The New York Times, June 11, 1867, p. 2:|
THE CITY OF ROME.
Horrible Condition of the Streets--The Houses--
From Our Own Correspondent.
Rome, Saturday, May 18, 1867.
Rome is vile. The goats sleep in it o'nights. You will hardly believe it, but it is the uncolored truth that the streets of the Eternal City, not even excepting the Corso, serve as a stable for thousands of goats that are driven in from the country. They come in late at night, gradually penetrating to the most public streets, (the streets of Rome are deserted early,) which they also leave earliest in the morning to avoid the stir. They do not leave the quietest alleys until 9 or 10 o'clock. Night and morning you will meet them in long droves.
Meantime, think of the streets where they slept! Goats eat grass, you know, and a great deal of it. The title of a little pamphlet written by a witty Frenchman ought to be changed from "Les odeurs de Rome" to "Les ordures de Rome."
I will probably give you no news when I tell you that the latest interpretation put on the famous letters S.P.Q.R. is Sentina populi quondam Romani. It is rather hard on Rome, but it is only the truth.
By the way, these letters S.P.Q.R. don't mean quite as much as they once did, even if it was under a Nero or a Domitian. You shall see them on the scavenger-drays of the city, on occasional handbills painted on the walls, on a police notice on the Giomali 'di Roma, and lastly, over the door of the dingy sty on the Capitol Hill, where that body meets.
Everywhere, on everything, are the flaming capitals "PIUS IX., P. M." It is disgusting to see the industry with which the Papal agents have sought out places to post them. Piux IX. has not yet reigned a quarter of a century, but I venture the assertion, without hesitation, that he has put up more marble tablets with that inscription than all the other Popes put together. Not a bridge that he has repaired, or a stairway he has mended, or a gas lantern he has set up, but has the inevitable inscription. S.P.Q.R. is the smallest person in Rome. As if it was not enough to inscribe it in marble, on works he has built or remodeled, you shall see hundreds of placards along the Corso and other principal streets, with the simple words "Viv Pio Nono!"
All this avails nothing. Italians are quite indifferent for his Holiness, and would look upon his flight with little concern. A distintuished Italian lately said, "The Italian people speak of Christ, of the Madonna, of the saints, and of the priests, but never of God or of the Pope." It is true. As a simple peasant, whom I met on the Via Appia, said to me when I questioned him closely as to the need he had of a Pope at all, " I don't need a Pope." Yet he seemed a little alarmed as soon as he had said it, for fear he had said something wicked.
After having been a few days in Florence the contrast of Rome becomes dismally apparent. Florence life, when looked at from this standpoint, from the vicinity of these great old sombre ruins, and from out these narrow, dark streets, almost shut in from the sun by great palace-like houses, is the livliest and most admirable imaginable. The very dogs here suffer from ennui, and even, if possible, worse than they do in Aix la Chapelle. Poor curs, it's no wonder, for they are down in the midst of the stenches, which are more numerous than those of Cologne, which Coleridge said numbered seventy, each a separate, particular and cotemporaneous smell.
It never occurs to a stupid Quirite, though, to scatter them in the way Heine said the dogs of Aix la Chapelle like to be scattered. There is not one dog in Rome to ten in Munich or Vienna, but they are infinitely more in the way. A German thinks more of his dog than of his family, but the Italians persecute them. They have been lately excluded by police order from all churches and other places of public resort.
As for newspapers here, you have the Giornale di Roma, which every day advertises for the benefit of sinners the places where are to be had at the cheapest rates spare seats in Paradise, or, at least, a cool corner in purgatory, (the caloric to be regulated by the amount of lire paid down;) then there is the Osservatore Romans, a world-reknowned publication of wits which Frederick Barbarossa read in the time of Innocent III., and which caused him many a headache; lastly, there is the Unita Catholica, which does the heavy Church work and publishes "electric dispatches" from Paris.
Occasionally you will have presented to your view in the cafés a copy of the Journal des Débats or L'Italie, but only for a second, as it is rented by the minute, and the waiter adds a baiocco to your bill if you see it too long.
In short, one learns more of the transactions of Rome up in Florence or even in Munich than here within the walls. As for newsboys, or newspaper depots, or any other such sinful institution--God forfend!
The houses of Rome have just such great doors as those in Florence, and the same ponderous bars and bolts, but people shut themselves up earlier at night. While they are yet in the full enjoyment of the glorious fresh air along the Lungarno, here in Rome the Corso is nearly deserted. From 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon till dark it is crowded with splendid equipages and gazing strollers, and in a very short time the whole is silent. If a thief and a gendarme still wanders up and down, he keeps close alongside the great walls, and honest men, if out so late, hurry along in the middle of the street.
Who comes to Rome without seeing the Pope? I met him the other day on the Via Angelica, a pleasant, shady street that runs out north under the walls of the Vatican, where he had gone, as is his wont, to take an evening drive. He generally drives out between 5 and 6 o'clock, goes out a few hundred rods and then dismounts and walks. I saw him walk over a mile, and then he disappeared from sight still walking, while his carriage followed slowly on behind. He walks with a totter peculiar to old age and with a considerable stoop, and yet with not a little rapidity and energy. I am bound to say Pius IX. has the pleasantest face I have seen in Europe; his good nature amounts to a weakness, and his hesitation is said to give his councilors much trouble.
What do you see in the streets of Rome? Priests and soldiers. The uniforms of Rome are so numerous and so variegated that the Corso on a pleasant evening looks like a poppy field or a bed of hyacinths in full bloom.
How many distinct military uniforms do you think I have counted? Fifteen. First and most frequent is the Zouave in gray, with bright red galloons along his pants, on the borders of his jacket and on his cap. He wears a wide red belt and white leggings. Many of these are Dutch, but they understand your German quite well. A Colonel's uniform is purple instead of gray, boots instead of leggings, and very large, fanciful braid-work in yellow on the sleeves of his jacket. The fusileers or common infantrymen wear blue, green feathers in their caps and yellow epaulets trimmed with green fringe, and are the smallest men in the Pope's army. There is scarcely a man of them whose chin does not rest conveniently on the muzzle of his musket at "parade rest." A good many of these are Swiss. I talked with one of them who was on guard in the Coliseum, and found he had the proverbial Swiss homesickness in an aggravated degree.
At any rate the Papal troops do not have a luxurious time of it. These infantry get five soldi (not quite five cents) a day, and rations consisting of soup, black bread and a piece of salt meat as large as one's hand. This is better pay than some German troops get--as, for instance, the Bavarians get only 4 2/3 cents a day, but better rations. Like most soldiers in Europe, those of the Pope are paid every few days, and, of course, not only send nothing home, but often have to send home for money...
The most picturesque uniform of all is that of the Swiss Guard in the Vatican, to wit: Zouave dress composed of numerous narrow stripes of black, yellow and red, and a tall helmet with white horse-tails. They carry long lances which are furnished with cross-blades, sharp and pointed at one end and crescent-shaped at the other. How about the propriety of the head of the Church arming so many of the defenders of the faith in a heathen (Zouave) uniform?
The pompieri (pumpers) or firemen are always on duty and are a body distinct from the gendarmes or police. They wear sky-blue pants, dark-blue jackets, a sword and a skull-cap with a curious brass plate of the same diameter as the cap, hanging half over on one side. The gendarmes are dressed like those of the Kingdom of Italy--light-blue pants, blue swallow-tail coat with abundance of silver braid, and a cocked hat with two points reaching far out on the sides. These are about the only Italians in the Pope's service.
An Italian soldier laces worse than a Fifth-avenue belle and, with his wide, flowing pants and pointed hat or huge bear-skin cap on parade presents a most singular, insect-like appearance.
My space and your patience would fail if I should attempt to describe the dress of the Legion of Antibes, the body-guard, the noble guard, the dragoons, the Swiss cuirassiers, the artillerists and the numerous officers, drummers and musicians that make up the rest.
As for the priests, what more is needed that the fact that in the Papal State there is one religious person (priests, monks, nuns, &c.) to every 33 inhabitants? The average for the whole of Italy is one for 174; for Austria, one for 498; Spain, one for 301. And yet the priests of Rome appear to be doing a good business, for they drive better turnouts than our American shoddies, which is unnecessary.
The inscription, "Indulgentia plesaria quotidiania perpetua pro vivis et mortius," that you see on nearly every church in Rome, is not without its fruits. Look at these salaries: The Archbishop of Tuscany, 28,000 scudi ($23,000) a year in specie, Bishop of Lorento, 3,500 a year; Pater Generalis of the "Shoeless Carmelites," 3,000 a year; Bishop of Sutri and Nepi, 3,000 a year, &c., &c. These are published in the Giornale di Roma and are authentic.
Do you know what I was tempted to do when a priest came to me yesterday in St. Peters and asked me to assist him in buying a new hat? I have thought more calmly of it since, and I would now give a pair of good silver scudi for the fellow's photograph as a model of impudence. And yet the infamously hypocritical organ of the Pope whines about the negligence of the Florence Parliament in providing measures to secure the priests reimbursement for the seizure of the monastaries. A touching solicitude!
Why, Rome to-day mints specie for all Italy. So much silver is sent to the Pope as "love gifts," that he actually strikes off more coin than Victor Emmanuel, and it flows out all over the Peninsula. You can scarcely find a silver coin in Rome older than 1866, and most of it is 1867. Poor Italy is three thousand millions in debt, and yet these sleek, fat priests are like the daughters of the horse-leech, that never have enough.
God speed ye, Garibaldi, in your war with the priests! The "Roman Question" is as simple in its elements as was the question between Hercules and the hydra. Every cowled head that is counted out counts in a day in the acceleration of Italy's salvation.
The New York Times, September 22, 1876, p.5:|
THE KINGDOM OF ITALY.THE COUNTRY AROUND ROME.
AMONG THE ALBAN HILLS--
PURE AIR AND BEAUTIFUL PROSPECTS--
GREAT CONTRAST BETWEEN TOWN AND COUNTRY--
THE BRIGANDAGE OF THE PAST--
COMMON LABORERS AND THEIR CONDITION--
CRIME IN ITALY--THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
From Our Own Correspondent.
ALBANO, Monday, Sept. 4, 1876.
If any one ranging about among these Alban hills wishes to find a picturesque and very pleasant lookout, he will be sure to stumble upon it here. Albano is the most civilized and habitable of all the towns of the region, and comfortable hotels and lodging-houses offer to visitors in the Summer, or at any season, such accomodations as may be reasonably looked for at no greater distance than this from a considerable capital city.
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