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The railway passes Otricoli, two miles below which, in the plain, are the ruins of Ocriculum, the southernmost city of Umbria, 44 miles from Rome, on the Via Flaminia. It was here, in B.C. 217, that Fabius Maximus took the com mand of the army of Servilius, after the battle of Thrasymene. In 413, the army of Heraclianus, Count of Africa, was defeated here by Honorius. Ancient inscriptions speak of the place as 'splendidissima civitas Ocricolana,' a description which is borne out by the number of remains of important public buildings discovered in 1780. The famous mosaic floor of the Vatican and a colossal head of Jupiter were found at this time ; but the existing ruins are unimportant. Ocriculum was an episcopal see after the fall of the Empire. It is not known when the city perished or why the inhabitants removed to the present town, which is picturesquely situated on a hill above the Tiber. Ariosto speaks of the windings of the river here, but the trees he describes have disappeared.
Borghetto (Stat.) has a noble old castle with a tall tower and a ruined church admirably situated above the Tiber. The view is rather spoilt of late years by the railway.
Carriages to Civita Castellana, 3 frs. ; for the whole day, to Falleri or S. Oreste (Soracte), returning to Borghetto for the evening train, IS frs.
Inns—Croce Bianca, Posta ; both very humble, but endurable. The former is the best, the latter has a beautiful view. It is necessary here to settle prices at once.
Civita Castellana is one of the most beautiful spots in this, the loveliest part of Italy. After a drive of several miles through luxuriant country, without any previous sign, the pastures suddenly open, and disclose a gulf in the tufa, a deep abyss of rock where the evergreen shrubs and honeysuckle fall in perfect cascades of luxuriance over the red and yellow tufa cliffs, stained here and there with dashes of black and brown, and perforated with Etruscan tombs of various sizes, reached by narrow pathways along the face of the precipice. In the misty depths the little river Treja wanders amid huge stones, and under the tall arches of a magnificent bridge of 1712, which crosses the ravine at a height of 120 feet. The opposite bank is crested by the old houses and churches of Civita; and in the hollow are some rustic watermills.
The Cathedral has a wide western portico supported by a range of pillars encrusted with lovely mosaic work of 1210, byLorenzo Cosmati and his sons. Except the opus-Alexandrinum pavement and the crypt, the interior of the church has been modernized, but the arrangement is remarkable, as
the nave ends in a broad semi-circular staircase leading to the tribune, like a picture of Paul Veronese. The transepts are occupied by the local saints Gracilianus and Felicissima: the latter is shown in a glass case and wreath of pink roses.
The Citadel—'the political Bastille of Rome,'1 was built by Antonio San Gallo for Alexander VI.
Civita Castellana occupies the site of Falerium Vetus, mentioned so often by Plutarch and Livy, and founded by the Pelasgi soon after the Trojan war. Ovid, however, who
married a Faliscan wife, ascribes its foundation to Halaesus, son of Agamemnon :—
'Venerat Atridae fatis agitatus Halaesus;
A quo se dictam terra Falisca putat.'—Fast. iv. 73.
'Camillus was the military tribune under whom Falerii was added to the territory of Rome. According to the legend, "a schoolmaster, who had the care of the sons of the principal citizens, took an opportunity when walking with his boys without the walls, to lead them to the Roman camp, and throw them into the power of the enemy. But Camillus, indignant at this treason, bade the boys drive their master back into the town again, flogging him all the way thither, for the Romans, he said, made no war with children. Upon this the Faliscans, won by his magnanimity, surrendered to him at discretion, themselves, their city, and their country."'—Arnold's 'History of Rome.'
The most remarkable remains of the ancient Falerium will be found near the Ponte Terrano, about a mile beyond the castle of Sangallo. The bridge crosses the ravine of the Rio Maggiore by a double arch; one pier is of rock, the other of Etruscan masonry. Both above and below the bridge, the cliff is everywhere perforated with holes, caverned doorways to tombs, leading first into an ante-chamber provided with a spiramen, or vent-hole (used for carrying off effluvia, or as a possible entrance after the portal was closed), and then into the oblong tomb, generally with a pillar in the centre, hewn out of the rock, and perforated, as well as the walls, with recesses for bodies, or upright niches for cinerary urns. One of the tombs near the bridge is decorated with a row of niches, five on each side of the doorway; on the next tomb to this is inscribed 'Tucthnu' in Etruscan letters, once filled in with red. Another tomb hard by has an Etruscan inscription of two lines, but much obliterated. Fragments of Etruscan masonry remain here and there along the edge of the cliffs, serving as the foundation of mediaeval walls. Wherever you turn around Civita Castellana, the ravine seems to pursue you, as if the earth were opening under your feet, so does it twist around the town. Each turn is a picture more beautiful than the last, and ever and again beyond the rocky avenues, Soracte, steeped in violet shadows, appears rising out of the tender green of the plain. The gorge has been compared to the famous Tajo of Ronda; it has no waterfalls, and the cliffs are not as high, but it is quite as full of colour and beauty. The traveller who merely spends a few hours in Civita knows nothing of it. In the early morning the hollows are filled with mist, while the sun lights up here and there a crag crested with ilex and overhung with clematis and honeysuckle. Near the bridge a huge block of gray rock divides the valley and stands level at the top with the surrounding country, from which it must once have been riven—like an inaccessible island fortress in the midst of the ravine. Up into the town winds the ancient way, a steep zigzag following the curves of the rock, and here are fountains where the dresses of the women who come down to draw water, or to wash at the great basins on the ledge, add bright patches of colour to the view. While upon the face of the rocks and along the edge of paths in the precipices, so narrow now that only goats can follow them, yawn everywhere the open mouths of caverned sepulchres, the dead pursuing the living up to the very gates of the city.
About three miles beyond the Ponte Terrano, stranded and deserted in the upland plain, so wildly beautiful from its thickets of broom and cistus and its primaeval oak woods, and backed by the lovely ranges of the Ciminian hills, stands the utterly ruined city of Falleri. One of the finest Etruscan tombs in this country is passed on the way thither. It is in a hollow, on the right of the road, presenting a three-arched portico, with a boldly-cut cornice, sculptured in the rock. Within is an ante-chamber leading into the principal tomb. Here the flat ceiling is supported by a square pillar, all around are benches for sarcophagi, and the walls and pillars are perforated with niches for urns or ornaments. Several other tombs exist close by, but this may be taken as a good specimen of an Etruscan sepulchre, and is more architecturally interesting than any of the tombs at Castel d' Asso or Bieda.
Soon after ascending the hill beyond the tombs, Fallen comes in sight, its massive walls and towers rising above the ploughed land, about twenty-five feet in height. They are almost perfect, but there are no ruins standing of the city within them.
'There is nothing to recommend the site of Falerii, as a strong position. The whole of the northern wall of the city stands only as much above the plain as may be accounted for by the circumstance of having been built upon the earth thrown out of the ditch. In this part of the wall there are nineteen towers, all remaining in a state of great perfection, fifteen or sixteen courses in height ; but, from their position, they are of little strength. About nineteen more are on the second side of the triangle, placed on the verge of precipices: the third side is defended not only by walls, but by a rocky descent into a deep glen, watered by a pretty stream, which falls into the Tiber. The vestiges of an ancient aqueduct may be traced from the upper country, and a modern one passes near the stream in the glen below.
'The walls were of tufa; in some parts twelve courses of blocks are still remaining, and in others as many as fifteen or sixteen. The solidity of the towers is singular; they do not project internally beyond the thickness of the walls, and some of them have no more than five stones at the base, and no empty space within. The distance between them is about fifty yards. Above the parapet the towers were chambered; and being pierced by doors, permitted an uninterrupted walk on the top of the walls behind the battlements. Perhaps no place presents a more perfect specimen of ancient military architecture; its preservation in modern times may be principally ascribed to the seclusion and comparative desertion of the district.'— GeWs 'Roman Topography.'
In the turfy enclosure which the walls encircle stand only the remains of a mediaeval abbey—Santa Maria di Falleri, with its beautiful church of the twelfth century, utterly ruined since the roof fell in thirty years ago, and overgrown with rank vegetation, though retaining all the delicate sculpture of its pillars and cornices, evidently constructed of materials taken from the ancient city. The cart-track which diverges from the front of the church leads to the Porta di Giove, a fine gate admirably preserved and flanked by towers. It takes its name from the sculptured head over