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AN EXCURSION IN APRIL.

AFTER long wishing to turn the Bordighera point, which has bounded at once our horizon and our expeditions, we have at length done so. We waited so long for a fine day in this blowy April weather, that at last we could wait no longer, and set off whilst a strong breeze was blowing in towards the coast, and breaking the waves into sheets of foam upon the rocky shore. Most beautiful the sea looked as we turned the point of our ambitions, long streaks of pale green streaming in upon the dark purple expanse of water, where the light broke through the storm clouds. On the other side of the bay, rays of sunshine fell upon the rifts in the great brown mountains, monotonous in their outline compared to those at Mentone, but still beautiful, as they stand round about St. Remo, which rises from the sea in tiers of white houses, with a fine church crowning the hill on which they are built. There are palm trees here as at Bordighera, but not such fine ones, although this is the place whence came Bresca, the trading sea-captain, who gave an order to throw water upon the ropes which held up the famous obelisk in front of St. Peter's, in defiance of the order of Pope Sixtus V., that any one who spoke should pay the penalty with his life, and who thus saved the obelisk, and obtained as reward that his native place of St. Remo, should furnish the Easter palms to St. Peter for ever. Early every spring, the palm branches are tied up to their stems, in order to bleach them for this purpose, and from that time till the autumn their chief beauty is lost; but here and there a graceful stem, crowned with umbrella-like foliage, rears itself still untouched in the little square gardens, among the tall houses.

Nevertheless, what strikes strangers far more than the palm trees, is the number of monks in St. Remo. From every narrow window along the main road, you are almost sure, if you wait long enough, to see a brown cowled head poke itself out, and a pointed white beard throw a long shadow on the yellow sunlit wall. The churches and doorways perfectly swarm with monks, and groups of them are perpetually to be met with, and stumbled over, kneeling before shrines in the dark street corners.

Opposite our windows at the pleasant inn of La Palma, was the splendid old palace of the Boria family. This is really as fine as any palace that can be seen in Genoa, and has a court-yard and staircase which would do honour to the abode of a sovereign. Some way behind this is a piazza, which contains the two principal churches of the lower town, and in one corner, an audacious statue, not often met with even in Italy, of God the Father. Hence, steep, narrow, and filthy little streets, arched overhead, and crowded with dirty children, cats, dogs, and chickens below, lead to the top of the hill, where there is a fine open terrace, lined with cypresses, which commands a lovely view of the mountains and sea. Here is a church, containing some splendid twisted pillars of yellow marble, and a hospital for leprosy, which terrible disease still lingers round.St. Remo. There were eighteen patients in the hospital when we visited it, all hopelessly incurable, either their limbs or their faces being gradually eaten away, so that with several, while you look upon one side of the face, and see it apparently in the bloom of health and youth, the other has already fallen away and ceased to exist. The disease is hereditary, having remained in certain families of this district, almost from time immemorial. The members of these families are prohibited from intermarrying with those of others, or indeed from marrying at all, unless it is believed that they are free from any seeds of the fatal inheritance. Sometimes the marriages, when sanctioned by magistrates and clergy, are contracted in safety, but often, after a year or two of wedded life, the terrible enemy appears again, and existence becomes a curse; thus the fearful legacy is handed down. The lepers at St. Remo, find in its admirable hospital every alleviation of their miseries, and are most kindly cared for by Sisters of Charity.

We had heard so much of the mountain sanctuary of St. Romano, that we set out to visit it the very evening of our arrival at St. Remo. A long stony way leads thither from the hospital, a most fatiguing wait, and a labour that scarcely repays one. Each turn made us desire more to be at the end of our fatigues, and each turn only disclosed a new stony ascent, longer and more tedious than the last; and at length, when we thought we were just arriving, the sanctuary came in sight, but on the furthest summit of a distant hill. However, we would not give in, and at last we reached it. A large white mitred statue of St. Romano, lies in a lower chapel with a sword through its breast, on the spot where the saint, who was bishop of Genoa, suffered martyrdom. This chapel is attached to and encloses the cave in which he lived in retirement. The upper chapel is dark, empty, and desolate, but stands in a wood of old gnarled chesnut trees, beneath which the mossy grass was enamelled with large blue gentians.

Early the following morning we set out for Taggia, in a queer carriage with two rope-harnessed horses, and the most hideous old man we ever saw in our lives for a driver. The road thither follows the highway for some distance, passing beneath the sanctuary of La Madonna della Guardia, on a high green hill rightly named the Capo Verde, and turning off near the village of La Riva, a row of houses on the shore, with an old ruined tower above them. Hence, it is a lovely drive through luxuriant olives, carpeted with green flax and corn, and surrounded by high mountains, on the steep sides of which, the town of Castellaro soon appears upon the right, and beyond it, the famous sanctuary of Lampedusa, jammed into a narrow ledge of the precipice. Taggia itself is deep down in the valley by the side of the rushing river of the same name. Its streets are curious; many of the houses have once been grand palazzi, and there is still a native aristocracy resident in the place. Many of the old buildings are painted on the outside with fading frescoes, of others the stone fronts are cut into diamond facets, others are adorned with rich carving; most of them rest upon open arches, in which are shops, where umbrella vendors set out their bright wares, and crimson beretti hang out for sale, enlivening the grey walls by their brilliant colouring. As we got out of the carriage, a crowd gathered round us — "Did we wish to see the house of Dr. Antonio?'' "Would we see the house in which il Baronetto Inglese had resided?" or, "Was it the house of the Signora Eleanora we wanted?" Thus Signor Ruffini, by his Doctor Antonio, has created local interests and associations for his native town, as Sir Walter

Scott has done for the banks of Loch Katrine and Loch Achray. The brother of Signor Ruffini still has a house at Taggia, and the author himself has frequently resided there. The house described as that of Signora Eleanora, is detached from the town, standing in an old-fashioned garden of its own. The native artist mentioned in the novel is now dead, having been cut off in the bloom of his life and genius, but some beautiful drawings from his works may be seen in the house of his brother, who kindly allows strangers to inspect them. The theatre where "Signor Orlando Pistacchini" performed before the Davennes, stands near the path leading to Castellaro, and is attached to the palace of the Marchesa. After exploring Taggia, with its narrow streets and old churches, whose pillars were still swathed in the red stockings by which the Italian Church shows her Easter rejoicings, we set out across the long narrow bridge which spans the valley, and bears witness to the frequent inundations of its obstreperous river. Midway upon the bridge stands a shrine with an image of the Madonna. This is a memorial of an earthquake, which in 1831 destroyed its third and eleventh arches. Two children, brother and sister, who were crossing at the very instant of the shock, were thrown down with this, the eleventh arch, and, wonderful to relate, sustained no injury; in acknowledgment of which miraculous escape, the grateful father erected the shrine, with an inscription to commemorate the story. A path turning to the right at the end of the bridge soon mounts the hill by a steep ascent to Castellaro. Here we toiled up in the burning sun, with some peasants driving their heavily-laden donkeys before us, both they and we stopping from time to time to take breath, and to gather the beautiful flowers which grew by the way side. Castellaro when reached, turns out to be a long straggling village, without much feature; but the church, as seen from the road to Lampedusa, stands out finely upon the spur of the hill, its gaily-painted tower relieved against the blue background of sea.

"A broad, smooth road, opening from Castellaro northwards, and stretching over the side of the steep mountain in capricious zig-zags, now conceals, now gives to view the front of the sanctuary, shaded by two oaks of enormous dimensions. The Castellini, who made this road 'in the sweat of their brows,' point it out with pride, and well they may. They tell you with infinite complacency, how every one of the pebbles with which it is paved, was brought from the sea-shore, those who had mules using them for that purpose, those who had none bringing up loads on their own backs; how every one, gentleman and peasant, young and old, women and boys, worked day and night, with no other inducement than the love of the Madonna. The Madonna of Lampedusa is their creed, their occupation, their pride, their carroccio, their fixed idea.

"All that relates to the miraculous image, and the date and mode of its translation to Castellaro, is given at full length in two inscriptions, one in Latin, the other in bad Italian verses, which are to be seen in the interior of the little chapel of the sanctuary. Andrea Anfosso, a native of Castellaro, being the captain of a privateer, was one day attacked and defeated by the Turks, and carried to the Isle of Lampedusa. Here he succeeded in making his escape, and hiding himself until the Turkish vessel which had captured his left the island. Anfosso, being a man of expedients, set about building a boat, and finding himself in a great dilemma what to do for a sail, ventured on the bold and original step of taking from the altar of some church or chapel of the island, a picture of the Madonna to serve as one ; and so well did it answer his purpose, that he made a most prosperous voyage back to his native shores, and, in a fit of generosity, offered his holy sail to the worship of his fellow-townsmen. The wonder of the affair does not stop here. A place was chosen by universal acclamation, two gun-shots in advance of the present sanctuary, and a chapel erected, in which the gift was deposited with all due honour. But the Madonna, as it would seem, had an insurmountable objection to the spot selected, for, every morning that God made, the picture was found at the exact place where the actual church now stands. Sentinels were posted at the door of the chapel, the entire village remained on foot for nights, mounting guard at the entrance — no precaution, however, availed. In spite of the strictest watch, the picture, now undeniably a miraculous one, found means to make its way to the spot it preferred. At length, the Castellari came to understand that it was the Madonna's express will, that her headquarters should be shifted to where her resemblance betook itself every night, and though it had pleased her to make choice of the most abrupt and the steepest spot on the whole mountain, just where it was requisite to raise arches in order to lay a sure foundation for her sanctuary, the Castellini set themselves con amore to the task so clearly revealed to them, and this widely-renowned chapel was completed. This took place in 1619. In the course of time some rooms were annexed, for the accommodation of visitors and pilgrims, and a terrace built, and many other additions and embellishments are even now in contemplation, and no doubt will be accomplished some day; for, although the Castellini have but a small purse, their's is the great lever which can remove all impediments — the faith that brought about the Crusades.

"To the north a long, long vista of deep, dark, frowning gorges, closes in the distance by a gigantic screen of snow-clad Alps — the glorious expanse of the Mediterranean to the south — east and west, range upon range of gently undulating hills, softly inclining towards the sea — in the plain below, the fresh, cozy valley of Taggia, with its sparkling track of waters, and rich belt of gardens, looking like a perfect mosaic of every gradation of green, chequered with winding silver arabesques. Ever and anon a tardy pomegranate in full blossom spreads out its oriflamme of tulip-shaped dazzling red flowers. Prom the rising ground opposite frowns mediaeval Taggia, like a discontented guest at a splendid banquet. A little further off westward, the eye takes in the Campanile of the Dominican Church, emerging from a group of cypresses, and further still, on the extreme verge of the western cliff, the sanctuary of our lady of the Guardia, shows its white silhouette against the dark blue sky."

On our return to St. Remo, we decided to go on from thence as far as our finances would allow, and finding early on the following morning, that a little omnibus was going to start for Porto Maurizio, we determined to take advantage of it to help us thus far on our way. So having obtained places in the Coupe for two francs apiece, and bargained that the vehicle should wait a few minutes while we put up our things; we were soon leaving St. Remo far behind, three brisk little horses galloping before us, their bells ringing merrily through the fresh dew-laden olive woods. We passed through St. Stefano al Mare which contains nothing remarkable, and St. Lorenzo al Mare with a peculiar church tower, standing close against the sea, in tiers of varied gradation, and then Porto Maurizio came in sight rising from the water in rows of handsome houses which cover the steep sides of its promontory.

The wind was bitterly sharp as we emerged into the wretched street, and its furious blasts whistled through the crypt-like entrance of the inn. We were so cold, that it looked as if there was even less to see than there was, all was so dead and white, cut out sharply against the sky. The church especially, though handsome, was new and perfectly white, which was dull by comparison with the other gaily-painted churches of the Riviera. So, much disappointed in Porto Maurizio, we made our way back to the inn and bargaining for a carriage to take us at diligence price, engaged it for fifteen francs to Albenga, where we arrived long before dark, in time to wander about the curious old town, and to count its extraordinary towers, which rise out of the plain like a number of tall ninepins set close together. Albenga affords many subjects well worth drawing, and to the architect it is a perfect treasure city, possessing a very ancient gothic cathedral, an early Christian Baptistery all green with mould and damp, and three equally grim and green Lombardic lions, besides all the before-mentioned towers, which are sprinkled about among the houses in the most profuse and apparently purposeless manner. The view from the entrance of the town is quite lovely, for it is situated in a valley so fruitful and fertile that it looks like one great garden, lying between undulating hills, and closed in at the end by a range of fine snow mountains which rise up like ghosts in the yellow snnset. It required all the charms of Albenga, however, to make us think its inn (Albergo d'ltalia) supportable, our ill-paved bedrooms were so stuffy and dirty, and so little food was to be obtained. The people too were not over anxious to take us in at all, "No travellers ever wanted to sleep at Albenga," they said. Nevertheless, on our persuading them at last that we were an exception and could not think of going any further, they gave us lodging, with coarse pasta, boiled in oil, and some horribly tough cutlets for dinner.

Rumour, Murray, and the desire of seeing things which other people generally leave unseen, alike made us long to visit Garlanda, and we pressed the only carriage which Albenga afforded into service for the purpose, a kind of open tabernacle on wheels, like a huge litter of ancient times, of which we obtained possession for the day for eight francs. It is a lovely drive up the green Albenga valley. Overhead are tall peach trees, which, when we saw them, were bursting into a luxuriance of pink blossom. Beneath these the vines cling in Bacchanalian festoons, leaping from tree to tree, and below all, large melons, young corn, and bright green flax, waving here and there into sheets of blue flowers, form the carpet of nature. Sometimes gaily-painted towers, and ancient palazzi, with carved armorial gateways, and arched porticoes break in upon the solitude of the valley. In one of these, the palace of Lusignano, which is girt about on two sides by the steep escarpment of the mountains, and backed by a noble pine tree, Madame de Genlis lived for some time, considering her abode an arcadia. A curious relic of ancient times, which must have been one of the principal objects in the view from her windows, is a gigantic naked stone figure sitting astride upon the wall, close to her garden gate. A short distance beyond this, the road runs by the side of the clear rushing Centa, to whose crystal waters the plain is indebted for its luxuriance. Here the mountains form rugged precipices, towards the river, only leaving a space for the road to pass between. A little further on, the river itself divides to embrace the mediaeval walls and towers of Villa-Nuova, a curious and tiny city. Near the road is a round church, which with a gothic tower adjoining it, built of deep yellow stone, forms a picturesque subject for the artist.

Hence, across the marshy plain of the Lerone, which was one sheet of brilliant spring flowers, we arrived at an old chateau, with Scotch-looking pepper box tourelles, which guards the narrowing fastness of the valley. This is the castle of Garlanda, and beyond it is the church, around which the peasantry of the valley gathered in defence of their beloved Domenichino, when an attempt was lately made to remove it. This famous picture, which is covered by a curtain, hangs near the entrance. It is certainly one of the loveliest of the works of its great painter (1581-1641). Kugler says of him, that "he seldom succeeded in the higher subjects of inspiration," and so it is here; the Virgin is only a lovely but simple country girl, holding a beautiful curly-headed child; St. Mauro is a handsome young man kneeling before her, but there is a truthfulness about each figure which makes them difficult to forget. The other remarkable picture in the church, the martyrdom of St. Erasmus, by Poussin, is almost too horrible to look at. The young curé of the village who fills the office of school master and sacristan, shewed us the pictures himself. "He told us how he had been born and bred in the place, and how rejoiced he was to be permitted while so young to come back and minister to the people he knew so well. "When we had seen the relics, we found ourselves almost fainting with hunger, but contrived to capture a cow, of whose milk we drank under the shade of the olives, with some bread and figs. As we returned, we sent home our carriage from Villa-Nuova, and walked back through the rocky lanes fringed with yellow genista, not arriving at Albenga till sunset, when all the bells in the red towers were ringing the merriest Ave-Maria imaginable, and the whole plain was bathed in gold.

The old man who drove us to Garlanda was so anxious to take us on to Savona, that on his consenting to go for fifteen francs, we agreed to employ him. The drive was very amusing, but less beautiful than we had expected. We stopped in the market-place of Pietra to see the carvings in the church, which, though mentioned by Murray, are not very remarkable. Then we drew for two hours on the beach at Finale, while the horses rested, and visited a splendidly-attired Madonna, with real hair, standing in a golden artificial light in the church. The rocks beyond Finale are very grand, and the descent to the sea shore, flanked by their gigantic precipices, on one of which is a tall mediasval tower, is certainly the finest scene on this part of the coast.

At two p.m. the long line of white houses which form the town of Savona came in sight, and at three we entered the streets, and descended at the excellent Hotel Suisse. We immediately hired a little carriage for six francs, in the piazza, to go to the Santuario. It was a quaint little charrette in which we were jolted up and down to such a degree, that it was a difficult matter to keep our seats at all. The drive was lovely, through a mountain ravine and by a rushing torrent, which three years ago overflowed its banks and carried away houses, bridges and people, everything on its course, so that the road was still very bad. After many windings of the valley we entered a courtyard, shaded by huge elm trees, just bursting into their first green; in the centre was a fountain splashing with white foam, and at the further end a fine church, which contains a presentation of the Virgin by Domenichino, and some good pictures by Bernardo Castello. The story of the miraculous Virgin in honour of whom the sanctuary was founded, was formerly sold in a thick volume, but it is now out of print, and does not seem likely to be republished. Her first appearance is said to have taken place at the little round chapel on the hill above the present sanctuary, where she showed herself to a poor countryman, and desired him to go into Savona, and declare what he had seen. This he did boldly, and was put into prison for his pains, but an unknown lady came to open his prison doors and release him. Again at the scene of his daily labours, the Virgin revealed herself to him, and again desired him to go and tell what he had seen in Savona, but he remonstrated, saying that the last time she had told him to do this he had obeyed her, and had been imprisoned in consequence. "Yes," answered the Virgin, "and it was I who released you; go then again boldly, and I will protect you." So he obeyed, and went to tell what he had seen in Savona, but the people mocked and no one believed him, and he returned home sorrowful. On his way as he was pondering sadly over these things, he met a great multitude of people: "Whence do you come," he said, "and what are you going to do." "Oh," they said, "we are the inhabitants of the Albergo dei Poveri, and we are going to Savona, that we may obtain food and continue to live, for we have no corn left in our granaries." Then he bade them return for their granaries should be filled. And they were unbelieving, yet still they returned, and when they reached the granaries, they were unable to open the door on account of the quantity of grain that was in them. All the people of Savona when they saw the miracle, gave praise to the Virgin who had delivered them; and now, convinced of the truth of the countryman's story, they built the famous church and hospital in her honour, which are still to be seen in the valley of St. Bernardo.

Within, the church is perfectly magnificent, its walls being entirely covered with precious marbles, which in their turn are encrusted with the votive offerings of gold and silver; these, with the splendid golden chandeliers swinging from the roof, make a mass of colouring which would be quite dazzling were it not subdued by the thickness of the masonry, and the natural darkness of the arched recesses. The under church is even more splendid than the upper, its walls being one mass of precious stones and metal. Here is the famous image of the Virgin, hideously radiant in the jewelled crown of Pope Pius VII, and the diamond collar of King Charles Albert. Beside her kneels a little marble figure of the countryman to whom her discovery was due. Beneath her feet issues a stream of water, served to visitors from a massive silver jug upon a silver tray; "holy water," the sacristan said, "and competent to cure all manner of diseases," but we did not find it so, for it was so icy cold, that we were ill all the evening after drinking it. The music at the Santuario was quite beautiful. On the Saturday afternoon that we were there, the Litany was most sweetly sung by the inmates of the neighbouring poor-house and orphanage, all looking most picturesque; the younger women in white veils (pezzottos), the elder wearing over their heads scarfs with brightly-coloured flowers (mezzaras). When the service was over, they emerged from the church in a long regular procession, two and two, with crosses carried before them. "We had not much time on our return left for Savona, and the house and tomb of Chiabrera were rather imagined than seen. Nevertheless we visited the cathedral, and very fine it looked in the flickering lamplight which fell in fitful gleams over the groups of sculptured figures which still stood in the aisle, where they had borne a part in the ceremonies of Passion week and Easter — "figures quite worth their weight in gold," a worshipper stopped his devotions to tell us, and that must have been a great deal, for they were perfect colossi.

We did not wish to spend our Sunday, even in beautiful Savona, and so engaged a little carriage to take us to Voltri, and started at half-past three in the dark morning, to catch the early train to Genoa. It was a drive of four hours, but the early morning was lovely, and the hills and the distant light-house of Genoa, were crimson in the new-horn sunshine. Half-an-hour's rail brought us from Voltri to Genoa, and what a view it is which you have on entering the town, truly "La Superba," rising in tier above tier of palaces and churches, from the still deep blue waters of the harbour crowded with shipping. By eight o'clock we were safely established in comfortable rooms in the excellent Hotel de la Ville, looking down on the busy port, and on the quays, crowded with gay young soldiers and women in flowing white veils. After the English service, which is held in two rooms in the handsome newly-built Via Assarotti, we went to the promenade of the Acqua Sole, which was all lovely spring and sunshine, trees bursting into leaf and flower, fountains splashing, the sea gleaming in the distance, and numbers of well-dressed towns people and handsome young officers in brilliant new uniforms walking about. The beauty of the inhabitants of Genoa surprised us more at every turn, and I believe all strangers are equally struck with it.

From Acqua Sole we went into the town to see the Lombard cloister of St. Stefano, which is very curious and interesting, and then into some of the narrower and older streets. Every part of the town abounds in historical relics, old doorways over which are sculptures representing either some event of the family history within, or some event of the family history within, or some legend of its patron saint; old deserted monasteries with decaying courtyards, old street corners rich with faded pictures and carvings. Almost all the houses deserve looking at where the streets are wide enough for you to see them. "In the smaller streets the wonderful novelty of everything, the unusual smells, the unaccountable filth (though Genoa is reckoned the cleanest of Italian towns), the disorderly jumbling of dirty houses, one upon the roof of another; the passages more squalid and more close than any in St. Giles's, or in old Paris; in and out of which, not vagabonds, but well-dressed women, with white veils and great fans, were passing and repassing; the entire absence of any resemblance in any dwelling-house, or shop, or wall, or post, or pillar, to anything one has ever seen before; and the disheartening dirt, discomfort and decay, perfectly confound one. One is only conscious of a feverish and bewildered vision, of saints, and virgin's shrines at the street corners; of great numbers of friars, monks, and soldiers; of vast red curtains waving at the doorways of churches; of always going up-hill, and yet seeing every other street and passage going higher up; of fruit stalls, with fresh lemons and oranges hanging in garlands made of vine-leaves." — "And the majority of the streets are as narrow as any thoroughfare can well be, where people (even Italian people) are supposed to live and walk about, being mere lanes, with here and there a kind of well, or breathing place. The houses are immensely high, painted in all sorts of colours, and are in every stage and state of damage, dirt, and lack of repair. They are commonly let off in floors or flats, like the houses in the old town of Edinburgh, or many houses in Paris. There are few street doors; the entrance halls are, for the most part, looked upon as public property; and any moderately enterprising scavenger might make a fine fortune by now and then cleaning them out.

"But when can one forget the streets of palaces; the Strada Nuova and the Strada Balbi; or how the former looks when seen under the brightest and most intensely blue of summer skies; which its narrow perspective of immense mansions reduces to a tapering and most precious strip of brightness, looking down upon the heavy shade below. The endless details of these rich palaces; the walls of some of them within, alive with masterpieces, of Vandyke. The great heavy stone balconies one above another, and tier above tier, with here and there one larger than the rest, towering high up — a huge marble platform; the doorless vestibules, massively-barred lower windows, immense public staircases, thick marble pillars, strong, dungeon-like arches, and dreary, dreaming, echoing, vaulted chambers, among which the eye wanders again, and again, and again, as every palace is succeeded by another; the terrace gardens between house and house, with green arches of the vine, and groves of orange trees, and blushing oleanders in full bloom, twenty, thirty, forty feet above the street; the painted halls mouldering and blotting and rotting in the damp corners, and still shining out in bright colours and voluptuous designs where the walls are dry; the faded figures on the outsides of the houses, holding wreaths, and crowns, and flying upward and downward, and standing in niches, and here and there looking fainter and more feeble than elsewhere by contrast with some fresh little cupids, who on a more recently decorated portion of the front, are stretching out what seems to be the semblance of a blanket, but is, indeed, a sun-dial; the steep, steep, uphill streets of small palaces (but very large palaces for all that) with marble terraces looking down into close by-ways, the magnificent and innumerable churches; and the rapid passage from a street of stately edifices into a maze of the vilest squalor, steaming with unwholesome stenches, and swarming with half-naked children, and whole worlds of dirty people, make up, altogether, such a scene of wonder; so lively and yet so dead; so noisy and yet so quiet; so obtrusive and yet so shy and lowering; so wide awake amd yet so fast asleep; that it is a sort of intoxication to a stranger to walk on, and on, and on, and look about him. A bewildering phantasmagoria, with all the inconsistency of a dream, and all the pain and all the pleasure of an extravagant reality."

Thus Dickens admirably describes Genoa in his most pictorial "Pictures of Italy," and thus every stranger sees it and feels it.

One of the most interesting spots in the town is the Piazza St. Matteo, in the heart of the city, on a straight line with the cathedral. This was formerly called the Piazza Doria, and is consecrated by the relics of that great family. Its ancient church of striped black and white marble contains their tombs; in its very remarkable cloisters are the remains of the statues presented to Andrea Doria by the Republic, while a palace of the same character as the church, bears the inscription, — "S. C. Andreas de Auria Patria Liberatori Munus Publicum."

"This house was Andrea Doria's. Here he lived;
And here at eve relaxing, when ashore,
Held many a pleasant, many a grave discourse
With them that sought him, walking to and fro
As on his deck.
'Tis less in length and breadth
Than many a cabin in a ship of war;
But 'tis of marble, and at once inspires
The reverence due to ancient dignity.

He left it for a better, and 'tis now
A house of trade, the meanest merchandize
Cumbering its floors.
Yet, fallen as it is,
'Tis still the noblest dwelling — even in Genoa!
And hadst thou, Andrea, lived there to the last,
Thou hadst done well; for there is that without,
That in the wall which monarchs could not give,
Nor thou take with thee, that which says aloud,
It was thy Country's gift to her Deliverer.

'Tis in the heart of Genoa (he who comes,
Must come on foot) and in a place of stir;
Men on their daily business, early and late,
Thronging thy very threshold.
But when there,
Thou wert among thy fellow-citizens,
Thy children, for they hail thee as their sire;
And on a spot thou must have loved, for there,
Calling them round, thou gav'st them more than life,
Giving what, lost, makes life not worth the keeping.
There thou did'st do indeed, an act divine;
Nor could'st thou leave thy door or enter in,
Without a blessing on thee."

- Rogers.

The best views of Genoa which are easy of access, are to be obtained from the Scoglietto gardens beyond the Doria Palace, which consist of a series of terraces planted with an abundance of camphor, pepper, and other curious trees, mingled with beautiful flowers, or from the terrace of the Sauli church, on the other side of the town. This church is approached by the Ponte di Carignano, built by the great family of that name, who, while rivalling the Saulis in greatness of present wealth and popularity, desired to rival them also in the greatness they left behind for posterity to gaze upon. Both works are magnificent, but the church especially is remarkable as that of one private family, of which a daughter is the only representative now remaining. It contains some gigantic statues by Puget and David, and in its sacristy a lovely picture by Albert Durer of St. Fabian and St. Augustin.

A charming expedition may be made from Genoa to the promontory of Porto Fino, which it takes two days to explore thoroughly. This excursion gives a very good idea of the scenery of the Riviera di Levante, of which it is perhaps one of the most favorable specimens. In the richer and more varied vegetation of its vallies, and in its turfy instead of rocky mountains, it is perhaps more strictly beautiful, though less picturesque, than the Riviera di Ponente. We took a carriage as far as Camoglia, following the high road to Sarzana as far as Recco, and passing through Albaro (where there is a picturesque ruined church upon the sea-shore), Quarto, Quinto, and Nervi. In one of these villages is a curious specimen of Italian wall-painting as illustrative of the lives of those within. A happy marriage, the subsequent elopement of the bride, and its miserable consequences, are all pourtrayed upon the walls, each figure being an actual portrait and as large as life. They were placed there by the husband, who avenged himself on his faithless wife by thus exposing her, she herself being obliged to pass the house door whenever she drives into Genoa from her neighbouring villa. Nervi has a lovely view of the promontory and rocks of Porto Fino, and exquisite gardens reaching down to the sea-shore, but it must be dull as a winter residence from being so shut in by the hills which rise abruptly behind the town, there being literally no space for walks except those along the highroad. The "stabilimento Inglese" is however a large and comfortable lodging-house, and is let in a series of small apartments, whose inmates may either live en Pension, or keep entirely to themselves.

"Camoglia seen from the road above, is like a tiny model on the margin of the dimpled water, shining in the sun. Descended into, by the winding mule-tracks, it is a perfect miniature of a primitive sea-faring town; the saltest, roughest, most piratical little place that ever was seen. Great rusty iron rings and mooring chains, capstans, and fragments of old masts and spars, choke up the way; hardy rough weather boats, and seamen's clothing, flutter in the little harbour, or are drawn out on the sunny stones to dry; on the parapet of the rude pier, a few amphibious-looking fellows lie asleep, with their legs dangling over the wall, as though earth or water were all one to them; and if they slipped in, they would float away, dozing comfortably among the fishes; the church is bright with trophies of the sea, and votive offerings in commemoration of some escape from storm and shipwreck. The dwellings not immediately abutting on the harbour, are approached by blind low archways, and by crooked steps, as if, in darkness and in difficulty of access, they should be like holds of ships, or inconvenient cabins under water; and everywhere there is a smell of fish, and sea-weed, and old rope." — Dickens.

Behind the town rise on a hill, the grounds of an old villa, overgrown with a wild luxuriance of cypress, oak, ilex, myrtle, and laburnam, which in April strews the ground with its golden flowers. At the top are some pine trees, whence on one side you look down over precipitous cliffs to the sea, and on the other through the woods to the village of Ruta, embedded on the green mountain side. We wandered on from thence to a ruined chapel near the seashore, but it is not much worth seeing, and the walk from thence to Ruta is so hot and fatiguing, we cannot recommend others to follow our example. The wild flowers on these mountain sides are quite beautiful, including endless varities of orchis, primulas, gentians, and hepaticas.

Ruta, which possesses two very good though primitive inns, is situated almost on the edge of the mountain ridge, which as it runs out further into the sea, forms the peninsula of Porto Fino. Close to the upper inn, is the mouth of the short tunnel, on passing through which you first really enter the sunny gardens of the south, and whence you look over a swelling luxuriance of peaches and almonds, carpeted with melons, and garlanded with vines, to Rapallo, Chiavari and Sestri, lying in brilliant whiteness by the side of the deep blue water, and thence to the mountains, at whose point the coral rocks of Porto Venere, form the entrance of the lovely gulf of Spezia. The view towards Genoa also was most striking in the sunset, mountains and city and lighthouse and sea, alike bathed with crimson as the sun went down behind the horizon of waters.

At five o'clock the next morning we set out to walk along the rocky ledge above the tunnel, in order to descend into the woods, before the sun had attained its power. Deep down below we saw the convent of San Fruttuoso, lying among its palm trees in a cleft, by the sea-shore, the place where the Dorias are now brought by sea for burial, and where their strange sarcophagus tombs may be seen in the crypt. This spot had a melancholy interest some years ago, from the burning of a fine ship which had only left Genoa a few hours before. Two heroic peasant women put off in a small boat to save the crew, and one of them was lost in the attempt. Porto Fino is an interesting and curious little town, (about three miles from Ruta,) situated in a tiny bay near the point of the promontory. The houses are supported by open arcades, the church is gaily painted, a fine umbrella pine tree shades the neighbouring rocks, and the harbour is crowded with picturesque fishing boats. All the men in the town are fishermen, with tall red beretti on their heads, and the women are lace makers, who sit at their pillows all day under the shady arcades beneath the houses. An enchanting terrace-walk of a mile, through the ilex woods overhanging the sea, leads round the point of the bay from Porto Fino, to the little cove of Piccolo Paggi, where a yellow castle on a rock forms a picturesque foreground to the purple mountains. There we dined beside a little fern-fringed fountain, and then went on in a boat (which followed us from the harbour) to Santa Margherita, about half-an-hour's row distant. Perhaps the finest point in the whole promontory is seen by going this way; the convent of Cervaro or Sylvano, now a ruin, on a rock surrounded by gigantic palm trees and aloes, which is the place where Francis the first was confined before he was conveyed to Catalonia. Unfortunately, an English nobleman, lately resident at Nervi, has so raised the prices of everything in this neighbourhood, by his lavish expenditure, that it is very necessary to come to an agreement with your boatmen before leaving Porto Fino, as the gratuities, which three years ago were received with the utmost gratitude, are now rejected with scorn, and even violence.

Santa Margherita is a picturesque little town, and a worthy ending to so beautiful an excursion. Here we found our carriage waiting for us, and returned to Genoa, in time to have tea beneath the orange trees, in the brilliantly lighted Café della Concordia, before it was closed for the night.

We had still three days left, so we determined to make a tourette into Lombardy, which the railway now renders very easy from Genoa. So after a day spent in flying across the green corn plains, with fresh young vines twining beneath the mulberry trees, we came in sight of Piacenza, in the sunset, in time to walk along the ramparts, fringed with brown convents and churches, and to look down towards the purple Apennines, and the infant Po, now a blue rivulet, flowing through a wide stony bed, which it fills in winter. The piazza of Piacenza is one of the most striking in Italy; on one side is the Saracenic-looking town-hall, of a deep orange colour, in front of which stand the great bronze statues of the Farneses; on the other, down a long street of overhanging houses, is seen the cathedral, with an arched front, projecting porches resting on red granite lions, and a tall tower, with the iron cage still hanging to it, in which the Farneses exposed their state criminals.

The following day we saw the old church of St. Donino, remarkable for its quaint carvings and extraordinarily hideous monsters, and went on in the evening to Parma, a dreary deserted looking town, in which the wide streets seem only peopled by the flocks of pigeons which come swooping down from their holes in the old houses. The cathedral is full of dim quaint frescoes of Coreggio, in which nobody can see anything but a chaos of arms and legs, and the churches have other frescoes, which are blacker and more undistinguishable still. Beside the cathedral rises the baptistery, with tiers of square arches in red marble. The great rambling palace is chiefly a shrine for the paintings of Coreggio, but it possesses also the ruined theatre of the Farneses, "one of the dreariest spectacles of decay that ever was seen."

Modena, to which we went for a few hours from Parma, we thought even less interesting — nothing to be seen but the cathedral with its quaint monsters, and the palace with its picture gallery, and all the lovely objects belonging to the Duke, which the people have confiscated, instead of his having, as the newspapers represented at the time, carried off all their pictures; the fact being, that he saved only one out of all his treasures, a "Piccola Madonna di Raffaello," which he carried off under his cloak.

Reggio, where we stayed for a few hours, is a very dull town, but has a fine view from the ramparts, of the Apennines around the ruined walls of Canossa, celebrated from the severity of Hildebrand, and the penance of the emperor Henry the fourth.

From Parma we came rapidly back to Mentone. Leaving at eleven p.m., we arrived at Genoa at half-past nine, and at Voltri at half-past eleven a.m. Hence we persuaded a driver of a small carriage to take us on to Savona for nine francs, and another again to take us from Savona to Oneglia for twenty-five. Travelling through the night, by the moonlit sea, and sometimes leaving our horses to rest for an hour, and walking before them along the shore, we reached Oneglia at three a.m., and there taking the diligence, arrived at Mentone before eleven.

For the benefit of future travellers, it may be mentioned, that the expense of the whole journey, during thirteen days, for three persons, was about fifteen pounds.