May 26th. - At six o'clock this morning, we packed ourselves into our vettura, my wife and I occupying the coupe, and drove out of the city gate of Terni. There are some old towers near it, ruins of I know not what, and care as little, in the plethora of antiquities and other interesting objects. Through the arched gateway, as we approached, we had a view of one of the great hills that surround the town, looking partly bright in the early sunshine, and partly catching the shadows of the clouds that floated about the sky. Our way was now through the Vale of Terni, as I believe it is called, where we saw somewhat of the fertility of Italy: vines trained on poles, or twining round mulberry and other trees, ranged regularly like orchards; groves of olives and fields of grain. There are interminable shrines in all sorts of situations; some under arched niches, or little penthouses, with a brick-tiled roof, just large enough to cover them; or perhaps in some bit of old Roman masonry, on the wall of a wayside inn, or in a shallow cavity of the natural rock, or high upward in the deep cuts of the road; everywhere, in short, so that nobody need be at a loss when he feels the religious sentiment stir within him. Our way soon began to wind among the hills, which rose steep and lofty from the scanty, level space that lay between; they continually thrust themselves across the passage, and appeared as if determined to shut us completely in. A great hill would put its foot right before us; but, at the last moment, would grudgingly withdraw it, and allow us just room enough to creep by. Adown their sides we discerned the dry beds of mountain torrents, which had lived too fierce a life to let it be a long one. On here and there a hillside or promontory we saw a ruined castle or a convent, looking from its commanding height upon the road, which very likely some robber-knight had formerly infested with his banditti, retreating with his booty to the security of such strongholds. We came, once in a while, to wretched villages, where there was no token of prosperity or comfort; but perhaps there may have been more than we could appreciate, for the Italians do not seem to have any of that sort of pride which we find in New England villages, where every man, according to his taste and means, endeavors to make his homestead an ornament to the place. We miss nothing in Italy more than the neat doorsteps and pleasant porches and thresholds and delightful lawns or grass-plots, which hospitably invite the imagination into a sweet domestic interior. Everything, however sunny and luxuriant may be the scene around, is especially dreary and disheartening in the immediate vicinity of an Italian home.

At Strettura (which, as the name indicates, is a very narrow part of the valley) we added two oxen to our horses, and began to ascend the Monte Somma, which, according to Murray, is nearly four thousand feet high where we crossed it. When we came to the steepest part of the ascent, Gaetano, who exercises a pretty decided control over his passengers, allowed us to walk; and we all, with one exception, alighted, and began to climb the mountain on foot. I walked on briskly, and soon left the rest of the party behind, reaching the top of the pass in such a short time that I could not believe it, and kept onward, expecting still another height to climb. But the road began to descend, winding among the depths of the hills as heretofore; now beside the dry, gravelly bed of a departed stream, now crossing it by a bridge, and perhaps passing through some other gorge, that yet gave no decided promise of an outlet into the world beyond. A glimpse might occasionally be caught, through a gap between the hill-tops, of a company of distant mountain-peaks, pyramidal, as these hills are apt to be, and resembling the camp of an army of giants. The landscape was not altogether savage; sometimes a hillside was covered with a rich field of grain, or an orchard of olive-trees, looking not unlike puffs of smoke, from the peculiar line of their foliage; but oftener there was a vast mantle of trees and shrubbery from top to bottom, the golden tufts of the broom shining out amid the verdure, and gladdening the whole. Nothing was dismal except the houses; those were always so, whether the compact, gray lines of village hovels, with a narrow street between, or the lonely farm-house, standing far apart from the road, built of stone, with window-gaps high in the wall, empty of glass; or the half-castle, half-dwelling, of which I saw a specimen or two, with what looked like a defensive rampart, drawn around its court. I saw no look of comfort anywhere; and continually, in this wild and solitary region, I met beggars, just as if I were still in the streets of Rome. Boys and girls kept beside me, till they delivered me into the hands of others like themselves; hoary grandsires and grandmothers caught a glimpse of my approach, and tottered as fast as they could to intercept me; women came out of the cottages, with rotten cherries on a plate, entreating me to buy them for a mezzo baioccho; a man, at work on the road, left his toil to beg, and was grateful for the value of a cent; in short, I was never safe from importunity, as long as there was a house or a human being in sight.

We arrived at Spoleto before noon, and while our dejeuner was being prepared, looked down from the window of the inn into the narrow street beneath, which, from the throng of people in it, I judged to be the principal one: priests, papal soldiers, women with no bonnets on their heads; peasants in breeches and mushroom hats; maids and matrons, drawing water at a fountain; idlers, smoking on a bench under the window; a talk, a bustle, but no genuine activity. After lunch we walked out to see the lions of Spoleto, and found our way up a steep and narrow street that led us to the city gate, at which, it is traditionally said, Hannibal sought to force an entrance, after the battle of Thrasymene, and was repulsed. The gateway has a double arch, on the inner one of which is a tablet, recording the above tradition as an unquestioned historical fact. From the gateway we went in search of the Duomo, or cathedral, and were kindly directed thither by an officer, who was descending into the town from the citadel, which is an old castle, now converted into a prison. The cathedral seemed small, and did not much interest us, either by the Gothic front or its modernized interior. We saw nothing else in Spoleto, but went back to the inn and resumed our journey, emerging from the city into the classic valley of the Clitumnus, which we did not view under the best of auspices, because it was overcast, and the wind as chill as if it had the cast in it. The valley, though fertile, and smilingly picturesque, perhaps, is not such as I should wish to celebrate, either in prose or poetry. It is of such breadth and extent, that its frame of mountains and ridgy hills hardly serve to shut it in sufficiently, and the spectator thinks of a boundless plain, rather than of a secluded vale. After passing Le Vene, we came to the little temple which Byron describes, and which has been supposed to be the one immortalized by Pliny. It is very small, and stands on a declivity that falls immediately from the road, right upon which rises the pediment of the temple, while the columns of the other front find sufficient height to develop themselves in the lower ground. A little farther down than the base of the edifice we saw the Clitumnus, so recently from its source in the marble rock, that it was still as pure as a child's heart, and as transparent as truth itself. It looked airier than nothing, because it had not substance enough to brighten, and it was clearer than the atmosphere. I remember nothing else of the valley of Clitumnus, except that the beggars in this region of proverbial fertility are wellnigh profane in the urgency of their petitions; they absolutely fall down on their knees as you approach, in the same attitude as if they were praying to their Maker, and beseech you for alms with a fervency which I am afraid they seldom use before an altar or shrine. Being denied, they ran hastily beside the carriage, but got nothing, and finally gave over.

I am so very tired and sleepy that I mean to mention nothing else to-night, except the city of Trevi, which, on the approach from Spoleto, seems completely to cover a high, peaked hill, from its pyramidal tip to its base. It was the strangest situation in which to build a town, where, I should suppose, no horse can climb, and whence no inhabitant would think of descending into the world, after the approach of age should begin to stiffen his joints. On looking back on this most picturesque of towns (which the road, of course, did not enter, as evidently no road could), I saw that the highest part of the hill was quite covered with a crown of edifices, terminating in a church-tower; while a part of the northern side was apparently too steep for building; and a cataract of houses flowed down the western and southern slopes. There seemed to be palaces, churches, everything that a city should have; but my eyes are heavy, and I can write no more about them, only that I suppose the summit of the hill was artificially tenured, so as to prevent its crumbling down, and enable it to support the platform of edifices which crowns it.

May 27th. - We reached Foligno in good season yesterday afternoon. Our inn seemed ancient; and, under the same roof, on one side of the entrance, was the stable, and on the other the coach-house. The house is built round a narrow court, with a well of water at bottom, and an opening in the roof at top, whence the staircases are lighted that wind round the sides of the court, up to the highest story. Our dining-room and bedrooms were in the latter region, and were all paved with brick, and without carpets; and the characteristic of the whole was all exceeding plainness and antique clumsiness of fitting up. We found ourselves sufficiently comfortable, however; and, as has been the case throughout our journey, had a very fair and well-cooked dinner. It shows, as perhaps I have already remarked, that it is still possible to live well in Italy, at no great expense, and that the high prices charged to the forestieri at Rome and elsewhere are artificial, and ought to be abated. . . . .

The day had darkened since morning, and was now ominous of rain; but as soon as we were established, we sallied out to see whatever was worth looking at. A beggar-boy, with one leg, followed us, without asking for anything, apparently only for the pleasure of our company, though he kept at too great a distance for conversation, and indeed did not attempt to speak.

We went first to the cathedral, which has a Gothic front, and a modernized interior, stuccoed and whitewashed, looking as neat as a New England meeting-house, and very mean, after our familiarity with the gorgeous churches in other cities. There were some pictures in the chapels, but, I believe, all modern, and I do not remember a single one of them. Next we went, without any guide, to a church attached to a convent of Dominican monks, with a Gothic exterior, and two hideous pictures of Death, - the skeleton leaning on his scythe, one on each side of the door. This church, likewise, was whitewashed, but we understood that it had been originally frescoed all over, and by famous hands; but these pictures, having become much injured, they were all obliterated, as we saw, - all, that is to say, except a few specimens of the best preserved, which were spared to show the world what the whole had been. I thanked my stars that the obliteration of the rest had taken place before our visit; for if anything is dreary and calculated to make the beholder utterly miserable, it is a faded fresco, with spots of the white plaster dotted over it.

Our one-legged boy had followed us into the church and stood near the door till he saw us ready to come out, when he hurried on before us, and waited a little way off to see whither we should go. We still went on at random, taking the first turn that offered itself, and soon came to another old church, - that of St. Mary within the Walls, - into which we entered, and found it whitewashed, like the other two. This was especially fortunate, for the doorkeeper informed us that, two years ago, the whole church (except, I suppose, the roof, which is of timber) had been covered with frescos by Pinturicchio, all of which had been ruthlessly obliterated, except a very few fragments. These he proceeded to show us; poor, dim ghosts of what may once have been beautiful, - now so far gone towards nothingness that I was hardly sure whether I saw a glimmering of the design or not. By the by, it was not Pinturicchio, as I have written above, but Giotto, assisted, I believe, by Cimabue, who painted these frescos. Our one-legged attendant had followed us also into this church, and again hastened out of it before us; and still we heard the dot of his crutch upon the pavement, as we passed from street to street. By and by a sickly looking man met us, and begged for "qualche cosa"; but the boy shouted to him, "Niente!" whether intimating that we would give him nothing, or that he himself had a prior claim to all our charity, I cannot tell. However, the beggar-man turned round, and likewise followed our devious course. Once or twice we missed him; but it was only because he could not walk so fast as we; for he appeared again as we emerged from the door of another church. Our one-legged friend we never missed for a moment; he kept pretty near us, - near enough to be amused by our indecision whither to go; and he seemed much delighted when it began to rain, and he saw us at a loss how to find our way back to the hotel. Nevertheless, he did not offer to guide us; but stumped on behind with a faster or slower dot of his crutch, according to our pace. I began to think that he must have been engaged as a spy upon our movements by the police who had taken away my passport at the city gate. In this way he attended us to the door of the hotel, where the beggar had already arrived. The latter again put in his doleful petition; the one-legged boy said not a word, nor seemed to expect anything, and both had to go away without so much as a mezzo baioccho out of our pockets. The multitude of beggars in Italy makes the heart as obdurate as a paving-stone.

We left Foligno this morning, and, all ready for us at the door of the hotel, as we got into the carriage, were our friends, the beggar-man and the one-legged boy; the latter holding out his ragged hat, and smiling with as confident an air as if he had done us some very particular service, and were certain of being paid for it, as from contract. It was so very funny, so impudent, so utterly absurd, that I could not help giving him a trifle; but the man got nothing, - a fact that gives me a twinge or two, for he looked sickly and miserable. But where everybody begs, everybody, as a general rule, must be denied; and, besides, they act their misery so well that you are never sure of the genuine article.