John Evelyn's Diary 1644 is in John Evelyn's Diary 1640s.
John Evelyn's Diary January 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 04 January 1644
04 Jan 1644. I passed this day with one Mr. J. Wall, an Irish gentleman, who had been a friar in Spain, and afterward a reader in St. Isodore's chair, at Rome; but was, I know not how, getting away, and pretending to be a soldier of fortune, an absolute cavalier, having, as he told us, been a captain of horse in Germany. It is certain he was an excellent disputant, and so strangely given to it that nothing could pass him. He would needs persuade me to go with him this morning to the Jesuits' College, to witness his polemical talent. We found the Fathers in their Church at the Rue St. Antoine, where one of them showed us that noble fabric, which for its cupola, pavings, incrustations of marble, the pulpit, altars (especially the high altar), organ, lavatorium, etc., but above all, for the richly carved and incomparable front I esteem to be one of the most perfect pieces of architecture in Europe, emulating even some of the greatest now at Rome itself. But this not being what our friar sought, he led us into the adjoining convent, where, having shown us the library, they began a very hot dispute on some points of divinity, which our cavalier contested only to show his pride, and to that indiscreet height, that the Jesuits would hardly bring us to our coach, they being put beside all patience. The next day, we went into the University, and into the College of Navarre, which is a spacious, well-built quadrangle, having a very noble library.
Thence to the Sorbonne, an ancient fabric built by one Robert de Sorbonne, whose name it retains, but the restoration which the late Cardinal de Richelieu has made to it renders it one of the most excellent modern buildings; the sumptuous church, of admirable architecture, is far superior to the rest. The cupola, portico, and whole design of the church, are very magnificent.
We entered into some of the schools, and in that of divinity we found a grave Doctor in his chair, with a multitude of auditors, who all write as he dictates; and this they call a Course. After we had sat a little, our cavalier started up, and rudely enough began to dispute with the doctor; at which, and especially as he was clad in the Spanish habit, which in Paris is the greatest bugbear imaginable, the scholars and doctor fell into such a fit of laughter, that nobody could be heard speak for a while: but silence being obtained, he began to speak Latin, and made his apology in so good a style, that their derision was turned to admiration; and beginning to argue, he so baffled the Professor, that with universal applause they all rose up, and did him great honors, waiting on us to the very street and our coach, and testifying great satisfaction.
John Evelyn's Diary February 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 02 February 1644
02 Feb 1644. I heard the news of my nephew George's birth, which was on January 15th, English style, 1644.
John Evelyn's Diary 03 February 1644
03 Feb 1644. I went to the Exchange. The late addition to the buildings is very noble; but the galleries where they sell their petty merchandise nothing so stately as ours at London, no more than the place where they walk below, being only a low vault.
The Palaise, as they call the upper part, was built in the time of Philip the Fair, noble and spacious. The great Hall annexed to it, is arched with stone, having a range of pillars in the middle, round which, and at the sides, are shops of all kinds, especially booksellers'. One side is full of pews for the clerks of the advocates, who swarm here (as ours at Westminster). At one of the ends stands an altar, at which mass is said daily. Within are several chambers, courts, treasuries, etc. Above that is the most rich and glorious Salle d'Audience, the chamber of St. Louis, and other superior Courts where the Parliament sits, richly gilt on embossed carvings and frets, and exceedingly beautified.
Within the place where they sell their wares, is another narrower gallery, full of shops and toys, etc., which looks down into the prison-yard. Descending by a large pair of stairs, we passed by Sainte Chapelle, which is a church built by St. Louis, 1242, after the Gothic manner: it stands on another church, which is under it, sustained by pillars at the sides, which seem so weak as to appear extraordinary in the artist. This chapel is most famous for its relics, having as they pretend, almost the entire crown of thorns: the agate patine, rarely sculptured, judged one of the largest and best in Europe. There was now a very beautiful spire erecting. The court below is very spacious, capable of holding many coaches, and surrounded with shops, especially engravers', goldsmiths', and watchmakers'. In it are a fair fountain and portico. The Isle du Palais consists of a triangular brick building, whereof one side, looking to the river, is inhabited by goldsmiths. Within the court are private dwellings. The front, looking on the great bridge, is possessed by mountebanks, operators, and puppet-players. On the other part, is the every day's market for all sorts of provisions, especially bread, herbs, flowers, orange trees, choice shrubs. Here is a shop called NOAH'S ARK, where are sold all curiosities, natural or artificial, Indian or European, for luxury or use, as cabinets, shells, ivory, porcelain, dried fishes, insects, birds, pictures, and a thousand exotic extravagances. Passing hence, we viewed the port Dauphine, an arch of excellent workmanship; the street bearing the same name, is ample and straight.
John Evelyn's Diary 04 February 1644
04 Feb 1644. I went to see the Marais de Temple, where are a noble church and palace, heretofore dedicated to the Knights Templar, now converted to a piazza, not much unlike ours at Covent Garden; but large and not so pleasant, though built all about with divers considerable palaces.
The Church of St. Geneviève is a place of great devotion, dedicated to another of their Amazons, said to have delivered the city from the English; for which she is esteemed the tutelary saint of Paris. It stands on a steep eminence, having a very high spire, and is governed by canons regular. At the Palais Royal Henry IV. built a fair quadrangle of stately palaces, arched underneath. In the middle of a spacious area, stands on a noble pedestal a brazen statue of Louis XIII., which, though made in imitation of that in the Roman capitol, is nothing so much esteemed as that on the Pont Neuf.
The hospital of the Quinze-Vingts, in the Rue St. Honoré, is an excellent foundation; but above all is the Hôtel Dieu for men and women, near Nôtre Dame, a princely, pious, and expensive structure. That of the Charité gave me great satisfaction, in seeing how decently and christianly the sick people are attended, even to delicacy. I have seen them served by noble persons, men and women. They have also gardens, walks, and fountains. Divers persons are here cut for the stone, with great success, yearly in May. The two Châtelets (supposed to have been built by Julius Cæsar) are places of judicature in criminal causes; to which is a strong prison. The courts are spacious and magnificent.
John Evelyn's Diary 08 February 1644
08 Feb 1644. I took coach and went to see the famous Jardine Royale, which is an inclosure walled in, consisting of all varieties of ground for planting and culture of medical simples. It is well chosen, having in it hills, meadows, wood and upland, natural and artificial, and is richly stored with exotic plants. In the middle of the parterre is a fair fountain. There is a very fine house, chapel, laboratory, orangery, and other accommodations for the President, who is always one of the king's chief physicians.
From hence, we went to the other side of the town, and to some distance from it, to the Bois de Vincennes, going by the Bastille, which is the fortress, tower, and magazine of this great city. It is very spacious within, and there the Grand Master of the artillery has his house, with fair gardens and walks.
The Bois de Vincennes has in it a square and noble castle, with magnificent apartments, fit for a royal court, not forgetting the chapel. It is the chief prison for persons of quality. About it there is a park walled in, full of deer; and in one part there is a grove of goodly pine trees.
The next day, I went to see the Louvre with more attention, its several courts and pavilions. One of the quadrangles, begun by Henry IV., and finished by his son and grandson, is a superb, but mixed structure. The cornices, moldings, and compartments, with the insertion of several colored marbles, have been of great expense.
We went through the long gallery, paved with white and black marble, richly fretted and painted à fresco. The front looking to the river, though of rare work for the carving, yet wants of that magnificence which a plainer and truer design would have contributed to it.
In the Cour aux Tuileries is a princely fabric; the winding geometrical stone stairs, with the cupola, I take to be as bold and noble a piece of architecture as any in Europe of the kind. To this is a corps de logis, worthy of so great a prince. Under these buildings, through a garden in which is an ample fountain, was the king's printing house, and that famous letter so much esteemed. Here I bought divers of the classic authors, poets, and others.
We returned through another gallery, larger, but not so long, where hung the pictures of all the kings and queens and prime nobility of France.
Descending hence, we were let into a lower very large room, called the Salle des Antiques, which is a vaulted Cimelia, destined for statues only, among which stands that so celebrated Diana of the Ephesians, said to be the same which uttered oracles in that renowned Temple. Besides these colossean figures of marble, I must not forget the huge globe suspended by chains. The pavings, inlayings, and incrustations of this Hall, are very rich.
In another more private garden toward the Queen's apartment is a walk, or cloister, under arches, whose terrace is paved with stones of a great breadth; it looks toward the river, and has a pleasant aviary, fountain, stately cypresses, etc. On the river are seen a prodigious number of barges and boats of great length, full of hay, corn, wood, wine, and other commodities, which this vast city daily consumes. Under the long gallery we have described, dwell goldsmiths, painters, statuaries, and architects, who being the most famous for their art in Christendom have stipends allowed them by the King. Into that of Monsieur Saracin we entered, who was then molding for an image of a Madonna to be cast in gold of a great size to be sent by the Queen Regent to Loretto, as an offering for the birth of the Dauphin, now the young King.
I finished this day with a walk in the great garden of the Tuileries, rarely contrived for privacy, shade, or company, by groves, plantations of tall trees, especially that in the middle, being of elms, the other of mulberries; and that labyrinth of cypresses; not omitting the noble hedges of pomegranates, fountains, fish-ponds, and an aviary; but, above all, the artificial echo, redoubling the words so distinctly; and, as it is never without some fair nymph singing to its grateful returns; standing at one of the focuses, which is under a tree or little cabinet of hedges, the voice seems to descend from the clouds; at another, as if it was underground. This being at the bottom of the garden, we were let into another, which being kept with all imaginary accurateness as to the orangery, precious shrubs, and rare fruits, seemed a Paradise. From a terrace in this place we saw so many coaches, as one would hardly think could be maintained in the whole city, going, late as it was in the year, toward the course, which is a place adjoining, of near an English mile long, planted with four rows of trees, making a large circle in the middle. This course is walled about, near breast high, with squared freestone, and has a stately arch at the entrance, with sculpture and statues about it, built by Mary di Medicis. Here it is that the gallants and ladies of the Court take the air and divert themselves, as with us in Hyde Park, the circle being capable of containing a hundred coaches to turn commodiously, and the larger of the plantations for five or six coaches abreast.
Returning through the Tuileries, we saw a building in which are kept wild beasts for the King's pleasure, a bear, a wolf, a wild boar, a leopard, etc.
John Evelyn's Diary 27 February 1644
27 Feb 1644. Accompanied with some English gentlemen, we took horse to see St. Germains-en-Laye, a stately country house of the King, some five leagues from Paris. By the way, we alighted at St. Cloud, where, on an eminence near the river, the Archbishop of Paris has a garden, for the house is not very considerable, rarely watered and furnished with fountains, statues, and groves; the walks are very fair; the fountain of Laocoon is in a large square pool, throwing the water near forty feet high, and having about it a multitude of statues and basins, and is a surprising object. But nothing is more esteemed than the cascade falling from the great steps into the lowest and longest walk from the Mount Parnassus, which consists of a grotto, or shell-house, on the summit of the hill, wherein are divers waterworks and contrivances to wet the spectators; this is covered with a fair cupola, the walls painted with the Muses, and statues placed thick about it, whereof some are antique and good. In the upper walks are two perspectives, seeming to enlarge the alleys, and in this garden are many other ingenious contrivances. The palace, as I said, is not extraordinary. The outer walls only painted à fresco. In the court is a Volary, and the statues of Charles IX., Henry III., IV., and Louis XIII., on horseback, mezzo-relievo'd in plaster. In the garden is a small chapel; and under shelter is the figure of Cleopatra, taken from the Belvidere original, with others. From the terrace above is a tempest well painted; and thence an excellent prospect toward Paris, the meadows, and river.
At an inn in this village is a host who treats all the great persons in princely lodgings for furniture and plate, but they pay well for it, as I have done. Indeed, the entertainment is very splendid, and not unreasonable, considering the excellent manner of dressing their meat, and of the service. Here are many debauches and excessive revelings, as being out of all noise and observance.
From hence, about a league further, we went to see Cardinal Richelieu's villa, at Ruell. The house is small, but fairly built, in form of a castle, moated round. The offices are toward the road, and over against it are large vineyards, walled in. But, though the house is not of the greatest, the gardens about it are so magnificent, that I doubt whether Italy has any exceeding it for all rarities of pleasure. The garden nearest the pavilion is a parterre, having in the midst divers noble brass statues, perpetually spouting water into an ample basin, with other figures of the same metal; but what is most admirable is the vast inclosure, and variety of ground, in the large garden, containing vineyards, cornfields, meadows, groves (whereof one is of perennial greens), and walks of vast length, so accurately kept and cultivated, that nothing can be more agreeable. On one of these walks, within a square of tall trees, is a basilisk of copper, which, managed by the fountaineer, casts water near sixty feet high, and will of itself move round so swiftly, that one can hardly escape wetting. This leads to the Citronière, which is a noble conserve of all those rarities; and at the end of it is the Arch of Constantine, painted on a wall in oil, as large as the real one at Rome, so well done, that even a man skilled in painting, may mistake it for stone and sculpture. The sky and hills, which seem to be between the arches, are so natural, that swallows and other birds, thinking to fly through, have dashed themselves against the wall. I was infinitely taken with this agreeable cheat. At the further part of this walk is that plentiful, though artificial cascade, which rolls down a very steep declivity, and over the marble steps and basins, with an astonishing noise and fury; each basin hath a jetto in it, flowing like sheets of transparent glass, especially that which rises over the great shell of lead, from whence it glides silently down a channel through the middle of a spacious gravel walk, terminating in a grotto. Here are also fountains that cast water to a great height, and large ponds, two of which have islands for harbor of fowls, of which there is store. One of these islands has a receptacle for them built of vast pieces of rock, near fifty feet high, grown over with moss, ivy, etc., shaded at a competent distance with tall trees: in this rupellary nidary do the fowl lay eggs, and breed. We then saw a large and very rare grotto of shell-work, in the shape of Satyrs, and other wild fancies: in the middle stands a marble table, on which a fountain plays in divers forms of glasses, cups, crosses, fans, crowns, etc. Then the fountaineer represented a shower of rain from the top, met by small jets from below. At going out, two extravagant musketeers shot us with a stream of water from their musket barrels. Before this grotto is a long pool into which ran divers spouts of water from leaden escalop basins. ST. GERMAINSThe viewing this paradise made us late at St. Germains.
The first building of this palace is of Charles V., called the Sage; but Francis I. (that true virtuoso) made it complete; speaking as to the style of magnificence then in fashion, which was with too great a mixture of the Gothic, as may be seen in what there is remaining of his in the old Castle, an irregular piece as built on the old foundation, and having a moat about it. It has yet some spacious and handsome rooms of state, and a chapel neatly painted. The new Castle is at some distance, divided from this by a court, of a lower, but more modern design, built by Henry IV. To this belong six terraces, built of brick and stone, descending in cascades toward the river, cut out of the natural hill, having under them goodly vaulted galleries; of these, four have subterranean grots and rocks, where are represented several objects in the manner of scenes and other motions, by force of water, shown by the light of torches only; among these, is Orpheus with his music; and the animals, which dance after his harp; in the second, is the King and Dolphin;17 in the third, is Neptune sounding his trumpet, his chariot drawn by sea horses; in the fourth, the story of Perseus and Andromeda; mills; hermitages; men fishing; birds chirping; and many other devices. There is also a dry grot to refresh in; all having a fine prospect toward the river, and the goodly country about it, especially the forest. At the bottom, is a parterre; the upper terrace nearly half a mile in length, with double declivities, arched and balustered with stone, of vast and royal cost.
In the pavilion of the new Castle are many fair rooms, well painted, and leading into a very noble garden and park, where is a pall-mall, in the midst of which, on one of the sides, is a chapel, with stone cupola, though small, yet of a handsome order of architecture. Out of the park you go into the forest, which being very large, is stored with deer, wild boars, wolves, and other wild game. The Tennis Court, and Cavallerizzo, for the menaged horses, are also observable.
We returned to Paris by Madrid, another villa of the King's, built by Francis I., and called by that name to absolve him of his oath that he would not go from Madrid (in which he was prisoner), in Spain, but from whence he made his escape. This house is also built in a park, and walled in. We next called in at the Bonnes-hommes, well situated, with a fair chapel and library.
John Evelyn's Diary March 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 01 March 1644
01 Mar 1644. I went to see the Count de Liancourt's Palace in the Rue de Seine, which is well built. Toward his study and bedchamber joins a little garden, which, though very narrow, by the addition of a well-painted perspective, is to appearance greatly enlarged; to this there is another part, supported by arches in which runs a stream of water, rising in the aviary, out of a statue, and seeming to flow for some miles, by being artificially continued in the painting, when it sinks down at the wall. It is a very agreeable deceit. At the end of this garden is a little theater, made to change with divers pretty scenes, and the stage so ordered, with figures of men and women painted on light boards, and cut out, and, by a person who stands underneath, made to act as if they were speaking, by guiding them, and reciting words in different tones, as the parts require. We were led into a round cabinet, where was a neat invention for reflecting lights, by lining divers sconces with thin shining plates of gilded copper.
In one of the rooms of state was an excellent painting of Poussin, being a Satyr kneeling; over the chimney, the Coronation of the Virgin, by Paulo Veronese; another Madonna over the door, and that of Joseph, by Cigali; in the Hall, a Cavaliero di Malta, attended by his page, said to be of Michael Angelo; the Rape of Proserpine, with a very large landscape of Correggio. In the next room are some paintings of Primaticcio, especially the Helena, the naked Lady brought before Alexander, well painted, and a Ceres. In the bedchamber a picture of the Cardinal de Liancourt, of Raphael, rarely colored. In the cabinet are divers pieces of Bassano, two of Polemburg, four of Paulo Brill, the skies a little too blue. A Madonna of Nicholao, excellently painted on a stone; a Judith of Mantegna; three women of Jeronimo; one of Stenwick; a Madonna after Titian, and a Magdalen of the same hand, as the Count esteems it: two small pieces of Paulo Veronese, being the Martyrdoms of St. Justina and St. Catherine; a Madonna of Lucas Van Leyden, sent him from our King; six more of old Bassano; two excellent drawings of Albert; a Magdalen of Leonardo da Vinci; four of Paulo; a very rare Madonna of Titian, given him also by our King; the Ecce Homo, shut up in a frame of velvet, for the life and accurate finishing exceeding all description. Some curious agates, and a chaplet of admirable invention, the intaglios being all on fruit stones. The Count was so exceeding civil, that he would needs make his lady go out of her dressing room, that he might show us the curiosities and pictures in it.
We went thence to visit one Monsieur Perishot, one of the greatest virtuosos in France, for his collection of pictures, agates, medals, and flowers, especially tulips and anemonies. The chiefest of his paintings was a Sebastian, of Titian.
From him we went to Monsieur Frene's, who showed us many rare drawings, a Rape of Helen in black chalk; many excellent things of Sneiders, all naked; some of Julio and Michael Angelo; a Madonna of Passignano; some things of Parmensis, and other masters.
The next morning, being recommended to one Monsieur de Hausse, President of the Parliament, and once Ambassador at Venice for the French King, we were very civilly received, and showed his library. Among his paintings were a rare Venus and Adonis of Veronese, a St. Anthony, after the first manner of Correggio, and a rare Madonna of Palma.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 March 1644
06 Mar 1644. Sunday. I went to Charenton, two leagues from Paris, to hear and see the manner of the French Protestant Church service. The place of meeting they call the Temple, a very fair and spacious room, built of freestone, very decently adorned with paintings of the Tables of the Law, the Lord's Prayer, and Creed. The pulpit stands at the upper end in the middle, having an inclosure of seats about it, where the Elders and persons of greatest quality and strangers, sit; the rest of the congregation on forms and low stools, but none in pews, as in our churches, to their great disgrace, as nothing so orderly, as here the stools and other cumber are removed when the assembly rises. I was greatly pleased with their harmonious singing the Psalms, which they all learn perfectly well, their children being as duly taught these, as their catechism.
In our passage, we went by that famous bridge over the Marne, where that renowned echo returns the voice of a good singer nine or ten times.
John Evelyn's Diary 07 March 1644
07 Mar 1644. I set forward with some company toward Fontainebleau, a sumptuous Palace of the King's, like ours at Hampton Court, about fourteen leagues from the city. By the way, we pass through a forest so prodigiously encompassed with hideous rocks of whitish hard stone, heaped one on another in mountainous heights, that I think the like is nowhere to be found more horrid and solitary. It abounds with stags, wolves, boars, and not long after a lynx, or ounce, was killed among them, which had devoured some passengers. On the summit of one of these gloomy precipices, intermingled with trees and shrubs, the stones hanging over, and menacing ruin, is built an hermitage. In these solitudes, rogues frequently lurk and do mischief (and for whom we were all well appointed with our carabines); but we arrived safe in the evening at the village, where we lay at the Horne, going early next morning to the Palace.
This House is nothing so stately and uniform as Hampton Court, but Francis I. began much to beautify it; most of all Henry IV. (and not a little) the late King. It abounds with fair halls, chambers, and galleries; in the longest, which is 360 feet long, and 18 broad, are painted the Victories of that great Prince, Henry IV. That of Francis I., called the grand Gallery, has all the King's palaces painted in it; above these, in sixty pieces of excellent work in fresco, is the History of Ulysses, from Homer, by Primaticcio, in the time of Henry III., esteemed the most renowned in Europe for the design. The Cabinet is full of excellent pictures, especially a Woman, of Raphael. In the Hall of the Guards is a piece of tapestry painted on the wall, very naturally, representing the victories of Charles VII. over our countrymen. In the Salle des Festins is a rare Chimney-piece, and Henry IV. on horseback, of white marble, esteemed worth 18,000 crowns; Clementia and Pax, nobly done. On columns of jasper, two lions of brass. The new stairs, and a half circular court, are of modern and good architecture, as is a chapel built by Louis XIII., all of jasper, with several incrustations of marble through the inside.
Having seen the rooms, we went to the volary, which has a cupola in the middle of it, great trees and bushes, it being full of birds who drank at two fountains. There is also a fair tennis court, and noble stables; but the beauty of all are the gardens. In the Court of the Fountains stand divers antiquities and statues, especially a Mercury. In the Queen's Garden is a Diana ejecting a fountain, with numerous other brass statues.
The great Garden, 180 toises long and 154 wide, has in the center a fountain of Tyber of a Colossean figure of brass, with the Wolf over Romulus and Remus. At each corner of the garden rises a fountain. In the garden of the piscina, is a Hercules of white marble; next, is that of the pines, and without that a canal of an English mile in length, at the end of which rise three jettos in the form of a fleur-de-lis, of a great height; on the margin are excellent walks planted with trees. The carps come familiarly to hand (to be fed). Hence they brought us to a spring, which they say being first discovered by a dog, gave occasion of beautifying this place, both with the palace and gardens. The white and terrific rocks at some distance in the forest, yield one of the most august and stupendous prospects imaginable. The park about this place is very large, and the town full of noblemen's houses.
Next morning, we were invited by a painter, who was keeper of the pictures and rarities, to see his own collection. We were led through a gallery of old Rosso's work, at the end of which, in another cabinet, were three Madonnas of Raphael, and two of Andrea del Sarto. In the Academy where the painter himself wrought, was a St. Michael of Raphael, very rare; St. John Baptist of Leonardo, and a Woman's head; a Queen of Sicily, and St. Margaret of Raphael; two more Madonnas, whereof one very large, by the same hand; some more of del Sarto; a St. Jerome, of Perino del Vaga; the Rape of Proserpine, very good; and a great number of drawings.
Returning part of our way to Paris, that day, we visited a house called Maison Rouge, having an excellent prospect, grot, and fountains, one whereof rises fifty feet, and resembles the noise of a tempest, battle of guns, etc., at its issue.
Thence to Essone, a house of Monsieur Essling, who is a great virtuoso; there are many good paintings in it; but nothing so observable as his gardens, fountains, fish-pools, especially that in a triangular form, the water cast out by a multitude of heads about it; there is a noble cascade and pretty baths, with all accommodations. Under a marble table is a fountain of serpents twisting about a globe.
We alighted next at Corbeil, a town famous for the siege by Henry IV. Here we slept, and returned next morning to Paris.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 March 1644
18 Mar 1644. I went with Sir J. Cotton (23), a Cambridgeshire Knight, a journey into Normandy. The first day, we passed by Gaillon, the Archbishop of Rouen's Palace. The gardens are highly commended, but we did not go in, intending to reach Pontoise by dinner. This town is built in a very gallant place, has a noble bridge over the Oise, and is well refreshed with fountains.
This is the first town in Normandy, and the furthest that the vineyards extend to on this side of the country, which is fuller of plains, wood, and inclosures, with some towns toward the sea, very like England.
We lay this night at a village, called Magny. The next day, descending a very steep hill, we dined at Fleury, after riding five leagues down St. Catherine, to Rouen, which affords a goodly prospect, to the ruins of that chapel and mountain. This country so abounds with wolves that a shepherd whom we met, told us one of his companions was strangled by one of them the day before, and that in the midst of his flock. The fields are mostly planted with pears and apples, and other cider fruits. It is plentifully furnished with quarries of stone and slate, and hath iron in abundance.
I lay at the White Cross, in Rouen, which is a very large city, on the Seine, having two smaller rivers besides, called the Aubette and Robec. There stand yet the ruins of a magnificent bridge of stone, now supplied by one of boats only, to which come up vessels of considerable burden. The other side of the water consists of meadows, and there have the Reformed a church.
The Cathedral Nôtre Dame was built, as they acknowledge, by the English; some English words graven in Gothic characters upon the front seem to confirm it. The towers and whole church are full of carving. It has three steeples, with a pyramid; in one of these, I saw the famous bell so much talked of, thirteen feet in height, thirty-two round, the diameter eleven, weighing 40,000 pounds.
In the Chapel d'Amboise, built by a Cardinal of that name, lies his body, with several fair monuments. The choir has behind it a great dragon painted on the wall, which they say had done much harm to the inhabitants, till vanquished by St. Romain, their Archbishop; for which there is an annual procession. It was now near Easter, and many images were exposed with scenes and stories representing the Passion; made up of little puppets, to which there was great resort and devotion, with offerings. Before the church is a fair palace. St. Ouen is another goodly church and an abbey with fine gardens. Here the King hath lodgings, when he makes his progress through these parts. The structure, where the Court of Parliament is kept, is very magnificent, containing very fair halls and chambers, especially La Chambre Dorée. The town-house is also well built, and so are some gentlemen's houses; but most part of the rest are of timber, like our merchants' in London, in the wooden part of the city.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 March 1644
21 Mar 1644. On Easter Monday, we dined at Totes, a solitary inn between Rouen and Dieppe, at which latter place we arrived. This town is situated between two mountains, not unpleasantly, and is washed on the north by our English seas.
The port is commodious; but the entrance difficult. It has one very ample and fair street, in which is a pretty church. The Fort Pollet consists of a strong earth-work, and commands the haven, as on the other side does the castle, which is also well fortified, with the citadel before it; nor is the town itself a little strong. It abounds with workmen, who make and sell curiosities of ivory and tortoise-shells; and indeed whatever the East Indies afford of cabinets, porcelain, natural and exotic rarities, are here to be had, with abundant choice.
John Evelyn's Diary 23 March 1644
23 Mar 1644. We passed along the coast by a very rocky and rugged way, which forced us to alight many times before we came to Havre de Grace, where we lay that night.
The next morning, we saw the citadel, strong and regular, well stored with artillery and ammunition of all sorts: the works furnished with fair brass cannon, having a motto, Ratio ultima Regum. The allogements of the garrison are uniform; a spacious place for drawing up the soldiers, a pretty chapel, and a fair house for the Governor. The Duke of Richelieu being now in the fort, we went to salute him; who received us very civilly, and commanded that we should be showed whatever we desired to see. The citadel was built by the late Cardinal de Richelieu, uncle of the present Duke, and may be esteemed one of the strongest in France. The haven is very capacious.
When we had done here, we embarked ourselves and horses to pass to Honfleur, about four or five leagues distant, where the Seine falls into the sea. It is a poor fisher-town, remarkable for nothing so much as the odd, yet useful habits which the good women wear, of bears' and other skins, as of rugs at Dieppe, and all along these maritime coasts.
John Evelyn's Diary 25 March 1644
25 Mar 1644. We arrived at Caen, a noble and beautiful town, situate on the river Orne, which passes quite through it, the two sides of the town joined only by a bridge of one entire arch. We lay at the Angel, where we were very well used, the place being abundantly furnished with provisions, at a cheap rate. The most considerable object is the great Abbey and Church, large and rich, built after the Gothic manner, having two spires and middle lantern at the west end, all of stone. The choir round and large, in the center whereof elevated on a square, handsome, but plain sepulcher, is this inscription:
"Hoc sepulchrum invictissimi juxta et clementissimi conquestoris, Gulielmi, dum viverat Anglorum Regis, Normannorum Cenomannorumque Principis, hujus insignis Abbatiae piissimi Fundatoris: Cum anno 1562 vesano hæreticorum furore direptum fuisset, pio tandem nobilium ejusdem Abbatiae religiosorum gratitudinis sensu in tam beneficum largitorem, instauratum fuit, aº D'ni 1642. D'no Johanne de Bailhache Assætorii proto priore. D.D"..
On the other side are these monkish rhymes:
Qui rexit rigidos Northmannos, atq. Britannos.
Audacter vicit, fortiter obtinuit,.
Et Cenomanensis virtute coërcuit ensis,.
Imperiique sui Legibus applicuit.
Rex magnus parvâ jacet hâc Gulielm' in Urnâ,.
Sufficit et magno parva domus Domino.
Ter septem gradibus te volverat atq. duobus.
Virginis in gremio Phœbus, et hic obiit.
We went to the castle, which is strong and fair, and so is the town-house, built on the bridge which unites the two towns. Here are schools and an University for the Jurists.
The whole town is handsomely built of that excellent stone so well known by that name in England. I was led to a pretty garden, planted with hedges of alaternus, having at the entrance a screen at an exceeding height, accurately cut in topiary work, with well understood architecture, consisting of pillars, niches, friezes, and other ornaments, with great curiosity; some of the columns curiously wreathed, others spiral, all according to art.
John Evelyn's Diary 28 March 1644
28 Mar 1644. We went toward Paris, lying the first night at Evreux, a Bishop's seat, an ancient town, with a fair cathedral; so the next day we arrived at Paris.
John Evelyn's Diary April 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 01 April 1644
01 Apr 1644. I went to see more exactly the rooms of the fine Palace of Luxemburg, in the Fauxbourg St. Germains, built by Mary di Medicis, and I think one of the most noble, entire, and finished piles that is to be seen, taking it with the garden and all its accomplishments. The gallery is of the painting of Rubens, being the history of the Foundress's Life, rarely designed; at the end of it is the Duke of Orleans' library, well furnished with excellent books, all bound in maroquin and gilded, the valance of the shelves being of green velvet, fringed with gold. In the cabinet joining to it are only the smaller volumes, with six cabinets of medals, and an excellent collection of shells and agates, whereof some are prodigiously rich. This Duke being very learned in medals and plants, nothing of that kind escapes him. There are other spacious, noble, and princely furnished rooms, which look toward the gardens, which are nothing inferior to the rest.
The court below is formed into a square by a corridor, having over the chief entrance a stately cupola, covered with stone: the rest is cloistered and arched on pilasters of rustic work. The terrace ascending before the front, paved with white and black marble, is balustered with white marble, exquisitely polished.
Only the hall below is low, and the staircase somewhat of a heavy design, but the facia toward the parterre which is also arched and vaulted with stone, is of admirable beauty and full of sculpture.
The gardens are near an English mile in compass, inclosed with a stately wall, and in a good air. The parterre is indeed of box, but so rarely designed and accurately kept cut, that the embroidery makes a wonderful effect to the lodgings which front it. 'Tis divided into four squares and as many circular knots, having in the center a noble basin of marble near thirty feet in diameter (as I remember), in which a Triton of brass holds a dolphin, that casts a girandola of water near thirty feet high, playing perpetually, the water being conveyed from Arceuil by an aqueduct of stone, built after the old Roman magnificence. About this ample parterre, the spacious walks and all included, runs a border of freestone, adorned with pedestals for pots and statues, and part of it near the steps of the terrace, with a rail and baluster of pure white marble.
The walks are exactly fair, long, and variously descending and so justly planted with limes, elms, and other trees, that nothing can be more delicious, especially that of the hornbeam hedge, which being high and stately, buts full on the fountain.
Toward the further end, is an excavation intended for a vast fish-pool, but never finished, and near it is an inclosure for a garden of simples, well kept; and here the Duke keeps tortoises in great number, who use the pool of water on one side of the garden. Here is also a conservatory for snow. At the upper part, toward the palace, is a grove of tall elms cut into a star, every ray being a walk, whose center is a large fountain.
The rest of the ground is made into several inclosures (all hedge-work or rows of trees) of whole fields, meadows, bocages, some of them containing divers acres.
Next the street side, and more contiguous to the house, are knots in trail, or grass work, where likewise runs a fountain. Toward the grotto and stables, within a wall, is a garden of choice flowers, in which the duke spends many thousand pistoles. In sum, nothing is wanted to render this palace and gardens perfectly beautiful and magnificent; nor is it one of the least diversions to see the number of persons of quality, citizens and strangers, who frequent it, and to whom all access is freely permitted, so that you shall see some walks and retirements full of gallants and ladies; in others melancholy friars; in others, studious scholars; in others, jolly citizens, some sitting or lying on the grass, others running and jumping; some playing at bowls and ball, others dancing and singing; and all this without the least disturbance, by reason of the largeness of the place.
What is most admirable, you see no gardeners, or men at work, and yet all is kept in such exquisite order, as if they did nothing else but work; it is so early in the morning, that all is dispatched and done without the least confusion.
I have been the larger in the description of this paradise, for the extraordinary delight I have taken in those sweet retirements. The Cabinet and Chapel nearer the garden-front have some choice pictures. All the houses near this are also very noble palaces, especially Petite Luxemburg. The ascent of the street is handsome from its breadth, situation, and buildings.
I went next to view Paris from the top of St. Jacques' steeple, esteemed the highest in the town, from whence I had a full view of the whole city and suburbs, both which, as I judge, are not so large as London: though the dissimilitude of their several forms and situations, this being round, London long,—renders it difficult to determine; but there is no comparison between the buildings, palaces, and materials, this being entirely of stone and more sumptuous, though I esteem our piazzas to exceed theirs.
Hence I took a turn in St. Innocent's churchyard, where the story of the devouring quality of the ground (consuming bodies in twenty-four hours), the vast charnels of bones, tombs, pyramids, and sepulchers, took up much of my time, together with the hieroglyphical characters of Nicholas Flamel's philosophical work, who had founded this church, and divers other charitable establishments, as he testifies in his book.
Here divers clerks get their livelihood by inditing letters for poor maids and other ignorant people who come to them for advice, and to write for them into the country, both to their sweethearts, parents, and friends; every large gravestone serving for a table. Joining to this church is a common fountain, with good relievos upon it.
The next day I was carried to see a French gentleman's curious collection, which abounded in fair and rich jewels of all sorts of precious stones, most of them of great sizes and value; agates and onyxes, some of them admirably colored and antique; nor inferior were his landscapes from the best hands, most of which he had caused to be copied in miniature; one of which, rarely painted on stone, was broken by one of our company, by the mischance of setting it up: but such was the temper and civility of the gentleman, that it altered nothing of his free and noble humor.
The next morning, I was had by a friend to the garden of Monsieur Morine, who, from being an ordinary gardener, is become one of the most skillful and curious persons in France for his rare collection of shells, flowers, and insects.
His garden is of an exact oval figure, planted with cypress, cut flat and set as even as a wall: the tulips, anemones, ranunculuses, crocuses, etc., are held to be of the rarest, and draw all the admirers of that kind to his house during the season. He lived in a kind of hermitage at one side of his garden, where his collection of porcelain and coral, whereof one is carved into a large crucifix, is much esteemed. He has also books of prints, by Albert [Durer], Van Leyden, Callot, etc. His collection of all sorts of insects, especially of butterflies, is most curious; these he spreads and so medicates, that no corruption invading them, he keeps them in drawers, so placed as to represent a beautiful piece of tapestry.
He showed me the remarks he had made on their propagation, which he promised to publish. Some of these, as also of his best flowers, he had caused to be painted in miniature by rare hands, and some in oil.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 April 1644
06 Apr 1644. I sent my sister my own picture in water colors, which she requested of me, and went to see divers of the fairest palaces of the town, as that of Vendôme, very large and stately; Lougueville; Guise; Condé;.
Chevereuse; Nevers, esteemed one of the best in Paris toward the river.
I often went to the Palais Cardinal, bequeathed by Richelieu to the King, on condition that it should be called by his name; at this time, the King resided in it, because of the building of the Louvre. It is a very noble house, though somewhat low; the galleries, paintings of the most illustrious persons of both sexes, the Queen's baths, presence-chamber with its rich carved and gilded roof, theater, and large garden, in which is an ample fountain, grove, and mall, worthy of remark. Here I also frequently went to see them ride and exercise the great horse, especially at the Academy of Monsieur du Plessis, and de Veau, whose schools of that art are frequented by the nobility; and here also young gentlemen are taught to fence, dance, play on music, and something in fortification and the mathematics. The design is admirable, some keeping near a hundred brave horses, all managed to the great saddle.
John Evelyn's Diary 12 April 1644
12 Apr 1644. I took coach, to see a general muster of all the gens d'armes about the city, in the Bois de Boulogne, before their Majesties and all the Grandees. They were reputed to be near 20,000, besides the spectators, who much exceeded them in number. Here they performed all their motions; and, being drawn up, horse and foot, into several figures, represented a battle.
The summer now drawing near, I determined to spend the rest of it in some more remote town on the river Loire; and, on 19th of April, I took leave of Paris, and, by the way of the messenger, agreed for my passage to Orleans.
The way from Paris to this city, as indeed most of the roads in France, is paved with a small square freestone, so that the country does not much molest the traveler with dirt and ill way, as in England, only 'tis somewhat hard to the poor horses' feet, which causes them to ride more temperately, seldom going out of the trot, or grand pas, as they call it. We passed divers walled towns, or villages; among others of note, Chartres and Etampes, where we lay the first night. This has a fair church. The next day, we had an excellent road; but had liked to come short home: for no sooner were we entered two or three leagues into the Forest of Orleans (which extends itself many miles), but the company behind us were set on by rogues, who, shooting from the hedges and frequent covert, slew four upon the spot. Among the slain was a captain of Swiss, of the regiment of Picardy, a person much lamented. This disaster made such an alarm in Orleans at our arrival, that the Prevôt Marshal, with his assistants, going in pursuit, brought in two whom they had shot, and exposed them in the great market place, to see if any would take cognizance of them. I had great cause to give God thanks for this escape; when coming to Orleans and lying at the White Cross, I found Mr. John Nicholas, eldest son to Mr. Secretary. In the night a cat kittened on my bed, and left on it a young one having six ears, eight legs, two bodies from the middle downward, and two tails. I found it dead, but warm, in the morning when I awaked.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 April 1644
21 Apr 1644. I went about to view the city, which is well built of stone, on the side of the Loire. About the middle of the river is an island, full of walks and fair trees, with some houses. This is contiguous to the town by a stately stone bridge, reaching to the opposite suburbs, built likewise on the edge of a hill, from whence is a beautiful prospect. At one of the extremes of the bridge are strong towers, and about the middle, on one side, is the statue of the Virgin Mary, or Pieta, with the dead Christ in her lap, as big as the life. At one side of the cross, kneels Charles VII., armed, and at the other Joan d'Arc, armed also like a cavalier, with boots and spurs, her hair disheveled, as the deliveress of the town from our countrymen, when they besieged it. The figures are all cast in copper, with a pedestal full of inscriptions, as well as a fair column joining it, which is all adorned with fleurs-de-lis and a crucifix, with two saints proceeding (as it were) from two branches out of its capital. The inscriptions on the cross are in Latin: "Mors Christi in cruce nos á contagione, labis et æternorum morborum sanavit". On the pedestal: "Rex in hoc signo hostes profligavit, et Johanna Virgo Aureliam obsidio liberavit. Non diu ab impiis diruta, restituta sunt hoc anno D'ni 1578. Jean Buret, m. f".—"Octannoque Galliam servitute Britannicâ liberavit. A Domino factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris; in quorum memorià hæc nostræ fidei Insignia". To this is made an annual procession on 12th of May, mass being sung before it, attended with great ceremony and concourse of people. The wine of this place is so strong, that the King's cup bearers are, as I was assured, sworn never to give the King any of it: but it is a very noble liquor, and much of it transported into other countries. The town is much frequented by strangers, especially Germans, for the great purity of the language here spoken, as well as for divers other privileges, and the University, which causes the English to make no long sojourn here, except such as can drink and debauch. The city stands in the county of Bealse (Blaisois); was once styled a Kingdom, afterward a Duchy, as at present, belonging to the second son of France. Many Councils have been held here, and some Kings crowned. The University is very ancient, divided now by the students into that of four nations, French, High Dutch, Normans, and Picardines, who have each their respective protectors, several officers, treasurers, consuls, seals, etc. There are in it two reasonable fair public libraries, whence one may borrow a book to one's chamber, giving but a note under hand, which is an extraordinary custom, and a confidence that has cost many libraries dear. The first church I went to visit was St. Croix; it has been a stately fabric, but now much ruined by the late civil wars. They report the tower of it to have been the highest in France. There is the beginning of a fair reparation. About this cathedral there is a very spacious cemetery. The townhouse is also very nobly built, with a high tower to it. The market place and streets, some whereof are deliciously planted with limes, are ample and straight, so well paved with a kind of pebble, that I have not seen a neater town in France. In fine, this city was by Francis I. esteemed the most agreeable of his vast dominions.
John Evelyn's Diary 28 April 1644
28 Apr 1644. Taking boat on the Loire, I went toward Blois, the passage and river being both very pleasant. Passing Mehun, we dined at Baugenci, and slept at a little town called St. Dieu. Quitting our bark, we hired horses to Blois, by the way of Chambord, a famous house of the King's, built by Francis I. in the middle of a solitary park, full of deer, inclosed with a wall. I was particularly desirous of seeing this palace, from the extravagance of the design, especially the staircase, mentioned by Palladio. It is said that 1800 workmen were constantly employed in this fabric for twelve years: if so, it is wonderful that it was not finished, it being no greater than divers gentlemen's houses in England, both for room and circuit. The carvings are indeed very rich and full. The staircase is devised with four entries, or assents, which cross one another, so that though four persons meet, they never come in sight, but by small loopholes, till they land. It consists of 274 steps (as I remember), and is an extraordinary work, but of far greater expense than use or beauty. The chimneys of the house appear like so many towers. About the whole is a large deep moat. The country about is full of corn, and wine, with many fair noblemen's houses.
We arrived at Blois in the evening. The town is hilly, uneven, and rugged, standing on the side of the Loire, having suburbs joined by a stately stone bridge, on which is a pyramid with an inscription. At the entrance of the castle is a stone statue of Louis XII. on horseback, as large as life, under a Gothic state; and a little below are these words:
Hic ubi natus erat dextro Ludovicus Olympo,.
Sumpsit honoratâ regia sceptra manu;.
Felix quæ tanti fulsit Lux nuncia Regis!.
Gallica non alio principe digna fuit.
Under this is a very wide pair of gates, nailed full of wolves and wild-boars' heads. Behind the castle the present Duke Gaston had begun a fair building, through which we walked into a large garden, esteemed for its furniture one of the fairest, especially for simples and exotic plants, in which he takes extraordinary delight. On the right hand is a long gallery full of ancient statues and inscriptions, both of marble and brass; the length, 300 paces, divides the garden into higher and lower ground, having a very noble fountain. There is the portrait of a hart, taken in the forest by Louis XII., which has twenty-four antlers on its head. In the Collegiate Church of St. Savior, we saw many sepulchres of the Earls of Blois.
On Sunday, being May-day, we walked up into Pall Mall, very long, and so noble shaded with tall trees (being in the midst of a great wood), that unless that of Tours, I had not seen a statelier.
From hence, we proceeded with a friend of mine through the adjoining forest, to see if we could meet any wolves, which are here in such numbers that they often come and take children out of the very streets; yet will not the Duke, who is sovereign here, permit them to be destroyed. We walked five or six miles outright; but met with none; yet a gentleman, who was resting himself under a tree, with his horse grazing by him, told us that half an hour before, two wolves had set upon his horse, and had in probability devoured him, but for a dog which lay by him. At a little village at the end of this wood, we ate excellent cream, and visited a castle builded on a very steep cliff.
Blois is a town where the language is exactly spoken; the inhabitants very courteous; the air so good, that it is the ordinary nursery of the King's children. The people are so ingenious, that, for goldsmith's work and watches, no place in France affords the like. The pastures by the river are very rich and pleasant.
John Evelyn's Diary May 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 02 May 1644
02 May 1644. We took boat again, passing by Charmont, a proud castle on the left hand; before it is a sweet island, deliciously shaded with tall trees. A little distance from hence, we went on shore at Amboise, a very agreeable village, built of stone, and the houses covered with blue slate, as the towns on the Loire generally are; but the castle chiefly invited us, the thickness of whose towers from the river to the top, was admirable. We entered by the drawbridge, which has an invention to let one fall, if not premonished. It is full of halls and spacious chambers, and one staircase is large enough, and sufficiently commodious, to receive a coach, and land it on the very tower, as they told us had been done. There is some artillery in it; but that which is most observable is in the ancient chapel, viz, a stag's head, or branches, hung up by chains, consisting of twenty browantlers, the beam bigger than a man's middle, and of an incredible length. Indeed, it is monstrous, and yet I cannot conceive how it should be artificial they show also the ribs and vertebræ of the same beast; but these might be made of whalebone.
Leaving the castle, we passed Mont Louis, a village having no houses above ground but such only as are hewn out of the main rocks of excellent freestone. Here and there the funnel of a chimney appears on the surface among the vineyards which are over them, and in this manner they inhabit the caves, as it were sea-cliffs, on one side of the river for many miles.
We now came within sight of Tours, where we were designed for the rest of the time I had resolved to stay in France, the sojournment being so agreeable. Tours is situate on the east side of a hill on the river Loire, having a fair bridge of stone called St. Edme; the streets are very long, straight, spacious, well built, and exceeding clean; the suburbs large and pleasant, joined to the city by another bridge. Both the church and monastery of St. Martin are large, of Gothic building, having four square towers, fair organs, and a stately altar, where they show the bones and ashes of St. Martin, with other relics. The Mall without comparison is the noblest in Europe for length and shade, having seven rows of the tallest and goodliest elms I had ever beheld, the innermost of which do so embrace each other, and at such a height, that nothing can be more solemn and majestical. Here we played a party, or party or two, and then walked about the town walls, built of square stone, filled with earth, and having a moat. No city in France exceeds it in beauty, or delight.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 May 1644
06 May 1644. We went to St. Gatian, reported to have been built by our countrymen; the dial and clockwork are much esteemed. The church has two handsome towers and spires of stone, and the whole fabric is very noble and venerable. To this joins the palace of the Archbishop, consisting both of old and new building, with many fair rooms, and a fair garden. Here I grew acquainted with one Monsieur Merey, a very good musician. The Archbishop treated me very courteously. We visited divers other churches, chapels, and monasteries for the most part neatly built, and full of pretty paintings, especially the Convent of the Capuchins, which has a prospect over the whole city, and many fair walks.
John Evelyn's Diary 08 May 1644
08 May 1644. I went to see their manufactures in silk (for in this town they drive a very considerable trade with silk-worms), their pressing and watering the grograms and camlets, with weights of an extraordinary poise, put into a rolling engine. Here I took a master of the language, and studied the tongue very diligently, recreating myself sometimes at the Mall, and sometimes about the town. The house opposite my lodging had been formerly a King's palace; the outside was totally covered with fleur-de-lis, embossed out of the stone. Here Mary de Medicis held her Court, when she was compelled to retire from Paris by the persecution of the great Cardinal.
John Evelyn's Diary 25 May 1644
25 May 1644. Was the Fête Dieu, and a goodly procession of all the religious orders, the whole streets hung with their best tapestries, and their most precious movables exposed; silks, damasks, velvets, plate, and pictures in abundance; the streets strewed with flowers, and full of pageantry, banners, and bravery.
John Evelyn's Diary June 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 06 June 1644
06 Jun 1644. I went by water to visit that goodly and venerable Abbey of Marmoutiers, being one of the greatest in the kingdom; to it is a very ample church of stone, with a very high pyramid. Among other relics the Monks showed us is the Holy Ampoulle, the same with that which sacres their Kings at Rheims, this being the one that anointed Henry IV. Ascending many steps, we went into the Abbot's Palace, where we were showed a vast tun (as big as that at Heidelberg), which they report St. Martin (as I remember) filled from one cluster of grapes growing there.
John Evelyn's Diary 07 June 1644
07 Jun 1644. We walked about two miles from the city to an agreeable solitude, called Du Plessis, a house belonging to the King. It has many pretty gardens, full of nightingales; and, in the chapel, lies buried the famous poet, Ronsard.
Returning, we stepped into a Convent of Franciscans, called St. Cosmo, where the cloister is painted with the miracles of their St. Francis à Paula, whose ashes lie in their chapel, with this inscription: "Corpus Sancti Fran. à Paula 1507, 13 Aprilis, concrematur verò ab Hæreticis anno 1562, cujus quidem ossa et cineres hìc jacent". The tomb has four small pyramids of marble at each corner.
John Evelyn's Diary 09 June 1644
09 Jun 1644. I was invited to a vineyard, which was so artificially planted and supported with arched poles, that stooping down one might see from end to end, a very great length, under the vines, the bunches hanging down in abundance.
John Evelyn's Diary 20 June 1644
20 Jun 1644. We took horse to see certain natural caves, called Gouttière, near Colombière, where there is a spring within the bowels of the earth, very deep and so excessive cold, that the drops meeting with some lapidescent matter, it converts them into a hard stone, which hangs about it like icicles, having many others in the form of comfitures and sugar plums, as we call them.
Near this, we went under the ground almost two furlongs, lighted with candles, to see the source and spring which serves the whole city, by a passage cut through the main rock of freestone.
John Evelyn's Diary 28 June 1644
28 Jun 1644. I went to see the palace and gardens of Chevereux, a sweet place.
John Evelyn's Diary 30 June 1644
30 Jun 1644. I walked through the vineyards as far as Roche Corbé, to the ruins of an old and very strong castle, said to have been built by the English, of great height, on the precipice of a dreadful cliff, from whence the country and river yield a most incomparable prospect.
John Evelyn's Diary July 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 27 July 1644
27 Jul 1644. I heard excellent music at the Jesuits, who have here a school and convent, but a mean chapel. We have now store of those admirable melons, so much celebrated in France for the best in the kingdom.
John Evelyn's Diary August 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 01 August 1644
01 Aug 1644. My valet, one Garro, a Spaniard, born in Biscao, having misbehaved, I was forced to discharge him; he demanded of me (besides his wages) no less than 100 crowns to carry him to his country; refusing to pay it, as no part of our agreement, he had the impudence to arrest me; the next day I was to appear in Court, where both our avocats pleaded before the Lieutenant Civil; but it was so unreasonable a pretense, that the Judge had not patience to hear it out. The Judge immediately acquitted me, after he had reproached the avocat who took part with my servant, he rose from the Bench, and making a courteous excuse to me, that being a stranger I should be so used, he conducted me through the court to the street-door. This varlet afterward threatened to pistol me. The next day, I waited on the Lieutenant, to thank him for his great civility.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 August 1644
18 Aug 1644. The Queen of England (34) came to Tours, having newly arrived in France, and going for Paris. She was very nobly received by the people and clergy, who went to meet her with the trained bands. After the harangue, the Archbishop entertained her at his Palace, where I paid my duty to her. The 20th she set forward to Paris.
John Evelyn's Diary September 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 08 September 1644
08 Sep 1644. Two of my kinsmen came from Paris to this place, where I settled them in their pension and exercises.
John Evelyn's Diary 14 September 1644
14 Sep 1644. We took post for Richelieu, passing by l'Isle Bouchard, a village in the way. The next day, we arrived, and went to see the Cardinal's Palace, near it. The town is built in a low, marshy ground, having a narrow river cut by hand, very even and straight, capable of bringing up a small vessel. It consists of only one considerable street, the houses on both sides (as indeed throughout the town) built exactly uniform, after a modern handsome design. It has a large goodly market house and place, opposite to which is the church built of freestone, having two pyramids of stone, which stand hollow from the towers. The church is well built, and of a well-ordered architecture, within handsomely paved and adorned. To this place belongs an Academy, where, besides the exercise of the horse, arms, dancing, etc., all the sciences are taught in the vulgar French by Professors stipendiated by the great Cardinal, who by this, the cheap living there, and divers privileges, not only designed the improvement of the vulgar language, but to draw people and strangers to the town; but since the Cardinal's death, it is thinly inhabited; standing so much out of the way, and in a place not well situated for health, or pleasure. He was allured to build by the name of the place, and an old house there belonging to his ancestors. This pretty town is handsomely walled about and moated, with a kind of slight fortification, two fair gates and drawbridges. Before the gate, toward the palace, is a spacious circle, where the fair is annually kept. About a flight-shot from the town is the Cardinal's house, a princely pile, though on an old design, not altogether Gothic, but mixed, and environed by a clear moat. The rooms are stately, most richly furnished with tissue, damask, arras, and velvet, pictures, statues, vases, and all sorts of antiquities, especially the Cæsars, in oriental alabaster. The long gallery is painted with the famous acts of the Founder; the roof with the life of Julius Cæsar; at the end of it is a cupola, or singing theatre, supported by very stately pillars of black marble. The chapel anciently belonged to the family of the Founder. The court is very ample. The gardens without are very large, and the parterres of excellent embroidery, set with many statues of brass and marble; the groves, meadows, and walks are a real Paradise.
John Evelyn's Diary 16 September 1644
16 Sep 1644. We returned to Tours, from whence, after nineteen weeks' sojourn, we traveled toward the more southern part of France, minding now to shape my course so, as I might winter in Italy. With my friend, Mr. Thicknesse, and our guide, we went the first day seven leagues to a castle called Chenonceau, built by Catherine de Medicis, and now belonging to the Duke de Vendôme, standing on a bridge. In the gallery, among divers other excellent statues, is that of Scipio Africanus, of oriental alabaster.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 September 1644
21 Sep 1644. We passed by Villefranche, where we dined, and so by Muneton, lying at Viaron-au-mouton, which was twenty leagues. The next day by Murg to Bourges, four leagues, where we spent the day. This is the capital of Berry, an University much frequented by the Dutch, situated on the river Eure. It stands high, is strong, and well placed for defense; is environed with meadows and vines, and the living here is very cheap. In the suburbs of St. Privé, there is a fountain of sharp water which they report wholesome against the stone. They showed us a vast tree which they say stands in the center of France. The French tongue is spoken with great purity in this place. St. Stephen's church is the cathedral, well built à la Gothique, full of sepulchres without-side, with the representation of the final Judgment over one of the ports. Here they show the chapel of Claude de la Chastre, a famous soldier who had served six kings of France in their wars. St. Chapelle is built much like that at Paris, full of relics, and containing the bones of one Briat, a giant of fifteen cubits high. It was erected by John, Duke of Berry, and there is showed the coronet of the dukedom. The great tower is a Pharos for defense of the town, very strong, in thickness eighteen feet, fortified with graffs and works; there is a garrison in it, and a strange engine for throwing great stones, and the iron cage where Louis, Duke of Orleans, was kept by Charles VIII. Near the Town-house stands the College of Jesuits, where was heretofore an Amphitheater. I was courteously entertained by a Jesuit, who had us into the garden, where we fell into disputation. The house of Jaques Cœur is worth seeing. Bourges is an Archbishopric and Primacy of Aquitaine. I took my leave of Mr. Nicholas, and some other English there; and, on the 23d, proceeded on my journey by Pont du Charge; and lay that evening at Coulaiure, thirteen leagues.
John Evelyn's Diary 24 September 1644
24 Sep 1644. By Franchesse, St. Menoux, thence to Moulins, where we dined. This is the chief town of the Bourbonnois, on the river Allier, very navigable. The streets are fair; the castle has a noble prospect, and has been the seat of the Dukes. Here is a pretty park and garden. After dinner, came many who offered knives and scissors to sell; it being a town famous for these trifles. This Duchy of Bourbon is ordinarily assigned for the dowry of the Queens of France.
Hence, we took horse for Varennes, an obscure village, where we lay that night. The next day, we went somewhat out of the way to see the town of Bourbon l'Archambaut, from whose ancient and rugged castle is derived the name of the present Royal Family of France. The castle stands on a flinty rock, overlooking the town. In the midst of the streets are some baths of medicinal waters, some of them excessive hot, but nothing so neatly walled and adorned as ours in Somersetshire; and indeed they are chiefly used to drink of, our Queen being then lodged there for that purpose. After dinner, I went to see the St. Chapelle, a prime place of devotion, where is kept one of the thorns of our Savior's crown, and a piece of the real cross; excellent paintings on glass, and some few statues of stone and wood, which they show for curiosities. Hence, we went forward to La Palise, a village that lodged us that night.
John Evelyn's Diary 26 September 1644
26 Sep 1644. We arrived at Roane, where we quitted our guide, and took post for Lyons. Roane seemed to me one of the pleasantest and most agreeable places imaginable, for a retired person: for, besides the situation on the Loire, there are excellent provisions cheap and abundant. It being late when we left this town, we rode no further than Tarare that night (passing St. Saforin), a little desolate village in a valley near a pleasant stream, encompassed with fresh meadows and vineyards. The hills which we rode over before we descended, and afterward, on the Lyons side of this place, are high and mountainous; fir and pines growing frequently on them. The air methought was much altered as well as the manner of the houses, which are built flatter, more after the eastern manner. Before I went to bed, I took a landscape of this pleasant terrace. There followed a most violent tempest of thunder and lightning.
John Evelyn's Diary 27 September 1644
27 Sep 1644. We rode by Pont Charu to Lyons, which being but six leagues we soon accomplished, having made eighty-five leagues from Tours in seven days. Here at the Golden Lion, rue de Flandre, I met divers of my acquaintance, who, coming from Paris, were designed for Italy. We lost no time in seeing the city, because of being ready to accompany these gentlemen in their journey. Lyons is excellently situated on the confluence of the rivers Soane and Rhone, which wash the walls of the city in a very rapid stream; each of these has its bridge; that over the Rhone consists of twenty-eight arches. The two high cliffs, called St. Just and St. Sebastian, are very stately; on one of them stands a strong fort, garrisoned. We visited the cathedral, St. Jean, where was one of the fairest clocks for art and busy invention I had ever seen. The fabric of the church is gothic, as are likewise those of St. Etienne and St. Croix. From the top of one of the towers of St. Jean (for it has four) we beheld the whole city and country, with a prospect reaching to the Alps, many leagues distant. The Archbishop's palace is fairly built. The church of St. Nisier is the greatest; that of the Jacobins is well built. Here are divers other fine churches and very noble buildings we had not time to visit, only that of the Charité, or great hospital for poor, infirm people, entertaining about 1,500 souls, with a school, granary, gardens, and all conveniences, maintained at a wonderful expense, worthy seeing. The place of the Belle Cour is very spacious, observable for the view it affords, so various and agreeable, of hills, rocks, vineyards, gardens, precipices, and other extravagant and incomparable advantages presenting themselves together. The Pall Mall is set with fair trees. In fine, this stately, clean, and noble city, built all of stone, abounds in persons of quality and rich merchants: those of Florence obtaining great privileges above the rest. In the Town-house, they show two tables of brass, on which is engraven Claudius's speech, pronounced to the Senate, concerning the franchising of the town, with the Roman privileges. There are also other antiquities.
John Evelyn's Diary 30 September 1644
30 Sep 1644. We bargained with a waterman to carry us to Avignon on the river, and got the first night to Vienne, in Dauphiné. This is an Archbishopric, and the province gives title to the heir-apparent of France. Here we supped and lay, having among other dainties, a dish of truffles, which is a certain earth-nut, found out by a hog trained to it, and for which those animals are sold at a great price. It is in truth an incomparable meat. We were shown the ruins of an amphitheatre, pretty entire; and many handsome palaces, especially that of Pontius Pilate, not far from the town, at the foot of a solitary mountain, near the river, having four pinnacles. Here it is reported he passed his exile, and precipitated himself into the lake not far from it. The house is modern, and seems to be the seat of some gentleman; being in a very pleasant, though melancholy place. The cathedral of Vienne is St. Maurice; and there are many other pretty buildings, but nothing more so, than the mills where they hammer and polish the sword blades.
Hence, the next morning we swam (for the river here is so rapid that the boat was only steered) to a small village called Thein, where we dined. Over against this is another town, named Tournon, where is a very strong castle under a high precipice. To the castle joins the Jesuits' College, who have a fair library. The prospect was so tempting, that I could not forbear designing it with my crayon.
We then came to Valence, a capital city carrying the title of a Duchy; but the Bishop is now sole Lord temporal of it, and the country about it. The town having a University famous for the study of the civil law, is much frequented; but the churches are none of the fairest, having been greatly defaced in the time of the wars. The streets are full of pretty fountains. The citadel is strong and garrisoned. Here we passed the night, and the next morning by Pont St. Esprit, which consists of twenty-two arches; in the piers of the arches are windows, as it were, to receive the water when it is high and full. Here we went on shore, it being very dangerous to pass the bridge in a boat.
Hence, leaving our barge, we took horse, seeing at a distance the town and principality of Orange; and, lodging one night on the way, we arrived at noon at Avignon. This town has belonged to the Popes ever since the time of Clement V.; being, in 1352, alienated by Jane, Queen of Naples and Sicily. Entering the gates, the soldiers at the guard took our pistols and carbines, and examined us very strictly; after that, having obtained the Governor's and the Vice-Legate's leave to tarry three days, we were civilly conducted to our lodging. The city is on the Rhone, and divided from the newer part, or town, which is on the other side of the river, by a very fair stone bridge (which has been broken); at one end is a very high rock, on which is a strong castle well furnished with artillery. The walls of the city are of large, square freestone, the most neat and best in repair I ever saw. It is full of well-built palaces; those of the Vice-Legate and Archbishop being the most magnificent. There are many sumptuous churches, especially that of St. Magdalene and St. Martial, wherein the tomb of the Cardinal d'Amboise is the most observable. Clement VI. lies buried in that of the Celestines, the altar whereof is exceedingly rich: but for nothing I more admired it than the tomb of Madonna Laura, the celebrated mistress of Petrarch. We saw the Arsenal, the Pope's palace, and the Synagogue of the Jews, who here are distinguished by their red hats. Vaucluse, so much renowned for the solitude of Petrarch, we beheld from the castle; but could not go to visit it for want of time, being now taking mules and a guide for Marseilles.
We lay at Loumas; the next morning, came to Aix, having passed that extremely rapid and dangerous river of Durance. In this tract, all the heaths, or commons, are covered with rosemary, lavender, lentiscus, and the like sweet shrubs, for many miles together; which to me was very pleasant. Aix is the chief city of Provence, being a Parliament and Presidential town, with other royal Courts and Metropolitan jurisdiction. It is well built, the houses very high, and the streets ample. The Cathedral, St. Savior's, is a noble pile adorned with innumerable figures; especially that of St. Michael; the Baptisterie, the Palace, the Court, built in a most spacious piazza, are very fair. The Duke of Guise's house is worth seeing, being furnished with many antiquities in and about it. The Jesuits have here a royal College, and the City is a University.
John Evelyn's Diary October 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 07 October 1644
07 Oct 1644. We had a most delicious journey to Marseilles, through a country sweetly declining to the south and Mediterranean coasts, full of vineyards and olive-yards, orange trees, myrtles, pomegranates, and the like sweet plantations, to which belong pleasantly-situated villas to the number of above 1,500, built all of freestone, and in prospect showing as if they were so many heaps of snow dropped out of the clouds among those perennial greens. It was almost at the shutting of the gates that we arrived. Marseilles is on the sea-coast, on a pleasant rising ground, well walled, with an excellent port for ships and galleys, secured by a huge chain of iron drawn across the harbor at pleasure; and there is a well-fortified tower with three other forts, especially that built on a rock; but the castle commanding the city is that of Notre Dame de la Garde. In the chapel hung up are divers crocodiles' skins.
We went then to visit the galleys, being about twenty-five in number; the Capitaine of the Galley Royal gave us most courteous entertainment in his cabin, the slaves in the interim playing both loud and soft music very rarely. Then he showed us how he commanded their motions with a nod, and his whistle making them row out. The spectacle was to me new and strange, to see so many hundreds of miserably naked persons, their heads being shaven close, and having only high red bonnets, a pair of coarse canvas drawers, their whole backs and legs naked, doubly chained about their middle and legs, in couples, and made fast to their seats, and all commanded in a trice by an imperious and cruel seaman. One Turk among the rest he much favored, who waited on him in his cabin, but with no other dress than the rest, and a chain locked about his leg, but not coupled. This galley was richly carved and gilded, and most of the rest were very beautiful. After bestowing something on the slaves, the capitaine sent a band of them to give us music at dinner where we lodged. I was amazed to contemplate how these miserable caitiffs lie in their galley crowded together; yet there was hardly one but had some occupation, by which, as leisure and calms permitted, they got some little money, insomuch as some of them have, after many years of cruel servitude, been able to purchase their liberty. The rising-forward and falling-back at their oar, is a miserable spectacle, and the noise of their chains, with the roaring of the beaten waters, has something of strange and fearful in it to one unaccustomed to it. They are ruled and chastised by strokes on their backs and soles of their feet, on the least disorder, and without the least humanity, yet are they cheerful and full of knavery.
After dinner, we saw the church of St. Victoire, where is that saint's head in a shrine of silver, which weighs 600 pounds. Thence to Notre Dame, exceedingly well built, which is the cathedral. Thence to the Duke of Guise's Palace, the Palace of Justice, and the Maison du Roi; but nothing is more strange than the great number of slaves working in the streets, and carrying burdens, with their confused noises, and jingling of their huge chains. The chief trade of the town is in silks and drugs out of Africa, Syria, and Egypt, and Barbary horses, which are brought hither in great numbers. The town is governed by four captains, has three consuls, and one assessor, three judges royal; the merchants have a judge for ordinary causes. Here we bought umbrellas against the heats, and consulted of our journey to Cannes by land, for fear of the Picaroon Turks, who make prize of any small vessels about these parts; we not finding a galley bound for Genoa, whither we were designed.
John Evelyn's Diary 09 October 1644
09 Oct 1644. We took mules, passing the first night very late in sight of St. Baume, and the solitary grot where they affirmed Mary Magdalen did her penance. The next day, we lay at Perigueux, a city built on an old foundation; witness the ruins of a most stately amphitheatre, which I went out to design, being about a flight-shot from the town; they call it now the Rolsies. There is also a strong tower near the town, called the Visone, but the town and city are at some distance from each other. It is a bishopric; has a cathedral with divers noblemen's houses in sight of the sea. The place was formerly called Forum Julij, well known by antiquaries.
John Evelyn's Diary 10 October 1644
10 Oct 1644. We proceeded by the ruins of a stately aqueduct. The soil about the country is rocky, full of pines and rare simples.
John Evelyn's Diary 11 October 1644
11 Oct 1644. We lay at Cannes, which is a small port on the Mediterranean; here we agreed with a seaman to carry us to Genoa, and, having procured a bill of health (without which there is no admission at any town in Italy), we embarked on the 12th. We touched at the islands of St. Margaret and St. Honore, lately retaken from the Spaniards with great bravery by Prince Harcourt. Here, having paid some small duty, we bought some trifles offered us by the soldiers, but without going on shore. Hence, we coasted within two leagues of Antibes, which is the utmost town in France. Thence by Nice, a city in Savoy, built all of brick, which gives it a very pleasant appearance toward the sea, having a very high castle which commands it. We sailed by Morgus, now called Monaco, having passed Villa Franca, heretofore Portus Herculis, when, arriving after the gates were shut, we were forced to abide all night in the barge, which was put into the haven, the wind coming contrary. In the morning, we were hastened away, having no time permitted us by our avaricious master to go up and see this strong and considerable place, which now belongs to a prince of the family of Grimaldi, of Genoa, who has put both it and himself under the protection of the French. The situation is on a promontory of solid stone and rock. The town walls very fair. We were told that within it was an ample court, and a palace, furnished with the most rich and princely movables, and a collection of statues, pictures, and massy plate to an immense amount.
We sailed by Menton and Ventimiglia, being the first city of the republic of Genoa; supped at Oneglia, where we anchored and lay on shore. The next morning, we coasted in view of the Isle of Corsica, and St. Remo, where the shore is furnished with evergreens, oranges, citrons, and date trees; we lay at Port Mauritio. The next morning by Diano, Araisso, famous for the best coral fishing, growing in abundance on the rocks, deep and continually covered by the sea. By Albenga and Finale, a very fair and strong town belonging to the King of Spain, for which reason a monsieur in our vessel was extremely afraid, as was the patron of our bark, for they frequently catch French prizes as they creep by these shores to go into Italy; SAVONAhe therefore plied both sails and oars, to get under the protection of a Genoese galley that passed not far before us, and in whose company we sailed as far as the Cape of Savona, a town built at the rise of the Apennines: for all this coast (except a little of St. Remo) is a high and steep mountainous ground, consisting all of rock-marble, without any grass, tree, or rivage, formidable to look on. A strange object it is, to consider how some poor cottages stand fast on the declivities of these precipices, and by what steps the inhabitants ascend to them. The rock consists of all sorts of the most precious marbles.
John Evelyn's Diary 15 October 1644
15 Oct 1644. Here, on the 15th, forsaking our galley, we encountered a little foul weather, which made us creep terra, terra, as they call it, and so a vessel that encountered us advised us to do; but our patron, striving to double the point of Savona, making out into the wind put us into great hazard; for blowing very hard from land between those horrid gaps of the mountains, it set so violently, as raised on the sudden so great a sea, that we could not recover the weather-shore for many hours, insomuch that, what with the water already entered, and the confusion of fearful passengers (of which one was an Irish bishop, and his brother, a priest, were confessing some as at the article of death), we were almost abandoned to despair, our pilot himself giving us up for lost. And now, as we were weary with pumping and laving out the water, almost sinking, it pleased God on the sudden to appease the wind, and with much ado and great peril we recovered the shore, which we now kept in view within half a league in sight of those pleasant villas, and within scent of those fragrant orchards which are on this coast, full of princely retirements for the sumptuousness of their buildings, and nobleness of the plantations, especially those at St. Pietro d'Arena; from whence, the wind blowing as it did, might perfectly be smelt the peculiar joys of Italy in the perfumes of orange, citron, and jasmine flowers, for divers leagues seaward.
John Evelyn's Diary 16 October 1644
16 Oct 1644. We got to anchor under the Pharos, or watch-tower, built on a high rock at the mouth of the Mole of Genoa, the weather being still so foul that for two hours at least we durst not stand into the haven. Toward evening we adventured, and came on shore by the Prattique-house, where, after strict examination by the Syndics, we were had to the Ducal Palace, and there our names being taken, we were conducted to our inn, kept by one Zacharias, an Englishman. I shall never forget a story of our host Zachary, who, on the relation of our peril, told us another of his own, being shipwrecked, as he affirmed solemnly, in the middle of a great sea somewhere in the West Indies, that he swam no less than twenty-two leagues to another island, with a tinderbox wrapped up in his hair, which was not so much as wet all the way; that picking up the carpenter's tools with other provisions in a chest, he and the carpenter, who accompanied him (good swimmers it seems both), floated the chest before them; and, arriving at last in a place full of wood, they built another vessel, and so escaped! After this story, we no more talked of our danger; Zachary put us quite down.
John Evelyn's Diary 17 October 1644
17 Oct 1644. Accompanied by a most courteous marchand, called Tomson, we went to view the rarities. The city is built in the hollow or bosom of a mountain, whose ascent is very steep, high, and rocky, so that, from the Lantern and Mole to the hill, it represents the shape of a theater; the streets and buildings so ranged one above another, as our seats are in the playhouses; but, from their materials, beauty, and structure, never was an artificial scene more beautiful to the eye, nor is any place, for the size of it, so full of well-designed and stately palaces, as may be easily concluded by that rare book in a large folio which the great virtuoso and painter, Paul Rubens, has published, though it contains [the description of] only one street and two or three churches.
The first palace we went to visit was that of Hieronymo del Negros, to which we passed by boat across the harbor. Here I could not but observe the sudden and devilish passion of a seaman, who plying us was intercepted by another fellow, that interposed his boat before him and took us in; for the tears gushing out of his eyes, he put his finger in his mouth and almost bit it off by the joint, showing it to his antagonist as an assurance to him of some bloody revenge, if ever he came near that part of the harbor again. Indeed this beautiful city is more stained with such horrid acts of revenge and murders, than any one place in Europe, or haply in the world, where there is a political government, which makes it unsafe to strangers. It is made a galley matter to carry a knife whose point is not broken off.
This palace of Negros is richly furnished with the rarest pictures; on the terrace, or hilly garden, there is a grove of stately trees, among which are sheep, shepherds, and wild beasts, cut very artificially in a gray stone; fountains, rocks, and fish ponds; casting your eyes one way, you would imagine yourself in a wilderness and silent country; sideways, in the heart of a great city; and backward, in the midst of the sea. All this is within one acre of ground. In the house, I noticed those red-plaster floors which are made so hard, and kept so polished, that for some time one would take them for whole pieces of porphyry. I have frequently wondered that we never practiced this [art] in England for cabinets and rooms of state, for it appears to me beyond any invention of that kind; but by their carefully covering them with canvass and fine mattresses, where there is much passage, I suppose they are not lasting there in glory, and haply they are often repaired.
There are numerous other palaces of particular curiosities, for the marchands being very rich, have, like our neighbors, the Hollanders, little or no extent of ground to employ their estates in; as those in pictures and hangings, so these lay it out on marble houses and rich furniture. One of the greatest here for circuit is that of the Prince Doria, which reaches from the sea to the summit of the mountains. The house is most magnificently built without, nor less gloriously furnished within, having whole tables and bedsteads of massy silver, many of them set with agates, onyxes, cornelians, lazulis, pearls, torquoises, and other precious stones. The pictures and statues are innumerable. To this palace belong three gardens, the first whereof is beautified with a terrace, supported by pillars of marble; there is a fountain of eagles, and one of Neptune, with other sea-gods, all of the purest white marble; they stand in a most ample basin of the same stone. At the side of this garden is such an aviary as Sir Francis Bacon describes in his "Sermones Fidelium", or "Essays", wherein grow trees of more than two feet diameter, besides cypress, myrtles, lentiscuses, and other rare shrubs, which serve to nestle and perch all sorts of birds, who have air and place enough under their airy canopy, supported with huge iron work, stupendous for its fabric and the charge. The other two gardens are full of orange trees, citrons, and pomegranates, fountains, grots, and statues. One of the latter is a colossal Jupiter, under which is the sepulchre of a beloved dog, for the care of which one of this family received of the King of Spain 500 crowns a year, during the life of that faithful animal. The reservoir of water here is a most admirable piece of art; and so is the grotto over against it.
We went hence to the Palace of the Dukes, where is also the Court of Justice; thence to the Merchant's Walk, rarely covered. Near the Ducal Palace we saw the public armory, which was almost all new, most neatly kept and ordered, sufficient for 30,000 men. We were showed many rare inventions and engines of war peculiar to that armory, as in the state when guns were first put in use. The garrison of the town chiefly consists of Germans and Corsicans. The famous Strada Nova, built wholly of polished marble, was designed by Rubens, and for stateliness of the buildings, paving, and evenness of the street, is far superior to any in Europe, for the number of houses; that of Don Carlo Doria is a most magnificent structure. In the gardens of the old Marquis Spinola, I saw huge citrons hanging on the trees, applied like our apricots to the walls. The churches are no less splendid than the palaces; that of St. Francis is wholly built of Parian marble; St. Laurence, in the middle of the city, of white and black polished stone, the inside wholly incrusted with marble and other precious materials; on the altar of St. John stand four sumptuous columns of porphyry; and here we were showed an emerald, supposed to be one of the largest in the world. The church of St. Ambrosio, belonging to the Jesuits, will, when finished, exceed all the rest; and that of the Annunciada, founded at the charges of one family, in the present and future design can never be outdone for cost and art. From the churches we walked to the Mole, a work of solid huge stone, stretching itself near 600 paces into the main sea, and secures the harbor, heretofore of no safety. Of all the wonders of Italy, for the art and nature of the design, nothing parallels this. We passed over to the Pharos, or Lantern, a tower of very great height. Here we took horses, and made the circuit of the city as far as the new walls, built of a prodigious height, and with Herculean industry; witness those vast pieces of whole mountains which they have hewn away, and blown up with gunpowder, to render them steep and inaccessible. They are not much less than twenty English miles in extent, reaching beyond the utmost buildings of the city. From one of these promontories we could easily discern the island of Corsica; and from the same, eastward, we saw a vale having a great torrent running through a most desolate barren country; and then turning our eyes more northward, saw those delicious villas of St. Pietro d'Arena, which present another Genoa to you, the ravishing retirements of the Genoese nobility. Hence, with much pain, we descended toward the Arsenal, where the galleys lie in excellent order.
The inhabitants of the city are much affected to the Spanish mode and stately garb. From the narrowness of the streets, they use sedans and litters, and not coaches.
John Evelyn's Diary 19 October 1644
19 Oct 1644. We embarked in a felucca for Livorno, or Leghorn; but the sea running very high, we put in at Porto Venere, which we made with peril, between two narrow horrid rocks, against which the sea dashed with great velocity; but we were soon delivered into as great a calm and a most ample harbor, being in the Golfo di Spetia. From hence, we could see Pliny's Delphini Promontorium, now called Capo fino. Here stood that famous city of Luna, whence the port was named Lunaris, being about two leagues over, more resembling a lake than a haven, but defended by castles and excessive high mountains. We landed at Lerici, where, being Sunday, was a great procession, carrying the Sacrament about the streets in solemn devotion. After dinner we took post-horses, passing through whole groves of olive trees, the way somewhat rugged and hilly at first, but afterward pleasant. Thus we passed through the towns of Sarzana and Massa, and the vast marble quarries of Carrara, and lodged in an obscure inn, at a place called Viregio. The next morning we arrived at Pisa, where I met my old friend, Mr. Thomas Henshaw, who was then newly come out of Spain, and from whose company I never parted till more than a year after.
The city of Pisa is as much worth seeing as any in Italy; it has contended with Rome, Florence, Sardinia, Sicily, and even Carthage. The palace and church of St. Stefano (where the order of knighthood called by that name was instituted) drew first our curiosity, the outside thereof being altogether of polished marble; within, it is full of tables relating to this Order; over which hang divers banners and pendants, with other trophies taken by them from the Turks, against whom they are particularly obliged to fight; though a religious order, they are permitted to marry. At the front of the palace stands a fountain, and the statue of the great Duke Cosmo. The Campanile, or Settezonio, built by John Venipont, a German, consists of several orders of pillars, thirty in a row, designed to be much higher. It stands alone on the right side of the cathedral, strangely remarkable for this, that the beholder would expect it to fall, being built exceedingly declining, by a rare address of the architect; and how it is supported from falling I think would puzzle a good geometrician. The Duomo, or Cathedral, standing near it, is a superb structure, beautified with six columns of great antiquity; the gates are of brass, of admirable workmanship. The cemetery called Campo Santo is made of divers galley ladings of earth formerly brought from Jerusalem, said to be of such a nature, as to consume dead bodies in forty hours. 'Tis cloistered with marble arches; and here lies buried the learned Philip Decius, who taught in this University. At one side of this church stands an ample and well-wrought marble vessel, which heretofore contained the tribute paid yearly by the city to Cæsar. It is placed, as I remember, on a pillar of opal stone, with divers other antique urns. Near this, and in the same field, is the Baptistery of San Giovanni, built of pure white marble, and covered with so artificial a cupola, that the voice uttered under it seems to break out of a cloud. The font and pulpit, supported by four lions, is of inestimable value for the preciousness of the materials. The place where these buildings stand they call the Area. Hence, we went to the College, to which joins a gallery so furnished with natural rarities, stones, minerals, shells, dried animals, skeletons, etc., as is hardly to be seen in Italy. To this the Physic Garden lies, where is a noble palm tree, and very fine waterworks. The river Arno runs through the middle of this stately city, whence the main street is named Lung 'Arno. It is so ample that the Duke's galleys, built in the arsenal here, are easily conveyed to Livorno; over the river is an arch, the like of which, for its flatness, and serving for a bridge, is nowhere in Europe. The Duke has a stately Palace, before which is placed the statue of Ferdinand the Third; over against it is the Exchange, built of marble. Since this city came to be under the Dukes of Tuscany, it has been much depopulated, though there is hardly in Italy any which exceeds it for stately edifices. The situation of it is low and flat; but the inhabitants have spacious gardens, and even fields within the walls.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 October 1644
21 Oct 1644. We took coach to Livorno, through the Great Duke's new park full of huge cork trees, the underwood all myrtles, among which were many buffaloes feeding, a kind of wild ox, short nose with horns reversed; those who work with them command them, as our bearwards do the bears, with a ring through the nose, and a cord. Much of this park, as well as a great part of the country about it, is very fenny, and the air very bad.
Leghorn is the prime port belonging to all the Duke's territories; heretofore a very obscure town, but since Duke Ferdinand has strongly fortified it (after the modern way), drained the marshes by cutting a channel thence to Pisa navigable sixteen miles, and has raised a Mole, emulating that at Genoa, to secure the shipping, it is become a place of great receipt; it has also a place for the galleys, where they lie safe. Before the sea is an ample piazza for the market, where are the statues in copper of the four slaves, much exceeding the life for proportion, and, in the judgment of most artists, one of the best pieces of modern work. Here, especially in this piazza, is such a concourse of slaves, Turks, Moors, and other nations, that the number and confusion is prodigious; some buying, others selling, others drinking, others playing, some working, others sleeping, fighting, singing, weeping, all nearly naked, and miserably chained. Here was a tent, where any idle fellow might stake his liberty against a few crowns, at dice, or other hazard; and, if he lost, he was immediately chained and led away to the galleys, where he was to serve a term of years, but from whence they seldom returned; many sottish persons, in a drunken bravado, would try their fortune in this way.
The houses of this neat town are very uniform, and excellently painted á fresco on the outer walls, with representations of many of their victories over the Turks. The houses, though low on account of the earthquakes which frequently happen here, (as did one during my being in Italy), are very well built; the piazza is very fair and commodious, and, with the church, whose four columns at the portico are of black marble polished, gave the first hint to the building both of the church and piazza in Covent Garden with us, though very imperfectly pursued.
John Evelyn's Diary 22 October 1644
22 Oct 1644. From Livorno, I took coach to Empoly, where we lay, and the next day arrived at Florence, being recommended to the house of Signor Baritiére, in the Piazza del Spirito Santo, where we were exceedingly well treated. Florence is at the foot of the Apennines, the west part full of stately groves and pleasant meadows, beautified with more than a thousand houses and country palaces of note, belonging to gentlemen of the town. The river Arno runs through the city, in a broad, but very shallow channel, dividing it, as it were, in the middle, and over it are four most sumptuous bridges of stone. On that nearest to our quarter are the four Seasons, in white marble; on another are the goldsmiths' shops; at the head of the former stands a column of ophite, upon which a statue of Justice, with her balance and sword, cut out of porphyry, and the more remarkable for being the first which had been carved out of that hard material, and brought to perfection, after the art had been utterly lost; they say this was done by hardening the tools in the juice of certain herbs. This statue was erected in that corner, because there Cosmo was first saluted with the news of Sienna being taken.
Near this is the famous Palazzo di Strozzi, a princely piece of architecture, in a rustic manner. The Palace of Pitti was built by that family, but of late greatly beautified by Cosmo with huge square stones of the Doric, Ionic, and the Corinthian orders, with a terrace at each side having rustic uncut balustrades, with a fountain that ends in a cascade seen from the great gate, and so forming a vista to the gardens. Nothing is more admirable than the vacant staircase, marbles, statues, urns, pictures, court, grotto, and waterworks. In the quadrangle is a huge jetto of water in a volto of four faces, with noble statues at each square, especially the Diana of porphyry above the grotto. We were here shown a prodigious great loadstone.
The garden has every variety, hills, dales, rocks, groves, aviaries, vivaries, fountains, especially one of five jettos, the middle basin being one of the longest stones I ever saw. Here is everything to make such a Paradise delightful. In the garden I saw a rose grafted on an orange tree. There was much topiary-work, and columns in architecture about the hedges. The Duke has added an ample laboratory, over against which stands a fort on a hill, where they told us his treasure is kept. In this Palace the Duke ordinarily resides, living with his Swiss guards, after the frugal Italian way, and even selling what he can spare of his wines, at the cellar under his very house, wicker bottles dangling over even the chief entrance into the palace, serving for a vintner's bush.
In the Church of Santo Spirito the altar and reliquary are most rich, and full of precious stones; there are four pillars of a kind of serpentine, and some of blue. Hence we went to another Palace of the Duke's, called Palazzo Vecchio, before which is a statue of David, by Michael Angelo, and one of Hercules, killing Cacus, the work of Baccio Bandinelli. The quadrangle about this is of the Corinthian order, and in the hall are many rare marbles, as those of Leo X. and Clement VII., both Popes of the Medicean family; also the acts of Cosmo, in rare painting. In the chapel is kept (as they would make one believe) the original Gospel of St. John, written with his own hand; and the famous Florentine Pandects, and divers precious stones. Near it is another pendent Tower like that of Pisa, always threatening ruin.
Under the Court of Justice is a stately arcade for men to walk in, and over that, the shops of divers rare artists who continually work for the great Duke. Above this is that renowned Ceimeliarcha, or repository, wherein are hundreds of admirable antiquities, statues of marble and metal, vases of porphyry, etc.; but among the statues none so famous as the Scipio, the Boar, the Idol of Apollo, brought from the Delphic Temple, and two triumphant columns. Over these hang the pictures of the most famous persons and illustrious men in arts or arms, to the number of 300, taken out of the museum of Paulus Jovius. They then led us into a large square room, in the middle of which stood a cabinet of an octangular form, so adorned and furnished with crystals, agates, and sculptures, as exceeds any description. This cabinet is called the Tribuna and in it is a pearl as big as an hazelnut. The cabinet is of ebony, lazuli, and jasper; over the door is a round of M. Angelo; on the cabinet, Leo X. with other paintings of Raphael, del Sarto, Perugino, and Correggio, viz, a St. John, a Virgin, a Boy, two Apostles, two heads of Durer, rarely carved. Over this cabinet is a globe of ivory, excellently carved; the Labors of Hercules, in massy silver, and many incomparable pictures in small. There is another, which had about it eight Oriental columns of alabaster, on each whereof was placed a head of a Cæsar, covered with a canopy so richly set with precious stones, that they resembled a firmament of stars. Within it was our Savior's Passion, and the twelve Apostles in amber. This cabinet was valued at two hundred thousand crowns. In another, with calcedon pillars, was a series of golden medals. Here is also another rich ebony cabinet cupolaed with a tortoise shell, and containing a collection of gold medals esteemed worth 50,000 crowns; a wreathed pillar of Oriental alabaster, divers paintings of Da Vinci, Pontorno, del Sarto, an Ecce Homo of Titian, a Boy of Bronzini, etc. They showed us a branch of coral fixed on the rock, which they affirm does still grow. In another room, is kept the Tabernacle appointed for the chapel of St. Laurence, about which are placed small statues of Saints, of precious material; a piece of such art and cost, that having been these forty years in perfecting, it is one of the most curious things in the world. Here were divers tables of Pietra Commesso, which is a marble ground inlaid with several sorts of marbles and stones of various colors representing flowers, trees, beasts, birds, and landscapes. In one is represented the town of Leghorn, by the same hand who inlaid the altar of St. Laurence, Domenico Benotti, of whom I purchased nineteen pieces of the same work for a cabinet. In a press near this they showed an iron nail, one half whereof being converted into gold by one Thurnheuser, a German chemist, is looked on as a great rarity; but it plainly appeared to have been soldered together. There is a curious watch, a monstrous turquoise as big as an egg, on which is carved an emperor's head.
In the armory are kept many antique habits, as those of Chinese kings; the sword of Charlemagne; Hannibal's headpiece; a loadstone of a yard long, which bears up 86 lbs. weight, in a chain of seventeen links, such as the slaves are tied to. In another room are such rare turneries in ivory, as are not to be described for their curiosity. There is a fair pillar of oriental alabaster; twelve vast and complete services of silver plate, and one of gold, all of excellent workmanship; a rich embroidered saddle of pearls sent by the Emperor to this Duke; and here is that embroidered chair set with precious stones in which he sits, when, on St. John's day, he receives the tribute of the cities.
John Evelyn's Diary 25 October 1644
25 Oct 1644. We went to the Portico where the famous statue of Judith and Holofernes stands, also the Medusa, all of copper; but what is most admirable is the Rape of a Sabine, with another man under foot, the confusion and turning of whose limbs is most admirable. It is of one entire marble, the work of John di Bologna, and is most stupendous; this stands directly against the great piazza, where, to adorn one fountain, are erected four marble statues and eight of brass, representing Neptune and his family of sea gods, of a Colossean magnitude, with four sea horses, in Parian marble of Lamedrati, in the midst of a very great basin: a work, I think, hardly to be paralleled. Here is also the famous statue of David, by M. Angelo; Hercules and Cacus, by Baccio Bandinelli; the Perseus, in copper, by Benevento, and the Judith of Donatelli, which stand publicly before the old Palace with the Centaur of Bologna, huge Colossean figures. Near this stand Cosmo di Medicis on horseback, in brass on a pedestal of marble, and four copper bassorelievos by John di Bologna, with divers inscriptions; the Ferdinand the First, on horseback, is of Pietro Tacca. The brazen boar, which serves for another public fountain, is admirable.
After dinner, we went to the Church of the Annunciata, where the Duke and his Court were at their devotions, being a place of extraordinary repute for sanctity: for here is a shrine that does great miracles, [proved] by innumerable votive tablets, etc., covering almost the walls of the whole church. This is the image of Gabriel, who saluted the Blessed Virgin, and which the artist finished so well, that he was in despair of performing the Virgin's face so well; whereupon it was miraculously done for him while he slept; but others say it was painted by St. Luke himself. Whoever it was, infinite is the devotion of both sexes to it. The altar is set off with four columns of oriental alabaster, and lighted by thirty great silver lamps. There are innumerable other pictures by rare masters. Our Savior's Passion in brass tables inserted in marble, is the work of John di Bologna and Baccio Bandinelli.
To this church joins a convent, whose cloister is painted in fresco very rarely. There is also near it an hospital for 1,000 persons, with nurse-children, and several other charitable accommodations.
At the Duke's Cavalerizza, the Prince has a stable of the finest horses of all countries, Arabs, Turks, Barbs, Gennets, English, etc., which are continually exercised in the manège.
Near this is a place where are kept several wild beasts, as wolves, cats, bears, tigers, and lions. They are loose in a deep walled court, and therefore to be seen with more pleasure than those at the Tower of London, in their grates. One of the lions leaped to a surprising height, to catch a joint of Mutton which I caused to be hung down.
There are many plain brick towers erected for defense, when this was a free state. The highest is called the Mangio, standing at the foot of the piazza which we went first to see after our arrival. At the entrance of this tower is a chapel open toward the piazza, of marble well adorned with sculpture.
On the other side is the Signoria, or Court of Justice, well built a la moderna, of brick; indeed the bricks of Sienna are so well made, that they look almost as well as porphyry itself, having a kind of natural polish.
In the Senate-house is a very fair Hall where they sometimes entertain the people with public shows and operas, as they call them. Toward the left are the statues of Romulus and Remus with the wolf, all of brass, placed on a column of ophite stone, which they report was brought from the renowned Ephesian Temple. These ensigns being the arms of the town, are set up in divers of the streets and public ways both within and far without the city.
The piazza compasses the facciáta of the court and chapel, and, being made with descending steps, much resembles the figure of an escalop shell. The white ranges of pavement, intermixed with the excellent bricks above mentioned, with which the town is generally well paved, render it very clean. About this market place (for so it is) are many fair palaces, though not built with excess of elegance. There stands an arch, the work of Baltazzar di Sienna, built with wonderful ingenuity, so that it is not easy to conceive how it is supported, yet it has some imperceptible contiguations, which do not betray themselves easily to the eye. On the edge of the piazza is a goodly fountain beautified with statues, the water issuing out of the wolves' mouths, being the work of Jacobo Quercei, a famous artist. There are divers other public fountains in the city, of good design.
After this we walked to the Sapienza, which is the University, or rather College, where the high Germans enjoy many particular privileges when they addict themselves to the civil law: and indeed this place has produced many excellent scholars, besides those three Popes, Alexander, Pius II, and III., of that name, the learned Æneas Sylvius; and both were of the ancient house of the Piccolomini.
The chief street is called Strada Romana, in which Pius II has built a most stately palace of square stone, with an incomparable portico joining near to it. The town is commanded by a castle which hath four bastions and a garrison of soldiers. Near it is a list to ride horses in, much frequented by the gallants in summer.
Not far from hence is the Church and Convent of the Dominicans, where in the chapel of St. Catherine of Sienna they show her head, the rest of her body being translated to Rome. The Duomo, or Cathedral, both without and within, is of large square stones of black and white marble polished, of inexpressible beauty, as is the front adorned with sculpture and rare statues. In the middle is a stately cupola and two columns of sundry streaked colored marble. About the body of the church, on a cornice within, are inserted the heads of all the Popes. The pulpit is beautified with marble figures, a piece of exquisite work; but what exceeds all description is the pavement, where (besides the various emblems and other figures in the nave) the choir is wrought with the history of the Bible, so artificially expressed in the natural colors of the marbles, that few pictures exceed it. Here stands a Christo, rarely cut in marble, and on the large high altar is a brazen vessel of admirable invention and art. The organs are exceeding sweet and well tuned. On the left side of the altar is the library, where are painted the acts of Æneas Sylvius, and others by Raphael. They showed us an arm of St. John the Baptist, wherewith, they say, he baptized our Savior in Jordan; it was given by the King of Peloponnesus to one of the Popes, as an inscription testifies. They have also St. Peter's sword, with which he smote off the ear of Malchus.
Just against the cathedral, we went into the Hospital, where they entertain and refresh for three or four days, gratis, such pilgrims as go to Rome. In the chapel belonging to it lies the body of St. Susorius, their founder, as yet uncorrupted, though dead many hundreds of years. They show one of the nails which pierced our Savior, and Saint Chrysostom's "Comment on the Gospel", written by his own hand. Below the hill stands the pool called Fonte Brande, where fish are fed for pleasure more than food.
St. Francis's Church is a large pile, near which, yet a little without the city, grows a tree which they report in their legend grew from the Saint's staff, which, on going to sleep, he fixed in the ground, and at his waking found it had grown a large tree. They affirm that the wood of it in decoction cures sundry diseases.
John Evelyn's Diary November 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 02 November 1644
02 Nov 1644. We went from Sienna, desirous of being present at the cavalcade of the new Pope, Innocent X., who had not yet made the grand procession to St. John di Laterano. We set out by Porto Romano, the country all about the town being rare for hunting and game. Wild boar and venison are frequently sold in the shops in many of the towns about it. We passed near Monte Oliveto, where the monastery of that Order is pleasantly situated, and worth seeing. Passing over a bridge, which, by the inscription, appears to have been built by Prince Matthias, we went through Buon-Convento, famous for the death of the Emperor, Henry VII., who was here poisoned with the Holy Eucharist. TORRINIERIThence, we came to Torrinieri, where we dined. This village is in a sweet valley, in view of Montalcino, famous for the rare Muscatello.22 After three miles more, we go by St. Quirico, and lay at a private osteria near it, where, after we were provided of lodging, came in Cardinal Donghi, a Genoese by birth, now come from Rome; he was so civil as to entertain us with great respect, hearing we were English, for that, he told us he had been once in our country. Among other discourse, he related how a dove had been seen to sit on the chair in the Conclave at the election of Pope Innocent, which he magnified as a great good omen, with other particulars which we inquired of him, till our suppers parted us. He came in great state with his own bedstead and all the furniture, yet would by no means suffer us to resign the room we had taken up in the lodging before his arrival. Next morning, we rode by Monte Pientio, or, as vulgarly called, Monte Mantumiato, which is of an excessive height, ever and anon peeping above any clouds with its snowy head, till we had climbed to the inn at Radicofani, built by Ferdinand, the great Duke, for the necessary refreshment of travelers in so inhospitable a place. As we ascended, we entered a very thick, solid, and dark body of clouds, looking like rocks at a little distance, which lasted near a mile in going up; they were dry misty vapors, hanging undissolved for a vast thickness, and obscuring both the sun and earth, so that we seemed to be in the sea rather than in the clouds, till, having pierced through it, we came into a most serene heaven, as if we had been above all human conversation, the mountain appearing more like a great island than joined to any other hills; for we could perceive nothing but a sea of thick clouds rolling under our feet like huge waves, every now and then suffering the top of some other mountain to peep through, which we could discover many miles off: and between some breaches of the clouds we could see landscapes and villages of the subjacent country. This was one of the most pleasant, new, and altogether surprising objects that I had ever beheld.
On the summit of this horrid rock (for so it is) is built a very strong fort, garrisoned, and somewhat beneath it is a small town; the provisions are drawn up with ropes and engines, the precipice being otherwise inaccessible. At one end of the town lie heaps of rocks so strangely broken off from the ragged mountain, as would affright one with their horror and menacing postures. Just opposite to the inn gushed out a plentiful and most useful fountain which falls into a great trough of stone, bearing the Duke of Tuscany's arms. Here we dined, and I with my black lead pen took the prospect. It is one of the utmost confines of the Etrurian State toward St. Peter's Patrimony, since the gift of Matilda to Gregory VII., as is pretended.
Here we pass a stone bridge, built by Pope Gregory XIV., and thence immediately to Acquapendente, a town situated on a very ragged rock, down which precipitates an entire river (which gives it the denomination), with a most horrid roaring noise. We lay at the posthouse, on which is this inscription:
L'Insegna della Posta, é posta a posta,.
In questa posta, fin che habbia à sua posta.
Ogn'un Cavallo a Vetturi in Posta.
Before it was dark, we went to see the Monastery of the Franciscans, famous for six learned Popes, and sundry other great scholars, especially the renowned physician and anatomist, Fabricius de Acquapendente, who was bred and born there.
John Evelyn's Diary 04 November 1644
04 Nov 1644. After a little riding, we descended toward the Lake of Bolsena, which being above twenty miles in circuit, yields from hence a most incomparable prospect. Near the middle of it are two small islands, in one of which is a convent of melancholy Capuchins, where those of the Farnesian family are interred. Pliny calls it Tarquiniensis Lacus, and talks of divers floating islands about it, but they did not appear to us. The lake is environed with mountains, at one of whose sides we passed toward the town Bolsena, anciently Volsinium, famous in those times, as is testified by divers rare sculptures in the court of St. Christiana's church, the urn, altar, and jasper columns.
After seven miles' riding, passing through a wood heretofore sacred to Juno, we came to Montefiascone, the head of the Falisci, a famous people in old time, and heretofore Falernum, as renowned for its excellent wine, as now for the story of the Dutch Bishop, who lies buried in St. Flavian's church with this epitaph:
Propter Est, Est, dominus meus mortuus est.
Because, having ordered his servant to ride before, and inquire where the best wine was, and there write Est, the man found some so good that he wrote Est, Est, upon the vessels, and the Bishop drinking too much of it, died.
From Montefiascone, we travel a plain and pleasant champaign to Viterbo, which presents itself with much state afar off, in regard of her many lofty pinnacles and towers; neither does it deceive our expectation; for it is exceedingly beautified with public fountains, especially that at the entrance, which is all of brass and adorned with many rare figures, and salutes the passenger with a most agreeable object and refreshing waters. There are many Popes buried in this city, and in the palace is this odd inscription:
Osiridis victoriam in Gigantas litteris historiographicis in hoc antiquissimo marmore inscriptam, ex Herculis olim, nunc Divi Laurentij Templo translatam, ad conversanda: vetustiss: patriæ monumenta atq' decora his locandum statuit S.P.Q.V.
Sum Osiris Rex Jupiter universo in terrarum orbe.
Sum Osiris Rex qui ab Itala in Gigantes exercitus veni, vidi, et vici.
Sum Osiris Rex qui terrarum pacata Italiam decem a'nos quorum inventor fui.
Near the town is a sulphurous fountain, which continually boils. After dinner we took horse by the new way of Capranica, and so passing near Mount Ciminus and the Lake, we began to enter the plains of Rome; at which sight my thoughts were strangely elevated, but soon allayed by so violent a shower, which fell just as we were contemplating that proud Mistress of the world, and descending by the Vatican (for at that gate we entered), that before we got into the city I was wet to the skin.
04 Nov 1644. I came to Rome on the 4th of November, 1644, about five at night; and being perplexed for a convenient lodging, wandered up and down on horseback, till at last one conducted us to Monsieur Petit's, a Frenchman, near the Piazza Spagnola. Here I alighted, and, having bargained with my host for twenty crowns a month, I caused a good fire to be made in my chamber and went to bed, being so very wet. The next morning (for I was resolved to spend no time idly here) I got acquainted with several persons who had long lived at Rome. I was especially recommended to Father John, a Benedictine monk and Superior of his Order for the English College of Douay, a person of singular learning, religion, and humanity; also to Mr. Patrick Cary, an Abbot, brother to our learned Lord Falkland, a witty young priest, who afterward came over to our church; Dr. Bacon and Dr. Gibbs, physicians who had dependence on Cardinal Caponi, the latter being an excellent poet; Father Courtney, the chief of the Jesuits in the English College; my Lord of Somerset, brother to the Marquis of Worcester; and some others, from whom I received instructions how to behave in town, with directions to masters and books to take in search of the antiquities, churches, collections, etc. Accordingly, the next day, November 6th, I began to be very pragmatical.23.
In the first place, our sights-man (for so they name certain persons here who get their living by leading strangers about to see the city) went to the Palace Farnese, a magnificent square structure, built by Michael Angelo, of the three orders of columns after the ancient manner, and when architecture was but newly recovered from the Gothic barbarity. The court is square and terraced, having two pairs of stairs which lead to the upper rooms, and conducted us to that famous gallery painted by Augustine Caracci, than which nothing is more rare of that art; so deep and well-studied are all the figures, that it would require more judgment than I confess I had, to determine whether they were flat, or embossed. Thence, we passed into another, painted in chiaroscúro, representing the fabulous history of Hercules. We went out on a terrace, where was a pretty garden on the leads, for it is built in a place that has no extent of ground backward. The great hall is wrought by Salviati and Zuccharo, furnished with statues, one of which being modern is the figure of a Farnese, in a triumphant posture, of white marble, worthy of admiration. Here we were shown the Museum of Fulvius Ursinos, replete with innumerable collections; but the Major-Domo being absent, we could not at this time see all we wished. Descending into the court, we with astonishment contemplated those two incomparable statues of Hercules and Flora, so much celebrated by Pliny, and indeed by all antiquity, as two of the most rare pieces in the world; there likewise stands a modern statue of Hercules and two Gladiators, not to be despised. In a second court was a temporary shelter of boards over the most stupendous and never-to-be-sufficiently-admired Torso of Amphion and Dirce, represented in five figures, exceeding the life in magnitude, of the purest white marble, the contending work of those famous statuaries, Apollonius and Taurisco, in the time of Augustus, hewed out of one entire stone, and remaining unblemished, to be valued beyond all the marbles of the world for its antiquity and workmanship. There are divers other heads and busts. At the entrance of this stately palace stand two rare and vast fountains of garnito stone, brought into this piazza out of Titus's Baths. Here, in summer, the gentlemen of Rome take the FRESCO in their coaches and on foot. At the sides of this court, we visited the palace of Signor Pichini, who has a good collection of antiquities, especially the Adonis of Parian marble, which my Lord Arundel would once have purchased, if a great price would have been taken for it.
We went into the Campo Vaccino, by the ruins of the Temple of Peace, built by Titus Vespasianus, and thought to be the largest as well as the most richly furnished of all the Roman dedicated places: it is now a heap rather than a temple, yet the roof and volto continue firm, showing it to have been formerly of incomparable workmanship. This goodly structure was, none knows how, consumed by fire the very night, by all computation, that our blessed Savior was born.
From hence we passed by the place into which Curtius precipitated himself for the love of his country, now without any sign of a lake, or vorago. Near this stand some columns of white marble, of exquisite work, supposed to be part of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans, built by Augustus; the work of the capitals (being Corinthian) and architrave is excellent, full of sacrificing utensils. There are three other of Jupiter Stator. Opposite to these are the oratories, or churches, of St. Cosmo and Damiano, heretofore the Temples of Romulus; a pretty old fabric, with a tribunal, or tholus within, wrought all of Mosaic. The gates before it are brass, and the whole much obliged to Pope Urban VIII. In this sacred place lie the bodies of those two martyrs; and in a chapel on the right hand is a rare painting of Cavaliere Baglioni.
We next entered St. Lorenzo in Miranda. The portico is supported by a range of most stately columns; the inscription cut in the architrave shows it to have been the Temple of Faustina. It is now made a fair church, and has an hospital which joins it. On the same side is St. Adriano, heretofore dedicated to Saturn. Before this was once placed a military column, supposed to be set in the center of the city, from whence they used to compute the distance of all the cities and places of note under the dominion of those universal monarchs. To this church are likewise brazen gates and a noble front; just opposite we saw the heaps and ruins of Cicero's palace. Hence we went toward Mons Capitolinus, at the foot of which stands the arch of Septimus Severus, full and entire, save where the pedestal and some of the lower members are choked up with ruins and earth. This arch is exceedingly enriched with sculpture and trophies, with a large inscription. In the terrestrial and naval battles here graven, is seen the Roman Aries (the battering-ram); and this was the first triumphal arch set up in Rome. The Capitol, to which we climbed by very broad steps, is built about a square court, at the right hand of which, going up from Campo Vaccino, gushes a plentiful stream from the statue of Tiber, in porphyry, very antique, and another representing Rome; but, above all, is the admirable figure of Marforius, casting water into a most ample concha. The front of this court is crowned with an excellent fabric containing the Courts of Justice, and where the Criminal Notary sits, and others. In one of the halls they show the statues of Gregory XIII. and Paul III., with several others. To this joins a handsome tower, the whole faciata adorned with noble statues, both on the outside and on the battlements, ascended by a double pair of stairs, and a stately Posario.
In the center of the court stands that incomparable horse bearing the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, as big as the life, of Corinthian metal, placed on a pedestal of marble, esteemed one of the noblest pieces of work now extant, antique and very rare. There is also a vast head of a colossean magnitude, of white marble, fixed in the wall. At the descending stairs are set two horses of white marble governed by two naked slaves, taken to be Castor and Pollux, brought from Pompey's Theatre. On the balustrade, the trophies of Marius against the Cimbrians, very ancient and instructive. At the foot of the steps toward the left hand is that Colonna Miliaria, with the globe of brass on it, mentioned to have been formerly set in Campo Vaccino. On the same hand, is the palace of the Signiori Conservatori, or three Consuls, now the civil governors of the city, containing the fraternities, or halls and guilds (as we call them), of sundry companies, and other offices of state. Under the portico within, are the statues of Augustus Cæsar, a Bacchus, and the so renowned Colonna Rostrata of Duillius, with the excellent bassi-relievi. In a smaller court, the statue of Constantine, on a fountain, a Minerva's head of brass, and that of Commodus, to which belongs a hand, the thumb whereof is at least an ell long, and yet proportionable; but the rest of the colosse is lost. In the corner of this court stand a horse and lion fighting, as big as life, in white marble, exceedingly valued; likewise the Rape of the Sabines; two cumbent figures of Alexander and Mammea; two monstrous feet of a colosse of Apollo; the Sepulchre of Agrippina; and the standard, or antique measure of the Roman foot. Ascending by the steps of the other corner, are inserted four basso-relievos, viz, the triumph and sacrifice of Marcus Aurelius, which last, for the antiquity and rareness of the work, I caused my painter, Carlo Neapolitano, to copy. There are also two statues of the Muses, and one of Adrian, the Emperor; above stands the figure of Marius, and by the wall Marsyas bound to a tree; all of them excellent and antique. Above in the lobby are inserted into the walls those ancient laws, on brass, called the Twelve Tables; a fair Madonna of Pietro Perugino, painted on the wall; near which are the archives, full of ancient records.
In the great hall are divers excellent paintings of Cavaliero Giuseppe d'Arpino, a statue in brass of Sextus V. and of Leo X., of marble. In another hall are many modern statues of their late Consuls and Governors, set about with fine antique heads; others are painted by excellent masters, representing the actions of M. Scævola, Horatius Cocles, etc. The room where the Conservatori now feast upon solemn days, is tapestried with crimson damask, embroidered with gold, having a state or balduquino of crimson velvet, very rich; the frieze above rarely painted. Here are in brass, Romulus and Remus sucking the wolf, of brass, with the Shepherd, Faustulus, by them; also the boy plucking the thorn out of his foot, of brass, so much admired by artists. There are also holy statues and heads of Saints. In a gallery near adjoining are the names of the ancient Consuls, Prætors, and Fasti Romani, so celebrated by the learned; also the figure of an old woman; two others representing Poverty; and more in fragments. In another large room, furnished with velvet, are the statue of Adonis, very rare, and divers antique heads. In the next chamber, is an old statue of Cicero, one of another Consul, a Hercules in brass, two women's heads of incomparable work, six other statues; and, over the chimney, a very rare basso-relievo, and other figures. In a little lobby before the chapel, is the statue of Hannibal, a Bacchus very antique, bustoes of Pan and Mercury, with other old heads. All these noble statues, etc., belong to the city, and cannot be disposed of to any private person, or removed hence, but are preserved for the honor of the place, though great sums have been offered for them by divers Princes, lovers of art, and antiquity. We now left the Capitol, certainly one of the most renowned places in the world, even as now built by the design of the famous M. Angelo.
Returning home by Ara Cœli, we mounted to it by more than 100 marble steps, not in devotion, as I observed some to do on their bare knees, but to see those two famous statues of Constantine, in white marble, placed there out of his baths. In this church is a Madonna, reported to be painted by St. Luke, and a column, on which we saw the print of a foot, which they affirm to have been that of the Angel, seen on the Castle of St. Angelo. Here the feast of our Blessed Savior's nativity being yearly celebrated with divers pageants, they began to make the preparation. Having viewed the Palace and fountain, at the other side of the stairs, we returned weary to our lodgings.
John Evelyn's Diary 07 November 1644
07 Nov 1644. On the 7th of November, we went again near the Capitol, toward the Tarpeian rock, where it has a goodly prospect of the Tiber. Thence, descending by the Tullianum, where they told us St. Peter was imprisoned, they showed us a chapel (S. Pietro de Vincoli) in which a rocky side of it bears the impression of his face. In the nave of the church gushes a fountain, which they say was caused by the Apostle's prayers, when having converted some of his fellow-captives he wanted water to make them Christians. The painting of the Ascension is by Raphael. We then walked about Mount Palatinus and the Aventine, and thence to the Circus Maximus, capable of holding 40,000 spectators, now a heap of ruins, converted into gardens. Then by the Forum Boarium, where they have a tradition that Hercules slew Cacus, some ruins of his temple remaining. The Temple of Janus Quadrifrons, having four arches, importing the four Seasons, and on each side niches for the months, is still a substantial and pretty entire antiquity. Near to this is the Arcus Argentariorum. Bending now toward the Tiber, we went into the Theater of Marcellus, which would hold 80,000 persons, built by Augustus, and dedicated to his nephew; the architecture, from what remains, appears to be inferior to none. It is now wholly converted into the house of the Savelli, one of the old Roman families. The people were now generally busy in erecting temporary triumphs and arches with statues and flattering inscriptions against his Holiness's grand procession to St. John di Laterani, among which the Jews also began one in testimony of gratitude for their protection under the Papal State. The Palazzo Barberini, designed by the present Pope's architect, Cavaliero Bernini, seems from the size to be as princely an object, as any modern building in Europe. It has a double portico, at the end of which we ascended by two pair of oval stairs, all of stone, and void in the well. One of these led us into a stately hall, the volto whereof was newly painted á fresco, by the rare hand of Pietro Berretini il Cortone. To this is annexed a gallery completely furnished with whatever art can call rare and singular, and a library full of worthy collections, medals, marbles, and manuscripts; but, above all, an Egyptian Osiris, remarkable for its unknown material and antiquity. In one of the rooms near this hangs the Sposaliccio of St. Sebastian, the original of Annibal Caracci, of which I procured a copy, little inferior to the prototype; a table, in my judgment, superior to anything I had seen in Rome. In the court is a vast broken guglia, or obelisk, having divers hieroglyphics cut on it.
John Evelyn's Diary 08 November 1644
08 Nov 1644. We visited the Jesuits' Church, the front whereof is esteemed a noble piece of architecture, the design of Jacomo della Porta and the famous Vignola. In this church lies the body of their renowned Ignatius Loyola, an arm of Xaverius, their other Apostle; and, at the right end of their high altar, their champion, Cardinal Bellarmine. Here Father Kircher (Professor of Mathematics and the oriental tongues) showed us many singular courtesies, leading us into their refectory, dispensatory, laboratory, gardens, and finally (through a hall hung round with pictures of such of their order as had been executed for their pragmatical and busy adventures) into his own study, where, with Dutch patience, he showed us his perpetual motions, catoptrics, magnetical experiments, models, and a thousand other crotchets and devices, most of them since published by himself, or his industrious scholar, Schotti.
Returning home, we had time to view the Palazzo de Medicis, which was an house of the Duke of Florence near our lodging, upon the brow of Mons Pincius, having a fine prospect toward the Campo Marzo. It is a magnificent, strong building, with a substruction very remarkable, and a portico supported with columns toward the gardens, with two huge lions, of marble, at the end of the balustrade. The whole outside of the facciata is incrusted with antique and rare basso-relievos and statues. Descending into the garden is a noble fountain governed by a Mercury of brass. At a little distance, on the left, is a lodge full of fine statues, among which the Sabines, antique and singularly rare. In the arcade near this stand twenty-four statues of great price, and hard by is a mount planted with cypresses, representing a fortress, with a goodly fountain in the middle. Here is also a row balustred with white marble, covered over with the natural shrubs, ivy, and other perennial greens, divers statues and heads being placed as in niches. At a little distance are those famed statues of Niobe and her family, in all fifteen, as large as the life, of which we have ample mention in Pliny, esteemed among the best pieces of work in the world for the passions they express, and all other perfections of that stupendous art. There is likewise in this garden a fair obelisk, full of hieroglyphics. In going out, the fountain before the front casts water near fifty feet in height, when it is received in a most ample marble basin. Here they usually rode the great horse every morning; which gave me much diversion from the terrace of my own chamber, where I could see all their motions. This evening, I was invited to hear rare music at the Chiesa Nova; the black marble pillars within led us to that most precious oratory of Philippus Nerius, their founder; they being of the oratory of secular priests, under no vow. There are in it divers good pictures, as the Assumption of Girolamo Mutiano; the Crucifix; the Visitation of Elizabeth; the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin; Christo Sepolto, of Guido Rheno, Caravaggio, Arpino, and others. This fair church consists of fourteen altars, and as many chapels. In it is buried (besides their Saint) Cæsar Baronius, the great annalist. Through this, we went into the sacristia, where, the tapers being lighted, one of the Order preached; after him stepped up a child of eight or nine years old, who pronounced an oration with so much grace, that I never was better pleased than to hear Italian so well and so intelligently spoken. This course it seems they frequently use, to bring their scholars to a habit of speaking distinctly, and forming their action and assurance, which none so much want as ours in England. This being finished, began their motettos, which in a lofty cupola richly painted, were sung by eunuchs, and other rare voices, accompanied by theorbos, harpsichords, and viols, so that we were even ravished with the entertainment of the evening. This room is painted by Cortona, and has in it two figures in the niches, and the church stands in one of the most stately streets of Rome.
John Evelyn's Diary 10 November 1644
10 Nov 1644. We went to see Prince Ludovisio's villa, where was formerly the Viridarium of the poet, Sallust. The house is very magnificent, and the extent of the ground exceedingly large, considering that it is in a city; in every quarter of the garden are antique statues, and walks planted with cypress. To this garden belongs a house of retirement, built in the figure of a cross, after a particular ordonnance, especially the staircase. The whiteness and smoothness of the excellent pargeting was a thing I much observed, being almost as even and polished, as if it had been of marble. Above, is a fair prospect of the city. In one of the chambers hang two famous pieces of Bassano, the one a Vulcan, the other a Nativity; there is a German clock full of rare and extraordinary motions; and, in a little room below are many precious marbles, columns, urns, vases, and noble statues of porphyry, oriental alabaster, and other rare materials. About this fabric is an ample area, environed with sixteen vast jars of red earth, wherein the Romans used to preserve their oil, or wine rather, which they buried, and such as are properly called testæ. In the Palace I must never forget the famous statue of the Gladiator, spoken of by Pliny, so much followed by all the rare artists as the many copies testify, dispersed through almost all Europe, both in stone and metal. There is also a Hercules, a head of porphyry, and one of Marcus Aurelius. In the villa-house is a man's body flesh and all, petrified, and even converted to marble, as it was found in the Alps, and sent by the Emperor to one of the Popes; it lay in a chest, or coffin, lined with black velvet, and one of the arms being broken, you may see the perfect bone from the flesh which remains entire. The Rape of Proserpine, in marble, is of the purest white, the work of Bernini. In the cabinet near it are innumerable small brass figures, and other curiosities. But what some look upon as exceeding all the rest, is a very rich bedstead (which sort of gross furniture the Italians much glory in, as formerly did our grandfathers in England in their inlaid wooden ones) inlaid with all sorts of precious stones and antique heads, onyxes, agates, and cornelians, esteemed to be worth 80 or 90,000 crowns. Here are also divers cabinets and tables of the Florence work, besides pictures in the gallery, especially the Apollo—a conceited chair to sleep in with the legs stretched out, with hooks, and pieces of wood to draw out longer or shorter.
From this villa, we went to see Signor Angeloni's study, who very courteously showed us such a collection of rare medals as is hardly to be paralleled; divers good pictures, and many outlandish and Indian curiosities, and things of nature.
From him, we walked to Monte Cavallo, heretofore called Mons Quirinalis, where we saw those two rare horses, the work of the rivals Phidias and Praxiteles, as they were sent to Nero (by Tiridates King) out of Armenia. They were placed on pedestals of white marble by Sextus V., by whom I suppose their injuries were repaired, and are governed by four naked slaves, like those at the foot of the Capitol. Here runs a most noble fountain, regarding four of the most stately streets for building and beauty to be seen in any city of Europe. Opposite to these statues is the Pope's summer palace, built by Gregory XIII.; and, in my opinion, it is, for largeness and the architecture, one of the most conspicuous in Rome, having a stately portico which leads round the court under columns, in the centre of which there runs a beautiful fountain. The chapel is incrusted with such precious materials, that nothing can be more rich, or glorious, nor are the other ornaments and movables about it at all inferior. The hall is painted by Lanfranci, and others. The garden, which is called the Belvedere di Monte Cavallo, in emulation of that of the Vatican, is most excellent for air and prospect; its exquisite fountains, close walks, grots, piscinas, or stews for fish, planted about with venerable cypresses, and refreshed with water-music, aviaries, and other rarities.
John Evelyn's Diary 12 November 1644
12 Nov 1644. We saw Dioclesian's Baths, whose ruins testify the vastness of the original foundation and magnificence; by what M. Angelo took from the ornaments about it, 'tis said he restored the then almost lost art of architecture. This monstrous pile was built by the labor of the primitive Christians, then under one of the ten great persecutions. The Church of St. Bernardo is made out of one only of these ruinous cupolas, and is in the form of an urn with a cover.
Opposite to this, is the Fontana delle Therme, otherwise called Fons Felix; in it is a basso-relievo of white marble, representing Moses striking the rock, which is adorned with camels, men, women, and children drinking, as large as life; a work for the design and vastness truly magnificent. The water is conveyed no less than twenty-two miles in an aqueduct by Sextus V., ex agro Columna, by way of Præneste, as the inscription testifies. It gushes into three ample lavers raised about with stone, before which are placed two lions of a strange black stone, very rare and antique. Near this are the store-houses for the city's corn, and over against it the Church of St. Susanna, where were the gardens of Sallust. The faciàta of this church is noble, the soffito within gilded and full of pictures; especially famous is that of Susanna, by Baldassa di Bologna. The tribunal of the high altar is of exquisite work, from whose marble steps you descend under ground to the repository of divers Saints. The picture over this altar is the work of Jacomo Siciliano. The foundation is for Bernadine Nuns.
Santa Maria della Vittoria presents us with the most ravishing front. In this church was sung the Te Deum by Gregory XV., after the signal victory of the Emperor at Prague; the standards then taken still hang up, and the impress waving this motto over the Pope's arms, Extirpentur. I observed that the high altar was much frequented for an image of the Virgin. It has some rare statues, as Paul ravished into the third heaven, by Fiamingo, and some good pictures. From this, we bent toward Dioclesian's Baths, never satisfied with contemplating that immense pile, in building which 150,000 Christians were destined to labor fourteen years, and were then all murdered. Here is a monastery of Carthusians, called Santa Maria degli Angeli, the architecture of M. Angelo, and the cloister encompassing walls in an ample garden.
Mont Alto's villa is entered by a stately gate of stone built on the Viminalis, and is no other than a spacious park full of fountains, especially that which salutes us at the front; stews for fish; the cypress walks are so beset with statues, inscriptions, relievos, and other ancient marbles, that nothing can be more stately and solemn. The citron trees are uncommonly large. In the palace joining to it are innumerable collections of value. Returning, we stepped into St. Agnes church, where there is a tribunal of antique mosaic, and on the altar a most rich ciborio of brass, with a statue of St. Agnes in oriental alabaster. The church of Santa Constanza has a noble cupola. Here they showed us a stone ship borne on a column heretofore sacred to Bacchus, as the relievo intimates by the drunken emblems and instruments wrought upon it. The altar is of rich porphyry, as I remember. Looking back, we had the entire view of the Via Pia down to the two horses before the Monte Cavallo, before mentioned, one of the most glorious sights for state and magnificence that any city can show a traveler. We returned by Porta Pia, and the Via Salaria, near Campo Scelerato, in whose gloomy caves the wanton Vestals were heretofore immured alive.
Thence to Via Felix, a straight and noble street but very precipitous, till we came to the four fountains of Lepidus, built at the abutments of four stately ways, making an exact cross of right angles; and, at the fountains, are as many cumbent figures of marble, under very large niches of stone, the water pouring into huge basins. The church of St. Carlo is a singular fabric for neatness, of an oval design, built of a new white stone; the columns are worth notice. Under it is another church of a structure nothing less admirable.
Next, we came to Santa Maria Maggiore, built upon the Esqueline Mountain, which gives it a most conspicuous face to the street at a great distance. The design is mixed partly antique, partly modern. Here they affirm that the Blessed Virgin appearing, showed where it should be built 300 years since. The first pavement is rare and antique; so is the portico built by P. P. Eugenius II The ciborio is the work of Paris Romano, and the tribunal of Mosaic.
We were showed in the church a concha of porphyry, wherein they say Patricius, the founder, lies. This is one of the most famous of the seven Roman Churches, and is, in my opinion at least, after St. Peter's, the most magnificent. Above all, for incomparable glory and materials, are the two chapels of Sextus V. and Paulus V. That of Sextus was designed by Dom. Fontana, in which are two rare great statues, and some good pieces of painting; and here they pretended to show some of the Holy Innocents' bodies slain by Herod: as also that renowned tabernacle of metal, gilt, sustained by four angels, holding as many tapers, placed on the altar. In this chapel is the statue of Sextus, in copper, with basso-relievos of most of his famous acts, in Parian marble; but that of P. Paulus, which we next entered, opposite to this, is beyond all imagination glorious, and above description. It is so encircled with agates, and other most precious materials, as to dazzle and confound the beholders. The basso-relievos are for the most part of pure snowy marble, intermixed with figures of molten brass, double gilt, on lapis lazuli. The altar is a most stupendous piece; but most incomparable is the cupola painted by Giuseppe Rheni, and the present Baglioni, full of exquisite sculptures. There is a most sumptuous sacristia; and the piece over the altar was by the hand of St. Luke; if you will believe it. Paulus V. hath here likewise built two other altars; under the one lie the bones of the Apostle, St. Matthias. In another oratory, is the statue of this Pope, and the head of the Congo Ambassador, who was converted at Rome, and died here. In a third chapel, designed by Michael Angelo, lie the bodies of Platina, and the Cardinal of Toledo, Honorius III., Nicephorus IV., the ashes of St. Hierom, and many others. In that of Sextus V., before mentioned, was showed us part of the crib in which Christ was swaddled at Bethlehem; there is also the statue of Pius V.; and going out at the further end, is the resurrection of Lazarus, by a very rare hand. In the portico, is this late inscription: "Cardinal Antonio Barberino Archypresbytero, aream marmoream quam Christianorum pietas exsculpsit, laborante sub Tyrannis ecclesiâ, ut esset loci sanctitate venerabilior, Francis Gualdus Arm. Eques S. Stephani è suis ædibus huc transtulit et ornavit, 1632". Just before this portico, stands a very sublime and stately Corinthian column, of white marble, translated hither for an ornament from the old Temple of Peace, built by Vespasian, having on the plinth of the capital the image of our Lady, gilt on metal; at the pedestal runs a fountain. Going down the hill, we saw the obelisk taken from the Mausoleum of Augustus, and erected in this place by Domenico Fontana, with this epigraph: "Sextus V. Pont. Max. Obeliscum ex Egypto advectum, Augusti in Mausoleo dicatum, eversum deinde et in plures confractum partes, in via ad S. Rochum jacentem, in pristinam faciem restitutum Salutiferæ Cruci feliciùs hic erigi jussit, anno MDLXXXVIII, Pont. III"; and so we came weary to our lodgings.
At the foot of this hill, is the church of St. Prudentia, in which is a well, filled with the blood and bones of several martyrs, but grated over with iron, and visited by many devotees. Near this stands the church of her sister, S. Praxedeis, much frequented for the same reason. In a little obscure place, canceled in with iron work, is the pillar, or stump, at which they relate our Blessed Savior was scourged, being full of bloody spots, at which the devout sex are always rubbing their chaplets, and convey their kisses by a stick having a tassel on it. Here, besides a noble statue of St. Peter, is the tomb of the famous Cardinal Cajetan, an excellent piece; and here they hold that St. Peter said his first mass at Rome, with the same altar and the stone he kneeled on, he having been first lodged in this house, as they compute about the forty-fourth year of the Incarnation. They also show many relics, or rather rags, of his mantle. St. Laurence in Panisperna did next invite us, where that martyr was cruelly broiled on the gridiron, there yet remaining. St. Bridget is buried in this church under a stately monument. In the front of the pile is the suffering of St. Laurence painted á fresco on the wall. The fabric is nothing but Gothic. On the left is the Therma Novatii; and, on the right, Agrippina's Lavacrum.
John Evelyn's Diary 14 November 1644
14 Nov 1644. We passed again through the stately Capitol and Campo Vaccino toward the Amphitheater of Vespasian, but first stayed to look at Titus's Triumphal Arch, erected by the people of Rome, in honor of his victory at Jerusalem; on the left hand whereof he is represented drawn in a chariot with four horses abreast; on the right hand, or side of the arch within, is sculptured in figures, or basso-relievo as big as the life (and in one entire marble) the Ark of the Covenant, on which stands the seven-branched candlestick described in Leviticus, as also the two Tables of the Law, all borne on men's shoulders by the bars, as they are described in some of St. Hierom's bibles; before this, go many crowned and laureated figures, and twelve Roman fasces with other sacred vessels. This much confirmed the idea I before had; and therefore, for the light it gave to the Holy History, I caused my painter, Carlo, to copy it exactly. The rest of the work of the Arch is of the noblest, best understood composita; and the inscription is this, in capital letters:
S. P. Q. R.
D. TITO, D. VESPASIANI, F. VESPASIANI AVGVSTO.
Santa Maria Nova is on the place where they told us Simon Magus fell out of the air at St. Peter's prayer, and burst himself to pieces on a flint. Near this is a marble monument, erected by the people of Rome in memory of the Pope's return from Avignon. Being now passed the ruins of Meta-Sudante (which stood before the Colosseum, so called, because there once stood here the statue of Commodus provided to refresh the gladiators), we enter the mighty ruins of the Vespasian Amphitheatre, begun by Vespasian, and finished by that excellent prince, Titus. It is 830 Roman palms in length (i.e. 130 paces), 90 in breadth at the area, with caves for the wild beasts which used to be baited by men instead of dogs; the whole oval periphery 2888-4/7 palms, and capable of containing 87,000 spectators with ease and all accommodation: the three rows of circles are yet entire; the first was for the senators, the middle for the nobility, the third for the people. At the dedication of this place were 5,000 wild beasts slain in three months during which the feast lasted, to the expense of ten millions of gold. It was built of Tiburtine stone, a vast height, with the five orders of architecture, by 30,000 captive Jews. It is without, of a perfect circle, and was once adorned thick with statues, and remained entire, till of late that some of the stones were carried away to repair the city walls and build the Farnesian palace. That which still appears most admirable is, the contrivance of the porticos, vaults, and stairs, with the excessive altitude, which well deserves this distich of the poet:
Omnis Cæsareo cedat labor Amphitheatro;.
Unum pro cunctis fama loquatur opus.
Near it is a small chapel called Santa Maria della Pieta nel Colisseo, which is erected on the steps, or stages, very lofty at one of its sides, or ranges, within, and where there lives only a melancholy hermit. I ascended to the very top of it with wonderful admiration.
The Arch of Constantine the Great is close by the Meta-Sudante, before mentioned, at the beginning of the Via Appia, on one side Monte Celio, and is perfectly entire, erected by the people in memory of his victory over Maxentius, at the Pons Milvius, now Ponte Mole. In the front is this inscription:
IMP. CAES. FL. CONSTANTINO MAXIMO.
P. F. AVGVSTO S. P. Q. R.
QVOD INSTINCTV DIVINITATIS MENTIS.
MAGNITVDINE CVM EXERCITV SVO.
TAM DE TYRANNO QVAM DE OMNI EIVS.
FACTIONE VNO TEMPORE IVSTIS.
REMPVBLICAM VLTVS EST ARMIS.
ARCVM TRIVMPHIS INSIGNEM DICAVIT.
Hence, we went to St. Gregorio, in Monte Celio, where are many privileged altars, and there they showed us an arm of that saint, and other relics. Before this church stands a very noble portico.
John Evelyn's Diary 15 November 1644
15 Nov 1644. Was very wet, and I stirred not out, and the 16th I went to visit Father John, Provincial of the Benedictines.
John Evelyn's Diary 17 November 1644
17 Nov 1644. I walked to Villa Borghese, a house and ample garden on Mons Pincius, yet somewhat without the city walls, circumscribed by another wall full of small turrets and banqueting-houses; which makes it appear at a distance like a little town. Within it is an elysium of delight, having in the centre of it a noble palace; but the entrance of the garden presents us with a very glorious fabric, or rather door-case, adorned with divers excellent marble statues. This garden abounded with all sorts of delicious fruit and exotic simples, fountains of sundry inventions, groves, and small rivulets. There is also adjoining to it a vivarium for ostriches, peacocks, swans, cranes, etc., and divers strange beasts, deer, and hares. The grotto is very rare, and represents, among other devices, artificial rain, and sundry shapes of vessels, flowers, etc.; which is effected by changing the heads of the fountains. The groves are of cypress, laurel, pine, myrtle, and olive. The four sphinxes are very antique, and worthy observation. To this is a volary, full of curious birds. The house is square with turrets, from which the prospect is excellent toward Rome, and the environing hills, covered as they now are with snow, which indeed commonly continues even a great part of the summer, affording sweet refreshment. Round the house is a baluster of white marble, with frequent jettos of water, and adorned with a multitude of statues. The walls of the house are covered with antique incrustations of history, as that of Curtius, the Rape of Europa, Leda, etc. The cornices above consist of fruitages and festoons, between which are niches furnished with statues, which order is observed to the very roof. In the lodge, at the entry, are divers good statues of Consuls, etc., with two pieces of field artillery upon carriages, (a mode much practiced in Italy before the great men's houses) which they look on as a piece of state more than defense. In the first hall within, are the twelve Roman Emperors, of excellent marble; between them stand porphyry columns, and other precious stones of vast height and magnitude, with urns of oriental alabaster. Tables of pietra-commessa: and here is that renowned Diana which Pompey worshiped, of eastern marble: the most incomparable Seneca of touch, bleeding in an huge vase of porphyry, resembling the drops of his blood; the so famous Gladiator, and the Hermaphrodite upon a quilt of stone. The new piece of Daphne, and David, of Cavaliero Bernini, is observable for the pure whiteness of the stone, and the art of the statuary plainly stupendous. There is a multitude of rare pictures of infinite value, by the best masters; huge tables of porphyry, and two exquisitely wrought vases of the same. In another chamber, are divers sorts of instruments of music: among other toys that of a satyr, which so artificially expressed a human voice, with the motion of eyes and head, that it might easily afright one who was not prepared for that most extravagant sight. They showed us also a chair that catches fast any one who sits down in it, so as not to be able to stir out, by certain springs concealed in the arms and back thereof, which at sitting down surprises a man on the sudden, locking him in by the arms and thighs, after a true treacherous Italian guise. The perspective is also considerable, composed by the position of looking-glasses, which render a strange multiplication of things resembling divers most richly furnished rooms. Here stands a rare clock of German work; in a word, nothing but what is magnificent is to be seen in this Paradise.
The next day, I went to the Vatican, where, in the morning, I saw the ceremony of Pamfilio, the Pope's nephew, receiving a Cardinal's hat; this was the first time I had seen his Holiness in pontificalibus. After the Cardinals and Princes had met in the consistory, the ceremony was in the Pope's chapel, where he was at the altar invested with most pompous rites.
John Evelyn's Diary 19 November 1644
19 Nov 1644. I visited St. Peter's, that most stupendous and incomparable Basilica, far surpassing any now extant in the world, and perhaps, Solomon's Temple excepted, any that was ever built. The largeness of the piazza before the portico is worth observing, because it affords a noble prospect of the church, not crowded up, as for the most part is the case in other places where great churches are erected. In this is a fountain, out of which gushes a river rather than a stream which, ascending a good height, breaks upon a round emboss of marble into millions of pearls that fall into the subjacent basins with great noise; I esteem this one of the goodliest fountains I ever saw.
Next is the obelisk transported out of Egypt, and dedicated by Octavius Augustus to Julius Cæsar, whose ashes it formerly bore on the summit; but, being since overturned by the barbarians, was re-erected with vast cost and a most stupendous invention by Domenico Fontana, architect to Sextus V. The obelisk consists of one entire square stone without hieroglyphics, in height seventy-two feet, but comprehending the base and all it is 108 feet high, and rests on four lions of gilded copper, so as you may see through the base of the obelisk and plinth of the pedestal.
Upon two faces of the obelisk is engraven.
DIVO CAES. DIVI.
IVLII F. AVGVSTO.
TI. CAES. DIVI AVG.
F. AVGVS. SACRVM.
It now bears on the top a cross in which it is said that Sextus V. inclosed some of the holy wood; and under it is to be read by good eyes:
SEXTVS V. PONT. MAX.
E. PRIORE SEDE AVVLSVM.
ET CAESS. AVG. AC TIB.
I. L. ABLATUM M.D.LXXXVI.
On the four faces of the base below:
1. CHRISTVS VINCIT. CHRISTVS REGNAT. CHRISTVS IMPERAT. CHRISTVS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SVAM DEFENDAT.
2. SEXTVS V. PONT. MAX. OBELISCVM VATICANVM DIIS GENTIVM IMPIO CVLTV DICATVM AD APOSTOLORVM LIMINA OPEROSO LABORE TRANSTVLIT AN. M.D.LXXXVI. PONT. II
3. ECCE CRVX DOMINI FVGITE PARTES ADVERSAE VINCIT LEO DE TRIBV IVDA.
4. SEXTVS V. PONT. MAX. CRVCI INVICTAE OBELISCVM VATICANVM AB IMPIA SVPERSTITIONE EXPIATVM IVSTIVS ET FELICITVS CONSECRAVIT AN. M.D.L.XXXVI. PONT. II
A little lower:
DOMINICVS FONTANA EX PAGO MILIAGRI NOVOCOMENSIS TRANSTVLIT ET EREXIT.
It is reported to have taken a year in erecting, to have cost 37,975 crowns, the labor of 907 men, and 75 horses: this being the first of the four Egyptian obelisks set up at Rome, and one of the forty-two brought to the city out of Egypt, set up in several places, but thrown down by the Goths, Barbarians, and earthquakes. Some coaches stood before the steps of the ascent, whereof one, belonging to Cardinal Medici, had all the metal work of massy silver, viz, the bow behind and other places. The coaches at Rome, as well as covered wagons also much in use, are generally the richest and largest I ever saw. Before the facciata of the church is an ample pavement. The church was first begun by St. Anacletus, when rather a chapel, on a foundation, as they give out, of Constantine the Great, who, in honor of the Apostles, carried twelve baskets full of sand to the work. After him, Julius II took it in hand, to which all his successors have contributed more or less.
The front is supposed to be the largest and best-studied piece of architecture in the world; to this we went up by four steps of marble. The first entrance is supported by huge pilasters; the volto within is the richest possible, and overlaid with gold. Between the five large anti-ports are columns of enormous height and compass, with as many gates of brass, the work and sculpture of Pollaivola, the Florentine, full of cast figures and histories in a deep relievo. Over this runs a terrace of like amplitude and ornament, where the Pope, at solemn times, bestows his Benediction on the vulgar. On each side of this portico are two campaniles, or towers, whereof there was but one perfected, of admirable art. On the top of all, runs a balustrade which edges it quite round, and upon this at equal distances are Christ and the twelve Disciples of gigantic size and stature, yet below showing no greater than the life. Entering the church, admirable is the breadth of the volto, or roof, which is all carved with foliage and roses overlaid with gold in nature of a deep basso-relievo, à l'antique. The nave, or body, is in form of a cross, whereof the foot-part is the longest; and, at the internodium of the transept, rises the cupola, which being all of stone and of prodigious height is more in compass than that of the Pantheon (which was the largest among the old Romans, and is yet entire) or any other known. The inside, or concave, is covered with most exquisite Mosaic, representing the Celestial Hierarchy, by Giuseppe d'Arpino, full of stars of gold; the convex, or outside, exposed to the air, is covered with lead, with great ribs of metal double gilt (as are also the ten other lesser cupolas, for no fewer adorn this glorious structure), which gives a great and admirable splendor in all parts of the city. On the summit of this is fixed a brazen globe gilt, capable of receiving thirty-five persons. This I entered, and engraved my name among other travelers. Lastly, is the Cross, the access to which is between the leaden covering and the stone convex, or arch-work; a most truly astonishing piece of art! On the battlements of the church, also all overlaid with lead and marble, you would imagine yourself in a town, so many are the cupolas, pinnacles, towers, juttings, and not a few houses inhabited by men who dwell there, and have enough to do to look after the vast reparations which continually employ them.
Having seen this, we descended into the body of the church, full of collateral chapels and large oratories, most of them exceeding the size of ordinary churches; but the principal are four incrusted with most precious marbles and stones of various colors, adorned with an infinity of statues, pictures, stately altars, and innumerable relics. The altar-piece of St. Michael being of Mosaic, I could not pass without particular note, as one of the best of that kind. The chapel of Gregory XIII., where he is buried, is most splendid. Under the cupola, and in the center of the church, stands the high altar, consecrated first by Clement VIII., adorned by Paul V., and lately covered by Pope Urban VIII.; with that stupendous canopy of Corinthian brass, which heretofore was brought from the Pantheon; it consists of four wreathed columns, partly channelled and encircled with vines, on which hang little puti birds and bees (the arms of the Barberini), sustaining a baldacchino of the same metal. The four columns weigh an hundred and ten thousand pounds, all over richly gilt; this, with the pedestals, crown, and statues about it, form a thing of that art, vastness, and magnificence, as is beyond all that man's industry has produced of the kind; it is the work of Bernini, a Florentine sculptor, architect, painter, and poet, who, a little before my coming to the city, gave a public opera (for so they call shows of that kind), wherein he painted the scenes, cut the statues, invented the engines, composed the music, writ the comedy, and built the theater. Opposite to either of these pillars, under those niches which, with their columns, support the weighty cupola, are placed four exquisite statues of Parian marble, to which are four altars; that of St. Veronica, made by Fra. Mochi, has over it the reliquary, where they showed us the miraculous Sudarium indued with the picture of our Savior's face, with this inscription: "Salvatoris imaginem Veronicæ Sudario exceptam ut loci majestas decentèr custodiret, Urbanus VIII. Pont. Max. Marmoreum signum et Altare addidit, Conditorium extruxit et ornavit"..
Right against this is that of Longinus, of a Colossean magnitude, also by Bernini, and over him the conservatory of the iron lance inserted in a most precious crystal, with this epigraph: "Longini Lanceam quam Innocentius VIII. à Bajazete Turcarum Tyranno accepit, Urbanus VIII. statuâ appositâ, et Sacello substructo, in exornatum Conditorium transtulit"..
The third chapel has over the altar the statue of our countrywoman, St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great; the work of Boggi, an excellent sculptor; and here is preserved a great piece of the pretended wood of the holy cross, which she is said to have first detected miraculously in the Holy Land. It was placed here by the late Pope with this inscription: "Partem Crucis quam Helena Imperatrix è Calvario in Urbem adduxit, Urbanus VIII. Pont. Max. è Sissorianâ Basilicâ desumptam, additis arâ et statuâ, hìc in Vaticano collocavit"..
The fourth hath over the altar, and opposite to that of St. Veronica, the statue of St. Andrew, the work of Fiamingo, admirable above all the other; above is preserved the head of that Apostle, richly enchased. It is said that this excellent sculptor died mad to see his statue placed in a disadvantageous light by Bernini, the chief architect, who found himself outdone by this artist. The inscription over it is this:
St. Andreæ caput quod Pius II ex Achaiâ in Vaticanum asportandum curavit, Urbanus VIII. novis hic ornamentis decoratum sacrisque statuæ ac Sacelli honoribus coli voluit.
The relics showed and kept in this church are without number, as are also the precious vessels of gold, silver, and gems, with the vests and services to be seen in the Sacristy, which they showed us. Under the high altar is an ample grot inlaid with pietra-commessa, wherein half of the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul are preserved; before hang divers great lamps of the richest plate, burning continually. About this and contiguous to the altar, runs a balustrade, in form of a theater, of black marble. Toward the left, as you go out of the church by the portico, a little beneath the high altar, is an old brass statue of St. Peter sitting, under the soles of whose feet many devout persons rub their heads, and touch their chaplets. This was formerly cast from a statue of Jupiter Capitolinus. In another place, stands a column grated about with iron, whereon they report that our Blessed Savior was often wont to lean as he preached in the Temple. In the work of the reliquary under the cupola there are eight wreathed columns brought from the Temple of Solomon. In another chapel, they showed us the chair of St. Peter, or, as they name it, the Apostolical Throne. But among all the chapels the one most glorious has for an altar-piece a Madonna bearing a dead Christ on her knees, in white marble, the work of Michael Angelo. At the upper end of the Cathedral, are several stately monuments, especially that of Urban VIII. Round the cupola, and in many other places in the church, are confession seats, for all languages, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, English, Irish, Welsh, Sclavonian, Dutch, etc., as it is written on their friezes in golden capitals, and there are still at confessions some of all nations. Toward the lower end of the church, and on the side of a vast pillar sustaining a weighty roof, is the depositum and statue of the Countess Matilda, a rare piece, with basso-relievos about it of white marble, the work of Bernini. Here are also those of Sextus IV. and Paulus III., etc. Among the exquisite pieces in this sumptuous fabric is that of the ship with St. Peter held up from sinking by our Savior; the emblems about it are the Mosaic of the famous Giotto, who restored and made it perfect after it had been defaced by the Barbarians. Nor is the pavement under the cupola to be passed over without observation, which with the rest of the body and walls of the whole church, are all inlaid with the richest of pietra-commessa, in the most splendid colors of polished marbles, agates, serpentine, porphyry, calcedon, etc., wholly incrusted to the very roof. Coming out by the portico at which we entered, we were shown the Porta Santa, never opened but at the year of jubilee. This glorious foundation hath belonging to it thirty canons, thirty-six beneficiates, twenty-eight clerks beneficed, with innumerable chaplains, etc., a Cardinal being always archpriest; the present Cardinal was Francisco Barberini, who also styled himself Protector of the English, to whom he was indeed very courteous.
John Evelyn's Diary 20 November 1644
20 Nov 1644. I went to visit that ancient See and Cathedral of St. John di Laterano, and the holy places thereabout. This is a church of extraordinary devotion, though, for outward form, not comparable to St. Peter's, being of Gothic ordonnance. Before we went into the cathedral, the Baptistery of St. John Baptist presented itself, being formerly part of the Great Constantine's palace, and, as it is said, his chamber where by St. Silvester he was made a Christian. It is of an octagonal shape, having before the entrance eight fair pillars of rich porphyry, each of one entire piece, their capitals of divers orders, supporting lesser columns of white marble, and these supporting a noble cupola, the molding whereof is excellently wrought. In the chapel which they affirm to have been the lodging place of this Emperor, all women are prohibited from entering, for the malice of Herodias who caused him to lose his head. Here are deposited several sacred relics of St. James, Mary Magdalen, St. Matthew, etc., and two goodly pictures. Another chapel, or oratory near it, is called St. John the Evangelist, well adorned with marbles and tables, especially those of Cavaliére Giuseppe, and of Tempesta, in fresco. We went hence into another called St. Venantius, in which is a tribunal all of Mosaic in figures of Popes. Here is also an altar of the Madonna, much visited, and divers Sclavonish saints, companions of Pope John IV. The portico of the church is built of materials brought from Pontius Pilate's house in Jerusalem.
The next sight which attracted our attention, was a wonderful concourse of people at their devotions before a place called Scala Sancta, to which is built a noble front. Entering the portico, we saw those large marble stairs, twenty-eight in number, which are never ascended but on the knees, some lip-devotion being used on every step; on which you may perceive divers red specks of blood under a grate, which they affirm to have been drops of our Blessed Savior, at the time he was so barbarously misused by Herod's soldiers; for these stairs are reported to have been translated hither from his palace in Jerusalem. At the top of them is a chapel, whereat they enter (but we could not be permitted) by gates of marble, being the same our Savior passed when he went out of Herod's house. This they name the Sanctum Sanctorum, and over it we read this epigraph:
Non est in toto sanctior orbe locus.
Here, through a grate, we saw that picture of Christ painted (as they say) by the hand of St. Luke, to the life. Descending again, we saw before the church the obelisk, which is indeed most worthy of admiration. It formerly lay in the Circo Maximo, and was erected here by Sextus V., in 1587, being 112 feet in height without the base or pedestal; at the foot nine and a half one way, and eight the other. This pillar was first brought from Thebes at the utmost confines of Egypt, to Alexandria, from thence to Constantinople, thence to Rome, and is said by Ammianus Marcellinus to have been dedicated to Rameses, King of Egypt. It was transferred to this city by Constantine the son of the Great, and is full of hieroglyphics, serpents, men, owls, falcons, oxen, instruments, etc., containing (as Father Kircher the Jesuit will shortly tell us in a book which he is ready to publish) all the recondite and abstruse learning of that people. The vessel, galley, or float, that brought it to Rome so many hundred leagues, must needs have been of wonderful bigness and strange fabric. The stone is one and entire, and (having been thrown down) was erected by the famous Dom. Fontana, for that magnificent Pope, Sextus V., as the rest were; it is now cracked in many places, but solidly joined. The obelisk is thus inscribed at the several faciátas:
Fl. Constantinus Augustus, Constantini Augusti F. Obeliscum à patre suo motum diuq; Alexandriæ jacentem, trecentorum remigum impositum navi mirandæ vastitatis per mare Tyberimq; magnis molibus Romam convectum in Circo Max. ponendum S.P.Q.R.D.D.
On the second square:
Fl. Constantinus Max: Aug: Christianæ fidei Vindex & Assertor Obeliscum ab Ægyptio Rege impuro voto Soli dicatum, sedibus avulsum suis per Nilum transfer. Alexandriam, ut Novam Romam ab se tunc conditam eo decoraret monumento.
On the third:
Sextus V. Pontifex Max: Obeliscum hunc specie eximiâ temporum calamitate fractum, Circi Maximi ruinis humo, limoq; altè demersum, multâ impensâ extraxit, hunc in locum magno labore transtulit, formàq; pristinâ accuratè vestitum, Cruci invictissimæ dicavit anno M.D.LXXXVIII. Pont. IIII.
On the fourth:
Constantinus per Crucem Victor à Silvestro hìc Baptizatus Crucis gloriam propagavit.
Leaving this wonderful monument (before which is a stately public fountain, with a statue of St. John in the middle of it), we visited His Holiness's palace, being a little on the left hand, the design of Fontana, architect to Sextus V. !This I take to be one of the best palaces in Rome; but not staying we entered the church of St. John di Laterano, which is properly the Cathedral of the Roman See, as I learned by these verses engraven upon the architrave of the portico:
Dogmate Papali datur, et simul Imperiali.
Quòd sim cunctarum mater caput Ecclesiarŭ.
Hinc Salvatoris cœlestia regna datoris.
Nomine Sanxerunt, cum cuncta peracta fuerunt;.
Sic vos ex toto conversi supplice voto.
Nostra quòd hæc ædes; tibi Christe sit inclyta sedes.
It is called Lateran, from a noble family formerly dwelling it seems hereabouts, on Mons Cælius. The church is Gothic, and hath a stately tribunal; the paintings are of Pietro Pisano. It was the first church that was consecrated with the ceremonies now introduced, and where altars of stone supplied those of wood heretofore in use, and made like large chests for the easier removal in times of persecution; such an altar is still the great one here preserved, as being that on which (they hold) St. Peter celebrated mass at Rome; for which reason none but the Pope may now presume to make that use of it. The pavement is of all sorts of precious marbles, and so are the walls to a great height, over which it is painted á fresco with the life and acts of Constantine the Great, by most excellent masters. The organs are rare, supported by four columns. The soffito is all richly gilded, and full of pictures. Opposite to the porta is an altar of exquisite architecture, with a tabernacle on it all of precious stones, the work of Targoni; on this is a cœna of plate, the invention of Curtius Vanni, of exceeding value; the tables hanging over it are of Giuseppe d'Arpino. About this are four excellent columns transported out of Asia by the Emperor Titus, of brass, double gilt, about twelve feet in height; the walls between them are incrusted with marble and set with statues in niches, the vacuum reported to be filled with holy earth, which St. Helena sent from Jerusalem to her son, Constantine, who set these pillars where they now stand. At one side of this is an oratory full of rare paintings and monuments, especially those of the great Connestábile Colonna. Out of this we came into the sacristia, full of good pictures of Albert and others. At the end of the church is a flat stone supported by four pillars which they affirm to have been the exact height of our Blessed Savior, and say they never fitted any mortal man that tried it, but he was either taller or shorter; two columns of the veil of the Temple which rent at his passion; the stone on which they threw lots for his seamless vesture; and the pillar on which the cock crowed, after Peter's denial; and, to omit no fine thing, the just length of the Virgin Mary's foot as it seems her shoemaker affirmed! Here is a sumptuous cross, beset with precious stones, containing some of the VERY wood of the holy cross itself; with many other things of this sort: also numerous most magnificent monuments, especially those of St. Helena, of porphyry; Cardinal Farneze; Martin I., of copper; the pictures of Mary Magdalen, Martin V., Laurentius Valla, etc., are of Gaetano; the Nunciata, designed by M. Angelo; and the great crucifix of Sermoneta. In a chapel at one end of the porch is a statue of Henry IV. of France, in brass, standing in a dark hole, and so has done many years; perhaps from not believing him a thorough proselyte. The two famous œcumenical Councils were celebrated in this Church by Pope Simachus, Martin I., Stephen, etc.
Leaving this venerable church (for in truth it has a certain majesty in it), we passed through a fair and large hospital of good architecture, having some inscriptions put up by Barberini, the late Pope's nephew. We then went by St. Sylvia, where is a noble statue of St. Gregory P., begun by M. Angelo; a St. Andrew, and the bath of St. Cecilia. In this church are some rare paintings, especially that story on the wall of Guido Reni. Thence to St. Giovanni e Paula, where the friars are reputed to be great chemists. The choir, roof, and paintings in the tribuna are excellent.
Descending the Mons Cælius, we came against the vestiges of the Palazzo Maggiore, heretofore the Golden House of Nero; now nothing but a heap of vast and confused ruins, to show what time and the vicissitude of human things does change from the most glorious and magnificent to the most deformed and confused. We next went into St. Sebastian's Church, which has a handsome front: then we passed by the place where Romulus and Remus were taken up by Faustulus, the Forum Romanum, and so by the edge of the Mons Palatinus; where we saw the ruins of Pompey's house, and the Church of St. Anacletus; and so into the Circus Maximus, heretofore capable of containing a hundred and sixty thousand spectators, but now all one entire heap of rubbish, part of it converted into a garden of pot herbs. We concluded this evening with hearing the rare voices and music at the Chiesa Nova.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 November 1644
21 Nov 1644. I was carried to see a great virtuoso, Cavaliéro Pozzo, who showed us a rare collection of all kind of antiquities, and a choice library, over which are the effigies of most of our late men of polite literature. He had a great collection of the antique basso-relievos about Rome, which this curious man had caused to be designed in several folios: many fine medals; the stone which Pliny calls Enhydros; it had plainly in it the quantity of half a spoonful of water, of a yellow pebble color, of the bigness of a walnut. A stone paler than an amethyst, which yet he affirmed to be the true carbuncle, and harder than a diamond; it was set in a ring, without foil, or anything at the bottom, so as it was transparent, of a greenish yellow, more lustrous than a diamond. He had very pretty things painted on crimson velvet, designed in black, and shaded and heightened with white, set in frames; also a number of choice designs and drawings.
Hence we walked to the Suburra and Ærarium Saturni, where yet remain some ruins and an inscription. From thence to St. Pietro in vinculis, one of the seven churches on the Esquiline, an old and much-frequented place of great devotion for the relics there, especially the bodies of the seven Maccabean brethren, which lie under the altar. On the wall is a St. Sebastian, of mosaic, after the Greek manner: but what I chiefly regarded was, that noble sepulchre of Pope Julius II, the work of M. Angelo; with that never-sufficiently-to-be-admired statue of Moses, in white marble, and those of Vita Contemplativa and Activa, by the same incomparable hand. To this church belongs a monastery, in the court of whose cloisters grow two tall and very stately palm trees. Behind these, we walked a turn among the Baths of Titus, admiring the strange and prodigious receptacles for water, which the vulgar call the Setti Sali, now all in heaps.
John Evelyn's Diary 22 November 1644
22 Nov 1644. Was the solemn and greatest ceremony of all the State Ecclesiastical, viz, the procession of the Pope (Innocent X.) to St. John di Laterano, which, standing on the steps of Ara Celi, near the Capitol, I saw pass in this manner:—First went a guard of Switzers to make way, and divers of the avant guard of horse carrying lances. Next followed those who carried the robes of the Cardinals, two and two; then the Cardinal's mace bearers; the caudatari, on mules; the masters of their horse; the Pope's barber, tailor, baker, gardener, and other domestic officers, all on horseback, in rich liveries; the squires belonging to the Guard; five men in rich liveries led five noble Neapolitan horses, white as snow, covered to the ground with trappings richly embroidered; which is a service paid by the King of Spain for the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, pretended feudatories to the Pope; three mules of exquisite beauty and price, trapped in crimson velvet; next followed three rich litters with mules, the litters empty; the master of the horse alone, with his squires; five trumpeters; the armerieri estra muros; the fiscal and consistorial advocates; capellani, camerieri de honore, cubiculari and chamberlains, called secreti.
Then followed four other camerieri with four caps of the dignity-pontifical, which were Cardinals' hats carried on staves; four trumpets; after them a number of noble Romans and gentlemen of quality, very rich, and followed by innumerable staffiéri and pages; the secretaries of the chancellaria, abbreviatori-accoliti in their long robes, and on mules; auditori di rota; the dean of the rôti and master of the sacred palace, on mules, with grave but rich footclothes, and in flat episcopal hats; then went more of the Roman and other nobility and courtiers, with divers pages in most rich liveries on horseback; fourteen drums belonging to the Capitol; the marshals with their staves; the two syndics; the conservators of the city, in robes of crimson damask; the knight-gonfalonier and prior of the R. R., in velvet toques; six of his Holiness's mace bearers; then the captain, or governor, of the Castle of St. Angelo, upon a brave prancer; the governor of the city; on both sides of these two long ranks of Switzers, the masters of the ceremonies; the cross bearer on horseback, with two priests at each hand on foot; pages, footmen, and guards, in abundance. Then came the Pope himself, carried in a litter, or rather open chair, of crimson velvet, richly embroidered, and borne by two stately mules; as he went he held up two fingers, blessing the multitude who were on their knees, or looking out of their windows and houses, with loud vivas and acclamations of felicity to their new Prince. This chair was followed by the master of his chamber, cup bearer, secretary, and physician; then came the Cardinal-Bishops, Cardinal-Priests, Cardinal-Deacons, Patriarchs, Archbishops, and Bishops, all in their several and distinct habits, some in red, others in green flat hats with tassels, all on gallant mules richly trapped with velvet, and led by their servants in great state and multitudes; after them, the apostolical protonotary, auditor, treasurer, and referendaries; lastly, the trumpets of the rear guard, two pages of arms in helmets with feathers, and carrying lances; two captains; the pontifical standard of the Church; the two alfieri, or cornets, of the Pope's light horse, who all followed in armor and carrying lances; which, with innumerable rich coaches, litters, and people, made up the procession. What they did at St. John di Laterano, I could not see, by reason of the prodigious crowd; so I spent most of the day in viewing the two triumphal arches which had been purposely erected a few days before, and till now covered; the one by the Duke of Parma, in the Foro Romano, the other by the Jews in the Capitol, with flattering inscriptions. They were of excellent architecture, decorated with statues and abundance of ornaments proper for the occasion, since they were but temporary, and made up of boards, cloth, etc., painted and framed on the sudden, but as to outward appearance, solid and very stately. The night ended with fireworks. What I saw was that which was built before the Spanish Ambassador's house, in the Piazza del Trinita, and another, before that of the French. The first appeared to be a mighty rock, bearing the Pope's Arms, a dragon, and divers figures, which being set on fire by one who flung a rocket at it, kindled immediately, yet preserving the figure both of the rock and statues a very long time; insomuch as it was deemed ten thousand reports of squibs and crackers spent themselves in order. That before the French Ambassador's Palace was a Diana drawn in a chariot by her dogs, with abundance of other figures as large as the life, which played with fire in the same manner. In the meantime, the windows of the whole city were set with tapers put into lanterns, or sconces, of several colored oiled paper, that the wind might not annoy them; this rendered a most glorious show. Besides these, there were at least twenty other fireworks of vast charge and rare art for their invention before divers Ambassadors, Princes, and Cardinals' Palaces, especially that on the Castle of St. Angelo, being a pyramid of lights, of great height, fastened to the ropes and cables which support the standard pole. The streets were this night as light as day, full of bonfires, cannon roaring, music playing, fountains running wine, in all excess of joy and triumph.
John Evelyn's Diary 23 November 1644
23 Nov 1644. I went to the Jesuits' College again, the front whereof gives place to few for its architecture, most of its ornaments being of rich marble. It has within a noble portico and court, sustained by stately columns, as is the corridor over the portico, at the sides of which are the schools for arts and sciences, which are here taught as at the University. Here I heard Father Athanasius Kircher upon a part of Euclid, which he expounded. To this joins a glorious and ample church for the students; a second is not fully finished; and there are two noble libraries, where I was showed that famous wit and historian, Famianus Strada. Hence we went to the house of Hippolito Vitellesco (afterward bibliothecary of the Vatican library), who showed us one of the best collections of statues in Rome, to which he frequently talks as if they were living, pronouncing now and then orations, sentences, and verses, sometimes kissing and embracing them. He has a head of Brutus scarred in the face by order of the Senate for killing Julius; this is much esteemed. Also a Minerva, and others of great value. This gentleman not long since purchased land in the kingdom of Naples, in hope, by digging the ground, to find more statues; which it seems so far succeeded, as to be much more worth than the purchase. We spent the evening at the Chiesa Nova, where was excellent music; but, before that began, the courteous fathers led me into a nobly furnished library, contiguous to their most beautiful convent.
John Evelyn's Diary 28 November 1644
28 Nov 1644. I went to see the garden and house of the Aldobrandini, now Cardinal Borghese's. This palace is, for architecture, magnificence, pomp, and state, one of the most considerable about the city. It has four fronts, and a noble piazza before it. Within the courts, under arches supported by marble columns, are many excellent statues. Ascending the stairs, there is a rare figure of Diana, of white marble. The St. Sebastian and Hermaphrodite are of stupendous art. For paintings, our Savior's Head, by Correggio; several pieces of Raphael, some of which are small; some of Bassano Veronese; the Leda, and two admirable Venuses, are of Titian's pencil; so is the Psyche and Cupid; the head of St. John, borne by Herodias; two heads of Albert Durer, very exquisite. We were shown here a fine cabinet and tables of Florence work in stone. In the gardens are many fine fountains, the walls covered with citron trees, which, being rarely spread, invest the stone work entirely; and, toward the street, at a back gate, the port is so handsomely clothed with ivy as much pleased me. About this palace are many noble antique bassi-relievi: two especially are placed on the ground, representing armor, and other military furniture of the Romans; beside these, stand about the garden numerous rare statues, altars, and urns. Above all for antiquity and curiosity (as being the only rarity of that nature now known to remain) is that piece of old Roman painting representing the Roman Sponsalia, or celebration of their marriage, judged to be 1,400 years old, yet are the colors very lively, and the design very entire, though found deep in the ground. For this morsel of painting's sake only, it is said the Borghesi purchased the house, because this being on a wall in a kind of banqueting house in the garden, could not be removed, but passes with the inheritance.
John Evelyn's Diary 29 November 1644
29 Nov 1644. I a second time visited the Medicean Palace, being near my lodging, the more exactly to have a view of the noble collections that adorn it, especially the bassi-relievi and antique friezes inserted about the stone work of the house. The Saturn, of metal, standing in the portico, is a rare piece; so is the Jupiter and Apollo, in the hall. We were now led into those rooms above we could not see before, full of incomparable statues and antiquities; above all, and haply preferable to any in the world, are the Two Wrestlers, for the inextricable mixture with each other's arms and legs is stupendous. In the great chamber is the Gladiator, whetting a knife; but the Venus is without parallel, being the masterpiece of one whose name you see graven under it in old Greek characters; nothing in sculpture ever approached this miracle of art. To this add Marcius, Ganymede, a little Apollo playing on a pipe; some relievi incrusted on the palace-walls; and an antique vas of marble, near six feet high. Among the pictures may be mentioned the Magdalen and St. Peter, weeping. I pass over the cabinets and tables of pietra commessa, being the proper invention of the Florentines. In one of the chambers is a whimsical chair, which folded into so many varieties, as to turn into a bed, a bolster, a table, or a couch. I had another walk in the garden, where are two huge vases, or baths of stone.
I went further up the hill to the Pope's Palaces at Monte Cavallo, where I now saw the garden more exactly, and found it to be one of the most magnificent and pleasant in Rome. I am told the gardener is annually allowed 2,000 scudi for the keeping of it. Here I observed hedges of myrtle above a man's height; others of laurel, oranges, nay, of ivy and juniper; the close walks, and rustic grotto; a crypt, of which the laver, or basin, is of one vast, entire, antique porphyry, and below this flows a plentiful cascade; the steps of the grotto and the roofs being of rich Mosaic. Here are hydraulic organs, a fish pond, and an ample bath. From hence, we went to taste some rare Greco; and so home.
Being now pretty weary of continual walking, I kept within, for the most part, till the 6th of December; and, during this time, I entertained one Signor Alessandro, who gave me some lessons on the theorbo.
The next excursion was over the Tiber, which I crossed in a ferry-boat, to see the Palazzo di Ghisi, standing in Transtevere, fairly built, but famous only for the painting á fresco on the volto of the portico toward the garden; the story is the Amours of Cupid and Psyche, by the hand of the celebrated Raphael d'Urbino. Here you always see painters designing and copying after it, being esteemed one of the rarest pieces of that art in the world; and with great reason. I must not omit that incomparable table of Galatea (as I remember), so carefully preserved in the cupboard at one of the ends of this walk, to protect it from the air, being a most lively painting. There are likewise excellent things of Baldassare, and others.
Thence we went to the noble house of the Duke of Bracciano, fairly built, with a stately court and fountain.
Next, we walked to St. Mary's Church, where was the Taberna Meritoria, where the old Roman soldiers received their triumphal garland, which they ever after wore. The high altar is very fair, adorned with columns of porphyry: here is also some mosaic work about the choir, and the Assumption is an esteemed piece. It is said that this church was the first that was dedicated to the Virgin at Rome. In the opposite piazza is a very sumptuous fountain.
John Evelyn's Diary December 1644
John Evelyn's Diary 12 December 1644
12 Dec 1644. I went again to St. Peter's to see the chapels, churches, and grots under the whole church (like our St. Faith's under Paul's), in which lie interred a multitude of Saints, Martyrs, and Popes; among them our countryman, Adrian IV., (Nicholas Brekespere) in a chest of porphyry; Sir J. Chrysostom; Petronella; the heads of St. James minor, St. Luke, St. Sebastian, and our Thomas à Becket; a shoulder of St. Christopher; an arm of Joseph of Arimathea; Longinus; besides 134 more bishops, soldiers, princes, scholars, cardinals, kings, emperors, their wives; too long to particularize.
Hence we walked into the cemetery, called Campo Santo, the earth consisting of several ship-loads of mold, transported from Jerusalem, which consumes a carcass in twenty-four hours. To this joins that rare hospital, where once was Nero's circus; the next to this is the Inquisition-house and prison, the inside whereof, I thank God, I was not curious to see. To this joins His Holiness's Horseguards.
On Christmas-eve, I went not to bed, being desirous of seeing the many extraordinary ceremonies performed then in their churches, at midnight masses and sermons. I walked from church to church the whole night in admiration at the multitude of scenes and pageantry which the friars had with much industry and craft set out, to catch the devout women and superstitious sort of people, who never parted without dropping some money into a vessel set on purpose; but especially observable was the puppetry in the Church of the Minerva, representing the Nativity. I thence went and heard a sermon at the Apollinare; by which time it was morning. On Christmas-day his Holiness sang mass, the artillery of St. Angelo went off, and all this day was exposed the cradle of our Lord.
John Evelyn's Diary 29 December 1644
29 Dec 1644. We were invited by the English Jesuits to dinner, being their great feast of Thomas [à Becket] of Canterbury. We dined in their common refectory, and afterward saw an Italian comedy acted by their alumni before the Cardinals.