Imagini ale paginilor

cending grade into the heart of the mountain the train moved much slower than on the descending grade. At the highest point we were four thousand feet above the level of the sea. It was about halfpast nine in the evening when we reached Turin; and, as luck would have it, we were obliged to go to our hôtel without our baggage, except what we had in a shawl strap. Intending to return by Geneva, we left one of our valises there, taking the other, a good sized one, along with us, and this, we found had been checked through by the express train, which parted from our train at Culoz, arriving at Turin two or three hours in advance of us. The baggage by the express train, not claimed, had been locked up for the night, and the officers of the customs had gone home; so we were obliged to wait for our valise until morning, when, with the least possible examination by those polite gentlemen with cocked hats and military cloaks, it was delivered

to us.

On the third, Messrs. Stickney, Sumner, and Frazier, having gone to the valley of the Waldenses, we, in company with Mrs. Stickney, were driven for one hour through the most interesting parts of the town and across the Po, over a bridge we should think to be four hundred feet in length. This is an arched stone bridge, and a short distance further up the river there is a suspension bridge for foot passengers only. We passed many fine monuments, one of the most elaborate being that to Cavour-born 1810, died 1861. We cannot fully describe it. It consists in part of a statue of himself with that of a beautiful woman, partly kneeling, with her left arm around his waist, and eyes raised toward his face. Other figures surround the base. We have a good

photograph of it. To show the contrast between Turin and Washington, we may be pardoned for saying that the whole charge for the hour's rideour carriage was a nice one with four seats handsomely lined and cushioned was just one franc and a half, with the addition of three sous pour boire! We are also agreeably disappointed in the beauty of the city, which is generally laid out in squares, with streets of good width, and many public squares well paved and adorned by equestrian and other monumental statues, and flanked by magnificent palaces. What we especially like about the streets is that, while they are paved for the most part with cobblestones, there are four rows of smooth stone slabs placed just wide enough apart for carriage wheels, and the sidewalks are paved with similar slabs. The buildings generally are high and handsome, and the city has altogether a modern appearance.

We have seen no narrow, dirty streets, such as we find in all the old cities we have visited. On some of the streets and open squares are long rows of shops, entered from high and airy arcades.

From 1859 to 1865 Turin was the capital of Italy and the residence of the King, whose Palace here is always ready for him whenever he visits the city. We have been conducted through the Palace, which is a plain brick edifice sumptuously furnished, and we avail ourselves of the note - book of our “better half” for a description of what we saw. The pillars of the gateway to the Palace are decorated by two groups in bronze of Castor and Pollux, and in a niche in the Palace hall is an equestrian statue of Duke Victor Amadeus I.--the statue being of bronze and the horse marble, beneath which are the figures

of two slaves. We were met first by an officer wearing a long cloak, one corner of which was thrown over his shoulder, and a three-cornered hat, adorned with a large bunch of black rooster's feathers, falling gracefully over his side face. He walked up and down without saying a word; but another officer, dressed in red, white, and gold, pointed to the beautiful marble entrance, which is quite beyond description. There are six white marble steps to the first landing, from which other wide marble steps lead to the second story. The ceiling is beautifully frescoed. On the walls of the stairway are fine paintings. One represents Tasso, richly dressed in black velvet, being introduced to the Court; and another, “The Receipt of the Declaration of War by Spain.” We walked first into the footmen's room, elegantly furnished with rich paintings on ceiling and walls; then into the pages' room, equally elegant, and next to the throne room, and so on until we had passed through some twenty rooms in all. Over the throne is a canopy of red velvet shaded to orange. The doors are richly gilded and the ceilings of the rooms, some of which are lined with red velvet, are beautifully frescoed, while the window curtains are of silk lace. There are many fine paintings in the different apartments, the floors of which, of inlaid wood, are so smooth that we were obliged to slip or slide over them. Among the paintings is a magnificent one of “Solomon on his Throne. In the dining room there is a crystal chandelier, and there is another in the large ball room, which is splendidly finished with Doric columns and heavy gilt cornices. The Queen's Chapel is small but elegant. The furniture of all the rooms is very rich, none of it more so than a number of mosaic tables,

which are surprisingly beautiful. The Palace also contains an extensive library.

There is an Armory, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Antiquities, and an extensive Painting Gallery here; but we did not take the time to visit them, since we expect to see everything of this kind in other Italian cities.


forenoon, and arrived at Milan in time to ride an hour around the city, visiting the Cathedral of St. Ambrose and the celebrated picture of the “Last Supper," by Leonardo da Vinci. The Cathedral was founded by St. Ambrose in the fourth century, and the guide-books tell us that the gates are those which he closed against the Emperor Theodosius after the cruel massacre of Thessalonica; also, that the Lombard Kings and German Emperors formerly caused themselves to be crowned here with the Iron Crown, which is still preserved at Monza. The interior is richly adorned with fresco and other paintings, mosaics, statues, etc. “The brazen serpent on a column in the nave is said to be that raised by Moses in the wilderness.” We had not time to investigate the truth of this statement, and therefore accepted it as authentic without controversy. It is no doubt just as true as that a certain silver case in the Cologne Cathedral contains the bones of the three wise men who came from the East to Bethlehem to offer their presents to the infant

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Christ, and which precious remains, it is said, were presented to the Archbishop of Cologne by the Emperor Barbarossa when he captured them with the city of Milan. We were shown here, also, some very curious old parchment books of the fourteenth century, and sat in a marble arm-chair made at the time the church was founded.

The painting of the “ Last Supper” is in the refectory (now a cavalry barrack) of the suppressed Monastery of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. There is nothing very remarkable in the church, but we viewed this picture with great interest, notwithstanding it has been much defaced. Roscoe, in his “Life of Leo X.," speaking of Leonardo da Vinci, observes: “By his astonishing skill in music, which he performed on a kind of lyre of his own invention, and by his extraordinary facility as an improvisatore, in the recitation of Italian verse, no less than by his professional talents, he secured the favor of his patron (Lodovico, 1492,) and the applauses of the Milanese Court. Lodovico had, however, the judgment to avail himself of the opportunity afforded him by this great artist, to enrich the city of Milan with some of the finest productions of his pencil; and if the abilities of Leonardo were to be estimated by a single effort, his panegyrist might perhaps select his celebrated picture of the “Last Supper" as the most valuable of his works. In this piece it was doubtless the intention of the painter to surpass whatever had before been executed, and to represent not merely the external form and features, but the emotions and passions of the mind, from the highest degree of virtue and beneficence in the character of the Saviour to the extreme of treachery and guilt in that of Iscariot; while the

[ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »