Sir Francis Ronalds' Travel Journal: Northwest Italy
Turin Saturday Octr 3rd 
"we had a variety of nations in the stagecoach and almost as great a variety of animals to draw it up Mont Cenis for there were 7 Horses, 2 Oxen, 2 Cows, & 2 Women who belonged to the Cows & oxen"
We left Lyons for Turin after two days of repose. I thought I had enjoyed very fine views in passing down the Loire from Chalons but they are nothing absolutely nothing compared with those in passing Mont Cenis. I never saw any really fine painting of the effect of Clouds and Mountains jumbled together in a Semi-chaotic mass and the snowy summits illuminated here and there by a brilliant sun. I suppose no good painter has dared to undertake it, but surely no subject could be more sublime. The road was very good all the way and exhibits indelible marks of Napoleon, ask who did this or that great work the answer is generally Napoleon. I arrived here yesterday in company with the fat Abbé, a Pole, a garrulous Neapolitan, a Maltese, a Piedmontese & a frenchman and his servant. So we had a variety of nations in the Diligence and almost as great a variety of animals to draw it up Mont Cenis for there were 7 Horses, 2 Oxen, 2 Cows, & 2 Women who belonged to the Cows & oxen. Monsieur l'Abbé is a little in the dumps or sulky because I intend to remain here 2 or 3[?] days, it is impossible to see the place pleasantly in less time (besides I find my waistcoat a little deranged, perhaps by eating too much fruit or by my unavoidable irregularity in taking my meals whilst on the road). I can't help it, I should have been very happy to accompany him all the way to Rome but he wants to get there as soon as he can & I will not pass through Towns and Provinces without looking about me a little. I should have said you must laugh heartily to grow fat, it is an other affair to laugh because you are expected to laugh, and to be expected to make others laugh. This was now our case so we became somewhat less jovial, but the Scenery fully compensated the lack of jollity. I shall see him again at Rome where he is secretary to Monseigneur Caleaguini. So now I must seek out another Companion de Voyage which I don't doubt I shall easily find at Milan. I am glad I did not go with the Mutters and Pages. I should have met with fewer difficulties perhaps but then I should have talked English, and I should not have indulged my Vanity in overcoming them. I don't attempt to speak the jargon they have here, my French passes currently enough and they say it will do at Milan.
Sunday Octr 4
I have missed the Post so I shall send you a double dose from Milan, you will recollect that you are not obliged to swallow it. I am very sorry I had no time to sketch during the passage of Mont Cenis, one ought to remain in those super-terranean Regions several days at least to have but a faint idea of the beauties. I found the Camera Lucida and Perspective Compasses of use in purchasing by the loan of them the civility of Monsr Messum[?]. They are scarcely known here abouts. The compasses would be improved by using 3 legs instead of two, they would be more easy to use and expeditious.
"The Opera here is not superb either in Respect to the Building or the Singing and nothing can possibly be worse than the dancing"
I like Turin very much, it is a pretty little girted Town. The Opera here is not superb either in Respect to the Building or the Singing and nothing can possibly be worse than the dancing. The Town presents a striking contrast to Paris, on Sunday the people shut up their shops and go to Mass, except the Apothecaries of which there seems an immense number, they repair their Souls and Bodies here on Sundays to last out the Week. I don't like to be singular so I have been with an Apothecary for some more of Dr Birkbeck's pills of which I shall take two tonight and I will now go to Mass and pray that they may set me quite to rights. The Signr Apothecary tells me that the figs probably disagreed with me, but they were Green Figs not Mrs M's sort. I don't at all admire the interior of the Dome of the Royal Chapel but I fear it is admired by the Cognoscenti. The grand theatre is preparing for the Carnival but I went in to see it - very superb. No one can help perceiving a most unfortunate cumbersome style in all the Churches & Public buildings. The beautifull Susa marble imitating so well the verd antique seems here to be lavished upon the most childish species of ornament. The Pallace [sic] Carignano is an example of the worst kind & I think contains nothing worth remembering for a common observer. The other Pallace of the Duke of Savoy contains 2 or 3 fine pictures of the Fiamingi.
Tuesday Octr 6
"When the King dies he is slid into a beautifull tomb in the Superga and his predecessor is slid out of it and "layed upon a shelf" hard by... The Children of the Royal family who die are put into nice little tea caddy shaped sarcophagi and layed in rows on the shelves like the boxes of an apothecary's shop"
Altho' I have had a precious fag up to the Superga and altho' the Weather would not permit me to have much prospect from it, yet I am satisfied with my walk and with myself. The People were very civil & gave me some information which was amusing about Father Beccaria's beautifull experiments on the electricity of serene weather & of Dew there. The Frati expressed themselves very glad to see an admirer of their most celebrated associate & I much envied him his serene occupation. They shewed me every thing that remains of the house &c (but the cherry tree is gone) and invited me to sup and sleep in order that I might have their view in the morning but I did not stop, which was very foolish. When the King dies he is slid into a beautifull tomb in the Superga and his predecessor is slid out of it and "layed upon a shelf" hard by and Mass is said every day for the Soul of the last King. The Children of the Royal family who die are put into nice little tea caddy shaped sarcophagi and layed in rows on the shelves like the boxes of an apothecary's shop, & the Royal family are I believe to have the precedence at the Resurrection which is the reason of their being buried on such high ground.
Milan Sunday Octr 11th
I arrived here on Friday and got your letter yesterday, not dated. I pay particular attention to Uncle Hugh's, Mother's and Peter's advice about Italians & Strangers. I hope I shan't want a Doctor, if I do I think I can get recommended to a good one. I should be sorry to make much acquaintance with strangers here. When I get to Rome I shall take a few shots, they say the shooting is excellent and 6 lire will purchase full liberty to shoot as much as you please. The journey here from Turin was by far the least interesting and alltogether [sic] the worst I have yet had, a wet day, slow pace, long detention at the Douane, bad Inns, imposing rascals, flat country and more flat society. Perhaps the greatest curiosity at Vercelli is a manuscript of the 4th Century in the Cathedral said by the Frati to be the autography of St Mark himself. It is very generally believed to be so & on this account curious I suppose. There was a student of the university here in the Diligence who has called on me since he arrived, perhaps I may make something out of him, and there was an englishman whom I have in the next room to me, he an apothecary I believe.
"I have been to the Opera and the Cathedral & I like the latter but Camporese is here... Her powerful bursts electrify every body except the card players"
I have been to the Opera and the Cathedral & I like the latter but Camporese is here, her action is ugly, she hoists her shoulders too much. Her powerful bursts electrify every body except the card players. The other performers are not remarkably good or bad I believe. The smell in the Parterre is very disagreeable and the whole house, altho' certainly very fine in many respects, appeared to me upon the whole very shabby when compared with our Opera.
The Cathedral has to me on the outside a gigantic magnificent air but wanting in decoration [missing], the decoration employed not being very well disposed, even the enormous number of Statues on the outside walls not in my ideas affording enough. The inside has to my eye the [missing] and defects but both in greater degree. Upon the whole I like Salisbury Cathedral much better and if you object that the comparison is not fair because Salisbury is of the light gothic, I will go so far as to say I like Westminster better. But I am speaking like an ignoramus on the subject, I don't pretend to architectural knowledge, I suppose it is only the grandeur of design and the Antiquity that are so much admired in this Cathedral.
There usually exists a degree of Mistiness in our Cathedrals which imparts to them a disagreeable sombre effect. They are also deserted, damp & chilly. The melancholy sensation produced on my mind by them is of rather a distressing nature, but such is not the case here. The highly though badly furnished altars, the grave troops of devotees, the silent or whispering solitary supplicant, the brilliant tints & deep shadows obtained by a more unclouded light refracted through the beautifull stained glass Windows &c &c help to fill up the picture and enrich the sensation without any loss of sublimity I think, & the kind of melancholy inspired is pleasurable.
Whilst leaning over the balustrade of the descent to the Tomb of St Carlo Borromeo (whose body is contained in a case of rock crystal) I listened with great patience to my friend Old Coins's very long & I dare say very correct account of his life which, as he was a good man & a verry far famed Saint, I shall give you in brief detail. He was born at Arona in 1538. Was made an Abbè at 12 years of age & a Cardinal & Arch-bishop of Milan at 21 (by his uncle Pope Pius IV). He was when young a great patron of good living & learning or rather of learned men & bon vivants, but by & by became a very good christian which character he displayed in numerous acts of charity & in great rigidity of discipline, altho' he lived in a fraternity the most licentious of his licentious age viz the order dei Humiliati. It is said that whilst praying one day a Frate of his own order shot at him in his chapel but that the ball was warded off by heaven & he continued his devotions as though nothing had occurred to interrupt them. During the plague at Milan he occupied himself to the care and cure of its victims but escaped the infection by divine interposition (of course), & he afterwards built a Lazaretto but died of a fever at Milan brought on by abstemiousness & severe labour in the cause of humanity.
The Tomb of one of the Medici family by Michaelangelo is the only other tomb which I thought remarkably striking. The grand altar did not suit me. We ascended to the top of one of the towers & in so doing observed a solitary eagle carved upon one of the most retired Battlements, the only remaining trophy of Buonaparte. One ought not to omit this opportunity of taking an extensive view of the Plain of Lambardy & the Alps, it has quite a novel aspect to an Englishman. The roads are as I have said too flat to afford any extensive views. The Pictures in the Duomo do not equal by much, those in the palace of the Arch-bishop hard by. The following are what pleased me, but I am verry far from pretending to set up my judgement in setting them down, I only do so (& I make this assertion once for all) to assist my own wretched memory. [blank]
The pictures in the Brera academy form a most noble collection for study. I suppose no academy in Italy is now more compleat [sic] in good works of the best masters; the following are my favourites. There is also a very respectable display of modern talent I think, especially in Landscape. [blank]
The celebrated last supper of Leonardo da Vinci in an old ruined Convent a little way out of the town of course claimed & had my best attention but it was so terribly defaced by time, moisture and french ratchet players that I was not connoisseur enough to derive either great pleasure or instruction from it. Francis the first saw this work in 1515 &, not being able to transport the picture (after many attempts) to France, could not be contented without the painter at his court. How could it happen that french ratchet players could be suffered in 180[blank] to degrade their age eternally by mutilating the best work of the best Master. Leonardo was a gentleman and a scholar in the strictest sense of the word, who can forbear to envy such a man? There is an annual exhibition of models, machines, manufactures &c something like that of our Society of Arts &c in the Adelphi but they exhibit very great inferiority to us in these matters.
The title of Professor is of no difficult attainment but the pay rather more &c. A shoe maker who invented a method of stitching with wire instead of thread obtained the rank this year. The Library of the Brera contains invaluable things.
Monday Octr 11 [sic]
"The Apothecary is hammering away at Italian with my books. He has got the Padrone of the House to teach him to read & I am obliged to put up with his marching into my room now and then with a Turkey-cock strut and hear him gobble out a few mouthfuls of wretched stuff which the Signr Padrone, who is also a Cook, has crammed into him"
I should be very well lodged here if it were not for a tinman who hammers me up at 7 o clock every morning. He makes such an abominable din with his pots that I can't even lay in bed without sleeping, you will say this is all the better. My room is at least 25 feet long and 20 wide, it is well furnished with muslin Curtains and White bed and the Pillow cases trimmed with lace and very clean, and I pay only 1 lire Milanese per night (about seven pence english), but the staircase is not of the best sort, I am obliged to be very cautious in going up and down it. The Apothecary is hammering away at Italian with my books. He has got the Padrone of the House to teach him to read & I am obliged to put up with his marching into my room now and then with a Turkey-cock strut and hear him gobble out a few mouthfuls of wretched stuff which the Signr Padrone, who is also a Cook, has crammed into him.
Wednesday Octr 13 [sic]
I have been employed these 2 or 3 last days in looking after my Books, therefore I have not had time to see anything more of the Place. I fear I shall not see Signr Volta, he is at Pisa which is a great deal out of my way. The Cathedral contains a great many objects worth seeing such as Pictures which were not in their places when I went there before, but are now being put up, I fear I have been too hasty in forming an opinion of this magnificent building.
Milan Fryday Octr 16
The thermometer stands at 60
I hope I shall finish this letter in better humour than I begin it for I find myself no better in health than when I arrived here and I experience very great difficulty in getting good wholesome food for an invalid, the meat of all kinds is bad, the Cooking bad, and the attendance bad when compared with those of London & even Paris. Then I find the people I associate with not at all à mon goût. The Student (or whatever he may call himself) altho' he cares more about his stomach and his old coins than anything else (he is compiling a description of some ancient medals to elucidate the history of certain noble families) is however somewhat anxious to learn to speak English so he is frequently boring me and won't be satisfied without ample explanations of what he don't understand &c. And my other Companion the Apothecary being very anxious to learn some italian and to make his enquiries about everything that comes in his way (he has come to Italy determined to admire everything he sees) finds my company rather more agreeable than I find his, so that in fact I find myself a kind of usefull body to both, which I should be glad to be if I did not know that they are determined not to take a hint. Tomorrow I intend to turn over a new leaf. I will see if my letter of introduction will produce anything but money and I'll try to get a nice plump fowl roasted or boiled, this is not a matter of either so easy accomplishment or of so small importance as it may appear to you. O' for a nice basin of ArrowRoot or a Mutton Chop with the gravy in it and a hot mealy potatoe [sic].
"I have been today to Monza about 10 miles off where I saw the famous Iron crown which is made out of the nails which nailed our savior to the cross you know"
"Who is there that would not point out some faults even in the Venus [de' Medici] if he dared. I think her at present... much too cold, there is no love, no luxuriance... but this may be because I am too hot"
I have been today to Monza about 10 miles off where I saw the famous Iron crown which is made out of the nails which nailed our savior to the cross you know, which crowned the Kings of Lombardy & with which Buonaparte crowned himself (snatching it from the hands of the [blank] at the Ceremony), and some of the thorns which ran into our savior's head, and a piece of the sponge which carried the vinegar to his mouth. They shewed us in the treasury of the church, also many other holy things, amongst the rest a Piece of the mother of God's chemise stitched in a superb silver frame. I had the honour to accompany a pretty little princess round the Church too, she had very fine large black eyes and was very petite and modest and genteel and all that, but I did not fall in love - no.
I have as soon as I get in order to analyse in a regular, scientific and cool way Italian beauty. I shall begin with the frappante, then will come tournure, then the air touchante and then the brilliante, these four heads will form the first part of the Subject, then come the minor graces & then the Features, the fine, the delicate, the insignificant, the sn---. Complexion comes last. The subdivisions will comprise a great variety of points which must all be examined with the greatest care and painfull [sic] research. My friend old Coins has a much easier task to perform for he can peep into little corners and crannies with his magnifier in order to discover hidden beauties and defects, but I have no such convenient instrument, time and experience can only afford me assistance. I must in some measure grope in the dark as it were and after all leave much to conjecture. Besides my notions on such a subject are as yet quite un-italianized, they are too northern and crude and I have a host of "grave authorities" to contend with who talk about the venus de Medici's and the received notions of Beauty, I am afraid I shall be so bold as to deny that any such notions are received. There are perhaps some certain things about which all Nations and sexes are agreed but these are points which constitute only a part of the complex Idea of Beauty. They are like the aqua pura of the medicine or the Pottage of a French dinner, solvents or foundations of various strange hodgepodges. Who is there that would not point out some faults even in the Venus if he dared. I think her at present (mind I will not commit myself) much too cold, there is no love, no luxuriance (& I am not quite singular I believe in this complaint) but this may be because I am too hot. When I have seen the thing itself "the statue that enchants the world" perhaps I shall be like the rest of the world.
We occupied another morning in a visit to an old pallace (but latterly an hospital) about 2 miles from Milan mentioned by Addison in his "Remarks on Italy" & by father Bartolin in his "Treatise on Sounds". There appears nothing peculiar in the construction of the Building. The part where the extraordinary Echo takes place consists of its three high dark and blank walls which form an open courtyard. I placed myself at a small window in one of the two walls opposite to each other and fired a pistol many times but could never count more than 50 repetitions (Addison counted 56 I think). The sound of laughter is [the] most ridiculous thing imaginable & perfectly irresistible. One Ha as Addison says makes a great laugh. The best explanation of the Phenomenon may perhaps be the most simple, it may perhaps be an extraordinary instance of the Common reflection of Sound produced by the extraordinary magnitude, hardness & dryness of these walls & by their not being pierced with any other aperture except that from whence the report issues. The distance of the walls from each other is about 80 yards I think.
Tuesday Octr 20th
I have just returned from an Opera which I have seen at least 8 times, the Barone di Dolsheim, and I am not tired of it yet altho' I believe there is nothing very particularly fine either in the music or the musicians and actors. I suppose I am learning to lounge like all the rest of the folks here who go night after night to see the same Opera repeated sometimes 20 or 30 nights. In order that I may not despise myself I say I can't find out the beauties of good music without usage. An Englishman accustomed at all to our Opera must ever be terribly shocked & disgusted here. If your toe be trod upon you get no bow. You get nothing in the pit but music & nothing after a few first nights in the Boxes but gaping stale compliments or cards, but then your entertainment is cheap. Perhaps this is one reason why every body in Italy is more or less musical, another reason may be perhaps that having nothing tolerable in the drama the public attention is absorbed in Music.
"It is at the Theatre alla Scala at Milan that you see all the beauty & fashion but I could not discover a great deal of either"
The Ballet is quite unique to an Englishman. Attitude is indeed everything here, they have 2 or 3 good french dancers & some improving élèves of the academy but the principal effect is produced by the heavy horse. The object of the Ballet master seems to be to present every moment some new picture by putting his puppets through every species of attitude & variety in grouping. Unity of action is compleatly caricature, for instance two or three dozen of astonishers (all in one precise attitude), a competent number of astonished, a given quantum of terror, a corresponding portion of terrified &c &c &c compose one of the changes, & when the box is rattled again & the bustle & confusion has subsided (which takes about half a minute) another picture is presented. An Italian Ballo always puts me in mind of a Kaleidoscope. The dresses and decorations are classical & good but I think that the best performer on the stage is the Scene painter whose predecessor was honoured with a monument & a handsome epitaph in the Brera. Is not scenic illusion worthy of first rate talent as well as music? It is at the Theatre alla Scala at Milan that you see all the beauty & fashion but I could not discover a great deal of either. The promenade of the Terrace near the Forum is sometimes well attended but there appeared to me a vulgar Stiffness which places the Ton of Milan far below that of Paris & infinitely below that of London. The Dandies seemed to carry their coats to shew to the Ladies & these seemed to display their Bonnets with almost as much complacency as their Faces, but then the former were prettier than the latter.
This forum is a very grand thing. The Arch of Napoleon remains in the state in which he left it, I suppose this is the greatest rival of antiquity that modern times can boast. Where shall we look for its equal?
I presented my letter of Introduction to day and secured money (to carry me on to Naples for I shall stay some time at Florence and Rome perhaps) but no civility. I wish I had taken some of Hammersley's notes instead, they would have been much more usefull. We (that is to say myself, the Apothecary and Coins) leave this on Thursday and I shall take special care not to have to Apothecary for a near neighbour at Florence. He is ever saying good things, ever exclaiming ma che clima! ma che musica! ma che piacere! & in spite of every thing will eternally undertake the task of imparting to my dull unscientific ear a portion of his exquisites by whistling or humming over whatever has tickled his fancy at the theatre. I begin to hate him a little, he is but a sort of Omelette Soufflé at best. Coins improves on fourth acquaintance rather more the he (the Apothy) falls off I think, for altho' he is not so good a fellow he is more entertaining and more serious & he is frank. He says he shall be happy to continue with me as long as it suits his convenience & I tell him I shall be happy in his company as long as I find it usefull to me, which having studied at the university here he is very able & willing to do by introductions &c &c. On this footing we go about together senza ceremonia & with more mutual satisfaction perhaps then we should separately.
Pavia Saturday Octr 24st
"The Climate of Pavia must I suppose be very bad for the people seem to be obliged to drink a great deal of punch to keep off the vapours"
We arrived here yesterday by the Boat which goes down the new canal from Milan. The country appeared rich but not affording fine views like most other rich countries. The Climate of Pavia must I suppose be very bad for the people seem to be obliged to drink a great deal of punch to keep off the vapours, it is dirty, mean, & irregular & contains I think nothing very interesting except the University which I suppose fully maintains its ancient reputation. I introduced myself to the Professor of Natural Philosophy Sigr Configliachi & was never more kindly or flatteringly received. I am to see him again on Monday, his intimate friend Brugnatelli the Profr of Chemistry died in his Arms only a few hours ago. It was very interesting to me to see the collection of original apparatus with which Volta made his very important Discoveries but I was much disappointed in not having an opportunity of conversing with this Princeps in re electrica himself who was at his seat at Como. The Library is more richly stocked with really usefull books than any other in Italy I suppose but contains few curiosities.
Sunday Octr 25
Surely this must be an amiable set of people, they have all been praying poor Brugnatelli's soul out of purgatory ever since he died yesterday and the whole town came back from his funeral with faces of real grief for his loss. He was the first Professor and a very amiable man & editor of the Giornale di Fisica. I have been with Confligliachi again to day who, notwithstanding his grief, received me with great attention and gave me some very usefull information and a little flattery, which I swallowed as much of as I could for I don't often get a bonne bouche of this kind as you know.
I had a high treat at the Certosa about 3 miles from Pavia, it is a proud relic of monkish luxury & magnificence. Has the influence of Christian Dogma's upon the Arts been fairly computed. How much have they done towards cherishing them? & how much towards deteriorating correct style.
Tomorrow morning at 5 we start for Cremona. The Ladies souls here are not "encompassed in Angels' frames" and the men I think have a less robust appearance than in the other towns I came through, which is perhaps owing to the cold fogs they frequently have. By the by I feel myself a little chilly and Rheumatic and there stands a fine Basket of Wood, why should I not have a fire? I will have a fire and air my linen, the Rheumatism must not get a head you know if I can help it. Now for a Volume of Shakespeare and a Glass of Punch (they make prime punch here), I will take a stride back to England for an hour or two. We start at 5 in the morning so good bye untill we arrive at Bologna or till I have opportunity and inclination to write again. Here's all your good healths.
Bologna Sunday Novr 1
"The armoury and Chapel and all the rest of the Castello were very magnificent but there were no fine smart fellows with crimson breeches and white stockings to open the doors for us"
We came here on Friday eveg by the way of Cremona, Bozzolo, Mantua & Modena. Cremona, no longer famous for Fiddles or Fiddlers, possesses a reported good painting of Pordenone in the Cathedral viz a Crucifixion & 2 or 3 others. Grand effect & the magic of chiaroscuro are seldom I think united with so much truth and chastity as in Pordenone's works. We ascended the great Tower but were scarce repaid for our trouble. The town is gothic and Dirty.
The former part of this route is not much frequented by the English, but we came by it to accommodate Coins who took us with him on a Visit to a Marquis who lives by himself in a Villa or Castello at a short distance from Cremona. It amused me very much for it had all the apparatus and much of the appearance of a castle of Udolpho or such like castle. But the Marquis whom we met in his garden is a Sn--- little old [?] without teeth, he don't [missing] for taste however, for he has collected and arranged very prettily in his garden à l'anglaise as he calls it some valuable roman antiquities and inscriptions, and has very ingeniously continued to assemble a great many very beautifull points of view in it - and from it. In fact he seemed exactly one of those men whom Forsyth describes the Nobles of the Campagna of Rome to be, his whole life fortune & pride are absorbed in displaying his Taste. The armoury and Chapel and all the rest of the Castello were very magnificent but there were no fine smart fellows with crimson breeches and white stockings to open the doors for us, he shewed it all himself with evident pride and true italian satisfaction. All was as quiet, silent and sombre as the grave except his own little skipping shanks & querulous tongue. We could hardly get Coins away from the Inscriptions. An Antiquarian should be drawn with a pair of quizzing Glasses instead of Spectacles, they are much more characteristic, particularly if he be very long one with high shoulders & wears a very short skirted coat, blue short unmentionables & white stockings.
"I begin to discover that in painting as in every thing else it is extremely difficult to transport one's ideas back to the times & circumstances of the painters, authors &c & hence one is apt to lose the force of fine conceptions by their triteness. A very trite remark."
There is much worth observation at Mantua & much to learn & admire. The T pallace so called from its form took up the greater part of our short time in this place. Giulio Romano designed it, painted it (in fresco) & ornamented it so that it furnishes a unique work & perhaps the best assemblage of his various great talents all most skilfully combined & harmonized. Nicolas Poussin passing judgement upon the Battle of Constantine approved of the harshness of colour for Battle pieces which Giulio always employed no doubt very justly. But does not this style require more distance & space to display itself than can be obtained in these situations, the paintings appear flat & tapestry like. His drawing always pleases me most. I begin to discover that in painting as in every thing else it is extremely difficult to transport one's ideas back to the times & circumstances of the painters, authors &c & hence one is apt to lose the force of fine conceptions by their triteness. A very trite remark.
I never so much regretted leaving any place as Mantua without seeing all the sights. The paintings of Mantegna in the Royal Pallace well attest the truth of a remark of Lomazzo viz that he was a prudent painter but with all his crowding & diligence I think there wants life. The modern[?] monument raised to Virgil appears to me a monument of disgrace to the age. We went to Virgil's farm as is called, a little shabby dwelling a few miles from Mantua. The mode of Culture reminds one of the poet at every step throughout Lombardy, there appears no alteration, but there is nothing else about this farm to awaken one single association with him.
We met with no accident (except that once the spring broke and put a stop to our Italian & English lessons for a short time) and nothing else that I remember worth postage which is not be found in the Itinerary. So now having balanced my account with you up to the present time, good night.
Wednesday Novr 4th
Something peculiar at almost every place I come to arrests my attention & I cannot for my life run over every thing with a guide as I ought to do. Here at Bologna the early painters absorbed almost every other consideration, I gazed at them all day & read about them all night & I have now a very strong inclination to put down a slight sketch of the origin of Painting in Italy derived principally from Vasari & Lanzi. If any of you come into Italy at any future time don't forget to bring this knowledge with you and also a knowledge of the principles of Architecture and the history of sculpture. I set off tomorrow at 4 in the morning (still in company with the Apothecary & Coins) for Florence where I hope to find a letter and will therefore leave a little room to answer it.
Florence Saturday Novr 7
I believe you have had plenty of time to answer my last letter but I find none here, at which I am a little disappointed as I suppose none of you could find time to write to me, and I shall punish you for your neglect my discontinuing my journal untill I get a letter. When any body can find time he or she may direct to me at the Poste Restante Rome. I arrived here yesterday evening and shall stay about 3 Weeks.