« 上一頁繼續 »
by the superstition of the inhabitants of Scrofano, who believe that the felling of the trees would be followed by the death of the head of each family. On the top of the hill a treasure is supposed to be buried, and protected by demons, who would arouse a tempest, were any attempt made to discover it. The view is very striking.
Twenty-two miles from Rome on the Via Cassia is the large inn of Le Sette Vent, near which there is a small Etruscan bridge in good preservation.
GALERA AND BRACCiANO.
(There is a public conveyance daily from Rome to Bracciano, which toils along the road in five hours. Two good horses will take a light carriage containing four persons thither in three hours. Though it is said to be 26 miles distant, Bracciano is within an easy day's excursion from Rome. There are two tolerably decent inns at Bracciano, which has a population of above 2000.)
O TORMS were sweeping over the Janiculan, and occasion
O ally shrouding S. Peter's in a white mist, while the Campagna beyond the Aventine seemed blotted with ink, but as we had settled to go to Bracciano, and an excursion of more than 20 miles is very difficult to re-arrange, we determined not to be deterred by weather, and, as usual in such cases, things turned out better than we anticipated.
It was again the Via Cassia, which had led us to Veii; but, beyond La Storta, the road to Bracciano turns to the left, over a most-dreary thistle-grown part of the Campagna, with here and there a deep cutting in the tufa, and banks covered with violets and crowned with golden genista. A bridle road, turning off on the right, one mile from La Storta, leads to the picturesque and lonely convent of La Madonna del Sorbo (about seven or eight miles distant), founded in 1400 by the Orsini.
On the main road there is little interest, till the tinyrivulet Arrone, an outlet of the lake of Bracciano, crosses the road, and tumbles in a waterfall over a cliff into one of those deep glens which suggest the sites of so many Etruscan cities, and which here encircles that of the forgotten Etruscan fortress of Galeria, afterwards occupied by the mediaeval town of Galera. Those who pass along the high road catch glimpses of its tall tower and ivy-grown walls, but they must cross the fields, and descend into its ravine (leaving their carriage at the farm-house called Santa Maria di Galera) to realize that the whole place is absolutely deserted except by bats and serpents, and that it is one of the most striking of " the lost cities of the Campagna."
The situation is wonderfully picturesque, the walls rising from the very edge of a steep lava precipice, round which
GALERA. . 14S
low the citadel. In the eleventh century Galera belonged to the Counts Tosco, troublesome barons of the Campagna, against whom in 1058 Pope Benedict X. called in the assistance of the Normans, who were only too happy to ravage and plunder the town. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the place became an important stronghold of the Orsini, who held it by tenure of an annual payment of three pounds of wax to the Pope. Their arms are over the gateway, and they built the tall handsome tower of the church, which was dedicated to S. Nicholas; but they were unable to defend the town against their deadly enemies the Colonnas, who took it and utterly sacked it in July, 1485. The last historical association of the place is that Charles V. slept there, the day he left Rome, April 18, 1536.
Only a short time ago Galera had ninety inhabitants. Now
it has none. There is no one to live in the houses, no one to pray in the church. Malaria reigns triumphant here, Vol. 1. 10
and keeps all human creatures at bay. Even the shepherd who comes down in the day to watch the goats who are scrambling about the broken walls, would pay with his life for passing the night here. It is a bewitched solitude, with the ghosts of the past in full possession. All is fast decaying: the town walls, some of which date from the eleventh century, are sliding over into the thickets of brambles. Above them rise the remains of the fine old Orsini castle, from which there is an unspeakably desolate view, the effect of the scene being enhanced by the knowledge that the strength of Galera has fallen beneath no human foe, but that a more powerful and invincible enemy has been found in the mysterious "scourge of the Campagna." The only bright point about the ruins is the old washing-place of the town in the glen, where the waters of the Arrone, ever bright and sparkling, are drawn off into stone basons overhung with fern and creepers.
Beyond Galera, leaving the Convent of Santa Maria in Celsano to the east, the road to Bracciano enters a more fertile district. On the left is passed a marsh, once a lake, called the Lago Morto. Green corn now covers the hill-sides, and here and there is an olive garden. Soon, upon the right, the beautiful Lake of Bracciano, 20 miles in circumference, and six miles across in its widest part, is seen sleeping in its still bason surrounded by green wooded hills. Then the huge Castle of the Odescalchi, built of black lava, and fringed by deeply-machicolated towers, rises before us, crowning the yellow lichen-gilded roofs of the town. We rattle into the ill-paved street, and, between the dull whitewashed houses, we see the huge towers frowning down upon us. At last the carriage can go no further and stops