« ÖncekiDevam »
church, and intended to shade and shelter the persons who visit the sanctuary in which it terminates; and as its length is more than a mile, its materials stone, and its form not inelegant, it strikes the spectator as a very magnificent instance of public taste. The church is seen to most advantage at a distance; as, on a nearer approach, it appears overloaded with ornaments. It is of fine stone, of the Corinthian order, in the form of a Greek cross, with a dome in the centre; but wants, in all its decorations, both internal and external, the proportions and the simplicity of Palladio. The view from the windows of the convent annexed to the church is extensive and beautiful.
It may be here the proper place to mention a political phenomenon of a very extraordinary nature, which few travellers have, I believe, noticed. The Cimbri and Teutones, two tribes from the northern Chersonesus, invaded Italy, as it is well known, in the year of Rome 640, and were defeated, and almost extirpated by Marius, in the neighbourhood of Verona. The few who escaped from the vengeance of the conquerors took refuge in the neighbouring mountains, and formed a little colony, which, either from its poverty, its insignificance, or its retired position, has escaped the notice, or perhaps excited the contempt of the various parties that have disputed the possession of Italy for nearly two thousand years. They occupy altogether seven parishes, and are therefore called the Sette commune ; they retain the tradition of their origin, and though surrounded by Italians still preserve their Teutonic language. The late King of Denmark visited this singular colony, discoursed with them in Danish, and found their idiom perfectly intelligible. Though we felt no inclination to visit them (for a classic traveller cannot be supposed to be very partial to barbarian establishments in Italy, however ancient their date), yet we were struck with the circumstance, and beheld their distant villages nested in the Alps, as they were pointed out to us from Vicenza, with some interest. The reader will hear, with more satisfaction, that a Roman colony still remains on the borders of Transylvania, and that it retains the Latin language nearly unmixed, and glories in its illustrious origin. Hence, when any of its members enlists in the imperial service, and, according to custom, is asked his country and origin, his answer is always “ Romanus sum*.'
The hills, called the Colles Berici, in the neighbourhood of Vicenza, present some natural grottos, of great extent and of surprising variety. Monsieur de la Lande speaks of a little temple of the form of the Pantheon, which he represents as a master-piece of the kind; if it be such, I regret that we had not an opportunity of visiting it, though not above twenty miles from Vicenza. Passano, seven leagues to the north, merits a visit without doubt, if the traveller has time at his disposal.
* In mezzo alla colta Europa, says Lanzi, vivon tuttora popolazioni di linguaggi non estesi; nelle montagne di Vicenza vive il Celtico di Barbari chi vi si annidarano ai tenipi di Mario; nella Valakia il Latino di presidi che vi mise Trajano; in qualche parte di Elvezia il Romans di Franzesi antichi.-Saggio di lingua Etrusca Epilogo, 8c. Vol. i.
Non è stato fuor di proposito il distendersi alquanto nel racconto della spedizione de' Cimbri sì per distinguerne i tempi ed i fatti, sì perchè oltre all'essere di quella famosa guerra il paese nostro stato teatro, un avanzo di quella gente rimase per sempre nelle montagne del Veronese, del Vicentino, e del Trentino, mantenendo ancora in questi territorj la discendenza ed una lingua differente da tutti i circostanti paesi. Si è trovato Tedesco veramente essere il linguaggio, e simile pure la pronuncia, non però a quella de' Tedeschi piu limitrofi dell' Italia, ma a quella dè Sassoni e de' popoli situati verso il mar Baltico; il che fu studiosamente ricunosciuto da Federico IV. Re di Danimarca, che onorò con sua dimora di dieci giorni la città di Verona nel 1708. Non s'inganna dunque il nostro popolo, quando per immemorabil uso Cimbri chiama gli abitatori di que' boschi e di quelle montagne.-Maffe; Verona illustrata, Lib. III. With two such vouchers, the author thinks himself justified in preferring the opinion expresed in the text to that of some writers of inferior reputation.
There are several works for the information of travellers with regard to the curiosities of this town, among others I recommend “ Descrizzione della Architetture," 2 vols. with prints.
From Vicenza to Padua it is eighteen miles. About three miles from the former is a bridge over a stream, a branch of the Meduacus, now Bacchiglione, erected by Palladio, which will not fail to attract the attention of the curious traveller.
Late in the evening we entered Padua
Urbem Patavi Sedesque Teucrorum,
and reflected with some exultation that we stood, as it were, on the confines of Greek and Latin literature, in a city that derives its origin from a catastrophe celebrated in itself or in its consequences, by the two greatest poets of antiquity. Few cities can boast of an origin so ancient and so honourable, and not many can pretend to have enjoyed for so long a period so much glory and prosperity as Padua. We learn from Tacitus * that it was accustomed to celebrate the antiquity of its origin and the name of its founder in annual games, said to have been instituted by that hero. Livy informs us that a Naumachia, exhibited annually on one of the rivers which water the town, perpetuated the memory of a signal victory obtained by the Paduans long before their union with Rome, over a Lacedemonian feet commanded by Cleonymust. They are also said to have not unfrequently assisted the Romans, and contributed in no small degree to their victories, particularly over the
* Tacit. Annal. lib. xxvi. c. 21.
† And Liv. book X. C. 2.
Gauls, the common enemy of both States; while an immense population furnished them with the means of giving effect to their measures, by sending powerful armies into the field.
Padua afterwards submitted to the genius of Rome, but submitted with dignity, and was accordingly treated not as a conquered but an allied republic. She was admitted at an early period to all the privileges and honours of the great Capital, and shared, it seems, not only the franchises but even the riches of Rome ; as she could count at one period five hundred Roman knights among her citizens, and drew, by her manufactures, from the emporium of the world, no small portion of the tribute of the provinces.
After having shared the glory of Rome, Padua partook of her disasters; was, like her, assaulted and plundered by Alaric and Attila ; like her, was half unpeopled by the flight of her dismayed inhabitants, and obliged to bend under the yoke of a succession of barbarian invaders. After the expulsion of the Goths, Rome recovered her independence; not so Padua, which was subject successively to the Lombards, to the Franks, and to the Germans. During this long period of disastrous vicissitude, Padua sometimes enjoyed the favour and sometimes felt the fury of its wayward tyrants. At length it shook off the yoke, and, with its sister states, Verona, Vicenza, Ferrara, and Mantua, experienced the advantages and disadvantages of republicanism, occasionally blessed with the full enjoyment of freedom, and occasionally, with all its forms, smarting under the rod of a powerful usurper*. At length, in the fifteenth century, Padua united itself to the Venetian territory, and under the influence of its own laws acknowledged the supreme authority of that republic. The consideration that Venice was founded by citizens of Padua, who flying from the ravaging armies of Alaric and Attila took refuge in the solitary isles of the Adriatic, might perhaps have lightened the yoke of submission, or facilitated the arrangements of union.
* In the fourteenth century Padua owned the sway of the Carrara family; Pandolfo di Carrara was the friend of Petrarca. This family and their rivals in power and place, the Scaligeri, were among the many patrons and supporters of literature that graced Italy in that and the succeeding centuries.
As fire and sword, aided by earthquakes and pestilence, have been employed more than once during so many ages of convulsion, in the destruction of Padua, we are not to expect many monuments of the Roman colony within its walls, or to wonder so much at its decline as at its existence. However it is still a great, and in many respects a beautiful city, as its circumference is near seven miles, its population about fifty thousand persons, and notwithstanding the general narrowness of its streets, many of its buildings both public and private, are truly magnificent.
The abbey of St. Giustina deserves particular attention. Its church, planned by Palladio, and built by Andrea Riccio ; its library, hall or refectory, and cloister, are all in the highest style of architecture*. The piazza before it, called Prato della Valle,
* Dimensions of the Church of St. Giustina. The length
500 feet Breadth
140 The Transept ....
120 The central dome (there are several) 265 The pavement is laid out in compartments of white and red marble, its various altars with their decorations are of beautiful marble. The whole is kept in a style of neatness and repair that gives it the appearance of a churcb just finished. The outside was never completed.