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"Jam nemus Egeriae, jam te ciet altus ab Alba
Vol. Flac. Arg. ii. 304.
Egeriae genitos immitis Aricia lucis,
Sil Ital. iv. 368.
The steep ascent from Vallericcia to the town is also commemorated by the poets.
. . "accedo Bovillas
Persius. Sat. vi. 56.
Martial, xii. Ep. 32.
The steepness of the hill from the earliest times afforded
great advantages to the beggars.
"Dignus Aricinos qui mendicaret ad axes,
Juvenal. Sat. iv. 117.
The rich country upon which we look down was as famous in ancient as in modern times for the produce of its vineyards.
"Est mihi nonum superantis annum
Horace. Od. iv. II.
Sat. ii 8.
"Hoc de Caesareis mitis vindemia cellis
Martial, xiii. 106.
Aricia was also celebrated for its leeks :—
"Bruttia qua: tcllus, et mater Aricia porri."
Colum. R. Rust. x.
"Mittit praecipuos nemoralis Aricia porros."
Martial, xiii. 16.
Some fragments of the ancient wall may be seen before enterine; the gate of Aricia with its forked Guelfic battlements. The city itself is of very ancient origin, being first mentioned in the story of Tarquinius Superbus, when Turnus Herdonius, its king, was drowned in the Aqua Ferentina. It was the birth place of Atia, mother of Augustus, and as such is extolled by Cicero in his third Philippic.
Aricia was a station on the Via Appia :—
"Nous arrivons avec Horace à Lariccia. Là nous disons comme lui: 'Egressum magna me excepit Aricia Roma'
(Sot. i., 5. i.)
enchantés de ces délicieux aspects dont Horace, moins occupé que nous ne le sommes du pittoresque, n'a point parlé. La ville moderne de Lariccia s'est perchée, comme il arrive souvent, dans la citadelle de la ville ancienne. M. Pierre Rosa, cet explorateur infatigable et sagace de la campagne romaine, et qui excelle à découvrir les ruines que son aïeul Salvator Rosa aimait à peindre, a cru retrouver les restes de la petite auberge (Sot. i., S. i.) où Horace a logé (hospkio modico), et même des vases contenant l'orge destinée aux montures des voyageurs."— Ampïri, Emp. Rom. i. 365.
Lariccia is now chiefly remarkable for the huge Palace of the Chigi family, built by Bernini for Alexander VII. It is noble and imposing in its proportions, as it rises on huge buttresses from the depths of the ravine. In the interior are some interesting rooms hung with exceedingly curious stamped leather, and a chamber containing portraits of the twelve nieces of Alexander VII., who were so enchanted at the elevation of their uncle, that they all took the veil immediately to please him. Apartments are let here in the summer months, and are very delightful. Opposite the palace is the beautifully proportioned Church of the Assumption, also built (1664) by Bernini, with a dome painted by Antonio Raggi, and a few very indifferent pictures. A fountain covered with mimulus stands in front of the portico. The palace and church form the beautiful group of Lariccia so well known from pictures. Between them the town is now entered from Albano by a grand viaduct, 700 feet long, whence the view is exquisitely lovely, on the left over the Campagna, on the right looking into the depths of the immemorial wood known as the Parco Chigi.
"Le pont monumental remplit un profond ravin pour mettre de plain-pied la route d'Aricia à Albano. Il passe donc par-dessus tout un paysage vu en profondeur, et ce paysage est rempli par une forêt vierge jetée dans un abîme. Une forêt vierge fermée de murs, c'est là une de ces fantaisies que les princes peuvent seuls se passer. Il y a cinquante ans que la main de l'homme n'a abattu une branche et que son pied n'a tracé un sentier dans le forêt Chigi. Pourquoi? CM Io sa? vous disent les indigènes.
"Au reste, ce caprice-là, qui serait bien concevable de la part d'un propriétaire artiste, est une agréable surprise pour l'artiste qui passe. Sur les flancs du ravin s'echelonnent les têtes vénérables des vieux chênes soutenant dans leur robuste branchage les squelettes penchés de leurs voisins morts, qui tombent en poussière sous une mousse desséchée d'un blanc livide. La lierre court sur ces ruines végétales, et sous l'impénétrable abri de ces réseaux de verdure vigoureuse et de pâles ossements, un pêle-mêle de ronces, d'herbes, et de rochers va se baigner dans le ruisseau sans rivages practicables. Si l'on n'était sur une grande route, avec une ville derrière soi, on se croirait dans une forêt du nouveau monde."—George Sand, La Danietla.
"It had been wild weather when I left Rome, and all across the Campagna the clouds were sweeping in sulphurous blue, with a clap of thunder or two, and breaking gleams of sun along the Claudian aqueduct, lighting up the infinity of its arches like the bridge of chaos. But as I climbed the long slope of the Alban Mount, the storm swept finally to the north, and the noble outline of the domes of Albano, and graceful darkness of its ilex grove, rose against pure streaks of alternate blue and amber; the upper sky gradually flushing through the last fragments of rain-cloud in deep, palpitating azure, half œthcr and half dew The noonday sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La Riccia,
and their masses of entangled and tall foliage, whose autumnal tints were mixed with the wet verdure of a thousand evergreens, were penetrated with it as with rain. I cannot call it colour, it was conflagration. Purple, and crimson, and scarlet, like the curtains of God's tabernacle, the rejoicing trees sank into the valley in showers of light, every separate leaf quivering with burning and buoyant life j each, as it turned to reflect or transmit the Sunbeam, first a torch, and then an emerald. Far up into the recesses of the valley, the green vistas arched like the hollows of mighty waves of some crystalline sea, with the arbutus flowers dashed along their flanks for foam, and silver flakes of orange spray tossed into the air around them, breaking over the gray walls of rock into a thousand separate stars, fading and kindling alternately as the weak wind lifted and let them fall. Every glade of grass burned like the golden floor of heaven, opening in sudden gleams as the foliage broke and closed above it, as sheet-lightning opens in a cloud at sunset; the motionless masses of dark rock—dark though flushed with scarlet lichen—casting their quiet shadows across its restless radiance, the fountain underneath them filling its marble hollow with blue mist and fitful sound ; and over all—the multitudinous bars of amber and rose, the sacred clouds that have no darkness, and only exist to illumine, were seen in fathomless intervals between the solemn and orbed repose of the stone pines, passing to lose themselves in the last, white, blinding lustre of the measureless line where the Campagiia melted into the blaze of the sea."—Huskies Modern Painters.
The most delightful lanes fringed with cyclamen and forget-me-not, lead under the arch at the back of the Chigi palace and skirt the walls of the wood to the Convent of the Cappucani, from whose lovely. ilex groves there are glorious views in every direction. The convent occupies the site of part of the villa of Domitian, whither J uvenal describes the saturnine emperor as summoning the imperial council from Rome in the winter of A.d. 84.
"Anxiously they asked each other, What news? What the purport of their unexpected summons? What foes of Rome had broken the prince's slumbers,—the Chatti or the Sicambri, the Britons or the Dacians? While they were yet waiting for admission, the menials of the palace entered, bearing aloft a huge turbot, a present to the emperor, which they had the mortification of seeing introduced into his presence, voi_ J. S
while the doors were still shut against themselves. A humble fisherman had found the monster stranded on the beach, beneath the fane of Venus at Ancona, and had hurried to receive a reward for so rare an offering to the imperial table. When at last the councillors were admitted, the question reserved for their deliberations was no other than this, whether the big fish should be cut in pieces, or served up whole on some enormous platter, constructed in its honour. The cabinet was no doubt sensibly persuaded that the question allowed at least of no delay, and with due expressions of surprise and admiration voted the dish, and set the potter's wheel in motion."—Mermaids Romans under the Empire.
"Surgitur, et misso proceres exire jubentur
Sat. iv. 145.
This palace of Domitian is frequently alluded to in the poets:—
"Hoc tibi Palladia? seu collibus uteris Albae,
Martial, v. Ep. I.
Statins, Sihi. v. 2.
One of the best subjects for a picture is the view from under the great ilex-trees in front of the convent gate towards Albano and the sea. A door in the wall on the right of the lane which leads down towards Albano, admits "one to the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, now used as folds for goats, who crowd the rugged recesses of its caverned masonry, and group themselves picturesquely on its old walls. This was the scene of some of the worst cruelties of Domitian. The other Roman remains in Albano are insignificant, the ruins of the Pratorian Camp near the Church of S. Paolo, and some fragments of Roman oma