but Siena’s choice was horse racing. And each year, “Il Palio,” on July the 2nd and on August the 16th, becomes a great popular amusement of the Sienese. It is most interesting, and still picturesquely mediæval in costuming and setting; and is a civic function{166} and fête a great deal more artistically done—as goes without saying—than the Guy Fawkes celebrations of London, or the fourth of July “horribles” in America. For the thoroughly genuine and artistic pageant Anglo Saxons have to go to Italy. There is nothing to be learned from the Mardi-Gras celebrations of Paris nor the carnivals of the Cote d’Azur.

Some one has said that Siena sits on the border land between idyllic Tuscany and the great central Italian plain. Literally this is so. It marks the distinction between the grave and the gay so far as manners and customs and conditions of life go. On the north are the charming, smiling hills and vales, bright with villas, groves and vines; whilst to the south, towards Rome and the Campagna, all is of an austerity of present day fact and past tradition. Indeed, the landscape would be stern and repellent, were it not picturesquely savage.

Straight runs the highroad to Rome via Viterbo, or makes a détour via Montepulciano and Orvieto. At Asinalunga, Garibaldi was arrested by government spies, by the order of the monarch to whom he had presented the sovereignty of Naples. Such is official ingratitude, ofttimes! The town itself is unworthy of remark, save for that incident of history.{167}

By the direct road the mountains of Orvieto and Montepulciano rise grimly to the left. The towns bearing the same names are charming enough from the artistic point of view, but are not usually reckoned tourist sights.

Montepulciano is commonly thought of slight interest, but it is the very ideal of an unspoiled mediæval town, with a half dozen palazzo façades, which might make the name and fame of some modern scene painter if he would copy them.

Chiusi, on the direct road, lies embedded in a circle of hills and surrounded by orange groves. It is nothing more nor less than a glorified graveyard, but is unique in its class. Lars Porsena of Clusium comes down to us as a memory of school-time days, and for that reason, if no other, we consider it our duty to visit the Etruscan tombs of Clusium, the modern Chiusi.

There are three distinct tiers, or shelves, of these ancient tombs, and interesting enough they are to all, but only the antiquary will have any real passion for them, so most of us are glad enough to spin our way by road another fifty odd kilometres to Orvieto.

Four kilometres of a precipitous hill climb leads from the lower road up into Orvieto, zig-zagging{168} all the way. It is the same bit of roadway up which the Popes fled in the middle ages when hard pressed by their enemies. Clement VII, one of the unhappy Medici, fled here after the sinning Connétable Bourbon attempted the sacking of Rome; and a sheltering stronghold he found it.

This Papal city of refuge is, to-day, a more or less squalid place, with here and there a note of something more splendid. On the whole Orvieto’s charm is not so much in the grandeur of its monuments as in their character. The cathedral is reckoned one of the great Gothic shrines of Italy, and that, indeed, is the chief reason for most of the tourist travel. The few mediæval palaces that Orvieto possesses are very splendid, though they, one and all, suffer from their cramped surroundings.



The Hotel Belle Arti, to-day, with a garage for automobiles, was the ancient Palazzo Bisenzi. It had a reputation among travellers, of a decade or a generation ago, of being a broken-down palace and a worse hotel. If one wants to dwell in marble halls and sleep where royal heads have slept, one can do all this, at Orvieto, for eight or nine lire a day.

One enters Viterbo, forty-seven kilometres from Orvieto, by the highroad to Rome. The{169} little town preserves much of its mediæval characteristics to-day, though, indeed, it is a progressive, busy place, of something like twenty thousand souls, most of whom, appear to be engaged in the wine industry. On the Piazza Fontana is a magnificent Gothic fountain dating from the thirteenth century, and the Municipio, on the Piazza del Plebiscito, is of a contemporary period, with a fine fountained court-yard.

In the environs of Viterbo is a splendid palace, built by Vignola for the Cardinal Farnese, nephew of the Pope Paul III. In form it was a great square mass with its angles reinforced by square towers, with a circular court within, surrounded by an arcade by which one entered the various apartments. It was, perhaps, the most originally conceived work of its particular epoch of Renaissance times; and all the master minds and hands of the builders of the day seem to have had more or less to do with it. These Italians of the Renaissance were inventors of nothing; but their daring and ingenuity in combining ideas taken, bodily, from those of antiquity, made more successful and happy combinations than those of the architects of to-day, who build theatres after the models of Venetian palaces, and add a Moorish minaret;{170} or railway stations on the plan of the Parthenon, and put a campanile in the middle, like the chimney of a blast furnace. The Italian campanile was a bell-tower, to be sure, but it had nothing in common with the minaret of the east, nor the church spire of the Gothic builder in northern climes.

From Siena the coast road to Rome, practically the same distance as the inland route, is one of surprising contrast. It approaches the coast at Grosseto, seventy kilometres from Siena, and thence, all the way to Rome, skirts the lapping waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Off shore is Elba, with its Napoleonic memories, and the Island of Monte Cristo which is considered usually a myth, but which exists in the real to-day, as it did when Dumas romanced (sic) about it. A long pull of a hundred kilometres over a flat country, half land, half water, brings one to Civita-Vecchia, eighty kilometres from the Eternal City itself.

Civita-Vecchia is a watering-place without historical interest, where the Romans come to make a seaside holiday. Hotels of all ranks are here, and garage accommodations as well. The Italian mail boats for Sardinia leave daily, if one is inclined to make a side trip to that land of brigandage and the evil-eye, which are re{171}puted a little worse than the Corsican or Sicilian varieties.

One enters the heart of Rome by the Porta Cavalleggeri and crosses the Ponte S. Angelo to get his bearings.

The hotels of Rome are like those of Florence. One must hunt his abiding place out for himself, according to his likes and dislikes. The Grand-Hotel and the Hotel de la Minerve are vouched for by the Touring Club, and the former has garage accommodation. At either of these modern establishments you get the fare of Paris, Vienna, London and New York, and very little that is Italian. You may even bathe in porcelain tubs installed by a London plumber and drink cocktails mixed by an expert from Broadway.

This makes one long for the days when a former generation ate in a famous eating house which stood at the southeast corner of the Square Saint Eustace. It was the resort of artists and men of letters and the plats that it served were famous the world over.

The Romans’ pride in Rome is as conventional as it is ancient. They promptly took sides when the “Italians” entered their beloved city in 1870. The priests, the higher prelates, and the papal nobility were “for the{172} Pope,” but the great middle class, the common people, were for the “Italians.” Traditions die hard in Rome, and many an old resident will tell tales to-day of the blessings of a Papal Government, which formerly forbade the discussion of religion or politics in public places, and “contaminating” books and newspapers were stopped at the frontier. Even a non-smoker was considered a protestor against the Papacy, because to smoke was to be a supporter of the Papal Government’s revenue from the tobacco trade.


Rome without the forestieri, or strangers, would lose considerable of its present day prosperity. Rome exploits strangers; there is no doubt about that; that is almost its sole industry.{173} As Henri Taine said: “Rome is nothing but a shop which sells bric-à-brac.” He might have added: “with a branch establishment which furnishes food and lodging.”

The Roman population, as Roman, is now entirely absorbed by “the Italian.” No more are the contadini, the peasants of the Campagna, or the bearded mountaineers of the Sabine hills, different from their brothers of Tuscany or Lombardy; their physiognomies have become the same. The monks and seminarists and priests and prelates are still there, but only by sufferance, like ourselves. They are no more Romans than are we. Tourists in knickerbockers, awe-struck before the art treasures of the Vatican, and cassocked priests on pilgrimage are everywhere in the city of the Cæsars and the Popes. The venerable Bede was half right only in his prophecy.

“While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand;
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
And when Rome falls—the world!”

Rome is still there, and many of its monuments, fragmentary though they be.

The difference in the grade (ground level) of modern Rome, as compared with that of antiquity, a difference of from sixty to seventy{174} feet, may still be expected to give up finds to the industrious pick and shovel properly and intelligently handled. The archæological stratum is estimated as nine miles square.

Rome is a much worked-over field, but the desecrations of the middle ages were hardly less disastrous to its “antiquities” than the new municipality’s transformations. Some day the seven hills will be levelled, and boulevards and public gardens laid out and trees planted in the Forum; then where will be the Rome of the Cæsars? “Rome, Unhappy City!” some one has said, and truly; not for its past, but for its present. Whatever the fascination of Rome may be it is not born of first impressions; the new quarters are painfully new and the streets are unpicturesque and the Tiber is dirty, muddy and ill-smelling. Byron in his day thought differently, for he sang: “the most living crystal that was e’er.” Should he come back again he would sing another song. These elements find their proper places in the city’s ensemble after a time, but at first they are a disappointment.

Castle of Sant’Angelo, Rome

Castle of Sant’Angelo, Rome

Next to Saint Peter’s, the Vatican and the Colosseum, the Castle of Sant’Angelo is Rome’s most popular monument. It has been a fortress for a thousand years. For a thou{175}sand years a guard has been posted at its gateway.


The ruin of men which has passed within its walls is too lengthy a chronicle to recount here. Lorenzo Colonna, of all others, shed his blood most nobly. Because he would not say “Long live the Orsini,” he was led to the block, a new block ready made for this special purpose, and having delivered himself in Latin of the words: “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” gave up his life in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, “on the last day of June when the people of Rome were celebrating the festivity of the decapitation of Saint Paul the Apostle.” This was four centuries and more{176} ago, but the circling walls and the dull, damp corridors of the Castel Sant’Angelo still echo the terror and suffering which formerly went on within them. It is the very epitome of the character of the structure. Its architecture and its history are in grim accord.

Within the great round tower of Sant’Angelo was imprisoned the unnatural Catherine Sforza while the Borgias were besieging her city.

The Castel of Sant’Angelo and the bridge of the same name are so called in honour of an Angel who descended before Saint Gregory the Great and saved Rome from a pest which threatened to decimate it.

Close to the bridge of Sant’Angelo, just opposite Nona’s Tower, once stood the “Lion Inn,” kept by the lovely Vanozza de Catanei, the mother of Cæsar, Gandia and Lucrezia Borgia. She was an inn-keeper of repute, according to history, and her career was most momentus. The automobilist wonders if this inn were not a purveyor of good cheer as satisfactory as the great establishments with French, English and German names which cater for tourists to-day.

The Borgia Window, Rome

The Borgia Window, Rome

The Villa Medici just within the walls, and the Villa Borghese just without, form a group{177} which tourists usually do as a morning’s sight seeing. They do too much! Anyway one doesn’t need to take his automobile from its garage for the excursion, so these classic villas are only mentioned here.

Papal Arms of Caesar Borgia


To describe and illustrate the Villa Medici one must have the magic pen of a Virgil and the palette of a Poussin and a Claude Lorrain. In antiquity the site was known as the Collis Hortorum, the Hillside of Gardens. Lucullus, Prince of Voluptuousness, and Messaline, the Empress of debauch, there celebrated their fêtes of luxury and passion, and it became in time even a picnic ground for holiday making Romans.

Arms of a Medicis Prelate

The Villa Medici was originally built for Cardinal Ricci in 1540, but by the end of the century had come into the hands of Cardinal Alessandro di Medici. The Tuscan Grand Dukes owned it a century or so later on, and it was finally sold to the{179} French to house the academy of arts founded at Rome by Louis XV.

Villa Medici, Rome

Villa Medici, Rome

It is useless for a modern writer to attempt to describe the quiet charm of the surroundings of the Villa Borghese, the nearest of the great country houses to the centre of Rome. Many have tried to do so, but few have succeeded. Better far that one should point the way thither, make a personal observation or two and then onward to Tivoli, Albano or Frascati.

One word on the Forum ere leaving. Not even the most restless automobilist neglects a stroll about the Forum, no matter how often he may have been here before, though its palaces of antiquity have little more than their outline foundations to tell their story to-day.

Commendatore Boni, who has charge of the excavations, brought to light recently a curiously inscribed stone tablet, which, owing to the archaic Latin it contained, he found it impossible to read. A number of learned Latinists and archæologists soon gathered about him. This is what they read:



While some declared that “que” was an enclitic conjunction, and that therefore the inscription must be incomplete, others asserted that the word was an abbreviation of “queo,” and that the inscription might be read: “I am able to gaze upon the star without pain.”

While the dispute was on, a peasant of the Campagna passed by. He approached and asked the reason of the crowd. He was told, and gazing at the inscription for several minutes he read slowly:

“Questa e la via degli asini” (“This is the way of asses.”).

And the Latinists, the archæologists, and the other savants crept quietly away, while the Commendatore in good, modern Tuscan made some remarks unprintable and untranslatable.{181}



THE environs of Rome—those parts not given over to fox-hunting and horse-racing, importations which have been absorbed by the latter day Roman from the forestieri—still retain most of their characteristics of historic times. The Campagna is still the Campagna; the Alban Hills are still classic ground, and Tivoli and Frascati—in spite of the modernisms which have, here and there, crept in—are still the romantic Tivoli and Frascati of the ages long gone by.

The surrounding hills of Rome are, really, what give it its charm. The city is strong in contrast from every aspect, modernity nudging and crowding antiquity. Rome itself is not lovely, only superbly and majestically overpowering in its complexity.

The Rome of romantic times went as far afield as Otricoli, Ostia, Tivoli and Albano, and,{182} on the east, these outposts were further encircled by a girdle of villas, gardens and vineyards too numerous to plot on any map that was ever made.

Such is the charm of Rome; not its ruined temples, fountains and statues alone; nor yet its great churches and palaces, and above all not the view of the Colosseum lit up by coloured fires, but Rome the city and the Campagna.

There is no question that the Roman Campagna is a sad, dreary land without a parallel in the well populated centres of Europe. Said Chateaubriand: “It possesses a silence and solitude so vast that even the echoes of the tumults of the past enacted upon its soil are lost in the very expansiveness of the flat marshy plain.”

Balzac too wrote in the same vein: “Imagine something of the desolation of the country of Tyre and Babylon and you will have a picture of the sadness and lonesomeness of this vast, wide, thinly populated region.”

The similes of Balzac and of Chateaubriand hold good to-day. Long horned cattle and crows are the chief living things—and mosquitoes. One can’t forget the mosquitoes.

Here and there a jagged stump of a pier of a Roman aqueduct pushes up through the herb-grown{183} soil, perhaps even an arch or two, or three or five; but hardly a tangible remembrance of the work of the hand of man is left to-day, to indicate the myriads of comers and goers who once passed over its famous Appian Way. The Appian Way is still there, loose ended fragments joined up here and there with a modern roadway which has become its successor, and there is a very appreciable traffic, such as it is, on the main lines of roadway north and south; but east and west and round about, save for a few squalid huts and droves of cattle, sheep and goats, a wayside inn, a fountain beneath a cypress and a few sleepy, dusty hamlets and villages, there is nothing to indicate a progressive modern existence. All is as dead and dull as it was when Rome first decayed.

Out from Rome, a couple of leagues on the Via Campagna, on the right bank of the Tiber, one comes to the sad relic of La Magliana, the hunting lodge of the Renaissance Popes. The evolution of the name of this country house comes from a corruption of the patronymic of the original owners of the land, the family of Manlian, who were farmers in 390 B. C.

The road out from Rome, by the crumbling Circus Maxentius, the lone fragments of Aqueduct,{184} and the moss-grown tomb of Cecilia Metellag, runs for a dozen kilometres at a dead level, to rise in the next dozen or so to a height of four hundred and sixty odd metres just beyond Albano, when it descends and then rises again to Velletri ultimately to flatten out and continue along practically at sea-level all the way to Cassino, a hundred and ninety kilometres from Rome. The classification given to this road by the Touring Club Italiano is “mediocre e polveroso,” and one need not be a deep student of the language to evolve its meaning.

A little farther away, but still within sight of the Eternal City, just before coming to Albano, is Castel Gandolfo, a Papal stronghold since the middle ages. Urban VIII built a Papal palace here, and the seigniorial château, since transformed into a convent, was a sort of summer habitation of the Popes. The status of the little city of two thousand souls is peculiar. It enjoys extra-territorial rights which were granted to the papal powers by the new order of things which came into being in 1871. A zone of loveliness surrounds the site which overlooks, on one side, the dazzling little Albano Lake and, on the other, stretches off across the Campagna to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Just beyond Castel Gandolfo is Albano, still{185} showing vestiges of the city of Domitian, which, in turn, was built upon the ruins of that of Pompey. Albano’s fortifications rank as the most perfect examples of their class in all Italy. They tell a story of many epochs; they are all massive, and are largely built in rough polygonal masonry. Towers, turrets and temples are all here at Albano. Still the town is not ranked as one of the tourist sights.

The Albano Lake is another one of those mysterious bodies of water without source or outlet. It occupies the crater of an extinct volcano, so some day it may disappear as quickly as it came. Concerning its origin the following local legend is here related: “Where the lake now lies there stood once a great city. Here, when Jesus Christ came to Italy, he begged alms. None took compassion on Him but an old woman who gave Him some meal. He then bade her leave the city: she obeyed; the city instantly sank and the lake rose in its place.”

This legend is probably founded on some vague recollection or tradition of the fall of the city of Veii, which was so flourishing a state at the time of the foundation of Rome, and possessed so many attractions, that it became a question whether Rome itself should not be abandoned for Veii. The lake of Albano is{186} intimately connected with the siege of Veii and no place has more vivid memories of ancient Roman history.

Here, overlooking the lake, once rose Alba Longa, the mother city of Rome, built by Ascanius, the son of Æneas, who named it after the white sow which gave birth to the prodigious number of thirty young.

On the shore of the lake, opposite Albano, is Rocca di Papa. The convent of the Passionist Fathers at Rocca di Papa, (the city itself being the one-time residence of the Anti-pope John) was built by Cardinal York, the last of the Stuarts, of materials taken from an ancient temple on the shores of Lake Albano.

Rocca di Papa is a most picturesque little hilltop village. Its sugar-loaf cone is crowned with an old castle of the Colonnas which remained their possession until 1487, when the Orsini in their turn took possession.

Frascati, on the Via Tusculum, about opposite Castel Gandolfo, as this historic roadway parallels that of Claudius Appius, was Rome’s patrician suburb, and to-day is the resort of nine-tenths of the excursionists out from Rome for a day or an afternoon.

Frascati, the villa suburb, and Tivoli alike depend upon their sylvan charms to set off the{187} beauties of their palaces and villas. It was ever the custom among the princely Italian families—the Farnese, the Borghese, and the Medici—to lavish their wealth on the laying out of the grounds quite as much as on the building of their palaces.

Frascati’s villas and palaces cannot be catalogued here. One and all are the outgrowth of an ancient Roman pleasure house of the ninth century, and followed after as a natural course of events, the chief attraction of the place being the wild-wood site (frasche), really a country faubourg of Rome itself.

The Popes and Cardinals favoured the spot for their country houses, and the nobles followed in their train. The chief of Frascati’s architectural glories are the Villa Conti, its fountains and its gardens; the Villa Aldobrandini of the Cardinal of that name, the nephew of Pope Clement VIII; and the Villa Tusculana, or Villa Ruffinella, of the sixteenth century, but afterwards the property of Lucien Bonaparte and the scene of one of Washington Irving’s little known sketches, “The Adventure of an Artist.” The Villa Falconieri at Frascati, built by the Cardinal Ruffini in the sixteenth century, formerly belonged to a long line of Counts and Cardinals, but the hand of{188} the German, which is grasping everything in sight, in all quarters of the globe, that other people by lack of foresight do not seem to care for, has acquired it as a home for “convalescent” German artists. Perhaps the omnific German Emperor seeks to rival the functions of the Villa Medici with his Villa Falconieri. He calls it a hospital, but it has studios, lecture rooms and what not. What it all means no one seems to know.

Minor villas are found dotted all over Frascati’s hills, with charming vistas opening out here and there in surprising manner. Not all are magnificently grand, few are superlatively excellent according to the highest æsthetic standards, but all are of the satisfying, gratifying quality that the layman will ever accept as something better than his own conceptions would lead up to. That is the chief pleasure of contemplation, after all.

Above Frascati itself lies Tusculum, founded, says tradition, by a son of Ulysses, the birthplace of Cato and a one time residence of Cicero. This would seem enough fame for any small town hardly important enough to have its name marked on the map, and certainly not noted down in many of the itineraries for automobile tourists which cross Italy in every direction.{189} More than this, Tusculum has the ruins of an ancient castle, one day belonging to a race of fire-eating, quarrelsome counts who leagued themselves with any one who had a cause, just or unjust, for which to fight. Fighting was their trade, but Frederic I in 1167 beat them at their own game and razed their castle and its town of allies huddled about its walls. That is why Tusculum has not become a tourist resort to-day, but the ruin is still there and one can imagine a different destiny had fate, or a stronger hand, had full sway.

From Albano, another cross road, via Velletri to Valmontone, leads in twenty odd kilometres to Palestrina, whence one may continue his way to Subiaco and thence to Tivoli and enter Rome again via the Porta San Lorenzo, having made a round of perhaps a hundred and fifty kilometres of as varied a stretch of Italian roadway as could possibly be found. The gamut of scenic and architectural joys runs all the way from those of the sea level Campagna and its monumental remains to the verdure and romance of the Alban and Sabine Hills and the splendours of the memories of the Villa of Hadrian at Tivoli.

Lying well back from the Alban hills is Palestrina, the greatest stronghold of the Colon{190}nas and where a branch of the family still maintains a country house. The cradle of this great family, which gave so many popes to Rome, and an inspiration and a divinity to Michelangelo, was a village near Palestrina. It had a Corinthian column rising in its piazza and from it the Colonna took their family arms. It is found on all documents relating to their history; on tapestries, furniture and medals in many museums and in many wood carvings in old Roman churches.

Palestrina, too, has memories of Michelangelo. The treasures of masterpieces left by him are scattered all over Italy to keep fresh the memory of his name and fame.

Subiaco should be made a stopping place on every automobilist’s itinerary out from Rome. Some wit has said that any one living in a place ending with o was bound to be unhappy. He had in mind one or two sad romances of Subiaco, though for all that one can hardly see what the letters of its name have got to do with it. Subiaco has for long been the haunt of artists and others in search of the picturesque, but not the general run of tourists.



Subiaco is still primitive in most things, and this in spite of the fact that a railway has been built through it in recent years. In feudal times{191} the town could hardly have been more primitive than now, in fact the only thing that ever woke it from lethargy was a little game of warfare, sometimes with disaster for the inhabitants and sometimes for the other side.

The castle of the ruling baron sat high upon the height. What is left of it is there to-day, but its capture has been made easier with the march of progress. Down from the castle walls slopes the town, its happy, unprogressive people as somnolent as of yore.

Subiaco is one of the most accessible and conveniently situated hill towns of Italy, if any would seek it out. Nero first exploited Subiaco when he built a villa here, as he did in other likely spots round about. Nero built up and he burned down and he fiddled all the while. He was decidedly a capricious character. History or legend says that Nero’s cup of cheer was struck from his hand by lightning one day when he was drinking the wine of Subiaco here at his hillside villa. He escaped miraculously, but he got a good scare, though it is not recorded that he signed the pledge!

Subiaco’s humble inn, “The Partridge,” is typical of its class throughout Italy. It is in no sense a very comfortably installed establishment, but it is better, far better, than the same{192} class of inn in England and America, and above all its cooking is better. A fowl and a salad and a bottle of wine and some gorgonzola are just a little better at “La Pernice” than the writer remembers to have eaten elsewhere under similar conditions.

Tourists now come by dozens by road and rail to Subiaco—with a preponderance of arrivals by road—whereas a few years ago only a few venturesome artists and other lovers of the open knew its charms. Some day of course this charm will be gone, but it is still lingering on and, if you do not put on too great a pretense, you will get the same good cheer at five francs a day at “The Partridge” whether you arrive in a Mercédès or come as the artist does, white umbrella and canvases slung across your back. The proprietor of “La Pernice” has not as yet succumbed to exploiting his clients.

From Subiaco back to Rome via Tivoli is seventy kilometres and all down hill.

One can have no complete idea of Roman life without an acquaintance with the villas and palaces of Frascati and Tivoli. Tivoli was the summer resort of the old Romans. Mecenate, Horace, Catullus and Hadrian built villas there and enjoyed it, though in a later day it was reviled thus:{193}

Villa d’Este, Tivoli

Villa d’Este, Tivoli

Tivoli di mal conforto—O piove, o tira vento, o suona a morto!

Tivoli may be said to have received its boom under the Roman nobles of the Augustan age who came here and set the fashion of the place as a country residence. Things prospered beyond expectations, it would seem, land agents being modest in those days, and by the time of Hadrian reached their luxurious climax.

Pope Pius II founded Tivoli’s citadel on the site of an already ruined amphitheatre in 1460. The Villa d’Este at Tivoli, built by the Cardinal Ippolito d’Este in 1549, is usually considered the most typical suburban villa in Italy. The house itself is an enormous pile, on one side being three stories higher than on the other. It is a terrace house in every sense of the word. Statuary, originally dug up from Hadrian’s villa, once embellished the house and grounds to a greater extent than now, but under the régime of late years many of these pieces have disappeared. Where? The palace itself is comparatively a modest, dignified though extensive structure, the views from its higher terraces stretching out far over the distant campagna.

Hadrian’s Villa, with its magnificent grounds, occupies an area of vast extent. According to{194} Spartian, Hadrian, in the second century B. C., built this marvel of architecture and landscape gardening according to a fond and luxurious fancy which would have been inconceivable by any other who lived at his time. All its great extent of buildings have suffered the stress of time, and some even have entirely disappeared, as a considerable part of the later monuments of Tivoli were built up from their stones. Many of its art treasures were removed to distant points, many found their ways into public and private museums, and many have even been transported to foreign lands. The Italian government has now stopped all this by purchasing the site and making of it a national monument.


With Hadrian’s Villa is connected a sad remembrance.{195} Piranesi, that accomplished and erratic draughtsman whose etchings and drawings of Roman monuments have delighted an admiring world, died as a result of overwork in connection with a series of measured drawings he was making of this great memorial of Rome’s globe-trotting Emperor.{196}



Naples (diagram)

SOUTH from Rome the highroad to Naples, and on down into Calabria, at first follows the old Appian Way, built by Appius Claudius in 312 B. C. It is a historic highway if there ever was one, from its commencement at Rome’s ancient Porta Capuana (now the Porta San Se{197}bastiano) to Capua. As historic ground it has been excavated and the soil turned over many, many times until it would seem as though nothing would be left to discover. Enough has been found and piled up by the roadside to make the thoroughfare a continuous “sight” for many kilometres. Great churches, tombs, vineyards, cypress-wind-breaks and the arches of the Claudian aqueducts line its length, and if the automobilist is so minded he can easily put in a day doing the first twenty kilometres.

Velletri, thirty-six kilometres from Rome, is the first town of importance after passing Albano, practically suburban Rome.

Cisterna di Roma, a dozen kilometres further on, is a typical hill top town overlooking the Pontine Marshes below.

Terracina, on the coast, sixty-two kilometres beyond Velletri, is the border town between the north and the south, practically the limit between the extent of the Papal power and that of the kingdom of Naples.

Terracina sits at sea-level, and in all probability it is none too healthy an abode, though ten thousand souls call it home and seem content. It has a sea-view that would make the reputation of a resort, and the French and Italian Touring Clubs recommend the Hotel Royal,{198} while the local druggist sells gasoline and oil to automobile tourists at fair rates—for Italy.

At Formia one may turn off the direct road and in half a dozen kilometres come to the coast again at Gaeta. The road from Formia runs through a picture paradise, and an unspoilt one, considering it from the artist’s point of view. Little more shall be said, though indeed it is not as at Sorrento or Capri, but quite as good in its way, and the Albergo della Quercia, at Formia, is not as yet overrun with a clientèle of any sort. This is an artists’ sketching ground that is some day going to be exploited by some one; perhaps by the artist who made the pictures of this book. Who knows?

Over another fragment of the Appian Way the highroad now continues towards Naples via Capua.

At Capua the road plunges immediately into a maze of narrow streets and one’s only assurance of being able to find his exit from the town is by employing a gamin to sit on the running board and shout destra or sinistra at each turning until the open country is again reached at the dividing of the roads leading to Caserta and Naples respectively.

The highroad from Capua into Naples covers thirty kilometres of as good, or bad, roadway{199} as is usually found on entering a great city where the numerous manifest industries serve to furnish a traffic movement which is not conducive to the upkeep of good roads. It is a good road, though, in parts, but the nearer you get to “la bella Napoli” the worse it becomes, as bad, almost, as the roads in and out of Marseilles or Genoa, and they are about the worst that exist for automobilists to revile.

By either Averso or Caserta one enters Naples by the rift in the hills lying back of the observatory, and finally by the tram-lined Strada Forvia, always descending, until practically at sea-level one finds a garage close beside the Hotel Royal et des Étrangers and lodges himself in that excellent hostelry. This is one way of doing it; there are of course others.

The man that first said “Vedi Napoli e poi mori!” didn’t know what he was talking about. No one will want to die after seeing Naples. He will want to live the longer and come again, if not for Naples itself then for its surroundings, for Pompeii, Herculaneum, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi, Vesuvius and Ischia. Naples itself will be a good place at which to leave one’s extra luggage and to use as a mail address.

The history of Naples is vast, and its present{200} and historic past is most interesting, but for all that Naples without its environs would be as naught.

The local proverb of old:

“When Salerno has its port
Naples will be mort (dead),”

has no reason for being any more, for Naples’ future as a Mediterranean seaport is assured by the indefatigable German who has recently made it a port of call for a half a dozen lines of German steamers. Britain may rule the waves, but the German is fast absorbing the profitable end of the carrying trade.

Naples is a crowded, uncomfortable city, for within a circumference of scarce sixteen kilometres is huddled a population of considerably more than half a million souls.

Naples’ chief charms are its site, and its magnificently scenic background, not its monuments or its people.

“The lazzaroni,” remarked Montesquieu of the Neapolitan “won’t-works,” “pass their time in the middle of the street.” This observation was made many, many years ago, but it is equally true to-day.

Naples is not the only Italian city where one sees men live without apparent means of existence,{201} but it is here most to be remarked. On the quays and on the promenades you see men and women without work, and apparently without ambition to look for it save to exploit strangers. On the steps of the churches you see men and women without legs, arms or eyes, and infants sans chemises, and they, too, live by the same idle occupation of asking for alms.

Everywhere at Naples, before your hotel, crowded around your carriage or automobile, or paddling around in boats just over your steamer’s side, are hoards of beggars of all sorts and conditions of poverty and probity. The beggar population of Naples is doubtless of no greater proportions than in Genoa, or even Rome, but it is more in evidence and more insistent. There are singing beggars, lame, halt and blind beggars, whining beggars, swimming beggars, diving beggars, flower-selling beggars and just plain beggars. Give to one and you will have to give to all—or stand the consequences, which may be serious or not according to circumstances. Don’t disburse sterilized charity, then, but keep hard-hearted.

Naples’ chief sights for the tourists are its museum, its great domed galleries and their cafés and restaurants, its Castello dell’Ovo and the Castel del Carmine.{202}

The Castello dell’Ovo is out in the sea, at the end of a tiny bridge or breakwater, running from the Pizzofalcone, one of the slopes of the background hills of Naples running down to sea-level.

As a fortress the Castello dell’Ovo is outranked to-day by the least efficient in any land, but one of the Spanish Viceroys, in 1532, Don Pedro of Toledo, thought it a stronghold of prime importance, due entirely to its oval shape, which it preserves unto to-day. It is unique, in form at any rate.

Charles VIII of France, on his memorable Italian journeyings—when he discovered (sic) the Renaissance architecture of Italy and brought it back home with him—dismantled the castle and left it in its now barrack-like condition, shorn of any great distinction save the oval shape of its donjon. One is bound to remark this noble monument as it is from its quay that one embarks on the cranky, little, wobbling steamboat which bears one to Capri. Lucullus, who had some reputation as a good liver, once had a villa here on the very quay which surrounds the Castello.

Opposite the Villa del Popolo (near the Porta del Carmine), the People’s Park as we should call it, is a vast, forbidding, unlovely structure.{203}

Castello dell’Ovo, Naples

Castello dell’Ovo, Naples

It was built in 1484 by Ferdinand I, but during Masaniello’s little disturbance it became a stronghold of the people. To-day it serves as a barracks—and of course as a military prison; all nondescript buildings in Italy may be safely classed as military prisons, though indeed the Italian soldiery do not look an unruly lot.

It is well to recall here that Masaniello, who gave his name to an opera as well as being a patriot of the most rabid, though revolutionary, type, failed of his ambition and died through sheer inability to keep awake and sufficiently free from anxiety to carry out his plans. Masaniello lost his head toward the end and got untrustworthy, but this was far from justifying either his murder or the infamous treatment of his body immediately after death by the very mob that the day before had adored him. His headless trunk was dragged for several hours through the mud, and was flung at nightfall, like the body of a mad dog, into the city ditch. Next day, through a revulsion of feeling, he was canonized! His corpse was picked out of the ditch, arrayed in royal robes, and buried magnificently in the cathedral. His fisherman’s dress was rent into shreds to be preserved by the crowd as relics; the door of{204} his hut was pulled off its hinges by a mob of women, and cut into small pieces to be carved into images and made into caskets; while the very ground he had walked on was collected in small phials and sold for its weight in gold to be worn next the heart as an amulet.

The “Villas” of Naples are often mere maisons bourgeoises of modern date. Many of them might well be in Brixton so far as their architectural charms go.

Over in the Posilippo quarter, a delightful situation indeed, are innumerable flat-topped, whitewashed villas, so-called, entirely unlovely, all things considered. One of these, the Villa Rendel, was once inhabited by Garibaldi, as a tablet on its wall announces.

Garibaldi and the part that he and his red shirt played are not yet forgotten. Apropos of this there is a famous lawsuit still in the Italian courts, wherein the Garibaldian Colonel Cornacci, in accord with Ricciotti Garibaldi, son of the general, makes the following claim against the Italian government:

I. All the “tresor” (gold and silver) of the house of Bourbon.

II. Eleven millions of ducats taken from the Garibaldian government at Naples.{205}

III. The Bourbon museum now incorporated with the National Museum.

IV. The Palace of Caserta and its park.

V. The Palace Farnese at Rome.

VI. The Palace and Villa Farnese at Caprarola at Naples.

VII. Two Villas at Naples, Capodimonte and La Favorita.

This is the balance sheet discrepancy resulting from the war of 1860 which the Garibaldian heirs claim is theirs by rights. It’s a mere bagatelle of course! One wonders why the Italian government don’t settle it at once and be done with it!

Naples is the birth-place of Polichinelle, as Paris is of Pierrot, two figures of fancy which will never die out in literature or art, a tender expression of sentiment quite worthy of being kept alive.

The Neapolitan, en fête, is quite the equal in gayety and irresponsibility of the inhabitant of Seville or Montmartre. The processionings of any big Italian town are a thing which, once seen, will always be remembered. At Naples they seem a bit more gorgeous and spontaneous in their gayety than elsewhere, with rugs and banners floating in the air from every balcony,{206} and flowers falling from every hand. It is every man’s carnival, the celebration at Naples.

Leading out to the west, back of Posilippo, is the Strada di Piedigrotta, which is continued as the Grotto Nuovo di Posilipo, and through which runs a tramway, all kinds of animal-drawn wheeled traffic, and automobiles with open exhausts. All this comports little with the fact that the ancient tunnelled road along here was one of the marvels of engineering in the time of Augustus and that it led to Virgil’s tomb. This supposed tomb of Virgil is questioned by archæologists, but that doesn’t much matter for the rest of us. We know that Virgil himself has said that it was here that he composed the “Georgics” and the “Æneid,” and it might well have been his last resting-place too.

“Addio, mia bella Napoli! Addio!{207}



“SEE Naples and die” is all very well for a sentiment, but when we first saw it, many years ago, it was under a grim, grey sky, and its shore front was washed by a milky-green fury of a sea.

Fortunately it is not always thus; indeed it is seldom so. On that occasion Vesuvius was invisible, and Posilippo in dim relief. What a contrast to things as they usually are! Still, Naples and its Bay are no phenomenal wonders. Suppress the point of view, the focus of Virgil, of Horace, of Tiberius and of Nero, and the view of “Alger la Blanche,” or of Marseilles and its headlands, is quite as beautiful. And the Bay of Naples is not so beautifully blue either; the Bai de la Ciotat in Maritime Province is often the same colour, and has a nearby range of jutting, jagged, foam-lashed promontories that are all that Capri is—all but the grotto.{208}



The Bay of Naples has its moods, and there are times when its blueness is more apparent than at others; in short there are times when it looks more beautiful than at others, and then one is apt to think its charms superlative.

The praises of the ravishing beauty of the Bay of Naples have been sung by the poets and told in prose ever since the art of writing travel impressions has been known, but though the half may not have been told it were futile to reiterate what one may see for himself if he will only come and look. “A piece of heaven fallen to earth,” Sannazar has said, and certainly no one can hope to describe it with more glowing praise.

For the artist the whole Neapolitan coastline, and background as well, is a riot of rainbow colouring such as can hardly be found elsewhere except in the Orient. It is not only that the Bay of Naples is blue, but the greys and drabs of the ash and cinders of Vesuvius seem to accentuate all the brilliant reds and yellows and greens of the foliage and housetops, not forgetting the shipping of the little ports and the costuming of land-lubbers and sailor-men, and of course the women. The Italian women, young or old, are possessed of about the love{210}liest colouring of any of the fair women of the twentieth century portrait gallery.

The environs of Naples have two plagues which, when they rise in their wrath, can scarcely be avoided. One is the sirocco, that dry, stiff wind which blows along the Mediterranean coast in summer, coming from the African shore and the desert beyond, and the much worse, or at least more dreaded, aria cattiva, which is supposed to blow the sulphurous gases and cinders of Vesuvius down the population’s throats, and does to a certain extent.

Out beyond Posilippo, which itself is properly enough bound up with the life of Naples, lies Pouzzoles. The excursion is usually made in half a day by carriage, and automobilists have been known to do it in half an hour. The former method is preferable, though the automobilist is free from the rapacious Neapolitan cab driver and that’s a good deal in favour of the new locomotion. If only automobilists as a class wouldn’t be in such a hurry!

Pouzzoles has no splendid palaces but it has the remains of a former temple of Augustus in the shape of twelve magnificent Corinthian columns, built into the Cathedral of Saint Procule, and some remains of another shrine dedicated to Serapis. There are also the ruins of Cicer{211}o’s villa at Baies, a little further on. Mont Gauro, where the “rough Falernian” wine, whose praises were sung by Walter de Mapes, comes from, shelters the little village on one side and Mont Nuovo on the other, this last a mountain or hillock of perhaps a hundred and fifty metres in height, which grew up in a night as a result of a sixteenth century earthquake.

The Lake of Averno is nearby, a tiny body of water whose name and fame are celebrated afar, but which as a lake, properly considered, hardly ranks in size with the average mill-pond. With a depth of some thirty odd metres and a circumference of three kilometres its charms were sufficient to attract Hannibal thither to sacrifice to Pluto, and Virgil there laid the “Descent into Purgatory.” Agrippa, with an indomitable energy and the help of twenty thousand slaves, made it into a port great enough to shelter the Roman fleet. At Baies there is a magnificent feudal work in the form of a fortress-château of Pedro of Toledo (1538).

At the tiny port of Torregaveta, just beyond, one takes ship for Procida and Ischia, two islands often neglected in making the round of Naples Bay.

Procida, off shore three or four kilometres,{212} and with a length of about the same, has a population of fifteen thousand, most of whom rent boats to visitors. Competition here being fierce, prices are reasonable—anything you like to pay, provided you can clinch the bargain beforehand.

Ischia is twice the size of Procida, twice the distance from the mainland and has twice the population of the latter. One might say, too, that it is twice as interesting. It is a vast pyramid of rock dominated by a château-fort dating from 1450. It looks almost unreal in its impressiveness, and since it is of volcanic growth the island may some day disappear as suddenly as it came. Such is the fear of most of the population.

A quick round south from Naples can be made by following the itinerary below. It can be done in a day or a week, but in the former case one must be content with a cinematographic reminiscence.

Torre del Greco9.4
Torre Anunziata16.6





Some one has said that Vesuvius was a vicious boil on the neck of Naples. There is not much sentiment in the expression and little delicacy, but there is much truth in it. Still, if it were not for Vesuvius much of the charm and character of the Bay of Naples and its cadre would be gone for ever.

All around the base of the great cone are a flock of little half-baked, lava-burned villages, as sad as an Esquimaux settlement in the great{214} lone land. This is the way they strike one as places to live in, though the artist folk find them picturesque enough, it is true, and a poet of the Dante type would probably get as much inspiration here as did Alighieri from the Inferno.

It has been remarked before now that Italy is a birdless land. The Renaissance poets sang differently, but judging from the country immediately neighbouring upon Vesuvius, and Calabria to the southward, one is inclined to join forces with the first mentioned authority. Not even a carrion crow could make a living in some parts of southern Italy.

So desolate and lone is this sparsely populated region towards the south that it is about the only part of Italy where one may hope to encounter the brigand of romance and fiction.

The thing is not unheard of to-day, but what brigands are left are presumably kidnappers for political purposes who wreak their vengeance on some official. The stranger tourist goes free. He is only robbed by the hotel keepers and their employees who think more of buona mano than anything else. A recent account (1907), in an Italian journal, tells of the adventures of the master of ceremonies at Victor Emmanuel’s court who was captured by{215} bandits and imprisoned in a cave in that terra incognita back of Vesuvius away from the coast.

Newspaper accounts are often at variance with the facts, but these made thrilling reading. One account said that the kidnappers tore out the Marquis’s teeth, one by one, in order to force him to write a letter asking for ransom. As he still refused, lights were held to the soles of his naked feet.

The Marquis was lured from Naples to the neighbourhood of a grotto in the direction of Vesuvius, where he was seized by the brigand’s confederates.

“I was seized unexpectedly from behind,” said the Marquis in his version, “and after a sharp struggle with my unseen assailants was carried down into the grotto with Herculanean force and tightly bound.

“Then, liberating my right arm, the brigands fetched a lamp and writing materials, covering their faces with masks. Threatening me with instant death, the chief forced me to write a letter to my friends demanding that money be sent me forthwith. At the same time he took from me all my valuables and then disappeared, leaving me a prisoner with a guard before the entrance of my cave.{216}

The adventure ended harmlessly enough, and whether it was all a dream or not of course nobody but the Marquis knows. At any rate it has quite a mediæval ring to it.


Pompeii is remarkable, but it is disappointing. All that is of real interest has been removed to the Naples museum. Without its Forum and its magnificent temples and Vesuvius as a toile de fond Pompeii would be a dreary place indeed to any but an archæologist. It is a waste of time to view any restored historic monument where modern house painters have refurbished the old half-obliterated frescoes. The famous Cave Canem, too, the only mosaic that remains intact, has been twice removed from its original emplacement. Yes,{217} Pompeii is a disappointment! It is too much of a show-place!

The most notable observation to be made with regard to the admirable architectural details of Pompeii is that they are all on a diminutive scale. The colonnade of the Forum, for instance, could never be carried out on the magnificent scale of the Roman Forum, and indeed, when modern architects have attempted to reproduce the façade of a tiny pagan temple, as in the Église de la Madeleine, or the Palais Bourbon at Paris, they have failed miserably.

The rival claims of the Hotel Suisse and the Hotel Diomede at Pompeii (to say nothing of that of the Albergo del Sol opposite the entrance to the Amphitheatre) make it difficult for the stranger to decide upon which to bestow his patronage.

The artists go to the Albergo del Sol, which is rough and uncomfortable enough from many points of view, and the tourists of convention go to one of the other two, where they are “exploited” a bit but get more attention. At any one of these hotels one can hire a horse to climb up the cone of Vesuvius, if one thinks he would like such rude sport, and prices are anything he will pay, about five or six francs,{218} though it costs another two francs for a guide and another two francs for the ragamuffin who follows after and holds the horses while you explore the crater. If the latter was blacking boots in New York, even for a padrone, at five cents a shine, he would make more money and be counted out of the robber class. As it is he is a rank impostor and needless—provided you have the courage to refuse his services.

The contrast between Herculaneum and Pompeii is notable. Herculaneum was buried under thirty metres of liquid lava, but Pompeii was buried only roof-high under cinders. Herculaneum will some day be uncovered to the extent of Pompeii, and then it is probable the world will have new marvels at which to wonder.

The rewards from the excavation of Herculaneum may well be commensurate with the toil. It was an infinitely more important place than Pompeii, which was only a little country town without libraries or particularly wealthy inhabitants. Herculaneum, on the other hand, was the summer resort of wealthy Romans, who spent their lives in adorning their beautiful villas with the choicest work of Greek art. Pliny said that they had a mania for collecting Greek silver and other works of art, and at{219} prices that would even make the wealthiest art connoisseurs of to-day pause for thought. Agrippina, among others, had her villa here. Herculaneum remains intact and undespoiled, as it was more than eighteen centuries ago.


The Environs of Pompeii

From Pompeii to Sorrento via Castellamare is twenty-five kilometres.

Sorrento is, in summer, a bathing place for such of the Neapolitan high-life population as are not able to get far away from home. One properly enough attaches no importance whatever to the gay life of the boulevards, the cafés and the restaurants of Naples. It is the same thing as at Rome, Paris and London over again with all its silly flaneries, but here at Sorrento, or across the peninsula at Amalfi, life is less feverish and one may stroll about or indeed live free and tranquil from care in hotels, less luxurious no doubt than those of the Quai Parthenope, but offering a sufficient degree of comfort to make them agreeable to the most exacting.

The real winter birds of passage only alight here for a period of three or four weeks in January or February. After that it is delightful, except for the short period when it is given up to the crowd of tourists which invariably comes at Easter.{220}

Sorrento is the great centre for all the charming region bordering upon the southern shore of the Bay of Naples. It is at once the city and the country. Its hotels are delightfully disposed amid flowering gardens or on a terrace overlooking the escarpments of the rock-bound coast. Six or seven francs a day, or eight or ten, according to the class of establishment one patronizes, and one finds the best of simple fare and comfort. Eight days or a fortnight one may roam about the neighbourhood at Sorrento, from Sant Agatha on a nearby height to Sejano Castellamare, Positano, Amalfi and finally Capri. There is hardly such a range of charming little towns and townlets to be found elsewhere in all the world.

Except for its restricted little business quarter the houses and villas of Sorrento are disposed on the best of “garden city” plans. Again a plague on a beauty spot must be admitted: mosquitoes will all but devour you here between mid-August and the end of October. The only safe-guard is to paint yourself with iodine, but the cure is as bad as the complaint.

The traveller in Italy learns of course to beware of coral, of white, pink and milky coloured coral. We had been afraid to even look at such{221} ever since we had seen it being made by the ton in Belgium—and good looking “coral” it was.

Once the artist bought a string of the real thing at Tabarka in Tunisia, and once a friend who was with us on the Riviera di Ponente bought a necklet of what was called coral, at an outrageous price, of a wily boatman. It all went up in smoke (accompanied by a vile smell) ultimately, though fortunately it was not on the owner’s neck at the time. It was an injudicious mixture of gun-cotton, nitroglycerine or what not. It wasn’t coral; that was evident.

Now, when we walk out at Sorrento, no Graziella, her shoulders scintillating with ropes of coral, beguiles us into buying any of her family heirlooms. To sum up: the coral which is sold to tourists is often false; that which is fished up before your eyes from the sea is always so. Beware of the coral of Sorrento or Capri.

The trip to Capri is of course included in every one’s itinerary in these parts, and for that reason it is not omitted here, though indeed the famous grotto over which the sentimentally inclined so love to rave has little more charm than the same thing represented on the stage. This at any rate is one man’s opinion.{222} It is most conveniently reached by boat from Sorrento.

The famous retreat of Augustus and the scene of the debauches of Tiberius will ever have an attraction for the globe-trotter, even though its romance is mostly fictitious. One may gather any opinions he chooses, and, provided he gathers them on the spot and makes them up out of his own imaginings, he will be content with Capri’s grotto; only he mustn’t take the guide-books too seriously.

The Blue Grotto’s goddess is Amphitrite, and if any one catches a glimpse of her traditional scanty draperies swishing around a corner, let him not be misguided into following her into her retreat. If he does the sea is guaranteed to rise and close the orifice so that he may not get out again as soon as he might wish.

In that case one must wait till the wind, which has veered suddenly from east to west, comes about again and blows from the south. Without bringing Amphitrite into the matter at all it sometimes happens that visitors entering the grotto for a pleasant half hour may be obliged to stay there two, three or even five days. The boatmen-guides, providing for such emergencies, carry with them a certain quantity{223} of biscotti with which to sustain their victims. As for fresh water it trickles through into the grotto in several places in a sufficient quantity to allay any apprehensions as to dying of thirst. One might well blame the Capri guides for not calling the visitor’s attention to these things. But if one is reproached he simply answers: “Ma che! eccelenza, if we should call attention to this thing, half the would-be visitors would balk at the first step, and that would be bad for our business.”

Alexandre Dumas tells of how on a visit to Capri in 1835 the fisherman was pointed out to him who had ten years earlier re-discovered the Blue Grotto of Augustus’ time, whilst searching for mussels among the rocks. He went at once to the authorities on the island and told them of his discovery and asked for the privilege of exploiting visitors. This discoverer of a new underground world was able by means of graft, or other means, to put the thing through and lived in ease ever after, through his ability to levy a toll on other guides to whom he farmed out his privilege.

Quite the best of Capri is above ground, the isle itself, set like a gem in the waters of the Mediterranean. The very natural symphonic colouring of the rocks and hillsides and roof{224}tops of its houses, and indeed the costuming of its very people, make it very beautiful.

For Amalfi, Salerno and Pæstum the automobilist must retrace his way from Sorrento to Castellamare, when, in thirty kilometres, he may gain Amalfi, and, in another twenty-five, Salerno. Pæstum and its temples, to many the chief things of interest in Italy, the land of noble monuments, lie forty kilometres away from Salerno. The automobilist, to add this to his excursion out from Naples, is debarred from making the round in a day, even if he would. It is worth doing however; that goes without saying, though the attempt is not made here of purveying guide-book or historical information. If you don’t know anything about Pæstum, or care anything about it, then leave it out and get back to Naples as quickly as you can, and so on out of the country at the same rate of speed.{225}



THE mountain district of Umbria, a country of clear outlines against pale blue skies, is one of the most charming in the peninsula though not the most grandly scenic.

The highway from Rome to Ancona, across Umbria, follows the itinerary of one of the most ancient of Roman roads, the Via Valeria. The railway, too, follows almost in the same track, though each leaves the Imperial City, itself, by the great trunk line via Salaria and the Valley of the Tiber.

Terni is the great junction from which radiate various other lines of communication to all parts of the kingdom. Terni is, practically, the geographical centre of Italy. It is a bustling manufacturing town and, supposedly, the Interamna where Tacitus was born.

From Terni one reaches Naples, via Avezzano in 257 kilometres; Rome, via Civita Cas{226}tellana in 94 kilometres; Florence via Perugia and Arezzo in 256 kilometres and Ancona, on the shores of the Adriatic, via Foligno in 209 kilometres. All of these roads run the gamut from high to low levels and, though in no sense to be classed as mountain roads, are sufficiently trying to even a modern automobile to be classed as difficult.

The Cascades of Terni used to be one of the stock sights of tourists, a generation ago, but, truth to tell, they are not remarkable natural beauties, and, indeed, are too apparently artificial to be admired. Moreover one is too much “exploited” in the neighbourhood to enjoy his visit. It costs half a lira to enter by this gate, and to leave by that road; to cross this bridge, or descend into that cavern; and troops of children beg soldi of you at every turn. The thing is not worth doing.

Spoleto, twenty-six kilometres away, is somewhat more interesting. It is famous for the fine relics, which still exist, of its more magnificent days, when, 242 B. C., it was named Spoletium.

The towers of Spoleto, like those of San Gimignano and Volterra, are its chief glory; civic, secular and churchly towers, all blending into one hazy mass of grim, militant power.{227} The Franciscan convent, on the uppermost height, seems to guard all the towers below, as a shepherd guards his flock, or a mother hen her chickens.

In 1499 the equivocal, enigmatic Lucrezia Borgia came to inhabit the castle of Spoleto. The fair but unholy Lucrezia was a wandering, restless being who liked apparently to be continually on the move.

Here, in the fortress of Spoleto, Lucrezia Borgia, coming straight from the Vatican, held for a brief year the seals of the state in her frail hands, her father at the time being governor.

The aspect of this grim fortress-château, grim but livable, as one knows from the historical accounts, is to-day, so far as outlines are concerned, just as it was five centuries ago. It is grandiose, severe and majestic, and is dominant in all the landscape round about, not even its mountain background dwarfing its proportions. The military defence was that portion lying lowest down in the valley, while the residence of the governor was in the upper portion. One reads the history of three distinct epochs in its architecture, the Gothic of the fifteenth century, that of the sixteenth, and the later interpolated Renaissance decorations.{228}

Through Foligno and Assisi runs the road to Perugia. Assisi is a much visited shrine, but Foligno is remembered by most of those who have travelled that way only as a grimy railway junction.


Assisi, the little Umbrian hill town, is deservedly the popular shrine that it is. Assisi is a religious shrine, but its skyline silhouette is more like that which properly belongs to a warlike stronghold. The city of St. Francis is loved by men of all creeds who recall the story of the holy man who, with poverty as a garment, trod his long way, singing, talking to the birds and succouring all who were sore or heavy laden.

{229}Immense antiquity is suggested by everything round about, from the tombs of the Etruscan Necropolis, dating from 150 B.C., down to the triple-storied convent church of San Francesco of 1230 and the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli of 1509.


The now secularized convent and its triple church have all the characteristics of a mediæval fortress when viewed from afar.

The town itself owes most, if not all, of its fame to its beloved San Francesco. His birthplace has disappeared and its site occupied by the Chiesa Nuova, but a part of it has been built into the church, making it another shrine of the holy man who did so much good to his fellows during his life, and to his native town in these late days by bringing tens, nay, even{230} hundreds, of thousands of tourists thither to spend their money on local guides, cabmen and inn-keepers. A sordid point of view some may think. But is it? What would Assisi be without the tourists? Still wooing the Lady Poverty, there’s no doubt about that. What would Venice be without the tourists? Not what it is to-day. No indeed. It is dead and dull enough even now at certain seasons. It would become so for all time without the strangers.

Perugia is the big town of Umbria. To-day it boasts of twenty odd thousand souls, but in the days when it struggled against papal control it was even more populous. Its history is one long drawn out tale of revolt and submission in turn, from the days when it first submitted to the Romans in 310 B. C. until it threw its fate in with that of the other states of Victor Emmanuel in 1860.

If ever a city was blood-baptized that honour is Perugia’s. It has not a crooked old street nor gate nor fountain nor piazza or palazzo but what is gory with bloody memories.

Perugia was a dominant mediæval influence all through the neighbourhood and levied tribute on all her vassal cities and towns. Foligno’s walls and ramparts had fallen and the people of Perugia came and carted off the stone{231} for their own needs; Arezzo stripped her churches and palaces to provide the marbles for Perugia’s cathedral.

Architectural Detail, Perugia

Architectural Detail, Perugia

Perugia’s oxen are famous in literature and art, but they have almost become a memory, though an occasional one may be seen standing in the market place or a yoke working in the nearby fields. Electric cars haul passengers and freight about the city at a death-dealing pace, and the ox as a beast of burden is out-distanced and out-classed.

The ancient civilization is represented at Perugia by a remarkable series of old fortification walls, still admirably conserved, a kilometre or more from the centre of town, a necropolis of ten chambers, and an antique Roman arch of Augustus.

Perugia’s lode star for travellers has ever been the fact that it was the centre of the school of Umbrian painters. This is not saying that it has no architecture worth mentioning, for the reverse is the case.

Out from Perugia by the Porta di Elce, on the Cortona road, one passes a couple of imposing edifices. One, from a distance, looks grandly romantic and mediæval, but is only a base modern reproduction in cement and timber—and for all the writer knows, steel beams{232} as well—of an ancient feudal castle. The other is less grand, less luxurious possibly, but is the very ideal of an Italian country house, habitable to-day, but surrounded with all the romantic flavour of mediævalism. It is still called the Villa of the Cardinal by virtue of the fact that Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna built it in 1580. Locally, it is also known as the Villa Umberto, and it belongs to, and is inhabited by, the family of Commendatore Ferdinando Cesaroni. Architecturally, perhaps, the villa is not a great work, but it is marvellously satisfying to the eye by reason of its disposition and its outlook.

Gubbio, thirty-nine kilometres away by road, is not readily accessible by rail from Perugia, though on the direct line from Arezzo, Ancona and Foligno.

The automobilist may reach Gubbio from Perugia in less time than the rail-tied traveller may check his baggage and take his place in the train.

Not many include Gubbio in their Italian tours. Its Etruscan lore and relics have been made the subject of volumes, but little has been done to set forth its charms for the Italian pilgrim who would seek to get away from the herding crowds of the great cities and towns.{233}

Palazzo Ducale, Urbino

Palazzo Ducale, Urbino

Gubbio’s ducal palace is moss grown and weedy, so far as its rooftop and courtyard are concerned, but it is a very warm and lively old fabric nevertheless, and those that love historic old shrines will find much here that they will often not discover in a well restored, highly furbished monument kept frankly as a show-place for throngs of trippers who cannot tell old bronze from new copper, or wrought iron from font.

The hurly-burly of twentieth century life has not yet reached Gubbio, and that is why it presents itself to the visitor within its walls in such agreeable fashion.

Off in the Marches, sixty-five kilometres from Gubbio, is the little town of Urbino. It has a Palazzo Ducale most remarkable in its architecture and its emplacement. It was begun in 1648 by Frederigo di Montefeltro, on the site of a former palace of a century before. The apartments within are not merely the halls of a museum, but are remarkably interesting and livable mediæval apartments, and to-day are much as they were in the days of the gallant dukes, one of whom, Guidobaldo II, was a poet himself and a patron of letters who gave his protection to the last Italian poet whose fame was European—Torquato Tasso.{234}

Urbino, too, was the birthplace of him whom we know familiarly as Raphael, though curiously enough the local museum contains but a single example of his work, and that a drawing of “Moses in the Bulrushes.”

Urbino’s chief “sight,” though it is not beautiful in itself, is the birthplace of Raphael, situated in a little street running off from near the ducal palace, a street which mounts heavenward so steeply that it was formerly called the Via del Monte. The authorities, in an effort to keep up with popular taste, have recently changed the name to Via Raffaello.

It is a mean, simple and grim looking little house, not at all beautiful according to palatial standards. On the 6th of April, 1483, its fame began, but pilgrims have only in recent years come to bow down before it. Nevertheless popes and prelates and princes came here to sit to the “painter of Urbino” and have left an added distinction to the house. Muzio Oddi, the celebrated architect and mathematician, caused to be graven the following on its façade:—

“Ludet in humanis divina potentia rebus
Et saepe in parvis claudre magna solet.”

A tablet marks the house plainly. It will not be possible to miss it.{235}

Urbino sits high above the surrounding valley, twelve or fifteen hundred feet above sea level. A coach of doubtful antiquity formerly made the same journey as that covered by the railway and deposited its mixed freight of travellers and inhabitants in one of the most splendid of the Renaissance cities of Italy. Now, the automobile brings many more tourists than ever before came by coach, or railway even, and accordingly Urbino will undoubtedly become better known.

The court of Urbino in the sixteenth century was one of the most refined and learned of the courts of Italy, and therefore of the world. Coryat in his “Crudities,” of the seventeenth century, remarks a difference between English and Italian manners.

“I observed a custom in all those Italian cities and towns through which I passed, that is not used in any other country that I saw in my travels; neither do I think that any other nation of Christendom doth use it, but only Italy. The Italian, and also most strangers that are commorant in Italy, do always at their meals use a little fork when they cut their meat.” Is it that the fork came to earth as a seventeenth century Italian innovation?

Urbino’s Albergo Italia merits the sign of{236} the crossed knife and fork, the Automobile Club’s endorsement of good food.

One of the classic figures of mediæval Urbino was Oddantonio, of the great house of Montefeltro, who, succeeding to the dukedom at the age of fifteen, fell under the ill control of the brilliant, but corrupt, Sigismondo Malatesta, of Rimini.

Thirty five kilometres east of Urbino lies the blue Adriatic, perhaps the most beautiful of all the Italian seas. The descent from four hundred metres at Urbino to sea level is gradual and easy, but it is a steady fall that is bound to be remarked by travellers by road, with the sea in sight for the major part of the way.

One comes to the Adriatic shore at Pesaro, midway on the coast between Ravenna and Ancona. North and south, from the Venetian boundary to the rocky, sparse-populated shores of Calabria, flanking upon the Ionian sea, is a wonderland of little-travelled highroad, all of it a historic itinerary, though indeed the road is none of the best. To the jaded traveller, tired of stock sights and scenes, the covering of this coast road from Venice to Brindisi would be a journey worth the making, but it should not be done hurriedly.{237}



THE Italian shore of the Adriatic is a terra incognita to most travellers in Italy, save those who take ship for the east at Brindisi, and even they arrive from Calais, Paris or Ostende by express train without break of journey en route.

The following table gives the kilometric distances of this shore road by the Adriatic, through the coast towns from Otranto in Pouilles to Chioggia in Venetia. The itinerary has, perhaps, never been made in its entirety by any stranger automobilist, but the writer has seen enough to make him want to cover its entire length.

Here the road leaves the coast but joins again at Ortona.
Chioggia    20,3811,160.5


The above are the cold figures as worked out from the Road Books, Maps and Profiles of the Touring Club Italiano. The whole forms a rather lengthy itinerary but, in part, it is within the power of every automobilist in Italy to make, as he crosses Umbria from Rome to the Adriatic, by including that portion of the route between Ancona and Chioggia. This cuts the distance to the more reasonable figure of a little more than three hundred kilometres.

Taranto, Otranto and Bari are mere place names for which most do not even know where to look on the map. Conditions of life were not easy or luxurious here in the outposts of the western empire, and the influx of alien Greek and Turk and Jew has ever tended to{239} change the Italian colouring to one almost Oriental in tone and brilliance.

Brindisi has usually been considered a mere way station on the traveller’s itinerary, where he changes train for boat. But it is more than that. It was the ancient Brentesion of the Greeks, indeed it was the gateway of all intercourse between the peninsula and the Greece of the mainland and the islands of Ægina.

Virgil died here on his return from Greece in 19 B.C., and for that reason alone it at once takes rank as one of the world’s great literary shrines. But who ever heard of a literary pilgrim coming here!

Brindisi’s Castello, built by Ferdinand II and Charles V, still overlooks the harbour and, though it performs no more the functions of a fortress, it is an imposing and admirable mediæval monument.

Near the harbour is a svelt Greek column with a highly sculptured capital and an inscription to the memory of a Byzantine ruler who built up the city anew in the tenth century, after it had fallen prey to the Saracens. This column, too, supposedly marks the termination of the Appian Way, which started from Rome’s Forum and wandered across the Campagna and on to this eastern outpost.{240}

Brindisi; The Terminal Column of the Appian Way


Bari, like Brindisi, was an ancient seaport. Horace sang its praises, or rather the praises of its fish, as did Petrarch of the carp at Vaucluse, and the town was one of the most ancient bishoprics in Italy.

From the tenth to the fourteenth century the fate of the town was ever in the balance, changing its allegiance from one seigneur to another, who, for the moment, happened to be the more masterful. In the fourteenth century it became an independent Duchy, and in 1558 was united with the kingdom of Naples.

Bari’s Castello was built in 1160 and, like that at Brindisi, is of that grim militant aspect which bespeaks, if not deeds of romance, at least those of valour.

In the Piazza Mercanto is a great bronze lion wearing an exaggerated dog-collar on which is inscribed the “Custos Justitiæ,” the heraldic motto and device of the city.

Manfredonia, Termoli, Ortona and Pescara are all of them charming Adriatic towns, each and all possessed of vivid reminders of the days of the corsairs, adventurers and pirate Saracen hordes. Their battlemented walls and castles still exist in the real, and little of twentieth century progress has, as yet, made its{242} mark upon them. Mythology, history and romance have here combined.

Ancona is not included in every one’s Italian itinerary. This is the more to be regretted in that it is very accessible, not only by road but by rail from Ravenna or Perugia, or by sea, in eight or ten hours, from Venice. The city of fifty thousand inhabitants, with a Ghetto of six thousand Jews, is beautifully situated on an amphitheatre of hills overlooking the Adriatic. The mole which encloses its harbour supports two triumphal arches, making a sort of monumental water-gate unequalled by anything similar in all the world. One of these arches was erected by the Roman Senate in 122, to the honour of Trajan, and the other in honour of Pope Clement XII in 1740.

Trajan undoubtedly deserved the honour. It was he who was the first to hold that “it was better a thousand guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should be condemned.” When he appointed Subarranus Captain of the Guard, he presented him, according to custom, with a drawn sword, saying, as he handed it, these memorable words: “Pro me, si merear, in me” (“Use this sword for me: If I deserve it, against me”). It is good to know that men like these may have memorial{243} arches as well as mere cut-throat conquerors.

Trajan’s Arch, Ancona

Trajan’s Arch, Ancona

Every student of Italian architecture knows Piranesi’s drawing of the famous Trajan arch at Ancona. It was more truthful than many of his drawings of Roman antiquities, and might indeed have been made in these latter years, for little is changed on Ancona’s seafront.

There is at Ancona a memory of Filippo Lippi, a monkish draughtsman of great ability, a contemporary of the better known Fra Angelico.

Once he set out on the blue waters of the Adriatic, from the very steps below the Arch of Trajan where the waves lap to-day, for a little sail. Like many people who make excursions in boats, he was unskilful, and worse, for, drifting out to sea, he was in due time picked up by a Barbary pirate and next put foot on shore in Africa. He drew the pirate chief’s portrait on the wall of his prison, and in spite of the interdiction of the Koran, the Moor was pleased and gave the Fra his liberty forthwith, taking him back to within sight of Trajan’s arch, when he was precipitately put over side and made to swim ashore, the pirate returning from whence he came.{244}

Senegallia, between Ancona and Pesaro, was an appanage of the Dukes of Urbino. It is an enchanting, unworldly little town, even to-day, its great protecting walls pierced by six gateways, the same through which a whole hierarchy of conquerors passed in the long ago. It is a place of dreams, if one is given to that sort of thing. The Mediæval Palazzo Communal is still in evidence, and the little creek-like harbour is full of wobbly little boats with painted masts and sails, all most quaint. Behind are the gentle slopes of vine-clad hills shutting out the western world beyond.

Pesaro, the ancient Pisaurum, is the capital of the united provinces of Pesaro and Urbino. The Malatesta, the Sforza and the Rovere families all ruled its destinies in their time, and the little capital came to be a literary and art centre which, in a small way, rivalled its more opulent compeers.

Pesaro’s ducal palace is, in a way, a monument to the Queen Lucrezia Borgia, as is the rude fortress of the walls a memory of Giovanni Sforza, her first husband. At the age of twenty-six, Giovanni married the daughter of Alessandro Borgia, who was but thirteen, and brought his bride forthwith, blessed with the Papal benediction, to this bijou of a palace{245} where fêtes and merrymakings of a most prodigal sort went on for many nights and days.

Castel Malatesta, Rimini

Castel Malatesta, Rimini

Back to the coast and one comes to Rimini, the southern terminus of the Via Æmilia. Rimini’s Arco d’Augusto was erected as a memorial to the great Augustus in 27 B. C. The Ponte d’Augusto, too, is a monument of the times, which date back nearly nineteen centuries. It was begun in the last year of the life of Augustus.

The Palazzo del Comune contains the municipal picture-gallery, and before it stands a bronze statue of Pope Paul V, but the greatest interest lies in the contemplation of the now ruined and dilapidated Castel Malatesta. Its walls are grim and sturdy still, but it is nothing but a hollow mockery of a castle to-day, as it has been relegated to use as a prison and stripped of all its luxurious belongings of the days of the Malatesta. The family arms in cut stone still appear above the portal.

The chief figure of Rimini’s old time portrait gallery was the famous Lord of Rimini, Sigismondo Malatesta, a man of exquisite taste, a patron of the arts, a sincere lover of beauty.

From Rimini to Ravenna, still within sight of the Adriatic’s waves, is some fifty kilometres by road or rail, through a low, marshy, un{246}wholesome-looking region, half aquatic, half terrestrial.

La Pineta, or the Pine Forest, the same whose praises were sung by Dante, Boccaccio, Dryden and Byron, and which supplied the timber for the Venetian ships of the Republic’s heyday is in full view from Ravenna’s walls.

Boccaccio made the Pineta the scene of his singular tale, “Nostagio degli Onesti”; the incidents of which, ending in the amorous conversion of the ladies of Ravenna, have been made familiar to the English reader by Dryden’s adoption of them in his “Theodore and Honoria.”

“Where the last Cæsarean fortress stood,
Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio’s lore
And Dryden’s lay made haunted ground.”

Ravenna sits grim and proud in the very midst of wide, flat, marshy plains across which straight arrow-like roads roll out seemingly interminable kilometres to the joy of the automobilist and the despair of the traveller with a hired hack. The region between Ravenna and the sea is literally half land, half water, marshes partitioned off by canals and pools stretching away in every direction. It is lone and strange, but it is not sad and above all is{247} most impressive. Turn out of any of Ravenna’s great gates and the aspect is invariably the same. Great ox-carts, peasants in the fields and, far away, the brown sails of the Adriatic fishing boats are the only punctuating notes of a landscape which is anything but gay and lively. It is as Holland under a mediæval sun, for mostly the sun shines brilliantly here, which it does not in the Low Countries. Ravenna was the ancient capital of the Occidental Roman Empire, but to-day, in its marshy site, the city is in anything but the proud estate it once occupied. The aspect of the whole city is as weird and strange as that of its site. It is of far too great an area for the few thousand pallid mortals who live there. It has ever been a theatre of crime, disaster and disappointment, but its very walls and gateways echo a mysterious and penetrating charm. It possesses, even to-day, though more or less in fragments it is true, many structures dating from the fifth to the eighth centuries, though of its old Palace of the Cæsars but a few crumbled stones remain. Ravenna is the home of the classic typical Christian architecture which went out broadcast through Europe in the middle ages. The Palace of Theodoric hardly exists as a ruin, but some poor ugly stone piers{248} are commonly granted the dignity of once having belonged to it, as well as an ancient wall of brick.

Theodoric’s tomb is in La Rotonda, a kilometre or more from Ravenna in the midst of a vineyard. The earliest portrait in Ravenna’s great gallery of notables is that of Theodoric, an art-loving ruler, an enlightened administrator, with simple, devout ideas, and a habit of nightly vigils. Ravenna was to him a world, a rich golden world, polished yet primitive.

Aside from its magnificent churches, Ravenna’s monuments are not many or great.

There is Theodoric’s Palace before mentioned, the Archiepiscopal Palace, a restored work of the sixteenth century, and the Palazzo Governativo built in the eighteenth century, with many splendid fragments—columns and the like—of an earlier period incorporated therein.

On the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele are two great granite columns, erected in 1484 by the Venetians, and some fragments of a colonnade or loggia which may be a part of the Hall of Justice of Theodoric’s time.

Palazzo di Teodorico, Ravenna

Palazzo di Teodorico, Ravenna

Column to Gaston de Foix, Ravenna

The tomb of Dante is near the church of San Francesco. It is an uncouth shrine which covers the poet’s remains, but it ranks high{249}{250} among those of its class from more sincere motives than those which usually induce one to rave over more pompous and more splendid charms.

Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar,”

sang Byron.

Northward from Ravenna, but in roundabout fashion whether one goes by road or rail is Comacchio. Comacchio is four kilometres from the Adriatic and forty-four from Ferrara. Ariosto called the inhabitants:—

“      .    .    .    .    .     .    .gente desiosa
Che il mar si turbi e sieno i venti atroci,”

but this need not deter the seeker after new sensations from going there to see them catch eels on a wholesale plan, and handle them afterwards in a manner of cleanliness and with a rapidity which is truly marvellous.

They are caught by wholesale, and a tagliatore armed with a useful-looking hatchet called a manarino chops them into pieces called morelli. After this the eels are cooked on a great open-fire spit and finally packed in boiling oil, like the little fishes of the Breton coast, and ultimately sold and served as hors d’œuvres in{251} Italian restaurants the world over. North of Comacchio on the shore of a Venetian lagoon is Chioggia.

Chioggia has no great architectural or historical monuments, but is as paintable as Venice itself; indeed, it is a little brother to Venice, but lacking its splendour and great palaces. Its quay-side Madonna is venerated by all the fishing folk round about.

Venice early conquered Chioggia and in turn the Genoese came along and took it from their rival in 1379, though the Venetians within the year got it back again. With such a fate ever hanging over it, Chioggia had not great encouragement to build great palaces and so its inhabitants turned to fishing and have always kept at it.

Unless one is crossing direct from Florence to Venice, by the Futa Pass and Bologna, Ferrara, as a stopping place on one’s Italian itinerary, is best reached from Ravenna. The road is flat, generally well-conditioned and covers a matter of seventy kilometres, mostly within sight of the sea or lagoons, more like Holland even than the country through which one has recently passed.

The Madonna of Chioggia

The Madonna of Chioggia

Of all the romantic Renaissance shrines of{252}{253} Italy none have a more potent attraction than Ferrara.

The Ferrara of the Middle Ages, like the Ferrara of to-day, is a paradox. No Italian State of similar power and magnificence ever exerted such disproportionate influence upon mediæval Italy; no city in United Italy in which are so combined the fascinating treasures of the past and modern political and industrial enterprise is so ignored by the casual traveller. Once the strongest post on the frontier of the Papal States, the seat of the House of Este, the abiding place of Torquato Tasso and Ludovico Ariosto, and the final marital home of Lucrezia Borgia, the golden period of its sixteenth century magnificence has sunk into an isolation unheeded by contingent development, and its inhabitants have shrunken to a bare third of their former numbers.

The ducal family of Este lived the life of the times to the limit of their powers. They, one and all, inherited a taste for crimes of various shades, just as they inherited the love of art. Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, had no profound moral sense in spite of his finer instincts, and was so “liberal minded” that he shocked Bayard, the “chevalier sans peur et sans reproche,” into crossing himself “more than{254} ten times” as an antidote, when he first came into the ducal presence.

From a frieze in the Palazzo, at Ferrara

From a frieze in the Palazzo, at Ferrara

Ferrara’s castello or castel vecchio, which is better known as its ducal château, is a remarkable specimen of military architecture. On Saint Michael’s Day, 1385, its first stones were put in place by Bartolina di Novara, and the ardour of the workmen was so great that at the end of sixteen months the work was com{255}pleted as it is to-day, with its towers, its doubly thick walls, and all its brutal force.



A fosse surrounds the edifice, and two gateways only give access to the interior. Under Alphonso I certain embellishments were added to the old castle, bringing it up to the times in luxurious decorative details and the like. The rude feudal castle now became virtually a residential château. The crenelated battlements were transformed into mere parapets, the chemins de ronde into terraces and hanging gardens.

Pictures and frescoes were at this time added liberally, and, though to-day many of these have been dispersed to the four corners of Europe, enough remain to indicate the importance of these new embellishments.

The cachots or dungeon cells still exist, and are regarded—by the guardian—as one of the chief “sights.” Some others may think differently.

The house of Ariosto is one of Ferrara’s most popular attractions, though indeed it is not remarkable architecturally. Ariosto was one of the brilliant figures of the Ferrara court, but his house was modest and bare, as is remarked by a tablet which it bore in the poet’s time, and on which was carved in Latin: “My{256} house is small but was built for my own convenience and entirely with my own money.” How many householders of to-day can say the same?

In the hospital in the southern quarter of the town is still to be seen the prison cell commonly assigned to Tasso. On the walls are scribbled the names of Lord Byron and Casimir Delavigne and Lamartine’s verses on Tasso, and over the door runs the inscription—

“Ingresso alla prigione di Torquato Tasso.”

For seven years and more Tasso lived within these four narrow walls.

“Ferrara! in thy wide and grass-grown streets
Whose symmetry was not for solitude,
There seems as ’twere a curse upon the seats
Of former sovereigns, and the antique brood
Of Este....
.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  
And Tasso is their glory and their shame.”
Childe Harold.

Closely bound with Ferrara and the fortunes of the family of Este is the town of that name midway between Ferrara and Padua at the foot of the Euganean Hills. The ancestral residence of the family of Este is here, but in a more or less ruinous state to-day.{257}

The “Rocca” or Castle of Este was erected in 1343 by Ulbertino Carrara, and repaired by the Scaligers during their temporary possession of it. It is a noble dungeon tower, with frowning embrasures and battlements, and stands at least upon the site of the original fortress. Alberto Azzo (born 996) was the more immediate founder of the house here on the death of the Emperor Henry III. The ancestry of Alberto may be traced in history to Bonifazio, Duke or Marquis of Tuscany, in 811. Poetry carries it much higher. The magician, in the vision of the enchanted shield, enables Rinaldo to behold Caius Attius as his remote ancestor:—

“Mostragli Caio allor, ch’a strane genti
Va prima in preda il gia inclinato Impero,
Prendere il fren de’ popoli volenti,
E farsi d’Este il Principe primiero;
E a lui ricoverarsi i men potenti
Vicini, a cui Rettor facea mestiero,
Poscia, quando ripassi il varco noto,
A gli inviti d’Honorio il fero Goto.”
Orlando Furioso.

Guelph, Duke of Bavaria (succeeded 1071), from whom all the branches of the House of Brunswick are descended, was the son of Alberto Azzo, Marquis of Este, by his first wife, Cunegunda, a princess of the Suabian line.{258}

Fulco I, Marquis of Italy and Lord of Este, the son of Alberto Azzo by his second wife, Garisenda, daughter of Herbert, Count of Maine, was the founder of the Italian branch from which the Dukes of Ferrara and Modena descended, the male line of which became extinct at the end of the last century. The Duke of Modena, who was deposed in the mid-nineteenth century, represented the house of Este in the female line,—his grandmother, Maria Beatrix, having been the last descendant of the Italian branch. Este continued in the possession of the descendants of Alberto until 1294, when it fell an easy conquest to the Carraras. Successively a dependency of Padua and of the Verona Scaligers, it passed to Venice in 1405, retaining its local government and municipal institutions.

Near Este is Arqua, where Petrarch died in 1374. It has been a literary shrine since 1650, for a chronicler of that time remarks it as one of the things to come to Italy to see. The house is still to be seen, and the sarcophagus containing his remains and an inscription beginning—

Frigida Francisci lopis hic tegit ossa Petrarce

is before the tiny church of this little frequented and little exploited village.{259}

Casa del Petrarca, Arqua




THE Via Æmilia of antiquity is a wonder to-day, or would be if it were kept in a little better repair. As it is, it is as good a road as any “good road” in Italy, and straight as an arrow, as it runs boldly from the Adriatic at Rimini to Piacenza, through the ancient States of Bologna, Modena and Parma.

No automobilist who ever rolls off its length of 262 kilometres will class it as inferior to any other Italian road of its class.

The following categorical mention of the cities and towns on this great Roman way presents their varied charms in a sufficient number, surely, to make the hurried north or southbound traveller think it worth while to zigzag about a bit, in going from Florence to Venice, in order to visit them all.

The first place of note after leaving Rimini is Cesana—“She whose flank is washed by Savio’s wave,” Dante wrote.{261}

Cesana is full of reminders of the profligate Cæsar Borgia. The library of Cesana was famous in mediæval times and held its head high among the city’s other glories. Above all was the famous Rocca of Cesana, a fortress château of great strength in days when feudal lords needed a warren into which they might run and hide at every league.

The Palazzo Publico is a square, sturdy, none too lovely building with some notable pictures within, and a statue of Pius VII, who was a native of the place.

In the stirring times of the pontificate of Gregorius XI, the Avignon Pope sent a cut-throat Cardinal into Italy at the head of a band of soldiery who entered and pillaged Cesana in 1377. His cry at the head of his troops was ever: “Blood! more blood! Kill! Kill! Kill!” A nice sort of a man for a Cardinal Prince of the Church!

The highroad between Cesana and Rimini passes through the valley of the Rubicon. Mule tracks, sloping hills and olive groves are the chief characteristics of this vale, the spot where Cæsar apocryphally crossed the Rubicon. Historians up to Montesquieu’s time seemed to take it for granted, but latterly it has been denied.{262}

Forli and Imola were the principal towns of Romagna, the patrimony of Catherine Sforza and Girolamo Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. When the new married pair first came to their little State from Rome the Renaissance was at its height, and the ambitious bride sought, so far as possible, to surround herself with its splendours. Their reign in the east was not happy; Girolamo proved a tyrant, and was promptly assassinated by his followers, leaving Catherine and her five children completely in the power of his murderers, who made her give up her claims to her little kingdom. She consented, or pretended to consent. She conspired with the Governor of the fortress, Tommaso Feo, and appeared on its ramparts dressed as a warrior. She refused to surrender, and when it was recalled that she had left her children behind as hostages she cruelly replied: “In time I shall have others.” Catherine Sforza was a bloodthirsty vixen, surely.

Forli was Catherine Sforza’s own city, and her defence of it against the Borgias was one of the celebrated sieges of history. She held out two years, and then only gave in because she was betrayed. Her very reason of warring with the Borgias reflects greatly on her credit. She refused simply to allow her son to marry{263} the aging Lucrezia; “not so much on account of her age,” said Catherine, “as her morals.” Princely marriages are often carried out on different lines to-day.

Almost within sight of Forli is Faënza, a city which was under the domination of the Manfredi when Cæsar Borgia took it into his head to move against it. A young prince by the name of Astor III, but eighteen years of age, beloved by all for his amiability, grace and youth, held its future in his hands. When the key of Faënza, Brisighella, fell to the Borgia’s captain of artillery in the early days of November in 1500, the emperor-like Cæsar himself came forward and took command. He offered life to the dwellers within the walls if they would surrender, but they would have none of it, for, as the Borgia wrote in a letter to the Duc d’Urbino, dated from “the pontifical camp before Faënza,” a “dramatic defence was made by the citizens of the town.” This “dramatic defence” was such that it compelled Borgia and his papal soldiers to go into winter quarters. The struggle was the longest that Borgia had yet undertaken in his campaigns, and the women of Faënza, as did Catherine Sforza at Forli, covered themselves with glory.{264}

A daughter of a soldier of the garrison, Diamante Jovelli, put herself at the head of a band of Amazons who took entire charge of the commissariat, the handling of the munitions of war, and served as sentinels, repairing the walls even when breached—rough work for women. “The women of Faënza have saved the honour of Italy,” wrote Isabella d’Este in 1501 to her husband, the Duke of Mantua, and Cæsar Borgia himself committed himself to paper with the following words: “Would that I had an entire army of the women of Faënza.” The city fell in due time, and the crafty Cæsar honoured the gallant Manfredi, “crowned with the laurels of valour and misfortune,” by allowing him “a guard of honour and all his proper dignities.” Later the Borgia repented of his generosity, and sent the young and gallant prince to Rome, and imprisoned him in the Castle of Sant’Angelo for a year.

Faënza is a very ancient town, and less populous to-day than it was fifty years ago, when also it was less populous than it was five hundred years ago.

Imola, the seventh place of importance on the Æmilian itinerary counting from Rimini, was the ancient Forum Cornelii, but by Charlemagne’s time it had already become known by{265} its present name. In the middle ages Imola’s geographical position, midway between Bologna and Romagna, made it an important acquisition in the contests for power. It was successfully held by many different chiefs, and was united to the States of the Church under Julius II. As one of the stations on the Æmilian Way, it was a place of some importance; it is mentioned by Cicero, and by Martial:—

“Si veneris unde requiret,
Æmiliæ dices de regione viæ.
Si quibus in terris, qua simus in urbe rogabit,
Corneli referas me, licet, esse Foro.”

The fortress château of Imola was almost identical in form with that of Forli, quadrilateral with four great towers at the angles, and a crenelated battlement at the skyline.

Cæsar Borgia brought this fortress to ignoble surrender in 1499, but since the fortress was then quite independent of the city he had still another task before him before the inhabitants actually came within his powers. A fortnight after the capture of the fortress the city itself fell. Imola was a part of the marriage dot of Catherine Sforza, who confided its defence to Dionigi di Naldo while she busied herself at Forli, where she reigned as widow and inheritor of Riario Sforza.{266}

On towards Bologna one passes Castel San Pietro, a thirteenth century fortified town still sleeping its dull time away since no war or rumours of war give it concern. Quaderna, even less progressive and important to-day than its neighbour, was the important station of Claternum in the days when traffic on the great Æmilian way was greater than now.

Bologna’s towers and domes loom large on the horizon as one draws up on this great capital from any direction. Bologna, because of its easy access, is one of the popular tourist points of Italy, and for that reason it is omitted from nobody’s itinerary, though most hurried travellers remember the mortadella better than they do the cathedral, which in truth is nothing very fine so far as architectural masterpieces go.

The roads in and out of Bologna are quite the best to be found neighbouring upon a large city in Italy. They shall not be described further, the mere statement that this is so should be taken as sufficient praise.

The streets within the gates too, though paved, are splendidly straight and smooth, though encumbered at one or two awkward corners with tram tracks.

The visitor to Bologna may take his ease at{267} the Hotel Brun, quite the most distinguished hotel in all Italy, not even excepting Daniellis or the Grand at Venice, each of them a palazzo of long ago.

BOLOGNA (diagram)

The Hotel Brun is a red brick palace of imposing presence, with a delightful courtyard where you may stable your automobile along side of those of most of the touring nobility of Europe at a cost of two and a half francs a night. The hotel in spite of this is excellent in every way.{268}

Bologna is surrounded by a city wall pierced by twelve gateways and thus well preserves its mediæval effect in spite of its theatres, cafés and restaurants, which are decidedly modern and unlovely.

Bologna when it was conquered by the Gauls took the name of Bononia. Under Charlemagne it became a free city and had for its device the equivalent of the word Liberty.

Bologna, the ancient city, proud in the middle ages and independent always, has ever been the cradle of disturbing factions, a revolutionary precursor of new ideas, and has been sold and sold again by first one Judas and then another.

Bologna is, taking its history, its present day prosperity and its still existing mediæval monuments into consideration, the most impressive and imposing of all the secondary cities of Italy, indeed in many of the things that impress the traveller it is ahead, far ahead, of Florence.

Paul Van Herle, a fifteenth century Dutchman, first called the city Bologna la Grassa because of the opulency of the good things of the table which might be had here. Its wines and its grapes are superlative, and its mortadella,{269} or Bologna sausage, is, to many, a delicacy without an equal.

The Leaning Towers of Bologna

The Leaning Towers of Bologna

Bologna seems to have a specialty of leaning towers, though the school histories and geographies always use that of Pisa to illustrate those architectural curiosities. Their histories are very romantic, and the mere fact that they are out of perpendicular takes nothing away from their charm. The two leaning brick towers of Bologna’s Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, the Torri Asinelli and the Torri Gorisenda, the first nearly a hundred metres in height and the latter about half that height, are two of the most remarkable structures ever erected by the hand of man.

The Asinelli tower was built in 1109, and its neighbour, which never achieved its completion, in the following year.

From Bologna to Modena is thirty-two kilometres and midway is Castel Franco or Forte Urbano, as it is variously known. It was formerly the Forum Gallorum of the Romans and still has its castel little changed from what it was in the days when Urban VIII built it.

Modena is mostly confounded by hurried travellers with Modane, though the latter is merely a railway junction where one is tumbled{270} out in the middle of the night to make his peace with railway and customs officials.

Modena’s Palazzo Ducale, now the Palazzo Reale, was and is a vast, gaudy construction, not lovely but overpowering with a certain crude grandeur. A military school has now turned it to practical use. It never could have been good for much else. A picture gallery and Cæsar d’Este’s famous library are quartered in the Albergo Arti, built by the Duke Francesco III in the seventeenth century.

The library Biblioteca Estense was brought from Ferrara in 1598 by Cæsar d’Este on his expulsion by Clement VIII. It contained 100,000 volumes and 3,000 MSS. Three of the most learned men in Italy during the last century—Zaccaria, Tiraboschi and Muratori—were its librarians. Amongst the treasures were a gospel of the third century, a Dante with miniature of the fourteenth century, a collection of several hundred Provençal poems, etc.

Modena was the birthplace of Mary of Modena, the fascinating princess who became the Italian Queen of the English people, the consort of James II. She was an Italian Princess of the house of Este. Her mother was the Duchess Laura of Modena, daughter of Count Martinozzi and Margaret Mazarini, cousin of{271} the great Cardinal Mazarin, and she was married, under his auspices, at the Chapel Royal of Compiègne, in 1655, by proxy, to Alfonso d’Este, hereditary Prince, and afterwards Duke Alfonso IV of Modena.

When Lord Peterborough, the envoy of the Duke of York, was shown the portrait of the Princess Mary he saw “a young Creature about Fourteen years of Age; but such a light of Beauty, such Characters of Ingenuity and Goodness as it surprised him, and fixt upon his Phancy that he had found his Mistress, and the Fortune of England.” He made every effort to meet her personally, but in vain; so he was introduced, “by means such as might seem accidental,” to the Abbé Rizzini, who was employed at Paris to negotiate the interests of the House of Este. This man attributed “many excellencies to Mary of Modena, yet he endeavoured to make them useless” to them by saying that she and her mother wished that she might take the veil. It was later learned that obstacles were put in the Duke of York’s way until he announced his willingness to become a Roman Catholic.

Reggio in Æmilia, passed on the road to Parma, is a snug little town, supposedly the birthplace of Ariosto. A house so marked{272} compels popular admiration, but again it is possible that he was born within the citadel, since razed.


The Duchies of Parma and Modena counted little in the political balance in their day, but the fêtes and spectacles of their courts were frequently brilliant.

The Duchy of Parma and of Piacenza was created in 1545 by the Pope Paul III for his son Pietro Farnese. Little of Parma’s mediæval character remains to-day. The town is said to have been called Parma from its similarity to the form of a shield. But the torrent{273} Parma, which runs through the city, crossed by three bridges, besides the railway bridge, most probably gave its name to the city which arose upon the banks. When the city was under the authority of the Popes it was represented by a female figure sitting on a pile of shields, and holding a figure of Victory, with the inscription of Parma aurea. Let the heraldic students figure out any solution of the incident that they please, or are able.

The Via Æmilia divides the city, by means of the Strada Mæstra, into two very nearly equal parts. Parma, like Modena and Lucca, has changed its fortification walls into boulevards, called “Stradone,” which are the favourite rendezvous for Parmesan high society when it goes out for a stroll.

Near Parma is Canossa, the site of an old fortified town, one day of considerable importance, but now decayed beyond hope. Here the Emperor Henry IV, bareheaded and barefooted, supplicated Pope Gregory V in 1077, an incident of history not yet forgotten by the annalists of church and state.

Soon after leaving Parma the Roman road crosses the river Taro, the boundary frontier which shut off the Gaulish from the Ligurian tribes. The Brothers of the Bridge here built{274} a great work of masonry in 1170, obtaining money for the expense of the work by begging from the travellers passing to and fro on the Æmilian Way. In time this old bridge was carried away, and for centuries a ferry boat served the purpose, until, in fact, the present structure came into being.

Borgo San Donino, some twenty kilometres beyond the Taro, marks the shrine of San Donino, a soldier in the army of Maximilian who became a Christian and refused to worship as commanded by his Emperor. For this he was put to death on this spot, and for ever after Borgo San Donino has been one of the most frequented places of pilgrimage in Italy.

Fiorenzuola, still on the Via Æmilia, a dozen kilometres farther on, has still an old tower to which hang fragments of an enormous chain by which criminals once were bound and swung aloft.

All through this fertile, abundant region through which runs the famous Roman Road are numerous little borgos, or villages, bearing names famous in the history of Italy and its contemporary minor states.

Piacenza was founded by the Gauls and was afterwards by the Romans named Placentia. It has ever prospered, though its career has{275} been fraught more than once with danger of extinction. By the tenth century its great trading fair was famous throughout Europe.


Piacenza is full of palaces, statues and monuments which merit the consideration of all serious minded persons, but the automobilist who has made the last fifty kilometres of the Via Æmilia in the rain—and how much it does rain in Italy only one who has travelled there by road for weeks really appreciates—is first concerned as to where he may lay his head and house his car free from harm.

The Grand Hotel San Marco answers his needs well enough and has the endorsement of the Touring Club de France as well as that{276} of the Italian Touring Club, but it is ridiculous that one is obliged to pay in a smug little Italian town of thirty-five thousand inhabitants five francs a night for housing his automobile.

Piacenza is on the direct road to the Italian Lakes via Milan, from which it is distant seventy kilometres.{277}



THE mainland background of Venice, in its most comprehensive sense the region lying north of the Po and south and west of the Austrian frontier, is not a much-travelled region by any class of tourists in Italy. The traveller by rail usually comes up from Bologna and Florence and, with a stop at Padua, makes for Venice forthwith and leaves for the Italian lake region, stopping en route at Verona. The automobilist too often does the thing even more precipitately, by taking Padua and Verona flying, or at least while he is stopping to replenish the inner man or the inner claims of his automobile. Certain readers of this book who may perhaps have done the thing a little more thoroughly may claim that this is an exaggeration, and so far as it applies to their particular case it may be, but the writer honestly believes that it fits astonishingly well with the majority of Italian itineraries in these{278} parts. He bases this on the fact that he has seen tourists in droves in Padua and Verona, and he has not seen one in Este, Monselice, Battaglia, or even in Vicenza, Treviso, Asolo or Udine.


Verona, Vicenza and Padua were the capitals of three of the eight ancient provinces of Venezia.

Padua is built in the midst of a vast plain which merits being called Italian-Flanders. In everything but climate it is like a section of the Low Countries, and the city, with its domes and towers, looms up over the low-lying plain, faint and ghostly from afar, like a mirage of the desert.{279}

Canals and fortress walls enclose the city even to-day, and the nearer one approaches, until one actually sees it from within the walls, the less and less Padua becomes like Italy. The greatest interest of Padua centres undoubtedly in its church of Sant’Antonio, dedicated to the pious companion of Francis of Assisi; after that the University which numbered among its masters Erasmus, Mantius and Galileo, and among its students Dante, Tasso and Petrarch. Padua is intimately associated with the name of Petrarch by reason of his having been a student here. Petrarch died before Chaucer’s time, but the Florentine’s fame had gone afield and from the “Clerk’s Tale” one recalls the following:

“Lerned at Padowe of a worthy clerk,
Fraunceys Petrark, the laureat poete,
Highte this clerk, whose rethorike sweet
Enlumined al Itaille of poetrye.”

Padua in spite of its low lying situation is monumental at every turn. They had courage, the old builders, to plant great buildings down in the morass, and faith to believe they would last as long as they have.

On Padua’s great Piazzas—there are three of them, one leading out of the other—rise the{280} chief civic buildings of mediæval times. The Loggia del Consiglio is an astonishingly ample Renaissance work of an early period, access to its great hall being by a monumental exterior stairway. An ancient column, with a San Marco lion is immediately in front.

The Palazzo Capitano, with its sky piercing clock tower of the fourteenth century, was formerly the residence of the Venetian Governor, and the Palazzo della Ragione, known as Il Salone, contains one of the vastest single roofed apartments known. There is a long unobstructed corridor in the mosque of Saint Sophia at Constantinople which holds the record in its line, but the Salone of Padua, built in 1420, is pre-eminent in superficial area.

The ancient Palace of the Carrera, tyrants of Padua, is one of the things that burn themselves in the mind from the sheer inability of one to overlook them. When one sees the colossal frescoes of the Entrance Hall one repeats unconsciously the dictum of Victor Hugo over Madame Dorval—the beautiful Madame Dorval: Je ne veux pas mourir.

It is the fashion to quote Dante and Byron and Shelley in Italy, but a little of Alfred de Musset is a cheerful relief. Here are some of his lines on Padua:

In Padua


“Padoue est un fort bel endroit
Où de très-grands docteurs en droit
On fait merveille;
Mais j’aime mieux la polenta
Qu’on mange aux bords de la Brenta
Sous un treille.”

The Albergo Fanti-Stella d’Oro at Padua is all sufficient as a tourist hotel, but lacks a good deal of what a hotel for automobilists should be. There is accommodation for one’s automobile in the coach house, but it evidently is a separately owned concern, for when you come to take your auto out you will be followed like a thief when you try to explain that you prefer to pay the garage charges when you pay your hotel bill. You may eat à la carte in the hotel restaurant at any hour, and you may have a room across the way in the annex, a better room and for a smaller price than you can have at the Albergo itself. Altogether this opera bouffe hotel is neither bad nor good, and most confusing as to its personnel and their conduct. They need to have a “Who’s Who,” printed in German, French and English to put into the hands of each guest on arrival.

The automobilist has not yet reached Venice. The nearest that he may come to it is to Mestre, where he may garage his automobile in any one{282} of half a dozen palatial establishments especially devoted to the purpose. Mestre, of absolutely no rank whatever as a city of art or architecture or sights for the tourist, has more automobile garages than any other city in Italy.

The splendour of Venice is undeniable, whether one takes note of its unique architecture or of its remarkable site. Men with courage to build gilded and marble palaces on a half submerged chain of isles scarce above the level of the sea do not live to-day. How well these early builders planned is evinced by the fact that Venice the magnificent exists to-day as it always has existed—all but the Campanile. The fall of this shows what may happen some day to the rest of this regal city. When? No one knows. Men conquered the morass in the first instance. Can they hold it in subjection into eternity?

Venice with all its gorgeousness is just the least bit triste.

Not a tree worthy of the name, not a garden or a farm yard, not a cart or a horse—and not an automobile is to be found within its purlieus. One is as if in prison. A watery barrier surrounds one on every side. The sea, always the sea, mostly mirror-like or gently lapping its waves at your very feet—and black{283} gondolas everywhere. Yes, Venice is gorgeous, if you like, but how sad it is also!

The greatness of Venice dates from the time of the fourth crusade and the taking of Constantinople. It was then that the Venetian ships became the chief carriers between the east and the west; its vessels exported the surplus wealth of the Lombard plain, and brought in return not only the timber and stone of Istria and Dalmatia, but the manufactured wares of Christian Constantinople, wines of the Greek isles, and the Oriental silks, carpets, and spices of Mohammedan Egypt, Arabia and Bagdad.

There used to be an old time saying at Venice that if the Isthmus of Suez were pierced with a canal the glory of Venice would once more shine on the commercial world as well as shed its radiance over those who live in the sphere of art. The Suez Canal has come, but prophets are not infallible, and the present maritime glory of the Adriatic lies with Trieste and Fiume, with Venice a shadowy fifth or sixth in the whole of Italy.

It is an historic fact that may well be repeated here, that Venice, more than any other city of Italy, has ever been noted for its passion for amusements and unconventional pleasures.{284} “For quite half of the year,” said Montesquieu, “everybody wears a masque; manners are very free and the passion for gaming immense.” A more vivid description of all this Venetian disregard for convention may be found in the memoirs of the Venetian adventurer Casanova.

The visitor to Venice must seek out for himself the things that interest him, with the aid of his guide-book, his hotel porter or his gondolier. Not all its splendours can be pointed out here; the record of the author and artist is a personal record; others if they will may choose a different itinerary.

The greatest fascination of all in Venice is undoubtedly the gondola, though the motor boat is pushing it hard for a place, and there be those matter-of-fact hurried tourists who prefer the practicality of the latter to the simplicity and romance of the former. The gondola still reigns however, and probably always will. It’s an asset for drawing tourists as potent as the lions or horses of San Marco or the pigeons of the Piazzas.

The Venetian cannot step without his door without taking a gondola, for his promenade on the Grand Canal, to cross to the Lido, or to go to church when he marries and when he{285} dies. The gondola is as much a part of the daily life of the Venetian as is the street car or the omnibus elsewhere.

Though it doesn’t look it, the gondola is the most manageable craft propelled by man. It snakes in and out of crooked waterways and comes to a landing with far less fuss than anything ever pushed by steam or gasoline. All the same they are not as swift, though their pace is astonishing when one considers their bulk and weight.

It has been the fashion to laud the sweet idealism of the gondola and all that appertains thereto, not forgetting the gondolier, but when one has heard that backwater sailor’s cajoleries and cadences beneath his window for most of the long night one’s views in the morning will be considerably modified. “Cousin of my dog!” the gondolier will call his gondola, “Owl!” “Idiot!” “Sheriff of the Devil!” “Silly Ass!” “Miscreant of Rhodes!” and “Bag of Bones.” Such epithets shouted full and strong, if only to an inanimate gondola, will take a good deal of idealism out of nature.

With the Venetian palaces and churches and canals rank in popular interest its great piazzas. The importance of these great open spaces in the daily life of the people of the island city{286} cannot be overestimated. Gaiety, noise and life are the characteristics of each, whether one is at San Marco or on the Rialto.

Gastronomical delights in Italy are largely of one’s own choosing. At Venice, where, of Italian cities, the tourist is most largely catered to, one may fare well or ill.

It’s a great experience to sit at one of the little tables at Florian’s, or at the Aurora on the opposite side of the Piazza of San Marco, and leisurely enjoy the spectacle spread out before one. At any time of the day or night it is the most burning, feverish spot in all the Venetian archipelago, though at midday, it is true, the sun-baked Piazza is deserted, even by the pigeons.

In the afternoon, as the shadows lengthen, and a slim suspicion of a sea-breeze wafts in from the lagunes, it is fairyland, peopled, if not with fairyfolk, at least with as conglomerate a horde as may be seen in Europe. As a performance the piece were almost worthy of its setting; it is a burlesque and a comedy of manners in one. If only you are “out of season,” when the English and Americans and Germans are still by their own firesides, and the cast of characters is made up of the peoples of the south and east, the comedy is all the more{287} amusing, and you sip its charms as you sip your coffee and forget that such a personage as Baedeker ever existed. Usually tourists come to the Piazza, after they have done the surrounding stock sights, to buy two soldi-worth of maize and feed the pigeons. They would do better to watch the passing show from the vantage point of a little table at Florian’s.

Besides its treasures of art and architecture, one of the sights of Venice is Florian’s, celebrated for a hundred and fifty years. The specialty of Florian’s is the sabaion doro, made with the yellow of an egg and a small glass of Malaga. It is not bad, but it is a ladies’ drink, for it is sweet. The sorbets, the café turc’ and the vanilla chocolates of the establishment, with the aforementioned golden concoction, have placed it in the very front rank among establishments of its class. It remains open, or did a few years ago, all night. At five o’clock each morning, as the daylight gun went off from the fortress of the Lido, Florian’s put up its shutters, only to open just before midday.

The names of the great who have gathered within the walls of this famous café, and left memories behind them, would fill a long roster. Chateaubriand, Manzoni, Byron, Cimarosa, Canova, Léopold-Robert, Alfred de Musset,{288} Balzac and others, many, many others. And many have left behind written souvenirs of their visit.

One thing the stranger to Venice will remark, and that is that here, as much as in any other place in Italy, one is pestered nearly to distraction with the little “extras” of their hotel bills, of the too-importunate guides, of door-openers and door shutters, of guardians of all ranks, of men and boys who call your gondola for you, and of mendicant ragamuffins by profession, or merely because occasion offered and you looked like an “easy mark.” It is the one blight on Venice.

The modest inns of other days have given way to the demands of a more exacting clientèle, but those who would follow Alfred de Musset and George Sand from the Palace of the Doges to the Hotel Danieli will have no trouble in getting a lodging in that hostelry. Or they may prefer to follow the footsteps of Chateaubriand (who in truth was anticipating a rendezvous with the Duchesse de Berry) to the neighbouring Hotel de l’Europe.


Venice’s Grand Canal is naturally the chief delight of the visiting stranger. The Canalazzo is from fifty to seventy metres wide with a length of three kilometres. A hundred and{289}{290} fifty or more palaces line its banks, most of them bearing famous names of history. Shopkeepers and manufacturers of various sorts occupy many of them, but they are still capable of staggering any otherwise blasé curiosity-seekers. The accompanying map with these palaces plainly marked should serve its purpose better than quires of printed pages.

Shakespeare’s “Jew of Venice” was no myth, whatever the shadowy existence of Juliet and Desdemona may have been. Venice in the middle ages had its Ghetto (a word which in Hebrew means “cut off” or “shut off”) where the Jews herded together and wore scarlet mantles in public that they might be known and recognized by faith and profession. The principal character of “The Merchant of Venice” was a very real entity, and Shakespeare, believing the saying of Tacitus, wrote him down truthfully as a man scrupulously faithful to his engagements, charitable to others of his race, but filled with an invincible hatred towards all other men.

The So-called “House of Desdemona,” Venice

The So-called “House of Desdemona,” Venice

Another Venetian type, not wholly disappeared to-day, is that of the Venetian blonde of Titian, Veronese and Giorgione, a type of feminine beauty unknown elsewhere. Italians are commonly brunettes, and indeed perhaps{291} the Venetians were of the same teint one day. In the Library of San Marco is a parchment of Cæsar Vecelli, a Cousin of Titian, coming from the collections of the patrician Nani. It describes how there were built at Venice many house tops with sun parlours or terrazi. To these terrazi the women of the city of the Doges, who would bleach their hair by natural means, would repair and let the sun do its work.

Casanova, too, remarked the feminine beauties of the Queen of the Adriatic. He said of one of them: “I am content indeed to find so beautiful a creature. I do not conceive how so ravishing a creature could have lived so long in Venice without having married ere now.”

As night draws down, the scene at Venice changes manifestly from what it was in the garish sunlight of day. It becomes softer and more fairylike. Across the Piazzetta the rosy flush still glints from the tower of the island San Giorgio, though in the immediate neighbourhood day has practically blackened into night. A sunset gun sounds from seaward and here and there lights twinkle out when, in the magic of a very short twilight, another scene is set, a more wonderful, more fairylike scene than before, with a coming and going of firefly gondolas and boats, a streaming of arcs and incan{292}descents on shore, and in the midst of it all a brass band arrives in front of San Marco and begins to bray ragtime waltzes and serenades. The note may be a false one, but it reiterates the fact that one may sit before his table at Florian’s all through the livelong day and night and see and hear the whole gamut of joyousness played as it is nowhere else. The townfolk, the strangers from the hotels, and sailor folk from the Lido and the Guiadecca all mingle in a seemingly inextricable maze. These last are the most picturesque note as to costuming and colouring in all Venice to-day.

The fishermen of the Guiadecca, swarthy hued and scarlet-capped, and with heavy hoops of gold hanging from their ears, stroll about the piazza as is their right, mingling with tourists and the “real Venetians.” All move about in lively measure like an operatic chorus, but with a much more graceful and less conscious gait.

Night on the Piazza or the Piazzetta is not the least of Venice’s charms.

The background hills bordering upon the Venetian plain are a very interesting corner of northern Italy. Throughout this region souvenirs are not wanting of the glorious days of the Venetian Republic.{293}

For her own protection Venice conquered the surrounding mainland as she was laying the foundations of the island metropolis. Treviso fell to her permanently in 1339, and Udine in 1420, as did later many other towns to the south. From this time forth the lion of San Marco reared its head from its pedestal in the market place of each of these allied towns. Some five thousand square miles of Dalmatia came to Venice at this time and thenceforth her position was assured. Venice was occupied by the French in 1797 when Napoleon overthrew the Republic. It was the first time the city had ever been occupied by an enemy. It was given to Austria by a succeeding treaty, but later in 1805 was made over definitely to Italy.

Treviso, on the highroad from Venice to Vienna, is a great overgrown burg which lives chiefly in the historic past of the days when first it became a bishop’s see and was known as Trovisium, the capital of the province of the same name.

A story is current of Treviso that once the people, to celebrate one of the infrequent intervals of peace, had summoned all the neighbouring populations to a splendid festival. Among other amusements they had provided a mimic castle of wood, adorned in the most{294} sumptuous manner. Within this castle were stationed the twelve most beautiful ladies of Padua, with their attendant maidens, loaded down with all kinds of flowers and fruits. The chosen youths of the neighbouring cities advanced in bands to attack the fortress defended by such a garrison. The ladies made a long and vigorous defence. But finally a band of Venetians pressed forward through the rain of projectiles, breached the walls, and planted on them the banner of San Marco. The youth of Padua, inflamed at this sight, pressed forward in turn to force their way inside the fortifications. The two bands were crushed together in the breach; angry words arose; from words both parties came to blows; the Paduans proved the stronger and in the struggle seized on the banner of San Marco and tore it to shreds. With difficulty the Trevisans restored order and drove both parties out of the town. The Venetians flew to arms to demand satisfaction for the outrage to their flag. The Government of Padua refused it. Hence a war between the two cities, in which the Paduans were worsted.

From Treviso to Belluno, and thence by the Ampesso Pass, is one of the gateways leading from the Italian plain into Austria. Feltre,{295} en route, has a fine old “Rocca,” or castle, with a square donjon tower.

En route to Belluno one should, if he comes this way at all, branch off to Asolo. Among the many hundreds of visitors to Venice who formerly climbed to the top of the Campanile of San Marco in order to enjoy the wonderful panorama of the Venetian plain and mountains which it affords, few, probably, recall the distant little city of Asolo which the guide pointed out to them, unless, indeed, they happen to be familiar with Robert Browning’s poems, in which case they will, perhaps, wish to make a pilgrimage out into these background hills the poet loved so well: “My Asolo,” as he called it in the introduction to the last volume of his poems, “Asolando,” written during his stay there in 1889. A trip among the Asolan Hills will well repay not only the lover of poetry, but also the artist and the ordinary traveller with a liking for quiet, picturesque spots off the ordinary beaten track.


The Albergo Asolo, in the main street, offers clean and characteristic accommodation with charges to correspond. One turns off to Asolo from Cornuda, a station on the Belluno line, or by road from the same place. The imposing ruined Rocca is well worthy of a visit for the{296}{297} sake of the extensive view obtainable from the hill on which it stands. On a clear day the towers of Venice can be seen without a glass, and on every side the view is remarkably fine. To the north, beyond the nearer range of mountains, are visible several peaks in the Primiero group of Dolomites—the Sasso del Mur, Sagron, and others. Another good point of view is the belfry tower of the old Castello which was the residence of Queen Cornaro, the deposed Queen of Cyprus, whose gay court made the name of Asolo famous at the end of the fifteenth century.

From Treviso the road to Udine passes Conegliano, with a fine castle of imposing proportions and a Triumphal Arch erected in the nineteenth century to the Emperor of Austria.

Pordenone, ten kilometres farther on, is the old Portus Naonis of the Romans. This is almost its sole claim to fame, except that “Il Pordenone,” a celebrated fifteenth century artist, was born here.

Codroipo, actually a place of no importance to-day, takes its name from the crossing of two celebrated Roman roads of antiquity. Codroipo, by a vague etymological sequence, is supposed to have the same meaning as carrefour in French, i.e. quadrivium.{298}

At Campo Formico, just before Udine is reached, Bonaparte and the Emperor of Austria signed the treaty, in October, 1797, by which Venice was so shamefully sacrificed by the French general to Austria. It was one of the deepest blots in the political history of Napoleon. The mean house in which this disastrous treaty was concluded is still pointed out.

It was in the Villa Passarino, near Udine, that this infamous treaty saw the light. Its gardens to-day are of the mixed formal and landscape variety, and great renown belongs to it because of the prominence of the Manins, its early owners. Borghetti restored the fabric in 1763, and it remains to-day a far more satisfactory structure to look at than many which are architecturally entitled to rank on a higher plane. Cypress and oak form the greater part of the verdure of the gardens.

Udine, of the picturesque name, is a city of twenty thousand inhabitants, once the capital of Friuli, and still surrounded by its ancient walls. In the centre is the castle, now a prison, built in 1517 by Giovanni Fontana on the height chosen by Attila to view the burning of Aquileja. Udine presents many features of resemblance in its buildings to the mother city, to{299} whose rule it was so long subjected: it has its grand square, its Palazzo Publico, (1457)—a fine Gothic building on pointed arches instead of the Doge’s palace—the two columns, the winged lion of San Marco, and a campanile with two figures to strike the hours. Udine is indeed a little Venice, all but the canals and quays and the Adriatic’s waves.

South of Udine, on the marshy shore of the same series of lagoons which surround Venice itself, is Aquileja. Aquileja was in ancient times one of the most important provincial cities of Rome, and one of the chief bulwarks of Italy. Augustus often resided here, and its population was then estimated at 100,000. It was taken by Attila in 452, and reduced to ashes by that ferocious barbarian. It contains at present about 1,500 inhabitants, and even they have a hard time clinging to the shreds of life left them by a climate that is pestilential and damp.

From Venice and Treviso the Strada di Grande Communicazione runs to Vicenza and Verona, the former 63 kilometres from Treviso and the latter 50 kilometres farther on. At Vicenza the highroad is joined by another trunk-line from Padua, 32 kilometres to the southwest. All of these roads are practically{300} flat and are good roads in good weather and bad roads—O! how bad!—in bad weather.


Few strangers stop off at Vicenza, on the line from Verona to Venice. Vicenza, then, is not lettered large in the guide books, and has only appeared of late in the public prints because of being the home of the romancer, Antonio Fogazzora. This makes it a literary shrine at all{301} events, so we stopped to look it over. It was more than this; we first saw Vicenza by moonlight, and its silhouettes and shadows were as grimly ancient as if seen in a dream. Daylight discovered other charms. There were warm, lovable old Renaissance house fronts everywhere, with overhanging tiled roofs and advanced grilled balconies; and there was the Piazza dei Signori and its surrounding houses, almost entirely the work of the architect Palladio.

The Municipio itself was not a dead, dull thing in drab stone, but with a warm red tower, brought entire, it is said, from Venice, along with two columns of the façade which are borne aloft on two sculptured lions.

Vicenza, the neglected tourist point, was offering much, and we were glad we came.

Vicenza, more than any other of the little frequented tourist cities of Italy, may be counted as the city of palaces. They are of two non-contemporary styles, the Venetian semi-gothic of a good era, and Palladio’s classical copies, also good of their kind, particularly so when seen here in their natural environment.

In the Corso is a curious monumental structure called the Casa di Palladio, built it is said by the great architect for his own use. He had{302} need for it as his work here was great and long in completion. It is something more than a mere architect’s office or bureau; it is in fact a palace.

One of the most curious buildings in the city, and certainly one of the most remarkable with which the name of Palladio is connected, is the Teatro Olimpico. Contrary to the architect’s manner of working, the edifice has no façade, being entirely surrounded by houses. It was begun in 1580, but in consequence of his death almost immediately afterwards it was completed by his son, Scilla.

The scenery, which is fixed, represents the side of a species of piazza, from which diverge streets of real elevation, but diminishing in size as they recede in the perspective. A great effect of distance is obtained, especially in the middle avenue. Daylight, however, by which a traveller usually sees it, is injurious to the effect.

Palladio’s architectural ideas went abroad even to England and many a “stately home” in Britain to-day is a more or less faithful copy of a Vicenza sixteenth century palazzo.



The Rotonda Capra, now in ruins, so well known as Palladio’s villa, was copied by Lord Burlington and planted squat down on the{303} banks of the Thames at Chiswick. It loses considerably by transportation; it were decidedly more effective at the base of Monte Berico in Venezia.

Palladio himself is buried in the local Campo Santo. His grave should become an art lover’s shrine, but no one has ever been known to worship at it.

Between Vicenza and Verona runs a charming highway, strewn with villas of a highly interesting if not superlatively grand architectural order.

A dozen or fifteen kilometres from Vicenza are the two castles of Montecchio, the strongholds of the family of the name celebrated by Shakespere as one of the rivals of the Capulets.

At the Bridge of Arcole is an obelisk in commemoration of the battle when Napoleon went against the Austrians after his check at Caldiero.

Soave, a little further on, is an old walled town as mediæval in its looks and doings as it was when its great gates and towers and its castle fortress on the height were built six centuries ago.

Verona is reached in thirty kilometres and has a sentimental, romantic interest beyond that possessed by any of the secondary cities{304} of Italy. It has not the great wealth of notable architectural splendours of many other places, but what there is is superlatively grand, the structures surrounding the Piazza Erbe and the Piazza dei Signori, for instance; the old Ponte di Castel Vecchio; the great Roman Arena; and even the Albergo all’Accademia, where one is remarkably well cared for in a fine old mediæval palace with a monumental gateway, and an iron and carved stone well in the courtyard.

Seal of Verona

Seal of Verona


The glory and sentiment which overshadowed the Verona of another day have passed, and now the noise of electric trams and the hoot of automobile horns awaken the echoes in the same thoroughfares where one day trampled the feet of warring hosts.

“The glory of the Scaliger has passed,
The Capuletti and Montague are naught:”

Instead we have the modern note sounding over all, and, if it is true that the “fair Juliet sleeps in old Verona’s town” hers must be a disturbed sleep. The romance of Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague was real enough; that is, there was a real romance of the sort, and there were real Capulets and Montagues. Just where the scene of this particular romance was laid one is not so sure.

The “House of Juliet” at Verona, one of the stock sights of the guide books, is of more than doubtful authenticity. Certainly, to begin with, it does not comport in the least with the dignified marble palace and its halls with which the stage-carpenter has built up the settings of Shakespere’s drama or Gounod’s opera. Perhaps they embroidered too much. Of course they did!

In 1905 the “Juliet House” was in danger{306} of collapsing. As it is nothing more than a picturesque old house, such as northern Italy abounds in, perhaps it would not have mattered much had it fallen. It is no more Juliet’s house than Juliet’s tomb is the tomb of Juliet. This indeed has latterly been adjudged a mere water-trough. No house, it is asserted, in Verona to-day can be declared with certainty as the house of a Montague or a Capulet. Henry James points the moral of all this in “The Custodians,” and whether we can always make head and tail out of his dialogues or not, his judgments are always sound.

In Verona the very gutters are of white marble. Balustrades, window-sills and hitching posts are all of white or coloured marbles. Verona is luxurious, if not magnificent, and its architecture is marvellously interesting and beautiful, though frequently rising to no great rank.

The great Roman Arena, so admirably preserved, is surrounded by the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. The contrast between yesterday and to-day at Verona is everywhere to be remarked. Its old Arena and the Visconti gateway seen by moonlight look as ancient as anything on earth, but the cafés with their tables set out right across the Piazza, with a band{307} playing on a temporary platform, set up on trestles in the middle, and electric trams swishing around the corner, are as modern as Earl’s Court or Coney Island, without however many of their drawbacks.

Verona is a city of marble and coloured stone, of terraces and cypresses and all the Italian accessories which stagecraft has borrowed for its Shakesperean settings. The cypresses planted around the outskirts of Verona are said to be the oldest in Europe, but that is doubtful. They are, some of them, perhaps four hundred years old, but on the shores of the Etang de Berre, in old Provence, is a group of these same trees, less lean, greater of girth and denser of foliage. Surely these must have five hundred years to their credit according to Verona standards.

Verona is one of the cities of celebrated art where the authorities control one’s desire to dig about with a view to discovering buried antiquities, even in one’s own cellar or garden; much less may one sell an old chimney pot or urn.

Recently a Signor and Signora Castello, who owned an ancient house in Via del Seminario, sold the magnificent red marble portals and two balconies without permission from the Government. They were fined two thousand five{308} hundred lire each, and ordered to replace the objects of art.

After a long chase the Verona police discovered the articles in a warehouse where they had been temporarily deposited previous to shipping them abroad.

The balconies are of the same epoch as the famous one said to have been the scene of the meeting of Romeo and Juliet. “American collectors keep off” is the sign the Verona police would probably put up if they dared.{309}



THE lake region of the north is perhaps the most romantic in all Italy; certainly its memories have much appeal to the sentimentally inclined. Indeed the tourists are so passionately fond of the Italian lakeland that they leave it no “close” season, but are everywhere to be remarked, from Peschiera on the east to Orta on the west. Seemingly they are all honeymoon couples and seek seclusion, and are therefore less offensive than the general run of conducted parties which now “do” the Italian round for a ten pound note from London, or the same thing from New York for a couple of hundred dollars.

It is the fashion to revile the automobilist as a hurried traveller, but he at least gets a sniff of the countryside en route which the others do not.

Coming from the east through Verona, the traveller by road might do worse than make{310} a detour of a hundred kilometres out and back to Mantua.

Mantua, on the banks of the Mincio, sits like a water-surrounded town of the Low Countries. Mantua, above all, is a place of war, one of the strongest in North Italy, forming with Verona, Legnago and Peschiera the famous “Quadrilatera.” Mantua has at least a tenth part of its population made up of Jews. It sits partly surrounded by an artificial lake formed by the Mincio, and the marsh land to the south can be flooded, if it is deemed advisable, in case of siege. A great walled enclosure, a series of fortified dykes, and a collection of detached forts roundabout, put Mantua in a class quite by itself. It is a melancholy, unlovely place from an æsthetic standpoint, but picturesque in a certain crude way. The ancient Palazzo Gonzague of the Dukes of Mantua, now known as the Corte Reale, is one of the most ambitious edifices of its class in Italy. The view of the Palazzo Ducale at Mantua, with the rising background of roofs, towers and domes, as seen from the further end of the cobble-stone paved bridge over the Mincio, is delightful. Artists do not like it as a general rule because of the ugly straight line of the bridge, and the “camera fiend” makes a hopeless mess of it, unless{311} he seeks an hour or more for a “point of view;” but for all that the scene is as quaint and beautiful a composition as one can get of unspoiled mediævalism in these progressive times, when usually telegraph poles and tram cars project themselves into focus whether or no. There is nothing of the kind here.


The road from Mantua to Cremona, following the banks of the Mincio, still preserves its Virgilian aspect. Mantua væ miseræ nimium vi{312}cina Cremonæ. From this one infers that it is a bad road, and in truth it is very bad; automobilists will not like it. Cremona’s tower is seen from afar, like the sailors’ beacon from the sea. It is one of the most hardy and the most renowned Gothic towers of Italy and has a height approximating a hundred and twenty odd metres, say a little less than four hundred feet.

Neighbouring upon this great Torrazo is the Palazzo Gonfaloneri, dating from 1292. These two monuments, together with the magnificent Romanesque Lombard Cathedral of the twelfth century, and the Casa Stradivari—where he who gave his name to a violin lived—are Mantua’s chief “things to see.” If the traveller can include Mantua in his itinerary, which truth to tell is not easy without doubling on one’s tracks, he should do so.

Travellers coming westward from Venice and passing Verona, hastening to the Italian and Swiss lakes, usually give that region lying between Verona and Como little heed. Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice and then Switzerland and the Rhine is still too often the itinerary of hurried papas and fond mamas. Even if the automobilist does not drop down on Mantua and Cremona he should take things leisurely{313} through the lake region and stop en route as often as fancy wills. The Lago di Garda is the most easterly of the Italian Lakes and the largest.

It is of great depth, 350 metres or more, is sixty odd kilometres in length, and in places a third as wide. It is a product of the rivers and torrents flowing down from the mountains of the Italian Tyrol. The sudden storms which frequently come up to ruffle its bosom were celebrated by some lines of Virgil and his example has been followed by every other traveller ever caught in one of these storms. “Fluctibus et fremitu assurgens” sang the bard, and the words still echo down through time.

Peschiera and Desenzano are the principal ports at the southern end of the lake, and each in its way is trying to be a “resort.” The environs are charming and the towns themselves interesting enough, though chiefly from the point of view of the artist. The seeker after the gaieties and pleasures of the great watering places will find nothing of the sort here.

Between Peschiera and Desenzano juts out the promontory of Sermione. A village is entered by a drawbridge and a mediæval gate on{314} the south. On the opposite side is a fortified wall that separates it from the northerly portion of the island, and through which opens the only gate in that direction. The old castle, in the form of a quadrangle, with a high square tower, was entered on the north by a drawbridge. This entrance is still well preserved, as well as its small port or darsena, surrounded by crenelated battlements; but the principal entrance is now on the side of the village, by a gate over which are shields bearing the arms of the Scaligers. It is one of the most imposingly militant of all the castles of north Italy. Only that of Fénis in the Val d’Aoste is more so.

Riva, at the Austrian end of the lake of Garda, has its drawbacks but it occupies a wonderful site nevertheless.

While Northern Tyrol is still wrapped in the white mantle of winter’s snow, and winter sports of every description furnish great amusement for old and young, the lovely Lake of Garda is already beginning to show signs of spring. All along the lake the great “stanzoni,” or lemon-houses for sheltering the lemon trees in winter, are, even in January, often filled with blossoms.

On the Lago di Garda

On the Lago di Garda

The best time to visit Riva is from February{315} to June, and from the middle of August to the end of October, but Riva at all times will be a surprise and a delight to those who do not mind a régime table d’hôte, as the doctors have it, and the fact that everybody round about appears to be a semi-invalid.

To Brescia from the foot of the Lake of Garda is a matter of twenty odd kilometres, through a greatly varied nearby landscape, set off here and there by vistas of the azure of the distant lake, the Alps of Tyrol and the nearer Bergamese mountains.

Bologna la Grassa” and “Brescia Armata” are two nick-names by which the respective cities are known up and down Italy. Brescia, like most Italian towns, is built on a hill top and is castle-crowned as becomes a mediæval burg. Brescia’s castle is an exceptionally strongly fortified feudal monument. Brescia Armata took its name from the fact that it was ever armed against its enemies, which in the good old days every Italian city was or it was of no account whatever. Brescia’s enemies could never have made much headway when attacking this hill-top fortress, and must have contented themselves with sacking the cities of the surrounding plain. To-day firearms in great quantities are made here, and{316} thus the city is still entitled to be called Brescia Armata.

Brescia’s market place is more thickly covered with great, squat, mushroom umbrellas than that of any other city of its size in Italy.

Brescia is dear to the French because of its wraith of a mediæval castle, once so vigorously defended by the Chevalier Bayard, that famous knight sans peur et sans reproche.

A bastioned wall surrounds the gay little Lombard city in the genuine romance fashion, albeit there is to-day very little romance in Brescia, which lives mostly by the exploitation of its textile and metal industries.

Brescia housefronts are as gaily decorated as those of Nuremberg, many of them at least. It is a remarkable feature of Brescia’s domestic architecture.

The castle or citadel itself was built by the Viscontis in the fourteenth century on the summit of a hill overlooking the town. The Venetians strengthened it and again the Austrians. General Haynau bombarded the low-lying city round about in barbarous fashion, so much so that the memory of it caused him to be chased from London some years later, when he was sent there as Ambassador.

Castle of Brescia

Castle of Brescia

The men of Brescia seem to have a passion{317} for wearing a great Capucin shoulder cloak, which looks very Spanish. It is most picturesque, and is one of the characteristic things seen in all Brescia’s public places, caffés and restaurants, and is worn by all those classes whom a discerning traveller once described as men who work hard at doing nothing, for Brescia’s street corners are never vacant and her caffés never empty.

Between Brescia and Bergamo is the Lake of Iseo; the fourth in size of the north Italian lakes. The vegetation of its shores is purely Italian and vineyards and olive groves abound. A fringe of old castle towers, of walls, palaces and villas surround it, all blended together with a historic web and woof of mediævalism and romance.

From Brescia to Bergamo runs one of the best national highroads in Italy. The automobilist will appreciate this and will want to push on to the end. He would do better to break it midway and drop down on the road to Martinengo, a detour of twenty kilometres only, passing the great Castle of Malpaga built by the celebrated Bartolommeo Colleoni, an edifice which gives a more complete idea of unspoiled, unrestored residence of a mediæval Italian nobleman than any other extant.{318}

Bergamo is a strange combination of the new and the old. The upper and lower towns—for it is built on a rise of the Bergamon Alps—have nothing in common with each other. In the lower town there are great hotels, shops, and even a vast factory which turns out a celebrated make of automobiles. In the upper town there are market-men and women, with chickens, vegetables and fruit to sell, all spread out under an imposing array of great mushroom umbrellas only second to those of the market place at Brescia.

Bergamo’s chief architectural monuments are its churches, but its ancient Broletto, or castle, of not very pure Gothic, but with a most original façade, is worth them all put together in its appeal to one with an eye for the picturesque. Its tower is a remarkably firm, solid and yet withal graceful sentinel of diºgnity and power.



Bergamo’s great fair of Saint Alexander, held every year in August, was once the rival of those great trading fairs of Leipzig and Beaucaire. Of late it is of less importance, but holds somewhat to its ancient traditions. Certainly it filled the Albergo Capello d’Oro to such an extent that it was doubtful for a time if we could find a place. A sight of our mud-covered{319} automobile and of our generally bedraggled appearance—for it had rained again, though that of itself is nothing remarkable in Italy, and we had “mud-larked it” for the last fifty kilometres,—caused somebody’s conscience to smite him and find us shelter.

Map The Italian Lakes

Beyond Bergamo one enters the classic Italian Lake region, that which has usually been seen through a honeymoon perspective, a honeymoon that is long-lasting, as it invariably is in Italy as some of us know. All through this lakeland of north Italy is an unbroken succession of charms which certainly, from the sentimental and romantic point, has no equal in Italy, or out of it in the same area.{320}

The whole battery of little cities, towns, and townlets which surround Lakes Como, Varese, Lugano and Maggiore are delightful from all points. Theirs is a unique variety of charm which comports with the tranquil mood, not at all the same as that possessed by the average scorching automobilist who reads as he runs, and wishes to eat and drink and absorb his romantic and historic lore in the same up-to-date fashion. Not that the region is unsuited to automobile travel. Not at all, the roads thereabouts are quite the best in Italy, and the towns themselves picturesquely charming, if often lacking in ruined monuments of mediævalism of the first rank. All of it is historic ground, and filled with echoes of fact and fancy which still reverberate from its hills and through its vales.

Not all of these lake-side towns can be catalogued here, no more than are all included in the average itinerary, but from Lecco, at the southern end of the Lecco arm of the Lago di Como, to Orta on the Lago d’Orta will be found myriads of scenic surprises, dotted here and there with quaint waterside towns, the lakes themselves being punctuated with great white winged barques, with here and there the not unpicturesque coil of smoke belching into the{321} clear sky from a cranky, fussy little steamboat.

One most often approaches the lake district from the east, via Lecco on the eastern arm of Lake Como, or as it is locally called the Lago di Lecco. Lecco itself is of no importance. Its site is its all-in-all, but that is delightful. Between Lecco and Milan the highway crosses the Adda by a magnificent bridge of ten arches built by Azzo Visconti in 1335. Very few of the works of the old bridge-builders bear so ancient a date as this. From Lecco to Monza the highroad skirts the Brianza, as the last Alpine foot-hills are called before the mountains flatten out into the Lombard Plain. At Arcore is the villa of the Adda family with a modern chapel.

One can go north from Lecco to Bellaggio by steamer, when he will arrive in the very heart of lakeland, or he may go directly west by the highroad to Como and take his point of departure from there. The Lake of Como was the Lacus Larius of the Romans and the Lari Maxime of Virgil. It is a hundred and ninety metres above sea level and among all other of the Swiss and Italian lakes holds the palm for the beauty of its surroundings.

At Nesso is the Villa Pliniana, built in 1570. It is not named for Pliny, but because of a{322} nearby spring mentioned in his writings. Pliny’s villa was actually at Lenno, in a dull gloomy site and he properly enough called the villa Tragedia.

Como, the city, is ancient, for the younger Pliny, who was born in the ancient municipium of Comum, asserts that it was then a “flourishing state.” It does not enter actively into history, however, after the fall of the Roman Empire, until 1107, when it became an independent city. It remained a republic for two centuries and then it fell under the dominion of the Visconti since which time its fate has ever been bound up with that of Milan.

The Broletto or municipal palace is curiously built of black and white marble courses, patched here and there with red. It is interesting, but bizarre, and of no recognized architectural style save that it is a reminder of the taste of the people of the Lombard Republics with respect to their civic architecture in the thirteenth century. Como’s Duomo is, on the contrary, a celebrated and remarkably beautiful structure. The distinction made between the taste in ecclesiastical and civic architecture of the time can but be remarked.

On the Lago di Como

On the Lago di Como

The military architecture of Como, as indicated by the gates in its old city wall, was of{323} a high order. The Porta della Torre, the chief of the gates remaining, and leading out to the Milan road, rises five stories in air.

The Palazzo Giovio is now the local museum. Paolo Giovio built the crudely ornate edifice, and began the collection of antiquities and relics which it now contains. Above Como, but outside the city, rises a curious lofty tower called the Bardello. It may have been built as one of the defences of the Lombard Kings, or it may not, but at any rate there is no doubt that it witnessed the rise and fall of the Milanese dynasties from the first. Como, one of the first cities to assert its independence, was the first to lose it. Prisoners of state were put into iron cages and stowed away in the Bardello—like animals or birds in a live stock show. They were all tagged and numbered and were fed at infrequent, uncertain hours. Not many lived out their terms; mostly they died, some of hunger, some eaten up by vermin and more than one by having dashed their brains out on the iron bars of their cages.

All about Como are little lake settlements peopled with villas and hotels where many a mediæval and modern romance has been lived in the real. It is all very delightful, but in truth all is stagey.{324}




At Cadenabbia is the Villa Carlotta, named for Charlotte the Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen. Its structural elements build up into something imposing, if not in the best of taste, and its gardens are of the conventionally artificial kind which look as though they might be part of a stage setting.

Bellaggio, on the eastern shore of the lake, is a place of large hotels, no history of remark, and the site of the villa Serbelloni, with which the proprietor of one of the hotels seems to have some special arrangement, in that he passes visitors to and fro from his establishment to the villa in genuine showman fashion. Beyond its site, which is entrancingly lovely, it has no appeal whatever from either the architectural or the landscape gardening point of view.

Mennagio, Belluno and Varenna are in the same category and are tourist show places only. Gravadona is different in that it has two remarkably beautiful churches, which can be omitted from no consideration of Italian church architecture, and the Palazzo de Pero, built in 1586 for Cardinal Gallio which, with its four angle-towers, is more like a fortress than a prelate’s residence.

Near Gravadona is the outline of an ancient highway known as the Strada Regina. Sup{326}posedly it was made centuries and centuries ago by Theodolinda, Queen of the Lombards, and must be one of the oldest roads in existence.

The Lago di Lugano is the most irregular of all the Italian Lakes. In part it lies in Lombardy and in part within the Swiss canton of Ticino. Its scenery is quite distinct from that of the other Italian lakes, not more beautiful perhaps, but less prolifically surrounded by that sub-tropical verdure which is characteristic of Garda and Como. In the northeasterly portion, around Porlezza, the precipitous outlines of the mountains round about lend an almost savage aspect.

Lugano itself is very near the Swiss border but is thoroughly Italian, with deep arcaded streets, and here and there a Renaissance façade such as can be found nowhere out of Italy.

The Lago di Varese is the smallest of all the lakes. In the neighbourhood is produced a great deal of silk, and a species of easily worked marble or alabaster called Marmo Majolica. Varese itself, while not destitute of monuments of architectural worth, is more noticeably a place of modern villas, most of which are occupied by wealthy Milanese.

On the Lago di Maggiore

On the Lago di Maggiore

From Varese to Laveno on the Lago di Maggiore is a matter of fifty kilometres, and here{327} one comes to the most famous, if not the most beautiful, of all the lakes.

The whole range of towns circling this daintily environed lake have an almost inexpressible charm, and its islands—the Borromean Islands—are superlatively beautiful.

Baveno, on the mainland, and its villas, modern though they are, is a charming place, and Stresa, a little further to the south, is even more delightfully disposed. All about the Italian lakeland are the modern villa residences of distinguished Milanese, Turinese and Genoese families.

Arona is at the southern end of the lake. Above this town is a colossal statue of San Carlo Borromeo, the head, hands and feet being cast in bronze, the remainder being fabricated of beaten copper.

The famous Borromean Islands in the Lago di Maggiore number four: Isola Bella, Isola Madre, Isola San Giovanni and Isola dei Piscatori, of which the three former belong to the Borromean family, whilst the latter is divided among small proprietors.

The vast Palazzo of Isola Bella was a conception of an ancestor of the present family in 1671. The great fabric, with its terraces, gardens and grottoes, is an exotic thing of the first{328} importance. It is idyllically picturesque, but withal inartistic from many points of view. The contrast of all this semi-tropical luxuriousness with its snow-capped Alpine background is not its least remarkable feature. It has been called “fairylike,” “a caprice of grandiose ideas,” and “enchanted,” and these words describe it well enough. It looks unreal, as if one saw it in a dream. Certainly its wonderful panoramic background and foreground are not equalled elsewhere and no garden carpet of formal flowerbeds ever made so beautifully disposed a platform on which to stand and marvel. The architect of it all made no allowance apparently for the natural setting, but overloaded his immediate foreground with all things that suggested themselves to his imaginative mind. Somehow or other he didn’t spoil things as much as he might have done. The setting is theatrical and so are the accessories; all is splendidly spectacular, and, since this is its classification, no one can cavil. What other effect could be produced where ten staired terraces tumble down one on another in a veritable cascade simply as a decorative accessory to a monumental edifice and not as a thing of utility?

On Isola Madre is another vast structure sur{329}rounded by tropical and semi-tropical trees, flowers and shrubs. A chapel contains many of the tombs of the Borromeo family.

The Isola dei Piscatori is the artists’ paradise of these parts. It lacks the “prettiness” of the other islands but gains in “character” as artists call that picturesqueness which often is unsuspected and unseen by the masses.

Going back to history, here is what happened once on the Isola Bella: It is a warm June night. The mauve summits of the Simplon and the reflets of the mirrored lake throw back a penetrating shimmer to the view. Coming from Baveno, and holding straight its course for Isola Bella, is a gently moving bark. It is the year 1800, and on the stern seat of the boat sits the First Consul, who was once the Little Corporal and afterwards became Napoleon I.

The French army had freed the Alps, some days before. Over the passes of Mont Cenis, of the Simplon, of Saint Bernard, and Saint Gothard they had come, soon to form in battle line on the plains of Piedmont. Moncey was at the gates of Milan, Lannes held the passage of the Po. The First Consul, arriving on the shores of the Lago di Maggiore, decided to pass the night in the Castle of Isola Bella, alone on{330} this enchanting isle, with his thoughts and his plans. Bonaparte jumped first from the boat as it grated on the sands and was received by a grotesquely attired major-domo, in the name of the Counts of Borromeo, the sovereign princes of this tiny archipelago.

In the seigneurial chamber, of which the furniture comprised a great four poster dating from the time of the Medicis, a massive round table, its top laid in mosaic, some chairs and a terrestrial globe, Napoleon shook off the dust of travel forthwith: but he did not seek repose. On the mosaic table-top Napoleon unfolded a great map of Italy, and with forehead in his hands gazed attentively at its tracings, soliloquizing thus: “Yes, Italy is reconquered already; the Austrian army cannot escape me. Fifteen days will suffice to efface the disasters of two years. The Austrian army is already in retreat; its rear guard has become its advance guard. The tricolour of France will yet float on the shores of the Adriatic. I shall march on Rome. I will chase the hateful Bourbons from the Kingdom of Naples for ever. Europe will tremble at the echo of my footsteps.”



Finally the twilight faded; back of the mountains of Lugano shone a brilliant star. Napoleon thought it his star of destiny. To the wide{331} open window came the First Consul for a breath of the sweet night air. It acted like champagne. He turned back into the room; he kicked over the terrestrial globe of the Borromeo; he threw the map of Italy to the floor. “What is Italy!” he cried, “a mere nothing! Bah! it’s hardly worth the conquering. Certainly not worth more than a few weeks. But I will leave the memory of my name behind. And then—and then Saint Jean d’Acre, the Orient, the Indies. Allons, we will follow the route of Tamerlane! Poland will come to life again, Moscow, St. Petersburg ...” and then he dreamed.

And that is what passed one night in the Palazzo Borromeo a little more than a hundred years ago.

From the shores of the Lago di Maggiore to Orta, on the lake of that name, is a short dozen kilometres from either Arona or Baveno. At Orta the traveller may take his ease at an humble inn and from its broad balcony overhanging the lake enjoy emotions which he will not experience at every halting place.

Orta’s Municipio, or Town hall, dominating its tiny Piazza is unspeakably lovely though indeed it is a hybrid blend of the architecture of Germany and Italy. It might as well be in Nuremberg, in Bavaria or Barberino in Tus{332}cany for all it looks like anything else in Piedmont.

Out in the lake glitters—glitters is the word—Isola San Giulio, its graceful campanile and ancient stone buildings hung with crimson creepers and mirrored in the clear blue depths. About this island there hangs a legend. The story goes that no one could be found ready to ferry the apostle Julius across to the chosen site of his mission in the year 1500. According to popular rumour the isle was haunted by dragons and venomous reptiles that none dared face. Not to be deterred from his purpose, the holy man spread his cloak upon the water, and floated quickly and quietly across. Nor did the miracle end here, for, as with St. Patrick of Ireland, the unclean monsters, acknowledging his power, retired to a far-away mountain, leaving the saint unmolested to carry on his labours, which were continued after his death by faithful friends. This is the story as it is told on the spot.

The island was held as an outpost against invasions for many years, and for long witnessed the hopeless struggles of a brave woman, Villa, wife of King Berenger of Lombardy, who was besieged there by the Emperor Otho the Great.{333}



THE great artichoke of Lombardy, whose petals have fallen one by one before its enemies of Piedmont, is now much circumscribed in area compared with its former estate.

From Como to Mantua and from Brescia to Pavia, in short the district of Milan as it is locally known to-day, is the only political entity which has been preserved intact. Tortona, Novara, Alessandria and Asti have become alienated entirely, and for most travellers Milan is Lombardy and Lombardy is Milan. To-day the dividing line in the minds of most is decidedly vague.

Lombardy is the region of all Italy most prolific in signs of modernity and prosperity, and, with Torino, Milan shares the honour of being the centre of automobilism in Italy. The roads here, take them all in all, are of the best, though not always well conditioned. That from Milan to Como can be very, very good and six months{334} later degenerate into something equally as bad. The roads of these parts have an enormous traffic over them and it is for this reason, as much as anything, that their maintenance is difficult and variable. For the greater part they are all at a general level, except of course in entering or leaving certain cities and towns of the hills and on the direct roads leading to the mountain passes back of Torino, or the roads crossing the lake region and entering Switzerland or the Oberland.

Lombardy in times past, and to-day to some extent, possessed a dialect or patois quite distinct from the Franco-Italian mélange of Piedmont, or the pure Italian of Tuscany. The Lombard, more than all other dialects of Italy, has a decided German flavour which, considering that the Lombard crown was worn by a German head, is not remarkable. In time—after the Guelph-Ghibelline feud—Lombardy was divided into many distinct camps which in turn became recognized principalities.

The Viscontis ruled the territory for the most part up to 1447, when the condottière Francesco Sforza developed that despotism which brought infamy on his head and State, a condition of affairs which the Pope described as conducive to the greatest possible horrors.{335}

A Lombard Fête

Lombardy has ever been considered the real paradise and land of riches of all Italy, and even now, in a certain luxuriousness of attitude towards life, it lives up to its repudiation of the days of the dominating Visconti and Sforza.

Milan is to-day the luxurious capital of Lombardy, as was Pavia in the past. At one time, be it recalled, Milan was a Duchy in its own right. Years of despotism at the hands of a man of genius made Milan a great city and the intellectual capital of Italy. Milanese art and architecture of the fifteenth century reached a great height. It was then, too, that the Milanese metal workers became celebrated, and it was a real distinction for a knight to be clad in the armour of Milan.

“Well was he armed from head to heel
In mail and plate of Milan steel.”

Milan has a history of the past, but paradoxically Milan is entirely modern, for it struggled to its death against Pavia, the city of five hundred and twenty-five towers, and was born again as it now is. One should enter Milan in as happy a mood as did Evelyn who “passynge by Lodi came to a grete citty famous for a cheese little short of the best Parmesan.” It was a queer mood to have as one was coming{336} under Milan’s spell, and the sculptured and Gothic glories of the Cathedral, as it stands in completion to-day, are quite likely to add to, rather than detract from, any preconceived idea of the glories of the city and its treasures.

Milan is one of the most princely cities of Europe, and lies in the centre of a region flowing with milk and honey. In Evelyn’s time it had a hundred churches, seventy monasteries and forty thousand inhabitants. To-day its churches and monasteries are not so many, but it has a population of half a million souls.

The comment of the usual tourist is invariably: “There is so little to see in Milan.” Well, perhaps so! It depends upon how hard you look for it. Milan is a very progressive up-to-date sort of city, but its storied past has been most momentous, and historic monuments are by no means wanting. Milan is modern in its general aspect, it is true, and has little for the unexpert in antiquarian lore, but all the same it has three magic lode stones; its luxuriously flamboyant Gothic Duomo; its Ambrosian Library and its Palace of arts and sciences, La Brera.

Tourists may forget the two latter and what they contain, but they will not forget the former, nor the Arch of Triumph built as a{337} guide post by Napoleon on his march across Europe, or the Galleria Victor-Emmanuel, “as wide as a street and as tall as a Cathedral,” a great arcade with shops, cafés, restaurants and the like.

There is the Scala opera house, too, which ranks high among its kind.

Milan’s “eighth wonder of the world,” its great Cathedral, is the chef d’œuvre of the guide books. Details of its magnitude and splendours are there duly set forth. Milan’s Cathedral has long sheltered a dubious statue of St. Bartholomew, and tourists have so long raved over it that the authorities have caused to be graven on its base: “I am not the work of Praxiteles but of Marcus Agrates.” Now the throngs cease to admire, and late experts condemn the work utterly. Such is the follow-my-leader idea in art likes and dislikes! And such is the ephemeral nature of an artist’s reputation!

The Palazzo Reale occupies the site of the Palazzo di Corte of the Visconti and the Sforza of the fourteenth century, “one of the finest palaces of its time,” it is recorded. The Palazzo of to-day is a poor, mean thing architecturally, although the residence of the King to-day when he visits Milan. The Archiepisco{338}pal Palace of the sixteenth century is perhaps the finest domestic establishment of its class and epoch in Milan.

Milan’s Castello, the ancient castle of Milan, was the ancient ducal castle, built by Galeazzo Visconti II in 1358, to keep the Milanese in subjection. It was demolished after his death, but rebuilt with increased strength by Gian Galeazzo. On the death of the Duke Filippo Maria, the Milanese rose (1447), and, having proclaimed the “Aurea respublica Ambrosiana,” destroyed the castle. It was rebuilt (1452) by Francesco Sforza, “for the ornament (he said) of the city and its safety against enemies.” This building, completed in 1476, is the one now standing. In the interior is a keep, where the dukes often resided. Philip II added extensive modern fortifications, and caused to be pulled down all the neighbouring towers which overlooked them. The castle was taken by the French in 1796, and again in 1800, when Napoleon ordered the fortifications to be razed. It has since been converted into a barrack. Of the round towers at the angles, those towards the north have been replaced by modern brick ones, while the two towards the city, formed of massive granite blocks, remain. During the vice-royalty of Eugene Beauharnais, a Doric{339} gateway of granite, with a portico, or line of arches, now filled up, on each side, and in the same style, was erected on the northwest side; between each arch is a medallion containing the bas-relief portrait of some illustrious Italian military commander.

The Ancient Castle of Milan

The Ancient Castle of Milan

The Napoleonic arch, the Arco della Pace, is a remarkably interesting civic monument, a reproduction of a temporary affair first built of wood and canvas in 1806. Now it stands, a comparatively modern work to be sure, but of splendid design and proportions, built of white marble, and elaborately decorated with sculptures all at the expense of Napoleon, who, on his march of migratory conquest, deigned to devote 200,000 francs to the purpose.

Milan’s hotels are of all sorts and conditions, but with a decided tendency towards the good, as is fitting in so opulent a country. Bertolini’s Hotel Europe takes a high rank, at corresponding charges, as for instance four francs for a “box” for your automobile. The Touring Club Italiano endorses the Albergo del Cervo, where you pay nothing for garage and may eat as bountifully as you will of things Italian, real Italian, at from two to three francs a meal. One of the most amusing things to do in Milan is to lunch or dine in one of the great{340} glass covered galleries near the cathedral, and one feasts well indeed for the matter of four francs, with another couple of francs for a bottle of Asti. These great restaurants of the galleries may lack a certain aspect of the next-to-the-soil Italian restaurants, but they do show a phase of another class of Italian life and here “Young Italy” may be seen taking his midday meal and ordering English or German beer or Scotch or American whiskey. He shuns the Italian items on the bill of fare and orders only exotics. You on the contrary will do the reverse.

Pavia, thirty odd kilometres south of Milan, was ever a rival of the greater city of to-day. Pavia is a tourist point, but only because it is on the direct road from Milan.

Pavia was the Lombard capital from 572 to 774. Its old walls and ramparts remain, in part, to-day and the whole aspect of the town is one of a certain mediævalism which comports little with the modernity of its neighbour, Milan, which has so far outgrown its little brother.

Pavia’s Certosa, on the road from Milan to Pavia, is its chief architectural splendour. Of that there is no doubt. It is the most gorgeously endowed and most splendid monastery in all the world, founded in 1396 by one of the{341} Visconti as an atonement to his conscience for having murdered his uncle and father-in-law.

A Venetian, Bernardo da Venezia, was probably the architect of the Certosa, and brick work and superimposed marble slabs and tablets all combine in an elegance which marks the Certosa of Pavia as characteristic of the most distinctive Lombard manner of building of its epoch.

Within the city itself still stands the grim Castello, built on the site of the palace of the Lombard kings. The present building, however, was begun in 1460 and completed in 1469. It formed an ample quadrangle, flanked by four towers, two of which alone remain. The inner court was surrounded by a double cloister, or loggia; in the upper one the arches were filled in by the most delicate tracery in brickwork. The whole was crowned by beautiful forked battlements. In the towers were deposited the treasures of literature and art which Gian Galeazzo had collected:—ancient armour; upwards of 1,000 MSS., which Petrarch had assisted in selecting; and many natural curiosities. All these Visconti collections were carried to France in 1499 by Louis XII and nothing was left but the bare walls. One side of the palace or castle was demolished during the{342} siege by Lautrec in 1527; but in other respects it continued perfect, though deserted, till 1796, when it was again put into a state of defence by the French. They took off the roof and covered the vaultings with earth; and when the rains came on in autumn, the weight broke down the vaultings, and ruined a great part of the edifice. It has since been fitted up as a military barracks. The great ruined gateway, once entered by a drawbridge crossing the fosse, is still the most imposing single detail, and the great quadrangle, with its fourteenth century arcades and windows, “a medley of Gothic and Bramantesque,” is striking, although the marble and terra-cotta ornaments are much dilapidated.

François I’s famous mot: “all is lost save honour,” uttered after the eventful battle of Pavia, will go down with that other remark of his: “Oh, God, but thou hast made me pay dear for my crown,” as the two most apropos sayings of Renaissance times.

One has to look carefully “under the walls of Pavia,” to-day for any historical evidence of the fatal day of François I when he lost his “all, save honour.” Du Bellay has painted the picture so well that in spite of the fact that four hundred years have rolled by, it seems{343} unlikely that even the most superficial traveller should not find some historic stones upon which to build his suppositions.

Pavia’s great University flowered in 1362, and owes much to the generous impulses of Galeas II, who founded its chairs of civic and canonical law, medicine, physics and logic. Galeas II was a great educator, but he was versatile, for he invented a system of torture which would keep a political prisoner alive for forty days and yet kill him at the end of forty-one.

If one returns to Milan via the Bridge of Lodi he will have made a hundred kilometre round of classic Lombard scenery. It possesses no elements of topographic grandeur but is rich and prosperous looking, and replete with historic memory, every kilometre of it.

Lodi has evolved its name from the ancient Laus of the Romans, another evidence of the oblique transformation of Latin into the modern dialect. The men of Lodi were ever rivals of the Milanese, but it is to Napoleon’s celebrated engagement at the Bridge of Lodi that it owes its fame in the popular mind.

Above Lodi, the River Adda circles and boils away in a sort of whirlpool rapid, which Leonardo da Vinci, setting his palette and brushes aside, set about to control by a dam and a series{344} of sluices. How well he succeeded may be imagined by recalling the fact that the Italian Edison Company in recent years availed themselves of the foundation of his plan in their successful attempt to turn running water into electricity.

The panorama to the north of Milan is grandiose in every particular. On the horizon the Alpine chain lies clear-cut against the sky, the Viso, Grand Paradise, Mont Blanc, Splugen and other peaks descending in one slope after another, one foothill after another, until all opens out into the great plain of Lombardy.

North of Milan, towards Como and the Alpine background, is Monza. Lady Morgan called Monza dreary and silent, but her judgments were not always sound; she depended too much upon moods and hers were many.

Monza’s Broletto was built by Frederick Barbarossa, or it was a part of a palace built by that monarch. Italian Gothic of an unmistakable local cast is its style and the effect is heightened by the ringhiera between the windows of the south side.

In Monza’s Cathedral—an antique interior with a Gothic exterior, by the way—is the celebrated Iron Crown of Lombardy with which the German Emperors of Lombardy were{345} crowned. Charles V, Napoleon and Ferdinand I also made use of the same historic bauble which is not of much splendour. It costs a five franc fee to see it, and the sight is not worth the price of admission.


From Milan to Domodossola, leaving Italy via the Simplon Pass, is 177 kilometres, or, via Bellinzona and the Splugen, 207 kilometres with mediocre roads until the lake region is reached, when they improve decidedly, being of the very best as they ascend the mountain valleys.{346}



THE mountains of Piedmont are of the same variety as those of Switzerland and Savoy. They form the highland background to Turin which gives it its magnificent and incomparable framing.

Turin, or Torino, was the old capital of the Duchy of Savoy, then of the Kingdom of Sardinia, up to 1864, and to-day is the chief city of Piedmont.

Turin is laid out in great rectangular blocks, with long straight streets, and it is brilliant and beautiful as modern cities go, but there is not much that is romantic about it, save an occasional historical memory perpetuated by some public monument.

Palazzo Madonna, Turin

Palazzo Madonna, Turin

Turin at the time of the founding of the kingdom of Sardinia, which included also the domain of the house of Savoy, contained but 75,000 inhabitants. Said Montesquieu, who visited it in 1728: “It is the most beautiful city{347} in the world.” De Brosseo, a few years later, declared it to be “the finest city in Italy, by the proper alignment of its streets, the regularity of its buildings, and the beauty of its squares.” From this point of view the same holds true to-day, but it is not sympathetic and winsome in the least, and it is not for the contemplation of straight streets, square, box-like buildings or formal public garden plots that one comes to Italy.

Turin’s monumental memories are by no means non-existent or unclassed, but they are almost overpowered by the modern note which rings so loudly in one’s ears and flashes so vividly in one’s eyes.

Of them all the Palazzo Madonna has the greatest appeal. It was originally a thirteenth century construction of the Montferrats, but was added to at various times until well along in the eighteenth century, when it became the palace of Madonna Reale, the widow of Charles Emmanuel II. All its value from an architectural point of view is in its exterior aspect, but its trim twelve-sided towers have a real distinction that a heavier, more clumsy donjon often lacks.

The Palazzo Carignano is a fanciful invention of an architect, Guarni by name, who in{348} 1680 had no very clear idea as to what a consistent and pleasing architectural conception should be. This palace’s sole reason to be remembered is that it was the residence of King Carlo-Alberto. To-day Guarni’s original façade has been covered by a non-contemporary colonnade, with columns and statues of a certain impressive presence, which would be considered handsome if it were some degrees finer in workmanship, for the conception was certainly on becoming general lines.

The Palazzo Valentino, built in 1633 by Christine of France, the daughter of Henri IV and Marie de Medici, and wife of Vittorio Amedeo II, is now devoted to the usages of an educational institution. It is on the classic French chateau order and is as out of place in Italy as the Italian Renaissance architecture is in England.

On the Piazza Castello rises Turin’s old castle of the fourteenth century, built of brick, and, though moss-grown, it is hardly a ruin.

The Palazzo Reale, built in 1678 on the north side of the Piazza, is severe and simple as to exterior, but luxurious enough within by reason of the collections which it houses.

In the armory of Turin’s royal palace is the full suit of armour worn by Duke Emanuele-Filiberto{349} on the occasion of the battle of St. Quentin, and made by his own hand. He was an armourer, a silversmith and a worker in fine metals beyond compare. In peace he was a craftsman without an equal; in war he was the same kind of a fighter.

Another armour suit is of gigantic proportions. Who its owner was history and the catalogue fail to state. The breast-plate bears a ducal coronet and the letter F. The suit contains enough metal to armour plate a small battle ship. For the more sentimentally inclined there is a cabinet of delicately fashioned stilettos, which we have always fondly believed were the national arms of Italy. These particular stilettos were taken from fair ladies after they had made away with their lovers when they came to be a nuisance. Fickle women!

Turin is one of the many places on the map of Europe famous for a specialty in the eating line. This time it is chocolate. Let not any one think that all chocolate comes from Aiguebelle or Royat. The bread of Turin, “grissini,” is also in a class by itself. It is made in long sticks about the diameter of a pipe stem, and you eat yards of it with your minestra and between courses.

The puppet show or marionette theatres of{350} Turin have ever been famous, indeed the fantoccini theatre had its origin in Piedmont. The buffon Gianduja was of Piedmontese birth, as was Arlequino of Bergamo.

Around Turin are various suburban neighbourhoods with historic memories and some palace and villa remains which might well be noted.

The Vigna della Regina, or the Queen’s Vineyard, is the name given to a once royal residence, now a girls’ school. The house was built in 1650 by Cardinal Maurice of Savoy. Another one of the nearby sights, not usually “taken in,” is the natural garden (an undefiled landscape garden) arranged in the sixteenth century by the Duke of Savoy, Emanuele Filiberto.

King Carlo Felice had a country house called the Castello d’Aglie to the north of the city. It is remarkable for nothing but the pure air of the neighbourhood, and that abounds everywhere in these parts.

On the Strada, Moncenisio

At Rivoli, a few kilometres out on the Mont Cenis road, is a clumsily built, half finished mass of buildings, planned by Vittorio Amedeo II. in the eighteenth century as a royal residence to which he some day might return if he ever got tired of playing abdicator. He occu{351}pied it surely enough, in due course, but as a prisoner, not as a ruler. He was a well-meaning monarch, and through him the house of Savoy obtained Sardinia, but he made awful blunders at times, or at least one, for ultimately he landed in prison where he died in 1732.

Six leagues from Turin is the little garrison town of Pinerolo. A heap of stones on the mountain marks the site of a chateau where were once imprisoned the man of the Iron Mask, Lauzun, the political prisoner of history, and Fouquet, the money-grabbing minister of Louis XIV.

Lauzun and his personal history make interesting reading for one versed in things Italian and French. He made a famous mot when being transported to his mountain prison. He was requested from time to time to descend from his carriage, whenever by chance it had got stuck in the mud or wedged between offending rocks. With much apology he was begged to descend. “Oh! this is nothing; these little misfortunes of travel are nothing of moment compared to the object of my journey.” Other prisoners may have put things similarly, but hardly with the same grace of diction.

Let no automobilist, on leaving Turin, come out by way of Pinerolo unless he is prepared{352} for a detour of a hundred kilometres, a rise of 2,000 metres and a drop down again to 1,300 metres at Cesana Tarinese, where he strikes the main road over the Col de Mont Cenis to Modane in France, or via the Col de Mont Genevre to Briançon. The direct road from Turin is via Rivoli and Suse.

Not every traveller in Italy knows the half-hidden out-of-the-way Val d’Aoste, the obvious gateway from Turin to the north via the Col du Saint Bernard. Travellers by rail rush through via the Simplon or Mont Cenis and know not the delights and joys which possess the traveller by road as he plunges into the heart of the Alps through the gateway of the Val d’Aoste.

The Val d’Aoste, less than a hundred kilometres, all counted, has more scenic and architectural surprises than any similar strip in Europe, but it is not a piste to be raced over by the scorching automobilist at sixty miles an hour. On the contrary it can not be done with satisfaction in less than a day, even by the most blasé of tourists. The railway also ascends the valley as far as Aoste, and one may cross over by coach into France or Switzerland by either the Col du Petit Saint Bernard or the Col du Grand Saint Bernard. It is worth doing!{353}

The whole Val d’Aoste is one great reminder of feudal days and feudal ways. Curiously enough, too, in this part of Piedmont the aspect is as much French as Italian, and so too is the speech of the people. At Courmayer, for instance, the street and shop signs are all in French, and ’om the diminutive of homme replaces the Italian uomo; cheur stands for cœur and sita for cité and citta. This patois is universal through the upper valleys, and if one has any familiarity with the patois of Provence it will not be found so very strange. French, however, is very commonly understood throughout Piedmont, more so than elsewhere in north Italy, where, for a fact, a German will find his way about much more readily than a Frenchman.

One blemish lies all over the Val d’Aoste. It was greatly to be remarked by travellers of two or three generations ago and is still in evidence if one looks for it, though actually it is decreasing. Large numbers of the population are of the afflicted class known as Cretins, and many more suffer from goitre. It is claimed that these diseases come from a squalid filthiness, but the lie is given to this theory by the fact that there is no apparent filthiness. The diseases are evidently hereditary, and at some{354} time anterior to their appearance here they were already known elsewhere. They are then results of an extraneous condition of affairs imported and developed here in this smiling valley through the heedlessness of some one. There are certain neighbourhoods, as at Courmayer and Ivrea, where they do not exist at all, but in other localities, and for a radius of ten kilometres roundabout, they are most prevalent.

The southern gateway to the Val d’Aoste is the snug little mountain of Ivrea, 50 kilometres from Turin. The cheese and butter of the Italian Alps, known throughout the European market as Beurre de Milan, is mostly produced in this neighbourhood, and the ten thousand souls who live here draw almost their entire livelihood from these products. Ivrea has an old Castle of imposing, though somewhat degenerate, presence. It has been badly disfigured in the restorations of later years, but two of its numerous brick towers of old still retain their crenelated battlements. The place itself is of great antiquity, and Strabon has put it on record that 3,600 of the inhabitants of the Val d’Aoste were once sold en bloc in the streets of Ivrea by Terentius Varro, their captor.

The Val d’Aoste, from Ivrea to Courmayer,{355} about one hundred kilometres, will some day come to its own as a popular touring ground, but that time is not yet. When the time comes any who will may know all the delights of Switzerland’s high valleys without suffering from the manifest drawback of overexploitation. One doesn’t necessarily want to drink beer before every waterfall or listen to a yoedel in every cavern. What is more to the point is that one may here find simple, unobtrusive attention on the part of hotel keepers and that at a price in keeping with the surroundings. This you get in the Val d’Aoste and throughout the Alps of Piedmont, Dauphiny and Savoy.

Up high in the Val d’Aoste lies a battery of little Alpine townlets scarce known even by name, though possessed of a momentous history and often of architectural monuments marvellously imposing in their grandeur and beauty.

Near Pont Saint Martin, high above the torrent of the Doire, is the picturesque feudal castle of Montalto, a name famous in Italian annals of the middle ages.

Over the river Lys, at Pont Saint Martin, there is a Roman bridge; a modern iron one crosses it side by side, but the advantages, from an æsthetic and utilitarian view-point, as well, are all in favour of the former. A ruined castle{356} crowns the height above Pont Saint Martin and a few kilometres below, at Donnas, is an ancient Roman mile stone still bearing the uneffaced inscription XXXII M. P.

This whole region abounds in Napoleonic souvenirs. Fort Bard, the key to the valley, garrisoned by only eight hundred Austrians, gave Bonaparte a check which he almost despaired of overcoming. The Little Corporal’s ingenuity pulled him through, however. He sent out a patrol which laid the streets of the little village below the fort with straw and his army passed unobserved in the night as if slippered with felt. But for this, the Battle of Marengo, one of the most brilliant of French feats of arms, might never have been fought.

Bard, the fort and the village, is now ignored by the high road which, by a cut-off, avoids the steep climb in and out of the place.

Unheard of by most travellers in Italy, and entirely unknown to others, Verrex in the Val d’Aoste possesses a ravishing architectural surprise in the shape of a feudal castle on a hillside overlooking the town. It is of the square keep, or donjon, variety, and played an important part in the warlike times of the past.

The chateau of Issogne near by, built by the Prior Geor. Challant, less of a castle and more{357} of a country house, is an admirable fifteenth century domestic establishment still habitable, and inhabited, to-day.

All up and down the valley are relics of the engineering skill of the great Roman road and bridge builders. The road over Mont Jovet, a sheer cut down into the roof of a mountain, was theirs; so were the bridges at Chatillon and Pont Saint Martin, and another at Salassiens. At the Pont d’Ael is a Roman aqueduct.

Chatillon, like Verrex, is not marked in big letters on many maps, but it belongs in every architect lover’s Italian itinerary. Its two bridges of olden time are veritable wonder works. Its chateau Ussel, a ruin of the fourteenth century, is still glorious under its coat of mail of moss and ivy, while the Castle of Count Christian d’Entréves is of the kind seen by most people only in picture books.

At Fénis is a magnificent feudal battlemented castle with donjon tower, a chemin ronde and a barbican so awe-inspiring as to seem unreal. With Verrex and Issogne, near by, Fénis completes a trio of chateaux-forts built by the overlords of the name of Challant who possessed feudal rights throughout all the Val d’Aoste.

Aimon de Challant built the castle of Fénis in 1330. Virtually it was, and is, a regular{358} fortress, with as complete a system of defence as ever princely stronghold had. At once a sumptuous seigneurial residence and a seemingly impregnable fortress, it is one of the most remarkable works of its class above ground.

Aoste is a little Italian mountain town far more French than Italian from many points of view. It is of great antiquity and was the Augusta Prætoria of various Roman itineraries.

Like most Roman cities Aoste was laid out on the rectangular parallelogram plan, an aspect which it still retains.

Aoste’s triumphal arch, its city gate and walls, and its ancient towers all lend a quaint aspect of mediævalism which the twentieth century—so far as it has gone—has entirely failed to contaminate.

For lovers of English church history it will be a pleasure to recall that Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury in the eleventh century, was born at Aoste. Another churchly memory at Aoste is a tablet inscribed with the particulars of the flight of Calvin from his refuge here in 1541.

Castle of Fénis

Castle of Fénis

Saint Bernard, who has given his name to two neighbouring mountain passes and to a breed of dogs, was Archbishop of Aoste in his time. His perilous journeys in crossing the Alps, going and coming to and from his mis{359}sions of good, led to his founding the celebrated hospice on the nearby mountain pass which bears his name. The convent of the Great St. Bernard is the highest habited point in Europe.

From Aoste to the Hospice of the Grand Saint Bernard is twenty-six kilometres, with a rise of nearly 2,000 metres and a fall of a like amount to Martigny in Switzerland. The percentage of rise is considerably greater than the route leading into France by the Little Saint Bernard, which falls short of the former by three hundred metres, but the road is rather better. By far the easiest route from Turin into France is via the Col de Mont Cenis to Modane; but a modern automobile will not quarrel seriously with any of these save one or two short, ugly bits of from fifteen to seventeen per cent. They are pretty stiff; there’s no doubt about that, and with a motor whose horse power is enfeebled by the rarefied atmosphere at these elevations the driver is likely to meet with some surprises.{360}



THERE is one delightful crossing of Italy which is not often made either by the automobilist or the traveller by rail. We found it a delightful itinerary, though in no respect did it leave the beaten track of well worn roads; simply it was a hitherto unthought of combination of highroads and byroads which led from Como, on the shores of its mountain lake, to Nice, the head centre of the Riviera, just across the Italian border in France, entering that land of good cooks and good roads (better cooks and better roads than are found in Italy, please remember) via the Col de Tende and the Custom House of San Dalmazzo.

The itinerary covers a length of 365 kilometres and all of it is over passably good roads, the crossing of the frontier and the Lower Alps at the Col de Tende being at a lower level than any other of the Franco-Italian mountain passes, although we encountered snow on the heights even in the month of May.{361}

This route is a pleasant variation from the usual entrance and exit from Italy which the automobilist coming from the south generally makes via one of the high Alpine valleys. If one is bound Parisward the itinerary is lengthened by perhaps five hundred kilometres, but if one has not entered Italy by the Cote d’Azur and the Riviera gateway the thing is decidedly worth the doing.

Como itself is the head centre for this part of the lake region, but we used it only as a “pointe de départ.” Cernobbio is far and away the best idling place on the Lago di Como and is getting to be the rival of Aix-les-Bains in France, already the most frequently visited automobile centre in Europe.

From Cernobbio to Como, swinging around the foot of the lake, is but a short six kilometres, and from the latter place the Milan road leaves by the old barbican gate and winds upwards steadily for a dozen kilometres, crossing the railway line a half a dozen times before Milan is reached.

The detour to Monza was made between Como and Milan, a lengthening of the direct route by perhaps a dozen kilometres, and the Strada Militaire, which joins with the Bergamo-Milan road, was followed into the Lom{362}bard capital through the Porto Orientale. The direct road, the post road from Como, enters the city by the Porta Nuova. There seems to be nothing to choose between the two routes, save that to-day one may be good and the other bad as to surface and six months later the reverse be the case.

On entering Milan one circles around the Foro Bonaparte and leaves the city by the Porta Magenta for Turin. Magenta, twenty-five kilometres; Novara, forty-six kilometres; so runs the itinerary, and all of it at the dead level of from 120 to 150 metres above the sea.

We were stoned at Novara and promptly made a complaint to the authorities through the medium of the proprietor of the Hotel de la Ville, where we had a most gorgeous repast for the rather high price of five francs a head. It was worth it, though, in spite of the fact that we garaged the automobile in the dining room where we ate. We got satisfaction, too, for the stoning by the sight of half a dozen small boys being hauled up to the justice, accompanied by their frightened parents. The outcome we are not aware of, but doubtless the hotel proprietor insisted that his clients should not be driven out of town in this manner, and, though prob{363}ably no serious punishment was inflicted, somebody undoubtedly got a well-needed fright.

The road still continues towards Turin perfectly flat for a matter of a hundred kilometres beyond Novara, the glistening mountain background drawing closer and closer until one realizes to the full just why Turin and Milan are such splendid cities, an effect produced as much by their incomparable sites as by their fine modern buildings, their great avenues and boulevards, and their historic traditions.

This borderland between Lombardy and Piedmont forms the very flower of present day Italy. The diarist Evelyn remarked all this in a more appreciative manner than any writer before or since.

He wrote: “We dined at Marignano near Milan, a grette cittie famous for a cheese a little short of the best Parmeggiano, where we met half a dozen suspicious cavaliers who yet did us no harm. Then passing through a continuous garden we went on with exceeding pleasure, for this is the Paradise of Lombardy, the highways as even and straight as a cord, the fields to a vast extent planted with fruit, and vines climbing every tree planted at equal distances one from the other; likewise there{364} is an abundance of mulberry trees and much corn.”

To arrive on the Riviera from Turin one leaves the roads leading to the high Alpine valleys behind. Directly north from Turin runs the highroad which ultimately debouches into the Val d’Aosta and the Saint Bernard Passes; to the west, those leading through Pinerolo and the Col de Sestrières and Susa and the Cols of Mont Genèvre and Mont Cenis.

Just out of Turin on the road to Cuneo (which is perhaps more often called by its French name, Coni, for you are now heading straight for the frontier, a matter of but a half a hundred kilometres beyond) is Moncalieri, the possessor of a royal chateau where was born, in 1904, Prince Humbert of Piedmont, the present heir to the Italian throne.

When Italy’s present Queen Helena sojourned here after the birth of her son she took her promenades abroad en automobile and so came to be a partisan of the new form of locomotion as already had the dowager Queen before her. The latter may properly enough be called the automobiling monarch of Europe for she is heard of to-day at Aix-les-Bains, to-morrow at Paris or Trouville and the week{365} after at Pallanza or Cadennabia, and in turn in Spain, at Marienbad, Ostend, Biarritz or Nice, and she always travels by road, and at a good pace, too.

This up-to-date queen’s predilection for the automobile in preference to the state coach of other days or the plebeian railway has doubtless had much to do with the development of the automobile industry in Italy. It has, too, made the gateway into Italy from the Riviera over the Col de Tende the good mountain road that it is. Those who pass this way—and it’s the only way worth considering from the South of France to the Italian Lakes—will have cause to bless Italy’s automobiling queen. The chiefs of state of Italy, France and Germany know how to encourage automobilism and all that pertains thereto better than those of Republican America or Monarchial Britain.

Carignano, twelve kilometres beyond Moncalieri, is famous for its silk industry and its beautiful women. We saw nothing of the former, but the latter certainly merit the encomium which has been bestowed upon them ever since the Chevalier Bayard remarked the gentilezza and beauty of the widow Bianca Montferrat, and fought for her in a tournament centuries ago.{366}

Carmagnola, a half a dozen kilometres off the direct road, just beyond Carignano, takes much the same rank as the latter place. Neither are tourist points to the slightest degree, but each is delightfully unworldly and give one glimpses of native life that one may find only in the untravelled hinterland of a well known country. The peasant folk of Carmagnola are as picturesque and gay in their costume and manner of life as one can possibly expect to see in these days when manners and customs are changing before the new order of things. Here is the home of the celebrated Dance of the Carmagnole, a gyrating, whirling, dervish-like fury of a dance which makes a peasant girl of the country look more charming than ever as she swishes and swirls her yards of gold or silver neck beads in a most dazzling fashion. The French Revolution borrowed the “Carmagnole” for its own unspeakable orgies, by what right no one knows, for there is nothing outré about it when seen in its native land. Possibly some alien Savoyards, who may have joined their forces with the Marseilles Batallion, may have brought it to France with their light luggage—proverbially light, for the Savoyard has the reputation of always travelling with a bundle on a stick. Would that we{367} touring automobilists could, or would, travel lighter than we do!

Racconigi, a half a dozen kilometres farther on, has another royal chateau, and, passing Saluzza, through the arch erected in memory of the marriage of Victor Amedeo and Christine of France, one arrives at Cuneo in thirty kilometres more. From Carmagnola to Cuneo direct, by Savigliano, is practically the same distance, but the other route is perhaps the more picturesque.

At Cuneo one has attained an elevation of some five hundred and thirty-five metres above sea level, the rise thence to the Col de Tende being eight hundred metres more, that is to say the pass is crossed at an elevation not exceeding 1,300 metres.

Cuneo’s Albergo Barra di Ferro (a new name to us for a hotel) accommodates one for the price of five francs a day and upwards, and gives a discount of ten per cent. to members of the Touring Club Italiano. These prices will certainly not disturb any one who can afford to supply a prodigal automobile with tires at the present high prices.

We climbed up from Cuneo to the Col, a matter of thirty-three kilometres of a very easy rise, in something less than a couple of hours,{368} the last six kilometres, the steepest portion, averaging but a five per cent. grade.

On leaving Cuneo the road ascends very gradually, running along the valley of the Vermagnana to the foot of the Col where it begins to mount in earnest. Below is the great plain of Piedmont watered by the Po and its tributary rivers, while above rises the mass of the Maritime Alps, with Mount Viso as its crowning peak, nearly four thousand metres high. It is a veritable Alpine road but not at all difficult of ascent. About midway on the height one remarks the attempt to cut a tunnel and thereby shorten the route, an attempt which was abandoned long years ago. From the crest, the Col itself, one gets a view ranging from Mont Viso to Mont Rosa in the north and on the south even to the blue waters of the Mediterranean. For fully a third of the year, and often nearer half, the Col de Tende is cursed with bad weather and is often impassable for wheeled traffic in spite of the fact of its comparatively low elevation. The wind storms here are very violent.

From Tende the road winds down into the low French levels, and in this portion takes rank as one of the earliest of Alpine roads, it having been built by Carlo Emanuele I in 1591.{369}

Down through the valley of the Torrent of the Roya glides the mountain road and, passing San Dalmazzo and numerous rock villages, a distinct feature of these parts, in sixteen kilometres reaches Breil, the first place of note on French territory.

We had our “triptych” signed at the Italian dogana fifteen kilometres beyond the brow of the mountain, at San Dalmazzo di Tenda, crossing on to French soil three kilometres farther on. The French douane is at Breil, at the sixty-sixth kilometre stone beyond Cuneo, and at an elevation of less than three hundred metres above the sea. Here we delayed long enough to have the douaniers check off the number of the motor, the colour of the body work, the colour of the cushions and numerous other incidentals in order that the French government might not be mulcted a sou. “Everything in order. Allons! partez;” said the gold braided official, and again we were in France.

At Breil the road divides, one portion, following still the valley of the Roya, slopes down to Ventimiglia in twenty kilometres, the other, in forty kilometres, arriving at Nice via the valley of the Paillon.

It is not all down hill after Breil for, before{370} Sospel is reached, seventeen kilometres away, one crosses another mountain crest by a fairly steep ascent and again, after Sospel, it rises to the Col di Braus—this time over the best of French roads—to an elevation of over one thousand metres.

From Sospel a spur road leads direct to Menton but the Grande Route leads straight on to Nice, shortly after to blend in with the old Route d’Italie, linking up Paris with the Italian-Mediterranean frontier, a straight away “good road,” the dream of the automobilist, for a matter of 1,086 kilometres.




A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, Z

Abbey at Vallombrosa, 153
Acquasola, Park of, 101
Ad Confluentis, 65
Adda (Family of), 321
Adelphi, The (Secret Society), 39
Adriatic Sea, 16, 67, 163, 236, 237, 260, 283
Æmilia, 4, 271
Ætna, 11, 19
Agrippa, 211
Aiguebell, 6, 349
Albergo (See also Hotel), 48, 49
All’Accademia, 304
Arti, 270
Asolo, 295
Barra di Ferro, 367
Capello d’Oro, 318
del Cervo, 339
Delfino, 110
della Nuova York, 117
della Quercia, 198
del Sol, 217
Fanti-Stella d’Oro, 281
Grimaldi, 94
Guippone, 130
Italia, 115
Italia (at Urbino), 235
Unione, 105
Alassio, 91, 92
Alba Longa, 186
Alban Hills, 181, 189
Albano, 179, 181, 184, 185, 189, 197
Albano Lake, 184, 185, 186
Albaro, 106
Albenga, 66, 92, 93, 95
Albero d’Oro (See Palazzo Imperiali)
Albium Ingaunum, 66
Intermelium, 66
Alessandria, 333
Algeria, 15, 17
Alps, 7, 12, 17
Alps of Piedmont, 2, 15, 85
Amalfi, 2, 212, 219, 220, 224
Ambrosian Library, 336
Amelia, 66
Ampesso Pass, 294
Ancona, 2, 11, 67, 225, 226, 236, 238, 242, 243
Aosta, Valley of, 72
Aoste, 352, 358, 359
Apennines, The, 17, 65, 96, 117
Appian Way (See Via Appia)
Aquileja, 299
Arch of Triumph, 336
Arco d’Augusto, 245
Arcola, 116
Arcore, 321
Aretino, Guido, 155
Aretium, 160
Arezzo, 7, 11, 70, 138, 153, 156, 159, 160, 161, 231
Ariminum, 64, 65
Ariosto, 253, 255, 271
Arma, 90
Arno, The (River), 124, 125, 127, 159, 160, 163
Arno, Valley of the, 124, 156
Arona, 73, 327, 332{372}
Asinalunga, 166
Asolo, 295, 297
Assisi, 228, 230
Asti, 333
Augustus, Tower of, 86
Averso, 199
Avezzano, 225, 226
Azeglio, Massimo d’, 139

Bacciochi, Eliza (Princess of Lucca), 123
Baies, 211
Baptistery, The, of Pisa, 126
Barberino di Mugello, 11, 26
Bargello, at Florence, 162
Bari, 237, 238, 241
Barletta, 238
Basilicate, Province of, 36
Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, 229
Baveno, 327
Bay of Naples, 13, 54, 207, 209, 211, 213, 220
Bellagio, 321, 325
Bellay, Cardinal du Joachim, 6
Bellinzona, 345
Belluno, 294, 295, 325
Bergamo, 317, 318, 319, 350
Bernadino, 75
Bertolini, 105
Biarritz, 3
Bibbiena, 156, 161, 162
“Blue Grotto,” 223
Bologna, 6, 19, 61, 65, 160, 251, 265-269, 277
Bononia, 65, 160, 268
Bordighera, 86, 87
Borghese, Family of, 187
Borgia (Family of), 5, 176, 227, 244, 253, 261, 262, 263, 264
Borgo San Donino, 65, 274
Borromean Islands, 327
Botticelli, 14
Bourbons, 40
Breil, 369
Brescia, 72, 315, 317, 318, 333
Brescia Armata, 315, 316
Briançon, 73
Bridge of Arcole, 303
Brindisi, 236, 237, 239, 241
Brisighella, 263
Broletto of Bergamo, 318
Brunelleschi, Family of, 146
Brunswick, Family of, 257
Buonaparte, a notary, 117

Cadenabbia, 325
Caesena, 65
Calabria, 10, 17, 18, 19, 25, 27, 196, 214
Campagna, 19, 166, 173, 180, 181, 182, 184, 189
Campaldino, Plain of, 156
Campanello (Brigand) 141, 142
Campania, Province, 36, 67
Campanile, The, 282
Campanile of San Marco, 295
Campo Formico, 298
Campo Santo of Pisa, 127
Canalazzo at Venice, 288
Canossa, 273
Canova, 14
Capo delle Melle, 91
Capodimonte, 205
Capo di Noli, 95
Capo di Vado, 95
Capri, 2, 15, 26, 198, 202, 207, 220, 221, 222, 223
Capua, 66, 197, 198
Carbonari, The, 39
Careggi, 146, 147
Carignano, 365, 366
Carmagnola, 366
Carrara, 117, 119
Casa del Commune, 93
Casa di Palladio, 301
Casa Stradivari, 312
Casentino, 26, 65, 124, 144, 156, 157, 158, 162, 163
Caserta, 11, 198, 199
Castellamare, 212, 219, 224
Cassino, 184
Cascades of Terni, 226
Cascina, 128{373}
Castel del Carmine, 201
Castel Franco, 65, 269
Castel Gandolfo, 185, 186
Castel Malatesta, 245
Castel Paraggi, 111
Castello dell’Ovo, 201, 202
Castello Gavone, 94
Castello of Ferrara, 254
Castello of Massa, 119
Castle of Fénis, 21
Castle of Malpaga, 318
Castle of Rimini, 21
Castle of Sant Angelo, 13, 174 176, 264
Cathedral of Saint Procule, 210
Cemenelium, 66
Cernobbio, 41, 361
Certosa at Pavia, 340, 341
Cervara, 109
Cesana, 260, 261
Cesana Tarinese, 352
Cesena, 65
Chambéry, 6
Chatillon, 357
Chaucer, 5, 279
Chiavari, 112, 113
Chioggia, 237, 238, 251
Chiusi, 70, 167
Church of Sant’Antonio, 279
Cimabue, 9
Cimiez, 66
Circus Maxentius, 183
Cisalpine Gaul, 64
Cisterna di Roma, 71, 197
Civita Castellana, 225
Civita-Vecchi, 170
Claterna, 65
Clusium, Tombs of, 167
Codroipo, 297
Cogoletto, 98
Coire, 75
Col de Sestrières, 364
de Tend, 360, 365, 367, 368
du Grand St. Bernard, 73, 352, 364
du Mont Genevre, 73, 364
du Petit Saint Bernard, 73, 352, 364
Mont Cenis, 364
Colosseum (Rome), 174
Colmo dell’Orso, 75
Colonna, Family of, 5, 189, 190
Comacchio, 250, 251
Communicazione, Strada di grande, 69, 71
Como, 73, 322, 323, 326, 333, 360, 361
Conegliano, 297
Convent of the Great St. Bernard, 359
Cornudo, 295
Corte Reale, 310
Cortona, 149
Cosa, 149
Cote d’Azur, 361
Courmayer, 353, 354
Cremona, 311, 312
Crevola, 73
Cuneo, 364, 367, 368, 369

Dalmatia, 293
Dante, 7, 156, 157, 158, 164, 165, 248, 260, 270, 279, 280
Del Sarto, Andrea, 9
Desenzano, 313
Diveria, 73
Dogana (Custom House), 62
Dolce Acqua, 86
Domini, 154
Domodossola, 73, 345
Donatello, 120
Donegani, Carlo, 76
Donnas, 356
Doria, Andrea, 90, 102, 109
of Como, 322
of Fiesole, 151
of Milan, 336
of Pisa, 126
Durer, Albrecht, 6

Elba, 2
Empoli, 130, 131, 132
Este (Family of), 253, 256, 258, 264, 270, 271{374}
Este, Village of, 256, 258
Etruria, 67

Faenza, 65
Faënza, 263, 264
Farnese, Family of, 187
Faventia, 65
Felix, 6
Feltre, 294
Fénis, 357
Ferrara, 6, 238, 251, 253-256
Fidentia, 65
Fieschi (Family of), 102, 113
Fiesole, 144, 145, 147, 148, 151-153
F. I. A. F. (Garages), 41, 105
Finale Marina, 43, 93-95
Fiorenzuola, 274
Firenzuola, 65
Fiume, 283
Florian’s, 286, 287, 292
Florence, 1, 2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 18, 31, 41, 43, 69, 70, 101, 122, 128, 132, 133, 135, 138, 141, 142, 144, 145, 147, 152, 153, 158, 159, 160, 171, 226, 250, 251, 260, 268, 277, 312
Florentia, 65
Foggia, 238
Forli, 65, 262, 263
Foligno, 158, 226, 228, 230
Forlimpopoli, 65
Formia, 198
Forte Urbano, 269
Fortezza, The (Secret Society), 39
Forum Cornelii, 65, 264
Forum Gallorum, 65, 269
Forum Livii, 65
Forum Populii, 65
Fractelli, The (Secret Society), 39
Frascati, 2, 12, 179, 181, 186, 187, 188, 192
Frosinone, 71
Futa Pass, 26, 251

Gaeta, 71, 198
Galleria Victor-Emmanuel, 337
Gallinaria, Isle of, 92
Garda, 326
Garibaldi, 166, 204
Geneva, 8
Genna, 66
Genoa, 5, 34, 41, 66, 69, 74, 89, 93, 95-99, 102, 103, 105, 106, 108, 201
Gonfolina, Gorge of, 152
Grenoble, 73
Grimaldi, 62, 82, 83, 84
Grand Hotel (Nervi), 108
Grand-Hotel (Rome), 171
Grand Hotel San Marco, 275
Grand Hotel (Venice), 267
Grand Saint Bernard (See Col du Grand St. Bernard)
Gravadona, 325
Grimaldi, Family of, 102
Gropollo, Marchese, 108
Grosseto, 128, 138, 169
Grotto Nuovo di Posilipo, 206
Guardie-Finanze (Custom officer), 85
Gubbio, 232
Guiadecca, 292
Guidi, Counts of, 157
Gulf of Spezia, 66

Belle Arti, 168
Brun, 267
Croix de Malte, 114
Danielli, 267, 288
de la Minerve, 171
de la Ville (Florence), 135
de la Ville (Novana), 362
de l’Europe (Rampallo), 111
de l’Europe (Venice), 288
Diomede, 217
Europe (Milan), 339
Helvetia, 135
Massa, 119
Palace, 133
Porta Rossa, 135
Royal, 197{375}
Royal et des Étrangers, 199
Splendide, 110
Suisse, 217
Herculaneum, 212, 218, 219

Il Deserto, 98
Il Paradisino (Mountain), 155
Il Salone, 280
Imola, 61, 65, 262, 264, 265
Intemillium, 85
Ionian Sea, 236
Ischia, 211, 212
Isernia, 238
Isola dei Bergeggi, 95
Issogne, 357
Ivrea, 354

La Brera at Milan, 336
La Favorita, 205
Lago di Como, 320, 321, 361
Lago di Garda, 313, 314, 315
Lago di Lugano, 320, 326
Lago di Maggiore, 73, 320, 326, 329, 331
Lago d’Orta, 320
Lago di Varese, 326
Lake of Averno, 211
Lake of Iseo, 317
Lake Varese, 320
“La Lanterna,” 95, 103
La Magliana, 183
La Pineta, 246
Lavagua, 113
Laveno, 326
La Verna, Convent of, 162
Lecce, 237
Lecco, 320, 321
Leghorn, 4, 15, 123
Legnago, 310
Lido, The, 292
Liguria, 15, 43, 65, 66, 92, 96, 107
Lion Inn, 176
Liro, The, 76
Livorno, 68, 119, 121, 123
Livorno, Duke of, 123
Lodi, 343
Lombardy, 16, 17, 25, 73, 173, 332-335, 362, 363
Lorenzo the Magnificent, 145, 146, 152
Lotto, 36
Lucca, 11, 68, 69, 119, 121, 122, 123, 273
Lugano, 326
Luna, 66, 67
Luther, Martin, 6

Mafia, The (Secret Society), 39
Magenta, 362
Magra (the River), 116
Malatesta (Family of), 245
Manfredonia, 238, 241
Mantua, 310, 311, 312, 333
Marina-Andora, 91
Marina di Pisa, 124
Martinengo, 317
Masaniello, 203
Massa, 117, 119
Massarosa, 121
Medici (Family of), 5, 120, 123, 132, 168, 187, 348
Mediterranean Sea, 17, 184
Mennagio, 325
Menton, 10, 81, 82, 83, 84, 95
Mestre, 281, 282
Meta, 212
Milan, 1, 4, 6, 34, 41, 72, 73, 105, 276, 321, 322, 333, 335-340, 343, 344, 345, 361, 362, 363
Milan Express, 10
Minestra, 30
Modane, 73, 269, 359
Modena, 65, 269, 270
Monaco, 66
Monopoli, 237
Mont Cenis, 73, 350, 352
Mont Appio, 86
Monte Berico, 303
Monte Carlo, 3
Monte Cristo’s Island, 2
Monte Falterona, 124, 156
Montelupo, 133
Montepulciana, 11, 166, 167
Monte Secchieta, 155, 162
Montevarchi, 156, 159{376}
Mont Gauro, 211
Mont Nuovo, 211
Monza, 321, 344, 361
Mortola, 82, 84
Mugello, Valley of, 70, 151
Musset, Alfred de, 8, 280, 287, 288
Mutina, 65

Naples, 1, 8, 13, 15, 17, 18, 21, 31, 34, 41, 43, 55, 63, 71, 105, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 205, 207, 210, 212, 213, 219, 224, 225, 312
Neapolitan Camarra, The (Secret Society), 38
Nervi, 108
Nervia, The, 86
Nesso, 321
Nicæ, 66
Nice, 65, 66, 370
Noli, 95
Nona’s Tower, 176
Novara, 333, 362, 363

Oneglia, 90, 98
Orta, 309, 320, 331
Ortona, 238, 241
Otranto, 2, 237
Orvieto, 70, 138, 166, 167, 168
Osteria, 26
Ostia, 66, 181
Otricoli, 181
Ouida, Marquise de la Ramée, 120, 121

Padua, 5, 6, 7, 41, 278-281, 294
Pæstum, 224
Palace of the Caesars, 247
Palace of the Carrera, 280
Palace of Caserta, 205
Palace of the Doges, 288
Palace Farnese, 205
Palace of Theodoric, 247
Palazzaccio, 159, 160
Palazza Publico (Cesana), 261
Palazzos (See also Palaces)
Agostini, 127
Bisenzi, 168
Campetto, 105
Capitano, 280
Carignano, 347
Communal, 244
Del Comune, 139, 245
Dorio, 101
Ducale, 270, 310
Gonfaloneri, 312
Gonzague, 310
Imperali, 107
Isola Bella, 327
Pretoria, 161
Publico, 139
Reale (Milan), 337
Reale (Modena), 270
Reale (Turin), 348
Rosso, 113
Valentino, 348
Vecchio, 162
Palestrina, 189, 190
Parma, 65
Parma, Duchy of, 272, 273
Passo della Somma, 71
Pater, Cosimo, 146
Paterno, 154
Pavia, 6, 333, 335, 340, 342, 343
Pegli, 99
Perugia, 21, 70, 138, 158, 162, 226, 228, 230, 231
Pesaro, 244
Pescara, 238, 241
Peschiera, 309, 310, 313
Petit Saint Bernard (See Col du Petit Saint Bernard)
Petrarch, 5, 160, 258, 279, 341
Piacenza, 64, 65, 260, 272, 274, 275, 276
Castello, 348
Dei Signori, 301, 304
Del Mercato, 130
Del Plebiscito, 169
Di Porta Ravegnana, 269
Erbe, 304
Fontana, 169{377}
Mercanto, 241
San Marco, 286
San Pietro, 87
Vittorio Emanuel (Florence), 136
Vittorio Emanuele (Ravenna), 248
Vittorio Emanuele (Siena), 164, 165
Vittorio Emanuele (Verona), 306
Piedmont, 15, 16, 346, 350, 353, 355, 363
Pietrasanta, 119
Pinerola, 351, 364
Pisa, 41, 66, 67, 69, 125-128
Pistoja, 131, 132
Placentia, 64, 65, 274
Pliny, 321, 322
Poggibonzi, 141
Pompeii, 216, 217, 218
Pompey, 185
Pontassieve, 153, 156
Ponte a Mensola, 153
Ponte d’Augusto, 245
Pontedera, 129
Ponte di Castel Vecchio, 304
Ponte Lungo, 93
Ponte S. Angelo, 171
Pontine Marches (See Pontine Marshes)
Pontine Marshes, 17, 72, 197
Pont Saint Louis, 81, 83
Pont Saint Martin, 355-357
Pouzzoles, 210
Poppi, 124, 156, 157, 161, 162
Poppi-Bibbiena, 156
Pordenone, 297
Porlezza, 326
Porta alla Croce, 153
Camollia, 69, 164
Capuana, 196
Cavalleggeri, 171
della Torre, 323
di Elce, 231
Romana, 69
San Lorenzo, 189
San Gallo, 145
San Sebastiano, 197
Santa Croce, 160
S. Frediano, 133
Portici, 212
Portofino, 66, 109, 110, 111
Porto Maurizio, 90
Porto Venere, 66
Portus Erici, 66
Portus Delphini, 66
Portus Herculis Monoeci, 66
Portus Veneris, 66
Posilippo, 63, 204, 206, 207, 210
Prato, 131, 132
Procida, 211, 212
Protectori Republicana (Secret Society), 39

Quaderna, 65
Quai Parthenope, 41

Rabelais, 6
Racconigi, 367
Ragusa, 11
Rapallo, 109, 111, 112
Raphael, 234
Ravenna, 2, 7, 236, 238, 245-248, 250, 251
Ravine of St. Louis, 82
Recco, 108
Reggio, 10, 11, 65, 271
Reggio, Strada de, 69
Regium Lepidi, 65
Reininghaus, The, 136
Resina, 212
Rheinwald, The, 74
Rimini, 2, 64, 65, 238, 245, 260, 261, 264
Riva, 314, 315
Riviera di Levante, 108
Rivoli, 350
Rocca di Papa, 186
Rocca of Cesana, 261
Roja, The, 85
Romagna, The, 163, 265
Roman Arena, 304, 306
Roman Forum, 179, 217
Rome, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 18, 21, 31, 34, 41, 43, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 101, 138,{378}
160, 166, 168, 170, 171, 172, 173, 179, 181, 182, 183, 186, 189, 192, 197, 201, 225, 238, 312
Rotonda Capra, 302
“Route Internationale,” 81
Royat, 349
Rubens, 7

Sabine Hills, 189
Saint Peter’s, 174
Salerno, 213, 224
Saltino, 154
Saluzza, 367
San Dalmazzo, 360, 369
Sardinia, 170
Sand, Georges, 8, 288
San Francesco, Church of, 229, 248
San Fruttoso, Monastery of, 109
San Gallo, Giuliano da (architect), 145
San Giacomo, Gorge of, 76
San Gimignano, 139, 141
San Giorgio, 291
San Marco, 13, 284, 286, 287, 291-293
San Miniato de Tedeschi, 129, 144
San Pier d’Arena, 95
San Salvatore, Church of, 113
San Remo, 62, 87
Santa Margherita, 109, 110
Santa Maria Novella, 9
Sant’Angelo, 21
Sant’Ellero, 154
Santuario of Vallombrosa, 154
Sarazza, 2
Sarzana, 117, 119
Savigliano, 367
Savignamo, 65
Savona, 66, 93, 95-98
Scaldini, 33, 34
Segni, 149
Senegallia, 244
Sermione, 313
Sestri, 66
Sestri-Levante, 113
Sicily, 25
Sidney, Sir Philip, 6
Siena, 7, 11, 43, 69, 138, 141-143, 158, 164-166, 170
Signa, 133
Simplon Pass, 10, 73, 345, 352
Soave, 303
Somma, Passo della, 71
Sorrento, 198, 212, 219-222, 224
Sospel, 370
Speranza, The, 39
Spezia, 65, 68, 108, 114-116
Spezia, Gulf of, 66, 116, 163
Spilla Nera, The (Secret Society), 39
Spinola, Family of, 102
Splugen Pass, 75
Spoleto, 71, 226
St. Francis of Assisi, 162, 279
Strada di grande Communicazione, 71, 299
Strada di Piedigrotta, 206
Forvia, 199
Militaire, 361
Piasana, 133
per Roma, 142
Regina, 325
per Siena, 142
Strozzi Palace, 135
Stresa, 327
Subiaco, 189, 190, 191, 192
Susa, Valley of, 72, 73

Taneto, 65
Taormina, 2
Taride (Maps), 77, 78
Taro River, 273, 274
Tasso, Torquato, 233, 253, 256
Taunetum, 65
Termoli, 241
Terni, 70, 138, 225
Terracina, 71, 197
Tiber, Valley of, 67
Tigullia, 66
Tivoli, 179, 181, 189, 192, 193, 194
Torre Anunziata, 212{379}
Torre dei Guelfi, 93
Torre del Greco, 212
Torre de Marchese Malespina, 93
Torregaveta, 211
Torre, The, of Pisa, 126
Torri Asinelli, 269
Torri Gorisenda, 269
Tortona, 333
Touring Club Italiano, 78, 80
Towers of Tuscany, 138
Trattoria (Italian Wayside Inn), 43, 47, 52
Trajan, 242
Tregesco, 66
Treviso, 293, 294, 297, 299
Trieste, 283
Tunisia, 16, 17, 26
Turin, 34, 41, 72-74, 346-352, 359, 362-364
Tuscany, 16, 25, 122, 124, 334
Tusculum, 188, 189
Tyrrhenian Sea, 120, 125, 170

Ubertini, Guglielmino (Bishop of Arezzo), 157
Udine, 293, 297-299
Ulm, 6
Umbria, 162, 225, 238
Urbino, 233-235

Vada Sabbata, 66
Vado, 66
Val d’Aoste, 2, 21, 73, 314, 352-357, 364 (See also Valley of)
Val d’Elsa, 139, 141
Val d’Arno, 152
Val d’Arno di Sotto, 152
Valley of Aosta, 72
Valley of Susa, 72
Valley of the Tiber, 225
Vallombrosa, 71, 144, 147, 153-156, 162
Valmontone, 189
Var, The (River), 66
Varazze, 43, 97, 98
Varenna, 325
Varese, 326
Varium fl., 66
Vatican, The, 173, 174, 227
Veii, 186
Venetia, 16
Venice, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 19, 21, 41, 43, 53, 72, 230, 236, 251, 258, 260, 277, 281-284, 286, 288, 290, 292-298, 299, 312
Ventimiglia, 66, 82, 86, 369
Velletri, 71, 184, 189, 197
Vernazza, 114
Verona, 7, 72, 300, 303, 305-310, 312
Veronese, Paul, 7
Verrex, 356, 357
Vesuvius, 2
Via Æmilia, 7, 63-66, 163, 245, 260, 266, 273-275
Æmilia-Scauri, 66
Ameria, 66
Appia, 66, 67, 183, 196, 198, 239
Acquilla, 66
Ardentina, 66
Aurelia, 65-67
Campagna, 183
Cassia, 66, 67
Clodia, 67
del Orto, 160
Flamina, 64 (See also via Flaminia)
Flaminia, 66, 160
Latina, 66
Laurentia, 66
Ostiensis, 66
Salaria, 66, 67
Tusculum, 186
Valeria, 67, 225
Viareggio, 120, 121
Vicenza, 19, 300, 301, 303
Vigna della Regina, 350
Aldobrandini, 187
Ambrogiana, 132
Borghese, 176, 179
Cambria, 107
of the Cardinal, 232
Cesarini, 2{380}
of Cicero at Baies, 210
Conti, 187
Doria, 100, 101
d’Este, 193
Falconieri, 187, 188
de Franchi, 107
Guadagui, 147
of Hadrian, 189, 193, 194
Medici, 146, 176, 178, 188
Negroni, 101
Pagana, 111
del Paradiso, 106
del Popolo, 202
Paladio, 302
Pallavicini, 99
Palmieri, 147, 148
Passarino, 298
Pagana, 111
Petraja, 146
Pliniana, 321
at Poggio Cajano, 145
Rendel, 204
Rinuccini, 147
Rosazza, 101
Ruffinella, 187
Salviate, 147
Scipione Ammirato, 151
Tusculana, 187
Villini, 31
Vintimille (See Ventimiglia), 85
Virgil, 206, 211, 239
Viterbo, 70, 138, 158, 166, 168, 169
Vogelberg, 74
Voie Æmilia, 26
Volterra, 139, 140, 141
Voltri, 99

Zocchi, the draughtsman, 148

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
Britanny=> Brittany {pg 15}
dignataries=> dignitaries {pg 52}
Via Æmelia-Scauri=> Via Æmilia-Scauri {pg 66}
It architecture=> Its architecture {pg 176}
made way with their lovers=> made away with their lovers {pg 349}
Briancon=> Briançon {pg 352}
Chambery, 6=> Chambéry, 6 {pg index}
Castle of Fenis, 21=> Castle of Fénis, 21 {index}
Nicae=> Nicæ {index}
Paestum, 224=> Pæstum, 224 {index}

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Italian Highways and Byways from a
Motor Car, by Francis Miltoun


***** This file should be named 44212-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.