網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

CHAPTER XVIII.

GENAZZANO, PALIANO, AND OLEVANO.

(At Olevano there is an excellent country inn, kept by Nino and Pepina Baldi, much frequented by artists, who reside here for months in summer. The charges for pension, including everything, are five francs a day, or four francs if for a long time. A carriage may be obtained from Olevano to meet the train at the Valmontone Station by writing beforehand to Casa Baldi. The public carriage, which leaves the Piazza S. Marco at six A.M. for Palestrina, proceeds to Olevano—fare, from four to five francs. At Subiaco there is a comfortable small hotel with capital food—Locanda della Pernice—pension, six francs a day.)

IT is a pleasant drive of three miles from Palestrina to Cavi, which is built on the edge of a steep bank over a torrent, approached by a handsome bridge, and entered by a gateway, over which is an inscription, dedicating the place to the especial protection of the Madonna. To her the inhabitants trust to supply them with all the necessaries of life, and exist themselves in a far niente not very dolce, but unending. The very dogs seemed too apathetic to move when our carriage approached where they lay in the sun. Some ragged children were rolling in the gutter, while their mother was engaged in lavishing the tenderest embraces and kisses upon a pet pig—the son of her heart. In the marketplace rises a column decorated with the arms of the Colonna, of whom Cavi is a fief. The dialect of the people here is very peculiar. Six miles beyond Cavi, after passing a chapel

[merged small][ocr errors]

beautifully situated near an old pine and some cypresses, Genazzano rises in a valley on the left about half a mile distant from the road. It contains the shrine of the Madonna di Buon Consiglio, who flew hither through the air from Albania.

"From this time the Madonna of Genazzano, called 'Our Lady of Good Offices,' began to work miracles, and a church was built in her honour, with a monastery adjoining it. The Order of the Augustines possessed themselves of this wonder-working and holy source of gain, which is not less profitable, if not more so, than the Madonna of the Augustine monastery at Rome. For this Divinity of Genazzano enjoys throughout the whole of Latium a reputation, which exactly corresponds with that of a heathen oracle. Twice a year, in spring and in summer, her festival is celebrated, and thus a double harvest of offerings is reaped, besides innumerable presents of money and jewels brought by the worshippers. And as even the poorest countryman lays his mite upon the altar of the picture, it may be said that this one Madonna taxes the whole Latian Campagna as well as the State itself. I was told that the offerings are collected by certain confraternities which exist in the Campagna ; each member puts into the common fund as much as five baiocchi a month, and thus a travelling confraternity brings sometimes as much as a hundred scudi. The yearly receipts of this place of pilgrimage are estimated at 37,500 francs."—Gregorovius.

The festa of the Madonna of Genazzano, on the 25 th of in this part of Italy. A figure-artist should never fail to see it, and the most sanguine expectations as to colour and costume cannot possibly be disappointed.

[graphic]

April, is one of the most celebrated and the most frequented

"Even on the eve of the festival the pilgrims begin to arrive, and the place and the whole landscape becomes animated in a wonderful manner, while the air resounds perpetually with the chanting of Litanies. Through all the streets pass gay but orderly crowds. They come from the Abruzzi, from the sandal land, from Sora, from the Liris, and from all parts of the Latian Campagna.

"The festival of Jupiter Latiaris seems to be renewed before our eyes, so numerous are the thousands that approach, so varied their dress and their dialects. They come down from the hills with their solemn chant of the ' Ora,' there down the broad road, here along the river, by field paths, ever and again fresh bands of pilgrims in bright red, green, and blue costumes, with their tall pilgrim staves (bordoni) in their hands, and the sight combined with the grandeur of the scenery is one which would be alike wonderful to the artist, the poet, and the historian.

"... They wander along the Sacco, and down from the hills (come i gru, che van cantando lor lai), like the cranes who sing as they go. The middle ages passed before me ; and I thought of those bands of pilgrims who thronged to Rome at the Jubilee year, and more than once the sight made me repeat that beautiful verse in the pilgrim sonnet of the Vita Nuova,

Deh 1 peregrini, che pensosi andate
Forse di cosa che non v'e presente,
Venite voi di si lontana gente,
Com' alia vista voi ne dimostrate?

"They go by tens, twentys, fiftys, hundreds, and even more. All ages are iepresented amongst them; the old man leans on the same pilgrim starT which has supported him already fifty times along the same road, and this may perhaps be the last time: the matron passes with her grandchildren; the beautiful and blooming maiden; the sturdy youth, the boy; even infants are here carried on the heads of their mothers, for in one of these processions I saw a young woman carrying on her head a basket in which lay a laughing child, its eyes wide open as if it was enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Most of the women carry on their heads a basket of provisions, or a bundle of clothes, which still more increases the beauty of the spectacle. If any one could lift up the veil from these souls they would see concealed crime side by side with innocence, and vice, remorse, pain, and virtue passing in a motley crowd.

THE GENAZZANO PILGRIMAGE.

"It is like a great and beautiful but serious masked procession which passes over one of the most beautiful scenes of nature, always with fresh dresses and colours, and with different faces. One sees the people of

[graphic]

Contadino, Valley of the Sacco.

Frosinone, of Anagni, the inhabitants of Veroli, of Arpino, of Anticoli, of Ceprano, and the Neapolitans from Sora.

"See the groups from Sora! dark olive complexions and beautiful oval faces. The women look fantastic, like the Arab women ; they are adorned with strings of coral or golden chains round their necks, and heavy gold earrings; their heads are covered with white or brown kerchiefs, with long fringes, which hang down upon the neck like a madonna's veil: they wear white chemisettes quite loose though folded in

[graphic][merged small]

innumerable plaits, and over these a low, dark red bodice. The skirt is short, of a bright red or blue colour, with a yellow border. And what large dark eyes, under black, strongly marked eyebrows!

"The pilgrims of Ceccano i The women wearing red bodices with long aprons of the same colour, white kerchiefs on their heads with long

« 上一頁繼續 »