« 上一頁繼續 »
does Strabo paiticularize the sites on the Campagna notoriously dangerous to inhabit :—Ardea, SrHia (now Sezza), Terracina, &c. In reference to this does Cicero complain of the fevers prevailing in its low districts ; and Livy laments the fate of the retired soldiers doomed to reside on this soil—' Se militando fessos in pestilenti atque arido, circa urbem, solo luctari.' Horace also observes of the month of August in the city 'Adducit febres et testamenta resignat.' "—Hcman? Story of Monuments in Rome.
Even in the villas at Tivoli, as in those nearer Rome, malaria is greatly to be feared towards sunset.
"VfhaX the flaming sword was to the first Eden, such is the malaria to these sweet gardens and groves. We may wander through them of an afternoon, it is true, but they cannot be made a home and a reality, and to sleep among them is death. They are but illusions, therefore, like the show of gleaming waters and shadowy foliage in the desert."— Transformation.
But malaria does not penetrate into the hills, and nothing
can be more healthy and invigorating than the air in the
more distant mountain towns.
The middle of winter should be devoted to the city, and
to the nearer Campagna drives, so as to leave many spring
days for the hill-excursions, which will then have a charm
none who have not felt them can realize.
"About your feel the myrtles will be set,
Grey rosemary, and thyme, and tender blue
Of love-pale labyrinthine violet;
The golden jonquitand starred asphodel
And hyacinth their speechless tales will tell.
The nightingales for you their tremulous song
Of wild acacia bowers, and all night long
Soothing your sense with odours sweet as sleep,
While wind-stirred cypresses'low music keep."—J. A. S.
"The spring came; the languid, fragrant, joyous Italian spring, all sunshine and perfume, and singing of birds and blossoming of flowers. The Easter festivals were past, and the strangers dispersed and gone. The snow had faded from the summit of Soracte. The Coliseum hung out its banners of fresh green. The Campagna glowed under the midday sun, like a Persian carpet—one wilderness of poppies and harebells, buttercups, daisies, wild convolvuli, and purple hyacinths. Every crumbling ruin burst into blossom, like a garden. Every cultivated patch within the city walls ran over, as it were, spontaneously, with the delicious products of the spring. Every stall at the shady corner of every quiet piazza was piled high with early fruits: and the flower-girls sat all day long on the steps of the Trinita de' Monti. Even the sullen pulses of the Tiber seemed stirred by a more genial current, as they eddied round the broken piers of the Ponte Rotto. Even the solemn sepulchres of the Appian Way put forth long feathery grasses from each mouldering cranny, and the wild eglantine struck root among the shattered urns of the roadside columbarium. Now, too, the transparent nights, all spangled with fire-flies, were even more balmy than the days. And now the moon shone down on troops of field-labourers encamped under the open sky against the city walls; and the nightingales sang as if inspired, among the shadowy cypresses of the Protestant burial-ground."—Barbards History.
The spring in Italy is the time for active, the summer for passive enjoyment.
"You know not yet the enchantment of an Italian summer amid Italian hills 1 You know not what it is to breathe the perfume of the orange-gardens—to lie at noon in the deep shadow of an ilex-grove, listening to the ripple of a legendary spring, older than history—to stroll among ruins in the purple twilight! Then up there, far from the' sultry city and the unhealthy plains, we have such sunrises and sunsets as you, artists though you be, have never dreamt of—there, where the cool airs linger longest, and the very moon and stars look more golden than elsewhere."—Barbaras History.
In the mountain towns, living is exceedingly economical. Even at the hotels there are few places where the charges for pension including everything would be more than 4§, or at most 5 francs a day, while in- lodgings one may live quite handsomely for 25 francs a Week. All prices are proportionINTRODUCTORY. 29
ately smalL For instance, in the Abruzzi a whole day's journey by diligence seldom costs more than 6 or 8 francs. Of course this tariff does not apply to Albano, where the price of everything has' been raised by foreign interference, but rather to places which are not much frequented, or which are resorted to by Italians of the lower-upper or mezzo-ceto classes, who would simply laugh down any overcharge. In some of these places there are charming, happy summer colonies, which migrate to the fresher air like the swallows, as regularly as the hot months come round. To L'Ariccia especially the artists flock forth, and there and at Olevano they make their summer societies, leading an innocent, merry life enough, and, while rivals in their art, filled with simple kindnesses for one another; the companionship and good-fellowship of the Via Margutta being carried on in these country villages.
"The life of the student in Rome should be one of unblended enjoyment. If he loves his work, or, what is the same, if he throws himself conscientiously into it, it is sweetened to him as it can be nowhere else. His very relaxations become at once subsidiary to it, yet most delightfolly recreative. His' daily walks may be through the field of art, his resting-place in some seat of the muses, his wanderings along the stream of time bordered by precious monuments. He can never be alone; a thousand memories, a thousand associations accompany him, rise up at every step, bear him along. There is no real loneliness in Rome now any more than of old, when a thoughtful man could say that 'he was never less alone than when alone.' "—Cardinal Wiseman.
He who lives long in one of these country places will have an experience of Italian character which no town residence will give; and will be astonished at the amount of quaint folk lore and historical tradition which is handed down orally in a population which can seldom read, and is utterly ignorant of the most notorious principles of modern information. They seldom go beyond the limits of their own castelli, except that all have probably paid one visit to Rome in their lifetime, to receive the Easter Benediction from the Holy Father. Their animals are generally like friends to them, and are often trained in a wonderfully human way—especially their pigs, which generally live in the houses, and are the companions of their daily life. A pig at Subiaco danced the tarantella like a human being. If an Italian peasant were told that there was no future state for his domestic animals he would be very incredulous. "Sant' Antonio abbia pieta dell' anima sua," cried Madame de Stael's Italian coachman, as his horse fell down dead; and the Intendente of the Duke of Sermoneta, writing lately to announce that a number of his pigs had died in the country, said simply, "Sono andati in Paradiso."
The men are generally far more instructed than the women, whose ideas are for the most part confined to what they hear in the churches, and to the stories of their own village or of the saints.
"Among us, and in many places, the contadina is*neither more nor less than the wife, the female of the contadina, as the hen is the female of the cock ; with which, except in sex, it has life, nourishment, habits, all in common. This equality, on the contrary, in certain places becomes destruction and loss to the poor woman. Here, for example, if a faggot of wood and a bunch of chickens have to be carried down to the shore from one of the villages half-way up the mountain, the labour is thus distributed in the family; the wife loads herself with the faggot of wuod which weighs half a hundred-weight, and the husband will take the chickens which weigh a mere nothing. In mountainous places it is generally thus. It is curious to hear the contadini, when they are trying to lift a weight, if they find it heavy, say, as they quickly put it down again, 'It is woman's work !'"—Massimo d'Azeglio.
"From a people so original and so ignorant we may expect many quaint superstitions. Accordingly besides ghosts and haunted houses we hear of the lupo-manaro, a kind of were-wolf, most dangerous on rainy
nights; of witches whom you may keep out of the house by hanging a broom at the window. The Roman witch seizes eagerly on-her favourite steed, and with the muttered charm,
'Sopr" acqua e sopra vento Portami alia noce di Benevento,'
she is off in a trice to join her Samnite sisters. If a Roman housewife has lost anything, she will repeat Psalm xci., 'Qui habitat,' quite sure that at the words * from the snare of the hunter' (' de laqueo venantium '— she reads it 'acqua di Venanzio') the truant will re-appear. Then she has her famous 'Rimcdii Simpatici.' To cure a wart you must tie the linger round with crimson silk ribbon: for a sty, pretend to sew it up with needle and thread : for a boil, get a poor neighbour to beat a frying-pan at your door. Their faith in the lottery and the libro delt' arte is too well known for comment ; a similar reverence is paid to the weather-prophecies of the almanac. The book must be true, they argue, for it has the Imprimatur."—Claude Delaval Cobham,,"Essay I on Belli."
In spite of the richness of the land, and in spite of the fact that most of the peasants are themselves landowners on a very small scale, the most terrible poverty frequently prevails, but this is greater in the Hernican and Equian than in the Alban Hills.
"Can we believe that amid t' e abundant produce of the land the peasants are poor? Looking at the region, it appears to be an Eldorado of happy inhabitants; but living with them in the paradise of Nature we meet too often with starvation. All these fruits (twenty figs or twentywalnuts may be bought here for one bajocco, and in good years a bottle of wine for the same price) do not feed the peasant; he would starve if he had not the meal of the Turkish corn, which is his only food. The fault of this incongruity lies in the agrarian condition. To begin with, you must know that the possessor of land here owes the fourth part of the produce as rent to the lord of the soil. It is the old curse of the latifundia to sink the people in poverty. There arc indeed few peasants who do not possess a small vineyard, but it is not sufficient to maintain the family. Usury is unlimited; even from the poorest ten per cent, is taken. The smallest misfortune, or a bad harvest, brings him into debt. If he borrows money or grain the interest burdens him; the avaricious nch man watches for the time of want to wrest the land from the small propnetor for a nominal pnee. Barons and monasteries grow rich, the