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glancing sea. There is the world-town Rome steeped in the mist; there stands the island-like Soracte; hard by rise the mighty chains of the Apennines ; on the left, at their feet, is the deep beautiful valley of the Sacco, over which shine the gleaming hill-towns of Monte-Fortino and Segni; further are the heights of the Serra, and the airy chiefs of all these hills, whose varied forms lose themselves in the sunny atmosphere beyond Anagni and Ferentino. One looks upon these plains and hills, bedecked with towns and villages, of which most are rich in associations, and the early history of Rome, the story of the empire, or of the middle ages, comes back to one's recollection, and when one feels that Umbria, the Sabina, Latium, the Equian territory, the land of the Hemicans, Etruria, the Volscian country, the Alban hills, and the sea are united in one panorama, one appreciates the grandeur of this view. When a Colonna of the middle ages looked down from the windows of the old palace or castle, he might venture, as he gazed upon his possessions, to feel that he was the richest and mightiest chieftain in Latium."—Gregorovius.
The plain beneath the windows is so rich that it looks like one vast garden of fruit-trees, amongst which, about a mile from the town, near S. Maria della Villa (the name commemorating it), the remains of the immense villa of Hadrian may be discovered. They are little worth visiting, yet here the Braschi Antinous and other important statues have been found, and smaller antiquities are dug up daily. Madama Pastina, who lets the lodgings to strangers, has a collection of them, chiefly terra-cottas and small bronzes, which she sells at low prices. The little statuettes of Fortune suckling a child are very interesting.
The hill-side above Palestrina is so bare and the sun beats so pitilessly upon its white rocks, that it is best to put off the ascent till near sunset. It may be made on donkeys, but they are atrociously bad. We were obliged to dismiss ours; and when we reproached its owner for having brought it, he coolly said—" Yes, he knew that it was bad, and would certainly fall down, but he brought it because if a saddle was
once put on it must be as much paid for as if it had been used. So few strangers came, that they must be taken ad
Street Scene, Palestrina.
vantage of." We did not wonder that so few came amongst this savage population. Every woman and child you meet, however well dressed they may be, rush at you with defiant shouts, insisting, not petitioning, "Signor, dammi un baiocc." From every window hands are outstretched. Stern-looking Sibyls scowl their demands at you, distaff in hand, upon their doorsteps. Dozens of ragged children yell and tumble over one another, and follow you for hours, dancing like frantic little demons, wherever you go. Some friends of ours ascended the mountain, followed by hampers well
equipped for a delicious pic-nic. They reached the top, and were surrounded by the inhabitants of S. Pietro. The hampers were unpacked and the luncheon spread out, and —before any resistance could be offered or even suggested, the thronging swarms had descended upon the feast like locusts, and, in one moment, men and women tore up the chickens and swallowed the limbs at a mouthful, crunching bones and all like wild beasts, so that not the slightest vestige remained, and the rightful owners were left, dumbfoundered and famished, to stare at their empty table-cloth.
We had happily no such attractions to offer, but were well persecuted notwithstanding, and heartily cursed by troops of hungry ragged urchins because we had brought nothing for them, as well as by a shaggy-looking ruffian, who was imprisoned under the Barberini Palace, for having lately murdered his wife and son, and who stretched out his bony hand with nails like claws, and shook it at us through the iron bars as we passed. Yet an officer, who was quartered at the palace, told us that the people here are perfectly angelic compared to those of the neighbouring Cavi. There, on the slightest contradiction, the natives never hesitated to pull out a stiletto or a revolver, and he never knew a time when six or seven of his men were not suffering from their violence while they were quartered there.
The view from the top is certainly magnificent. No wonder that Hannibal climbed up to survey it in order to assist his military operations. It is the most historical panorama imaginable. Rome is seen amidst the mists of the plain. Nearer us are Gabii, Collatia, and Zagarolo. On the Alban hills are Tusculum, Frescati, Monte Porzio, Monte Compatri, Labicum (now Colonna), Corbio (now Rocca Priora}, Velitrae (now Velletri). Then on the distant sea-coast we can make out Astura, Nettuno, Antium (Porto d'Anzio), Ardea, Pratica, Ostia, Porto, and Fiumicino. On the Volscian hills are Monte Fottino, Colle Ferro and Sigma (Segni); on the Hemicans, Anagni, Ferentino, Paliano, Genazzano, and Cavi, and the fore-ground is formed by the Cyclopean walls of Praeneste! Looking down upon all these scenes, girt by the huge polygonal stones of the walls of the ancient citadel, is the modern village of San Pietro, a place so dilapidated and crumbling, so bare and colourless, that it looks as if it had been transported from Africa to this windy height . Here the Roman Catholic Church believes that St. Peter dwelt for some time, and here, in the church, he is commemorated in a statue by Bernini, as well as in a good picture representing his martyrdom by Pietro di Cortona. The holy water basons are supported by ancient cippi.
Still higher, on the last peak, stand the huge ruins of the fortress, rebuilt by the famous Stephen Colonna, which bears
over its gate, beneath the Colonna arms, the inscription, "Magnificus DNS Stefan de Columna-redificavit civitatem penestre cv monte et arce. Anno 1332."
In summer the stagnation of Palestrina is enlivened by the presence of the Barberini family, who live, not at the palace with the mosaic, but at another lower down in the town, quite in a feudal manner, and, as Prince and Princess of Palestrina, hold receptions in their garden, to which all the small gentry of the place are invited.
The Ponte S. Antonio may be visited from Palestrina. It is a magnificent Roman arch 120 feet in height, not far from Poli, by which the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus were carried across a deep ravine in the Campagna.