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ALBANO AND L'ARICCIA
(The Albergo della Posta is an old-established inn in the Italian style, and has a few pleasant rooms overlooking the Campagna. The 8alustrj, on the other side of the street, is comfortable and well-furnished : the upper floor is, however, very cold in winter. The Hotel de Russle, near the Roman gate and the Villa Doria, is an old-fashioned inn, with less pretension. At all the hotels at Albano the charges are apt to be high in comparison with other places near Rome. It is necessary on arrivinq to make a fixed bargain at all of them, and for everything. The charges for carriages are extortionate and ought to be resisted; for there is plenty of competition. Places in the open omnibus for Genzano, whence Nemi is visited, without luggage, cost fifty cents each. Those who stay will find it less expensive to walk across the viaduct to L'Ariccia and take a carriage from thence. Donkeys cost four lire by the day, the donkeyman four lire, and the guide seven: these prices include the whole excursion by Monte Cavo and Nemi. The best thing to be done on arrival at Albano is to appear to be going to take none, and mount the steps to the town. Arrived there the drivers come into competition for possession of you. Offer nine lire for a single-horse fly to take you to Genzano (where two hours may be spent in the garden of the Palazzo Sforza-Cesariui), and afterwards be driven to Frascati, to the station, so as to catch the 4 P.m. to Rome. For a two-horse carriage offer twelve lire and don't exceed fifteen for the day's work (tutto comprcso). This should take one person on the box and four inside.) Tramway to Frascati.
LOOKING across the level reaches of the Campagna as it is seen above the walls of the city from the Porta Maggiore to the Porta S. Paolo, the horizon is bounded by a chain of hills, or rather low mountains. So varied in outline, so soft and beautiful in the tender gradations of their ever-changing colour, that the eye is always returning to rest upon them, they soon assume the aspect of loved and familiar friends, equally charming in the sapphire and amethyst hues of autumn, under the occasional snowmantle of mid-winter, or when bursting afresh into light and life from the luxuriant green of early spring. Where they break away from the plain, the foot-hills of the mountains are clothed with olives or with fruit-trees. Great purple hollows vary their slopes, and towns and villages on the projecting heights gleam and glitter in the sun —towns, each with a name so historical as to awaken a thousand associations. And these centre most of all around and below the white building on the highest and steepest crest of the chain, which marks the summit of the Alban Mount, and the site of the great temple of Jupiter Latiaris—once the federal sanctuary of the Latin tribes.
'For those who have not been at Rome I will say that, on looking southeast from the gate of S. John Lateran, after a slightly undulating plain of eleven miles, unbroken by any tree, but only by tombs and broken aqueducts, there rises in the mist of beautiful days a line of blue hills of noble forms, which, leaving the Sabine country, go leaping on in various and graceful shapes, till they reach the highest point of all, called Monte Cavo. Hence the chain descends afresh, with moderate declension, and with a line long drawn out, reaches the plain, and is lost there not far from the sea.'— Massimo d Azeglio.
'Alba, thou find est me still, and, Alba, thou findest me ever, Now from the Capitol steps, now over Titus's Arch, Here from the large grassy spaces that spread from the Lateran portal,
Towering o'er aqueduct lines lost in perspective between,
Clear by the garlanded line cut of the Flavian ring.
A. H. Clough.
Carriages from Rome usually follow the Via Appia Nuova, which emerges from the city walls by the Porta S. Giovanni and, after crossing the Via Latina, runs between the stately arches of the Claudian Aqueduct on the left, and the ruined tombs of the Appian Way on the right.
* Passing out by the S. Giovanni gate, you enter upon those broad wastes that lie to the south-east of the city. Going forward thence, with the aqueducts to your left, and the old Appian Way, lined with crumbling sepulchres, reaching for miles in one unswerving line on your far right, you soon leave Rome behind. Faint patches of vegetation gleam here and there, like streaks of light; and nameless ruins lie scattered broadcast over the bleak slopes of this most desolate region. Sometimes you come upon a primitive bullock-waggon, or a peasant driving an ass laden with green boughs; hut these signs of life are rare. Presently you pass the remains of a square temple, with Corinthian pilasters—then a drove of shaggy ponies—then a little truck with a tiny penthouse reared on one side of the seat, to keep the driver from the sun—theu a flock of rusty sheep—a stagnant pool—a clump of stunted trees—a conical thatched hut—a round sepulchre, half buried in the soil of ages—a fragment of broken arch: and so on, for miles and miles across the barren plain. By and by you see a drove of buffaloes scouring along towards the aqueducts, followed by a mounted herdsman, buskined and brown, with his lance in his hand, his blue cloak floating behind him, and his sombrero down upon his brow—the very picture of a Mexican hunter.'—Miss Edwards, 'Barbara's History.'
Eleven miles from Rome the Via Appia Nuova joins the Via Appia Vecchia at Le Frattocchie. The view from hence, looking down the avenue of mouldering sepulchres, is desolate, yet strikingly beautiful. The use of the popular term Strada del Diavolo, which we constantly meet with here as applied to the Via Appia, will call to mind the name of the Devil's Dyke as applied to well-known Roman works in England.
'One day we walked out, a little party of three, to Albano, fourteen miles distant; possessed by a great desire to go there by the ancient Appian Way, long since mined and overgrown. We started at half-past seven in the morning, and within an hour or so were out upon the open Campagna. For twelve miles we went climbing on, over an unbroken succession of mounds, and heaps, and hills, of ruin. Tombs and temples, overthrown and prostrate; small fragments of columns, friezes, pediments; great blocks of granite and marble; mouldering arches, grass-grown and decayed; ruin enough to build a spacious city from, lay strewn about us. Sometimes loose walls, built up from these fragments by the shepherds, came across our path : sometimes a ditch, between two mounds of broken stones, obstructed our progress; sometimes the fragments themselves, rolling from boneath our feet, made it a toilsome matter to advance: but it was always ruin. Now we tracked a piece of the old road above the ground; now traced it underneath a grassy covering, as if that were its grave; but all the way was ruin. In the distance, ruined aqueducts went stalking on their giant course along the plain; and every breath of wind that swept towards us stirred early flowers and grasses, springing up spontaneously, on miles of ruin. The unseen larks above ns, who alone distnrbed the awful silence, had their nests in ruin; and the fierce herdsmen, clad in sheepskins, who now and then scowled npon us from their sleeping nooks, were housed in ruin. The aspect of the desolate Campagna in one direction, where it was most level, reminded me of an American prairie ; but what is the solitude of a region where men have never dwelt, to that of a Desert where a mighty race have left their footprints in the earth from which they have vanished; where the resting-places of their Dead have fallen like their Dead; and the broken hourglass of Time is but a heap of idle dust! Returning by the road at sunset, and looking, from the distance, on the course we had taken in the morning, I almost felt as if the sun would never rise again, but look its last, that night, upon a ruined world.'—Dickens.
Le Frattoochie was the scene of the fatal encounter (Jan. 20, B.C. 52) between Clodius and Milo.
A little to the right are the ruins of Bovillae, the foundation of which is attributed to Latinus Silvius of Alba. Bovillae was the first station on the Appian Way:—
'Et cum currere debeas Bovillas,
—Martial,'Ep.' ii. 6,15.
Floras speaks of Bovillae as one of the towns first subdued by the Romans. Plutarch tells how it was taken and plundered by Coriolanus. In the time of Cicero, who speaks of it as a ' municipium,' it was already almost deserted,1 although Sulla had fortified it in the previous generation. The Julian Gens had a chapel here, where their images were preserved, and games were celebrated in their honour. The only remains now visible are those of a circus (for the sports of which Bovillae was famous), a theatre, a reservoir, and a sacrarium. The position of Bovillae receives additional identification from the description which Cicero gives of the circumstances which led to the murder of Clodius (near, strange to say, its temple of the Bona Dea), when he speaks of it as ' Pugna Bovillana.'2 Here the body of the Emperor Augustus rested for a month on its way from Nola, and here the knights assembled to conduct it to the city.
Beyond Le Frattoochie the Via Appia ascends in a direct line continuously to Albano.
'Now the Campagna is left behind, and Albano stands straight before you, on the summit of a steep and weary hill. Low lines of whitewashed wall border the road on either side, enclosing fields of fascine, orchards, oliveyards, and gloomy plantations of cypresses and pines. Next comes a range of sand-banks, with cavernous hollows and deep under-shadows; next, an old Cinque-cento gateway, crumbling away by the roadside; then a little wooden cross on an overhanging crag ; then the sepulchre of Pompey; and then the gates of Albano, through which yon rattle Into the town.'—Miss Edwards, * Barbara's History.' [The gate is being destroyed in order to make a safe entrance for the tramway.]
1 Orat.pro Plancio, ix.
2 Ad Atticum, v. 15.