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which is really magnificent, in spite of its desertion and decay.

The old palace of the popes, now called Palazzo Communale, built by Giacomo della Porta, occupies the highest part of the town, the citadel of old Velitrae, and beside it stands the palace of the Cardinal-Archbishop, with a bas-relief on its front commemorating the opening of the Via Appia Nuova by Pius IX., and an inscription rather inconsistent with present ideas —" Papalis et imperialis est mihi libertas." Close to these palaces are two little churches, San Michaele and 77 Santissiml Sangue. Over the door of the latter is an ancient sun-dial— "Horologium Beronianum"—found in the neighbouringruins. In the interior is an inscription recording a miraculous appearance of the Virgin, and an altar to an early Christian who has been canonized on the belief that she was a martyr—" Temporalem

CATHEDRAL OF VELLETRI.

mortem S. Tertura Victorina contemnens coronain vitae aeternae possidet in pace." By the side is the catacomb inscription:—

URTURA VICTORINA
VAE VIXIT ANNUS XLII
III MATRI FECERUNT
BENEMERENTI IN PACE.

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In the lower part of the town is the Cathedral, dedicated

to S. Clemente, and partly ancient, though altered in 1660. It contains a chapel of the Borgias, who are still one of the great families of the place, with their monuments. On the left of the altar is a beautiful fresco of the Virgin and Child, with St. John, St. Sebastian, St. Jerome, and St . Roch, by an unknown artist of the Perugino school. In the sacristy is the lavamano, which Julius II. presented to the church while he was Cardinal-Archbishop of Velletri. Latino Orsini, to whom the hymn " Dies Irae" is wrongly attributed, but who was one of the most distinguished prelates of the thirteenth century, was also bishop here. We were present on Easter Sunday, when the existing archbishop performed high-mass in the presence of thousands of countrywomen kneeling in their white and brown panni, and the sight was very imposing and impressive.

Nothing can be more charming than the environs of Velletri in early spring. It is almost the only place near Rome where the trees are allowed to grow at their own will, and are not cut into squares, and the lanes around are delightfully shady and attractive. Gulfs of verdure with little streams running in their deep hollows may be discovered in all directions, and there are also pleasant walks to many convents and churches on neighbouring heights. Near the Roman gate is the ascent to the Cappuccini, whence the view is especially fine, the long lines of the Pontine marshes and the beautiful Circean promontory being seen behind the old houses and churches of the town. In this direction is the battle-field where Charles III. of Naples gained the victory over the Austrians which gave the kingdom of the two Sicilies to the Spanish Bourbons. On the Naples road

JESUIT CONVENT, VELLETRI.

is the Jesuit Convent containing a famous Madonna attributed to St. Luke, of which About tells :—

11 Un hôte du Campo-Morto appelé Vendetta conçut le projet d'une spéculation hardie. Depuis longtemps, il rançonnait les gens de Vellctri et des environs. Il demandait à celui-ci deux écus, à celui-là dix ou douze. Quiconque avait une récolte sur pied, des arbres chargés de fruits, un frère en voyage, payait sans marchander ce singulier impôt. Cependant Vendetta finit par prendre en dégoût un métier si lucratif. Il rêva de rentrer dans la vie normale avec un revenu modeste et un honnête emploi. Pour atteindre ce but, il ne trouva rien de plus ingénieux que de voler la madone de Velletri et de la déposer en lieu sûr.

"On approchait d'une fête carillonnée où la madone devait paraître aux yeux du peuple avec tous ses diamants. Le sacristain ouvrait la niche et constata avec des cris de douleur que la madone n'y était plus. Grande rumeur dans Velletri. On cherche de tous côtés et l'on ne trouve rien. Le peuple s'émeut; une certaine effervescence se manifeste dans les villages voisins. Le clergé du pays accuse les jésuites de s'être volés eux-mêmes; les jésuites récriminent contre les prêtres de Velletri. Le couvent est envahi, fouillé, bouleversé par un public idolâtre. Enfin le dimanche, à la grand'messe, Vendetta, armé d'un poignard, monte en chaire et sé dénonce lui-même. Il prie le peuple d'agréer ses excuses et promet de rendre la madone dès qu'il aura réglé ses comptes avec l'autorité. L'autorité traite avec lui de puissance à puissance. Vendetta demande sa grâce et celle de son frère, une rente de tant d'écus et un emploi du gouvernement. On promet tout, mais Rome désavone ses agents et ne veut rien ratifier. Cependant la population des montagnes se met en marche, et un flot de paysans menace d'inonder Velletri. Le brigand cède au nombre, révèle la cachette où il a celé la madone, et se rend lui-même à discrétion. Il aura la tête coupée; personne n'en doute à Velletri."—Rome Contemporaine.

The inhabitants of Velletri were formerly famous for their

brigand tendencies: now they are most inoffensive. But a

Roman proverb says

"Velletrani sette volte villani."

vol.. I

CHAPTER XV.

THE VOLSCIAN HILLS—CORI, NORBA, NINFA, AND SEGNI.

^OK the excursion to Norba it is quite necessary to

A make an early start, and can anything be more charming than six o'clock on a cloudless morning in April, if, with jingling bells, we drive out of the old town of Velletri and descend into the hollow lanes shaded by fresh green trees and gay with peasants going out in bands to the work of the day. The road winds through dips in the low hills. It is the country which was formerly known as the "Volscorum Ager." We only pass one village, San Giulianello. A little beyond this, Rocca Masshna is seen on the top of a precipice, but travellers may reach it by a good mountain path, if they are anxious to explore the site of the ancient Arx Carventana. An excellent road ascends to Cori, which soon becomes visible, though its temples cannot be seen from here as Murray describes, for they are on the other side of the hill. Through the olives there is a beautiful view across the Pontine marshes to the sea, with the Circean promontory and the neighbouring islands. Of these, the largest is San Felice. Then comes Ponza, whither Tiberius banished his nephew Nero, the son of Germanicus, and where many Christians lived in exile, or suffered martyrdom, under

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