John Evelyn's Diary 1645 is in John Evelyn's Diary 1640s.
John Evelyn's Diary January 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 01 January 1645
01 Jan 1645. We saw pass the new officers of the people of Rome; especially, for their noble habits were most conspicuous, the three Consuls, now called Conservators, who take their places in the Capitol, having been sworn the day before between the hands of the Pope. We ended the day with the rare music at the Chiesa Nova.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 January 1645
06 Jan 1645. Was the ceremony of our Savior's baptism in the Church of St. Athanasius, and at Ara Celi was a great procession, del Bambino, as they call it, where were all the magistrates, and a wonderful concourse of people.
John Evelyn's Diary 07 January 1645
07 Jan 1645. A sermon was preached to the Jews, at Ponte Sisto, who are constrained to sit till the hour is done; but it is with so much malice in their countenances, spitting, humming, coughing, and motion, that it is almost impossible they should hear a word from the preacher. A conversion is very rare.
John Evelyn's Diary 14 January 1645
14 Jan 1645. The heads of St. Peter and St. Paul are exposed at St. John Laterano.
John Evelyn's Diary 15 January 1645
15 Jan 1645. The zitelle, or young wenches, which are to have portions given them by the Pope, being poor, and to marry them, walked in procession to St. Peter's, where the Veronica was shown.
I went to the Ghetto, where the Jews dwell as in a suburb by themselves; being invited by a Jew of my acquaintance to see a circumcision. I passed by the Piazza Judea, where their seraglio begins; for, being environed with walls, they are locked up every night. In this place remains yet part of a stately fabric, which my Jew told me had been a palace of theirs for the ambassador of their nation, when their country was subject to the Romans. Being led through the Synagogue into a private house, I found a world of people in a chamber: by and by came an old man, who prepared and laid in order divers instruments brought by a little child of about seven years old in a box. These the man laid in a silver basin; the knife was much like a short razor to shut into the half. Then they burnt some incense in a censer, which perfumed the room all the while the ceremony was performing. In the basin was a little cap made of white paper like a capuchin's hood, not bigger than the finger: also a paper of a red astringent powder, I suppose of bole; a small instrument of silver, cleft in the middle at one end, to take up the prepuce withal; a fine linen cloth wrapped up. These being all in order, the women brought the infant swaddled, out of another chamber, and delivered it to the Rabbi, who carried and presented it before an altar, or cupboard, dressed up, on which lay the five Books of Moses, and the Commandments, a little unrolled. Before this, with profound reverence, and mumbling a few words, he waved the child to and fro awhile; then he delivered it to another Rabbi, who sat all this time upon a table. While the ceremony was performing, all the company fell singing a Hebrew hymn, in a barbarous tone, waving themselves to and fro; a ceremony they observe in all their devotions.—The Jews in Rome all wear yellow hats, live only upon brokage and usury, very poor and despicable, beyond what they are in other territories of Princes where they are permitted.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 January 1645
18 Jan 1645. I went to see the Pope's Palace, the Vatican, where he for the most part keeps his Court. It was first built by Pope Symmachus, and since augmented to a vast pile of building by his successors. That part of it added by Sextus V. is most magnificent. This leads us into divers terraces arched sub dio, painted by Raphael with the histories of the Bible, so esteemed, that artists come from all parts of Europe to make their studies from these designs. The foliage and grotesque about some of the compartments are admirable. In another room are represented at large, maps and plots of most countries in the world, in vast tables, with brief descriptions. The stairs which ascend out of St. Peter's portico into the first hall, are rarely contrived for ease; these lead into the hall of Gregory XIII., the walls whereof, half way to the roof, are incrusted with most precious marbles of various colors and works. So is also the pavement inlaid work; but what exceeds description is, the volta, or roof itself, which is so exquisitely painted, that it is almost impossible for the skillfullest eyes to discern whether it be the work of the pencil upon a flat, or of a tool cut deep in stone. The Rota dentata, in this admirable perspective, on the left hand as one goes out, the Setella, etc., are things of art incomparable. Certainly this is one of the most superb and royal apartments in the world, much too beautiful for a guard of gigantic Switzers, who do nothing but drink and play at cards in it. Going up these stairs is a painting of St. Peter, walking on the sea toward our Savior.
Out of this I went into another hall, just before the chapel, called the Sàla del Conclave, full of admirable paintings; among others is the Assassination of Coligni, the great [Protestant] French Admiral, murdered by the Duke of Guise, in the Parisian massacre at the nuptials of Henry IV, with Queen Margaret; under it is written, "Coligni et sociorum cædes:" on the other side, "Rex Coligi necem probat"..
There is another very large picture, under which is inscribed:
Alexander Papa III., Frederici Primi Imperatoris iram et impetum fugiens, abdidit se Venetijs; cognitum et à senatu perhonorificè susceptum, Othone Imperatoris filio navali prælio victo captoq; Fredericus, pace facta, supplex adorat; fidem et obedientiam pollicitus. Ita Pontifici sua dignitas Venet. Reip. beneficio restituta MCLXXVIII.
This inscription I the rather took notice of, because Urban VIII. had caused it to be blotted out during the difference between him and that State; but it was now restored and refreshed by his successor, to the great honor of the Venetians. The Battle of Lepanto is another fair piece here.
Now we came into the Pope's chapel, so much celebrated for the Last Judgment painted by M. Angelo Buonarotti. It is a painting in fresco, upon a dead wall at the upper end of the chapel, just over the high altar, of a vast design and miraculous fancy, considering the multitude of naked figures and variety of posture. The roof also is full of rare work. Hence, we went into the sacristia where were showed all the most precious vestments, copes, and furniture of the chapel. One priestly cope, with the whole suite, had been sent from one of our English Henrys, and is shown for a great rarity. There were divers of the Pope's pantoufles that are kissed on his foot, having rich jewels embroidered on the instep, covered with crimson velvet; also his tiara, or triple crown, divers miters, crosiers, etc., all bestudded with precious stones, gold, and pearl, to a very great value; a very large cross, carved (as they affirm) out of the holy wood itself; numerous utensils of crystal, gold, agate, amber, and other costly materials for the altar.
We then went into those chambers painted with the Histories of the burning of Rome, quenched by the procession of a Crucifix; the victory of Constantine over Maxentius; St. Peter's delivery out of Prison; all by Julio Romano, and are therefore called the Painters' Academy, because you always find some young men or other designing from them: a civility which is not refused in Italy, where any rare pieces of the old and best masters are extant, and which is the occasion of breeding up many excellent men in that profession.
The Sala Clementina's Suffito is painted by Cherubin Alberti, with an ample landscape of Paul Bril's.
We were then conducted into a new gallery, whose sides were painted with views of the most famous places, towns, and territories in Italy, rarely done, and upon the roof the chief Acts of the Roman Church since St. Peter's pretended See there. It is doubtless one of the most magnificent galleries in Europe.—Out of this we came into the Consistory, a noble room, the volta painted in grotesque, as I remember. At the upper end, is an elevated throne and a baldachin, or canopy of state, for his Holiness, over it.
From thence, through a very long gallery (longer, I think, than the French Kings at the Louvre), but only of bare walls, we were brought into the Vatican Library. This passage was now full of poor people, to each of whom, in his passage to St. Peter's, the Pope gave a mezzo grosse. I believe they were in number near 1,500 or 2,000 persons.
This library is the most nobly built, furnished, and beautified of any in the world; ample, stately, light, and cheerful, looking into a most pleasant garden. The walls and roof are painted, not with antiques and grotesques, like our Bodleian at Oxford, but emblems, figures, diagrams, and the like learned inventions, found out by the wit and industry of famous men, of which there are now whole volumes extant. There were likewise the effigies of the most illustrious men of letters and fathers of the church, with divers noble statues, in white marble, at the entrance, viz, Hippolytus and Aristides. The General Councils are painted on the side walls. As to the ranging of the books, they are all shut up in presses of wainscot, and not exposed on shelves to the open air, nor are the most precious mixed among the more ordinary, which are showed to the curious only; such are those two Virgils written on parchment, of more than a thousand years old; the like, a Terence; the "Acts of the Apostles" in golden capital letters; Petrarch's "Epigrams", written with his own hand; also a Hebrew parchment, made up in the ancient manner, from whence they were first called "Volumina", with the Cornua; but what we English do much inquire after, the book which our Henry VIII. writ against Luther.25.
The largest room is 100 paces long; at the end is the gallery of printed books; then the gallery of the Duke of Urban's library, in which are MSS. of remarkable miniature, and divers Chinese, Mexican, Samaritan, Abyssinian, and other oriental books.
In another wing of the edifice, 200 paces long, were all the books taken from Heidelberg, of which the learned Gruter, and other great scholars, had been keepers. These walls and volte are painted with representations of the machines invented by Domenico Fontana for erection of the obelisks; and the true design of Mahomet's sepulchre at Mecca.
Out of this we went to see the Conclave, where, during a vacancy, the Cardinals are shut up till they are agreed upon a new election; the whole manner whereof was described to us.
Hence we went into the Pope's Armory, under the library. Over the door is this inscription: URBANUS VIII. LITTERIS ARMA, ARMA LITTERIS.
I hardly believe any prince in Europe is able to show a more completely furnished library of Mars, for the quality and quantity, which is 40,000 complete for horse and foot, and neatly kept. Out of this we passed again by the long gallery, and at the lower end of it down a very large pair of stairs, round, without any steps as usually, but descending with an evenness so ample and easy, that a horse-litter, or coach, may with ease be drawn up; the sides of the vacuity are set with columns: those at Amboise, on the Loire, in France, are something of this invention, but nothing so spruce. By these, we descended into the Vatican gardens, called Belvedere, where entering first into a kind of court, we were showed those incomparable statues (so famed by Pliny and others) of Laocoon with his three sons embraced by a huge serpent, all of one entire Parian stone, very white and perfect, somewhat bigger than the life, the work of those three celebrated sculptors, Agesandrus, Polydorus, and Artemidorus, Rhodians; it was found among the ruins of Titus's baths, and placed here. Pliny says this statue is to be esteemed before all pictures and statues in the world; and I am of his opinion, for I never beheld anything of art approach it. Here are also those two famous images of Nilus with the children playing about him, and that of Tiber; Romulus and Remus with the Wolf; the dying Cleopatra; the Venus and Cupid, rare pieces; the Mercury; Cybel; Hercules; Apollo; Antinous: most of which are, for defense against the weather, shut up in niches with wainscot doors. We were likewise showed the relics of the Hadrian Moles, viz, the Pine, a vast piece of metal which stood on the summit of that mausoleum; also a peacock of copper, supposed to have been part of Scipio's monument.
In the garden without this (which contains a vast circuit of ground) are many stately fountains, especially two casting water into antique lavers, brought from Titus's baths; some fair grots and water-works, that noble cascade where the ship dances, with divers other pleasant inventions, walks, terraces, meanders, fruit trees, and a most goodly prospect over the greatest part of the city. One fountain under the gate I must not omit, consisting of three jettos of water gushing out of the mouths or proboscides of bees (the arms of the late Pope), because of the inscription:
Quid miraris Apem, quae mel de floribus haurit? Si tibi mellitam gutture fundit aquam.
John Evelyn's Diary 23 January 1645
23 Jan 1645. We went without the walls of the city to visit St. Paul's, to which place it is said the Apostle bore his own head after Nero had caused it to be cut off. The church was founded by the great Constantine; the main roof is supported by 100 vast columns of marble, and the Mosaic work of the great arch is wrought with a very ancient story Aº 440; as is likewise that of the facciata. The gates are brass, made at Constantinopole in 1070, as you may read by those Greek verses engraven on them. The church is near 500 feet long and 258 in breadth, and has five great aisles joined to it, on the basis of one of whose columns is this odd title: "Fl. Eugenius Asellus C. C. Præf. Urbis V. S. I. reparavit". Here they showed us that miraculous Crucifix which they say spake to St. Bridget: and, just before the Ciborio, stand two excellent statues. Here are buried part of the bodies of St. Paul and St. Peter. The pavement is richly interwoven with precious Oriental marbles about the high altar, where are also four excellent paintings, whereof one, representing the stoning of St. Stephen, is by the hand of a Bolognian lady, named Lavinia. The tabernacle on this altar is of excellent architecture, and the pictures in the Chapel del Sacramento are of Lanfranco. Divers other relics there be also in this venerable church, as a part of St. Anna; the head of the Woman of Samaria; the chain which bound St. Paul, and the eculeus used in tormenting the primitive Christians. The church stands in the Via Ositensis, about a mile from the walls of the city, separated from many buildings near it except the Trie Fontana, to which (leaving our coach) we walked, going over the mountain or little rising, upon which story says a hundred seventy and four thousand Christians had been martyred by Maximianus, Dioclesian, and other bloody tyrants. On this stand St. Vincent's and St. Anastasius; likewise the Church of St. Maria Scala del Cielo, in whose Tribuna is a very fair Mosaic work. The Church of the Trie Fontana (as they are called) is perfectly well built, though but small (whereas that of St. Paul is but Gothic), having a noble cupola in the middle; in this they show the pillar to which St. Paul was bound, when his head was cut off, and from whence it made three prodigious leaps, where there immediately broke out the three remaining fountains, which give denomination to this church. The waters are reported to be medicinal: over each is erected an altar and a chained ladle, for better tasting of the waters. That most excellent picture of St. Peter's Crucifixion is of Guido.
John Evelyn's Diary 25 January 1645
25 Jan 1645. I went again to the Palazzo Farnese, to see some certain statues and antiquities which, by reason of the Major-Domo not being within, I could not formerly obtain. In the hall stands that triumphant Colosse of one of the family, upon three figures, a modern, but rare piece. About it stood some Gladiators; and, at the entrance into one of the first chambers, are two cumbent figures of Age and Youth, brought hither from St. Peter's to make room for the Longinus under the cupola. Here was the statue of a ram running at a man on horseback, a most incomparable expression of Fury, cut in stone; and a table of pietra-commessa, very curious. The next chamber was all painted a fresco, by a rare hand, as was the carving in wood of the ceiling, which, as I remember, was in cedar, as the Italian mode is, and not poor plaster, as ours are; some of them most richly gilt. In a third room, stood the famous Venus, and the child Hercules strangling a serpent, of Corinthian brass, antique, on a very curious basso-relievo; the sacrifice to Priapus; the Egyptian Isis, in the hard, black ophite stone, taken out of the Pantheon, greatly celebrated by the antiquaries: likewise two tables of brass, containing divers old Roman laws. At another side of this chamber, was the statue of a wounded Amazon falling from her horse, worthy the name of the excellent sculptor, whoever the artist was. Near this was a bass-relievo of a Bacchanalia, with a most curious Silenus. The fourth room was totally environed with statues; especially observable was that so renowned piece of a Venus looking backward over her shoulder, and divers other naked figures, by the old Greek masters. Over the doors are two Venuses, one of them looking on her face in a glass, by M. Angelo; the other is painted by Caracci. I never saw finer faces, especially that under the mask, whose beauty and art are not to be described by words. The next chamber is also full of statues; most of them the heads of Philosophers, very antique. One of the Cæsars and another of Hannibal cost 1,200 crowns. Now I had a second view of that never-to-be-sufficiently-admired gallery, painted in deep relievo, the work of ten years' study, for a trifling reward. In the wardrobe above they showed us fine wrought plate, porcelain, mazers of beaten and solid gold, set with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds; a treasure, especially the workmanship considered, of inestimable value. This is all the Duke of Parma's. Nothing seemed to be more curious and rare in its kind than the complete service of the purest crystal, for the altar of the chapel, the very bell, cover of a book, sprinkler, etc., were all of the rock, incomparably sculptured, with the holy story in deep Levati; thus was also wrought the crucifix, chalice, vases, flowerpots, the largest and purest crystal that my eyes ever beheld. Truly I looked on this as one of the greatest curiosities I had seen in Rome. In another part were presses furnished with antique arms, German clocks, perpetual motions, watches, and curiosities of Indian works. A very ancient picture of Pope Eugenius; a St. Bernard; and a head of marble found long since, supposed to be a true portrait of our Blessed Savior's face.
Hence, we went to see Dr. Gibbs, a famous poet and countryman of ours, who had some intendency in an hospital built on the Via Triumphalis, called Christ's Hospital, which he showed us. The Infirmatory, where the sick lay, was paved with various colored marbles, and the walls hung with noble pieces; the beds are very fair; in the middle is a stately cupola, under which is an altar decked with divers marble statues, all in sight of the sick, who may both see and hear mass, as they lie in their beds. The organs are very fine, and frequently played on to recreate the people in pain. To this joins an apartment destined for the orphans; and there is a school: the children wear blue, like ours in London, at an hospital of the same appellation. Here are forty nurses, who give suck to such children as are accidentally found exposed and abandoned. In another quarter, are children of a bigger growth, 450 in number, who are taught letters. In another, 500 girls, under the tuition of divers religious matrons, in a monastery, as it were, by itself. I was assured there were at least 2,000 more maintained in other places. I think one apartment had in it near 1,000 beds; these are in a very long room, having an inner passage for those who attend, with as much care, sweetness, and conveniency as can be imagined, the Italians being generally very neat. Under the portico, the sick may walk out and take the air. Opposite to this, are other chambers for such as are sick of maladies of a more rare and difficult cure, and they have rooms apart. At the end of the long corridor is an apothecary's shop, fair and very well stored; near which are chambers for persons of better quality, who are yet necessitous. Whatever the poor bring is, at their coming in, delivered to a treasurer, who makes an inventory, and is accountable to them, or their representatives if they die.
To this building joins the house of the commendator, who, with his officers attending the sick, make up ninety persons; besides a convent and an ample church for the friars and priests who daily attend. The church is extremely neat, and the sacristia is very rich. Indeed it is altogether one of the most pious and worthy foundations I ever saw. Nor is the benefit small which divers young physicians and chirurgeons reap by the experience they learn here among the sick, to whom those students have free access. Hence, we ascended a very steep hill, near the Port St. Pancratio, to that stately fountain called Acqua Paula, being the aqueduct which Augustus had brought to Rome, now re-edified by Paulus V.; a rare piece of architecture, and which serves the city after a journey of thirty-five miles, here pouring itself into divers ample lavers, out of the mouths of swans and dragons, the arms of this Pope. Situate on a very high mount, it makes a most glorious show to the city, especially when the sun darts on the water as it gusheth out. The inscriptions on it are: Paulus V. Romanus Pontifex Opt. Max. Aquæductus ab Augusto Cæsare extructos, ævi longinquâ vetustate collapsos, in ampliorem formam restituit anno salutis M.D.CIX. Pont. V.
And toward the fields: Paulus V. Rom. Pontifex Optimus Maximus, priori ductu longissimi temporis injuriâ penè diruto, sublimiorem.
Note. One or more leaves are here wanting in Evelyn's MS., descriptive of other parts of Rome, and of his leaving the city.
Thence to Velletri, a town heretofore of the Volsci, where is a public and fair statue of P. Urban VIII., in brass, and a stately fountain in the street. Here we lay and drank excellent wine.
John Evelyn's Diary 28 January 1645
28 Jan 1645. We dined at Sermonetta, descending all this morning down a stony mountain, unpleasant, yet full of olive trees; and, anon, pass a tower built on a rock, kept by a small guard against the banditti who infest those parts, daily robbing and killing passengers, as my Lord Banbury and his company found to their cost a little before. To this guard we gave some money, and so were suffered to pass, which was still on the Appian to the Tres Tabernæ (whither the brethren came from Rome to meet St. Paul, Acts, c. 28); the ruins whereof are yet very fair, resembling the remainder of some considerable edifice, as may be judged by the vast stones and fairness of the arched work. The country environing this passage is hilly, but rich; on the right hand stretches an ample plain, being the Pomptini Campi. We reposed this night at Piperno, in the posthouse without the town; and here I was extremely troubled with a sore hand, which now began to fester, from a mischance at Rome, upon my base, unlucky, stiff-necked, trotting, carrion mule; which are the most wretched beasts in the world. In this town was the poet Virgil's Camilla born.
The day following, we were fain to hire a strong convoy of about thirty firelocks, to guard us through the cork woods (much infested with the banditti) as far as Fossa Nuova, where was the Forum Appii, and now stands a church with a great monastery, the place where Thomas Aquinas both studied and lies buried. Here we all alighted, and were most courteously received by the Monks, who showed us many relics of their learned Saint and at the high altar the print forsooth of the mule's hoof which he caused to kneel before the Host. The church is old, built after the Gothic manner; but the place is very agreeably melancholy. After this, pursuing the same noble [Appian] way (which we had before left a little), we found it to stretch from Capua to Rome itself, and afterward as far as Brundusium. It was built by that famous Consul, twenty-five feet broad, every twelve feet something ascending for the ease and firmer footing of horse and man; both the sides are also a little raised for those who travel on foot. The whole is paved with a kind of beach-stone, and, as I said, ever and anon adorned with some old ruin, sepulchre, or broken statue. In one of these monuments Pancirollus tells us that, in the time of Paul III., there was found the body of a young lady, swimming in a kind of bath of precious oil, or liquor, fresh and entire as if she had been living, neither her face discolored, nor her hair disordered; at her feet burnt a lamp, which suddenly expired at the opening of the vault; having flamed, as was computed, now 1,500 years, by the conjecture that she was Tulliola, the daughter of Cicero, whose body was thus found, and as the inscription testified. We dined this day at Terracina, heretofore the famous Anxur, which stands upon a very eminent promontory, the Circean by name. While meat was preparing, I went up into the town, and viewed the fair remainders of Jupiter's Temple, now converted into a church, adorned with most stately columns; its architecture has been excellent, as may be deduced from the goodly cornices, moldings, and huge white marbles of which it is built. Before the portico stands a pillar thus inscribed: Inclyta Gothorum Regis monumenta vetusta Anxuri hoc Oculos exposuere loco;.
for, it seems, Theodoric drained their marches.
On another more ancient:
Imp. Cæsar Divi Nervæ Filius Nerva Trojanus Aug. Germanicus Dacicus. Pontif. Max. Trib. Pop. xviii. Imp. vi. Cos. v. p. p. xviii. Silices suâ pecuniâ stravit.
Meaning doubtless, some part of the Via Appia. Then:
Tit. Upio. Aug. optato Pontano Procuratori et Præfect. Classis.— Ti. Julius. T. Fab. optatus, II vir.
Here is likewise a Columna Milliaria, with something engraven on it, but I could not stay to consider it. Coming down again, I went toward the sea-side to contemplate that stupendous strange rock and promontory, cleft by hand, I suppose, for the better passage. Within this is the Circean Cave, which I went into a good way; it makes a dreadful noise, by reason of the roaring and impetuous waves continually assaulting the beach, and that in an unusual manner. At the top, at an excessive height, stands an old and very great castle. FONDIWe arrived this night at Fondi, a most dangerous passage for robbing; and so we passed by Galba's villa, and anon entered the kingdom of Naples, where, at the gate, this epigraph saluted us: "Hospes, hìc sunt fines Regni Neopolitani; si amicus advenis, pacatè omnia invenies, et malis moribus pulsis, bonas leges". The Via Appia is here a noble prospect; having before considered how it was carried through vast mountains of rocks for many miles, by most stupendous labor: here it is infinitely pleasant, beset with sepulchres and antiquities, full of sweet shrubs in the environing hedges. At Fondi, we had oranges and citrons for nothing, the trees growing in every corner, charged with fruit.
John Evelyn's Diary 29 January 1645
29 Jan 1645. We descried Mount Cæcubus, famous for the generous wine it heretofore produced, and so rode onward the Appian Way, beset with myrtles, lentiscuses, bays, pomegranates, and whole groves of orange trees, and most delicious shrubs, till we came to Formiana [Formiæ], where they showed us Cicero's tomb, standing in an olive grove, now a rude heap of stones without form or beauty; for here that incomparable orator was murdered. I shall never forget how exceedingly I was delighted with the sweetness of this passage, the sepulchre mixed among all sorts of verdure; besides being now come within sight of the noble city, Cajeta [Gaieta], which gives a surprising prospect along the Tyrrhene Sea, in manner of a theater: and here we beheld that strangely cleft rock, a frightful spectacle, which they say happened upon the passion of our Blessed Savior; but the haste of our procaccio did not suffer us to dwell so long on these objects and the many antiquities of this town as we desired.
At Formi, we saw Cicero's grot; dining at Mola, and passing Sinuessa, Garigliano (once the city Mintern), and beheld the ruins of that vast amphitheater and aqueduct yet standing; the river Liris, which bounded the old Latium, Falernus, or Mons Massacus, celebrated for its wine, now named Garo; and this night we lodged at a little village called St. Agatha, in the Falernian Fields, near to Aurunca and Sessa.
The next day, having passed [the river] Vulturnus, we come by the Torre di Francolisi, where Hannibal, in danger from Fabius Maximus, escaped by debauching his enemies; and so at last we entered the most pleasant plains of Campania, now called Terra di Lavoro; in very truth, I think, the most fertile spot that ever the sun shone upon. Here we saw the slender ruins of the once mighty Capua, contending at once both with Rome and Carthage, for splendor and empire, now nothing but a heap of rubbish, except showing some vestige of its former magnificence in pieces of temples, arches, theatres, columns, ports, vaults, colosses, etc., confounded together by the barbarous Goths and Longobards; there is, however, a new city, nearer to the road by two miles, fairly raised out of these heaps. The passage from this town to Naples (which is about ten or twelve English post miles) is as straight as a line, of great breadth, fuller of travelers than I remember any of our greatest and most frequented roads near London; but, what is extremely pleasing, is the great fertility of the fields, planted with fruit trees, whose boles are serpented with excellent vines, and they so exuberant, that it is commonly reported one vine will load five mules with its grapes. What adds much to the pleasure of the sight is, that the vines, climbing to the summit of the trees, reach in festoons and fruitages from one tree to another, planted at exact distances, forming a more delightful picture than painting can describe. Here grow rice, canes for sugar, olives, pomegranates, mulberries, citrons, oranges, figs, and other sorts of rare fruits. About the middle of the way is the town Aversa, whither came three or four coaches to meet our lady travelers, of whom we now took leave, having been very merry by the way with them and the capitáno, their gallant.
John Evelyn's Diary 31 January 1645
31 Jan 1645. About noon we entered the city of Naples, alighting at the Three Kings, where we found the most plentiful fare all the time we were in Naples. Provisions are wonderfully cheap; we seldom sat down to fewer than eighteen or twenty dishes of exquisite meat and fruits.
John Evelyn's Diary February 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 01 February 1645
01 Feb 1645. The morrow after our arrival, in the afternoon, we hired a coach to carry us about the town. First, we went to the castle of St. Elmo, built on a very high rock, whence we had an entire prospect of the whole city, which lies in shape of a theatre upon the sea-brink, with all the circumjacent islands, as far as Capreæ, famous for the debauched recesses of Tiberius. This fort is the bridle of the whole city, and was well stored and garrisoned with native Spaniards. The strangeness of the precipice and rareness of the prospect of so many magnificent and stately palaces, churches, and monasteries, with the Arsenal, the Mole, and Mount Vesuvius in the distance, all in full command of the eye, make it one of the richest landscapes in the world.
Hence, we descended to another strong castle, called Il Castello Nuovo, which protects the shore; but they would by no entreaty permit us to go in; the outward defense seems to consist but in four towers, very high, and an exceeding deep graff, with thick walls. Opposite to this is the tower of St. Vincent, which is also very strong.
Then we went to the very noble palace of the Viceroy, partly old, and part of a newer work; but we did not stay long here. Toward the evening, we took the air upon the Mole, a street on the rampart, or bank, raised in the sea for security of their galleys in port, built as that of Genoa. Here I observed a rich fountain in the middle of the piazza, and adorned with divers rare statues of copper, representing the Sirens, or Deities of the Parthenope, spouting large streams of water into an ample shell, all of cast metal, and of great cost. This stands at the entrance of the Mole, where we met many of the nobility both on horseback and in their coaches to take the fresco from the sea, as the manner is, it being in the most advantageous quarter for good air, delight and prospect. Here we saw divers goodly horses who handsomely become their riders, the Neapolitan gentlemen. This Mole is about 500 paces in length, and paved with a square hewn stone. From the Mole, we ascend to a church of great antiquity, formerly sacred to Castor and Pollux, as the Greek letters carved on the architrave and the busts of their two statues testify. It is now converted into a stately oratory by the Theatines.
The Cathedral is a most magnificent pile, and except St. Peter's in Rome, Naples exceeds all cities for stately churches and monasteries. We were told that this day the blood of St. Januarius and his head should be exposed, and so we found it, but obtained not to see the miracle of the boiling of this blood. The next we went to see was St. Peter's, richly adorned, the chapel especially, where that Apostle said mass, as is testified on the wall.
After dinner we went to St. Dominic, where they showed us the crucifix that is reported to have said these words to St. Thomas, "Benè de me scripsisti, Thoma". Hence, to the Padri Olivetani, famous for the monument of the learned Alexander-ab-Alexandro.
We proceeded, the next day, to visit the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, where we spent much time in surveying the chapel of Joh. Jov. Pontanus, and in it the several and excellent sentences and epitaphs on himself, wife, children, and friends, full of rare wit, and worthy of recording, as we find them in several writers. In the same chapel is shown an arm of Titus Livius, with this epigraph. "Titi Livij brachium quod Anton. Panormita a Patavinis impetravit, Jo. Jovianus Pontanus multos post annos hôc in loco ponendum curavit"..
Climbing a steep hill, we came to the monastery and Church of the Carthusians, from whence is a most goodly prospect toward the sea and city, the one full of galleys and ships, the other of stately palaces, churches, monasteries, castles, gardens, delicious fields and meadows, Mount Vesuvius smoking, the promontory of Minerva and Misenum, Capreæ, Prochyta, Ischia, Pausilipum, Puteoli, and the rest, doubtless one of the most divertissant and considerable vistas in the world. The church is most elegantly built; the very pavements of the common cloister being all laid with variously polished marbles, richly figured. They showed us a massy cross of silver, much celebrated for the workmanship and carving, and said to have been fourteen years in perfecting. The choir also is of rare art; but above all to be admired, is the yet unfinished church of the Jesuits, certainly, if accomplished, not to be equalled in Europe. Hence, we passed by the Palazzo Caraffii, full of ancient and very noble statues: also the palace of the Orsini. The next day, we did little but visit some friends, English merchants, resident for their negotiation; only this morning at the Viceroy's Cavalerizza I saw the noblest horses that I had ever beheld, one of his sons riding the menage with that address and dexterity as I had never seen anything approach it.
John Evelyn's Diary 04 February 1645
04 Feb 1645. We were invited to the collection of exotic rarities in the Museum of Ferdinando Imperati, a Neapolitan nobleman, and one of the most observable palaces in the city, the repository of incomparable rarities. Among the natural herbals most remarkable was the Byssus marina and Pinna marina; the male and female chameleon; an Onocrotatus; an extraordinary great crocodile; some of the Orcades Anates, held here for a great rarity; likewise a salamander; the male and female Manucordiata, the male having a hollow in the back, in which it is reported the female both lays and hatches her eggs; the mandragoras, of both sexes; Papyrus, made of several reeds, and some of silk; tables of the rinds of trees, written with Japonic characters; another of the branches of palm; many Indian fruits; a crystal that had a quantity of uncongealed water within its cavity; a petrified fisher's net; divers sorts of tarantulas, being a monstrous spider, with lark-like claws, and somewhat bigger.
John Evelyn's Diary 05 February 1645
05 Feb 1645. This day we beheld the Vice-king's procession, which was very splendid for the relics, banners, and music that accompanied the Blessed Sacrament. The ceremony took up most of the morning.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 February 1645
06 Feb 1645. We went by coach to take the air, and see the diversions, or rather madness of the Carnival; the courtesans (who swarm in this city to the number, as we are told, of 30,000, registered and paying a tax to the State) flinging eggs of sweet water into our coach, as we passed by the houses and windows. Indeed, the town is so pestered with these cattle, that there needs no small mortification to preserve from their enchantment, while they display all their natural and artificial beauty, play, sing, feign compliment, and by a thousand studied devices seek to inveigle foolish young men.
John Evelyn's Diary 07 February 1645
07 Feb 1645. The next day, being Saturday, we went four miles out of town on mules, to see that famous volcano, Mount Vesuvius. Here we pass a fair fountain, called Labulla, which continually boils, supposed to proceed from Vesuvius, and thence over a river and bridge, where on a large upright stone, is engraven a notable inscription relative to the memorable eruption in 1630.
Approaching the hill, as we were able with our mules, we alighted, crawling up the rest of the proclivity with great difficulty, now with our feet, now with our hands, not without many untoward slips which did much bruise us on the various colored cinders, with which the whole mountain is covered, some like pitch, others full of perfect brimstone, others metallic, interspersed with innumerable pumices (of all which I made a collection), we at the last gained the summit of an extensive altitude. Turning our faces toward Naples, it presents one of the goodliest prospects in the world; all the Baiæ, Cuma, Elysian Fields, Capreæ, Ischia, Prochyta, Misenus, Puteoli, that goodly city, with a great portion of the Tyrrhene Sea, offering themselves to your view at once, and at so agreeable a distance, as nothing can be more delightful. The mountain consists of a double top, the one pointed very sharp, and commonly appearing above any clouds, the other blunt. Here, as we approached, we met many large gaping clefts and chasms, out of which issued such sulphurous blasts and smoke, that we dared not stand long near them. Having gained the very summit, I laid myself down to look over into that most frightful and terrible vorago, a stupendous pit of near three miles in circuit, and half a mile in depth, by a perpendicular hollow cliff (like that from the highest part of Dover Castle), with now and then a craggy prominency jetting out. The area at the bottom is plane, like an even floor, which seems to be made by the wind circling the ashes by its eddy blasts. In the middle and centre is a hill, shaped like a great brown loaf, appearing to consist of sulphurous matter, continually vomiting a foggy exhalation, and ejecting huge stones with an impetuous noise and roaring, like the report of many muskets discharging. This horrid barathrum engaged our attention for some hours, both for the strangeness of the spectacle, and the mention which the old histories make of it, as one of the most stupendous curiosities in nature, and which made the learned and inquisitive Pliny adventure his life to detect the causes, and to lose it in too desperate an approach. It is likewise famous for the stratagem of the rebel, Spartacus, who did so much mischief to the State lurking among and protected by, these horrid caverns, when it was more accessible and less dangerous than it is now; but especially notorious it is for the last conflagration, when, in anno 1630, it burst out beyond what it had ever done in the memory of history; throwing out huge stones and fiery pumices in such quantity, as not only environed the whole mountain, but totally buried and overwhelmed divers towns and their inhabitants, scattering the ashes more than a hundred miles, and utterly devastating all those vineyards, where formerly grew the most incomparable Greco; when, bursting through the bowels of the earth, it absorbed the very sea, and, with its whirling waters, drew in divers galleys and other vessels to their destruction, as is faithfully recorded. We descended with more ease than we climbed up, through a deep valley of pure ashes, which at the late eruption was a flowing river of melted and burning brimstone, and so came to our mules at the foot of the mountain.
On Sunday, we with our guide visited the so much celebrated Baia, and natural rarities of the places adjacent. Here we entered the mountain Pausilypus, at the left hand of which they showed us Virgil's sepulchre erected on a steep rock, in form of a small rotunda or cupolated column, but almost overgrown with bushes and wild bay trees. At the entrance is this inscription:
Qui cineres? Tumuli hæc vestigia, conditur olim.
Ille hôc qui cecinit Pascua, Rura Duces.
Can Ree MDLIII.26.
After we were advanced into this noble and altogether wonderful crypt, consisting of a passage spacious enough for two coaches to go abreast, cut through a rocky mountain near three quarters of a mile (by the ancient Cimmerii as reported, but as others say by L. Cocceius, who employed a hundred thousand men on it), we came to the midway, where there is a well bored through the diameter of this vast mountain, which admits the light into a pretty chapel, hewn out of the natural rock, wherein hang divers lamps, perpetually burning. The way is paved under foot; but it does not hinder the dust, which rises so excessively in this much-frequented passage, that we were forced at midday to use a torch. At length, we were delivered from the bowels of the earth into one of the most delicious plains in the world: the oranges, lemons, pomegranates, and other fruits, blushing yet on the perpetually green trees; for the summer is here eternal, caused by the natural and adventitious heat of the earth, warmed through the subterranean fires, as was shown us by our guide, who alighted, and, cutting up a turf with his knife, and delivering it to me, it was so hot, I was hardly able to hold it in my hands. This mountain is exceedingly fruitful in vines, and exotics grow readily.
We now came to a lake of about two miles in circumference, environed with hills; the water of it is fresh and sweet on the surface, but salt at bottom; some mineral salt conjectured to be the cause, and it is reported of that profunditude in the middle that it is bottomless. The people call it Lago d'Agnano, from the multitude of serpents which, involved together about the spring, fall down from the cliffy hills into it. It has no fish, nor will any live in it. We tried the old experiment on a dog in the Grotto del Cane, or Charon's Cave; it is not above three or four paces deep, and about the height of a man, nor very broad. Whatever having life enters it, presently expires. Of this we made trial with two dogs, one of which we bound to a short pole to guide him the more directly into the further part of the den, where he was no sooner entered, but—without the least noise, or so much as a struggle, except that he panted for breath, lolling out his tongue, his eyes being fixed:—we drew him out dead to all appearance; but immediately plunging him into the adjoining lake, within less than half an hour he recovered, and swimming to shore, ran away from us. We tried the same on another dog, without the application of the water, and left him quite dead. The experiment has been made on men, as on that poor creature whom Peter of Toledo caused to go in; likewise on some Turkish slaves; two soldiers, and other foolhardy persons, who all perished, and could never be recovered by the water of the lake, as are dogs; for which many learned reasons have been offered, as Simon Majolus in his book of the Canicular-days has mentioned, colloq. 15. And certainly the most likely is, the effect of those hot and dry vapors which ascend out of the earth, and are condensed by the ambient cold, as appears by their converting into crystalline drops on the top, while at the bottom it is so excessively hot, that a torch being extinguished near it, and lifted a little distance, was suddenly re-lighted.
Near to this cave are the natural stoves of St. Germain, of the nature of sudatories, in certain chambers partitioned with stone for the sick to sweat in, the vapors here being exceedingly hot, and of admirable success in the gout, and other cold distempers of the nerves. Hence, we climed up a hill, the very highway in several places even smoking with heat like a furnace. The mountains were by the Greeks called Leucogæi, and the fields Phlegræn. Hercules here vanquished the Giants, assisted with lightning. We now came to the Court of Vulcan, consisting of a valley near a quarter of a mile in breadth, the margin environed with steep cliffs, out of whose sides and foot break forth fire and smoke in abundance, making a noise like a tempest of water, and sometimes discharging in loud reports, like so many guns. The heat of this place is wonderful, the earth itself being almost unsufferable, and which the subterranean fires have made so hollow, by having wasted the matter for so many years, that it sounds like a drum to those who walk upon it; and the water thus struggling with those fires bubbles and spouts aloft into the air. The mouths of these spiracles are bestrewed with variously colored cinders, which rise with the vapor, as do many colored stones, according to the quality of the combustible matter, insomuch as it is no little adventure to approach them. They are, however, daily frequented both by sick and well; the former receiving the fumes, have been recovered of diseases esteemed incurable. Here we found a great deal of sulphur made, which they refine in certain houses near the place, casting it into canes, to a very great value. Near this we were showed a hill of alum, where is one of the best mineries, yielding a considerable revenue. Some flowers of brass are found here; but I could not but smile at those who persuade themselves that here are the gates of purgatory (for which it may be they have erected, very near it, a convent, and named it St. Januarius), reporting to have often heard screeches and horrible lamentations proceeding from these caverns and volcanoes; with other legends of birds that are never seen, save on Sundays, which cast themselves into the lake at night, appearing no more all the week after.
We now approached the ruins of a very stately temple, or theater, of 172 feet in length, and about 80 in breadth, thrown down by an earthquake, not long since; it was consecrated to Vulcan, and under the ground are many strange meanders; from which it is named the Labyrinth; this place is so haunted with bats, that their perpetual fluttering endangered the putting out our links.
Hence, we passed again those boiling and smoking hills, till we came to Pozzolo, formerly the famous Puteoli, the landing-place of St. Paul, when he came into Italy, after the tempest described in the Acts of the Apostles. Here we made a good dinner, and bought divers medals, antiquities, and other curiosities, of the country people, who daily find such things among the very old ruins of those places. This town was formerly a Greek colony, built by the Samians, a seasonable commodious port, and full of observable antiquities. We saw the ruins of Neptune's Temple, to whom this place was sacred, and near it the stately palace and gardens of Peter de Toledo, formerly mentioned. Afterward, we visited that admirably built Temple of Augustus, seeming to have been hewn out of an entire rock, though indeed consisting of several square stones. The inscription remains thus: "L. Calphurnius L. F. Templum Augusto cum ornamentis D. D.;" and under it, "L. Coccejus L. C. Postumi L. Auctus Architectus". It is now converted into a church, in which they showed us huge bones, which they affirm to have been of some giant.
We went to see the ruins of the old haven, so compact with that bituminous sand in which the materials are laid, as the like is hardly to be found, though all this has not been sufficient to protect it from the fatal concussions of several earthquakes (frequent here) which have almost demolished it, thirteen vast piles of marble only remaining; a stupendous work in the bosom of Neptune! To this joins the bridge of Caligula, by which (having now embarked ourselves) we sailed to the pleasant Baia, almost four miles in length, all which way that proud Emperor would pass in triumph. Here we rowed along toward a villa of the orator Cicero's, where we were shown the ruins of his Academy; and, at the foot of a rock, his Baths, the waters reciprocating their tides with the neighboring sea. Hard at hand, rises Mount Gaurus, being, as I conceived, nothing save a heap of pumices, which here float in abundance on the sea, exhausted of all inflammable matter by the fire, which renders them light and porous, so as the beds of nitre, which lie deep under them, having taken fire, do easily eject them. They dig much for fancied treasure said to be concealed about this place. From hence, we coasted near the ruins of Portus Julius, where we might see divers stately palaces that had been swallowed up by the sea after earthquakes. Coming to shore, we pass by the Lucrine Lake, so famous heretofore for its delicious oysters, now producing few or none, being divided from the sea by a bank of incredible labor, the supposed work of Hercules; it is now half choked up with rubbish, and by part of the new mountain, which rose partly out of it, and partly out of the sea, and that in the space of one night and a day, to a very great altitude, on the 29th September 1538, after many terrible earthquakes, which ruined divers places thereabout, when at midnight the sea retiring near 200 paces, and yawning on the sudden, it continued to vomit forth flames and fiery stones in such quantity, as produced this whole mountain by their fall, making the inhabitants of Pozzolo to leave their habitations, supposing the end of the world had been come.
From the left part of this, we walked to the Lake Avernus of a round form, and totally environed with mountains. This lake was feigned by the poet for the gates of hell, by which Æneas made his descent, and where he sacrificed to Pluto and the Manes. The waters are of a remarkably black color; but I tasted of them without danger; hence, they feign that the river Styx has its source. At one side, stand the handsome ruins of a Temple dedicated to Apollo, or rather Pluto, but it is controverted. Opposite to this, having new lighted our torches, we enter a vast cave, in which having gone about two hundred paces, we pass a narrow entry which leads us into a room of about ten paces long, proportionably broad and high; the side walls and roof retain still the golden mosaic, though now exceedingly decayed by time. Here is a short cell or rather niche, cut out of the solid rock, somewhat resembling a couch, in which they report that the Sibylla lay, and uttered her Oracles; but it is supposed by most to have been a bath only. This subterranean grot leads quite through to Cuma, but is in some places obstructed by the earth which has sunk in, so as we were constrained back again, and to creep on our bellies, before we came to the light. It is reported Nero had once resolved to cut a channel for two great galleys that should have extended to Ostia, 150 miles distant. The people now call it Licola.
From hence, we ascended to that most ancient city of Italy, the renowned Cuma, built by the Grecians. It stands on a very eminent promontory, but is now a heap of ruins. A little below, stands the Arco Felice, heretofore part of Apollo's Temple, with the foundations of divers goodly buildings; among whose heaps are frequently found statues and other antiquities, by such as dig for them. Near this is the Lake Acherutia, and Acheron. Returning to the shore, we came to the Bagni de Tritoli and Diana, which are only long narrow passages cut through the main rock, where the vapors ascend so hot, that entering with the body erect you will even faint with excessive perspiration; but, stooping lower, as sudden a cold surprises. These sudatories are much in request for many infirmities. Now we entered the haven of the Bahiæ, where once stood that famous town, so-called from the companion of Ulysses here buried; not without great reason celebrated for one of the most delicious places that the sun shines on, according to that of Horace:
Nullus in Orbe locus Baiis prælucet amœnis.
Though, as to the stately fabrics, there now remain little save the ruins, whereof the most entire is that of Diana's Temple, and another of Venus. Here were those famous poles of lampreys that would come to hand when called by name, as Martial tells us. On the summit of the rock stands a strong castle garrisoned to protect the shore from Turkish pirates. It was once the retiring place of Julius Cæsar.
Passing by the shore again, we entered Bauli, observable from the monstrous murder of Nero committed on his mother Agrippina. Her sepulchre was yet shown us in the rock, which we entered, being covered with sundry heads and figures of beasts. We saw there the roots of a tree turned into stone, and are continually dropping.
Thus having viewed the foundations of the old Cimmeria, the palaces of Marius, Pompey, Nero, Hortensius, and other villas and antiquities, we proceeded toward the promontory of Misenus, renowned for the sepulchre of Æneas's Trumpeter. It was once a great city, now hardly a ruin, said to have been built from this place to the promontory of Minerva, fifty miles distant, now discontinued and demolished by the frequent earthquakes. Here was the villa of Caius Marius, where Tiberius Cæsar died; and here runs the Aqueduct, thought to be dug by Nero, a stupendous passage, heretofore nobly arched with marble, as the ruins testify. Hence, we walked to those receptacles of water called Piscina Mirabilis, being a vault of 500 feet long, and twenty-two in breadth, the roof propped up with four ranks of square pillars, twelve in a row; the walls are brick, plastered over with such a composition as for strength and politure resembles white marble. 'Tis conceived to have been built by Nero, as a conservatory for fresh water; as were also the Centi Camerelli, into which we were next led. All these crypta being now almost sunk into the earth, show yet their former amplitude and magnificence.
Returning toward the Baia, we again pass the Elysian Fields, so celebrated by the poets, nor unworthily, for their situation and verdure, being full of myrtles and sweet shrubs, and having a most delightful prospect toward the Tyrrhene Sea. Upon the verge of these remain the ruins of the Mercato di Saboto, formerly a Circus; over the arches stand divers urns, full of Roman ashes.
Having well satisfied our curiosity among these antiquities, we retired to our felucca, which rowed us back again toward Pozzolo, at the very place of St. Paul's landing. Keeping along the shore, they showed us a place where the sea water and sands did exceedingly boil. Thence, to the island Nesis, once the fabulous Nymph; and thus we leave the Baia, so renowned for the sweet retirements of the most opulent and voluptuous Romans. They certainly were places of uncommon amenity, as their yet tempting site, and other circumstances of natural curiosities, easily invite me to believe, since there is not in the world so many stupendous rarities to be met with, as in the circle of a few miles which environ these blissful abodes.
08 Feb 1645. Returned to Naples, we went to see the Arsenal, well furnished with galleys and other vessels. The city is crowded with inhabitants, gentlemen and merchants. The government is held of the Pope by an annual tribute of 40,000 ducats and a white jennet; but the Spaniard trusts more to the power of those his natural subjects there; Apulia and Calabria yielding him near four millions of crowns yearly to maintain it. The country is divided into thirteen Provinces, twenty Archbishops, and one hundred and seven Bishops; the estates of the nobility, in default of the male line, reverting to the King. Besides the Vice-Roy, there is among the Chief Magistrates a High Constable, Admiral, Chief Justice, Great Chamberlain, and Chancellor, with a Secretary; these being prodigiously avaricious, do wonderfully enrich themselves out of the miserable people's labor, silks, manna, sugar, oil, wine, rice, sulphur, and alum; for with all these riches is this delicious country blest. The manna falls at certain seasons on the adjoining hills in form of a thick dew. The very winter here is a summer, ever fruitful, so that in the middle of February we had melons, cherries, apricots, and many other sorts of fruit.
The building of the city is for the size the most magnificent of any in Europe, the streets exceeding large, well paved, having many vaults and conveyances under them for the sulliage; which renders them very sweet and clean, even in the midst of winter. To it belongeth more than 3,000 churches and monasteries, and these the best built and adorned of any in Italy. They greatly affect the Spanish gravity in their habit; delight in good horses; the streets are full of gallants on horseback, in coaches and sedans, from hence brought first into England by Sir Sanders Duncomb. The women are generally well featured, but excessively libidinous. The country people so jovial and addicted to music, that the very husbandmen almost universally play on the guitar, singing and composing songs in praise of their sweethearts, and will commonly go to the field with their fiddle; they are merry, witty, and genial; all which I much attribute to the excellent quality of the air. They have a deadly hatred to the French, so that some of our company were flouted at for wearing red cloaks, as the mode then was.
This I made the non ultra of my travels, sufficiently sated with rolling up and down, and resolving within myself to be no longer an individuum vagum, if ever I got home again; since, from the report of divers experienced and curious persons, I had been assured there was little more to be seen in the rest of the civil world, after Italy, France, Flanders, and the Low Countries, but plain and prodigious barbarism.
07 Feb 1645. Thus, about the 7th of February, we set out on our return to Rome by the same way we came, not daring to adventure by sea, as some of our company were inclined to do, for fear of Turkish pirates hovering on that coast; nor made we any stay save at Albano, to view the celebrated place and sepulchre of the famous duelists who decided the ancient quarrel between their imperious neighbors with the loss of their lives. These brothers, the Horatii and Curiatii, lie buried near the highway, under two ancient pyramids of stone, now somewhat decayed and overgrown with rubbish. We took the opportunity of tasting the wine here, which is famous.
Being arrived at Rome on the 13th of February, we were again invited to Signor Angeloni's study, where with greater leisure we surveyed the rarities, as his cabinet and medals especially, esteemed one of the best collections of them in Europe. He also showed us two antique lamps, one of them dedicated to Pallas, the other Laribus Sacru', as appeared by their inscriptions; some old Roman rings and keys; the Egyptian Isis, cast in iron; sundry rare basso-relievos; good pieces of paintings, principally of Christ of Correggio, with this painter's own face admirably done by himself; divers of both the Bassanos; a great number of pieces by Titian, particularly the Triumphs; an infinity of natural rarities, dried animals, Indian habits and weapons, shells, etc.; divers very antique statues of brass; some lamps of so fine an earth that they resembled cornelians, for transparency and color; hinges of Corinthian brass, and one great nail of the same metal found in the ruins of Nero's golden house.
In the afternoon, we ferried over to Transtevere, to the palace of Gichi, to review the works of Raphael: and, returning by St. Angelo, we saw the castle as far as was permitted, and on the other side considered those admirable pilasters supposed to be of the foundation of the Pons Sublicius, over which Horatius Cocles passed; here anchor three or four water mills, invented by Belizarius: and thence had another sight of the Farnesi's gardens, and of the terrace where is that admirable painting of Raphael, being a Cupid playing with a Dolphin, wrought á fresco, preserved in shutters of wainscot, as well it merits, being certainly one of the most wonderful pieces of work in the world.
John Evelyn's Diary 14 February 1645
14 Feb 1645. I went to Santa Cecilia, a church built and endowed by Cardinal Sfrondæti, who has erected a stately altar near the body of this martyr, not long before found in a vesture of silk girt about, a veil on her head, and the bloody scars of three wounds on the neck; the body is now in a silver chest, with her statue over it, in snow-white marble. Other Saints lie here, decorated with splendid ornaments, lamps, and incensories of great cost. A little farther, they show us the Bath of St. Cecilia, to which joins a Convent of Friars, where is the picture of the Flagellation by Vanni, and the columns of the portico, taken from the Baths of Septimius Severus.
John Evelyn's Diary 15 February 1645
15 Feb 1645. Mr. Henshaw and I walked by the Tiber, and visited the Stola Tybertina (now St. Bartholomew's), formerly cut in the shape of a ship, and wharfed with marble, in which a lofty obelisk represented the mast. In the church of St. Bartholomew is the body of the Apostle. Here are the ruins of the Temple of Æsculapius, now converted into a stately hospital and a pretty convent. Opposite to it, is the convent and church of St. John Calabita, where I saw nothing remarkable, save an old broken altar. Here was the Temple of Fortuna Virilis. Hence, we went to a cupola, now a church, formerly dedicated to the sun. Opposite to it, Santa Maria Schola Græca, where formerly that tongue was taught; said to be the second church dedicated in Rome to the Blessed Virgin; bearing also the title of a Cardinalate. Behind this stands the great altar of Hercules, much demolished. Near this, being at the foot of Mount Aventine, are the Pope's salt houses. Ascending the hill, we came to St. Sabina, an ancient fabric, formerly sacred to Diana; there, in a chapel, is an admirable picture, the work of Livia Fontana, set about with columns of alabaster, and in the middle of the church is a stone, cast, as they report, by the Devil at St. Dominic, while he was at mass. Hence, we traveled toward a heap of rubbish, called the Marmorata, on the bank of the Tiber, a magazine of stones; and near which formerly stood a triumphal arch, in honor of Horatius vanquishing the Tuscans. The ruins of the bridge yet appear.
We were now got to Mons Testaceus, a heap of potsherds, almost 200 feet high, thought to have been thrown there and amassed by the subjects of the Commonwealth bringing their tribute in earthen vessels, others (more probably) that it was a quarter of the town where potters lived; at the summit Rome affords a noble prospect. Before it is a spacious green, called the Hippodrome, where Olympic games were celebrated, and the people mustered, as in our London Artillery-Ground. Going hence, to the old wall of the city, we much admired the pyramid, or tomb, of Caius Cestius, of white marble, one of the most ancient entire monuments, inserted in the wall, with this inscription:
C. Cestius L. F. Pob. Epulo (an order of priests) Pr. Tr. pl. VII. Vir. Epulonum.
And a little beneath: Opus absolutum ex testamento diebus CCCXXX. arbitratu. Ponti P. F. Cla. Melæ Heredis et Pothi L.
At the left hand, is the Port of St. Paul, once Tergemina, out of which the three Horatii passed to encounter the Curiatii of Albano. Hence, bending homeward by St. Saba, by Antoninus's baths (which we entered), is the marble sepulchre of Vespasian. The thickness of the walls and the stately ruins show the enormous magnitude of these baths. Passing by a corner of the Circus Maximus, we viewed the place where stood the Septizonium, demolished by Sextus V., for fear of its falling. Going by Mons Cœlius, we beheld the devotions of St. Maria in Naviculâ, so named from a ship carved out in white marble standing on a pedestal before it, supposed to be the vow of one escaped from shipwreck. It has a glorious front to the street. Adjoining to this are the Hortii Mathæi, which only of all the places about the city I omitted visiting, though I was told inferior to no garden in Rome for statues, ancient monuments, aviaries, fountains, groves, and especially a noble obelisk, and maintained in beauty at an expense of 6,000 crowns yearly, which, if not expended to keep up its beauty, forfeits the possession of a greater revenue to another family: so curious are they in their villas and places of pleasure, even to excess.
The next day, we went to the once famous Circus Caracalla, in the midst of which there now lay prostrate one of the most stately and ancient obelisks, full of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was broken into four pieces, when overthrown by the Barbarians, and would have been purchased and transported into England by the magnificent Thomas Earl of Arundel, could it have been well removed to the sea. This is since set together and placed on the stupendous artificial rock made by Innocent X., and serving for a fountain in Piazza Navona, the work of Bernini, the Pope's architect. Near this is the sepulchre of Metellus, of massy stone, pretty entire, now called Capo di Bovo. Hence, to a small oratory, named "Domine, quo vadis"; where the tradition is, that our Blessed Savior met St. Peter as he fled, and turned him back again.
St. Sebastian's was the next, a mean structure (the facciáta excepted), but is venerable, especially for the relics and grots, in which lie the ashes of many holy men. Here is kept the pontifical chair sprinkled with the blood of Pope Stephen, to which great devotion is paid; also a well full of martyrs' bones, and the sepulchre of St. Sebastian, with one of the arrows (used in shooting him). These are preserved by the Fulgentine Monks, who have here their monastery, and who led us down into a grotto which they affirmed went divers furlongs under ground; the sides, or walls which we passed were filled with bones and dead bodies, laid (as it were) on shelves, whereof some were shut up with broad stones and now and then a cross, or a palm, cut in them. At the end of some of these subterranean passages, were square rooms with altars in them, said to have been the receptacles of primitive Christians, in the times of persecution, nor seems it improbable.
John Evelyn's Diary 17 February 1645
17 Feb 1645. I was invited, after dinner, to the Academy of the Humorists, kept in a spacious hall belonging to Signor Mancini, where the wits of the town meet on certain days to recite poems, and debate on several subjects. The first that speaks is called the Lord, and stands in an eminent place, and then the rest of the Virtuosi recite in order. By these ingenious exercises, besides the learned discourses, is the purity of the Italian tongue daily improved. The room is hung round with devices, or emblems, with mottoes under them. There are several other Academies of this nature, bearing like fantastical titles. In this of the Humorists is the picture of Guarini, the famous author of the Pastor Fido, once of this society. The chief part of the day we spent in hearing the academic exercises.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 February 1645
18 Feb 1645. We walked to St. Nicholas in Carcere; it has a fair front, and within are parts of the bodies of St. Mark and Marcellino; on the Tribuna is a painting of Gentileschi, and the altar of Caval; Baglioni, with some other rare paintings. Coming round from hence we passed by the Circus Flaminius, formerly very large, now totally in ruins. In the afternoon, we visited the English Jesuits, with whose Superior, P. Stafford, I was well acquainted; who received us courteously. They call their church and college St. Thomasso de gli Inglesi, and is a seminary. Among other trifles, they show the relics of Becket, their reputed martyr. Of paintings there is one of Durante, and many representing the sufferings of several of their society executed in England, especially F. Campion.
In the Hospital of the Pelerini della S. Trinita, I had seen the feet of many pilgrims washed by Princes, Cardinals, and noble Romans, and served at table, as the ladies and noble women did to other poor creatures in another room. It was told us that no less than 444,000 men had been thus treated in the Jubilee of 1600, and 25,500 women, as appears by the register, which brings store of money.
Returning homeward, I saw the palace of Cardinal Spada, where is a most magnificent hall painted by Daniel de Volterra and Giulio Piacentino, who made the fret in the little Court; but the rare perspectives are of Bolognesi. Near this is the Mont Pieta, instituted as a bank for the poor, who, if the sum be not great, may have money upon pawns. To this joins St. Martino, to which belongs a Schola, or Corporation, that do many works of charity. Hence we came through Campo di Fiori, or herb-market, in the midst of which is a fountain casting out water of a dolphin, in copper; and in this piazza is common execution done.
John Evelyn's Diary 19 February 1645
19 Feb 1645. I went, this afternoon, to visit my Lord John Somerset, brother to the Marquis of Worcester (42) [Note. This reference confusing since Edward Somerset 2nd Marquess Worcester 1602-1667 (42) became Marquess Worcester in 1646?], who had his apartment in Palazzo della Cancellaria, belonging to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, as Vice-chancellor of the Church of Rome, and Protector of the English. The building is of the famous architect, Bramante, of incrusted marble, with four ranks of noble lights; the principal entrance is of Fontana's design, and all marble; the portico within sustained by massy columns; on the second peristyle above, the chambers are rarely painted by Salviati and Vasari; and so ample is this palace, that six princes with their families have been received in it at one time, without incommoding each other.
John Evelyn's Diary 20 February 1645
20 Feb 1645. I went, as was my usual custom, and spent an afternoon in Piazza Navona, as well as to see what antiquities I could purchase among the people who hold market there for medals, pictures, and such curiosities, as to hear the mountebanks prate and distribute their medicines. This was formerly the Circus, or Agonales, dedicated to sports and pastimes, and is now the greatest market of the city, having three most noble fountains, and the stately palaces of the Pamfilii, St. Giacomo de Spagnoli belonging to that nation, to which add two convents for friars and nuns, all Spanish. In this Church was erected a most stately catafalco, or capellar ardente, for the death of the Queen of Spain; the church was hung with black, and here I heard a Spanish sermon, or funeral oration, and observed the statues, devices, and impresses hung about the walls, the church and pyramid stuck with thousands of lights and tapers, which made a glorious show. The statue of St. James is by Sansovino; there are also some good pictures of Caracci. The facciáta, too, is fair. Returning home, I passed by the stumps of old Pasquin, at the corner of a street, called Strada Pontificia; here they still paste up their drolling lampoons and scurrilous papers. This had formerly been one of the best statues for workmanship and art in all the city, as the remaining bust does still show.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 February 1645
21 Feb 1645. I walked in the morning up the hill toward the Capuchins, where was then Cardinal Unufrio (brother to the late Pope Urban VIII.) of the same order. He built them a pretty church, full of rare pictures, and there lies the body of St. Felix, that they say still does miracles. The piece at the great altar is by Lanfranc. It is a lofty edifice, with a beautiful avenue of trees, and in a good air. After dinner, passing along the Strada del Corso, I observed the column of Antoninus, passing under Arco Portugallo, which is but a relic, heretofore erected in honor of Domitian, called now Portugallo, from a Cardinal living near it. A little further on the right hand stands the column in a small piazza, heretofore set up in honor of M. Aurelius Antoninus, comprehending in a basso-relievo of white marble his hostile acts against the Parthians, Armenians, Germans, etc; but it is now somewhat decayed. On the summit has been placed the image of St. Paul, of gilded copper. The pillar is said to be 161 feet high, ascended by 207 steps, receiving light by fifty-six apertures, without defacing the sculpture.
At a little distance, are the relics of the Emperor's palace, the heads of whose pillars show them to have been Corinthian.
Turning a little down, we came to another piazza, in which stands a sumptuous vase of porphyry, and a fair fountain; but the grace of this market, and indeed the admiration of the whole world, is the Pantheon, now called S. Maria della Rotonda, formerly sacred to all the Gods, and still remaining the most entire antiquity of the city. It was built by Marcus Agrippa, as testifies the architrave of the portico, sustained by thirteen pillars of Theban marble, six feet thick, and fifty-three in height, of one entire stone. In this porch is an old inscription.
Entering the church, we admire the fabric, wholly covered with one cupola, seemingly suspended in the air, and receiving light by a hole in the middle only. The structure is near as high as broad, viz, 144 feet, not counting the thickness of the walls, which is twenty-two more to the top, all of white marble; and, till Urban VIII. converted part of the metal into ordnance of war against the Duke of Parma, and part to make the high altar in St. Peter's, it was all over covered with Corinthian brass, ascending by forty degrees within the roof, or convex, of the cupola, richly carved in octagons in the stone. There are niches in the walls, in which stood heretofore the statues of Jupiter and the other Gods and Goddesses; for here was that Venus which had hung in her ear the other Union28 that Cleopatra was about to dissolve and drink up, as she had done its fellow. There are several of these niches, one above another for the celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean deities; but the place is now converted into a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints. The pavement is excellent, and the vast folding-gates, of Corinthian brass. In a word, it is of all the Roman antiquities the most worthy of notice. There lie interred in this Temple the famous Raphael di Urbino, Perino del Vaga, F. Zuccharo, and other painters.
Returning home, we pass by Cardinal Cajetan's Palace, a noble piece of architecture of Vincenzo Ammanatti, which is the grace of the whole Corso.
John Evelyn's Diary 22 February 1645
22 Feb 1645. I went to Trinitá del Monte, a monastery of French, a noble church built by Louis XI. and Charles VIII., the chapels well painted, especially that by Zaccara da Volterra, and the cloister with the miracles of their St. Francis de Paulo, and the heads of the French Kings. In the pergolo above, the walls are wrought with excellent perspective, especially the St. John; there are the Babylonish dials, invented by Kircher, the Jesuit. This convent, so eminently situated on Mons Pincius, has the entire prospect of Campus Martius, and has a fair garden which joins to the Palazzo di Medici.
John Evelyn's Diary 23 February 1645
23 Feb 1645. I went to hear a sermon at St. Giacomo degli Incurabili, a fair church built by F. da Volterra, of good architecture, and so is the hospital, where only desperate patients are brought. I passed the evening at St. Maria del Popolo, heretofore Nero's sepulchre, where his ashes lay many years in a marble chest. To this church joins the monastery of St. Augustine, which has pretty gardens on Mons Pincius, and in the church is the miraculous shrine of the Madonna which Pope Paul III. brought barefooted to the place, supplicating for a victory over the Turks in 1464. In a chapel of the Ghisi, are some rare paintings of Raphael, and noble sculptures. Those two in the choir are by Sansovino, and in the Chapel de Cerasii, a piece of Caravaggio. Here lie buried many great scholars and artists, of which I took notice of this inscription:
Hospes, disce novum mortis genus; improba felis, Dum trahitur, digitum mordet, et intereo.
Opposite to the facciátæ of the church is a superb obelisk full of hieroglyphics, the same that Sennesertus, King of Egypt, dedicated to the Sun; brought to Rome by Augustus, erected in the Circus Maximus, and since placed here by Pope Sextus V. It is eighty-eight feet high, of one entire stone, and placed with great art and engines by the famous Domenico Fontana.
Hence, turning on the right out of the Porto del Popolo, we came to Justinian's gardens, near the Muro Torto, so prominently built as threatening every moment to fall, yet standing so for these thousand years. Under this is the burying place for the common prostitutes, where they are put into the ground, sans ceremonie.
John Evelyn's Diary 24 February 1645
24 Feb 1645. We walked to St. Roche's and Martine's, near the brink of the Tiber, a large hospital for both sexes. Hence, to the Mausoleum Augusti, between the Tiber and the Via Flaminia, now much ruined, which had formerly contended for its sumptuous architecture. It was intended as a cemetery for the Roman Emperors, had twelve ports, and was covered with a cupola of white marble, environed with stately trees and innumerable statues, all of it now converted into a garden. We passed the afternoon at the Sapienza, a very stately building full of good marbles, especially the portico, of admirable architecture. These are properly the University Schools, where lectures are read on Law, Medicine, and Anatomy, and students perform their exercises.
Hence, we walked to the church of St. Andrea della Valle, near the former Theater of Pompey, and the famous Piccolomini, but given to this church and the Order, who are Theatins. The Barberini have in this place a chapel, of curious incrusted marbles of several sorts, and rare paintings. Under it is a place where St. Sebastian is said to have been beaten with rods before he was shot with darts. The cupola is painted by Lanfranc, an inestimable work, and the whole fabric and monastery adjoining are admirable.
John Evelyn's Diary 25 February 1645
25 Feb 1645. I was invited by a Dominican Friar, whom we usually heard preach to a number of Jews, to be godfather to a converted Turk and Jew. The ceremony was performed in the Church of Santa Maria sopra la Minerva, near the Capitol. They were clad in white; then exorcised at their entering the church with abundance of ceremonies, and, when led into the choir, were baptized by a Bishop, in pontificalibus. The Turk lived afterward in Rome, sold hot waters and would bring us presents when he met us, kneeling and kissing the hems of our cloaks; but the Jew was believed to be a counterfeit. This church, situated on a spacious rising, was formerly consecrated to Minerva. It was well built and richly adorned, and the body of St. Catherine di Sienna lies buried here. The paintings of the chapel are by Marcello Venuti; the Madonna over the altar is by Giovanni di Fiesole, called the Angelic Painter, who was of the Order of these Monks. There are many charities dealt publicly here, especially at the procession on the Annunciation, where I saw his Holiness, with all the Cardinals, Prelates, etc., in pontificalibus; dowries being given to 300 poor girls all clad in white. The Pope had his tiara on his head, and was carried on men's shoulders in an open armchair, blessing the people as he passed. The statue of Christ, at the Columna, is esteemed one of the masterpieces of M. Angelo: innumerable are the paintings by the best artists, and the organ is accounted one of the sweetest in Rome. Cardinal Bembo is interred here. We returned by St. Mark's, a stately church, with an excellent pavement, and a fine piece by Perugino, of the Two Martyrs. Adjoining to this is a noble palace built by the famous Bramante.
John Evelyn's Diary 26 February 1645
26 Feb 1645. Ascending the hill, we came to the Forum Trajanum, where his column stands yet entire, wrought with admirable basso-relievo recording the Dacian war, the figures at the upper part appearing of the same proportion with those below. It is ascended by 192 steps, enlightened with 44 apertures, or windows, artificially disposed; in height from the pedestal 140 feet.
It had once the ashes of Trajan and his statue, where now stands St. Peter's of gilt brass, erected by Pope Sextus V. The sculpture of this stupendous pillar is thought to be the work of Apollodorus; but what is very observable is, the descent to the plinth of the pedestal, showing how this ancient city lies now buried in her ruins; this monument being at first set up on a rising ground. After dinner, we took the air in Cardinal Bentivoglio's delicious gardens, now but newly deceased. He had a fair palace built by several good masters on part of the ruins of Constantine's Baths; well adorned with columns and paintings, especially those of Guido Reni.
John Evelyn's Diary 27 February 1645
27 Feb 1645. In the morning Mr. Henshaw and myself walked to the Trophies of Marius, erected in honor of his victory over the Cimbrians, but these now taken out of their niches are placed on the balusters of the Capitol, so that their ancient station is now a ruin. Keeping on our way, we came to St. Croce of Jerusalem, built by Constantine over the demolition of the Temple of Venus and Cupid, which he threw down; and it was here, they report, he deposited the wood of the true Cross, found by his mother, Helena; in honor whereof this church was built, and in memory of his victory over Maxentius when that holy sign appeared to him. The edifice without is Gothic, but very glorious within, especially the roof, and one tribuna (gallery) well painted. Here is a chapel dedicated to St. Helena, the floor whereof is of earth brought from Jerusalem; the walls are of fair mosaic, in which they suffer no women to enter, save once a year. Under the high altar of the Church is buried St. Anastasius, in Lydian marble, and Benedict VII.; and they show a number of relics, exposed at our request; with a phial of our blessed Savior's blood; two thorns of his crown; three chips of the real cross; one of the nails, wanting a point; St. Thomas's doubting finger; and a fragment of the title (put on the cross), being part of a thin board; some of Judas's pieces of silver; and many more, if one had faith to believe it. To this venerable church joins a Monastery, the gardens taking up the space of an ancient amphitheatre.
Hence, we passed beyond the walls out at the Port of St. Laurence, to that Saint's church, and where his ashes are enshrined. This was also built by the same great Constantine, famous for the Coronation of Pietro Altissiodorensis, Emperor of Constantinople, by Honorius II It is said the corpse of St. Stephen, the proto martyr, was deposited here by that of St. Sebastian, which it had no sooner touched, but Sebastian gave it place of its own accord. The Church has no less than seven privileged altars, and excellent pictures. About the walls are painted this martyr's sufferings; and, when they built them, the bones of divers saints were translated to other churches. The front is Gothic. In our return, we saw a small ruin of an aqueduct built by Quintus Marcius, the prætor; and so passed through that incomparable straight street leading to Santa Maria Maggiore, to our lodging, sufficiently tired.
We were taken up next morning in seeing the impertinences of the Carnival, when all the world are as mad at Rome as at other places; but the most remarkable were the three races of the Barbary horses, that run in the Strada del Corso without riders, only having spurs so placed on their backs, and hanging down by their sides, as by their motion to stimulate them: then of mares, then of asses, of buffalos, naked men, old and young, and boys, and abundance of idle ridiculous pastime. One thing is remarkable, their acting comedies on a stage placed on a cart, or plaustrum, where the scene, or tiring place, is made of boughs in a rural manner, which they drive from street to street with a yoke or two of oxen, after the ancient guise. The streets swarm with prostitutes, buffoons, and all manner of rabble.
John Evelyn's Diary March 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 01 March 1645
01 Mar 1645. At the Greek Church, we saw the Eastern ceremonies performed by a Bishop, etc., in that tongue. Here the unfortunate Duke and Duchess of Bouillon received their ashes, it being the first day of Lent. There was now as much trudging up and down of devotees, as the day before of licentious people; all saints alike to appearance.
The gardens of Justinian, which we next visited, are very full of statues and antiquities, especially urns; among which is that of Minutius Felix; a terminus that formerly stood in the Appian way, and a huge colossé of the Emperor Justinian. There is a delicate aviary on the hill; the whole gardens furnished with rare collections, fresh, shady, and adorned with noble fountains. Continuing our walk a mile farther, we came to Pons Milvius, now Mela, where Constantine overthrew Maxentius, and saw the miraculous sign of the cross, In hoc signo vinces. It was a sweet morning, and the bushes were full of nightingales. Hence, to Aqua Claudia again, an aqueduct finished by that Emperor at the expense of eight millions. In the afternoon, to Farnese's gardens, near the Campo Vaccino; and upon the Palatine Mount to survey the ruins of Juno's Temple, in the Piscina, a piazza so-called near the famous bridge built by Antoninus Pius, and re-edified by Pope Sextus IV.
The rest of this week, we went to the Vatican, to hear the sermons, at St. Peter's, of the most famous preachers, who discourse on the same subjects and text yearly, full of Italian eloquence and action. On our Lady day, 25th March, we saw the Pope and Cardinals ride in pomp to the Minerva, the great guns of the Castle of St. Angelo being fired, when he gives portions to 500 zitelle (young women), who kiss his feet in procession, some destined to marry, some to be nuns;—the scholars of the college celebrating the blessed Virgin with their compositions. The next day, his Holiness was busied in blessing golden roses, to be sent to several great Princes; the Procurator of the Carmelites preaching on our Savior's feeding the multitude with five loaves, the ceremony ends. The sacrament being this day exposed, and the relics of the Holy Cross, the concourse about the streets is extraordinary. On Palm-Sunday, there was a great procession, after a papal mass.
John Evelyn's Diary April 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 11 April 1645
11 Apr 1645Holy Thursday, the Pope said mass, and afterward carried the Host in procession about the chapel, with an infinity of tapers. This finished, his Holiness was carried in his open chair on men's shoulders to the place where, reading the Bull In Cœnâ Domini, he both curses and blesses all in a breath; then the guns are again fired. Hence, he went to the Ducal hall of the Vatican, where he washed the feet of twelve poor men, with almost the same ceremony as it is done at Whitehall; they have clothes, a dinner, and alms, which he gives with his own hands, and serves at their table; they have also gold and silver medals, but their garments are of white woolen long robes, as we paint the Apostles. The same ceremonies are done by the Conservators and other officers of state at St. John di Lateran; and now the table on which they say our blessed Lord celebrated his last supper is set out, and the heads of the Apostles. In every famous church they are busy in dressing up their pageantries to represent the Holy Sepulchre, of which we went to visit divers.
On Good Friday, we went again to St. Peter's, where the handkerchief, lance, and cross were all exposed, and worshiped together. All the confession seats were filled with devout people, and at night was a procession of several who most lamentably whipped themselves till the blood stained their clothes, for some had shirts, others upon the bare back, having visors and masks on their faces; at every three or four steps dashing the knotted and raveled whip cord over their shoulders, as hard as they could lay it on; while some of the religious orders and fraternities sung in a dismal tone, the lights and crosses going before, making all together a horrible and indeed heathenish pomp.
The next day, there was much ceremony at St. John di Laterano, so as the whole week was spent in running from church to church, all the town in busy devotion, great silence, and unimaginable superstition.
John Evelyn's Diary 16 April 1645
16 Apr 1645, I was awakened by the guns from St. Angelo: we went to St. Peter's, where the Pope himself celebrated mass, showed the relics before-named, and gave a public Benediction.
John Evelyn's Diary 17 April 1645
17 Apr 1645. Monday, we went to hear music in the Chiesa Nova; and, though there were abundance of ceremonies at the other great churches, and great exposure of relics, yet being wearied with sights of this nature, and the season of the year, summer, at Rome being very dangerous, by reason of the heat minding us of returning northward, we spent the rest of our time in visiting such places as we had not yet sufficiently seen. Only I do not forget the Pope's benediction of the Gonfalone, or Standard, and giving the hallowed palms; and, on May Day, the great procession of the University and the muleteers at St. Anthony's, and their setting up a foolish May pole in the Capitol, very ridiculous. We therefore now took coach a little out of town, to visit the famous Roma Soterránea, being much like what we had seen at St. Sebastians. Here, in a cornfield, guided by two torches, we crept on our bellies into a little hole, about twenty paces, which delivered us into a large entry that led us into several streets, or alleys, a good depth in the bowels of the earth, a strange and fearful passage for divers miles, as Bosio has measured and described them in his book. We ever and anon came into pretty square rooms, that seemed to be chapels with altars, and some adorned with very ordinary ancient painting. Many skeletons and bodies are placed on the sides one above the other in degrees like shelves, whereof some are shut up with a coarse flat stone, having engraven on them Pro Christo, or a cross and palms, which are supposed to have been martyrs. Here, in all likelihood, were the meetings of the Primitive Christians during the persecutions, as Pliny the Younger describes them. As I was prying about, I found a glass phial, filled (as was conjectured) with dried blood, and two lachrymatories. Many of the bodies, or rather bones (for there appeared nothing else) lay so entire, as if placed by the art of the chirurgeon, but being only touched fell all to dust. Thus, after wandering two or three miles in this subterranean meander, we returned almost blind when we came into the daylight, and even choked by the smoke of the torches. It is said that a French bishop and his retinue adventuring too far into these dens, their lights going out, were never heard of more.
We were entertained at night with an English play at the Jesuits', where we before had dined; and the next day at Prince Galicano's, who himself composed the music to a magnificent opera, where were present Cardinal Pamphilio, the Pope's nephew, the Governors of Rome, the cardinals, the ambassadors, ladies, and a number of nobility and strangers. There had been in the morning a joust and tournament of several young gentlemen on a formal defy, to which we had been invited; the prizes being distributed by the ladies, after the knight-errantry way. The lancers and swordsmen running at tilt against the barriers, with a great deal of clatter, but without any bloodshed, giving much diversion to the spectators, and was new to us travelers.
The next day Mr. Henshaw and I spent the morning in attending the entrance and cavalcade of Cardinal Medici, the ambassador from the Grand Duke of Florence, by the Via Flaminia. After dinner, we went again to the Villa Borghese, about a mile without the city; the garden is rather a park, or a Paradise, contrived and planted with walks and shades of myrtles, cypress, and other trees, and groves, with abundance of fountains, statues, and bass-relievos, and several pretty murmuring rivulets. Here they had hung large nets to catch woodcocks. There was also a vivary, where, among other exotic fowls, was an ostrich; besides a most capacious aviary; and, in another inclosed part, a herd of deer. Before the palace (which might become the court of a great prince) stands a noble fountain, of white marble, enriched with statues. The outer walls of the house are encrusted with excellent antique bass-relievos, of the same marble, incornished with festoons and niches set with statues from the foundation to the roof. A stately portico joins the palace, full of statues and columns of marble, urns, and other curiosities of sculpture. In the first hall were the Twelve Cæsars, of antique marble, and the whole apartments furnished with pictures of the most celebrated masters, and two rare tables of porphyry, of great value. But of this already: for I often visited this delicious place.
This night were glorious fire-works at the palace of Cardinal Medici before the gate, and lights of several colors all about the windows through the city, which they contrive by setting the candles in little paper lanterns dyed with various colors, placing hundreds of them from story to story; which renders a gallant show.
John Evelyn's Diary May 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 04 May 1645
04 May 1645. Having seen the entry of the ambassador of Lucca, I went to the Vatican, where, by favor of our Cardinal Protector, Fran. Barberini, I was admitted into the Consistory, heard the ambassador make his oration in Latin to the Pope, sitting on an elevated state, or throne, and changing two pontifical mitres; after which, I was presented to kiss his toe, that is, his embroidered slipper, two Cardinals holding up his vest and surplice; and then, being sufficiently blessed with his thumb and two fingers for that day I returned home to dinner.
We went again to see the medals of Signor Gotefredi, which are absolutely the best collection in Rome.
Passing the Ludovisia Villa, where the petrified human figure lies, found on the snowy Alps; I measured the hydra, and found it not a foot long; the three necks and fifteen heads seem to be but patched up with several pieces of serpents' skins.
John Evelyn's Diary 05 May 1645
05 May 1645. We took coach, and went fifteen miles out of the city to Frascati, formerly Tusculum, a villa of Cardinal Aldobrandini, built for a country house; but surpassing, in my opinion, the most delicious places I ever beheld for its situation, elegance, plentiful water, groves, ascents, and prospects. Just behind the palace (which is of excellent architecture) in the centre of the inclosure, rises a high hill, or mountain, all over clad with tall wood, and so formed by nature, as if it had been cut out by art, from the summit whereof falls a cascade, seeming rather a great river than a stream precipitating into a large theatre of water, representing an exact and perfect rainbow, when the sun shines out. Under this, is made an artificial grot, wherein are curious rocks, hydraulic organs, and all sorts of singing birds, moving and chirping by force of the water, with several other pageants and surprising inventions. In the centre of one of these rooms, rises a copper ball that continually dances about three feet above the pavement, by virtue of a wind conveyed secretly to a hole beneath it; with many other devices to wet the unwary spectators, so that one can hardly step without wetting to the skin. In one of these theaters of water, is an Atlas spouting up the stream to a very great height; and another monster makes a terrible roaring with a horn; but, above all, the representation of a storm is most natural, with such fury of rain, wind, and thunder, as one would imagine oneself in some extreme tempest. The garden has excellent walks and shady groves, abundance of rare fruit, oranges, lemons, etc., and the goodly prospect of Rome, above all description, so as I do not wonder that Cicero and others have celebrated this place with such encomiums. The Palace is indeed built more like a cabinet than anything composed of stone and mortar; it has in the middle a hall furnished with excellent marbles and rare pictures, especially those of Gioseppino d'Arpino; the movables are princely and rich. This was the last piece of architecture finished by Giacomo della Porta, who built it for Pietro Cardinal Aldobrandini, in the time of Clement VIII.29.
We went hence to another house and garden not far distant, on the side of a hill called Mondragone, finished by Cardinal Scipio Borghese, an ample and kingly edifice. It has a very long gallery, and at the end a theatre for pastimes, spacious courts, rare grots, vineyards, olive-grounds, groves and solitudes. The air is so fresh and sweet, as few parts of Italy exceed it; nor is it inferior to any palace in the city itself for statues, pictures, and furniture; but, it growing late, we could not take such particular notice of these things as they deserved.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 May 1645
06 May 1645. We rested ourselves; and next day, in a coach, took our last farewell of visiting the circumjacent places, going to Tivoli, or the old Tiburtum. At about six miles from Rome, we pass the Teverone, a bridge built by Mammea, the mother of Severus, and so by divers ancient sepulchres, among others that of Valerius Volusi; and near it past the stinking sulphurous river over the Ponte Lucano, where we found a heap, or turret, full of inscriptions, now called the Tomb of Plautius. Arrived at Tivoli, we went first to see the palace d'Este, erected on a plain, but where was formerly an hill. The palace is very ample and stately. In the garden, on the right hand, are sixteen vast conchas of marble, jetting out waters; in the midst of these stands a Janus quadrifrons, that cast forth four girandolas, called from the resemblance (to a particular exhibition in fireworks so named) the Fountana di Spéccho (looking-glass). Near this is a place for tilting. Before the ascent of the palace is the famous fountain of Leda, and not far from that, four sweet and delicious gardens. Descending thence are two pyramids of water, and in a grove of trees near it the fountains of Tethys, Esculapius, Arethusa, Pandora, Pomona, and Flora; then the prancing Pegasus, Bacchus, the Grot of Venus, the two Colosses of Melicerta and Sibylla Tiburtina, all of exquisite marble, copper, and other suitable adornments. The Cupids pouring out water are especially most rare, and the urns on which are placed the ten nymphs. The grots are richly paved with pietra-commessa, shells, coral, etc.
Toward Roma Triumphans, leads a long and spacious walk, full of fountains, under which is historized the whole Ovidian Metamorphosis, in rarely sculptured mezzo relievo. At the end of this, next the wall, is the city of Rome as it was in its beauty, of small models, representing that city, with its amphitheatres; naumachi, thermæ, temples, arches, aqueducts, streets, and other magnificences, with a little stream running through it for the Tiber, gushing out of an urn next to the statue of the river. In another garden, is a noble aviary, the birds artificial, and singing till an owl appears, on which they suddenly change their notes. Near this is the fountain of dragons, casting out large streams of water with great noise. In another grotto, called Grotto di Natura, is an hydraulic organ; and below this are divers stews and fish ponds, in one of which is the statue of Neptune in his chariot on a seahorse, in another a Triton; and lastly, a garden of simples. There are besides in the palace many rare statues and pictures, bedsteads richly inlaid, and sundry other precious movables: the whole is said to have cost the best part of a million.
Having gratified our curiosity with these artificial miracles, and dined, we went to see the so famous natural precipice and cascade of the river Anio, rushing down from the mountains of Tivoli with that fury that, what with the mist it perpetually casts up by the breaking of the water against the rocks, and what with the sun shining on it and forming a natural Iris, and the prodigious depth of the gulf below, it is enough to astonish one that looks on it. Upon the summit of this rock stands the ruins and some pillars and cornices of the Temple of Sibylla Tyburtina, or Albunea, a round fabric, still discovering some of its pristine beauty. Here was a great deal of gunpowder drying in the sun, and a little beneath, mills belonging to the Pope.
And now we returned to Rome. By the way, we were showed, at some distance, the city Præneste, and the Hadrian villa, now only a heap of ruins; and so came late to our lodging.
We now determined to desist from visiting any more curiosities, except what should happen to come in our way, when my companion, Mr. Henshaw, or myself should go to take the air: only I may not omit that one afternoon, diverting ourselves in the Piazza Navona, a mountebank there to allure curious strangers, taking off a ring from his finger, which seemed set with a dull, dark stone a little swelling out, like what we call (though untruly) a toadstone, and wetting his finger a little in his mouth, and then touching it, it emitted a luculent flame as bright and large as a small wax candle; then, blowing it out, repeated this several times. I have much regretted that I did not purchase the receipt of him for making that composition at what price soever; for though there is a process in Jo. Baptista Porta and others how to do it, yet on several trials they none of them have succeeded.
Among other observations I made in Rome are these: as to coins and medals, ten asses make the Roman denarius, five the quinarius, ten denarii an aureus; which accompt runs almost exactly with what is now in use of quatrini, baiocs, julios, and scudi, each exceeding the other in the proportion of ten. The sestertius was a small silver coin, marked H. S. or rather LLs, valued two pounds and a half of silver, viz, 250 denarii, about twenty-five golden ducati. The stamp of the Roman denarius varied, having sometimes a Janus bifrons, the head of Roma armed, or with a chariot and two horses, which were called bigi; if with four, quadrigi: if with a Victoria, so named. The mark of the denarius was distinguished > | < thus, or X; the quinarius of half value, had, on one side, the head of Rome and V; the reverse, Castor and Pollux on horseback, inscribed Roma, etc.
I observed that in the Greek church they made the sign of the cross from the right hand to the left; contrary to the Latins and the schismatic Greeks; gave the benediction with the first, second, and little finger stretched out, retaining the third bent down, expressing a distance of the third Person of the Holy Trinity from the first two.
For sculptors and architects, we found Bernini and Algardi were in the greatest esteem; Fiamingo, as a statuary; who made the Andrea in St. Peter's, and is said to have died mad because it was placed in an ill light. Among the painters, Antonio de la Cornea, who has such an address of counterfeiting the hands of the ancient masters so well as to make his copies pass for originals; Pietro de Cortone, Monsieur Poussin, a Frenchman, and innumerable more. Fioravanti, for armor, plate, dead life, tapestry, etc. The chief masters of music, after Marc Antonio, the best treble, is Cavalier Lauretto, an eunuch; the next Cardinal Bichi's eunuch, Bianchi, tenor, and Nicholai, bass. The Jews in Rome wore red hats, till the Cardinal of Lyons, being short-sighted, lately saluted one of them, thinking him to be a Cardinal as he passed by his coach; on which an order was made, that they should use only the yellow color. There was now at Rome one Mrs. Ward, an English devotée, who much solicited for an order of Jesuitesses.
At executions I saw one, a gentleman, hanged in his cloak and hat for murder. They struck the malefactor with a club that first stunned him, and then cut his throat. At Naples they use a frame, like ours at Halifax.
It is reported that Rome has been once no less than fifty miles in compass, now not thirteen, containing in it 3,000 churches and chapels, monasteries, etc. It is divided into fourteen regions or wards; has seven mountains, and as many campi or valleys; in these are fair parks, or gardens, called villas, being only places of recess and pleasure, at some distance from the streets, yet within the walls.
The bills of exchange I took up from my first entering Italy till I went from Rome, amounting to but 616 ducati di banco, though I purchased many books, pictures, and curiosities.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 May 1645
18 May 1645. I intended to have seen Loretto, but, being disappointed of moneys long expected, I was forced to return by the same way I came, desiring, if possible, to be at Venice by the Ascension, and therefore I diverted to take Leghorn in the way, as well to furnish me with credit by a merchant there, as to take order for transporting such collections as I had made at Rome. When on my way, turning about to behold this once and yet glorious city, from an eminence, I did not, without some regret, give it my last farewell.
Having taken leave of our friends at Rome, where I had sojourned now about seven months, autumn, winter, and spring, I took coach, in company with two courteous Italian gentlemen. In the afternoon, we arrived at a house, or rather castle, belonging to the Duke of Parma, called Caprarola, situate on the brow of a hill, that overlooks a little town, or rather a natural and stupendous rock; witness those vast caves serving now for cellarage, where we were entertained with most generous wine of several sorts, being just under the foundation. The palace was built by the famous architect, Vignola, at the cost of Cardinal Alex. Farnese, in form of an octagon, the court in the middle being exactly round, so as rather to resemble a fort, or castle; yet the chambers within are all of them square, which makes the walls exceedingly thick. One of these rooms is so artificially contrived, that from the two opposite angles may be heard the least whisper; they say any perfect square does it. Most of the paintings are by Zuccari. It has a stately entry, on which spouts an artificial fountain within the porch. The hall, chapel, and a great number of lodging chambers are remarkable; but most of all the pictures and witty inventions of Hannibal Caracci; the Dead Christ is incomparable. Behind are the gardens full of statues and noble fountains, especially that of the Shepherds. After dinner, we took horse, and lay that night at Monte Rossi, twenty miles from Rome.
John Evelyn's Diary 19 May 1645
19 May 1645. We dined at Viterbo, and lay at St. Laurenzo. Next day, at Radicofani, and slept at Turnera.
John Evelyn's Diary 21 May 1645
21 May 1645. We dined at Sienna, where we could not pass admiring the great church built entirely both within and without with white and black marble in polished squares, by Macarino, showing so beautiful after a shower has fallen. The floor within is of various colored marbles, representing the story of both Testaments, admirably wrought. Here lies Pius II The bibliotéca is painted by P. Perrugino and Raphael. The life of Æneas Sylvius is in FRESCO; in the middle are the Three Graces, in antique marble, very curious, and the front of this building, though Gothic, is yet very fine. Among other things, they show St. Catharine's disciplining cell, the door whereof is half cut out into chips by the pilgrims and devotees, being of deal wood.
Setting out hence for Pisa, we went again to see the Duomo in which the Emperor Henry VII. lies buried, poisoned by a monk in the Eucharist. The bending tower was built by Busqueto Delichio, a Grecian architect, and is a stupendous piece of art. In the gallery of curiosities is a fair mummy; the tail of a sea-horse; coral growing on a man's skull; a chariot automaton; two pieces of rock crystal, in one of which is a drop of water, in the other three or four small worms; two embalmed children; divers petrifactions, etc. The garden of simples is well furnished, and has in it the deadly yew, or taxus, of the ancients; which Dr. Belluccio, the superintendent, affirms that his workmen cannot endure to clip for above the space of half an hour at a time, from the pain of the head which surprises them.
We went hence from Leghorn, by coach, where I took up ninety crowns for the rest of my journey, with letters of credit for Venice, after I had sufficiently complained of my defeat of correspondence at Rome.
The next day, I came to Lucca, a small but pretty territory and state of itself. The city is neat and well fortified, with noble and pleasant walks of trees on the works, where the gentry and ladies used to take the air. It is situate on an ample plain by the river Serchio, yet the country about it is hilly. The Senate-house is magnificent. The church of St. Michael is a noble piece, as is also St. Fredian, more remarkable to us for the corpse of St. Richard, an English king, who died here on his pilgrimage toward Rome. This epitaph is on his tomb:
Hic rex Richardus requiescit, sceptifer, almus;.
Rex Fuit Anglorum; regnum tenet iste Polorum.
Regnum demisit; pro Christo cuncta reliquit.
Ergo, Richardum nobis debit Anglia sanctum.
Hic genitor Sanctæ Wulburgæ Virginis almæ.
Est Vrillebaldi sancti simul et Vinebaldi,.
Suffragium quorum nobis det regna Polorum.
Next this, we visited St. Croce, an excellent structure all of marble both without and within, and so adorned as may vie with many of the fairest even in Rome: witness the huge cross, valued at £15,000, above all venerable for that sacred volto which (as tradition goes) was miraculously put on the image of Christ, and made by Nicodemus, while the artist, finishing the rest of the body, was meditating what face to set on it. The inhabitants are exceedingly civil to strangers, above all places in Italy, and they speak the purest Italian. It is also cheap living, which causes travelers to set up their rest here more than in Florence, though a more celebrated city; besides, the ladies here are very conversable, and the religious women not at all reserved; of these we bought gloves and embroidered stomachers, generally worn by gentlemen in these countries. The circuit of this state is but two easy days' journey, and lies mixed with the Duke of Tuscany's but having Spain for a protector (though the least bigoted of all Roman Catholics), and being one of the fortified cities in Italy, it remains in peace. The whole country abounds in excellent olives, etc.
Going hence for Florence, we dined at Pistoria, where, besides one church, there was little observable: only in the highway we crossed a rivulet of salt water, though many miles from the sea. The country is extremely pleasant, full of gardens, and the roads straight as a line for the best part of that whole day, the hedges planted with trees at equal distances, watered with clear and plentiful streams.
Rising early the next morning we arrived at Peggio Imperiale, being a palace of the Great Duke, not far from the city, having omitted it in my passage to Rome. The ascent to the house is by a stately gallery as it were of tall and overgrown cypress trees for near half a mile. At the entrance of these ranges, are placed statues of the Tiber and Arno, of marble; those also of Virgil, Ovid, Petrarch, and Dante. The building is sumptuous, and curiously furnished within with cabinets of pietra-commessa in tables, pavements, etc., which is a magnificence, or work, particularly affected at Florence. The pictures are, Adam and Eve by Albert Durer, very excellent; as is that piece of carving in wood by the same hand standing in a cupboard. Here is painted the whole Austrian line; the Duke's mother, sister to the Emperor, the foundress of this palace, than which there is none in Italy that I had seen more magnificently adorned, or furnished.
We could not omit in our passage to re-visit the same, and other curiosities which we had neglected on our first being at Florence. We went, therefore, to see the famous piece of Andrea del Sarto, in the Annunciata. The story is, that the painter in a time of dearth borrowed a sack of corn of the religious of that convent, and repayment being demanded, he wrought it out in this picture, which represents Joseph sitting on a sack of corn, and reading to the Blessed Virgin; a piece infinitely valued. There fell down in the cloister an old man's face painted on the wall in fresco, greatly esteemed, and broke into crumbs; the Duke sent his best painters to make another instead of it, but none of them would presume to touch a pencil where Andrea had wrought, like another Apelles; but one of them was so industrious and patient, that, picking up the fragments, he laid and fastened them so artificially together, that the injury it had received was hardly discernible. Andrea del Sarto lies buried in the same place. Here is also that picture of Bartolomeo, who having spent his utmost skill in the face of the angel Gabriel, and being troubled that he could not exceed it in the Virgin, he began the body and to finish the clothes, and so left it, minding in the morning to work on the face; but, when he came, no sooner had he drawn away the cloth that was hung before it to preserve it from the dust, than an admirable and ravishing face was found ready painted; at which miracle all the city came in to worship. It is now kept in the Chapel of the Salutation, a place so enriched by devotees, that none in Italy, save Loretto, is said to exceed it. This picture is always covered with three shutters, one of which is of massy silver; methinks it is very brown, the forehead and cheeks whiter, as if it had been scraped. They report that those who have the honor of seeing it never lose their sight—happy then we! Belonging to this church is a world of plate, some whole statues of it, and lamps innumerable, besides the costly vows hung up, some of gold, and a cabinet of precious stones.
Visiting the Duke's repository again, we told at least forty ranks of porphyry and other statues, and twenty-eight whole figures, many rare paintings and relievos, two square columns with trophies. In one of the galleries, twenty-four figures, and fifty antique heads; a Bacchus of M. Angelo, and one of Bandinelli; a head of Bernini, and a most lovely Cupid, of Parian marble; at the further end, two admirable women sitting, and a man fighting with a centaur; three figures in little of Andrea; a huge candlestick of amber; a table of Titian's painting, and another representing God the Father sitting in the air on the Four Evangelists; animals; divers smaller pieces of Raphael; a piece of pure virgin gold, as big as an egg. In the third chamber of rarities is the square cabinet, valued at 80,000 crowns, showing on every front, a variety of curious work; one of birds and flowers, of pietra-commessa; one, a descent from the cross, of M. Angelo; on the third, our Blessed Savior and the Apostles, of amber; and, on the fourth, a crucifix of the same. Between the pictures, two naked Venuses, by Titian; Adam and Eve, by Durer; and several pieces of Portdenone, and del Frate. There is a globe of six feet diameter. In the Armory, were an entire elk, a crocodile, and among the harness, several targets and antique horse-arms, as that of Charles V.; two set with turquoises, and other precious stones; a horse's tail, of a wonderful length. Then, passing the Old Palace, which has a very great hall for feasts and comedies, the roof rarely painted, and the side walls with six very large pictures representing battles, the work of Gio. Vassari. Here is a magazine full of plate; a harness of emeralds; the furnitures of an altar four feet high, and six in length, of massy gold; in the middle is placed the statue of Cosmo II, the bass-relievo is of precious stones, his breeches covered with diamonds; the moldings of this statue, and other ornaments, festoons, etc., are garnished with jewels and great pearls, dedicated to St. Charles, with this inscription, in rubies:
Cosimus Secundus Dei gratiâ Magnus Dux Etruriæ ex voto.
There is also a King on horseback, of massy gold, two feet high, and an infinity of such like rarities. Looking at the Justice, in copper, set up on a column by Cosmo, in 1555, after the victory over Sienna, we were told that the Duke, asking a gentleman how he liked the piece, he answered, that he liked it very well, but that it stood too high for poor men to come at it.
Prince Leopold has, in this city, a very excellent collection of paintings, especially a St. Catherine of P. Veronese; a Venus of marble, veiled from the middle to the feet, esteemed to be of that Greek workman who made the Venus at the Medici's Palace in Rome, altogether as good, and better preserved, an inestimable statue, not long since found about Bologna.
Signor Gaddi is a lettered person, and has divers rarities, statues, and pictures of the best masters, and one bust of marble as much esteemed as the most antique in Italy, and many curious manuscripts; his best paintings are, a Virgin of del Sarto, mentioned by Vassari, a St. John, by Raphael, and an Ecce Homo, by Titian.
The hall of the Academy de la Crusca is hung about with impresses and devices painted, all of them relating to corn sifted from the bran; the seats are made like breadbaskets and other rustic instruments used about wheat, and the cushions of satin, like sacks.
We took our farewell of St. Laurence, more particularly noticing that piece of the Resurrection, which consists of a prodigious number of naked figures, the work of Pontormo. On the left hand is the Martyrdom of St. Laurence, by Bronzino, rarely painted indeed. In a chapel is the tomb of Pietro di Medici, and his brother John, of copper, excellently designed, standing on two lions' feet, which end in foliage, the work of M. Angelo. Over against this, are sepulchres of all the ducal family. The altar has a statue of the Virgin giving suck, and two Apostles. Paulus Jovius has the honor to be buried in the cloister. Behind the choir is the superb chapel of Ferdinand I., consisting of eight faces, four plain, four a little hollowed; in the other are to be the sepulchres, and a niche of paragon, for the statue of the prince now living, all of copper gilt; above, is a large table of porphyry, for an inscription for the Duke, in letters of jasper. The whole chapel, walls, pavement, and roof, are full of precious stones united with the moldings, which are also of gilded copper, and so are the bases and capitals of the columns. The tabernacle, with the whole altar, is inlaid with cornelians, lazuli, serpentine, agates, onyxes, etc. On the other side are six very large columns of rock crystal, eight figures of precious stones of several colors, inlaid in natural figures, not inferior to the best paintings, among which are many pearls, diamonds, amethysts, topazes, sumptuous and sparkling beyond description. The windows without side are of white marble. The library is the architecture of Raphael; before the port is a square vestibule of excellent art, of all the orders, without confusion; the ascent to it from the library is excellent. We numbered eighty-eight shelves, all MSS. and bound in red, chained; in all about 3,500 volumes, as they told us.
The Arsenal has sufficient to arm 70,000 men, accurately preserved and kept, with divers lusty pieces of ordnance, whereof one is for a ball of 300 pounds weight, and another for 160, which weighs 72,500 pounds.
When I was at Florence, the celebrated masters were: for pietra-commessa (a kind of mosaic, or inlaying, of various colored marble, and other more precious stones), Dominico Benetti and Mazotti; the best statuary, Vincentio Brochi. This statuary makes those small figures in plaster and pasteboard, which so resemble copper that, till one handles them, they cannot be distinguished, he has so rare an art of bronzing them; I bought four of him. The best painter, Pietro Beretino di Cortona.
This Duke has a daily tribute for every courtezan, or prostitute, allowed to practice that infamous trade in his dominions, and so has his Holiness the Pope, but not so much in value.
Taking leave of our two jolly companions, Signor Giovanni and his fellow, we took horses for Bologna; and, by the way, alighted at a villa of the Grand Duke's, called Pratolino. The house is a square of four pavilions, with a fair platform about it, balustred with stone, situate in a large meadow, ascending like an amphitheater, having at the bottom a huge rock, with water running in a small channel, like a cascade; on the other side, are the gardens. The whole place seems consecrated to pleasure and summer retirement. The inside of the palace may compare with any in Italy for furniture of tapestry, beds, etc., and the gardens are delicious, and full of fountains. In the grove sits Pan feeding his flock, the water making a melodious sound through his pipe; and a Hercules, whose club yields a shower of water, which, falling into a great shell, has a naked woman riding on the backs of dolphins. In another grotto is Vulcan and his family, the walls richly composed of corals, shells, copper, and marble figures, with the hunting of several beasts, moving by the force of water. Here, having been well washed for our curiosity, we went down a large walk, at the sides whereof several slender streams of water gush out of pipes concealed underneath, that interchangeably fall into each other's channels, making a lofty and perfect arch, so that a man on horseback may ride under it, and not receive one drop of wet. This canopy, or arch of water, I thought one of the most surprising magnificences I had ever seen, and very refreshing in the heat of the summer. At the end of this very long walk, stands a woman in white marble, in posture of a laundress wringing water out of a piece of linen, very naturally formed, into a vast laver, the work and invention of M. Angelo Buonarotti. Hence, we ascended Mount Parnassus, where the Muses played to us on hydraulic organs. Near this is a great aviary. All these waters came from the rock in the garden, on which is the statue of a giant representing the Apennines, at the foot of which stands this villa. Last of all, we came to the labyrinth, in which a huge colosse of Jupiter throws out a stream over the garden. This is fifty feet in height, having in his body a square chamber, his eyes and mouth serving for windows and door.
We took horse and supped that night at Il Ponte, passing a dreadful ridge of the Apennines, in many places capped with snow, which covers them the whole summer. We then descended into a luxurious and rich plain. The next day we passed through Scarperia, mounting the hills again, where the passage is so straight and precipitous toward the right hand, that we climbed them with much care and danger; lodging at Firenzuolo, which is a fort built among the rocks, and defending the confines of the Great Duke's territories.
The next day we passed by the Pietramala, a burning mountain. At the summit of this prodigious mass of hills, we had an unpleasant way to Pianura, where we slept that night and were entertained with excellent wine. Hence to Scargalasino, and to bed at Loiano. This plain begins about six miles from Bologna.
Bologna belongs to the Pope, and is a famous University, situate in one of the richest spots of Europe for all sorts of provisions. It is built like a ship, whereof the Torre d'Asinelli may go for the mainmast. The city is of no great strength, having a trifling wall about it, in circuit near five miles, and two in length. This Torre d'Asinelli, ascended by 447 steps of a foot rise, seems exceedingly high, is very narrow, and the more conspicuous from another tower called Garisendi, so artificially built of brick (which increases the wonder) that it seems ready to fall. It is not now so high as the other; but they say the upper part was formerly taken down, for fear it should really fall, and do mischief.
Next, we went to see an imperfect church, called St. Petronius, showing the intent of the founder, had he gone on. From this, our guide led us to the schools, which indeed are very magnificent. Thence to St. Dominic's, where that saint's body lies richly enshrined. The stalls, or seats, of this goodly church have the history of the Bible inlaid with several woods, very curiously done, the work of one Fr. Damiano di Bergamo, and a friar of that order. Among other relics, they show the two books of Esdras, written with his own hand. Here lie buried Jac. Andreas, and divers other learned persons. To the church joins the convent, in the quadrangle whereof are old cypresses, said to have been planted by their saint.
Then we went to the palace of the Legate; a fair brick building, as are most of the houses and buildings, full of excellent carving and moldings, so as nothing in stone seems to be better finished or more ornamental; witness those excellent columns to be seen in many of their churches, convents, and public buildings; for the whole town is so cloistered, that one may pass from house to house through the streets without being exposed either to rain or sun.
Before the stately hall of this palace stands the statue of Paul IV. and divers others; also the monument of the coronation of Charles V. The piazza before it is the most stately in Italy, St. Mark's at Venice only excepted. In the center of it is a fountain of Neptune, a noble figure in copper. Here I saw a Persian walking about in a rich vest of cloth of tissue, and several other ornaments, according to the fashion of his country, which much pleased me; he was a young handsome person, of the most stately mien.
I would fain have seen the library of St. Savior, famous for the number of rare manuscripts; but could not, so we went to St. Francis, a glorious pile, and exceedingly adorned within.
After dinner I inquired out a priest and Dr. Montalbano, to whom I brought recommendations from Rome: this learned person invented, or found out, the composition of the lapis illuminabilis, or phosphorus. He showed me their property (for he had several), being to retain the light of the sun for some competent time, by a kind of imbibition, by a particular way of calcination. Some of these presented a blue color, like the flame of brimstone, others like coals of a kitchen fire. The rest of the afternoon was taken up in St. Michael in Bosco, built on a steep hill on the edge of the city, for its fabric, pleasant shade and groves, cellars, dormitory, and prospects, one of the most delicious retirements I ever saw; art and nature contending which shall exceed; so as till now I never envied the life of a friar. The whole town and country to a vast extent are under command of their eyes, almost as far as Venice itself. In this convent there are many excellent paintings of Guido Reni; above all, the little cloister of eight faces, painted by Caracci in fresco. The carvings in wood, in the sacristy, are admirable, as is the inlaid work about the chapel, which even emulates the best paintings; the work is so delicate and tender. The paintings of the Savior are of Caracci and Leonardo, and there are excellent things of Raphael which we could not see.
In the church of St. John is a fine piece of St. Cecilia, by Raphael. As to other paintings, there is in the church of St. Gregory an excellent picture of a Bishop giving the habit of St. Bernard to an armed soldier, with several other figures in the piece, the work of Guerchino. Indeed, this city is full of rare pieces, especially of Guido Domenico, and a virgin named Isabella Sirani, now living, who has painted many excellent pieces, and imitates Guido so well, that many skillful artists have been deceived.
At the Mendicants are the Miracles of St. Eloy, by Reni, after the manner of Caravaggio, but better; and here they showed us that famous piece of Christ calling St. Matthew, by Annibal Caracci. The Marquis Magniani has the whole frieze of his hall painted in fresco by the same hand.
Many of the religious men nourish those lapdogs which the ladies are so fond of, and which they here sell. They are a pigmy sort of spaniels, whose noses they break when puppies; which, in my opinion, deforms them.
At the end of the turning in one of the wings of the dormitory of St. Michael, I found a paper pasted near the window, containing the dimensions of most of the famous churches in Italy compared with their towers here, and the length of this gallery, a copy whereof I took.
From hence being brought to a subterranean territory of cellars, the courteous friars made us taste a variety of excellent wines; and so we departed to our inn.
The city is famous also for sausages; and here is sold great quantities of Parmegiano cheese, with Botargo, Caviare, etc., which makes some of their shops perfume the streets with no agreeable smell. We furnished ourselves with wash balls, the best being made here, and being a considerable commodity. This place has also been celebrated for lutes made by the old masters, Mollen, Hans Frey, and Nicholas Sconvelt, which were of extraordinary price; the workmen were chiefly Germans. The cattle used for draught in this country (which is very rich and fertile, especially in pasturage) are covered with housings of linen fringed at the bottom, that dangle about them, preserving them from flies, which in summer are very troublesome.
From this pleasant city, we proceeded toward Ferrara, carrying with us a bulletino, or bill of health (customary in all these parts of Italy, especially in the State of Venice) and so put ourselves into a boat that was towed with horses, often interrupted by the sluices (inventions there to raise the water for the use of mills, and to fill the artificial canals) at each of which we stayed till passage was made. We went by the Castle Bentivoglio, and, about night arrived at an ugly inn called Mal Albergo, agreeable to its name, whence, after we had supped, we embarked and passed that night through the Fens, where we were so pestered with those flying glow-worms, called Luccioli, that one who had never heard of them, would think the country full of sparks of fire. Beating some of them down and applying them to a book, I could read in the dark by the light they afforded.
Quitting our boat, we took coach, and by morning got to Ferrara, where, before we could gain entrance, our guns and arms were taken from us of custom, the lock being taken off before, as we were advised. The city is in a low marshy country, and therefore well fortified. The houses and streets have nothing of beauty, except the palace and church of St. Benedict, where Ariosto lies buried, and there are some good statues, the palazzo del Diamante, citadel, church of St. Dominico. The market-place is very spacious, having in its centre the figure of Nicholao Oläo once Duke of Ferrara, on horseback, in copper. It is, in a word, a dirty town, and, though the streets be large they remain ill paved; yet it is a University and now belongs to the Pope. Though there are not many fine houses in the city, the inn where we lodged was a very noble palace, having an Angel for its sign.
We parted from hence about three in the afternoon, and went some of our way on the canal, and then embarked on the Po; or Padus; by the poets called Eridanus, where they feign Phæton to have fallen after his rash attempt, and where Io was metamorphosed into a cow. There was in our company, among others, a Polonian Bishop, who was exceeding civil to me in this passage, and afterward did me many kindnesses at Venice. We supped this night at a place called Corbua, near the ruins of the ancient city, Adria, which gives name to the Gulf, or Sea. After three miles, having passed thirty on the Po, we embarked in a stout vessel, and through an artificial canal, very straight, we entered the Adige, which carried us by break of day into the Adriatic, and so sailing prosperously by Chioza (a town upon an island in this sea), and Palestina, we came over against Malamocco (the chief port and anchorage where our English merchantmen lie that trade to Venice) about seven at night, after we had stayed at least two hours for permission to land, our bill of health being delivered, according to custom. So soon as we came on shore, we were conducted to the Dogana, where our portmanteaus were visited, and then we got to our lodging, which was at honest Signor Paulo Rhodomante's at the Black Eagle, near the Rialto, one of the best quarters of the town. This journey from Rome to Venice cost me seven pistoles, and thirteen julios.
John Evelyn's Diary June 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 01 June 1645
01 Jun 1645. The next morning, finding myself extremely weary and beaten with my journey, I went to one of their bagnios, where you are treated after the eastern manner, washing with hot and cold water, with oils, and being rubbed with a kind of strigil of seal-skin, put on the operator's hand like a glove. This bath did so open my pores, that it cost me one of the greatest colds I ever had in my life, for want of necessary caution in keeping myself warm for some time after; for, coming out, I immediately began to visit the famous places of the city; and travelers who come into Italy do nothing but run up and down to see sights, and this city well deserved our admiration, being the most wonderfully placed of any in the world, built on so many hundred islands, in the very sea, and at good distance from the continent. It has no fresh water except what is reserved in cistern from rain, and such as is daily brought from terra firma in boats, yet there was no want of it, and all sorts of excellent provisions were very cheap.
It is said that when the Huns overran Italy, some mean fishermen and others left the mainland, and fled for shelter to these despicable and muddy islands, which, in process of time, by industry, are grown to the greatness of one of the most considerable States, considered as a Republic, and having now subsisted longer than any of the four ancient Monarchies, flourishing in great state, wealth, and glory, by the conquest of great territories in Italy, Dacia, Greece, Candia, Rhodes, and Sclavonia, and at present challenging the empire of all the Adriatic Sea, which they yearly espouse by casting a gold ring into it with great pomp and ceremony, on Ascension-day; the desire of seeing this was one of the reasons that hastened us from Rome.
The Doge, having heard mass in his robes of state (which are very particular, after the eastern fashion), together with the Senate in their gowns, embarked in their gloriously painted, carved, and gilded Bucentora, environed and followed by innumerable galleys, gondolas, and boats, filled with spectators, some dressed in masquerade, trumpets, music, and cannons. Having rowed about a league into the Gulf, the Duke, at the prow, casts a gold ring and cup into the sea, at which a loud acclamation is echoed from the great guns of the Arsenal, and at the Liddo. We then returned.
Two days after, taking a gondola, which is their water-coach (for land ones, there are many old men in this city who never saw one, or rarely a horse), we rode up and down the channels, which answer to our streets. These vessels are built very long and narrow, having necks and tails of steel, somewhat spreading at the beak like a fish's tail, and kept so exceedingly polished as to give a great lustre; some are adorned with carving, others lined with velvet (commonly black), with curtains and tassels, and the seats like couches, to lie stretched on, while he who rows, stands upright on the very edge of the boat, and, with one oar bending forward as if he would fall into the sea, rows and turns with incredible dexterity; thus passing from channel to channel, landing his fare, or patron, at what house he pleases. The beaks of these vessels are not unlike the ancient Roman rostrums.
The first public building I went to see was the Rialto, a bridge of one arch over the grand canal, so large as to admit a galley to row under it, built of good marble, and having on it, besides many pretty shops, three ample and stately passages for people without any inconvenience, the two outmost nobly balustered with the same stone; a piece of architecture much to be admired. It was evening, and the canal where the Noblesse go to take the air, as in our Hyde Park, was full of ladies and gentlemen. There are many times dangerous stops, by reason of the multitude of gondolas ready to sink one another; and indeed they affect to lean them on one side, that one who is not accustomed to it, would be afraid of over-setting. Here they were singing, playing on harpsichords, and other music, and serenading their mistresses; in another place, racing, and other pastimes on the water, it being now exceeding hot.
Next day, I went to their Exchange, a place like ours, frequented by merchants, but nothing so magnificent; from thence, my guide led me to the Fondigo di Todeschi, which is their magazine, and here many of the merchants, especially Germans, have their lodging and diet, as in a college. The outside of this stately fabric is painted by Giorgione da Castelfranco, and Titian himself.
Hence, I passed through the Mercera, one of the most delicious streets in the world for the sweetness of it, and is all the way on both sides tapestried as it were with cloth of gold, rich damasks and other silks, which the shops expose and hang before their houses from the first floor, and with that variety that for near half the year spent chiefly in this city, I hardly remember to have seen the same piece twice exposed; to this add the perfumes, apothecaries' shops, and the innumerable cages of nightingales which they keep, that entertain you with their melody from shop to shop, so that shutting your eyes, you would imagine yourself in the country, when indeed you are in the middle of the sea. It is almost as silent as the middle of a field, there being neither rattling of coaches nor trampling of horses. This street, paved with brick, and exceedingly clean, brought us through an arch into the famous piazza of St. Mark.
Over this porch stands that admirable clock, celebrated, next to that of Strasburg, for its many movements; among which, about twelve and six, which are their hours of Ave Maria, when all the town are on their knees, come forth the three Kings led by a star, and passing by the image of Christ in his Mother's arms, do their reverence, and enter into the clock by another door. At the top of this turret, another automaton strikes the quarters. An honest merchant told me that one day walking in the piazza, he saw the fellow who kept the clock struck with this hammer so forcibly, as he was stooping his head near the bell, to mend something amiss at the instant of striking, that being stunned, he reeled over the battlements, and broke his neck. The buildings in this piazza are all arched, on pillars, paved within with black and white polished marble, even to the shops, the rest of the fabric as stately as any in Europe, being not only marble, but the architecture is of the famous Sansovini, who lies buried in St. Jacomo, at the end of the piazza. The battlements of this noble range of buildings, are railed with stone, and thick-set with excellent statues, which add a great ornament. One of the sides is yet much more Roman-like than the other which regards the sea, and where the church is placed. The other range is plainly Gothic; and so we entered into St. Mark's Church, before which stand two brass pedestals exquisitely cast and figured, which bear as many tall masts painted red, on which, upon great festivals, they hang flags and streamers. The church is also Gothic; yet for the preciousness of the materials, being of several rich marbles, abundance of porphyry, serpentine, etc., far exceeding any in Rome, St. Peter's hardly excepted. I much admired the splendid history of our blessed Savior, composed all of Mosaic over the facciata, below which and over the four chief gates are cast four horses in copper as big as the life, the same that formerly were transported from Rome by Constantine to Byzantium, and thence by the Venetians hither.33 They are supported by eight porphyry columns, of very great size and value. Being come into the church, you see nothing, and tread on nothing, but what is precious. The floor is all inlaid with agates, lazulis, chalcedons, jaspers, porphyries, and other rich marbles, admirable also for the work; the walls sumptuously incrusted, and presenting to the imagination the shapes of men, birds, houses, flowers, and a thousand varieties. The roof is of most excellent Mosaic; but what most persons admire is the new work of the emblematic tree at the other passage out of the church. In the midst of this rich volto rise five cupolas, the middle very large and sustained by thirty-six marble columns, eight of which are of precious marbles: under these cupolas is the high altar, on which is a reliquary of several sorts of jewels, engraven with figures, after the Greek manner, and set together with plates of pure gold. The altar is covered with a canopy of ophite, on which is sculptured the story of the Bible, and so on the pillars, which are of Parian marble, that support it. Behind these, are four other columns of transparent and true Oriental alabaster, brought hither out of the mines of Solomon's Temple, as they report. There are many chapels and notable monuments of illustrious persons, dukes, cardinals, etc., as Zeno, J. Soranzi, and others: there is likewise a vast baptistry, of copper. Among other venerable relics is a stone, on which they say our blessed Lord stood preaching to those of Tyre and Sidon, and near the door is an image of Christ, much adorned, esteeming it very sacred, for that a rude fellow striking it they say, there gushed out a torrent of blood. In one of the corners lies the body of St. Isidore, brought hither 500 years since from the island of Chios. A little farther, they show the picture of St. Dominic and Francis, affirmed to have been made by the Abbot Joachim (many years before any of them were born). Going out of the church, they showed us the stone where Alexander III. trod on the neck of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, pronouncing that verse of the psalm, "super basiliscum", etc. The doors of the church are of massy copper. There are near 500 pillars in this building, most of them porphyry and serpentine, and brought chiefly from Athens, and other parts of Greece, formerly in their power. At the corner of the church, are inserted into the main wall four figures, as big as life, cut in porphyry; which they say are the images of four brothers who poisoned one another, by which means were escheated to the Republic that vast treasury of relics now belonging to the church. At the other entrance that looks toward the sea, stands in a small chapel that statue of our Lady, made (as they affirm) of the same stone, or rock, out of which Moses brought water to the murmuring Israelites at Horeb, or Meriba.
After all that is said, this church is, in my opinion, much too dark and dismal, and of heavy work; the fabric,—as is much of Venice, both for buildings and other fashions and circumstances,—after the Greeks, their next neighbors.
The next day, by favor of the French ambassador, I had admittance with him to view the Reliquary, called here Tesoro di San Marco, which very few, even of travelers, are admitted to see. It is a large chamber full of presses. There are twelve breastplates or pieces of pure golden armor, studded with precious stones, and as many crowns dedicated to St. Mark, by so many noble Venetians, who had recovered their wives taken at sea by the Saracens; many curious vases of agates; the cap, or coronet, of the Dukes of Venice, one of which had a ruby set on it, esteemed worth 200,000 crowns; two unicorns' horns; numerous vases and dishes of agate, set thick with precious stones and vast pearls; divers heads of Saints enchased in gold; a small ampulla, or glass, with our Savior's blood; a great morsel of the real cross; one of the nails; a thorn; a fragment of the column to which our Lord was bound, when scourged; the standard or ensign, of Constantine; a piece of St. Luke's arm; a rib of St. Stephen; a finger of Mary Magdalen; numerous other things, which I could not remember. But a priest, first vesting himself in his sacerdotals, with the stole about his neck, showed us the gospel of St. Mark (their tutelar patron) written by his own hand, and whose body they show buried in the church, brought hither from Alexandria many years ago.
The Religious de li Servi have fine paintings of Paolo Veronese, especially the Magdalen.
A French gentleman and myself went to the Courts of Justice, the Senate House, and Ducal Palace. The first court near this church is almost wholly built of several colored sorts of marble, like checkerwork on the outside; this is sustained by vast pillars, not very shapely, but observable for their capitals, and that out of thirty-three no two are alike. Under this fabric is the cloister where merchants meet morning and evening, as also the grave senators and gentlemen, to confer of state affairs, in their gowns and caps, like so many philosophers; it is a very noble and solemn spectacle. In another quadrangle, stood two square columns of white marble, carved, which they said had been erected to hang one of their Dukes on, who designed to make himself Sovereign. Going through a stately arch, there were standing in niches divers statues of great value, among which is the so celebrated Eve, esteemed worth its weight in gold; it is just opposite to the stairs where are two Colossuses of Mars and Neptune, by Sansovino. We went up into a Corridor built with several Tribunals and Courts of Justice; and by a well-contrived staircase were landed in the Senate hall, which appears to be one of the most noble and spacious rooms in Europe, being seventy-six paces long, and thirty-two in breadth. At the upper end, are the Tribunals of the Doge, Council of Ten, and Assistants: in the body of the hall, are lower ranks of seats, capable of containing 1,500 Senators; for they consist of no fewer on grand debates. Over the Duke's throne are the paintings of the Final Judgment, by Tintoret, esteemed among the best pieces in Europe. On the roof are the famous Acts of the Republic, painted by several excellent masters, especially Bassano; next them, are the effigies of the several Dukes, with their Elogies. Then, we turned into a great Court painted with the Battle of Lepanto, an excellent piece; afterward, into the Chamber of the Council of Ten, painted by the most celebrated masters. From hence, by the special favor of an Illustrissimo, we were carried to see the private Armory of the Palace, and so to the same court we first entered, nobly built of polished white marble, part of which is the Duke's Court, pro tempore; there are two wells adorned with excellent work in copper. This led us to the seaside, where stand those columns of ophite stone in the entire piece, of a great height, one bearing St. Mark's Lion, the other St. Theodorus: these pillars were brought from Greece, and set up by Nicholas Baraterius, the architect; between them public executions are performed.
Having fed our eyes with the noble prospect of the Island of St. George, the galleys, gondolas, and other vessels passing to and fro, we walked under the cloister on the other side of this goodly piazza, being a most magnificent building, the design of Sansovino. Here we went into the Zecca, or mint; at the entrance, stand two prodigious giants, or Hercules, of white marble; we saw them melt, beat, and coin silver, gold, and copper. We then went up into the Procuratory, and a library of excellent MSS. and books belonging to it and the public. After this, we climbed up the tower of St. Mark, which we might have done on horseback, as it is said one of the French Kings did; there being no stairs, or steps, but returns that take up an entire square on the arches forty feet, broad enough for a coach. This steeple stands by itself, without any church near it, and is rather a watch tower in the corner of the great piazza, 230 feet in height, the foundation exceeding deep; on the top, is an angel, that turns with the wind; and from hence is a prospect down the Adriatic, as far as Istria and the Dalmatian side, with the surprising sight of this miraculous city, lying in the bosom of the sea, in the shape of a lute, the numberless islands tacked together by no fewer than 450 bridges. At the foot of this tower, is a public tribunal of excellent work, in white marble polished, adorned with several brass statues and figures of stone and mezzo-relievo, the performance of some rare artist.
It was now Ascension-week, and the great mart, or fair, of the whole year was kept, everybody at liberty and jolly; the noblemen stalking with their ladies on choppines. These are high-heeled shoes, particularly affected by these proud dames, or, as some say, invented to keep them at home, it being very difficult to walk with them; whence, one being asked how he liked the Venetian dames, replied, they were "mezzo carne, mezzo legno", half flesh, half wood, and he would have none of them. The truth is, their garb is very odd, as seeming always in masquerade; their other habits also totally different from all nations. They wear very long, crisp hair, of several streaks and colors, which they make so by a wash, disheveling it on the brims of a broad hat that has no crown, but a hole to put out their heads by; they dry them in the sun, as one may see them at their windows. In their tire, they set silk flowers and sparkling stones, their petticoats coming from their very arm-pits, so that they are near three quarters and a half apron; their sleeves are made exceedingly wide, under which their shift-sleeves as wide, and commonly tucked up to the shoulder, showing their naked arms, through false sleeves of tiffany, girt with a bracelet or two, with knots of point richly tagged about their shoulders and other places of their body, which they usually cover with a kind of yellow veil of lawn, very transparent. Thus attired, they set their hands on the heads of two matron-like servants, or old women, to support them, who are mumbling their beads. It is ridiculous to see how these ladies crawl in and out of their gondolas, by reason of their choppines; and what dwarfs they appear, when taken down from their wooden scaffolds; of these I saw near thirty together, stalking half as high again as the rest of the world. For courtesans, or the citizens, may not wear choppines, but cover their bodies and faces with a veil of a certain glittering taffeta, or lustrée, out of which they now and then dart a glance of their eye, the whole face being otherwise entirely hid with it: nor may the common misses take this habit; but go abroad barefaced. To the corner of these virgin-veils hang broad but flat tassels of curious Point de Venice. The married women go in black veils. The nobility wear the same color, but a fine cloth lined with taffeta, in summer, with fur of the bellies of squirrels, in the winter, which all put on at a certain day, girt with a girdle embossed with silver, the vest not much different from what our Bachelors of Arts wear in Oxford, and a hood of cloth, made like a sack, cast over their left shoulder, and a round cloth black cap fringed with wool, which is not so comely; they also wear their collar open, to show the diamond button of the stock of their shirt. I have never seen pearls for color and bigness comparable to what the ladies wear, most of the noble families being very rich in jewels, especially pearls, which are always left to the son, or brother who is destined to marry; which the eldest seldom do. The Doge's vest is of crimson velvet, the Procurator's, etc. of damask, very stately. Nor was I less surprised with the strange variety of the several nations seen every day in the streets and piazzas; Jews, Turks, Armenians, Persians, Moors, Greeks, Sclavonians, some with their targets and bucklers, and all in their native fashions, negotiating in this famous Emporium, which is always crowded with strangers.
This night, having with my Lord Bruce taken our places before we went to the Opera, where comedies and other plays are represented in recitative music, by the most excellent musicians, vocal and instrumental, with variety of scenes painted and contrived with no less art of perspective, and machines for flying in the air, and other wonderful notions; taken together, it is one of the most magnificent and expensive diversions the wit of man can invent. The history was, Hercules in Lydia; the scenes changed thirteen times. The famous voices, Anna Rencia, a Roman, and reputed the best treble of women; but there was an eunuch who, in my opinion, surpassed her; also a Genoese that sung an incomparable bass. This held us by the eyes and ears till two in the morning, when we went to the Chetto de san Felice, to see the noblemen and their ladies at basset, a game at cards which is much used; but they play not in public, and all that have inclination to it are in masquerade, without speaking one word, and so they come in, play, lose or gain, and go away as they please. This time of license is only in carnival and this Ascension-week; neither are their theatres open for that other magnificence, or for ordinary comedians, save on these solemnities, they being a frugal and wise people, and exact observers of all sumptuary laws.
There being at this time a ship bound for the Holy Land, I had resolved to embark, intending to see Jerusalem, and other parts of Syria, Egypt and Turkey; but after I had provided all necessaries, laid in snow to cool our drink, bought some sheep, poultry, biscuit, spirits, and a little cabinet of drugs in case of sickness, our vessel (whereof Captain Powell was master), happened to be pressed for the service of the State, to carry provisions to Candia, now newly attacked by the Turks; which altogether frustrated my design, to my great mortification.
On the ... of June, we went to Padua, to the fair of their St. Anthony, in company of divers passengers. The first terra firma we landed at was Fusina, being only an inn where we changed our barge, and were then drawn up by horses through the river Brenta, a straight channel as even as a line for twenty miles, the country on both sides deliciously adorned with country villas and gentlemen's retirements, gardens planted with oranges, figs, and other fruit, belonging to the Venetians. At one of these villas we went ashore to see a pretty contrived palace. Observable in this passage was buying their water of those who farm the sluices; for this artificial river is in some places so shallow, that reserves of water are kept with sluices, which they open and shut with a most ingenious invention, or engine, governed even by a child. Thus they keep up the water, or let it go, till the next channel be either filled by the stop, or abated to the level of the other; for which every boat pays a certain duty. Thus, we stayed near half an hour and more, at three several places, so as it was evening before we got to Padua. This is a very ancient city, if the tradition of Antenor's, being the founder, be not a fiction; but thus speaks the inscription over a stately gate: Hanc antiquissimam urbem literarum omnium asylum, cujus agrum fertilitatis Lumen Natura esse voluit, Antenor condidit, anno ante Christum natum M. Cxviii; Senatus autem Venetus his belli propugnaculis ornavit.
The town stands on the river Padus, whence its name, and is generally built like Bologna, on arches and on brick, so that one may walk all around it, dry, and in the shade; which is very convenient in these hot countries, and I think I was never sensible of so burning a heat as I was this season, especially the next day, which was that of the fair, filled with noble Venetians, by reason of a great and solemn procession to their famous cathedral. Passing by St. Lorenzo, I met with this subscription:
Inclytus Antenor patriam vox nisa quietem.
Transtulit huc Henetum Dardanidumq; fuga,.
Expulit Euganeos, Patavinam condidit urbem,.
Quem tegit hic humili marmore cæsa domus.
Under the tomb, was a cobbler at his work. Being now come to St. Antony's (the street most of the way straight, well built, and outside excellently painted in fresco), we surveyed the spacious piazza, in which is erected a noble statue of copper of a man on horseback, in memory of one Catta Malata, a renowned captain. The church, à la Greca, consists of five handsome cupolas, leaded. At the left hand within is the tomb of St. Antony and his altar, about which a mezzo-relievo of the miracles ascribed to him is exquisitely wrought in white marble by the three famous sculptors, Tullius Lombardus, Jacobus Sansovinus, and Hieronymus Compagno. A little higher is the choir, walled parapet-fashion, with sundry colored stone, half relievo, the work of Andrea Reccij. The altar within is of the same metal, which, with the candlestick and bases, is, in my opinion, as magnificent as any in Italy. The wainscot of the choir is rarely inlaid and carved. Here are the sepulchres of many famous persons, as of Rodolphus Fulgosi, etc.; and among the rest, one for an exploit at sea, has a galley exquisitely carved thereon. The procession bore the banners with all the treasure of the cloister, which was a very fine sight.
Hence, walking over the Prato delle Valle, I went to see the convent of St. Justina, than which I never beheld one more magnificent. The church is an excellent piece of architecture, of Andrea Palladio, richly paved, with a stately cupola that covers the high altar enshrining the ashes of that saint. It is of pietra-commessa, consisting of flowers very naturally done. The choir is inlaid with several sorts of wood representing the holy history, finished with exceeding industry. At the far end, is that rare painting of St. Justina's Martyrdom, by Paolo Veronese; and a stone on which they told us divers primitive Christians had been decapitated. In another place (to which leads a small cloister well painted) is a dry well, covered with a brass-work grate, wherein are the bones of divers martyrs. They show also the bones of St. Luke, in an old alabaster coffin; three of the Holy Innocents; and the bodies of St. Maximus and Prosdocimus.34 The dormitory above is exceedingly commodious and stately; but what most pleased me, was the old cloister so well painted with the legendary saints, mingled with many ancient inscriptions, and pieces of urns dug up, it seems, at the foundation of the church. Thus, having spent the day in rambles, I returned the next day to Venice.
The arsenal is thought to be one of the best furnished in the world. We entered by a strong port, always guarded, and, ascending a spacious gallery, saw arms of back, breast, and head, for many thousands; in another were saddles; over them, ensigns taken from the Turks. Another hall is for the meeting of the Senate; passing a graff, are the smiths' forges, where they are continually employed on anchors and iron work. Near it is a well of fresh water, which they impute to two rhinoceros's horns which they say lie in it, and will preserve it from ever being empoisoned. Then we came to where the carpenters were building their magazines of oars, masts, etc., for an hundred galleys and ships, which have all their apparel and furniture near them. Then the foundry, where they cast ordnance; the forge is 450 paces long, and one of them has thirteen furnaces. There is one cannon, weighing 16,573 pounds, cast while Henry the Third dined, and put into a galley built, rigged, and fitted for launching within that time. They have also arms for twelve galeasses, which are vessels to row, of almost 150 feet long, and thirty wide, not counting prow or poop, and contain twenty-eight banks of oars, each seven men, and to carry 1,300 men, with three masts. In another, a magazine for fifty galleys, and place for some hundreds more. Here stands the Bucentaur, with a most ample deck, and so contrived that the slaves are not seen, having on the poop a throne for the Doge to sit, when he goes in triumph to espouse the Adriatic. Here is also a gallery of 200 yards long for cables, and above that a magazine of hemp. Opposite these, are the saltpetre houses, and a large row of cells, or houses, to protect their galleys from the weather. Over the gate, as we go out, is a room full of great and small guns, some of which discharge six times at once. Then, there is a court full of cannon, bullets, chains, grapples, grenadoes, etc., and over that arms for 800,000 men, and by themselves arms for 400, taken from some that were in a plot against the state; together with weapons of offense and defense for sixty-two ships; thirty-two pieces of ordnance, on carriages taken from the Turks, and one prodigious mortar-piece. In a word, it is not to be reckoned up what this large place contains of this sort. There were now twenty-three galleys, and four galley-grossi, of 100 oars to a side. The whole arsenal is walled about, and may be in compass about three miles, with twelve towers for the watch, besides that the sea environs it. The workmen, who are ordinarily 500, march out in military order, and every evening receive their pay through a small hole in the gate where the governor lives.
The next day, I saw a wretch executed, who had murdered his master, for which he had his head chopped off by an ax that slid down a frame of timber, between the two tall columns in St. Mark's piazza, at the sea-brink; the executioner striking on the ax with a beetle; and so the head fell off the block.
Hence, by Gudala, we went to see Grimani's Palace, the portico whereof is excellent work. Indeed, the world cannot show a city of more stately buildings, considering the extent of it, all of square stone, and as chargeable in their foundations as superstructure, being all built on piles at an immense cost. We returned home by the church of St. Johanne and Paulo, before which is, in copper, the statue of Bartolomeo Colone, on horseback, double gilt, on a stately pedestal, the work of Andrea Verrochio, a Florentine. This is a very fine church, and has in it many rare altarpieces of the best masters, especially that on the left hand, of the Two Friars slain, which is of Titian.
The day after, being Sunday, I went over to St. George's to the ceremony of the schismatic Greeks, who are permitted to have their church, though they are at defiance with Rome. They allow no carved images, but many painted, especially the story of their patron and his dragon. Their rites differ not much from the Latins, save that of communicating in both species, and distribution of the holy bread. We afterward fell into a dispute with a Candiot, concerning the procession of the Holy Ghost. The church is a noble fabric.
The church of St. Zachary is a Greek building, by Leo IV., Emperor, and has in it the bones of that prophet, with divers other saints. Near this, we visited St. Luke's, famous for the tomb of Aretin.
Tuesday, we visited several other churches, as Santa Maria, newly incrusted with marble on the outside, and adorned with porphyry, ophite, and Spartan stone. Near the altar and under the organ, are sculptures, that are said to be of the famous artist Praxiteles. To that of St. Paul I went purposely, to see the tomb of Titian. Then to St. John the Evangelist, where among other heroes, lies Andrea Baldarius, the inventor of oars applied to great vessels for fighting.
We also saw St. Roche, the roof whereof is, with the school, or hall, of that rich confraternity, admirably painted by Tintoretto, especially the Crucifix in the sacristia. We saw also the church of St. Sebastian, and Carmelites' monastery.
Next day, taking our gondola at St. Mark's, I passed to the island of St. George Maggiore, where is a Convent of Benedictines, and a well-built church of Andrea Palladio, the great architect. The pavement, cupola, choir, and pictures, very rich and sumptuous. The cloister has a fine garden to it, which is a rare thing at Venice, though this is an island a little distant from the city; it has also an olive orchard, all environed by the sea. The new cloister now building has a noble staircase paved with white and black marble.
From hence, we visited St. Spirito, and St. Laurence, fair churches in several islands; but most remarkable is that of the Padri Olivetani, in St. Helen's island, for the rare paintings and carvings, with inlaid work, etc.
The next morning, we went again to Padua, where, on the following day, we visited the market, which is plentifully furnished, and exceedingly cheap. Here we saw the great hall, built in a spacious piazza, and one of the most magnificent in Europe; its ascent is by steps a good height, of a reddish marble polished, much used in these parts, and happily found not far off; it is almost 200 paces long, and forty in breadth, all covered with lead, without any support of columns. At the further end stands the bust, in white marble, of Titus Livius, the historian. In this town is the house wherein he was born, full of inscriptions, and pretty fair.
Near to the monument of Speron Speroni, is painted on the ceiling the celestial zodiac, and other astronomical figures; without side, there is a corridor, in manner of a balcony, of the same stone; and at the entry of each of the three gates is the head of some famous person, as Albert Eremitano, Julio Paullo (lawyers), and Peter Aponius. In the piazza is the Podesta's and Capitano Grande's Palace, well built; but above all, the Monte Pietà, the front whereof is of most excellent architecture. This is a foundation of which there is one in most of the cities in Italy, where there is a continual bank of money to assist the poorer sort, on any pawn, and at reasonable interest, together with magazines for deposit of goods, till redeemed.
Hence, to the Schools of this flourishing and ancient University, especially for the study of physic and anatomy. They are fairly built in quadrangle, with cloisters beneath, and above with columns. Over the great gate are the arms of the Venetian State, and under the lion of St. Mark.
Sic ingredere, ut teipso quotidie doctior; sic egredere ut indies Patriæ Christianæq; Republicæ utilior evadas; ita demùm Gymnasium à te felicitèr se ornatum existimabit.
About the court walls, are carved in stone and painted the blazons of the Consuls of all the nations, that from time to time have had that charge and honor in the University, which at my being there was my worthy friend Dr. Rogers, who here took that degree.
The Schools for the lectures of the several sciences are above, but none of them comparable, or so much frequented, as the theater for anatomy, which is excellently contrived both for the dissector and spectators. I was this day invited to dinner, and in the afternoon (30th July) received my matricula, being resolved to spend some months here at study, especially physic and anatomy, of both which there were now the most famous Professors in Europe. My matricula contained a clause, that I, my goods, servants, and messengers, should be free from all tolls and reprises, and that we might come, pass, return, buy, or sell, without any toll, etc.
The next morning, I saw the garden of simples, rarely furnished with plants, and gave order to the gardener to make me a collection of them for an hortus hyemalis, by permission of the Cavalier Dr. Veslingius, then Prefect and Botanic Professor as well as of Anatomy.
This morning, the Earl of Arundel (59), now in this city, a famous collector of paintings and antiquities, invited me to go with him to see the garden of Mantua, where, as one enters, stands a huge colosse of Hercules. From hence to a place where was a room covered with a noble cupola, built purposely for music; the fillings up, or cove, between the walls, were of urns and earthen pots, for the better sounding; it was also well painted. After dinner, we walked to the Palace of Foscari all' Arena, there remaining yet some appearances of an ancient theater, though serving now for a court only before the house. There were now kept in it two eagles, a crane, a Mauritanian sheep, a stag, and sundry fowls, as in a vivary.
Three days after, I returned to Venice, and passed over to Murano, famous for the best glasses in the world, where having viewed their furnaces, and seen their work, I made a collection of divers curiosities and glasses, which I sent for England by long sea. It is the white flints they have from Pavia, which they pound and sift exceedingly small, and mix with ashes made of a seaweed brought out of Syria, and a white sand, that causes this manufacture to excel. The town is a Podestaria by itself, at some miles distant on the sea from Venice, and like it, built on several small islands. In this place, are excellent oysters, small and well tasted like our Colchester, and they were the first, as I remember, that I ever could eat; for I had naturally an aversion to them.
At our return to Venice, we met several gondolas full of Venetian ladies, who come thus far in fine weather to take the air, with music and other refreshments. Besides that, Murano is itself a very nobly built town, and has divers noblemen's palaces in it, and handsome gardens.
In coming back, we saw the islands of St. Christopher and St. Michael, the last of which has a church enriched and incrusted with marbles and other architectonic ornaments, which the monks very courteously showed us. It was built and founded by Margaret Emiliana of Verona, a famous courtesan, who purchased a great estate, and by this foundation hoped to commute for her sins. We then rowed by the isles of St. Nicholas, whose church, with the monuments of the Justinian family, entertained us awhile; and then got home.
The next morning, Captain Powell, in whose ship I was to embark toward Turkey, invited me on board, lying about ten miles from Venice, where we had a dinner of English powdered beef and other good meat, with store of wine and great guns, as the manner is. After dinner, the Captain presented me with a stone he had lately brought from Grand Cairo, which he took from the mummy-pits, full of hieroglyphics; I drew it on paper with the true dimensions, and sent it in a letter to Mr. Henshaw to communicate to Father Kircher, who was then setting forth his great work "Obeliscus Pamphilius", where it is described, but without mentioning my name. The stone was afterward brought for me into England, and landed at Wapping, where, before I could hear of it, it was broken into several fragments, and utterly defaced, to my no small disappointment.
The boatswain of the ship also gave me a hand and foot of a mummy, the nails whereof had been overlaid with thin plates of gold, and the whole body was perfect, when he brought it out of Egypt; but the avarice of the ship's crew broke it to pieces, and divided the body among them. He presented me also with two Egyptian idols, and some loaves of the bread which the Coptics use in the Holy Sacrament, with other curiosities.
John Evelyn's Diary August 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 08 August 1645
08 Aug 1645. I had news from Padua of my election to be Syndicus Artistarum, which caused me, after two days idling in a country villa with the Consul of Venice, to hasten thither, that I might discharge myself of that honor, because it was not only chargeable, but would have hindered my progress, and they chose a Dutch gentleman in my place, which did not well please my countrymen, who had labored not a little to do me the greatest honor a stranger is capable of in that University. Being freed from this impediment, and having taken leave of Dr. Janicius, a Polonian, who was going as physician in the Venetian galleys to Candia, I went again to Venice, and made a collection of several books and some toys. Three days after, I returned to Padua, where I studied hard till the arrival of Mr. Henshaw, Bramstone, and some other English gentlemen whom I had left at Rome, and who made me go back to Venice, where I spent some time in showing them what I had seen there.
John Evelyn's Diary September 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 26 September 1645
26 Sep 1645. My dear friend, and till now my constant fellow-traveler, Mr. Thicknesse, being obliged to return to England upon his particular concern, and who had served his Majesty in the wars, I accompanied him part of his way, and, on the 28th, returned to Venice.
John Evelyn's Diary 29 September 1645
29 Sep 1645. Michaelmas day, I went with my Lord Mowbray (eldest son to the Earl of Arundel, and a most worthy person) to see the collection of a noble Venetian, Signor Rugini. He has a stately palace, richly furnished with statues and heads of Roman Emperors, all placed in an ample room. In the next, was a cabinet of medals, both Latin and Greek, with divers curious shells and two fair pearls in two of them; but, above all, he abounded in things petrified, walnuts, eggs in which the yoke rattled, a pear, a piece of beef with the bones in it, a whole hedgehog, a plaice on a wooden trencher turned into stone and very perfect, charcoal, a morsel of cork yet retaining its levity, sponges, and a piece of taffety part rolled up, with innumerable more. In another cabinet, supported by twelve pillars of oriental agate, and railed about with crystal, he showed us several noble intáglios of agate, especially a head of Tiberius, a woman in a bath with her dog, some rare cornelians, onyxes, crystals, etc., in one of which was a drop of water not congealed, but moving up and down, when shaken; above all, a diamond which had a very fair ruby growing in it; divers pieces of amber, wherein were several insects, in particular one cut like a heart that contained in it a salamander without the least defect, and many pieces of mosaic. The fabric of this cabinet was very ingenious, set thick with agates, turquoises, and other precious stones, in the midst of which was an antique of a dog in stone scratching his ear, very rarely cut, and comparable to the greatest curiosity I had ever seen of that kind for the accurateness of the work. The next chamber had a bedstead all inlaid with agates, crystals, cornelians, lazuli, etc., esteemed worth 16,000 crowns, but, for the most part, the bedsteads in Italy are of forged iron gilded, since it is impossible to keep the wooden ones from the cimices.
From hence, I returned to Padua, when that town was so infested with soldiers, that many houses were broken open in the night, some murders committed, and the nuns next our lodging disturbed, so as we were forced to be on our guard with pistols and other firearms to defend our doors; and indeed the students themselves take a barbarous liberty in the evenings when they go to their strumpets, to stop all that pass by the house where any of their companions in folly are with them. This custom they call chi vali, so as the streets are very dangerous, when the evenings grow dark; nor is it easy to reform this intolerable usage, where there are so many strangers of several nations.
Using to drink my wine cooled with snow and ice, as the manner here is, I was so afflicted with an angina and sore throat, that it had almost cost me my life. After all the remedies Cavalier Veslingius, chief Professor here, could apply, old Salvatico (that famous physician) being called, made me be cupped, and scarified in the back in four places; which began to give me breath, and consequently life; for I was in the utmost danger; but, God being merciful to me, I was after a fortnight abroad again, when, changing my lodging, I went over against Pozzo Pinto; where I bought for winter provision 3,000 weight of excellent grapes, and pressed my own wine, which proved incomparable liquor.
John Evelyn's Diary October 1645
John Evelyn's Diary 10 October 1645
10 Oct 1645. This was on 10th of October. Soon after came to visit me from Venice Mr. Henry Howard, grandchild to the Earl of Arundel, Mr. Bramstone, son to the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr. Henshaw, with whom I went to another part of the city to lodge near St. Catherine's over against the monastery of nuns, where we hired the whole house, and lived very nobly. Here I learned to play on the theorb, taught by Signor Dominico Bassano, who had a daughter married to a doctor of laws, that played and sung to nine several instruments, with that skill and address as few masters in Italy exceeded her; she likewise composed divers excellent pieces: I had never seen any play on the Naples viol before. She presented me afterward with two recitativos of hers, both words and music.
John Evelyn's Diary 31 October 1645
31 Oct 1645. Being my birthday, the nuns of St. Catherine's sent me flowers of silkwork. We were very studious all this winter till Christmas, when on Twelfth-day, we invited all the English and Scots in town to a feast, which sunk our excellent wine considerably.