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IN NORTH ITALY
An hour and a half took us back from Venice to Padua. in accordance with good taste than with convenience, the railwaystation of modern times is built at too great a distance from this oldest of the cities of North Italy to interfere with its quaint aspect. Before our drive from the station to the Albergo Stella d'oro was accomplished, we had gradually forgotten the formal regularity of the architecture of the present day, and saw, as a thing of course, the long rows of pointed arches, the dingy arcades, the minarets and towers of " Padova la forte.'
Very near to our hotel was Pedrochi's café, a fine building with bronze lions at its entrance and marble floors and staircases within -during the carnival, we were told, the rooms were gay with balls and concerts; from it we were taken to the market place, one side of which is occupied by a vast building, entirely on arches, and surrounded by a loggia, which is called the "Palazzo della Ragione," or "della Municipalita." It has a high iron roof, said to be the largest unsupported by pillars in the world. It did not look so large to us as that of Westminster Hall, but perhaps the confused state of the interior detracted from its apparent size. This Palazzo is said to have been originally built after the design of an Indian palace, the drawing of which was brought to Padua early in the fourteenth century by an Augustine friar, who was also an architect and a traveller, named Frate Giovanni. It appears to have been intended as a receptacle for the busts and statues of Italian celebrities; Pietro di Abano, a celebrated alchymist and physician, who died in 1316; the historian Livy, Paulus, the Roman jurist; Alberto Padovano, the physician; and, of far later date, Belzoni, the traveller, are among those whose monuments have found a place in this palace. The wall on one side is painted in compartments representing the different months of the year, with the constellations and planets, and the windows opposite are said to be so arranged that the sun's rays reach each compartment in their proper month. The hall when I saw it was filled with the banners, the triumphal cars, and other "properties" of a royal procession, which took place when Victor Emmanuel visited Padua in 1866, Probably the inscription "Vogliamo Vittorio Emmanuele per il nostro Re," which we
saw in many places on the walls of Padua, were also mementoes of the welcome then given to their King by the citizens.
Walking through the town and stopping at more than one old palace, with dingy, uninhabited rooms, grand marble staircases, furniture that had been magnificent, we reached an open space called the Prato della Valle; it was planted with trees and surrounded by statues, among them two modern ones of Giotto and Dante. On one side of the Valle are the Botanic Gardens of Padua, said to be the most ancient in Europe; they were opened in the year 1545. Like most foreign gardens, they had somewhat of a wilderness character in their arrangement, and wanted the neatness and regularity to which we are accustomed in England; but they were full of lovely flowers, growing with all the luxuriance of Italian springtime; and the old gardener who went round with us told us he had passed his life here amongst his flowers, and evidently thought nothing could exceed them in beauty or attractiveness. either side of the Gardens rises a church; of these both are crowned with many cupolas, both have plain and rough exteriors. The interior of one, though vast in proportions, has but little in pictures or statues to decorate it; the other is within as magnificent as gold, marble, and painting can make it. The first is dedicated to Santa Giustina, a martyr who was incarcerated in a cell still shown beneath the church, which was raised over it in her memory; the second to St. Anthony, who is held in such high esti mation by the Paduans that they dignify him by the appellation of il Santo, and in the thirteenth century sent for Nicolo da Pisa, and instructed him to erect a most magnificent temple in his honour. The chapel specially dedicated to St. Anthony exceeds in splendour and elegance any other I have seen. Massive silver candelabras borne by silver angels surround the walls; from the ceiling hang golden lamps, which burn day and night over his shrine of gold and variegated marble. Pictures, statues, and bas-reliefs cover the sides of the chapel, and the floor and steps which lead to the altar are of cut marble, surrounded by golden railings. In a green courtyard, with vegetable gardens behind, stands a very ancient chapel, bearing the title of Capella della Santa Maria dell' Arena, but better known as "Giotto's chapel," from the beautiful frescoes by this artist with which the interior is decorated. It consists of but one aisle, and the whole of the walls are painted by him in three ranges of frescoes separated into compartments with very grace. ful work in marble. The two upper ranges consist of scenes from the New Testament history; in the lower are figures representing the virtues and vices painted in chiar 'oscuro.
The only collection of pictures we saw in Padua was in some rooms in the Delegazione Municipale; it was not a very large one,
nor, with one exception, did the pictures make much impression on me. This one struck me from my not having before seen the subject treated in painting; it was by Bellini, and was called, "Jesu Cristo al Limbo." Our Saviour was represented amid the shades in Hades, and there was something very beautiful in the look of tenderness and pity with which He regarded the ghost-like forms who crowded round Him in various attitudes of supplication.
Our fellow-travellers, as we went from Padua to Verona on our way to Botzen, were a merry old priest and seven nuns, who certainly had not been soured by their ascetic life. The line for many miles was bordered with vineyards; distant mountains with streaks of snow, and nearer hills with picturesque ruins of castles, were seen on the right side of the carriage. Leaving Verona the snow-fed Adige was on our left, and huge craggy mountains enclosed the long plain along which the railroad ran; the poplars of Italy were replaced by cypresses, which surrounded the square, brown houses of the Tyrol.
Passing Lizzana, where are the ruins of a castle said to have been lived in by Dante; and Roveredo, with its large silk manufactories and curious light-house-looking castle, we reached Trent, a city not only famous for the council held within its walls from 1545 to 1563, but also remarkable for its fine situation on the banks of the Adige, and for the curious architecture of its houses and towers; the ruined walls of an old castle almost encircle the city, and add not a little to its picturesque aspect.
"How very beautiful!" we exclaimed, as mounting the somewhat lengthy staircase of the Kaiserkrone Hotel, at Botzen, we looked from the window of our room towards the Dolomite mountains, shining in every variety of delicate tints beneath the rays of the setting sun. The whole panorama was charming: beneath us lay the city, the river Eisack running brightly along at its feet; the quaint buildings and heavy arcades interspersed with high church spires, and plots of rich foliage. A range of dark lofty mountains dipping in the centre into a wide hollow, above which rose the mother-ofpearl tinted peaks of the Dolomite Rosengarten, closed in the picture.
The drive from Botzen to Meran, the old capital of the Tyrol, lay beneath porphyry mountains, and by the side of vast orchards. People were moving busily about on the road, some dressed in the picturesque costume of the Tyrol, others, in their white aprons and shirt sleeves, looking much like English carpenters. The shrines by the road side, with figures of terrifying size and aspect, were hung with bunches of corn and grapes. Meran has heavily arcaded streets, high church towers and pleasant walks by the side of the river Passer. From Ober-Mais, above the town, a fine view of
snow mountains backing rich plains with rivers, town, and castles, is obtained.
At Terlan, where is a curious leaning tower, we stopped to taste the wine it produces, which was brought to us, from some deep cool cellar, by a stout and very garrulous landlady, while our horses were regaled with black "militares brod."
The ringing of bells and chaunting of priests woke us early the morning we were to leave Botzen. All the town was stirred. Banners carried aloft by Capuchin friars, followed by boys in white robes and violet capes, swinging censors and tinkling bells, priests walking beneath canopies, formed the procession of Corpus Christi. The whole population, man, woman, and child, accompanied it, most of them carrying lighted candles; the wind was fresh, and at the corner of each street the people prostrated themselves, so that the candles were continually guttering down showers of grease, and blowing out; but their patient bearers scemed to look upon the necessity of re-lighting them every two or three minutes quite as a matter of course.
From Botzen over the Brenner to Innsbruck was our next journey. Strange it seemed as we emerged from one tunnel after another, and followed the zig-zag route of the line, to see the road we had to reach hanging above us, perched, apparently, on the perpendicular sides of the mountains; and then, again, having reached the summit, to wind down something very like a monstrous corkscrew, creeping close to the edges of precipices with no protecting rails between the train and them, until at last we found ourselves on level ground again, entering a long tunnel under the Isel hill, and running along the plain, by the ancient Abbey of Wiltau, towards the city of Innsbruck. The scenery on the Brenner pass is less magnificent than that on the Simplon or the Gemmi; but still glimpses of green meadows and dark forests, lying beneath huge crags of snow-striped mountains-of distant glaciersof villages and ruined castles, must make it a beautiful route at all times, and in spring-time, when we crossed it, the brilliancy and luxuriance of the wild flowers which literally carpetted the whole track added in no small degree to the loveliness of our six hours' drive.
Our stay in Innsbruck, the approach to which from the Brenner is strikingly beautiful, was too short to permit our doing much more than walk along its new and handsome streets to the Hotkirche, which contains, perhaps, the most magnificent tomb ever erected; the two sides of the nave are lined by the eightand-twenty life-sized figures in bronze which surround the kneeling statue of the Emperor Maximilian the First, who in his will ordered the erection of the church and of this prodigious
monument to his memory. His idea was copied by others; rear the altar are two tombs decorated with figures of the same size and metal, so that the first impression on entering the dimly lighted church is that it is peopled with a black congregation. By the principal door a figure of pure white marble, in the costume of the Tyrol, marks the tomb of Andrew Hofer, who, after his many conflicts with the French and the Bavarians, was shot by Napoleon at Mantua, and buried by the people of Innsbruck, who brought back his body to the city whence he had so often and so successfully led them against the invadors. From the Hofkirche we went to the Goldenes Dachl, or golden roof, a kind of verandah over a balcony of richly carved stone, made of gilt copper, said to have been erected by a Tyrolean Count, at a cost of thirty thousand ducats, as a proof that the title of "he of the empty pocket," which had been given him, was not merited.
Rosenheim was our next destination. The line again ran between fine snow-streaked mountains; the river Inn, gradually narrowing, had become unnavigable by the time we reached Hall. Here is a curious old tower. From Hall we went on to Kufstein, through a pasture country, where the hay had just been cut, and stacked in a way very different to our English one. High trees, the branches cut short on either side like thorns, had been stuck all over the fields, and the hay was wrapped round them nearly from top to bottom. At a little distance the fields looked like plantations of young cypress trees. The churches we passed were all painted white with grass-green steeples.
At Kufstein we entered Bavaria, and the Bavarian carriages, light, clean, and roomy, with good-natured officials in blue and silver; we had only to wait a few minutes, and had, therefore, but a passing look at the old fort on the crag, rendered famous during the wars of the Emperor Maximilian, in the 16th century, by the obstinacy of its commandant, who believing his fortress to be impregnable, in derision of the Emperor's canon, desired his soldiers to sweep down the walls with brooms in the face of the besiegers. He rued his temerity, for the Tyrolean cannon destroyed the castle walls, and the commandant was carried to Innsbruck and beheaded there. Passing Brannenberg and Raubling, we reached Rosenheim at four o'clock.
Very picturesque and very primitive we found it. Having established ourselves by taking a bed-room, and ordering dinner at the "Goldene Traübe," we walked to the large salt works of the town, and were shown the whole process of condensing the salt from the water, which had travelled here forty miles through pipes from the salt springs at Reichenfall. Out of the hot salt-breathing at. mosphere it was a great relief to wander along the quiet streets to