ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Lucius, loved my parent, who was truly a parent to me, my husband, next to my parent; she was chaste in life: farewell, stranger: Long life to you.” Proceeding on a little farther, in a beautiful little valley before I reached San Lorenzo, I found the following inscription, which was nearly perfect, and was adorned with a head and two doves pecking at grapes:

[ocr errors]

I can make nothing of the fourth line, which ends with “vidit deus,' “God saw,” but the rest is to this effect: “Quarta Senenia Posilla erected this to Senenia Quarta: stranger, stop and read carefully what is written below, of a mother that was not allowed to enjoy the company of her daughter ; . . . . since it has not been allowed that she should in her lifetime be adorned by her mother; after death she has erected this, and in her last days she has honoured with this monument her whom she had loved.” * The village of San Lorenzo is said to be built on the site of Titi Balnea, baths erected by the Emperor Vespasian. The spring is still called by his name. The remains of the baths are of brick mixed with stone. You are shown a tomb which is said to be that of a daughter of the Emperor Nero, but history does not record that Nero had children, though he had several wives. The inhabitants of the little village of Magmalardo maintain that the Emperor Vespasian was born here A.D. 9. About a mile and a half from Ornaro, at Sta. Felicità, where there is a natural grotto, you find an ancient wall still supporting the road, and at Colonnetta di Ornaro there are some remains of ancient buildings along the brow of the hill. You then come to a very fine specimen of an ancient bridge, Ponte di Sambuchi, the bridge of elder-trees, as it is called, situated a short distance from the present road, but showing the course of the ancient road. The stones of which it is built are very massive, some of them being seven feet in length. It is eighty-six paces in breadth, and yet the stream is only thirteen feet broad. The bridge is in as perfect a state as the day it was built. Beside it are the remains of houses. I then hurried forward to Rieti, where I arrived about sunset, thoroughly knocked up by the fatigues of a July day. Accustomed to the wretched accommodation of an Italian locanda, I found the inn of Rieti most luxurious, though I daresay you would have condemned it as only fit for pigs.

XXXVIII.

At daybreak I wandered over the city of Rieti, the ancient Reate, and proceeded to examine what it might contain worthy of notice. It is a city of somewhere about twelve thousand inhabitants. Its cathedral, a Gothic structure, dates from 1456, and in the chapel of Sta. Barbara you are shown the statue of the saint by Bernini, with a monument by Thorwaldsen to Isabel Alfani. In the confessional below one of the pillars is a Roman Miliarium. In one of the streets is a mutilated statue without hands or head, called Mardo Cibocco, said, without any just reason, to have represented Cicero.

I spent a pleasant morning with Sir William Gell, and made an arrangement to accompany him next day to the site of the ancient Cutiliae. All who have had the pleasure of knowing Sir William are aware what a delightful companion he, is, and how ready to communicate his vast stores of antiquarian lore to those who feel an interest in such Old World matters. This is the centre of the aboriginal cities of Italy, and he gave me a plan of what he considered the position of these little towns. Guided by it, I spent the day in going over the ground. I proceeded first about two miles to Monte di Lesta, situated on the right of the road leading to Civita Ducale. This is the site of the ancient Lista, the capital of the aborigines, who dwelt in the mountain valleys round Reate. In going towards it up the banks of the Velinus I crossed the Ponte del Grancoro, which is evidently ancient, and formed of large blocks of travertin. There are walls of polygonal structure, much of the same appearance as the ruins which I saw near Moricone. Then crossing a mountain ridge I came to Monte Miciale, where Sir William would place Tiora; here there is some appearance of ruins close to the confines of the Papal and Neapolitan dominions, and there is a place called by the peasantry Casale à Toro. It is about two miles and a half from Monte di Lesta. It does not, indeed, suit the distance of three hundred stadia from Reate, given by Varro, but there may easily be a blunder in the cyphers. Tiora Matiene was celebrated for a very ancient oracle of Mars, the responses of which were delivered by a woodpecker. Batia, or Vatia, Sir William placed at Vato di Pozzolo, but there is no appearance of ruins. I went forward to Castel Franco, where I found the following fragment of an inscription: A. S. A.

Returning to Rieti, I crossed the Velino with its tributary the Turano, proceeding five or six miles to the village of Contigliano, where I found the following inscription, which was much obliterated:

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

This must have been a distinguished officer of the Emperor Trajan, A.D. 101 or 104, in the campaign against the Dacians, but his name is not mentioned in the historical records of the period. On my return, I found at the Casale di Chiesuola, two miles from Colle Baccaro, a number of large hewn stones excavated at the side of the road. It is difficult to say what ancient town was situated at Contigliano, but it may have been Corsula, a city destroyed before the time of Varro, born B. c. 116, and placed by him at eighty stadia from Reate, along the Via Curia, at the foot of Mount Coretum. It is situated on the declivity of a hill called Monticehio. Next morning I proceeded with Sir William Gell to visit the remains of Cutilia, towards the source of the river Velinus, in the neighbourhood of a small lake, having the name of Cutiliae Lacus. It is the lake which renders it interesting from its having had a floating island on its surface. It is thus described by Dionysius of Halicamassus (i. I5): “There is a lake, ever flowing, and, as they say, bottomless. There is a little island in the lake fifty feet in diameter, and not more than one foot above the water. It is loose, and floats about, the wind wafting it from one place to another; there grow on it a kind of rushes and a few bushes of small size.” As Sir William is a martyr to the gout, we took a carriage and four horses and drove in style through a most picturesque country, though the road was most detestable, and not at all suited for such a mode of travelling. The hills rose to a great height on each side, and the river Velinus winded along at their foot, occasionally forming marshes on either side. I thought that I had finished my intercourse with the police of Naples, but at Civita Ducale I found myself again face to face with these myrmidons. They demanded our passports, which we did not possess, and it was not without some difficulty that we received permission to pass on to the lakes of the Velinus, on a promise that we should return to Rieti the same night. As we advanced up the pass, the mountains rose to a great height, till we reached a spot where a plain lay before us about two miles in breadth, and here we came upon the lakes. The lower hills are covered with vines, while the higher ridges are clothed with wood. There are three lakes of different colours, where

the gaseous emanations of sulphuretted hydrogen cause the water on both sides of the road to boil up with great effervescence. It was much like what I had seen at the Lacus Ampsanctus, though the water was thrown up with less violence than at Ampsanctus. They can scarcely be called lakes, they are rather pools; the most remarkāble being Pozzo di Latignano, situated on the left of the road at the foot of the hill, on which the village of Paterno stands, and below the ruined terrace of a Roman bath. There can be little doubt that the ruins at this spot are the baths which we know were much frequented by the Romans for their medicinal properties. Most of the springs—some hot, some cold—are of a sulphureous character. It was curious to observe the basin of one of these springs surrounded by marble steps. Nearer to Rieti we had passed considerable remains of a Roman villa, which is probably where the Emperor Vespasian closed his life, A.D. 79, at the time he was making use of the baths (Suet. Vesp. 24, Dion. Cass. lxvi. 17). There is no appearance of a floating island, as Dionysius describes it; but the inhabitants state that occasionally pieces of the edges are detached, and are seen driven by the wind to the opposite side. This, however, did not take place while we were looking on. We proceeded forward eight or nine miles to the pass of Antrodoco, which is by far the most romantic that I have seen in Italy. None of the defiles that I have traversed equal this; neither that of Isernia, leading down to Venafro, nor the Caudine Forks, wherever you choose to place them. The pass from Lucera up towards Campobasso has something of the same wild appearance; but the precipitous nature of the banks, which closes down on the Velinus, and the lofty alpine character of the mountains, that rise on both sides, give it something of the appearance of a highland glen. The village is situated at the point where the Velinus issues from a deep gorge at the foot of Monte Calvo, and the Passo d'Antrodoco is where the two valleys meet. Its ancient name is Interocrea, which describes its position very significantly, as Festus says that ocris is an old word for mountain, and therefore it meant the village “between the mountains.” As we were to rest here for a few hours, I took a guide and ascended Monte Calvo, a spur from Monte Terminillo, and certainly the view from this point amply repaid the fatigue endured during the ascent. Away to the east rose Monte Corno, the Gran Sasso d’Italia, 10,154 feet above the level of the sea, so alpine in its character that chamois are met in the upper ranges. Its top is pyramidal, and its slopes seem to be covered with wood. The plains of Aquila lay before me, and the country away towards Lacus Fucinus, while the Campagna di Roma is seen very distinctly, and with a good glass I have no doubt Rome itself. On returning to Antrodoco I found my friends ready to start, and, after a delightful drive in the cool of the evening, through one of the most romantic parts of Italy, we reached Rieti without accident. At early dawn I proceeded forward through the plain of Rieti towards the falls of Terni; this used to be, and is still, one of the most beautiful and fertile districts of Italy. At Rieti the Velinus issues from the narrow glen, up which we had driven yesterday on our visit to Antrodoco, and emerges into this plain, which is not less than five or six miles in breadth. The hills rise to a considerable height on both sides, and little villages— Castel Franco, Cantalice, Poggie Bastone—are seen perched on their declivities, with the view of escaping the malaria caused by the inundations of the river, which is now increased to a large stream by its tributaries Turano and Salto. The plain is quite level, and seems to me as if it had once been entirely covered by water, and would again be so if a strong embankment were thrown across. Indeed, such a project was actually entertained in the reign of Tiberius, A.D. 15, with the intention of lessening the inundations of the Tiber (Tac. Ann. i. 79); but the inhabitants of Rieti were highly indignant at the proposal, as they declared that their valley and the city itself would be submerged. There are still a number of small lakes; among others Lago Lungo, and more particularly Piè di Lugo, no doubt the Lacus Welinus, covered as I passed with water-lilies and other marsh plants.

This plain is called by Virgil (AEn. vii. 712) Rosea rura Welini—“the dewy fields of Velinus;” and at the early hour that I proceeded along it, I can bear witness that it still has just reason for this appellation. I reached first a small chapel to the Madonna di Cuore, and here some of the peasantry were already offering their morning adorations. I have already said that the Italians are much more devout than we are. Can you imagine, in our selfish materialistic world, that in any part of Scotland, or even of Wales, we should find any of our peasantry at such an hour in the performance of their religious duties in public? I had been requested by Sir William Gell to visit Torretta as I passed down the plain, situated immediately under Torraccio del Forte, where I should find ruins. There you find the ruins of an ancient city, and this he is inclined to consider the position of Palatium, from which the city on the Palatine hill at Rome was supposed to have derived its name. Here I found the following fragment of an inscription, PRIMIO. A little farther on I passed Lago Lungo, and then reached the Ponte Crispoldi, over the rivulet Susanna. The small village of Pie di Lugo, with its castle, stands very picturesquely to the right, and then turning to the left, I came suddenly on the celebrated Falls of Terni. I have seen the cascades on the river Liris, at Isola, and also the Falls of Tivoli, but neither of them can be compared with what was now before me. The plains of Rieti are, I believe, about a thousand feet above the level of the river Nar, into which the Velinus falls; and as the waters rush down from such a height, the rainbow colours are most resplendent. There is a large body of water even in summer; but what must it be in winter, when the mountain torrents pour down, of which I heard the inhabitants of Rieti complain. Repeated attempts have been made to guide the waters of this river, and prevent the outlet from being blocked up by the deposit of travertine, which is caused by the water being strongly impregnated with carbonate of lime. The earliest attempt was by M’Curius Dentatus, after his conquest of the Sabines, about B.C. 272, when he carried off its waters by a deep cut, and enabled a large part of the valley to be brought under cultivation (Cic. ad Att. iv. 15; Serv. ad AEn. vii. 712). In the time of Cicero, B.C. 54, we find a dispute respecting the waters of the river, arising between the people of Termi and Rieti, when the orator was employed to defend the rights of the latter before the arbiters appointed by the senate of Rome (Cic. pro Scoar. ii. 27; Ad Att. iv. 15). I believe that the present outlet was formed in A.D. 1400, and has ever since continued, without being much impeded by deposits of travertine.

« 前へ次へ »