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The road lies across the flat rich plains which extend to the bases of the Alps; and before arriving at Foglis, two of the torrents which descend from the Alps are crossed—the MaJone and the Orca-on'flying bridges, and between Foglis and Ivrea another_river, ihe Chiusella, is crossed, near to where the road by Foglis falls into the high road from Chivasso to Ivrea. This spot has some celebrity, as the scene of a successful struggle of the French against the Austrians : it was the first battle in the war of 1800, and immediately preceded the victory of Marengo. In the combat on the Chiusella the Austrian General Salfi was killed. Two other villages lie beyond Foglis on this road, -Montalegno and Romano. The distance from Turin to Ivrea by this road is 12 leagues; a better but longer road lies through Chivasso and Caluso.
Ivrea is a large walled town. The entrance is highly picturesque, across the deep bed of the Doire, which flows immediately below the Port de Turin. It contains about 8000 inhabitants. Here large markets are held, to which cheese and other pastoral produce of the Alps are brought; it is also a depôt for the iron which is obtained near Cogne, and from other mines worked in the valley; here, also, some cotton works have been recently established.
The prison is a large building, with towers at the angles ; these, and the old walls, from many points of view, furnish most picturesque materials for the sketch-book. This town or city, as it is called,--and in English estimation, as the seat of a bishop, ought perhaps to be considered one--is said to be the southern gate to ihe Val d'Aosta. It is of great antiquity, and mentioned by many ancient authors under the name of Eporedia. Strabo says that here the unfortunate Salassi made prisoners by Terrentius Varro, when these brave people of the Val d'Aosta were subdued, were sold as slaves by public auction, to the number of 36,000.
On leaving Ivrea, on the right is a vast ridge of alluvium, the Monte Bulegno, which stretches into the plains. The road as: cends on the left bank ofthe Doire, passes below the château of Montalto, and continues through the rich broad valley of the Doire-broad enough to constitute a part of the plain, for at Settimo Vittone, 3 1/2 leagues, the ascent has been so gradual as scarcely to have been perceived. Nor is it in fact until the traveller reach Pont St. Martin, two leagues, that he may be said to have fairly entered this valley of the Alps.
At Pont St. Martin, however, all doubt is removed. The lofty arch which formerly sprung the torrent of the Lys, one of the finest Roman works of its class in the valley, is now being removed for another, belter adapted to the improved intercourse of the inhabitants of the valley with the plaius.
The situation of this village is strikingly fine. The entrance to the Val de Lys offers a temptation to explore it, and a visit to the villages situated at the foot of the glaciers of Monte Rosa (Route 104.) will well repay the explorer of an alpine valley
After crossing the Lys at a short distance from its cenQuence with the Doire, the road ascends to Donas, where a Roman work-a pierced rock-is passed through, and near to it is a Roman milestone cut in the rock, noting XXXII.
From Donas the road ascends abruptly for a short distance, and close to the Doire, which it steeply overhangs, to
Fort de Bard, celebrated for the temporary check wbich its fort gave to the advance of the French army under Bona. parte, in 1800. It was garrisoned by only 400 Austrians, yet such was the strength of the position, that Bonaparte almost despaired of carrying it, and a few days more must have starved his army into a retreat ; by a gallant maneuvre, however, in the efficient placement of a single gun, above the precipices of the Mont Albaredo, which overhangs Bard, they checked the battery which covered the approach to the town, and the army passed by night under the grenades and pots de feu thrown by the fort. Another gun was raised to a belfry which cominanded the gate of ihe fort, and the Austrians, fearing an assault, surrendered. Upon such slight occurrences the fate of Europe turned. As the French army would have devoured all the supply of the Val d'Aosta in a few days, it must have retreated, and
the battle of Marengo, one of the most brilliant events of French history, would not have been fought. Within a few years the fort has been greatly strengthened, and it is now considered invulnerable.
After passing through the steep and narrow streets of Bard, the entrance is seen, on the left, to the valley of Champorcher, whence a path leads by the village of Pont Bosel to the Col de Reale in six hours, and by this pass and the valley of the Soanna to Ponte in the Val d'Orca.
Above Bard the valley is narrow, and offers little varicty in ascending by the deep and rapid course of the Doire to
Verrex, 2 1/2 leagues from Pont St. Martin, is situated at the entrance to the Val Challant (Route 104). Here many improvements have recently been made, especially in the construction of a new bridge and a good inn-both were much wanted; but throughout the valley, the addition to the numbers of the inns, and of the accommodations which they offer to travellers have undergone an extraordinary jinprovement within a few years.
There is a large square keep of the old castle of Verrex, which overhangs the Val Challant; it is a picturesque objeci
from below, and the scenes from it are worth a scramble to the ruins.
There is a convent of Augustins at Verrex.
Above Verrex the valley widens, and the little plain of the Doire shows the destruction which the torrent brings with it, in the sands and rocks, left in evidence of its destructive violence in the spring.
About a league and a half above, Verrex the road enters upon one of the most remarkable scenes in the valley-a deep ravine, through which the Doire has cut its way, or found such a gulr its natural channel. The road ascends sleeply on the left of the river, and is cut out of the rock, in some places overhanging the foaming torrent, and where the rock equally overhangs the traveller. These rocks are surinounted by the ruins of the château of St. Germains, placed so as effectually to command the pass, when the brigand feudal proprietors robbed and malirealed the unfortunate passer-by. These ruins are an improvement in the morale as well as the picturesque.
The road cut out in so remarkable a way was probably a Roman work. It was some time since repaired by the Augustin monks of St. Bernard, as a tablet on the road records, but by a little maneuvre of Charles Emanuel III, king of Sardinia, in adding a bit above and a bit below, he has taken a large share of the credit to himself. It stands thus :
CAROLI EMANUELIS III. SARDINIÆ
INTENTATAM ROMANIS VIAM
ET THERMARUM USUM
This defile is called the pass of Mont Jovet. From the head of the pass the view down the valley is very striking. Immediately above it, the finest part of the Val d'Aosta extends to the Cité as Aosta is called. The wine in the neighbourhood of Mount Jovet is celebrated.
Nothing can exceed the beauty and richness of the scenery, and the magnificent character of the foliage; the walnut and chestnut trees are celebrated for their grandeur and picturesqueness.
Before 'arriving at St. Vincent, a singular bridge over a deep ravine is crossed. It is called the Pont des Sarrasins, and by antiquaries is recognised as a Roman work. From ils parapet one of the most beautiful scenes in the valley is presented on looking up lowards Châtillon, and including among its objects the Château d'Usselle and other ruins. Not far from this bridge is the agreeable village of St. Vincent, where there are mineral springs. About a league above is
Châtillon, which was mentioned in Route 106, the distance from Verrex to this place is about 4 1/2 leagues.
Above Châtillon the same fine rich character of scenery prevails, only interrupled by the occasional traces of des truction left by the lorrents which in the ing rush down from the lateral valleys to fall into the great drain of this district, the Doire.
About a league above Châtillon is the village of Chambave, celebrated for its wine, one of the richest and most recherché in Piedmont. The wine of the Val d'Aosta has a great reputation, and the vine is cultivated on the mountain sides to an elevation of 3000 feet above the level of the sea, In the valley, hemp, Indian corn, and fruit trees, fill the plain like a vast garden.
Nuz, a poor village with the ruins of a château, is nearly halfway between Châtillon and Aosta. Before arriving at Nuz, a valley on the right bank of the Doire is seen to run op to the ridge of mountains which separates the valley of Aosta above Mont Jovet, from the valley of Champorcher. At the entrance of this valley is the picturesque château of Fenis. Above Nuz the road passes through the village of Villefranche.
In front of the inns in the road up the Val d'Aosta it is a common custom lo trellice vines quite across the road; the delicious shelter which this affords to the heated and weary traveller must be enjoyed to be fully valued : in this part of the valley the custom is inost general,
On the approach to Aosta the château Quart is seen placed high on the mountain side; a path leads up to it from near Villefranche, and down on the other side of its glen towards Aosta, so that a visit to it requires no retracing of steps, and the beautiful scenes presented in the ascent and at the château deserve the trouble of climbing there. Little more than a league further up the valley is
AOSTA, a city more interesting for its Antiquities and bistorical associations than any other claim it bas to importance. Its situation is indeed strikingly beautiful, near the confluence of the Buttier and the Doire, in a deep rich valley surrounded by lofty and snow-capped mountains. The Civitas Augusţi-or Augusta Prætoria-claims a much higher antiquity. It was known under the name of Cordèle, as the chief city of the Salassi: its history, earlier than its conquest by
Terrentius Varro, a general of Augustus, is fabulous, but the antiquary of Aosta has no difficulty in fixing the date of its foundation 406 before that of Romne, 1158 B. c.! By the army of the emperor it was taken 24 years before the Christian era, and its inhabitants reduced to miserable captivity. Augustus rebuilt the city, gave his own name to it, and established there 3000 soldiers from the Prætorian cohorts. The remains of large public buildings attest its importance at that time. A triumphal arch in tolerable preservation is one of the finest of the remains nearly one fourth of it is buried in soil brought down by the torrent of the Buttier, near to which it is situated. Across this river there is a Roman bridge, now nearly buried in the soil accumulated around it during so many ages. There is also a remarkable gate or port, having two façades, with a quadrangle between them, each façade composed of three arches -- that in the centre is much the largest. There are also the ruins of an Amphitheatre, of a barracks or Prætorian palace, towers, walls, and fragments of unknown former appropriation, now serving only to perplex antiquaries.
Aosta is the seat of a bishop under the archbishop of Chamþerry. A inilitary commandant is also stationed here, and a numerous establishment of official inspectors; fiscal, sanitory etc.; a tribunal of justice, a royal college, an hospital for the military, and another for the poor.
Anselm, the notorious archbishop of Canterbury in the 11th century, was born at Aosta.
St. Bernard, whose name is immortally associated with the mountain pass from the valley of the Rhone to the valley of the Doire, was archdeacon of Aosta; and his knowledge, from his situation, of the exposure and sufferings of those who traversed these regions, led to his establishment of the celebrated hospice, upon the permanent footing it has since held, and left him to be remembered as the “ Apostle of the Alps.”
The cathedral is deserving of a visit, though it has no high antiquity.
There is a column erected to commemorate the flight of Calvin from the city in 1541, with the following inscription :
EREXIT ANNO MDXLI
The inps at Aosta are now generally good, but the Ecu de Valais is excellent, for cleanness, comfort, and accommodation.