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SKETCH OF THE CITY OF NAPLES.
The third fine promenadable road ing country insalubrious in the sumleading from Naples is that which mer, but they were drained by Algoes into Apulia ; but unfortunately, phonso I. and soon became very proit is necessary to traverse the city ductive. At present they form an from one end to the other, and to immense kitchen garden, are admirapass through some of the dirtiest bly cultivated, and are the most vastreets in Europe, in order to reach it. luable lands in the kingdom. The You go out by the Porta Capuana, road three or four years ago was which was built as a triumphal arch shaded by trees for a mile and a half,
a for the Emperor Charles V. to pass and was then far more agreeable than through on his entrance; it is remark- now; but the trees have been cut able for its bad taste. On passing down and sold, and the beauty of the from this gate you keep straight on, place necessarily impaired. Along leaving the road which leads to the the road there are several fountains Capuan, or northern road, to the left; erected long ago for the ornament of a mean borgo extends to the edge of the place, and to afford a refreshthe Arcnaccio, a deep fosse which ment always welcome in hot counruns along the line of the borghi; tries; but now they have been long in the rainy season the water which neglected, the sources of some of them descends from the neighbouring hills are dried up, the waters of others collects in this ditch, and rushes stagnate in the marble basins, and rapidly downwards to the sea: no their filthy green scum disgusts inbridge was thrown across until the stead of inviting. year 1762; and as the waters some- The pedestrian will do well to extimes rose in this channel to the tend his walk along this road for height of six or eight feet, the road, about a mile, when he will arrive at leading to some of the finest prom the scattered ruins of the Palazzo of vinces of the kingdom, was occa- Poggio Reale, commonly called Palazsionally liable to a total inter- zo della Regina Giovanna; and here ruption. During summer, when the popular tradition is not so incorrect as fosse was dry, it was frequently it is with regard to the palace of Poused as a field of battle by the silippo, for, according to old NeapoliSussajoli, a body of men whose num- tan writers, a palace was erected bers frequently amounted to two just on the spot by a prince of her thousand, and who had acquired that family, and she herself was much name on account of their skill in accustomed to reside there. The throwing stones ; this skill was often ruins now visible, however, are the productive of very fatal effects; the remains of a palace built by AlSassajoli used to assemble here in phonso, son of Ferdinand I. on his great numbers, and fight desperate return from having delivered Otranto pitched battles. About two centuries from the Turks: he sent on purpose ago, their amusements were interrupt- for a Florentine architect, and emed by officers of justice, who sent ployed two painters, Pietro and Polito thirty of their leaders to the galleys, del Donzello, brothers, to represent on and in short, persecuted this spirited the walls the famous congiúra of the class so much that at length it was Barons, ostensibly against his father heard of no more ; still the art was Ferdinand, but really against himnot lost, but is preserved to this day self, and which he had the good for. by the Lazzaroni, as we have frem tune to overthrow. In some places quently had occasion to observe. you still see little fragments of this Passing the bridge, the road leads on painting, which was esteemed a great towards Cardinale, having to the work at that time, and was indeed right the fertile Paludi, spread out in one of the earliest extensive efforts of all their abundant variety. These native art. The interior courts are marshes were at one time unhealthy now turned into cabbage gardens ; swamps, abounding with wild fowl, two canals pass through them, the and rendering the city and neighbour- waters of which turn two mills, that
are built on the site of the palace; speckled with many villages, which a large hall is converted into a mil- lie in picturesque patches around the ler's magazine, and two families of base of the dark Vesuvius, and his peasants have contrived to make compeer, the Somma. dwellings in two different parts of The Rubeolo has been curiously the ruins. A little below the palace confounded with the Sebeto; for, in is a peschiéra, or fish pond; beyond fact, it is the Rubeolo, and not the this, in the time of Alphonso and se- Sebeto, which runs under the Ponte veral of his successors, there was a di Maddalena. The Sebeto really wood which reached to the sea, be- rises by the monastery of San Sea tween Naples and Portici; it was verino, which is indeed in the same used as a royal chase, to which, say plain (the pianura di Maddalena); the serious historians of the country, but by a felonious earthquake, three the kings of the Arragon line fre- hundred years ago, the Sebeto was quently resorted, being sommamente buried, and has ever since continuportati per la caccia. Within the ed to wind its way in subterraneruins there are two holes now choked ous darkness; and discharges itself up, which the people show as the into the sea without any notoriety trabocchéllo of Queen Giovanna, into whatever. In some of the lower which she had the praiseworthy cus- parts of the city of Naples, there tom of precipitating her lovers, when are, however, apertures through she was tired of them. This Queen which the river may be seen, but bears a most frightful character a- they are few, and not generally mong the vulgar, who all tell the known. Authors, subsequent to its same tales of her atrocities, and seem interment, unaware of that circumto regard her as supernaturally wick- stance, transferred to the humble ed. We must not forget to say that Rubeolo the name and honours of the this place has the reputation of being deceased Sebeto; and poets, knowing infested by spirits.
that Rome boasted its Tevere, FloThe river Rubeolo, which runs a rence its Arno, London its Tamigi, little to the right of the road, rises &c.; determined, of course, that from different sources in the plain, Naples must have some river to sing and the greater part of the waters of, and accordingly they began with which descend on that side from Ve- great fervour to tell of bel Sebeto suvius run into it. This stream would in rivo," « Le Ninfe del bel Sebeto," be considerable, if it were not dimi- “ Le chiare onde del rinomato fiume, nished by hundreds of canals, which &c.” and all this admiration was becarry off its waters to irrigate the stowed upon a stream, which in Engplain, producing a fertility which is land would receive the contemptuous perhaps almost unequalled; and, be- appellation of ditch. One of the sides turning a great number of mills, most considerable literary societies which are employed in the service which now exist in Naples derives of the city, a considerable part of the its name from the Sebeto, and has water is carried to Naples in aque- been accustomed, God knows how ducts for domestic purposes. One of many years, to produce on a certain the sources of this river is in a place day odes and sonnets, in honour of called Cancellaro, about six miles the Rubeolo, under the usurped title from the roots of Vesuvius, and about of the Sebeto, while meantime the five from the sea; it is called La Fon- « real Simon Pure” has remained in tanella; there is here a large deep total neglect. Our amiable countrycave, into which the water drops in- man, Mr. Mathias, who has distincessantly through the earth, and then guished himself so much by his Itapassing for some time through sub- lian poetry, has contributed his praises terraneous passages, appears at a also to this classic river, and talks place called La Bolla, where the wa- about the Sebeto and the Tamigi. ters by their vexed and hasty rushing Over the ponte di Maddalena runs seem to boil, and where the river is a fourth considerable road, it is broad crossed by a strong dike of coarse and very good, as far as Portici; it marble. This place is generally but lies near the shore, is well paved little visited by foreigners, on account with flags of lava, and commands a of there being no coach road, but it broad and cheerful view of the mounaffords a very pleasant walk; the tains and the bay. country around is interesting, and is The last road which we
mention, is the Strada Nuova di whole of the scenery through which Capo di Monte,* which continues it passes is very picturesque; it is a straight on from Toledo, leaving the constant succession of beautiful slopes, Studj on the right, and passing over adorned with country houses and a good bridge which is suspended at vineyards ; in several parts the vines a great height in the air, and con- hang over the road, and occasionally nects the sides of a deep valley, in the eye plunges into the dark weedy which stands an odd part of the city recesses of chasms which cleave the called La Sanità. The road was hill. constructed, and the bridge erected, We have now mentioned the prinby the French; for Charles III. who cipal spots around Naples which built, or almost built the palace on are remarkable for their beauty, and the hill
, forgot to make a road to lead which have powerfully contributed to it; this approach has been re- to draw the curious, the lovers of the paired and kept in good order by picturesque, and the luxurious, from the present king, who is much at- all parts of Europe ; we shall briefly tached to the residence mentioned change the scene, and pass, from above, and who, before the present those beautiful spots which are de way was constructed, was obliged to serving of all the praises that have have his carriage drawn up the hill been bestowed upon them, to the by wains of oxen. From the bridge, haunts of the Neapolitans--the real you see the façade of San Gennaro maccaroni eaters who have not the de' Poveri, a large building appro- least gusto forestiere," and who, priated to poverty and age, through if they had the same means of living, which you pass to the entrance of would be equally content if Naples the catacombs, of which several ra- were placed in the dullest heath that mifications run under the traveller's ever sun shone on. path. The road stretches up the The city of Naples stands between hill, in a fine ascent, deviating in a the sea and the hills, and has but few easy turns, until it reaches the little depth in proportion to its length; summit, where stands the royal pa- the streets leading from Toledo, tolace; this edifice is very heavy, rather wards the hill, are generally built on large, and very red; as usual, it is pretty steep slopes, and in rainy not finished; the gardens attached weather serve as channels to SO to it are very pleasant, but the pub- many rapid though shallow rivers ; lic is churlishly denied admittance, this is sufficiently uncomfortable, but even when the king is not there. it is not without its use, for the rain From a ridge a little beyond, you ob- is the only public scavenger in Naples. tain a wide and beautiful view of Leaving Toledo, we turn down the the bay, coasts, and islands, a good Strada di Maddaloni, where on one part of the city and port, and the side a number of comb-makers are opposite hill crowned by San Mar- seen sawing and rasping, and on tino, and Sant' Elmo; behind, rather either side there are dull shops called to the right, is the wooded hill of Copisteria, where dwell men cunning Scudillo, which runs into the hill in languages and the arts of writing called Arionella, the birth-place of and spelling, whose business it is to Salvator Rosa, a little abore the Vo- translate and to copy law instruments, mero; the Scudillo abounds in those memorials, &c. The Strada di Madcurious pines we have already men- daloni, though under different names, tioned, and just over the farther end leads nearly to the extremity of the of it is seen the convent of the Ca- town; in going along, we first pause maldoli, with a few trees before it, in the Largo del Gesù, in which is situated on the highest eminence in reared one of the highest and ugliest the immediate neighbourhood of Na- of the Guglj, those true Neapolitan ples.
architectural monsters; and the left The road descends on the other side of the square is formed by the side, and passing under the Pontè embossed front of the great church Rosso, an old and ruined aqueduct, of the Gesù Nuovo. After this, the comes out below Capo di Chino. The street takes the name of Santa Chiara,
There is another fine road for pedestrians (it is almost too steep for carriages), called La Salita del Vomero.
and on advancing a little farther, we work in the street; the blacksmith's pass the ancient church of that anvil is placed perhaps under a gatename, with its high square Norman way when it rains, but usually it is tower, and soon reach the Largo hoisted on a block in the path ; hamS. Domenico Maggio, where another mers whirl round, sparks fly, and ugly gúglia, but not so high as the files grate upon the ear, in one street, former, demands its share of con- and immediately upon quitting it, we tempt ; after traversing this, we en- get into another, where there is equal ter into the Strada San Biagio de Li- noise and confusion by squeaking braj, which, like Santa Chiara, is a saws and gliding planes. In the continuation of the same long line. same direction is the Neapolitan Hardly any thing is to be seen here Mint, a very roomy building, wherein but bookseller's shops; it is, in fact, they contrive to make very bad mothe Paternoster Row of Naples, and ney. a very poor Paternoster Row it is ; Many of the streets inhabited by the shops are low, dark, mean, the trades end in one large one dirty, and very badly stocked; it is that leads to the mercato, which is, difficult to get any foreign or new as the name expresses, a marketItalian work here, except at one place: it is a very wide square; on bookseller's, who is a Frenchman, it stand the church of San Lorenzo, and is kind enough to procure them the Torre del Campanile, the church for about double their value, within of La Madonna del Carmine, the fortwo or three months' notice. The tress of the Carmine, and several other street soon changes its name again, noted edifices. This was the scene becomes narrower, and is called of the tumults, eloquence, triumph, “ Strada Seggio del Nilo;" the shops and death of the unfortunate demaat the beginning of this part of the gogue, Masaniello ; and it was also range are chiefly filled by religious the place where the patriots of ninetyprints, such as Madonnas, Saints, nine suffered for their principles, and and Crucifixes, people praying and resigned all their politics. It was burning in purgatory, martyrdoms, here also, “i' the olden time,” that miracles, &c.; and at the farther end the youthful and gallant Conradin are wholesale manufacturers of saints was caused to be beheaded by Charles of both sexes, gilded ornaments for of Anjou, being clearly convicted of church candlesticks, crosses, eternal having a just title to the throne of flowers, &c. &c.
Naples. În one part of the mercato Leaving the Seggio del Nilo, we stood, until a few years back, the go up by a cross street to the great little church, or cappélla, of Santa Štrada Tribunale, which is dirty and Croce di Corradino, just before narrow, like the one we left; here which, on a lofty scaffold, covered there are two other abominable with velvet, he, with the Duke of guglj; indeed, the Neapolitans have Austria, endured his fate, whilst his been very liberal of these memorials conqueror enjoyed the scene from a of their bad taste; the Strada Tri- neighbouring tower; and among the bunale ends at the Vicaria, a very immense and pitying crowd, not a large building, formerly the habita- man was found bold enough to take tions of the Viceroys, and now the up the glove which the prince threw seats of justice, and the criminal pri- among them, as an investiture of his sons; at this now plebeian end of the kingdom. Conradin's body, which town, there are a great many old and lay exposed in the place until it was large palaces, as in former times the in a state of putrefaction, nobody nobility inhabited this part, which is having courage to bury it until an now deserted by all whose finances order was given by Charles, was depermit them to seek more modish posited in the chapel, but afterwards quarters. On the other side of the removed by his mother, and placed Strada Nilo, there is a strange set of behind the Altare Maggiore of the streets, each of which is occupied by Carmine. Almost the whole of one a particular trade; one, for instance, side of the Mercato is formed by an by coppersmiths, another by black- extremely large building, called Il smiths, another by weavers Banco di S. Eligio, which has been dyers, and another by coopers, and a monastery, a hospital, and a bank; so on, through a great variety: the but what various purposes it answers greater part of these artists usually now we know not.
Between the long streets we have tuation is excellent, the breezes blow mentioned and the Marina, there is fresh from the sea, and Vesuvius another batch of streets, or quarter, frowns across the smiling waters; but called, “ Abasso di Mercanti," where it is lined by a number of mean and all the mercers, dealers in cloth, irregular, though lofty houses with &c. live. The Strada delli Oréfici, broken windows and unpainted balwhere none but goldsmiths carry on conies, and the place is offensive from a trade, is also near here, and is a the skins which the tanners lay out to smart place: you see exposed to sale dry in the sun on the pavement, and the tawdry ornaments which adorn from the materials which those arti, and impose upon the plebeians; large sans use in their business. hoop ear-rings, with pendants half the size of one's hand, and weighing, Here we conclude our first sketch perhaps, three quarters of an ounce of Naples ; at a future time we shall each, stuck all over with dingy pearls return to this subject, and describe and bits of coloured glass, all manu- rather more at large some of the refactured and arranged in true Nea- markable objects; we shall also enpolitan taste, which consists in dis- deavour to give you an account of posing things to the worst advantage the character, customs, manners, state possible, are here displayed in great of society, and amusements of the profusion, as also immense quantities people; subjects which we cannot of rings, crosses, and cornicélli, or consider as trite, since we have seen little pieces of twisted coral, which but little relating to them that has are worn about the neck as charms appeared to us to be correct. Our against the jettatura, or evil eye, in descriptions, as far as we have gone, which every true Neapolitan “ most are not perhaps what you expected; powerfully and potently believes.” In it may be sɔ, for we have attempted the same line is a range of streets to describe Naples tale qual è. * Do so narrow that they seem to have not suppose that, because we remark been constructed with the inten- the blemishes in this beato soggiorno, tion of trying experiments on suf- that we are prejudiced against it, or focation; the houses are incredibly are led by a splenetic spirit to decry high, and in many places a per- what others applaud. No; we are not son, by extending his arms, can insensible to what is valuable about touch both sides of the street at once; Naples; we are familiar with all her at the same time, there are so many matchless scenes; and we love her in bendings, and turnings, and corners, spite of her abominations. Naples is that little short of conjuration can not a place for good society; it is not deliver the wanderer who has once a good place for solitary study; for bewildered himself in the dingy laby- theatres, balls, and masquerades, it rinth. It is awful to reflect, whilst it has many superiors; it is not a traversing this part of the town, on cheap place for foreigners; Paris is the fearful mortality which would as cheap, and every city of Italy much scourge this filthy race if a conta- cheaper; it is not a comfortable gious disease were to make its ap- place to live in, it is not clean, it is pearance here ; scarcely two out of not quiet—it is none of these ! but it ten, we apprehend, would escape, and has beauties around, which to be the catacombs, which are yet choked conceived must be seen, and once in sorne places with the skulls and seen, must become a part of memory. skeletons that were the harvest of Every step taken in its vicinity prethe plague in 1656, would receive a sents views by which some important supply sufficient to tell a tale of fear passage of mythology, or poetry, or in ages to come! Were it not for history, or legend, is recalled;—some openings towards the sea which ad- secret of nature reveals itself in every mit the cool air, these streets would hill, in every hollow; and all her be suffocating during the summer shores, and capes, and islands, are heats.
thickly strewed with the wrecks of A fine well paved way runs from antiquity. Could we share with you the Molo along the shore to the end all we see and feel in but one of our of the city in that direction; it is broad walks, you might estimate the enand open to the sea all along. This ticements of Naples rightly; but that walk would be delightful, for the si- we cannot do. Farewell !