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aver the romantic islands of the Adriatic. But Venice has ts Bridge of Sighs, as well as its sources of enjoyment; and it was painful to part for years, perhaps forever, with one who had become so endeared to us, by his social virtues, and his acts of kindness and friendship. We took our departure on the same day, but in different directions, one party being bound to Trieste and the other to Verona.
RETURN TO PADUA—RIDE TO VICENZA— SKETCH OF THE TOWN-AKRIVAL AT VERONA OPERA EXCURSION TO LAGO DI GARDA PESCHIERA THE MINCIO VIEW OF THE LAKE SER
MIONE RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PENINSULA CATULLUS BANDITTI SKETCH OF VERONA HOLY
ALLIANCE SARCOPHAGUS OF JULIET TOMBS OF THE SCALI
GERS CHURCHES GREAT MEN.
September, 1826.—On the 22d we returned to Padua, and ihe next morning at four o'clock set out for Verona. We had the most novel, if not the most splendid sunrise, I have ever witnessed. The orient was in a blaze, and for some minutes the trees appeared, as if their foliage had been dipped in liquid gold of a pale yellow. There seemed to be an absolute materiality, and almost a tangibility in the light, resembling a substantial coat of gilding.
The road from Padua is level and uniform, bordered all the way with poplars, mulberries, and vineyards. We reached Vicenza at 8 o'clock. Two hours were busily occupied in looking at the native city and the architecture of Palladio, in which little was found to call forth our admirar tion. The city is three miles in circuit, and has a population of 30,000. A visit was paid to the modest mansion of the old architect. It is of the Ionic order, which seems to indicate his professional preference. His own statue guards the entrance, holding a tablet inscribed with the models of his art. On the opposite side is a full length figure, representing his favourite science, bearing the square and other appropriate emblems. The Olympic Theatre was built by Palladio, upon classic models, resembling those found at Pompeii. A triumphal arch leads to the Campus Martius, a beautiful green, irrigated by the head waters of the Brenta. The view of a castle and of the church of Magdalen, seated' on the neighbouring lulls, was worth all the rest to be found at Vicenza. Stones containing the water of crystallization were offered for sale; but the price was too extravagant.
At 11 o'clock we resumed our journey towards Verona. The country is rich, but wanting in variety of scenery. We crossed the Ponte Bello, the scene of one of Napoleon's great battles, in which some of his principal officers fell.
Just at evening we reached the banks of the Adige, which is here a large stream, winding through green and luxuriant borders. The show of carriages upon the Corso, extending beyond the gate, indicated our approach to Verona, the ramparts and domes of which presented a twilight view, by no means deficient in magnificence. Passing through that part of the town, which is called Veronetta, and crossing the bridge of the Adige, which unites it with the other section upon the right bank, we obtained good accommodations al the hotel of the Two Towers.
The evening was passed at the Opera. Among the performers was a Miss Barca, a Veronese girl, whose melody of voice infinitely surpassed any thing of the kind I have witnessed in Italy. Her person is not good, nor her face pretty, nor her action graceful; but her vocal powers are unrivalled. She warbles without effort, in all the sweetness and plaintive tenderness of the nightingale. The tones appear to drop spontaneously from her lips, breathing the very soul of music, and possessing an innate pathos, beyond the reach of art.
The day after our arrival was occupied in an excursion to Lago di Garda, or the ancient Lake of Benacus, the foot of which is eighteen miles from Verona, on the great road leading to Milan. The environs of the city are rural, and afford a noble view of the mountains towards the north. At noon we reached Peschiera, situated on the Mincio, at the outlet of the lake. It is a walled and strongly fortified town. The moats, passing under the lofty ramparts, are filled with the crystal waters of the river, flowing with a rapid current, and contributing to the cleanliness and health of the fortress. Sentinels were stationed upon the green mounds, rising like tumulr along the bank, and the town was thronged with soldiers, who are sent hither to prevent smuggling upon the frontiers of Switzerland. The range of barracks is several
unci red feet in length, two stories high, painted, and the winows shaded by green blinds.
Passing the arched portals, we crossed the bridge of St. rlark, which is perhaps three hundred yards in length, thrown ver the Mincio but a few rods from the lake, of which it »resents a noble view, as also of the river, which whirls jand lurries on with a broad, deep, and majestic current. Tbe complexion of the water is a brilliant sea-green. It is a gloious stream, worthy of all Virgil's eulogies. A small boat, vitri two lads for oarsmen, was immediately chartered to take is to the peninsula of Sermione, seven miles from Peschiera. rhe outlet of the lalte is so rapid and strong, that we found t difficult to stem the tide. An extensive and magnificent >rospect opens on the spectator, as he emerges from amidst fortresses, which rise like an immense castle from the waves.
The Lago di Garda is thirty-seven miles in length from north to south, and fifteen in breadth in the widest part. One of the oarsmen stated, that it is a hundred men deep—" uno cento uomi profondo." The water is so perfectly pure, that we could see the white stony bottom, at the depth of thirty or forty feet. It is embosomed by mountains, rising on all sides, of moderate elevation towards the outlet, but gradually becoming more lofty and rude, till they terminate towards the north in naked calcareous ridges of the Alps. Their summits are often cloud-capt, gloomy, and grand. The shores are deeply indented, and the bold rocky promontories, exhibiting here and there a solitary village, are extremely picturesque. Monte Baldo on the eastern side, and the peninsula of Sermione, on the western, projecting so far towards the centre of the lake, as to reduce it to less than half its ordinary width, form the most conspicuous features. To the latter point we directed our course, reading Virgil and Catullus, and looking at the mountains, as our boat bounded over the waves, which sometimes exhibit the grandeur of the ocean swell.
The report of cannon came from the distant hills, which at first puzzled us, to conjecture the cause, amidst these rural and peaceful scenes. It called up the image of those border wars, by which the pellucid waters have so often been crimsoned with blood. The mystery was soon solved. It was the last day of the Jubilee; and guns were fired as signals for the commencement of the sacred rights, as well as to give eclat to the celebration. By and by the village bell sent its peals across the water ; and afterwards a religious procession, under the banners of the cross, and headed by priests in their white robes and red sashes, was seen slowly emerging from the gate of Sermione, and moving along the shore of the lake. The multitude proceeded to a green hillock, at a short distance from the little village, and there knelt upon the turf, to say the Ave Maria, and to join in other services. A confused sound of voices, in which the chant of "ora pro nobis" was alone distinguishable, met our ears, as we came to anchor in the miniature port, under the frowning battlements and nodding towers of an old Gothic Castle, the basement of which is now occupied by a bed of green rushes. In the successive struggles upon the frontier, it has witnessed less pacific scenes, than to-day were exhibited under its walls. The harbour where the Roman poet used to draw up his pleasure-boat, was now filled with the barges of fishermen, who had come from the neighbouring shores, to unite in the festival; and mooring our bark among the fleet, we hastened to witness the ceremonies. Prayers were chanted aloud, to which the whole congregation responded, beneath the open sky, which was more refulgent than even the gilded canopies of Italy. The little mount, which was the ruin of an old redoubt, presented a glorious view of the lake and its shores, of the distant mountains, and of the hamlet of Sermione, composed of fishermen's huts, sheltered under the promontory. The number of inhabitants does not exceed five or six hundred, who subsist on the products of the lake.
In entering the gate,' we crossed an old bridge, which for aught I know may be the remains of that, on which the fair country girl of Catullus used to dance at evening. The houses and streets were emptied of their tenants, all gone to the festa. A local guide was found to conduct us over the Peninsula, and show us whatever it contains. It is perhaps a mile in length, and half a mile in width, actually separated from the shore by a canal. Its highest point is something more than a hundred feet above the water, terminating in perpendicular cliffs of limestone. The surface is covered with olives, interspersed with mulberries, and here and there a pyramid of cedar. On the very verge of the rocks are the ruins of an extensive fortress, said to be a Roman work, but more probably of after ages. Upon the summit also stands the antique Gothic church of San Pietro, now in a ruinous condition, dark and desolate, looking as if it had been pelted by
>rms for centuries. The cicerone, without shoes or hat, ok us to the Baths and Grottos of Catullus. I will not >uble my readers with speculations, whether or not they longed to the poet. The first is a small square building, ith an aperture to admit the water at the bottom. It apsars from the masonry to be of Roman origin. The grots are long subterranean arches, now in a state of dilapida»n. They are pierced at top for windows. Here perchance atullus kept his Falernian, and quaffed his geblets with esbia. Seating myself upon the ruins of the building, hich is said to have been his mansion, I read his description f Sirmio, “the little eye of Italy.” Two hours were delightfully passed in rambling over the eninsula, in examining its ruins, and in tracing the outlines f the lake above, which may hence be seen for nearly its *hole extent, till its head is lost to the eye amidst Alpine olitudes. In coasting along the shore on our return, the hant of the procession could still be heard, and glimpses of rucifixes and banners were caught above the intervening ringe of rushes. The devotees had been on a pilgrimage o a shrine, at the distance of a mile and a half from Sermi»ne. Towards evening the skies became cloudy, and as a fresh wind was directly against us, we did not reach the bridge of St. Mark till about 6 o'clock. Amidst the heedless enjoyments of the excursion, it was forgotten what a formidable length of road was to be traversed in reaching Werona. Night came on soon after our departure from Peschiera. In passing a thick forest, I saw the vetturino whisper to the valet de place, who was sitting with him upon the box. The latter leaned back into the coach, and told us in an under tone, that we were beset by banditti—that their voices and the trampling of their feet were heard in the woods on the right of the road, but a few paces ahead. As robberies had recently been committed on the same route, the information appeared not improbable. We sat still a moment, deliberating what should be done. In the meantime, the coachman leaped from his seat in a panic, seized his horses by the head, and was about to turn back. Against this measure we remonstrated, concluding there was as much danger in retreating, as in going forward. A peasant came along at the instant, and in some degree quieted the agitation of the vetturino, by expressing an opinion, that the persons heard conversing together were