October 15th. - We left Radicofani long before sunrise, and I saw that ceremony take place from the coupe of the vettura for the first time in a long while. A sunset is the better sight of the two. I have always suspected it, and have been strengthened in the idea whenever I have had an opportunity of comparison. Our departure from Radicofani was most dreary, except that we were very glad to get away; but, the cold discomfort of dressing in a chill bedroom by candlelight, and our uncertain wandering through the immense hotel with a dim taper in search of the breakfast-room, and our poor breakfast of eggs, Italian bread, and coffee, - all these things made me wish that people were created with roots like trees, so they could not befool themselves with wandering about. However, we had not long been on our way before the morning air blew away all our troubles, and we rumbled cheerfully onward, ready to encounter even the papal custom-house officers at Ponte Centino. Our road thither was a pretty steep descent. I remember the barren landscape of hills, with here and there a lonely farm-house, which there seemed to be no occasion for, where nothing grew.

At Ponte Centino my passport was examined, and I was invited into an office where sat the papal custom-house officer, a thin, subtle-looking, keen-eyed, sallow personage, of aspect very suitable to be the agent of a government of priests. I communicated to him my wish to pass the custom-house without giving the officers the trouble of examining my luggage. He inquired whether I had any dutiable articles, and wrote for my signature a declaration in the negative; and then he lifted a sand-box, beneath which was a little heap of silver coins. On this delicate hint I asked what was the usual fee, and was told that fifteen pauls was the proper sum. I presume it was entirely an illegal charge, and that he had no right to pass any luggage without examination; but the thing is winked at by the authorities, and no money is better spent for the traveller's convenience than these fifteen pauls. There was a papal military officer in the room, and he, I believe, cheated me in the change of a Napoleon, as his share of the spoil. At the door a soldier met me with my passport, and looked as if he expected a fee for handing it to me; but in this he was disappointed. After I had resumed my seat in the coupe, the porter of the custom-house - a poor, sickly-looking creature, half dead with the malaria of the place - appeared, and demanded a fee for doing nothing to my luggage. He got three pauls, and looked but half contented. This whole set of men seem to be as corrupt as official people can possibly be; and yet I hardly know whether to stigmatize them as corrupt, because it is not their individual delinquency, but the operation of a regular system. Their superiors know what men they are, and calculate upon their getting a living by just these means. And, indeed, the custom-house and passport regulations, as they exist in Italy, would be intolerable if there were not this facility of evading them at little cost. Such laws are good for nothing but to be broken.

We now began to ascend again, and the country grew fertile and picturesque. We passed many mules and donkeys, laden with a sort of deep firkin on each side of the saddle, and these were heaped up with grapes, both purple and white. We bought some, and got what we should have thought an abundance at small price, only we used to get twice as many at Montanto for the same money. However, a Roman paul bought us three or four pounds even here. We still ascended, and came soon to the gateway of the town of Acquapendente, which stands on a height that seems to descend by natural terraces to the valley below. . . . .

French soldiers, in their bluish-gray coats and scarlet trousers, were on duty at the gate, and one of them took my passport and the vetturino's, and we then drove into the town to wait till they should be vised. We saw but one street, narrow, with tall, rusty, aged houses, built of stone, evil smelling; in short, a kind of place that would be intolerably dismal in cloudy England, and cannot be called cheerful even under the sun of Italy. . . . . Priests passed, and burly friars, one of whom was carrying a wine-barrel on his head. Little carts, laden with firkins of grapes, and donkeys with the same genial burden, brushed passed our vettura, finding scarce room enough in the narrow street. All the idlers of Acquapendente - and they were many - assembled to gaze at us, but not discourteously. Indeed, I never saw an idle curiosity exercised in such a pleasant way as by the country-people of Italy. It almost deserves to be called a kindly interest and sympathy, instead of a hard and cold curiosity, like that of our own people, and it is displayed with such simplicity that it is evident no offence is intended.

By and by the vetturino brought his passport and my own, with the official vise, and we kept on our way, still ascending, passing through vineyards and olives, and meeting grape-laden donkeys, till we came to the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo, a place built by Pius VI. as the refuge for the people of a lower town which had been made uninhabitable by malaria. The new town, which I suppose is hundreds of years old, with all its novelty shows strikingly the difference between places that grow up and shape out their streets of their own accord, as it were, and one that is built on a settled plan of malice aforethought. This little rural village has gates of classic architecture, a spacious piazza, and a great breadth of straight and rectangular streets, with houses of uniform style, airy and wholesome looking to a degree seldom seen on the Continent. Nevertheless, I must say that the town looked hatefully dull and ridiculously prim, and, of the two, I had rather spend my life in Radicofani. We drove through it, from gate to gate, without stopping, and soon came to the brow of a hill, whence we beheld, right beneath us, the beautiful lake of Bolsena; not exactly at our feet, however, for a portion of level ground lay between, haunted by the pestilence which has depopulated all these shores, and made the lake and its neighborhood a solitude. It looked very beautiful, nevertheless, with a sheen of a silver mid a gray like that of steel as the wind blew and the sun shone over it; and, judging by my own feelings, I should really have thought that the breeze from its surface was bracing and healthy.

Descending the hill, we passed the ruins of the old town of San Lorenzo, of which the prim village on the hill-top may be considered the daughter. There is certainly no resemblance between parent and child, the former being situated on a sort of precipitous bluff, where there could have been no room for piazzas and spacious streets, nor accessibility except by mules, donkeys, goats, and people of Alpine habits. There was an ivy-covered tower on the top of the bluff, and some arched cavern mouths that looked as if they opened into the great darkness. These were the entrances to Etruscan tombs, for the town on top had been originally Etruscan, and the inhabitants had buried themselves in the heart of the precipitous bluffs after spending their lives on its summit.

Reaching the plain, we drove several miles along the shore of the lake, and found the soil fertile and generally well cultivated, especially with the vine, though there were tracks apparently too marshy to be put to any agricultural purpose. We met now and then a flock of sheep, watched by sallow-looking and spiritless men and boys, who, we took it for granted, would soon perish of malaria, though, I presume, they never spend their nights in the immediate vicinity of the lake. I should like to inquire whether animals suffer from the bad qualities of the air. The lake is not nearly so beautiful on a nearer view as it is from the hill above, there being no rocky margin, nor bright, sandy beach, but everywhere this interval of level ground, and often swampy marsh, betwixt the water and the hill. At a considerable distance from the shore we saw two islands, one of which is memorable as having been the scene of an empress's murder, but I cannot stop to fill my journal with historical reminiscences.

We kept onward to the town of Bolsena, which stands nearly a mile from the lake, and on a site higher than the level margin, yet not so much so, I should apprehend, as to free it from danger of malaria. We stopped at an albergo outside of the wall of the town, and before dinner had time to see a good deal of the neighborhood. The first aspect of the town was very striking, with a vista into its street through the open gateway, and high above it an old, gray, square-built castle, with three towers visible at the angles, one of them battlemented, one taller than the rest, and one partially ruined. Outside of the town-gate there were some fragments of Etruscan ruin, capitals of pillars and altars with inscriptions; these we glanced at, and then made our entrance through the gate.

There it was again, - the same narrow, dirty, time-darkened street of piled-up houses which we have so often seen; the same swarm of ill-to-do people, grape-laden donkeys, little stands or shops of roasted chestnuts, peaches, tomatoes, white and purple figs; the same evidence of a fertile land, and grimy poverty in the midst of abundance which nature tries to heap into their hands. It seems strange that they can never grasp it.

We had gone but a little way along this street, when we saw a narrow lane that turned aside from it and went steeply upward. Its name was on the corner, - the Via di Castello, - and as the castle promised to be more interesting than anything else, we immediately began to ascend. The street - a strange name for such an avenue - clambered upward in the oddest fashion, passing under arches, scrambling up steps, so that it was more like a long irregular pair of stairs than anything that Christians call a street; and so large a part of it was under arches that we scarcely seemed to be out of doors. At last U - - , who was in advance, emerged into the upper air, and cried out that we had ascended to an upper town, and a larger one than that beneath.

It really seemed like coming up out of the earth into the midst of the town, when we found ourselves so unexpectedly in upper Bolsena. We were in a little nook, surrounded by old edifices, and called the Piazza del Orologio, on account of a clock that was apparent somewhere. The castle was close by, and from its platform there was a splendid view of the lake and all the near hill-country. The castle itself is still in good condition, and apparently as strong as ever it was as respects the exterior walls; but within there seemed to be neither floor nor chamber, nothing but the empty shell of the dateless old fortress. The stones at the base and lower part of the building were so massive that I should think the Etrurians must have laid them; and then perhaps the Romans built a little higher, and the mediaeval people raised the battlements and towers. But we did not look long at the castle, our attention being drawn to the singular aspect of the town itself, which - to speak first of its most prominent characteristic - is the very filthiest place, I do believe, that was ever inhabited by man. Defilement was everywhere; in the piazza, in nooks and corners, strewing the miserable lanes from side to side, the refuse of every day, and of accumulated ages. I wonder whether the ancient Romans were as dirty a people as we everywhere find those who have succeeded them; for there seems to have been something in the places that have been inhabited by Romans, or made famous in their history, and in the monuments of every kind that they have raised, that puts people in mind of their very earthliness, and incites them to defile therewith whatever temple, column, ruined palace, or triumphal arch may fall in their way. I think it must be an hereditary trait, probably weakened and robbed of a little of its horror by the influence of milder ages; and I am much afraid that Caesar trod narrower and fouler ways in his path to power than those of modern Rome, or even of this disgusting town of Bolsena. I cannot imagine anything worse than these, however. Rotten vegetables thrown everywhere about, musty straw, standing puddles, running rivulets of dissolved nastiness, - these matters were a relief amid viler objects. The town was full of great black hogs wallowing before every door, and they grunted at us with a kind of courtesy and affability as if the town were theirs, and it was their part to be hospitable to strangers. Many donkeys likewise accosted us with braying; children, growing more uncleanly every day they lived, pestered us with begging; men stared askance at us as they lounged in corners, and women endangered us with slops which they were flinging from doorways into the street. No decent words can describe, no admissible image can give an idea of this noisome place. And yet, I remember, the donkeys came up the height loaded with fruit, and with little flat-sided barrels of wine; the people had a good atmosphere - except as they polluted it themselves - on their high site, and there seemed to be no reason why they should not live a beautiful and jolly life.

I did not mean to write such an ugly description as the above, but it is well, once for all, to have attempted conveying an idea of what disgusts the traveller, more or less, in all these Italian towns. Setting aside this grand characteristic, the upper town of Bolsena is a most curious and interesting place. It was originally an Etruscan city, the ancient Volsinii, and when taken and destroyed by the Romans was said to contain two thousand statues. Afterwards the Romans built a town upon the site, including, I suppose, the space occupied by the lower city, which looks as if it had brimmed over like Radicofani, and fallen from the precipitous height occupied by the upper. The latter is a strange confusion of black and ugly houses, piled massively out of the ruins of former ages, built rudely and without plan, as a pauper would build his hovel, and yet with here and there an arched gateway, a cornice, a pillar, that might have adorned a palace. . . . . The streets are the narrowest I have seen anywhere, - of no more width, indeed, than may suffice for the passage of a donkey with his panniers. They wind in and out in strange confusion, and hardly look like streets at all, but, nevertheless, have names printed on the corners, just as if they were stately avenues. After looking about us awhile and drawing half-breaths so as to take in the less quantity of gaseous pollution, we went back to the castle, and descended by a path winding downward from it into the plain outside of the town-gate.

It was now dinner-time, . . . . and we had, in the first place, some fish from the pestiferous lake; not, I am sorry to say, the famous stewed eels which, Dante says, killed Pope Martin, but some trout. . . . . By the by, the meal was not dinner, but our midday colazione. After despatching it, we again wandered forth and strolled round the outside of the lower town, which, with the upper one, made as picturesque a combination as could be desired. The old wall that surrounds the lower town has been appropriated, long since, as the back wall of a range of houses; windows have been pierced through it; upper chambers and loggie have been built upon it; so that it looks something like a long row of rural dwellings with one continuous front or back, constructed in a strange style of massive strength, contrasting with the vines that here and there are trained over it, and with the wreaths of yellow corn that hang from the windows. But portions of the old battlements are interspersed with the line of homely chambers and tiled house-tops. Within the wall the town is very compact, and above its roofs rises a rock, the sheer, precipitous bluff on which stands the upper town, whose foundations impend over the highest roof in the lower. At one end is the old castle, with its towers rising above the square battlemented mass of the main fortress; and if we had not seen the dirt and squalor that dwells within this venerable outside, we should have carried away a picture of gray, grim dignity, presented by a long past age to the present one, to put its mean ways and modes to shame. - - - sat diligently sketching, and children came about her, exceedingly unfragrant, but very courteous and gentle, looking over her shoulders, and expressing delight as they saw each familiar edifice take its place in the sketch. They are a lovable people, these Italians, as I find from almost all with whom we come in contact; they have great and little faults, and no great virtues that I know of; but still are sweet, amiable, pleasant to encounter, save when they beg, or when you have to bargain with them.

We left Bolsena and drove to Viterbo, passing the gate of the picturesque town of Montefiascone, over the wall of which I saw spires and towers, and the dome of a cathedral. I was sorry not to taste, in its own town, the celebrated est, which was the death-draught of the jolly prelate. At Viterbo, however, I called for some wine of Montefiascone, and had a little straw-covered flask, which the waiter assured us was the genuine est-wine. It was of golden color, and very delicate, somewhat resembling still champagne, but finer, and requiring a calmer pause to appreciate its subtle delight. Its good qualities, however, are so evanescent, that the finer flavor became almost imperceptible before we finished the flask.

Viterbo is a large, disagreeable town, built at the foot of a mountain, the peak of which is seen through the vista of some of the narrow streets.

There are more fountains in Viterbo than I have seen in any other city of its size, and many of them of very good design. Around most of them there were wine-hogsheads, waiting their turn to be cleansed and rinsed, before receiving the wine of the present vintage. Passing a doorway, J - - -saw some men treading out the grapes in a great vat with their naked feet.

Among the beggars here, the loudest and most vociferous was a crippled postilion, wearing his uniform jacket, green, faced with red; and he seemed to consider himself entitled still to get his living from travellers, as having been disabled in the way of his profession. I recognized his claim, and was rewarded with a courteous and grateful bow at our departure. . . . . To beggars - after my much experience both in England and Italy - I give very little, though I am not certain that it would not often be real beneficence in the latter country. There being little or no provision for poverty and age, the poor must often suffer. Nothing can be more earnest than their entreaties for aid; nothing seemingly more genuine than their gratitude when they receive it.

They return you the value of their alms in prayers, and say, "God will accompany you." Many of them have a professional whine, and a certain doleful twist of the neck and turn of the head, which hardens my heart against them at once. A painter might find numerous models among them, if canvas had not already been more than sufficiently covered with their style of the picturesque. There is a certain brick-dust colored cloak worn in Viterbo, not exclusively by beggars, which, when ragged enough, is exceedingly artistic.