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0 crush the delicate fabric below. But with all its defects, his old palace is peculiarly interesting. Its exterior bears be marks of neglect, dilapidation, and decay. Myriads of loves were observed hovering and seeking their homes imong its shattered pinnacles. Its form is quadrangular, eaving a spacious court in the centre, which is surrounded >y double ranges of arcades or corridors—one in the basenent, and the other round the second story. The ground on vhich it is built, like that of St. Mark's, has settled to such
1 degree, that the frieze is crooked, and the whole fabric seems ready to follow the destiny of the government, which >nce occupied its halls.
Austrian placemen have established their offices in the chambers of Doges and Senators, and the tyranny of the Council of Ten is maintained by the new masters of Venice, who have ruined its prosperity and reduced its inhabitants to beggary. The Grand Council Room has been converted into a library, with groups of statues elevated upon pedestals and scattered about the hall, among which the Emperor of Austria is the most conspicuous. The walls and ceiling are ornamented with pictures and frescos of the Venetian school—Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoretto. The same national spirit is visible in the embellishments of the old palace, as in the church of St. Mark. All the battles and victories of the Republic are delineated; and some of them have half a dozen editions from different pencils. The Venetian artists seem to have been much more patriotic than those of Genoa.
Of the other innumerable apartments which we traversed, the most interesting is the ancient Senate-house of the Three Hundred, where the "most potent, grave, and reverend signiors" used to deliberate, and settle the affairs of state. Wooden benches, painted red, are arranged round the room; and in a central position, a rostrum is erected against the wall, which each used to ascend to make his harangue. .
Near the Senate Chamber is the hall, in which the Council of Ten were wont to assemble. It is now occupied by an Austrian tribunal of Thirty; so that the number of tyrants lias probably been multiplied threefold, in the revolutions which Venice has experienced. In an adjoining room, inquisitions were made. It communicates by a dark narrow passage with a third apartment, whence the accused came to whisper a defence for himself, or an implication of others in the ear of the inquisitors, stationed in little boxes, resembling the confessories in Catholic churches. Such was the scene of some of the blackest crimes and of the most appalling tyranny, to be found in the pages of history. As the revolution has terminated, it is difficult to say, whether the subversion of the Venetian government was a curse or a blessing. It is certain that the city was never so poor and degraded as it is at present.
The Bridge of Sighs is an arched and covered gallery, extending across a canal, between the Ducal Palace and a Prison, on the opposite bank. It is perhaps thirty feet in length, and twenty above the water. Two heavy grated windows furnish the only light. The passage leading from the Palace to the Bridge is narrow, crooked, and dark. A solitary lamp glimmers on the wall, night and day, to light the footsteps of the visitant through the gloomy labyrinth. It seems still to be the avenue to the Bridge of Sighs; for while we were groping our way through its mazes, the clanking of chains was heard in the cells, and two criminals came out of the prison in their shirt-sleeves, with manacles upon their hands, and faces like daemons. A guide lighted his taper and conducted us into the Cimmerian regions, beneath the pavement of the Ducal Palace, forming the dungeons in which state convicts were confined and secretly executed.
The cells are eighteen in number, ten or twelve feet in length, and six or seven in breadth, arched at top, with a small aperture in front. They are built in double tiers, one above another. The lower range is on a level with the water in the canal, and the dip of the oar was heard through the partition wall. In the stones on the sides of the passage are little niches, made to receive bars extended across, on which convicts were hanged or strangled to death; and others, in which executioners set their lamps, the smoke of which has blackened the wall. The pavement is perforated with three holes, communicating with the canal, to draw off the blood shed in quartering other criminals; and on the left is a door, through which the bodies were thrown into boats,
to be taken away for interment. The inscriptions quoted in a note to the 4th Canto of Childe Harold, were pointed out to us; and Byron or Hobhouse, as the case may be, has given a very accurate account of the horrors of these dungeons. Opposite the Ducal Palace is the Mint, which we visited
ad saw a host of workmen forging silver bars, and coining 1cats. The process is slow and capable of many improveents ; but in a country where labour is so cheap, it is no bject to facilitate and expedite mechanical operations. We ent through the long range of palaces bordering upon the quare of St. Mark, the head-quarters of the Emperor of lustria, when he is at Wenice. The saloons are neatly finhed, but the furniture was strewed over the floors, and the ollection of the works of art is contemptible. In the course f a long walk, seldom interrupted by any object of curiosity, we found the room in which Napoleon lived, during his resience in this city. It looks out upon a pretty garden in the ear. There is a hole in the window sash, which he cut with is penknife, and inserted a peg, whence he suspended a mall shaving-glass. An excursion to the Public Garden furnished a more promilent memorial of the same great man, under whose direction his beautiful promenade was laid out, planted, and embelished. Artificial mounts, shaded by a young growth of rees, and overlooking the neighbouring waters, have been Brected in several places; and a neat coffee-house supplies visitants with refreshments. A handsome flight of steps in front forms a landing for gondolas, and a wide avenue connects it with the Square of St. Mark. The fashionable hour for the promenade is from 5 to 6 o'clock in the afternoon. In taking a turn or two through the alleys, we saw two aged Greeks walking together. Both are exiles. One of them was a patriarch of the church. He looked like another Belisarius, with his hoary locks and long beard. His companion was also an ecclesiastic, and appeared to be very fond of botany, as he paused to examine every plant and flower in the garden. They were conversing in the language of their country. The Greek exiles are numerous at Venice. In passing the arcades at St. Mark's, we frequently saw groups of them smoking, sipping coffee, playing chess and cards. They seem to lead an indolent life, perhaps because they can find nothing to do. They have a large handsome chapel in the city. It differs very little in construction, furniture, or ornaments from the ordinary churches of Italy, except that all the young females are secreted behind a screen in the gallery, after the manner of the Jewish synagogues. The mode of worship is nearly the same as that of the Roman Catholics. LETTER LXXXVI.
VENICE CONCLUDED—OLD ARSENAL NAVY YARD—BCCENTAUR
EXCURSION TO THE LIDO ARMENIAN SCHOOL—CHURCHES
TOMB OF TITIAN PALACES AND PICTURES ACADEMTY OF
FINE ARTS MAUSOLEUM OF CANOVA AMUSEMENTS THEATRE.
September, 1826.—Next to St. Mark's and its attendant buildings, the most interesting object at Venice is the old Arsenal, at the eastern extremity of the city. At its entrance are four colossal lions in Parian marble. They were brought from Athens and the Piraeus by the Venetians as trophies, in the age of the Republic. One of them is a beautiful specimen of sculpture, said to have been made to commemorate the battle of Marathon. The other three appeared to be ill proportioned, long, gaunt, and spiritless.
The portals of the Arsenal are lofty, and enriched with a hundred trophies, taken in the wars of the Venetians with the Turks and the Barbary Powers. But the double-headed eagle of Austria now perches upon the spoils, brought home in the triumphant navies of the old republicans, and the bust of the Emperor is the presiding genius of a place, consecrated by the fame of Dandalo and his associates in arms. The guide first took us into the Armory, or more properly the Museum of the Arsenal, occupying two large halls filled with a great variety of the implements of war, partly invented by the Venetians, and partly captured from their enemies.
Among a thousand other things, are guns and cannon of a curious construction, used by the Doges in celebrating their victories, as well as in meeting the foe—mortars for throwing stones a foot in diameter, employed with effect against the Genoese, by which one of the Dorias was killed near Venice—scimetars, pikes, small arms of all kinds, and banners won from vanquished nations. The standards have crests of horse-hair, with halberds at the top of the flagstaff, which give them a martial appearance. Some of the muskets were fired by matches, the -machinery for lighting which is here to be seen. Helmets and ancient armour of very description are suspended from the Gothic pillars, rhich support the ceiling.
We visited every department of the Arsenal, which is two niles and a half in circuit. It is one of the finest Navyfards I have ever seen, not excepting Toulon itself. The vater is of sufficient depth to float the largest ships; and lie docks are surrounded with substantial quays, covered >y acres of roofed buildings, supported by stone and brick .rches.
In the depository of models, occupying an extensive hall, >ut not so well filled as that of Toulon, the most interesting .rticle is an exact copy of the old Bucentaur, so famous in lie annals of Venice, as the state-boat which used to coney the Doge and Senate to the nuptials of the Adriatic with ts mistress, as well as to other splendid fetes. It had two leeks, one for the gondoliers and the other for passengers, t is pierced for fifty oars; but only twenty-one upon a side fere used. In its best estate, it was probably inferior to the loyal Yacht of England, or Cleopatra's Barge of our own ountry. On the deck is a staff, for hoisting a banner, and he bow carries the lions of St. Mark. The model is com>letely equipped, and exhibits a perfect idea of the original, vhich was laid up in ordinary, after the conquest of the French in 1796. We visited the dock in which the Bucenaur used to lie. Fragments of her are still preserved, susiended from the walls of a ship-house by cords. One side >f the boat is nearly entire. It is painted red, and embossd with gilt emblems in bold relief. In the same dock is the tate barge built for Napoleon, and now transferred to his mperial successor: also a boat belonging to the Grand iutchess of Parma, the late Empress of France.
From the Navy-Yard, we crossed the Lagune, a distance if a mile or more, to the Lido di Palestrina, the outlines of ihich have already been described. The inside is lined with perpendicular wall of brick and stone. We walked across lie peninsula, which is less than half a mile in width. Much f it appears to be the natural surface, composed of modeate swells, coated with grass and wild bushes. The sumait of the ridge presents a glorious view of the Adriatic on >ne side, and of Yenice on the other, with the Rhaetian Alps >eyond. In crossing the neck, we accidentally stumbled ipon an old cemetery of the Jews, whose very dust is kept listinct from the rest of mankind. The rude slabs are envoi,. Sh 3§