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Campagna "stretching far away"—it is not difficult to recognise for which famous painter this should have proved a truly sympathetic landscape.
'The bridge itself is archaeologically interesting. One good travertine arch is preserved, which probably dates to the days of Augustus ; and the bright green cresses that sway with the flow of the water beneath it, help to bring out its beauty. Adjoining it are remains of a brick continuation of the bridge, belonging to the second or third century ; and it is difficult to understand why, if some of the more ancient structure was destroyed, it was not repaired in the same local material. But we remember that the greatest of contractors and builders in brick—Hadrian—had been hard at work in the neighbourhood before this restoration was made. Looking at the crystal water, it is not to be marvelled at that «Esculapius, or another of the medical divinities of the Romans, had a temple close by, of which, however, the evidences consist only in votive offerings.
'But it is time to quit this enchanting spot for one still more fascinating; and this, indeed, is the objective of our walk, namely, the Villa of Quintilius Varus, some 400 feet above us, among the hoary patriarchal olives. Crocus and violets in colonies, at the roots of the gnarled tree-trunks, invite us to pick, but we have a steep climb and an afternoon before us; so we merely stop occasionally so as to ease the ascent, or to take a refreshing view, through an opening, of the splendid prospect over the wide Campagna that, presently, will most surely reward us for our toil. The birds are singing, and the anemones are open, as we reach the lowest of the majestic terraces that once allowed all the dwellers in this princeliest of villas to enjoy a perpetual view of the Falls of-the Anio. Where we are now standing, Horace and Catullus must often have stood and surveyed this wonderful scene, which, alas! needs a more powerful pen to describe.*
The return to Tivoli can be made by the upper winding road, past Madonna di Quintiliolo and S. Antonio (1£ miles), to the railway terminus for the afternoon train back to Rome. It is often best to come out thus by tramway and return by rail. For the above excursion one descends from the tramway at Ponte Lucano, and walks across the bridge, and turns then to the left, direct.
LICENZA AND MONTE GENNARO
(Train to VicOTaro and walk to Licenza. A carriage (Alfredo's) may be taken from Tivoli to the farm of Horace itself, or good walkers taking the train to Subiaco as far as S. Cosimato, may walk from thence to Licenza, returning to meet the train in the evening. For the excursion to Monte Gennaro, horses must be ordered).
SOON after leaving Tivoli by the Via Valeria, some magnificent arches of the Claudian Aqueduct are seen crossing a ravine on the right. Through them a road leads off to Empiylione (Empulum), where some of the walls of the castle (destroyed in 1300) remain. Then, also on the right, but far ahead, rises the picturesque town of Castel Madama (5 miles), crowning a ridge. The road passes close to some ruins of the tomb of C. Maenius Bassus of the time of Caligula. The remains of many villas occur hereabouts.
Seven miles from Tivoli, crossing the Anio, we reach Vicovaro (Vicus Varins), the Varia of Horace (Osteria di Ottati Maria). Portions of the double girdle of the ancient walls remain, built of huge blocks of travertine. In 1191 Celestine III. gave it to the Orsini who fortified it afresh. The place now belongs to Count Bolognetti Cenci, who has a dismal palace here, near which one sees ancient pavement. The family no longer lives here or in Italy. At one end of a piazza facing the principal church in the upper town, is the beautiful marble Chapel of S. Giacomo, built for one of the Orsini, Count of Tagliacozzo, by Simone, a pupil of Brunelleschi, who (says Vasari) died while employed upon it. It is octagonal, with a dome crowned by the figure of a saint. The principal door is richly adorned with saints; above are angels floating over the Virgin and Child, their attitude of adoration is beautiful. S. Severa is buried here, as well as at Anagni! Pope Pius II. in his 'Commentaria' (lvi.) speaks of this church as 'nobile sacellum ex marmore candidissimo,' and as adorned with 'statuis egregiis.' Of late years it has become important as a place of pilgrimage from 'the miraculous picture' which it contains.
'Outside the church was a stall, at which I bought a copy of a hymn addressed by the inhabitants of the town, "to their miraculous picture of the most Holy Mary our advocate, which on July 22, 1868, began to move its eyes miraculously." Then follows the hymn, which is poor enough. Inside the church, over the high altar, surrounded with decorations and with lights, is placed the picture, a beautiful one, full of feeling and pathos. The hands are united as in prayer, and the face is turned upwards, the eyes being large and lustrous, and in the very act of beginning to weep. It is a work of the school of Guido, and might be by the master himself.
'Before the altar were kneeling a group of contadini, or country people, on their way from the Easter services at Home. The priest was kneeling at the altar, singing the Litany of the Virgin, in which she is addressed in direct prayer, "Mother of mercy, have mercy upon us :" "Mother of grace, have mercy upon us," <fec.: the contadini repeating the "Ova pro nobis" after each title of invocation had been given out by the priest. This being ended, the worshippers all bent down and kissed the pavement, and then went backwards out of the church, bowing repeatedly as they passed down the nave.
* Meantime we were invited into the sacristy to see the book of testimonials to the fact of the miracle. The witnesses were-many, of all nations. The purport of their testimony was mainly this: that at such a time the deposer had seen the left, or the right eye, or both, move or enlarge, or fill with tears; or the expression of the face change, or the throat become agitated. Many of the depositions were accompanied with fervent expressions of thankfulness and joy.
'Now as to the account to be given of the phenomena thus deposed to. It is well known that certain arrangements of lines and of colours cause the appearance, when long contemplated, of unsteadiness and of motion in a picture: especially if combined witli the representation of an expression of countenance itself emotioned, and, if I may thus use the word, transitional. Now, this last is eminently the case at Vicovaro. I am convinced that, were I a devotee kneeling before that picture, I could in ten minutes imagine it to undergo any such change as those recorded in the book. All is engaging, lustrous, suggestive.'—Dean Afford, 1865.
A short distance beyond Vicovaro, still following the ancient Via Valeria, almost opposite the convent of S. Cosimato, a road to the left turns up the long valley of Licenza (Digentia). About two miles up the valley, on the left, the castle of Rocca G-iovine (Rocca Junone) is seen rising above its little town (Locanda di Bernardo Serafino), and looking down upon the road. Here was a temple of Vacuna, the Victoria of the Sabines; its restoration is commemorated in an inscription of Vespasian on the palacewall leading to the church.
The scenery is now classical, for, some three miles hence,—
'where yon bar
The village high up on a ridge to the right, Bardella (Burdclluni), is Mandela. The Princes of Rocca Giovine pass their summers here. Between us and it flows down the brook Licenza, the Digentia of Horace; the mountain in front, to the left, leads to the famous Mons Lucretilis, now Monte Gennaro.
'Me quoties reflclt gelidus Digentia rivus,
—Epist. I. xviii. 104.
'Velox amoenum saepe Lucretilem
—Carm i. 17.
The Sabine farm, as is well known, was presented to Horace by Maecenas, c. B.C. 33.
'To the munificence of Maecenas we owe that peculiar charm of the Horatian poetry, that it represents both the town and country life of the Romans of that age ; the country life, not only iu the rich and luxurious villa of the wealthy at Tivoli, or at Baiae; but in the secluded retreat and amongr the simple manners of the peasantry. It might seern as if the wholesome air which the poet breathed, during his retirement on his farm, re-Invigorated his natural manliness of mind. There, notwithstanding his love of convivial enjoyment in the palace of Maecenas and other wealthy friends, he delighted to revert to his own sober and frugal way of living.'—Milman.
The road comes to an end on the margin of the clear brook Digentia, which is here sometimes swollen into a broad river from the tributaries right and left. On the further side of the wide stony bed it has made for itself rises (| mile) Licenza (Locanda Antonio Valeri), cresting a high hill, and approached by a steep rocky path through the olives, and belonging to the Borghese. Further up the valley is the ' Fonte Blandusino,' still pointed out as the cool glassy spring of Horace, formed by an artificial cascade. Just where the road ends, a steep bank covered with chestnuts rises on our left. Passing through the scrub (only a few steps from the road) to a garden, we find a contadino, who shovels up the rich loam with his spade, exposes a bit of tesselated pavement, and says, 'Ecco la villa d' Orazio.' [Owner : Vincenzo Onorato.]
'The Sabine farm was situated in the valley of Ustica, thirty miles from Rome, and twelve miles from Tivoli. It possessed the attraction, no small one to Horace, of being very secluded—Varia (Vico Varo), the nearest town, being four miles off—yet, at the same time, within an easy distance of Rome. When his spirits wanted the stimulus of society or the bustle of the capital, which they often did, his ambling mule could speedily convey him thither; and when jaded, on the other hand, by the noise and racket and dissipations of Rome, lie could, in the same homely way, bury himself within a few hours among the hills, and there under the shadow of his favourite Lucretilis, or by the banks of the clear-flowing and ice-cold Digentia, either stretch himself to dream upon the grass, lulled by the murmurs of the stream, or do a little farming in the way of clearing his fields of stones, or turning over a furrow hero and there with the hoe. There was a rough wildness in the scenery and a sharpness iu the air, both of which Horace liked, although, as years advanced and his health grew more delicate, he had to leave it in the colder months for Tivoli or Baiae. He built a villa upon it, or added to one already there, the traces of which still exist. The farm gave employment to five families of ftee coloni, who werernnder the superintendence of a bailiff; and the poet's domestic establishment was composed of eight slaves. The site of the farm is at the preseut day a favourite resort of travellers, of Englishmen especially, who visit it in such numbers, and trace its features with such enthusiasm, that the resident peasantry, "who cannot conceive of any other source of interest in one so long dead and unsninted than that of co-patriotism or consanguinity,"' believe Horace to have been an Englishman. What aspect it presented iu Horace's time we gather from one of his Epistles.' (i. 16) :
"About my farm, dear Qninctius : You would know
1 Letter by Sir. Dennis: Milman's Horace (London, 1849), p. 109.
So (but you'll think me garrulous) I'll write
Here is what a tourist found it: 2—
'Following a path along the brink of the torrent Digentia, we passed a towering rock, ou which once stood Vacuna's shrine, and entered a pastor;! 1 region of well-watered meadow-lands, enamelled with flowers and studded with chestnut and fruit trees. Beneath their sheltering shade peasants were whiling away the noontide hours. Here sat Daphnis piping sweet witching melodies on a reed to his rustic Phidyle, whilst Lydia aud she wove wreaths of wild flowers, and Lyce sped down to the edge of the stream and brought us cooling drink in a bulging conca borne on her head. Its waters were as deliciously refreshing as they could have been when the poet himself gratefully recorded how often they revived his strength ; and one longed to think, and hence half believed, that our homely Hebe, like her fellows, was sprung from the coloui who tilled his fields and dwelt in the five homesteads of which he sings. . . . Near the little village of Licenza, standing like its loftier neighbour, Civitella, on a steep hill at the foot of Lucretilis, we turned off the path, crossed a thickly-wooded knoll, and came to an orchard in which two young labourers were at work. We asked where the remains of Horace's firm were. "A pie tui!" answered the nearest of them in a dialect more like Latin than Italian. So saying, he began with a shovel to uncover a massive floor in very fair preservation; a little farther ou was another, crumbling to pieces. Chaupy has luckily saved one all doubt as to the site of the farm, establishing to our minds convincingly that it could scarcely have stood on ground other than that ou which at this moment we were. As the shovel was clearing the floors, we thought how applicable to Horace himself were the lines he addressed to Fuseus Aristius,—" Naturara expellas," &c.
"Drive Nature forth by force, she'll turn and rout
for here was just enough of his house left to show how Nature, creeping on step by step, had overwhelmed his handiwork and re-asserted her sway. Again, pure and Augustan in design as was the pavement before us, how little could it vie with the hues and odours of the grasses that bloomed around it!—" Dcterius Libycis,'* &c.
"Is springing grass less sweet to nose and eyes
'Indeed, so striking were these coincidences that we were as nearly as possible going off on the wrong tack, and singing'' Io Paean" to Dame Nature herself at the expense of the" bard ; but we were soon brought back to our
1 Theodore Martin, iu Classics/or English Readers.