« 前へ次へ »
I spent several hours in sauntering through the woods, and found myself at last so near the cascade that I was covered with the spray. The river rushes over a ledge of rock in one vast sheet in three different streamlets, and, as the rays of the sun struck them, the rainbow hues were very beautiful. The sides of the rock are worn to smoothness by the water, being straight where the artificial cut was made, while the hills on both sides are clothed with evergreens. Far below you see the river Nar flowing gently along, “sulphureå albus aquà” (Virg. Æn. vii. 517), of a whitish colour, from its sulphureous qualities. I crept down gradually to the bottom, and had a magnificent view of the cascade, as it dashed and tumbled from rock" to rock on its way down. There are a number of grottoes and caverns in the calcareous rock, in which I have no doubt would be found beautiful specimens of stalactites; but it would have required torches to explore them, which I had no means of procuring.
I proceeded down the valley of the Nar for four or five miles, till I reached Interamna, now Terni, in former times surrounded by a branch of the river, so as to be, in fact, situated on an island, whence it derived its name. Pliny (xviii. 67, 11) speaks of its meadows on the banks of the Nar as being cut for hay no less than four times in the year. The historian Tacitus is thought to have been born here about A.D. 59, and there is no doubt that it was the birthplace of his descendants Tacitus, emperor from A.D. 275 to 276, and Florianus, A.D. 276 (Vopisc. Florian, 2). It is still a flourishing city, but there are few remains of its ancient grandeur. You are shown what is believed to be the site of two temples, some portion of the baths, and a small fragment of an amphitheatre in the episcopal garden. There are a few inscriptions of no importance.
As I was only nine miles from Narni, with a good road, I did not hesitate to push on in the cool of the evening towards that city. The heat had abated, and as I jogged leisurely along the banks of the Nera, with the hills rising to the left covered with vines in their lower slopes, I thought that I had never seen a more delightful landscape. Hill and vale alternated in pleasing contrast with villages nestling amidst groves of the ilex and cypress, while the lower slopes of the hills were covered with vineyards. The walls and towers of Narni appear in the distance, perched on the summit of a precipitous hill and half encircled by the waters of the Nar, and when I entered its streets I found the inhabitants enjoying in their piazza the cool of the evening. The description of Claudian (de vi. Cons. Hon. 515–519) is still applicable:
Celsa dehinc patulum prospectans Narnia campum
“Next the royal cavalcade passes Narnia, perched on its beetling rock, and looking afar over a wide-spreading plain; close to it flows a river of peculiar colour, which gives name to the city, and, overhung by dark groves of the ilex, winds along with sulphureous waters between lofty ridges.” Nature still remains true to this description of Claudian, which must have been penned somewhere about A.D. 404. There the city, amidst ages of disaster and suffering, still stands on its beetling cliff, and there the sulphureous stream winds through a deep and picturesquely wooded valley below the walls of the town.
The bridge along which the Via Flaminia passed is still, even in its ruins, a striking object; it was of massive structure, and is thus spoken of by Martial (Epigr. vii. 93):
Perpetuo liceat sic tibi ponte frui.
“In that case let Narnia ever enjoy the benefit of its bridge.” Martial's prayer has not been granted, as no use can now be made of it. Of its three arches, the one on the left bank is still entire, being about sixty feet in height; the other two have fallen in, though the piers still remain. It was erected by Augustus, and was built of huge blocks of white marble. Next morning I proceeded through an uninteresting country to Amelia, which is situated about eight miles from Narni. Three miles from Narni I found an ancient bridge, Ponte Cardane, on a road leading to St. Germini. On the left rise a low ridge of hills bare of cultivation, with the castle of Marinata in the distance; but I was not sorry when I saw the ancient city of Ameria perched on a hill. It is a small city of about two thousand inhabitants, with as fine a specimen of walls of Cyclopean structure as I have yet seen. The stones are fitted into each other with great exactness, though of polygonal form, and above is the building of modern date. There are many inscriptions scattered through the town, and among them I copied the following as most interesting:
You will observe how curiously the words are divided on this stone,
erected by Claudius Glaucus and Claudia AEliane to their mother, Aufidia
At the entrance to the piazza there is a piece of beautiful frieze, and in one of the houses the following inscription stuck upside-down :
The door of the Augustine monastery is adorned with pillars of cipollino. I proceeded forward to Giove, which I knew to be in the direction of the river Tiber, which I had to pass on my way to Orte and the Lacus Vadimonis. The castle of Gioosa stands very prettily on a hill to the right, and after passing the small stream of Spicalante, I descended into a deep ravine, the banks of which were thickly clothed with oaks. A mile and a half beyond Giove, I came to the grotto of Malvicino, where are the remains of ancient buildings, and six miles farther on reached the banks of the Tiber, flowing here with diminished waters. There is a small village, Attigliano, close to the river, the meanderings of which are here seen to a great distance, and if the banks had been clothed with wood, the description which Ariosto (Canto xiv. 38) gives of them a little 19wer down would have not been unsuitable.
Ecco vede un pratel d'ombre coperto
When, lo! he saw a mead o’ertopt with shade,
Inquiring for ancient remains at Attigliano, I was told that I should find two statues at the Palazzo Ruspoli, near Buonmarzo. This old palace is prettily situated, and contains a collection of French engravings of the period of Louis XV. ; the statues are hewn out in the rock, and are said to represent Nero and his mother Agrippina, but a village sculptor must have been employed on them, as they are in wretched taste. Buonmarzo is supposed to be the site of the ancient Polimartium; the remains are found about two miles from the present village, where there is some appearance of ancient buildings, and numerous sepulchres are seen, one of which is adorned with paintings in the Etruscan style. The heat of this day's journey was excessive, and in strong contrast to the coolness of the last few days in the Apennines, when I was in the neighbourhood of Rieti. I reached Orte thoroughly knocked up, and was glad to throw myself down on a bed, without making particular examination as to its cleanliness. Orte is the ancient Horta, or Hortanum, situated on the right bank of the Tiber, nearly opposite its confluence with the Nar. Below the town are the remains of an ancient bridge, Ponte d’Augusto, as it is called, not, however, of the massive structure that is seen at Narni. The following inscription is found on a vase of Peperino, eight feet in length and two in height : D - M
H - O About four miles from Orte, near the village of Bassano, is a small
lake, Laghetto di Bassano, supposed to be the ancient Lacus Vadimonis, which was the scene of two successive defeats of the Etruscans by the Romans, B.C. 310, and again B.C. 283. Pliny the younger (Ep. viii. 20) speaks of it, and gives an interesting description, though it does not apply to its present appearance. Indeed, I have my doubts whether this little pool can be the lake to which he refers. According to Pliny, it was near Ameria, and as he was walking over the property of his grandfather he saw the lake lying below. To see this lake he must have crossed the Tiber either at Attigliano, where I crossed it, or by the bridge of Orte, and it can scarcely be said to be near Ameria. Here is his description : “Its form is exactly circular; there is not the least obliquity or winding, but all is regular and even, as if it had been hollowed and cut out by the hand of art. The water is of a clear sky-blue, though with somewhat of a greenish cast. It seems by its taste and smell impregnated with sulphur, and is deemed of great efficacy in all fractures of the limbs, which it is supposed to consolidate. Notwithstanding it is but of a moderate extent, yet the winds have a great effect upon it, frequently throwing it into violent commotions. Several floating islands swim about
in it, covered with reeds and rushes, together with other plants, which the neighbouring marsh and the borders of the lake produce. These islands differ in their size and shape. Sometimes they move in a cluster, and seem to form one entire little continent; sometimes they are dispersed into different quarters by the winds; at other times, when it is calm, they float up and down separately.” Nothing of this kind is now seen, but its waters are whitish and highly sulphureous, not at all unlike the little pools of Cutiliae, which I visited with Sir William Gell. It is situated in a picturesque spot, looking on one side to the wooded heights of the Ciminian forest, and on the other across the Tiber to the walls of Ameria. I then hurried down to Ponte Felice, on the great road leading to Rome, and was much tempted to mount to the summit of Soracte, which lay a few miles to the left. However, I resisted the temptation, as my time was fast running out, and proceeded forward to Civita Castellana, the site of the ancient Falerii, and having visited its ruins, which are within the reach of the most indolent of travellers, I got back to my friends in Rome, who wondered that I should have been able to withstand the excessive heat to which I have been exposed.