網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Cardineos apices, neenon fastigia dudum
Papatfls iterata tenens."

Cardinal St. George on Celestin V.

The broad terrace immediately under the castle looks down upon the great Lake of Bracciano, which in ancient times was called the Lacus Sabatinus, and is mentioned by Festus. Near the site of Bracciano, says tradition, stood the city of Sabate, which was overwhelmed by the lake long ago, though its houses, its temples, and statues, may still be seen, on a clear day, standing intact beneath the glassy waters. The silvery expanse is backed by distant snow mountains, and here and there a little feudal town crowns the hill-sides or stands on the shore and is reflected in the lake. Oriolo has a villa of the Altieri, and its church-porch bears an inscription, which shows that it occupies the site of Pausilypon, built by Metia, wife of Titus Metius Herdonius. Vicarello (from Vicus Aureliae) has the ruins of a Roman villa, and is still celebrated for the baths so useful in cutaneous disorders, which were well known in old times as Aquae Aurelia. Many curious Roman coins and vases have been found there. Beyond Vicarello is Trevignano, another Orsini stronghold, picturesquely crowned by their old castle. Lastly we must notice Anguillara, with a fine machicolated castle, bearing the celebrated' crossed eels' of the famous Counts of Anguillara, of whom were Pandolfo d'Anguillara who built the church of S. Francesco a Ripa at Rome, Everso d'Anguillara, celebrated as a robber chief of the fifteenth century, and Orso d'Anguillara, the senator who crowned Petrarch upon the Capitol, and lived in the old palace which still remains in the Trastevere. Their country castle, which successfully withstood a siege from the Duke of Calabria in

LAKE OF BRACCIANO. 153

i486, overhangs the quiet lake, which indeed at one time bore its name, and the town, which is 20 miles from Rome, is well worth visiting, by a road which turns off on the right not far from Galera.

As we stood on the terrace, looking down upon all these historical scenes, the violet sky suddenly opened, a rainbow arched across the expanse of waters, and rays of light flitting along the green encircling slopes, lit up one old fortress after another, as with a golden glory, which lasted for an instant, and faded again into the purple mist. It was a beautiful effort of Nature, cheering the monotony of a cloudy, misty day.

CHAPTER VIII.

GABII AND ZAGAROLO.

(Gabii, 11 miles from Rome, is a pleasant short-day's excursion in a carriage (which, with two horses, ought not to cost more than 15 francs). On horseback Gabii, Collatia, and Lunghezza, may be visited in the same day.)

THE road which leads to Gabii is the Via Prcenestina, sometimes called Via Gabina, which emerges from the Porta Maggiore, and turns to the left (the central road of three). On the left, about half a mile from the walls, we pass a tomb said to be that of T. Quintus Atta, A.u.c. 678. Then, crossing a small streamlet in a hollow, believed to be the Aqua Bollicante, which marked the limits of ancient Rome, where the Arvales sang their hymn, we reach the ruins of the Torre degli Schiavi, the villa and temple of the Gordian Emperors (see Walks in Rome, ii. 133), which, in their richness of colour, backed by the lovely mountains of the Sabina, present one of the most beautiful scenes in the whole Campagna.

At the foot of the little hill upon which the ruins stand, the road to Lunghezza turns off on the left. The Campagna now becomes excessively wild and open. Here and there a tomb or a tower breaks the wide expanse. Far on the left is the great castle of Cervaretto, and beyond it Cervara and

[blocks in formation]

Rustica; further still is the Tor dei Pazzi. To the left the valley is seen opening towards the Hernican and Volscian hills, between the great historic sites of Praeneste and Colonna. All is most beautiful, yet unutterably desolate:—

"The very sepulchres lie tenantless
Of their heroic dwellers."

Now, on the left, rises, on a broad square basement, the fine tower called Tor Tre Teste,(rom the three heads (from a tomb) built into its walls. Beyond, also on the left, is the Tor Sapienza.

The eighth mile from Rome is interesting as the spot where Roman legend, as narrated by Livy (v. 49), tells that Camillus overtook the army of the Gauls laden with the spoils of Rome, and defeated them so totally, that he left not a single man alive to carry the news home to their countrymen.

"Among the fictions attached to Roman history, this was one of the first to be rejected."—Niebuhr.

"Such a falsification, scarcely to be paralleled in the annals of any other people, justifies the strongest suspicion of all those accounts of victories and triumphs which appears to rest in any degree on the authority of the family memorials of the Roman aristocracy."—Arnold.

At the ninth mile the road passes over the magnificent viaduct called Pontenona, consisting of seven arches, built of the gloomy stone called "lapis gabinus." The pavement of the bridge, and even part of the parapet, exist, showing what it was when entire.

"C'est certainement a la plus belle epoque de l'architecture republic«ine qu'appartient le pont de Nona, sur la voie Prenestine, probablement a 1'epoque du Tabularium, c'est a dire au temps de Sylla. II est bati en peperin dont les blocs ont quelquefois dix ou douze pieds de longueur; au-dessous des arches, qui ont de dix-huit a vingt-quatre pieds de hauteur, est un pont beaucoup plus petit, qui a preceVié l'autre. Ce petit pont primitif etait sans doute l'ceuvre des habitants du lieu et lour sumsait; mais Rome est venue; elle a elevé le niveau du pont jusqu'atx niveau de la voute, a laquelle il etait lie, et a laisse subsister a ses pieds son humble predecesseur comme pour servir a mesurer sa grandeur par le contraste."—Ampère, iv. 71.

More and more desolate becomes the country, till at the Osteria del Osa, 11 miles from Rome, the road to Gabii, now exceedingly rough for carriages, leaves the Via Pranestina to the right, and, skirting the edge of the crater-lake of Gabii, now almost dried up, reaches the few huts which mark the site of the town, and a low massive ruin, which might easily pass overlooked, but which is no less than a fragment—the cella—of the famous Temple of jfuno, celebrated by Virgil:—

"quique arva Gabinae

Junonis, gelidumque Anienem, et roscida rivis
Hernica saxa colunt."

ASn. vii . 682.

and by Silius Italicus;

". . . . nec amcena retentant Algida, nec juxta Junonis tecta Gabinae."

xii. 5, 36.

"The temple (the cell of which remains almost entire, but rent in certain parts apparently by lightning) is built of rectangular blocks of peperino. It has the same aspect as that of Diana at Aricia; that is, the wall of the posticum is prolonged beyond the cella, to the width of the portico on each side:

'Columnis adjectis dextrâ et sinistra ad humeros pronai.'

Vitruvius.

The number of columns could scarcely be less than six in front; those of the tlanks have not been decided. The columns were fluted, and of peperino, like the rest of the building; but it might perhaps be haiatvlous to assign them to a very remote period. The pavement is a mosaic of large white tessera."—Sir W. Gtll.

"The form of this temple was almost identical with that at Aricia. The interior of the cella was twenty-seren feet wide, and forty-five feet

« 上一頁繼續 »