John Evelyn's Diary 1645 is in John Evelyn's Diary 1640s.
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.