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CHAPTER IV.

FRASCATI, TUSCULUM, AND COLONNA

(Trains leave Rome at 11.30 and 12.5, returning at 5.40 and 6. r8. This gives time for a pleasant sight of Frascati, and for a ride or walk to Tusculum and the Villa Mondragone, or to Tusculum and Grotta Ferrata. There is an excellent small inn at Frascati—the Albergo di Londra—very clean and comfortable. Donkeys cost 5 francs for the whole day, or francs for the half day; but a distinct agreement must be made.)

IT is only half-an-hour by rail to Frascati, and the change is so complete and reviving, that it is strange more sojourners at Rome do not take advantage of it . Only one excursion to Frascati is generally made during a Roman winter, which gives little time where there is so much to be seen.

Even the railway journey is most delightful and characteristic The train runs close to the aqueducts, the Paoline first, and then the ruined Claudian. As we pass outside the Porta Furba, the artificial sepulchral mound, called Monte de Grano, is seen on the left, and then the vast ruins called Sette Basse, belonging to a suburban villa of imperial date,* and, as the light streams through their ruined windows,

• The carriage-road to Frascati passes close to both of these, and then by the beautiful stone-pines on the farm of Tom Nwva belonging to Prince Borghese, where archaeologists place Papinia, the villa of Altilius Regulua.

VOL. J. 7

forming a beautiful foreground to the delicate distances of mountain and plain.

As we approach nearer, Colonna is seen on the left upon its knoll, then Monte Porzio, and beneath it the site of the Lake Regillus. When the lights and shadows are favourable, the difference between the two craters of this volcanic chain of hills now becomes strikingly evident.

"The Alban hills form a totally distinct group, consisting of two principal extinct volcanic craters, somewhat resembling in their relation to each other the great Neapolitan craters of Vesuvius and Somma. One of them lies within the embrace of the other, just as Vesuvius lies half enclosed by Monte Somma. The walls of the outer Alban crater are of peperino, while those of the inner are basaltic Both are broken away on the northern side towards Grotta Ferrata and Marino, but on the southern side they are tolerably perfect.

"The outer crescent-shaped crater beginning from Frascati extends to Monte Porzio and Rocca Priora, and then curves round by Monte Algido, Monte Ariano, and Monte Artemisio. The inner crescent in-t eludes the height of Monte Cavo, and surrounds the flat meadows known by the name of Campo d'Annibale. Besides these two principal craters, the ages of which are probably as distinct as those of Vesuvius and Somma, there are traces of at least four others to be found in the lakes of Castel Gandolfo, commonly called the Alban lake, and of Nemi, and in the two small cliff-encircled valleys of the Vallis Aricina and Larghetto."—Burn, The Roman Campagna.

The effect of the Campagna here, as everywhere, is quite different upon different minds. The French almost always find it as depressing as the English do captivating and exhilarating.

"Frascati est a six lieues de Rome, sur les monts Tusculans, petite chaine volcanique qui fait partie du systeme des montagnes du Latium. C'est encore la Campagne de Rome, maise'est la fin de l'horrible desert qui environne la capitale du monde catholique. Ici la terre cesse d'etre inculte et la fievre s'arrete. II faut monter pendant une demi-heure, au pas des chevaux, pour atteindre la ligne d'air pur qui circule au-dessus de la region empestée de la plaine immense j mais cet air pur est moins du a 1'éleVation du sol qu'a la culture de la terre et a l'ecoulemcnt des

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eaux, car Tivoli, plus haut perché du double que Frascati, n'est pas à l'abri de l'influence maudite.

"Aux approches de ces petites montagnes, quand on a laissé derrière soi les longs aqueducs ruinés et trois ou quatre lieues de terrains o*dules, sans caractère et sans étendue pour le regard, on traverse de nouveau une partie de la plaine dont le nivellement absolu présente enfin un aspect particulier assez grandiose. C'est un lac de pâle verdure qui s'étend sur la gauche jusqu'au pied du massif du mont Gennaro. Au baisser du soleil, quand l'herbe fine et maigre de ce gigantesque pâturage est un peu échauffée par l'or du couchant et nuancée par les ombres portées des montagnes, le sentiment de la grandeur se révèle. Les petits accidents perdus dans ce cadre immense, les troupeaux et les chiens, seuls bergers qui, en de certaines parties de la steppe, osent braver la malaria toute la journée, se dessinent et s'enlèvent en couleur avec Une netteté comparable à celle des objets lointains sur la mer. Au fond de cette nappe de verdure, si unie que l'on a peine à se rendre compte de son étendue, la base des montagnes semble nager dans une brume mouvante, tandis que leurs sommets se dressent immobiles et nets dans le cieL"—George Sand, La Daniella.

Beyond Ciampino, the railroad ascends out of the Campagna into the land of corn and olives. Masses of pink nectarine and almond-trees bloom in spring amid the green. On the right, we pass the great ruined castle of Borghetto, which belonged to the Savellis in the ioth century. At the station, an open omnibus with awnings (fare, 50 centesimi), and carriages, are waiting to save travellers the mile of steep ascent to the town. Here, passing near the Villa Sora, once the residence of Gregory XIII. (1752-85), and skirting the wall of the Villa Torlonia, we are set down in the noisy little piazza before the cathedral, and are at once surrounded by donkey boys vociferating upon the merits of their respective animals.

The cathedral (S. Pietro) only dates from 1700, but we must enter it to visit the monument (near the door), which Cardinal York put up to his brother Prince Charles Edward, who died Jan. 31, 1788. It is inscribed :—

"Hie situs est Carolus Odoardus cui Pater Jacobus III. Rex Anglix, Scotias, Franciae, Hiberniae, Primus Natorum, paterni Juris et regue dignitatis successor et haeres, qui domicilio sibi Romas delecto Comes Albaniensis dictus est.

"Vixit Annos LVII. et mensem; decessit in pace, pridie Kal. Feb. Anno MDCCLXXXVII."

There is an older cathedral, Duomo Vecchio, now called SS. Sebastiano e Rocco, chiefly of the 14th century, and near it a fountain erected in 1480 by Cardinal d'Estouteville, the French Ambassador. The streets are dirty and ugly; but the little town is important as being the centre of the villas which give Frascati all its charm. Most of these date only from the 17th century, and, with the exception of the Villa Mondragone, the buildings are seldom remarkable, but they are situated amid glorious groves of old trees, often relics of a natural forest, and amid these are grand old fountains and water-falls, which, though artificial, have been long since adopted by Nature as her own, while from the terraces the views over the Campagna are of ever-varying loveliness. In many of these villas, far too large for any single occupants, vast airy suites of apartments may be hired for the summer villeggiatura, and, though scantily furnished, are a delightful retreat during the hot season.

"At Frascati and Albano there are good lodgings to be had. Noble old villas may be hired on the Alban slopes for a small rent, with gardens going to ruin, but beautifully picturesque—old fountains and water-works painted with moss, and decorated with maiden hair, vines, and flowers—shady groves where nightingales sing all the day—avenues of lopped ilexes that, standing on either side like great chandeliers, weave together their branches overhead into a dense roof—and long paths of tall, polished laurel, where you may walk in shadow at morning and evening. The air here is not, however, 'above suspicion ;' and one must be careful at night-fall lest the fever prowling round the damp alleys seize you as its prey. The views from these villas are truly exquisite. Before you lies the undulating plain of the Campagna, with every

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hue and changing tone of colour; far off against the horizon flashes the level hne of the Mediterranean; the grand Sabine hills rise all along on the west, with Soracte lifting from the rolling inland sea at their base; and in the distance swells the dome of St. Peter's. The splendours of sunset as they stream over this landscape are indescribable, and in the noon the sunshine seems to mesmerise it into a magic sleep."—Story's Roba di Roma.

"Les collines Tusculanes ne sont, d'ici à leur point le plus élevé, qu'un immense jardin partagé entre quatre on cinq familles princiéres. Et quels jardins! celui de Piccolomini ne compte plus. Vendu à des bourgeois qui font argent de leur propriété, il n'a de beau que ce que l'on n'a pu lui ôter. Mais la villa Falconieri, qui le borne à l'est, et la villa Aldobrandini, qui le borne au couchant, la villa Conti, qui touche à cette dernière; plus haut, la Ruffinella, et, en revenant vers l'est, la Taverna et Mondragone, tout cela se tient et communique, si bien que j'en aurais pour trois heures à vous décrire ces lieux enchantés, ces futaies monstrueuses, ces fontaines, ces bosquets et ces escarpements semés de ruines romaines et pélasgiques; ces ravins de lierre, de liseron, et de vigne sauvage, où pendent des restes de temples, et où tombent des eaux cristallines. Je renonce au détail qui viendra peut-être par le menu; je ne peux que vous donner une notion de l'ensemble.

"Le caractère général est de deux sortes: celui de l'ancien goût italien, et celui de la nature locale qui a repris le dessus, grâce à l'indifférence ou à la décadence pécuniaire des maîtres de ces folles et magnifiques résidences. Si vous voulez une exacte description de ces résidences, telles qu'elles étaient encore il y a cent ans, vous la trouverez dans les spirituelles lettres du président de Brosses, un des hommes qui, malgré son apparente légèreté, a le mieux vu l'Italie de son temps. Il s'est beaucoup moqué des jeux d'eaux et girandes, des statues grotesques et des concerts hydrauliques de ces villégiatures de Frescati. Il a eu raison. Lorsqu'il voyait dépenser des sommes folles et des efforts d'imagination puérile pour créer ces choses insensées, il s'indignait de cette décadence du goût dans le pays de l'art, et il riait au nez de tous ces vilains faunes et de toutes ces grimaçantes naïades outrageusement mêlés aux débris de la statuaire antique. Il appelait cela gâter l'art et la nature à grands frais d'argent et de bêtise, et je m'imagine que, dans ce temps-là, quand tous ces fétiches étaient encore frais, quand ces eaux sifflaient dans ces flûtes, que les arbres étaient taillés en poires, les gazons bien tondus et les allées bien tracées, un homme de sens et de liberté comme lui devait, à bon droit, s'indigner et se moquer.

"Mais s'il revenait ici, il y trouverait un grand et heureux changement: les Pans n'ont plus de flûte, les nymphes n'ont plus de nez. A

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