Ch. 19 I invite the reader to join me in a drive through Roman Tuscanya — the ancient Etruria — and the Sabine Mountains. This offers special interest to the traveller just now, from the fact of the recent annexation of these Papal States by the kingdom of Italy. It is safest to travel by vetturino, that essentially national institution which may too soon have ceased to exist, as the iron way spreads in Italy. The post-chaise has much to recommend it to old‑fashioned folk, even if it is not always the most luxurious mode of locomotion possible. It gives chances of becoming acquainted with interesting localities and their people, which neither the stage coach, plying daily between Rome and Perugia, nor the railway can afford.
One early morning in September,b when the weather was at its very best, and the Tuscan Campagna was wrapped in all the glorious colours of its autumn mantle, I drove out from Rome by the old Flaminian Way, through the p296 Porta del Popolo. To the right rose 6 Soracte, peaked and solitary, while the mighty summits of the Sabine range gradually revealed themselves in a succession of magnificent vistas. Towns are scarce; the first we reached, the ancient Saxa , now called 5 Prima Porta, took its old name from the red rock which crops out just there, and which is a peculiar feature in the Romano-Tuscan landscape. This formation, with its mimic hill and dale and precipice, is picturesque, with high-lying plateaux, which suggest good sites for towns. Those who have visited Veii and Castellana can realise what this curious formation looks like; it is quite unlike any other in Latium.
The Tiber at first accompanied us, winding beautifully through level fields, mountains rising grandly from its banks. Presently we quitted it, turning to the left to visit 4 Castelnuovo, near Rignano. The road was here enlivened by a detachment of Papal Guards, marching pretty fast, and shrouded in such a thick cloud of dust that they remained some unreal to me, nor did I discover the destination of this, the last display of the Papal troops which I saw in the Pope's dominions.
Roman Tuscany, divided by the Tiber from the Campagna, formed part of the patrimony of p297 St. Peter, although it is a mistake to credit the Empress Matilda with its bestowal on the See of Rome. That munificent benefactress of the Hierarchy owned, it is true, a few farms in this district, but her fiefs were principally situated in Latium. This Patrimony of St. Peter was the oldest of the Papal possessions. The first gift ever bestowed on the Bishops of Rome is recognised now to be 7 Sutri, above the Lake of Bracciano, and that was given to the Church by Liutprand, the Lombard king. While the Carlovingian dynasty held rule, the Popes enjoyed the suzerainty over all the other towns of Roman Tuscany, ruling them by rectors or Duces Comitis. These lands were forfeited when the Carlovingian dynasty fell, reverting to their former hereditary counts, who re‑assumed their rule over them.
When the Empress Matilda reigned, the Bishops of Rome possessed neither territory nor political influence in either the Sabina or Tuscany. The so‑called "Donations" of Pepin and Charles were gibed at and flouted by a hundred petty counts and barons, then supreme rulers in those territories.
It took many wars, and the lapse of long centuries, to re‑establish the Papal power and re‑assert its supremacy in what had of old been its patrimony.
p298 We rested for six hours, during the heat of the day, at 3 Rignano, still in the of Rome, but here its authority ends. Small and inconsiderable as it is, Rignano,c like so many little towns in Romagna, gives a title to a great family. The eldest son of Prince Massimo is called the Duke of Rignano. At the inn I met a colonel of the Papal Guards, now discharged from service and trying to reach his home at Macerata.d His pass, it appeared, did not satisfy the Piedmontese commandant on the frontier; it had not been viséed by the Consul, so he had been turned back. These guardians he described as very autocratic; they regarded with suspicion everything emanating from Rome. A reaction, so he fondly hoped, was now setting in. An exciting rumour, to the effect that 200 Neapolitans, in Zouave uniforms, were marching north, was current here and in other towns. They were about to cross the Tiber; some testified to having seen their encampment. The townsfolk here were living in dread of such excesses as had occurred in Naples. My vetturino became uneasy, and settled to shorten our day's journey by stopping at 2 Civita Castellana. The movements of the reported Zouaves had caused the despatch of those Papal Guards we had seen by the river bank. We met no more troops that afternoon p299 as we pursued our journey through a magnificent district. The scenery grew more and more beautiful when Rignano was left behind, and we trotted along the Flaminian Way, skirting the base of Soracte, on its acclivities each little town and mediaeval church clearly distinguishable. This mountain — immortalised by Virgil and by Horace — stands in the heart of Tuscany, yet is visible from Rome. It rises from the plain, a rugged mass of reddish limestone, lifting its sharp and beautifully defined crest far above the Tiber. Its isolation, its colour, its conformation, all reminded me of Monte Cairo by San Germano, though Soracte is higher of the two, rising •two thousand feet above the sea level. Archaeologists recognise it as the shrine of ancient pagan gods, and the historian prizes it as the scene of many important events during the Middle Ages.
Pope Sylvester, that lucky Pontiff who baptized the Emperor Constantine in the Baptistery of the Lateran, receiving in return — so the legend has it — not merely the city of Rome and Italy, but the whole of the Western world in recompense — (how long did the belief in that absurd donation last?) — Pope Sylvester lived here in solitude during the days of the persecution of the Church. A Monastery bearing p300 his name was built on the summit of Soracte, on the site, so it is now conjectured, of an ancient temple to Apollo. It was famed as being the oldest existing in Romagna. Carloman, the eldest son of Charles Martel — the great Frankish hero — here assumed the cowl in 746. He forsook Soracte for the still more beautiful Monte Cassino, in order to escape from the incessant incursions of the French nobles who were bound to stop at the Monastery for rest and refreshment, on their way to Rome.
Many other convents were established on Soracte, most which have now been destroyed. In one of them — St. Andrea — near the foot of the mountain, the monk Benedict wrote his important yet barbarous History — or Chronicle — in the tenth century. It was discovered in the Chigiana at Rome by Pertz, who had it printed in the Monumenta Germanica. This borderland of the Sabina was a very stronghold of the Benedictines. Their ancient Monastery, Farfa, is still standing on the further side of the Tiber. Farfa was a famous Imperial and Ghibelline Convent under the Lombard kings. The German Emperors frequently utilised it for defensive purposes. On the whole it has little learning to boast of, though students of mediaeval times owe some gratitude to the compiler of the precious p301 Codex, or register of Farfa, now preserved in the Vatican Library.
This important record of edicts, deeds, &c., like that written at Monte Cassino by Petrus Diaconus, affords excellent information to all who devote themselves to historical research. The Teuton regards Soracte with the more interest from its association with the journeys to Rome so often made by his Emperors during the pontificate of Pope Gregory. The very road they traversed remains intact to this day, following the course of the Tiber, and passing Flajanum — now called Fiano — as it goes north from Rome.
To my regret, it was impossible for me to visit the town of 8 Oreste, which nestles so invitingly on the very summit of the mountain. Archaeologists allege that the famous Temple of Feronia once stood there, and that the town, now built on its foundations, was once called St. Edistio, corrupted to St. Resto and St. Oreste; but it is more likely that the name came from that of the mountain itself — Soracte — which, during the darkness of the Middle Ages, was converted into that of an apocryphal saint.
At six o'clock we reached Civita Castellana, a strange place, with a view, extending to Veii, which is quite unsurpassable. It rises from a reddish‑coloured rocky platform, its shattered p302 wall, draped with climbing plants, forming, with the Tiber which encircles it, and is crossed in each direction by fine old bridges, a natural defence for the town. A deep gorge, cleft by the river Treja, offers most striking and picturesque points of view, such as must enchant an artist.
During the Middle Ages, when the inroads of the Saracens rendered this region insecure (they destroyed the Monastery of Farfa on one occasion), the ancient town of Falerii, standing in a strong position on a rock where the present town is now placed, was made available for defence and once more occupied under the name of Civita Castellana. Its old stronghold became the residence of powerful nobles, and is often named in the records of successive Popes. Here Vibertº of Ravenna, the anti-Pope and dangerous rival of Gregory VII, lived and died.
There is but little to note now in this pleasant, spacious place, with its 2400 inhabitants. Like the other towns in the "patrimony," it has been the seat of an archbishop from early days.
The Cathedral of Sta. Maria has a Romano-Gothic vestibule and portal, curious specimens of thirteenth-century architecture, with their round arched windows and vaultings. The pillars and mosaics are Romanesque. In the portico p303 are many inscriptions, the oldest of which, dating from the ninth century, concerns a gift of land made to the See.
The town has no municipal relics. Of its feudal period only the castle, built at the end of the fifteenth century, and with the Borgia arms emblazoned on its façade, now remains. It was built, by command of Pope Alexander VI, by Antonio di Sangallo. It has been used latterly for a or State prison. Visitors may still remember the famous robber chief Gasparone, whom they may have seen when he was imprisoned here. He was a near relation of Cardinal Antonelli. I did not ask whether he was still alive and incarcerated there. A friend of mine went to see him out of curiosity. He asked the bandit how many men he had caused to be murdered. "Not very many; only about twenty," replied the fellow.
A French flag was flying above this dark and picturesque old place, which is the last Papal stronghold on the border and is occupied by Napoleon's troops. The French soldiers described their banishment to this remote spot as being most ennuyant and sad. They had certainly some reason to grumble at the lack of shade or protection from the blazing sunshine, and yet the town was thought to be p304 very healthy in former days. They also complained of the sourness of the wine, and its want of strength. After a good night's rest at an inn, the "Post," which proved to be fairly clean, I departed betimes in the morning. Civita Castellana, being at the junction of many important highways, seems to be much frequented by travellers.
Here, where the Tiber divides the remnant of the Papal dominions from the new kingdom of Italy, I encountered the first detachment I had seen of Piedmontese soldiers. The river, flowing , forms the boundary between Umbria and the Sabina. On the hither side I came upon the ruins of an ancient place called Borghetto — now the last of the Pope's possessions on this road. Old Father Tiber winds charmingly through a spacious and glorious valley, the Sabine Mountains standing all round it; the gleaming white towns on their heights are now filled with Lombard and Piedmontese troops. The river is wide at 9 Borghetto, and is spanned by a beautiful old bridge just below it, called Ponte Felice, in memory of its builder, Pope Sixtus V — Felix Peretti — who completed it in 1589. So far, ships have ascended the Tiber to this bridge. For some years past small steamers, starting from the Ripettae in Rome, p305 have made weekly trips up the river, carrying wares for the Sabine markets. Quite a brisk trade had been carried on until the long drought of the present summer lowered the stream, and at present only an occasional coal barge may be seen upon it, or moored to its banks.
Just in the middle of the bridge, above the inscription to Pope Sixtus, the French flag was waving. The jurisdiction of the present successor to so long and world-renowned a dynasty of Popes ends there. There begins the new kingdom created — per fas et nefas — in the year 1859 by the Italian revolutionaries. At the other extremity of this bridge hung two Italian standards — they hung disconsolately from the lances supporting them, while withered laurel-leaves were still crowning them. There was not a sufficient breeze to stir these ensigns, and the Italian and French tricolours seemed to regard each other very doubtfully. In a hut close by, big, broad-shouldered Piedmontese Guards kept watch and ward over their three-coloured ensign, with its inexorable green stripe. These powerful-looking, big fellows looked solemn and suspicious when they demanded my passport in a patois which offended my ears, so long used to the soft Latian tongue. While they examined it, I took occasion to p306 return to copy the inscription to Pope Felix; but I was stopped by a grenadier, who rushed after me, declaring pretty vehemently that he dared not permit me to recross that bridge — he himself dared not overstep the boundary by so much as one inch; that would show me how authoritative was their flag. Remonstrance was vain; the brave fellow could not see what I wanted, nor would he listen to one word I tried to say — back I must go. The good man behaved quite civilly, and both he and the customs officer were perfectly friendly. The panorama seen from this bridge was most extensive and beautiful. Just opposite stood the grim old 1 Magliano, the See of a Sabine bishop arrested and imprisoned some months ago, and beyond it was Poggio , now the headquarters of the Piedmontese frontier army, for the civil governor had replaced the Papal delegate of the province at the larger town of Rieti.
Ch. 20 I drove on and up into that beautiful mountain region — its hill-sides rich in oil and wine and chestnuts — a smiling district truly. The people are a strong, honest, patriarchal race; primitive and untaught for the most part. The character of this district is quite unlike that of Latium, with its sunny southern aspect. The p307 dry summer had parched the land, and the maize looked deficient, the olives rather scanty, but the vines gave promise of an abundant crop. The little old town of 10 Otricoli, so famed for the number of artistic treasures which have been discovered there, was our first halting-place. Here was found the head of Jupiter, now in the Vatican Museum. Here the celebrated Arnoldo of Brescia was taken prisoner by the followers of Barbarossa, to be first incarcerated, then given over to the tender mercies of the Cardinals, and finally to be executed in Rome. He experienced the fate that Italy might hope for now under Papal rule.
Otricoli is called an Umbrian town, though the boundary is invisible, and it is in the Legation of Spoleto. Here we entered that strong and ancient Duchy. So far the only evidence of the new order of things had been the display of the Italian flag, while the arms of Savoy were newly painted up at conspicuous corners. Here with found Piedmontese grenadiers, lancers, and bersaglieri everywhere; the last, in their peaked hats, cocks' feathers, and short blue cloaks, looked figures fit for the stage. The National Guards increased in numbers as the Roman boundary receded, till at last the "Regulars" disappeared almost entirely.
Just at the back of Otricoli is the great ravine p308 through which the waters of the Nera rush down from the mountains to join the Tiber. After this, 11 Narni, with its mighty fortress and its many church towers, rose up before us. It is one of the oldest cities in Umbria; its position is very fine just where the Nera, hastening away from its dark bed, enters a wide and ground valley through which it takes its course. This bursts on our view suddenly to the right, with mountains on each side of it, the bold arches of the ancient Roman bridge spanning the torrent to the left. As the eye travels over those Umbrian hills, one longs to explore 12 Ameliaº with its fig groves, and many another fine region now unfolded to us. •About five miles from here lies Interamna, now called 13 Terni, the birthplace of Tacitus.f A more leisurely ramble through these enchanting regions in either spring or autumn would be delightful.
Narni, besides its splendid castle, possesses many monasteries and churches well worth seeing. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Juvenal, the first Bishop of Narni. Its chief treasure is the great picture by Lo Spagna of the Coronation of the Virgin, in the Convent of the Zoccolanti. Many genuine pictures by Lo Spagna are to be found in these Umbrian towns, with some that are by no means genuine. Not many remains p309 survive of its Cyclopean walls, while of the Roman monuments of Narni, the birthplace of the Emperor Nerva, only the bridge built by Augustus over the Nera still remains, admirable in its decay. It has been one of the most stupendous works of its period, though but one of its arches is now left. This fragment, the rushing river, a convent hard by, with the massive buildings in the town and the unequalled view which stretches out below it, form an enchanting picture, view it from what point you may. The bridge fell into decay in the twelfth century. That it no longer existed during the dynasty of the Hohenstaufens is proved by the fact that Parcival Doria — Tancred's General of Horse — was drowned in an attempt to swim his steed across the Nera, both man and horse being in full panoply at the time. As it would have cost more to repair the ancient bridge than to build a new one, the present bridgeg was erected in a less dangerous position than its predecessor.
The reference to Tancred's general recalls another notable personage whose prestige is maintained at Narni. Just in front of the cathedral stands a bronze equestrian statue by Donatello — the first of its kind produced by the Italian Renaissance. The Venetian Senate placed it there to do honour to a well-known Condottiere, p310 Gattamalata, so called in return for services rendered to the Venetian Republic. He was a native of Narni, by name Erasmus.h Yet another well-known man was born here — Cardinal Bernardinoº , who died in 1479, and lies entombed in the crypt of St. Peter's in Rome. The Eroli are the sole surviving patrician family now left at Narni, where they live in the old family Palazzo. The present Marchese Giovanni Eroli is a man of some renown as an antiquary, an authority on historical subjects, as well as a living chronicle of the monuments in his native district, and a describer of them in his "Collection for Collectors" in the Miscellanea .
I stopped for a few hours and visited this very genial gentleman, who, though already in his prime, still remains a bachelor. Such a man must find living in a small and forsaken town like this all the more unendurable, if he is an accomplished and intellectual person. The Marchese was evidently pleased to welcome a passer‑by of congenial sympathies, more especially as I came from Rome. He received me in the kindest manner, and was ready to facilitate any researches I might wish to pursue in Narni, or in the archives of any other Umbrian town I might intend to visit. He asked me to come into his studio, p311 which was at a short distance from the Palazzo. This turned out to be a photographic studio, heated to the temperature of a forcing house, and well-nigh insupportable. His attempts were scarcely such as to induce me to sacrifice myself on the altar of dilettantism, though the camera was placed on a floor inlaid beautifully with black and white marbles.
When we quitted Narni, a land of green hills, olive groves, and smiling villages, with brimming rivers to refresh the vegetation, lay before us. Cheerfulness and abundance, beauty and grace abound in this garden of Mid‑Italy. The country folk speak with a certain musical cadence. It is easy to understand how a school of painting should have flourished here, where charming subjects abound, and every form of beauty surrounds the artist and inspires his pencil.
This Umbria is the stepping-stone between the south and the still finer land of Tuscany.i A splendid road traversing the fruitful and delightful Campagna of Narnij soon brought me to Terni, the birthplace of Tacitus, a place chiefly known now by the falls of the , which I did not see.k I wandered round the town — a stirring place with about 9000 inhabitants, fairly clean, and where the Renaissance has almost superseded the ancient baronial architecture of p312 mediaeval times. Many important palaces prove it to be the residence of rich and important families, while its political situation makes it rather a lively place just now. Being larger than Narni — nearly as large as Spoleto — it possesses a good deal of importance. The Italianising of the town was very evident. I saw the signboards over tradesmen's shops re‑painted in red, white, and green — the national colours — and the national flag decorated the table at which we dined. A peculiar species of green watermelon, which, when cut in two, displays these three colours, grows hereabouts. A vendor of "cocomeros" — so these melons are named — had unfurled a big tricolour flag over the stall on which his wares were shown, and on this the goddess of melon culture was displayed, a lady of genial aspect arrayed in cocomero colours. She was supposed to represent Italy, and beneath her stated that Natura mi questi colori. The witty melon merchant had, no doubt, good reasons for it. In the Papal States nature also reproduces the colours symbolising the powers that be — and more especially when they may be discovered in a stale egg cut in two.
The streets are re‑named; so are the cafés and hotels. Returning home after an absence p313 of a few years, a former inhabitant will wonder where he is. The big square which used to be the Piazza Sta.Maria — or St. — is transformed into the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele. Other patron saints are ousted in favour of Cavour, or Garibaldi, or , men of the sword, or legislators. It would be amusing to reckon all the streets and cafés in Italy that now rejoice in the name of Garibaldi.
Terni is the headquarters of General Brignone, and the street corners display appeals to the people, from the Umbrian Intendant, to come forth and be enrolled. I am told that the Umbrians are more averse to the hated conscription than are the newly annexed people of the Marches. Fugitives arrive here fleeing from this conscription. They have been encouraging the reactionary feeling in Naples, and it is almost impossible, in the present state of the country, to guard the frontiers from their ingress. It will take a long time to accustom the Italians to compulsory military service. One precious boon which the people received from the Papal government was freedom from compulsion to serve in the army.
The Roman emigrants now in Terni and other towns and districts of Umbria amount to at least 5000, I have been informed. The number may p314 possibly be exaggerated. In Rieti, their former headquarters, disagreements arose between the aliens and the natives, and hence the former have had to spread themselves over other parts of the province. These exiles are likely to fare badly, as a committee formed to aid them can scarcely find funds enough for its own subsistence. Being in direct touch with the national committee in Rome, they conspire with it eagerly. The Umbrian and Sabine newspaper, called Italy and Rome, is probably edited by these exiles. It is published at Perugia; it is read with avidity, and many copies of it are smuggled into Rome.
From Terni I went to 14 Spoleto — a monotonous but invigorating drive of many hours' duration, partly beneath the shade of oak forests. Just behind Terni the ascent of the Apennines begins, or rather of that mountain called 15 the Somma. An excellent high-road winds up to the col of this mountain, through a ravine carved by the Strettura, with huge cliffs on each side. This mountain stream, which has such volume during the winter, is now dried up. Its sides are clothed with brushwood, but not a village, not a farmstead is visible during the ascent. The excellent white oxen of the district were yoked to the carriage, and as they clambered up slowly I enjoyed a p315 ramble on foot through the mountain solitudes we were ascending into. The breeze was so fresh, the air so elastic, that I walked for hours without feeling the least trace of fatigue. Profound tranquillity now prevails, and there is nothing to fear from robbers. As I went on ahead I saw a man hiding among the bushes. He cowered down, making frantic gestures, such as Italians are rather apt to fall into when they see a stranger approaching. I stopped in the middle of the road — he signed to me still more excitedly to proceed, but I kept my ground. Was he warning me of some danger? At last he came down over the rocks, and then I saw that he was a good-looking young fellow in the uniform of the National Guards. "You seem to distrust me," he said. "I signed to you to go on your way peaceably and not to spoil my sport. I have hidden to find out what that youth and the girl are doing down in the ravine yonder." Then I went on, seeing how excited the simple lad was. Ay! jealousy — the green-eyed monster — lurks even in these silent hills, which seem to have been created for a patriarchal people. This victim to the passion may have had good reason for his, however, for presently a little pair stole away from under the bushes, taking a tender leave of one another as they emerged from beneath the p316 branches. The girl followed the dry bed of the river, while the lover disappeared in the distance. He will barely have escaped being knifed.º
Ch. 21 At last we gained the top of Somma Pass, the oxen were unharnessed, and for •six miles we rolled down a similar deep ravine to the one we had just ascended, passing charming groups of mountains, and wonderfully soon the old town of Spoleto came into view: beyond it the vale of the and the vale through which flows the Tiber.l After being buried in the recesses of the mountains for so many hours, Spoleto presented many fine and striking aspects. It seemed to me I had never beheld so picturesque an object as that dark old fortress crowning it, with its towers, its crenellated walls and low battlements. As the golden rays of the setting sun struck full upon it, it looked like an ideal city arranged in the grand historical style.
Much depends upon the point of view from which these ancient towns first burst upon one's view. It is our own conception of them which gives its significance to most places. As yet I did not know Spoleto, but how rich in interesting memories and remains it was to me! — its history coming down from the Lombard Duke Faroald,º to the luckless General Lamoricière, p317 who had made it his headquarters last year (1860), hoping to defend the Pope's territories against their last usurpers with but a handful of troops to assist him.
When I entered it the impression of antiquity entirely vanished. The world of fashion was streaming up and down a gay esplanade, disporting itself in clean streets, between modern houses, while an air of universal prosperity gave one the pleasantest impression of the lives its inhabitants must lead.
The Lombard Duchy of Spoleto was founded in 570, shortly after King Alboin had led his army into Italy. Its first two Dukes were Faraold and . They seized one province after another from the Greeks till their Duchy at last comprised the greater portion of Mid‑Italy — the Sabina, Umbria, Marsia (the present province of the Abruzzi), and the Marches of Fermo and Camerino. The Popes lived in constant dread of these Lords of Spoleto, whose domination threatened them even more than did that of Benevento, the other great Lombard Duchy established in Italy at the close of the sixth century. When Charlemagne had made an end of the Lombard dynasty, the Lords of Spoleto, though then merely vassals of the French King, remained sufficiently p318 powerful to ensure the maintenance of their dignity by France herself. After the fall of the Carlovingian dynasty, Guido, Duke of Spoleto, crowned himself Emperor, bequeathing his empire to his son Lambert, a brilliantly heroic youth, who was killed when hunting in the year 898. These two, Guido and Lambert, the only Dukes of Spoleto who attained to the Imperial title, may be called the Emperors of the Italian people, by whom they were elected — Emperors opposing the German claimants to the throne, although those were French by descent. When the German Othos were reinstated, the Duchy of Spoleto fell to them in reversion, as no heir of the Lombard race then survived. For a time it was incorporated in the territories of the Empress Matilda, together with Ancona; but at last the Papal See possessed itself of all those estates, to which, ever since the days of Charlemagne, a claim had been made, first by Innocent III. Gregory IX finally succeeded in annexing Spoleto and the Marches of Ancona, Camerino, and Fermo to the States of the Church. The actual possession of those areas by the Holy See dates to the early thirteenth century, but some of its territories were subsequently lost, as for example the March of Ancona, which fell to Rome only in 1532, Fermo and Ascoli as well becoming Roman only then.º In 1532 this possession was granted, to be lost again only, and within the space of a few brief days, in 1860.
The French commandant Lamoricière chose Spoleto as his headquarters on account of its p319 central position. Troops massed there might be dispersed in many directions to attack the Piedmontese. General Schmidt was placed at Foligno; Pimodan, with the second brigade, at Terni; and De at Macerata. At first Lamoricière feared he must direct his attack on Naples — against Garibaldi; then Fanti's manifesto informed him that the Piedmontese had marched upon Umbria, and the Marches, on the 8th of September, while Masi had burst into Città della Pieve, in the Papal States, and was marching on Orvieto. Lamoricière got his troops together on the 10th, and on the 12th he set out for the Marches, followed by Pimodan, leaving 300 Irishmen under the command of Major O'Reilly, with two cannons, to guard the Citadel of Spoleto. This little fortress was attacked on the 17th by the Piedmontese under General Brignone. According to Lamoricière, the Irishmen defended themselves valiantly, repelling many assaults, and only yielding after twelve hours' hard fighting. He also reported that the Piedmontese lost 100 killed and 300 wounded, while the Papal troops had only three dead and six wounded. It was strange enough that the last stand by this ancient fortress should have been by the Irish. It retains marks of the battle still. No p320 soldiers are garrisoned there now; it has become a State prison.
Except here, all traces of last year's events have vanished from Spoleto. The Delegation is now turned into a Sub‑Prefecture, under the government of Perugia, the seat of the central authority for Umbria. Thus Spoleto has lost the importance which attaches to a provincial capital, with its delegates almost resembling courtiers. These small provincial Papal governments — especially those ruled over by the Papal legates — possessed a certain amount of independence. All that is now a thing of the past. Prefectures and districts take the place of provinces and of the political divisions existing formerly. The old historic designations — Umbria, the Marches, and Sabina — are only retained for their geographical value.m
The streets of Spoleto slope gently upwards to pleasant squares, wonderfully picturesque and thoroughly Italian in character. Portions of the town are uninhabited and falling into ruin, yet one easily perceives that it has been the centre from which a minor monarch has ruled over a rich district, though it now barely possesses 9000 inhabitants within its walls. The Renaissance prevails to the exclusion of older styles of architecture, yet there are many fragments of p321 the Roman period still to be seen. One old tower, beside the Gavotti Palace, brings to mind that day when Hannibal fell back upon Spoleto after fighting his great battle by the Lake of Thrasimene. It is called Porta della Fuga, or Di Annibale.
I sought in vain, however, for any trace of the Lombard period. "Where did the Palace of the Dukes of Spoleto stand?" was the first question I asked, but no reply was forthcoming; the historian, Giancolombino Fatteschi, declared it to be unknown. Of the Palace of those princes who were once so powerful here, who ruled Spoleto for so long a period, not a stone remains that could attest to their place of residence; all memory of its site has passed away. There is a vague tradition which might lead one to conjecture that it stood in the cathedral square where the Aroni Palace now stands. Yet in that fortress dwelt and reigned successively the Counts Faraold, Ariulph, Toto, Thrasmund, Agebrand, Hildebrand, Gisulph, Guido, and Lambert. Their long line, beginning in 569, ended when Conrad the Suabian swept away their ducal rule in 1198.
The cathedral stands in a charming piazza, against a background of mountains, and is the oldest monument of the Middle Ages in Spoleto. p322 It was built in the year 617 by Duke Theodolapius,1 but during the lapse of ages it has been much restored. It is now a beautifully simple church with a Romano-Gothic tower and a façade of the thirteenth century. The atrium, by Bramante, is comparatively new.
This façade is adorned by a great mosaic, the work of Solferino, bearing the date . I noticed with surprise this early specimen of Umbrian art. Fra Lippi, one of the most pleasing of the early fifteen–century painters, has immortalised himself by the frescoes with which he has enriched the choir. He lies buried beneath it. Unluckily the rest of the interior has been entirely modernised; not even in the atrium does one mediaeval inscription remain. In addition to the cathedral, which is the chief ornament of the town the Church of San Pietro, a specimen of Lombard architecture, still remains. Amongst the sculptured figures which cover its façade is a series which depicts most naïvely the fable of Reynard the Fox.n
The communal buildings, great part of which is old, contain a beautiful, quite wonderful fresco of the Madonna and Saints by Lo Spagna, also a marble tablet with an inscription stating that the town was destroyed by the Emperor Barbarossa, p323 that terrible destroyer of cities, in the twelfth century. I transcribed it, as it now exists, from the wall. It runs as follows: —
hoc est Spoletvm
Fridericvs et igne cremavit
si qveris qvando
post partv Virginis anoo
tres novies soles Jvlivs
tvnc mensis habebat.
It is possible that the Palace of the Lombard Dukes was destroyed in this conflagration.
The upper town is connected with Monte Luco by a gigantic aqueduct — a most picturesque object. The town is cut off from the mountain by a ravine •260 feet deep, now spanned by this stupendous bridge, with its ten tall, narrow arches. It was built in 604 by Duke Theodolapius, third of his line, but it has often been renewed. It conveys the water for the use of the town from Monte Luco; a narrow footway, leading from the Citadel, follows the course of the aqueduct out, on, and across the mountain side. Crossing that giddy height on a windy day, you may well cling to the handrail for safety. This p324 Monte Luco is the Umbrian Montserrat. A Syrian hermit, St. Isaac by name, had made it his retreat. In the tenth century a Convent had grown up beside his hermitage, and so many Anchorites had come there that the hill then almost resembled the Thebaid. Only one cell is now left in its original form, the Anchorites having long since deserted their Umbrian retreat. Many of their dwellings have been converted by the townsfolk into pretty country villas. A stroll beneath the venerable oaks which clothe the mountain slopes is delightfully refreshing. The air to‑day was filled with the fragrance of the balsams and herbs which clothe the ground. Gentle breezes stirred the leaves of the old trees overhead; scarcely a sound, not even the tinkle of a bell, broke the stillness. Looking down from these heights, the white ribbon of the Flaminian Way can be traced as it creeps up to the city gate, and far away stretches the learning misty valley of the Tiber.
The mighty mass of the Citadel rises majestically above the town, commanding all the district. This is a noble building, of the best Renaissance period, one of the most beautiful now left in Italy; its dark quadrangle is broken by low turrets.
The once famous Gil d' Albornoz, a contemporary p325 of Cola di Rienzo, the People's Tribune, began the restoration of this Spoleto fortress (already old in 1356); Pope Nicholas completed it later on. Its former lords are now forgotten, but a fascinating and world-famous woman who once looked forth from its lofty casements is still a vivid personality to the world. Her name was Lucrezia Borgia. She was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and he appointed her châtelaine of Spoleto, for, at least, a brief period. Lucrezia was the Cleopatra of the fifteenth century. In the year 1499 her father gave her the regency of this district, an unexampled honour for any woman to attain to under the Papal government. The beautiful Duchess left Rome on horseback, with a splendid retinue, on the 8th of August 1499, to assume the command bestowed upon her. The magnates of Spoleto received her outside the gates, and escorted her up to the Citadel. Here she took up her abode, after delivering to her lieges an apostolic brief from her father, which ran as follows: —
"To my well-beloved children greeting, and our apostolic benediction. We have delivered to our daughter, beloved of Christ, the noble dame Lucrezia di Borgia, Duchess of Bisceglia, the office of guardian of our Citadel, as well as regent p326 of our towns of Spoleto and Foligno, together with all their lands and provinces, for the good and peaceful government of our said towns. Relying on the unusual wisdom, distinguished truth and uprightness of the said Duchess Lucrezia, as is set forth and more fully declared by us in divers briefs, also on your obedience to us and to our holy office, we hereby exhort you to receive your regent the Duchess as you are bound in duty to do. To give her all honour and observance, to obey her in all manners and ways and under all circumstances; and as we desire the said Duchess should be reverenced and received with full acceptance by you, so we command you to obey the said Duchess Lucrezia, your regent, as you value our favour and hold it of worth. If you would avoid our disfavour, obey her in all that concerns her rule and the rights and customs thereunto appertaining both in particular and in general, also in all she may think fit to command you to do, as if she were ourselves in person, showing yourself zealous and apt to carry out all her ordinances, giving her due and joyful service as it beseems you to do.
"Given at Rome, his signet, and the symbol of the fish, this eighth day of August in the year 1499."
Lucrezia must have found her life dull and p327 intolerable when suddenly installed successor of the Lombard Dukes in this old fortress of Spoleto. The only fact which has been recorded of her brief tenure of office is that she reconciled the contending municipalities of Spoleto and Terni.p A deed is still extant in the archives of Trevi bearing on it this formula in her handwriting, Placet ut supra Lucretia di Borgia. Her residence, however, as governor, was but brief. When the Pope came to Nepi, his beautiful daughter went to visit him on the 21st of September, and she returned finally to Rome during the following October. A few months after her departure, in July 1500, her husband, Don Alphonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglia, was poignarded by Caesar Borgia on the steps of St. Peter's, followed to his house, and there murdered.
She left her chief officers in charge of Spoleto, — Antonio degli Umioli of Gualdo, a Doctor of Jurisprudence, and her secretary, Piccinino. Pope Alexander bestowed the regency on Borgia, Archbishop of , on the 10th of August 1500.
Ch. 22 From Spoleto to Foligno I followed the course of the Clitumnus, driving through its beautiful vale, and passing that exquisite little temple erected near the crystal spring from whence the river takes its rise. This temple, of which Pliny's p328 description must now suffice, is dedicated to its tutelary deity.q The post station, Le , is close by that crystal-clear spring.
All around is a smiling district, with enchanting vistas of the Umbrian Mountains visible in the distance. When you traverse this little Papal kingdom as I have done, travelling within a few weeks from the heart of Latium to the Tuscan borders, you must confess that this was a valuable monarchy; any king might have been glad to wear its crown. You must behold its meadows, its forests, its ancient towns, in order to grasp what superhuman piety any man must have possessed to patiently resign such an inheritance. Yet the force of circumstances cannot be withstood by even the most legitimate of claimants.
16 Foligno is a considerable town, with double the inhabitants of Spoleto — a busy place, with factories where cloth, paper, wax candles, and the best confettir in Italy are made. It is sure to increase in importance, standing as it does at the projected junction of the Umbrian and Roman lines of railway.
Everything looks more or less modern here, yet the town can boast of palaces of the style and date of Bramante. The interior of the cathedral has been entirely renovated; the façade and ancient portal alone retain their Gothic ornamentation. p329 It contains a masterpiece by a pupil of Perugino, one of the best artists of the Foligno school, by name Niccolo Alunno.
After Foligno I passed 17 Trevi,s and 18 Spello, seated each on its hill, both mediaeval towns with dark towers and battlements and ancient gates, and still retaining their antique character. Many of the houses in Spello were destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1831; they still lie in ruins. This betokens but little energy in its citizens. I now approached the valley of the Tiber, which flows down between the mountain heights on which stand Perugia and Assisi. Where we crossed it, below Bastia, it looks almost small and infantine, but its Campagna is fruitful and very well cultivated; much maize is grown in it, rows of mulberry trees festooned with vines standing up from amidst the yellow grain.
I left 19 Assisi to be visited more conveniently from Perugia. The native town of St. Francis rises grandly, from the mountain side, in terraces and arcades, its ancient towers and mighty walls bearing up the Convent dedicated to the Saint. •About two miles below it stands the huge memorial church of 21 Santa Maria degli Angeli, built in the sixteenth century to enshrine the little chapel of St. Francis; but, as it was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1831, Gregory XVI caused it to p330 be rebuilt, on the plan of St. Peter's in Rome, by the architect Poletti. It is colossal in its proportions and tasteless in its design. There could be no greater or more glaring contrast than that which it presents to the beautiful old town above it. It is a modern edifice, devoid of all religious sentiment or feeling of devotion. The idea it suggests to the beholder is, "What an immense amount of money it must have taken to build it!"t
Its only commendable feature is its size, which is vast. The sanctuary of the saint is preserved intact beneath the central dome, soaring high above it. In curious contrast to the modern building which shrouds it so strangely is this small Gothic chapel. It was built to commemorate the miracle of the roses which gave St. Francis the idea of founding his famous Order. Votive tablets and offerings have been placed in the oratory, which is dimly lighted by candles. When it is open, worshippers are seen kneeling on the devotional chairs within. A fresco covers each gable of the tiny building: one is by Overbeck, and is said to be his best work; the other — a beautiful painting of the school of Perugino — has been much restored. It may be by Lo Spagna. These works of art have the same relation to one another that a modern church bears to an ancient basilica, or a modern saint p331 to a mediaeval one — at least a saint as depicted by a modern artist to one by Fra Angelico. The former has its measure of worth, but imitation flowers are apt to be without perfume or life. The greatest of our modern painters can produce no picture which succeeds in moving us, or in casting over us that spell which a Perugino or a Pinturicchio unconsciously wields.
Ninety Franciscan monks occupy the Convent of Santa Maria. The Revolution has spared them, and also those at Assisi, so the monk who was my guide assured me. He looked, notwithstanding, very sad, very depressed. What is asserted as to the suppression of the Umbrian monasteries is much overstated. I have seen monks so far at all the places where I have stopped. Italy will never be emancipated from them; she will never utterly banish them from her shores. They belong to the land just as do its flowers and animals. The Capuchins, the Zoccolanti, the Benedictines, the teaching brethren, have in no instance been suppressed, though numbers of the monasteries of other Orders have been closed by the edict of . The estates of the Church, very extensive ones in Umbria, have been sequestered, but none of them sold. Still, there can be no doubt that some have been dealt with too summarily.
p332 Set aloft on its many hills which rise steeply from the river below, most ancient in its aspect, recalling Palestrina in both its position and character, 20 Perugia now comes into view. When you enter the famous capital of Umbria, you feel at once that it is an important place. It impresses you as being essentially a town of the Middle Ages, with an important municipal record. The ruling town of the province, rich and prosperous, a museum of Umbrian art, an old‑established centre for the sciences and belles lettres by means of its University, it was the jewel in the Papal diadem, and consequently it was treated indulgently and considerately. Ever since the Byzantine epoch Perugia has been, in name at least, a possession of the Church; and yet, like other towns, she was withdrawn for whole centuries from the Pope's sway, predominant amongst her neighbouring Republics. Governed by turns by the People (Raspanti) and the Nobles (Beccarini), her proclivities alternately the Guelph and the Ghibellines, she became at one period, just because of her faction fights, a residence of many Popes in succession. The great Innocent III died here in 1216, and here he was buried in the same vault with Martin IV,u who died of the eels of , having eaten of them p333 to excess one Holy Saturday. Innocent IV also resided in Perugia. Here died also the unfortunate Benedict XI, the last of the Popes who resigned before they were exiled to Avignon.
During the fourteenth century this municipal Republic flourished exceedingly. The whole of Umbria was then subject to it; but in 1370 it was forced once more for a time into submission to the Pope. After five years the citizens rose in rebellion and demolished the Papal fortress, only to be once more conquered at the close of that century. But the internal dissensions against the townsfolk themselves and their republican independence by no means came to an end at that period. The families of Oddi and , the latter especially being pre-eminent for its warlike leaders, played a prominent part in these internal wars. The notorious Braccio Fortebraccio, who once made himself master of the town, was a Perugian. At length Pope Julius II overcame Paul Baglioni, who was beheaded finally by Leo X in the fortress of St. Angelo in Rome. Paul III annihilated every remaining spark of independence in Perugia. From thenceforth the Republic was governed by Cardinal Legates, who took up their residence in the noble old Communal Palace of the town.
p334 Perugia remains imbued more thoroughly with the spirit of the Middle Ages than do many Italian towns. You find none of the modern tavern and restaurant life there which pervades most places now. That serious and consistent, yet cultivated courtesy prevails still, which dates from the party conflicts between noble and commoner. The fame of those former leaders and tyrants, the Baglioni and Fortebraccio, is now eclipsed by that of her great families and her craftsmen. Perugino is the great glory of the place, and its boast.v The Perugians were the first to recognise the full value of that talented master, who laid the foundations of Raphael's glory. But I will not try to bring "owls to Athens" by dilating here on those two great artists' works. I will not even attempt to describe the Cambio, which their genius has adorned so richly, and which is the great treasure of Perugia.
Perugia is divided into an upper and a lower town, connected by curious flights of steps and bridges of brick. From both, the view over its curious groups of buildings, as well as the wide panorama around, is very surprising.
The upper town, the old Perugia, is much the more beautiful and remarkable, with its broad and finely-laid Corso, or principal street, a lasting monument of her republican period, as well as p335 her many huge palaces, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.w Their Romano-Gothic façades, so old and so full of character, produce an effect of completeness almost unique in these days; they relate the history of the place — present to us her very features, if one may say so. The Palazzo , dusky and sad, sombre and vast, with its Moorish doorways and windows, dates from . On one of its walls it bears the arms of the princes who have been her allies and of their towns. Beneath the griffin, the heraldic cognisance of Perugia, hang the chains of the gates of Siena, carried off in ancient days by the Perugians.
The Piazza del Duomo — the cathedral square — on which one side of the municipal palace looks out, is adorned by the great Pisani fountain and the bronze statue of Pope Julius III. I will not speak of the cathedral, nor yet of many another church, such as St. Domenico, in which is the tomb of Benedict XI, or St. Agostino and St. Francesco — all of them have already been abundantly described. The treasures contained in the great palaces of the Conestabili, the Donini, the Baglioni, the Bracceschi, the Baldeschi, the Monaldi, the Penna, and the Cenci have also been written about again and again.
p336 Not far from the Corso arose the Fortress of the Popes, built by Paul III, Farnese, and his horrible son, Pierluigi, who put the Perugians to the sword. This all‑compelling fortress was built on the site of the old Baglioni Palace. Violent hands were laid upon it in the year 1848; it was destroyed, and it now lies low, a heap of stones only indicating where it once stood. This was the stage on which was fought out the last battle between General Schmidt and the Nationalist troops, and its relics are gruesome enough to behold. I found a number of the younger citizens perambulating this spot, and regarding it with evident satisfaction. They seemed to be feasting their eyes on the ruins of this, their miniature Bastille, while entertaining each other by recounting the incidents attending its capitulation to the soldiers of General Fanti.
The old structure was of no strategical importance, though it had served in old days to bridle the citizens. The Piedmontese troops marched up to it from all sides unimpeded, and were able to take possession of it without let or hindrance from its garrison. It has not yet been decided what may be built on its site. Its position on the brow of the hill is very fine, and the view it commanded of the vale of the Tiber and its p337 surrounding mountains is magnificent.2 The square on which it stood has been named after Victor Emmanuel, and its change of name is commemorated on a marble tablet erected to commemorate the 14th of March, when the Italian Parliament confirmed the fact of its having been named after the king. A road leads down from thence to the lower town. The ancient glacis and walls have long both used as a public promenade, as in so many other Italian towns. This is, in some cases, difficult to effect when the ascent to the higher levels is steep. It filled me with joy to see the alley of German chestnut trees bordering this walk, but the long drought has bared them of all their leaves, and only forlorn, little, shrivelled‑up clusters of flowers cling to the branches and give them a wintry aspect.
A stranger naturally sets himself to the exploration of the principal walks in a strange town, and on Festa days these are discoverable by their being the resort of the élite of the place; but this indication does not hold good as regards Perugia. Here the number of promenaders was small even on the sunniest evenings,x and very few wives seemed to walk abroad p338 with their spouses. On the other hand, filles de joie abounded; a gruesome sight it was to see them, with their balloon-like crinolines and veiled faces, pervading the place.3 It is deplorable to find that the decorum which had prevailed previously in all Italian towns is no longer observed since 1859 — so, at least, it would appear; and the towns previously under Papal jurisdiction are now given up to unbridled licence. I cannot remember to have ever before beheld so shameless a parade of these creatures as I saw in broad daylight in the streets of Perugia. Young men were not ashamed to confer with them openly in the Corso. It is horrible, too, to see the flood of obscene photographs from France which is just now poured out over Italy. It is, however, a source of great commendation that the Pope has forbidden by an edict all traffic in such wares in Rome. This should be done in all the other towns. Nothing can be more fatal to the morals of the people than this abuse.
Ch. 23 On the whole Perugia is quiet at present. I saw very few regular troops; the National Guards, having possession of all the defensible posts, are encamped in great numbers near the town. These recently embodied troops will, it is said, p339 be ultimately enrolled in the national army. Colonel Masi, who commands them, was, it is said, originally secretary to one of the Buonaparte princes.y He spent many years in America embarking in unsuccessful speculations, and in 1859 appeared on the Tuscan borders as leader of their newly formed bands of volunteers, winning his spurs first at Montefiascone. It is strange that this race of Condottieri, peculiar to Italy in the Middle Ages, should have survived there so obstinately. The Italian hate regular military service, being too independent by nature to submit willingly to be disciplined. I saw the army of Francis II at Naples, when they were marching on Aquila in 1858. They looked splendidly equipped and well organised, but those 50,000 men were scattered like chaff before the wind by Garibaldi's volunteers. Now they have placed themselves under the leadership of such adventurers as Chiavone, Crocco, , and Cipriani, to fight and be shot down like bandits. That romantic kind of warfare appeals to the Southern temperament. The more moderate, amongst whom there are also cavalry, are joined by many free‑lances even from Rome, where young fellows will often escape from their parents and employers to serve in the regiments at Spoleto or Perugia.
p340 You see these young officers full of national feeling and enthusiasm in all the cafés here. The general feeling seems hopeful on the whole in Umbria, it appears to me, though one has to confess that the difficulty of the situation is great. The seed of reaction is still vital, and exists among the former officials belonging to the aristocracy and the priesthood, who have been treated with clemency and retained when it was practicable to keep them on. The Umbrian nobility, when, as in Perugia, they belong to old and wealthy families, remain attached to the old régime. Besides being fettered to the Papacy by tradition, by family ties, and by serving it in many capacities, they dread being swamped by the new democracy. These nobles live in sulky seclusion on their estates, or in their palaces in the towns. The small gentry, on the other hand, have joined very readily in the new movement, and the same may be said of the inferior clergy.
Perugia possesses no fewer than thirty‑six convents for monks and nuns.4 A few have been closed, such as, for instance, the Dominican Monastery, the brethren having now migrated to Rome. The higher clerics abhor the Revolution. The Umbrian Episcopate to a man p341 rallies round the Pope. This unanimity of the Italian dignitaries — the exceptions are so few as not to be worth considering — has something impressive about it. The bishops have again and again contravened the edicts of the Umbrian Intendant by pastoral letters when these decrees affected convents, the estates belonging to the Church, the abrogation of the ecclesiastical forum, or the abolition of clerical control in public schools. This Intendant, by name Gualterio, is a self-reliant personage who takes no notice of their protests. The Press is perfectly free. In Perugia, so lately under Papal jurisdiction, Diodati's Bible is for sale just as in Florence, and all the bookstalls abound in vehement invectives against the Papacy. The dell' Umbria and the weekly Roma e l' Italia, which are both published in Perugia, contain tremendous articles against the domiciliary priests and the Cardinals. The friends of the former administration are obliged to be satisfied with showing their passive antagonism to the new order of things, being overborne by its magnitude and power.
The University here, once under the protection of the Popes, and distinguished both in ancient and modern days for its excellent teachers, now contains the same conflicting elements. Many of the professors, belonging to p342 the old nobility, are reactionary, while the more youthful spirits have embraced the newer doctrines and are revolutionary. There has ensued some stagnation in the courses of instruction. Young men have forsaken the rostrum to take arms in their hands, and the world of letters suffers from the absence of repose and concentration needed for study. Neither does there seem any prospect of this evil becoming less. Perugia, as some men have laughingly assured me, must absolutely become the capital of Italy. This, it has really been thought, might be desirable, because, besides being the very navel, or centre, of the country, it possesses many other requisites for it.
My object was to pursue my archaeological studies, with a view to the History of Rome in the Middle Ages, in the admirably ordered muniment room of the Decemvirs in the Palazzo , as well as elsewhere.
At present all documents removed from the various convents are in the possession of the municipality. Twenty‑two monasteries have been suppressed, those only excepted which are occupied by the Mendicant Friars and the Benedictines of San Pietro.
As they had been also suppressed in 1810, however, many of their deeds and records have p343 been lost. One of the professors at the University, Signor Adamo Rossi, took me to the former Servite Convent, Sta. Maria Nuova, where the town archives have been placed in several rooms. Whole piles of parchments lay heaped up or scattered over the floors, a disheartening spectacle, for it looked like some vast treasury which we lacked strength to unearth. We burrowed into it like true treasure-seekers, clouds of dust rising up around us as we stirred the rolls, but not one important document did we discover. These were evidently only Convent records, of purely local interest.
The forlorn aspect of these convents is indescribable. Grass grows in their empty courts, and the scholastic spider weaves her webs in their forsaken halls and corridors, where a few sad‑looking monks glide about like spectres of the past. It is the conclusion of a historical epoch which we have come upon here.
Eight brethren survive in the famous old Abbey of the Benedictines, San Pietro, where Gregory IX, the inexorable foe of Frederick II, lived for two years. The Monastery is nine hundred years old. It has a fine basilica attached to it, of beautiful proportions, resting on antique granite columns. This is counted the gem of Perugia. It is a veritable museum, filled p344 with specimens of Umbrian art by Perugino, Orazio , Doni, Lo Spagna, and other old masters, as well as exquisite copies by Sassoferrato of Perugino's and Raphael's masterpieces. These Benedictines do not complain of their lot — they seem to have resigned themselves to it. The worthy Abbot expressed himself as being in favour of a united Italy, but he would like to be assured that Rome was still to be left for the Popes. I could see that he had something else much at heart about which he was silent. The privilege has been granted to this Abbey, as well as to the metropolitan one of Monte Cassino, of preservation till after the death of the last monk. These brethren have established a school of agriculture for fifty boys.
One of the younger men showed me their archives, which include certain Imperial diplomas signed by Henry III, Conrad III, and Barbarossa, and many Papal Bulls. Its great glory, however, is, or was, the oldest deed in Perugia, the privilege granted to Petrus, first Abbot and founder of the Monastery, in 978, by Pope Benedict VII. When the town was stormed in 1859 by the Swiss Guard, under the command of the Pope's general, Colonel Schmidt, they broke into the Abbot's residence, p345 where they ravaged everything. They flung about diplomas (so I was told), tore the seals from Papal Bulls, and, alas! laid violent hands on that priceless document. A small fragment of it was rescued, and is placed under glass by the wall of the muniment room. One of the monks has composed a Latin epigram to perpetuate for all time to come the vandalism of these troops and the furor Helveticus.
I went my way through Umbria, trying always to explore the archives of each town I came to. Everywhere I was most kindly and liberally treated, thanks to certain letters with which I had been provided by the Italian Minister of Education, Amari.
Of all these places none has left a more charming impression on my mind than 22 Todi.
This very ancient town, called in old times Tuder, or , is seated on a smiling eminence above the Vale of the Tiber, in the midst of a hilly district, clothed with olive groves and vineyards, through which the beautiful river glides tranquilly. Remote from the great thoroughfares, Todi seems to lie wrapped in slumber; in a silence which is by no means that of death, but of retrospection — in the memory of her past glories.z
It was night when I got there, having travelled p346 by the post carriage to the foot of the hill, whence I was driven up to the gates of the town, in search of a hostelry. It did not promise well, that dark and forlorn Locanda which I reached through gloomy and deserted-looking streets, but in the morning I discovered how groundless my forebodings had been.
It was a most charming little spot when viewed by the brilliant sunshine next morning, yet with that unmistakable character of the Middle Ages which so few Italian towns now retain. It is encircled by ancient walls, a portion of them Etruscan, and its squares are spacious and level, though set on the ledges of so steep a hill. Old palaces, brown mediaeval towers, most picturesque buildings — Romano-Gothic in style — venerable churches and monasteries, sprang up all around, while the stately cathedral soared up above them all.
The public buildings are in the square, monuments, all of them, of the days when Todi was a free Umbrian Republic, waging war with some of her neighbouring towns — such as Terni and Spoleto — concluding treaties with others. In the thirteenth century, her flourishing period, Todi could send 1000 horsemen, fully armed and accoutred, into the field. In her six p347 quarters she could boast of having 30,000 inhabitants, while now she can number but 4000.aa
Her constitution was Guelphic, and thoroughly popular; the guilds of the artisans were her sole rulers, through their committee in Parliament. A Podesta, and a Captain chosen by the people, were at the head of this free State, and administered justice. These were always strangers, and were elected annually. Amongst them were many Romans of the most important families in the thirteenth century. The names of Colonna, Orsini, Frangipani, Anibaldi, Cenci, , Savelli, , and others, appear in the list.
The venerable records of this republican town are now kept in the Communal Palace and the palace of the Governor, both in the principal square. The first is a large Romano-Gothic structure, of very noble proportions, with a wide flight of stone steps leading up to it. The second has a higher tower, and its façade is battlemented. It reminds me a little of the Palazzo in Rome. Facing these buildings is the cathedral, which is likewise of -Gothic architecture, and has a huge tower. Of its three principal aisles, the central has the early Gothic vaulting of the eleventh and twelfth p348 centuries; a fourth aisle has been added at a later period.
With the exception of the cathedral, the immense Gothic Church of St. Fortunatus is the most notable of the thirteenth-century churches here, being dedicated to the patron saint of Todi, and standing apart in picturesque seclusion. In it I spent most of my time while I remained there, for in it I discovered the most important of its communal archives. When I had obtained the Syndic's permission to use these documents, Signor Angelo Angelini, the keeper of them, led me through the church down to a chamber beneath it, near the Sacristy. Here he put aside a broken devotional chair, when a low door became visible, through which we passed into a small room. This was the muniment chamber. Quantities of parchments, for the most part in a deplorably dilapidated state, lay heaped up on shelves and in presses by the wall, while a table which filled up the middle of the room was piled with yet more parchment manuscripts and masses of books, all thickly coated with dust. The latter had once formed a portion of the library of the Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, Bentivegna d' Acquasparta, who is spoken of by Dante. He died in 1289.
p349 I toiled in this spot for many hours a day, hampered for room by the remains of the library, examining parchments and papers in the most profound silence. An attendant was told off at first by the Commune to watch me, but I made a protest against what seemed to be this rather insulting lack of confidence in my intentions, and I was ultimately put in possession of the key of the door, but not of the archives.
It soon got abroad in Todi that a stranger who could read old documents was in the town. The news brought the president of the Worshipful Guild of Tailors to my hostelry. He arrived with a sheaf of papers under his arm — namely, the statutes of his ancient and honourable confraternity, yellow with age. He was a young man with an intelligent expression, and very sprucely attired. "I have come to you," he said, "our guild being in a difficulty, to ask for your advice." Repressing a smile with an effort, and wondering what great things I had done in the world, that I, a visitor come from East Prussia, should be thus called upon to be an arbiter in sartorial affairs in this little Umbrian town, I assumed all the solemnity of the Seven Sages of Greece. He then proceeded to say, or rather to complain, that the Italian Government had laid violent hands on the property of their p350 honourable guild, or rather on certain rents accruing to it. Said Government would seem to regard the guild of the Ars Sartorum as instituted to further good works only. From time immemorial the Hospital of San Giacomo had been one of its endowments; the proceeds, to the amount of 360 scudi annually, had now been claimed by the Government, which had thrown a trifling sum in compensation to the guild. The president, who expressed himself very fluently, proceeded to remark that the Revolution of 1860 had been brought about chiefly by the artisans and tradesmen of the country. He had himself borne arms, leaving his affairs to march to Orvieto, and this was all the thanks he had got from the new administration. It had assumed in the most aggressive manner the long-established rights of his guild, and bestowed their endowments to swell the Cassa Ecclesiastica. The deeds which he showed to me no one in Todi could decipher. He had taken them to Perugia and placed them before the authorities there; but they had never been even looked at, only flung contemptuously on the floor. So he besought me to examine them and to inform him whether they might contain anything likely to prove useful in convincing the Government that their rights existed.
I told him that I would examine them and let p351 him know the following day what they might contain. When he came back he had to be satisfied to know that his deeds were only of value from their antiquity, that they were purely formal documents drawn up by a notary, and proving nothing. He then confessed that he had suspected as much.
Ch. 24 Nevertheless the guild is a very venerable and respectable institution, dating from the Middle Ages. It has a Board of Directors called "Consuls." These choose twelve ministers as councillors, who are called Fratelli, or Brethren. Their statutes fill a parchment volume sixty pages long, and go back to the year 1308. They were translated from the original Latin into Italian in 1492. The volume begins: —
"El Prohemio della matricola de Sarturi: Capitulo I.
"Nel nome del nro signor Iesu et della beatissima sempre vergine maria sua madre: et del beato sancto michele archangelo: et del b. sancto ioanni baptista et S. Joani Evangelista: et de beati apostoli S. Pietro et S. Paolo: et de beati confessori: Sancto Fortunato sancto Calisto et S. Cassiano: et de tutti i sancti et sancte della corte celestiale: Questi sono i ordinamenti et statuti iscritti: dell arte de sarturi et cinaturi della citta et contado de Todi: facte et ordinate per p352 glomini della decta arte: nel tempo dello offitio de consoli: cioe delli sapienti homini iacobuccio dandreelle: della rione de sancta presedia: et de cechole de manella: del rione della valle: iscripti per me ser francesco de maestro iacomo publico notario della detta arte: nel tempo et neglanni del signore nel mille trecento otto: nella indictione sexta: nel Tempo del pontificato del nro signore benedecto papa duodecimo:ab et addi ventidua de novembre."5
I made many pleasant acquaintances in Todi, all of whom were of helpful to me in my quest. Amongst these was Signor Alessandro Natali, formerly a bookseller and burgher of Rome, and editor of Leoni's "History of Todi," as well as of the Life of Bartolomeo d' Alviano, a famous warrior who lived early in the sixteenth century, and was a native of Todi.ac
Signor Natali is lay rector of the former Convent of Monte , now turned into a Foundling Hospital. He took me to see this beautifully situated institution, where ninety-eight foundlings are taught and kept. Here I found archives also, but they only related to the place itself, which had been originally designed for a Lazar House, and was built on a charitable foundation.
The same friendly guide took me over the p353 Capuchin Monastery of Monte Santo, which is on a hill just outside the gates. There is a beautiful picture by Lo Spagna over the high altar of this little church. It represents the same coronation of the Virgin which I had seen at Narni. Both works are by the master's own hand. We were hospitably entertained and served with coffee in the Prior's parlour. He asked me about Witte, whose fame as a commentator on Dante had penetrated even into this remote spot. Then I was shown, with much pride, a MS. poem by Fra Jacopone, a profound and mystical poet of the , and the valiant opponent of Pope Boniface VIII. Todi is very proud of this monk, who died at 23 in , and is buried in the Church of St. Fortunatus.ad The words of the Stabat Mater have been ascribed to him, and perhaps rightly so. That glorious and celebrated hymn might well confer immortality upon any man.
I found one of the monks at Monte Santo busily occupied with making a transcript of the Codex containing the Stabat Mater, as well as other verses by Fra Jacopone. There are older poems by this Franciscan at Venice and at Florence. These at Todi only go back to the close of the fourteenth century.ae
All the men whom I met there seemed perfectly p354 contented to live out their narrow little lives at Todi, even to enjoy its unbroken monotony, hardly ever varied by any unusual event. On moonlight nights the ladies used to stroll out on the promenades made by the town on the slope of the mountain below its ancient Rocca — or fortress — now in ruins. Following these paths, you reach the Church Consolazione, built by Bramanteaf and surmounted by a cupola. There are no great feudal families now left in the town. The mightiest of these, in the Middle Ages, were the Acti or Atti, the Oddi, the Fredi, the , the Carocci, the , the , the Corradi and the Astancolli.
Many stately old palaces remain to remind one of these proud nobles. They are now inhabited by either more recent families or by, in one or two cases, their impoverished descendants. "In these days when everything is designed for the gratification of the passing moment, those great enduring edifices, which are found even in the smallest provincial towns in Italy, may well put us to shame. They were built in the Middle Ages by our forefathers, a sturdy race with iron wills and very practical natures." So said Signor Pieroggi when I saw him at Todi. He is a doctor of laws and a writer of comic songs. p355 Many a dramatic poet might envy this isolated individual the solid contentment which he enjoys in the palace which has been handed down to him by a long chain of ancestors.
I had been urgently pressed by friends in Rome to visit Aspra, a lofty town in the Sabina, where I should find valuable communal archives, and explore an enchantingly beautiful wilderness up in the higher mountains. This I settled to do. Starting in Terni, a public highway would leave me near this remote place. Yet there were certain drawbacks, for Aspra contains no sort of inn. A native of Terni, however, said he could make arrangements for me, to which end he indited a letter and sent it on in advance.
I hired a little carriage and set forth, at four o'clock one morning in August, from Terni. We drove, through a hilly country, in a direct course from north to south, by one of the best of roads, yet passing a very few small farmsteads by the way. We often traversed beautiful forests of oaks. At Torri the mountains open out, disclosing to our view an ancient castle, which belonged in the tenth century to the Crescenti, once a powerful family in the Sabina. It stands, dusky and picturesque, right up on the summit of a mountain ridge. And now a grand prospect lay p356 before us of the Roman Campagna and Soracte, the acclivities of the Apennines, and the Sabine range, while across a deep ravine rose a steep cliff, bearing on its crest a dark cluster of houses girt round by a black wall broken by a few turrets. This was 24 Aspra, the Casperia of the Romans, an eyrie which looks from below not only inaccessible but unapproachable.
It was now midday, yet the air on that 1st of August felt crisp and cool in those high regions. The road made a great détour to get round the end of the ravine, and then at last we began to climb the mountain painfully, by a field road winding round about it, till, behold! the walls of Aspra stood up before us. My driver called a halt; no wheeled carriage could enter a town which possessed no streets. I alighted, therefore, and walked in at the gate. What a place! How wild and strange and forlorn it looked! How frightfully narrow were these airless slits between the stone houses, which more resembled the beds of mountain streams than streets — beds to carry off the rain-storms and water-spouts which must burst over this lofty spot in their utmost severity.
It chanced to be a Sunday, and all the inhabitants, clad in the grey-blue jackets of the district, were playing ball in front of their houses. p357 They stared at me open-mouthed as I was conducted up hill and down dale to the Syndicate. The Burgomaster came out, dressed like the rest in a peasant's jacket, and informed me he had received letters not only from Terni, but from Perugia, concerning my business, but that I could not see the archives to‑day. It was Sunday, and his secretary was otherwise engaged. I might find lodgings at the cobbler's; he kept a kind of locanda.
I was led off in search of this hostelry, and a wretched spot it looked. Mine host ushered me up to a little hole of a chamber, with one broken window in it that shook and rattled in the fresh breeze which is always blowing up there. Yet, when I looked forth from it, I was amazed at the panorama which opened on my gaze. It was of quite indescribable sublimity. I threw myself on a dirty bed in one corner, but was soon roused by the stings of mosquitoes and the bites of other little demoniac creatures. Mine host set a dinner before me which I could not relish, and in my desperation I declared that I could not remain there.
I hastened back to the Syndicate, where the Burgomaster accompanied me on a search for the secretary. We three stood under a stone p358 arch connecting two streets, while the magistrate advised as to what could be done to assist me. At last the two wiseacres decided that the archives should straightway be unlocked, and that the worthy Syndic should set off in search of a lodging for me in some respectable dwelling.
The secretary took me into the Town Hall, a massive though not ancient building, and there he unlocked the door of a small room. Two presses which were in it contained all the written treasures of the Commune. Here I discovered many edicts and deeds concerning the Roman Senate in mediaeval times, when Aspra, like her neighbours in the Sabina, was a free and independent town under the jurisdiction of Rome, from whence were sent out rectors and podestas to govern it. Strange to say, I found some forged tenth-century documents also.
When the evening began to close in, the secretary returned to say that one of the best families in Aspra was ready to receive me. He then conducted me to a mansion of palatial size, where I was received by a tall young lady, dressed in Roman fashion, and with quite city manners. She said I would confer an honour on their house by staying in it, and p359 then she led the way herself, to the room prepared for me. On the way we traversed a deserted reception-room. It had been struck by lightning some weeks before, which had shattered the windows as well as the chimney, and left a rift in the wall from which the blue sky was visible, nor had any seps been taken towards repairing it. Ancient coats of arms carved in stone showed that the family had seen better days. The destruction visible in the salon made curious to see my bedroom, the door of which the signora now opened. It looked most habitable, and contained a clean Roman bed. The young lady's brother now came in — a handsome man in the uniform of the National Guard. I was besought, in the most friendly manner, to arrange everything to suit my convenience, and I consented to take advantage of their kind hospitality on one condition: that I should be permitted to dine with my first host, to whom I had letters of recommendation from Terni. This was arranged accordingly.
I stayed there two days, and, alarming as was the first aspect of the place, I spent those days most pleasantly. I worked from early morning till 5 P.M. in the little Muniment Chamber, my industry exciting the utmost p360 astonishment. The curious went and came, regarding me with wonder and departing with a pleasant greeting. It was years since a stranger had appeared at Aspra. I was able to point out to the secretary a valuable document. It was in the handwriting of the Tribune of the People, Cola di Rienzo, and addressed to the inhabitants of Aspra. He begged me to give him a translation of it, and I dictated an Italian version, which he wrote down and placed with the other deeds in the archives.
One afternoon I accompanied this gentleman and the schoolmaster, a layman, to the Capuchin Monastery, where a Festa was being celebrated. It is a charming place, beautifully situated on a mountain clothed with oak woods. Women, closely veiled, knelt in the little church, while others were standing by the portal. Amongst the latter was the wife of my guide, with some young girls. One of these, a young creature of barely sixteen, was most beautiful. Though in the first flush of youth and beauty, her countenance was full of thought, her expression serious and reflective. Happy the man who is to receive this daughter of the gods as his wife, and lead her across the threshold of his smoky edifice, stricken by lightning. My companion introduced me to these fair ladies, who p361 seemed to be charmed when I divided amongst them the artificial flowers I had bought in the Monastery.
Long as I have wandered over Italy, I have never beheld so magnificent a panorama as disclosed itself to me when I had gained the summit of that mountain. The sculptured outline of Soracte, the whole of the Vale of the Tiber, the Umbrian plains and mountains lay spread out below, while the distant peaks of the Apennines, the Sabina, and the Latian hills stood round the Roman Campagna; and all this scene of enchantment was bathed in a flood of carmine. This was indeed an earthly paradise that we gazed down upon. The nearer hills, majestic in their wild, rugged outlines, were set with towns and grim old castles, like jewels, in their recesses, and in this little communities dwell the descendants of that old, persistent Sabine race, still retaining the customs and modes of living and of tilling the soil which have been handed down to them from primeval days. Miles away to the south, a round-shaped hill heaved itself up from the river's brink — it was the Monte Mario! and where the Eternal City spread out from its base, a round hillock rose up above the roofs, like some natural object. This was the dome of St. Peter's. When Easter comes, p362 the people at Aspra see that dome illuminated, resting on the horizon like a fiery ball.
From the roof of the Monastery we counted twenty‑six towns, some far off, some close at hand. Just to show the extent of that unequalled view I will enumerate a few of them — Soracte, Caprarola, Collevecchio, Montasole, Stimigliano, Magliano, Rocca Antica, Poggio Sabino, La Fara, Poggio , Montopoli, Torrita, and across the Tiber, gleaming silvery, as its wanderings might be traced through the great plain, were , Cantalupo, Monte , Tivoli, Palestrina, and all the walled cities of the Alban hills.
When we returned to the town, there stood the Syndic at his own door, inviting us to walk in. The worthy man bears the name of his native town, and is called Asprone, as if he were the very embodiment of his municipality. His wife came to meet us, an exceedingly stout lady. I had to sit alone on the sofa, when the mayoress handed me a plate piled with Sabine cracknels. Then her spouse went down, candle in hand, to the cellar, and presently emerged from it, bearing a mighty stone measure of wine. We pledged each other valiantly in this wine of the Sabine hills, the special vintage p363 with which the stone cruche was filled. I drank to the prosperity of the Commune of Aspra, and to its magistrates, which seemed to warm the hearts of the Syndic and the other gentlemen mightily. They talked with wonder of my exertions; they were filled with admiration for the zeal which could bring any one to so far away a spot merely to read some old manuscripts, though why I should wish to read them they could by no means comprehend.
When we left the Syndic's house, the secretary pressed me to honour his by visiting it; he evidently did not wish to be excelled in hospitality by his chief. His young wife received me in her comfortably arranged house, carrying a baby in her arms, and all the time she sat beside me she continued to nourish this infant from her quite uncovered breast.
Later on I bade adieu to the hospitable and kindly owners of the abode where I had been housed, and they gave me a hearty invitation to return. They entrusted me also with a letter for their Roman relations. When I departed, before sunrise, a light was still burning in one of the rooms, though no one was visible. A donkey, chartered to convey me down the hill, was standing at the door, and I quitted Aspra in a happy mood, glad to p364 have found its people as pleasing as their natural surroundings.
A fine ride down through the mountains brought me to the Pass of , where I caught the post for Rome.
1 Teudilapius (?). (Translator's note.)
2 A town hall has now been built there. Its open colonnades offer to the citizens a charming al fresco of a summer's evening. (Translator's note.)
3 Perugia is now (1898) free of this reproach. (Translator's note.)
4 Almost all are now (1898) suppressed. (Translator's note.)
a This area — which was part, if only part, of ancient Etruria — is now referred to as the Northern Lazio, the term "Roman Tuscany" no longer being in use; but it does have strong historical connections with Tuscany, and in historical contexts, the designation Tuscia is often used for the region.
b About 140 years later, also in September, I did the same road from Rome to the edge of Umbria, although mostly on foot. My diary of that walk is online, illustrated with an assortment of photos; the comparison of the two accounts may be of interest to some: September 13, 2000 diary entry (two days walking, but written up in a single entry).
c Rignano's chief attraction is something Gregorovius doesn't mention, possibly because it had not been found yet in his day: the town boasts one of the longest stretches of actual Roman road pavement anywhere in Italy. This kilometer or so of the ancient Via Flaminia — see the photograph in the diary entry linked in the preceding note — is what drew me to the place, and in fact was the seed of my own walk from Rome to Civita Castellana in 2000; and because of that stretch of road, Rignano is now officially Rignano Flaminio.
e The Ripetta — in full, the Porto di Ripetta — was Rome's downtown river port; it has since been destroyed. In an otherwise characteristically unflattering view of the Tiber, Tobias Smollett embeds a grudging admission that it was beautiful: Travels through France and Italy, 1796 (with a link to an old engraving).
f If the 1c historian Tacitus is meant, there is no evidence that he was born in Terni, despite a now widespread belief that he was. The city is on the other hand the birthplace of the 3c emperor by that name, who caused his ancestor's works to be copied and insured their survival. Confusion and local boosterism have done the rest.
"Interamna", by the way, was the name of many Roman towns at the confluence of two rivers (inter amnes = "between the rivers"); today's Terni is more properly Interamna Nahars, from the Nar river. During his travels, when Gregorovius was at Monte Cassino, he was within 8 km of another less famous one and could even see the site of it if he knew where to look: Interamna Lirenas near the Liris river; but he can be excused for not mentioning the place: not a stone of it is above ground. It is marked by on my map in chapter 4; the British School at Rome has done some very interesting magnetometric sleuthing: see their page.
g The "present" bridge Gregorovius saw seems to have been the medieval bridge, which has since been destroyed. Augustus Hare, writing about twenty years later, mentions only two bridges: the Roman one and the medieval one. His description and his ink sketches of both bridges are onsite.
h A very bad piece of translation, which cannot be laid to the charge of the printer. The paragraph is marred by several inaccuracies: one glaring omission, a nonsensical confusion, and some additions out of thin air. The main mistake is this: Donatello's famous statue of Gattamalata (also, and now more frequently, Gattamelata) has never been in Narni. It stands in front of the cathedral of Padua, the Venetian city which commissioned it in the 15c, and has stood there continuously.
Sure enough, Gregorovius wrote — my translation —
The reference to the valiant Parsifal brings to mind another warrior figure, and one who is still today the pride of the people of Narni. If you stand in front of the cathedral of S. Antonio in Padua you will see a bronze equestrian statue of Gattamelata, a work of Donatello's, the first of this type undertaken since the revival of the arts in Italy. The Republic of Venice placed the monument there in honor of one of its most successful condottieri, Gattamelata, who served under the banner of St. Mark until 1441. He was a native of Narni, and his name was actually Erasmus.
i Although this kind of statement is commonly seen — Umbria the kid sister to Tuscany, the latter being nicer in every way — not everyone is of this opinion: certainly not yours truly. Umbria is a more mountainous, more rural, greener and grittier region than Tuscany; its landscapes are less open; and on balance I find the splendors of Umbria more congenial to me than the equally splendid but manicured area of "Tuscany". (Tuscany in quotes since most of what is said by foreigners about Tuscany refers to only about 30% of that region, the area roughly bounded by Fiesole to the north and Montalcino to the south, by Volterra to the west and Montepulciano to the east, mostly in the provinces of Florence and Siena.)
j Sadly, the little plain between Narni and Terni, locally referred to as the conca ternana, or Terni basin, being flat, has succumbed in large part to the car: it is now a morass of roads and highways, partly invaded by the SW suburbs of a fast-growing and industrial Terni, and a large industrial park is found more or less in the middle of it.
k The impression is produced that the falls of the Velino are in Terni, and that Gregorovius somehow failed to see them. The Reatine falls (see my pages for photographs) are actually E of Terni by about 6 km as the crow flies, and a good bit more by road. Here's the map, in which by zooming in several levels you can actually see the falls:
l Here the confusion actually occurs in Gregorovius, who wrote "wie die Tiberebene zeigen" = "as well as the plain of the Tiber". The Tiber (Tevere), however, is many miles away from here, and not visible from Spoleto nor even from the Somma Pass (648 m), being hidden from view by the considerably higher Colli Martani to the W. The plain that one does see, "beyond Spoleto" as one comes from the S along the road from Terni, is that of another river altogether, bearing a confusingly related name: the Teverone. The Teverone, picking up several other rivers on its right bank, among which the Clitumnus (in Italian: Clitunno), eventually joins the Topino and flows into the Chiascio many miles N of here, near Passaggio di Bettona: and it is the Chiascio that flows into the Tiber a few miles further W.
m Umbria and Marche (the Italian form is a plural corresponding to the English "Marches") have since become official territorial designations once again, each of a multi-province Region. Sabina, on the other hand, is not: the province of Rieti, that more or less corresponds to the Sabine territory, was part of Umbria until 1923 when it was attached to the Lazio.
n Possibly, and only among other subjects, some of which, as far as I know, are still uncertain. A thorough discussion of the iconography of the façade is given by Milton Garver, in "Symbolic Animals of Perugia and Spoleto", Burlington Magazine, XXXII.181; the article is illustrated with a black-and‑white photograph by the author and 13 color photographs of my own.
o Anno, of course; but so Gregorovius' original text. I have not seen the actual inscription, which is transcribed differently by Achille Sansi (Storia del comune di Spoleto, Part I) with "anno" and expanding PPLQE to populoque, as well as what must surely be a typo of his own, *Spotetum. My guess is that the actual reading on the stone is the common abbreviation an̄o. (And if you are just beginning to study Latin, you should not think that "*post partu" is right. The correct phrase is post partum, and the stone must read post partv̅ with another bar to mark the abbreviation, in this case, as often, the omission of an m).
p Although the German text of Gregorovius online also reads "Terni", I strongly suspect it should be "Trevi" (which would also explain why a document is mentioned as to be found in the latter town). Spoleto and Trevi had been at daggers drawn during much of the Middle Ages, and to this day Trevi celebrates every year, on the fourth weekend of October, her liberation from a Spoletine invasion and occupation.
q I.e., the river god (Gregorovius: "dieses Flußgottes") of the Clitumnus. There is no consensus, many scholars holding that the Tempietto del Clitunno was built from the start as Christian church, and just happened to borrow the then current architectural idiom. For what it's worth, I'm in this camp: what clinches it for me is that some of the large architectural ornament, such as the capitals of the columns, intrinsic to the fabric of the building and clearly not superadded as later decoration, is Christian thru and thru.
Tempietto del Clitunno: apsidal pediment.
r This word confetti coming at the end of a list including paper, we are excused if our minds turn to little bits of stuff we throw at parades: but it's the Italian word for Jordan almonds (English cognate: comfits).
s So writes Gregorovius; not a translation problem then, but it didn't happen. Trevi is between Spoleto and Foligno — thus, before Foligno, not after. Curiously, Smollett makes a very similar mistake in his Travels through France and Italy, p520; an interesting reminder that first-hand witnesses are not necessarily always to be believed.
t A shrewd observation. About this particular church, there is universal agreement: the building is a monstrosity.
u A patch of sloppy writing, producing the impression that Innocent III was buried in Martin IV's vault. It's the other way around: Innocent died in 1216, and Martin in 1285.
v He was not strictly speaking from the important town of Perugia, but was born Pietro Vannucci in the much smaller town of Città della Pieve, 36 km away; in his early career he worked in Florence and Rome, where the name by which he became known was a convenient tag — "the guy from around Perugia".
w Here Gregorovius writes, "with many palaces of the 15th and even of the 14th century". This is more accurate.
y Luigi Masi (born at Petrignano d' Assisi, Oct. 24, 1814) had been secretary to Charles Lucien Bonaparte, 2d prince of Canino, nephew of Napoleon, a noted ornithologist who spent a few years in the United States in the 1820s.
z A hundred and thirty years later, when I first saw Todi and lived there for two months, this was my own powerful impression of the place as well.
aa In 2001, the last year for which I've been able to find detailed statistics, the population of the comune of Todi was 16,704; but that figure is for the entire township, which includes a wide rural area and many small villages: the population of the actual town of Todi was 5,981.
ab The text is as found in Gregorovius' German original online; but at first blush, something looks wrong here: Pope Benedict XII ruled from 1334 to 1342; in 1308, Clement V was Pope. Barring a transcription error of some kind, the solution is that "neglanni del signore" should be taken to mean not after the Incarnation, but after the Crucifixion, traditionally taken to be 33 years later, which would make the date 1341 and thus during the reign of Pope Benedict XII. This seems to be confirmed by the indiction: A.D. 1341 was of the 6th indiction, as stated in the charter, while 1308 was of the 3rd indiction.
ac Bartolomeo d' Alviano was . . . from Alviano, a small town about 23 km SSW of Todi; only very loosely can he be said to be from Todi. But in fact the statement is outright tendentious: Alviano having been constantly attacked by Todi in the early Middle Ages, in the year 1300 the town put itself under the protection of Orvieto with which it had had close ties for many years; for centuries after that, including in 1455 when Bartolomeo was born, it was linked to Orvieto, not Todi.
ad Roberts' text has "in the Church of St. Fortunatus there": my italics because "there" is not in the German, nor should it have been. There is no church of S. Fortunato in Collazzone. Jacopone is buried in a crypt in S. Fortunato in Todi, the church mentioned (though not described) a few pages earlier.
ae So both Roberts and Gregorovius himself ("die von Todi kann frühestens vom Ende des 14. Jahrhunderts herrühren"); but Jacopone died, as we've just read, in 1306.
af That Bramante had a hand in the (magnificent, expertly sited) building is strongly suspected, but unattested.
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