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too awful to be bandied about in scholastic disputation, might, perhaps, at a more favourable season, have soothed animosity, and disposed all temperate persons to terms of accommodation. Remote, however, as we now are from that æra of discord, and strangers to the passions which then influenced mankind, it might seem to border upon temerity and injustice, were we to censure the proceedings of an assembly, which combined the benevolence, the sanctity, and the moderation of the Cardinals Pole and Sadoleti, Contareni, and Seripando*.
February 18th. From Trent the road continues to rụn through a narrow valley watered by the Adige (or Athesis), and covered with vines conducted over trellis work, or winding from tree to tree in garlands. High mountains rise on each side, and the
snow, though occasionally deep, was yet sensibly diminished. After the first stage, the snow appeared only on the mountains, while in the valley we enjoyed some share of the genial influence of an Italian
The number of neat villages seemed to increase on both banks of the river; though in all, the ravages of war and that
* Vida bas made a beautiful allusion both to the City and the Council of Trent, in the form of a devout prayer, at the end of one of his hymns.
Nos primum pete, qui in sedem convenimus unam,
HYM. SPIR. San.
wanton rage for mischief, which, upon all occasions, distinguishes an invading army, were but too discernible. Cottages destroyed, houses burnt or damaged, and churches disfigured forced themselves too frequently upon the attention of the traveller. fortress, covering the brow of a steep hill, rises on the left at some distance from the road, and forms too conspicuous an object to pass unnoticed. Its ancient name was, according to Cluverius, Verrucca Castellum; it is now called Castello della Pietra, from its site. It was taken and re-taken twice by the French and Austrians during the last war, though its situation might induce a traveller to consider it impregnable.
Roveredo, anciently Roboretum, the second stage from Trent, is a neat little town in the defiles of the Alps, situated, geographically speaking, in the German territory, but in language, manners, and appearance, Italian. The entrance on the side of Trent looks well, though the main street is narrow. An inscription over the gate, relative to the marriage and passage of the Princess of Parma, pleased me much, as it affords a specimen of the good taste of this little town.
Felix sit iter
In fact, as you approach Italy, you may perceive a visible improvement not only in the climate of the country, but also in the ideas of its inhabitants; the churches and public buildings assume a better form; the shape and ornaments of their portals, doors, and windows are more graceful, and their epitaphs and inscriptions, which, as Addison justly observes, are a certain criterion of public taste, breathe a more classical spirit. Roveredo is situated in the beautiful valley of Lagarina, has distinguished itself in the literary world, and has long possessed an academy, whose members have been neither inactive nor inglorious.
The descent (for from Steinach, or rather a few miles south of that village, three stages before Briren, we had begun to descend) becomes more rapid between Roveredo and Ala; the river, which glided gently through the valley of Trent, assumes the roughness of a torrent; the defiles become narrower; and the mountains break into rocks and precipices, which occasionally approach the road, sometimes rise perpendicular from it, and now and then hang over it in terrible majesty*. Ala is an insignificant little town, in
* Amid these wilds the traveller cannot fail to notice a vast tract called the Slavini di Marco, covered with fragments of rock torn from the sides of the neighbouring mountains hy an earthquake, or perhaps by their own unsupported weight, and hurled down into the plains below. They spread over the whole valley, and in some places contract the road to a very narrow space. A few firs and cypresses scattered in the intervals, or sometimes rising out of the crevices of the rocks, cast a partial and melancholy shade amid the surrounding nakedness and desolation. This scene of ruin seems to have made a deep impression upon the wild imagination of Dante, as he has introduced it into the twelfth canto of the Inferno, in order to give the reader an adequate idea of one of his infernal ramparts:
Era lo loco ove a scender la riva
da Trento l’Adice percosse,
no respect remarkable, except as forming the geographical boundary of Italy.
The same appearances continue for some time, till at length the mountains gradually sink into hills; the hills diminish in height, in number, and at last leave an open space beyond the river on the right. In front, however, a round hill presents itself at a little distance, which, as you approach, swells in bulk, and opening, just leaves room sufficient for the road, and for the river on the right, between two vast perpendicular walls of solid rock, that tower to a prodigious height, and cast a most terrific gloom over the narrow strait that divides them. As the road leads along a precipice, hanging over the river, without any parapet, the peasants, who live at the entrance of the defile, crowd round the carriage to support it in the most dangerous parts of the ascent and descent. A fortification*, ruined by the French in the late war, formerly defended this dreadful pass, and must have rendered it impregnable. But French gold,
Perrumpere amat saxa, potentius
In the middle of the defile a cleft in the rock on the left gives vent to a torrent that rushes down the crag, and sometimes sweeps away a part of the road in its passage. After winding through the defile for about half an hour, we turned, and suddenly found ourselves on the plains of Italy.
* The fortress alluded to is called Chiusa, and is said to have been originally built by the Romans; and though frequently destroyed during the wars and various invasions of Italy, yet it was as constantly repaired in more peaceable times. It must be acknowledged that Nature could not have erected a more impregnable rampart to Italy than the Alps, nor opened a more magnificent avenue than the long defile of the Tyrol.
A traveller, upon his entrance into Italy, longs impatiently to discover some remains of ancient magnificence, or some specimen of modern taste, and fortunately finds much to gratify his curiosity in Verona, the first town that receives him upon his descent from the Rhetian Alps.
Verona is beautifully situated on the Adige, partly on the declivity of a hill, which forms the last swell of the Alps, and partly on the skirts of an immense plain extending from these mountains to the Apennines. The hills behind are adorned with villas and gardens, where the graceful cypress and tall poplar predominate over the bushy ilex and spreading laurel. The plains before the city are streaked with rows of mulberry trees, and shaded with vines climbing from branch to branch and spreading in garlands from tree to tree. The devastation of war had not a little disfigured this scenery, by stripping several villas, levelling many a grove, and rooting up whole rows of vines and mulberry trees. But the hand of industry had already begun to repair these ravages, and to restore to the neighbouring hills and fields their beauty and fertility.
The interior of the town is worthy of its situation. It is divided into two unequal parts by the Adige, which sweeps through it in a bold curve, and forms a peninsula, within which the whole of the ancient, and the greater part of the modern city, is enclosed. The river is wide and rapid, the streets, as in almost all continental towns, are narrower than our's, but long, strait, well built, and frequently presenting, in the form of the doors and windows, and in the ornaments of their cases, fine proportions, and beautiful workmanship.
But besides these advantages which Verona enjoys in common