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the door from the dark halls where the Titanic forms of the frescoed figures loom upon us through the gloom, to the garden where brilliant sunshine is lighting up long grass walks between clipped hedges, adding to the splendour of the flame-coloured marigolds upon the old walls, and even gilding the edges of the dark spires of the cypresses which were planted three hundred years ago? From the upper terraces we enter an ancient wood, carpeted with flowers— yellow orchis, iris, lilies, saxifrage, cyclamen, and Solomon's seal. And then we pause, for at the end of the avenue we meet with a huge figure of Silence, with his finger on his lips. Here an artificial cascade tumbles sparkling down the middle of the hill-side path, through a succession of stone basins, and between a number of stone animals, who are sprinkled with its spray and so we reach an upper garden before the fairy-like casino which was also built by Vignola. Here the turfy solitudes are encircled with a concourse of stone figures, in every variety of attitude, a perfect population. Some are standing quietly gazing down upon us, others are playing upon different musical instruments, others are listening. Two Dryads are whispering important secrets to one another in a corner; one impertinent Faun is blowing his horn so hard into his companion's ears that he stops them with both his hands. A nymph is about to step down from her pedestal, and will probably take a bath as soon as we are gone, though certainly she need not be shy about it, as drapery is not much the fashion in these sylvan gardens. Above, behind the Casino, is yet another water-sparkling staircase guarded by a vast number of huge lions and griffins, and beyond this all is tangled wood, and rocky mountainside. Gazing through the stony crowd across the green glades to the rosy-hued mountains, one dreads the return to a world where Fauns and Dryads are still supposed to be mythical, and which has never known Caprarola.
In the Ciminian Hills the character of the scenery is indescribably Italian. The road is generally a dusty hollow in the tufa, fringed with broom, which is full of flower in spring, and the little children by the wayside make themselves wreaths, and gathering long branches of it, wave them like golden sceptres. Along the brown ridges of thymy tufa, flocks of goats scramble, chiefly white, but a few black and dun-coloured creatures are mingled with them, mothers with their dancing elf-like kids and old bearded patriarchs who love to clamber to the very end of the most inaccessible place, and to stand there embossed against the clear sky in triumphant quietude. The handsome shepherd, dressed in white linen, lets them have their own way, and the great rough white dogs only keep a lazy eye upon them as they themselves lie panting and luxuriating in the sunshine. Deep down below us, as we turn towards Rome, it seems as if all Southern Italy was unfolding, as the mists roll away, and range after range of delicate mountain distance is discovered. Volscian, Hernican, Sabine, and Alban Hills, Soracte — nobly beautiful—rising out of the soft quiet lines of the Campagna, and the Tiber winding out of the rich meadow lands till it is lost from sight before it reaches where a great mysterious dome rises solemnly through the mist, and recalls the times when, years ago, in the old happy vetturino days, we used to stop the carriage at the summit of those hills, to have our first view of St. Peter's.
Close beneath, deep-blue, in the vast basin of an extinct crater, lies the little Lake of Vico, the Ciminian lake. Tradition tells that when Hercules was here, the natives asked him to give them a proof of his enormous strength, and that to please them he drove an iron bar deep into the earth ; but that when they bade him draw it forth again, water followed, which filled the hollow of the mountain and formed the lake. Beneath its waves the lost city of Succinium was believed to exist.1 Formerly it was surrounded by a forest which was regarded as an impenetrable barrier to preserve Etruria against the attacks of the Romans. It was said that Fabius, after his great defeat of the Etruscans at Sutrium, was the first Roman who dared
1 Amm. Marcell. xvii. 7, 13.
to enter the Ciminian wood, and the terror which was excited when his intention of doing so became known at Rome, caused the senate to despatch especial envoys to deter him.1 Part of the crater is taken up by the water, and the rest by the wooded hill of Monte Venere, which looks as if it had been thrown up by the same convulsion which hollowed the bed of the waters at its foot. Virgil was here, and speaks of the lake and its mountain, and as we drive through the adjoining forest we think of Macaulay and
'—the stags that champ the boughs
Ronciglione (Inn, Aquila Nera, humble but tolerable) is picturesquely situated on the edge of one of those deep ravines so peculiar and apparently so necessary to Etruscan cities, perforated with tombs, and with a ruined castle (La Rocca) and an old church (La Providenza) clinging to its sides. There is a handsome cathedral of the last century and a large fountain in the upper town. Ronciglione is the best sleeping place beyond Viterbo.
It is an hour's drive from Ronciglione to Sutri, a. little town occupying a crest in the tufa, filling every rocky projection with its old walls and houses, for its extent seems to have been limited by the cliffs which formed its natural protection, and which gave it such strength as made it deserve the name of ' the key of Etruria.'
Sutrium was made a Roman colony at a very early period, and was celebrated for its devotion to Rome. In B.c. 389 it was captured by the Etruscans, and the whole of its inhabitants were expelled, with nothing but the clothes they wore. Camillus met them with his army as they were escaping towards Rome, and, moved by their anguish, bade them be of good cheer, for he would soon transfer their troubles to their conquerors, and this he did, for that very
1 Livy, ix. 56; Florus, i. 17.
day he reached the town, found it undefended, and the Etruscans occupied in collecting the spoil. Before night the rightful inhabitants were restored, and their victors driven out. From the rapidity with which his march was effected, 'ire Sutrium' became henceforth a proverb for doing anything in a hurry. Soon after (385) the town was again taken by the Etruscans, and again restored by Camillus: in 310 the old enemy once more besieged it, when the consul Fabius came to the rescue.
Tradition is wonderfully alive at Sutri. The house of Pontius Pilate is shown, and to the curse which he brought upon his own people it is said that the lawless nature is due for which the natives of Sutri have ever since been
remarkable. At a corner of the principal street is the head of a beast, be it ass or sheep, which is believed always to be watching the hiding-place of great treasure with its stone eyes, but the authorities of the town, who will not search for it themselves, have forbidden all other enterprise in that direction.
Some of the old palaces have beautifully-wrought cressets still projecting from their walls. In a small piazza is a grand sarcophagus, adorned with winged griffins, as a fountain. The Cathedral has a lofty tower with trefoiled windows, and an opus-Alexandrinum pavement. It contains a portrait of Benedict VII., who was a native of Sutri, and
of the canonized Dominican, Pius V., who was its bishop for five years.
Beyond the town on the Roman side, the rocks on the right of the road are filled with tombs. They are cut in the tufa, but many seem to have been fronted with more durable stone-work. The cliffs are crested by grand old ilexes, which hang downwards in the most luxuriant masses of foliage, unspoilt by the axe. There is no appearance of anything more than this, and it is startling, when one turns aside from the road and, crossing a strip of green meadow, passes through a gap in the rocks, to find oneself suddenly in a Roman Amphitheatre, perfect in all its forms, almost in all its details, with corridor, staircases, vomitories, and twelve ranges of seats one above the other, not built, but hewn out of the solid rock, all one with the cliffs which outwardly make no sign. The Coliseum is grander, but scarcely so impressive as this vast ruin in its absolute desertion, where Nature, from which it was taken by Art, has once more asserted her rights, and where the flowers and the maiden-hair fern clamber everywhere up the gray steps and fringe the rock galleries, and the green lizards, darting to and fro, are the only spectators which look down upon the turfy arena. All around the great ilexes girdle it in, with here and there the tall spire of a cypress shooting up into the clear air. The silence is intense, and there is a strange witchery in the solitude of this place, which nothing leads up to, and which bears such an impress of the greatness of those who conceived it, and made it, and once thronged the ranges of its rock-hewn benches, now so unspeakably desolate. Dennis considers that the amphitheatre of Sutri was 'perhaps the type of all those celebrated structures raised by Imperial Rome, even of the Coliseum itself. For we have historical evidence that Rome derived her theatrical exhibitions from Etruria. Livy tells us that ludi scenici, a new thing for a warlike people, who had hitherto only known the games of the circus, were introduced into Rome in the year 390, in order
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