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imagination almost on opening the eyes, and impart such an impulse to the mind, that one starts with much more than ordinary activity from bed, and hastens through the operations of the toilette with unusual alacrity. Great, indeed, is the enjoyment of travelling, particularly in a country like Italy, where, while the eye dwells with delight on scenery and objects so well calculated to confer it, the imagination soars into regions of its own; and the memory, as if touched by the wand of an enchanter, opens its long-hoarded stores, and enjoys them anew on the spots identified with the scenes and facts it treasured.
Milan has been repeatedly said to resemble Paris, but the similarity does not strike me. It is true it differs very much from all the other cities in Italy that I have seen; nevertheless its aspect is not French. I suppose the equipages and dresses of the upper class, which are certainly copied from those of Paris, led people to institute the comparison; which, had the Emperor Napoleon longer reigned, and completed the embellishments commenced under his reign, would have been more strikingly borne out.
The number of palaces, the greater portion of which are highly decorated on the exterior, give an air of great splendour to Milan; and the elegance of the equipages, as well as of the dresses of those who occupy them, add much to it.
, Among the palaces, those of Belgioso, Serbelloni, Tezzoli, Cusani, and Litta, attracted my attention the most to-day, though the latter is more remarkable for grandeur than good taste.
While driving through the streets, which are peculiarly clean, I admired the becoming costumes of many of the female pedestrians; they consisted of black, or dark-coloured silk dresses, with a long scarf of black silk or lace worn over the head and falling over the bust, as the Genoese women wear the mazero. Tall and slight, there is something very graceful in the air and movements of the Milanese women, and their countenances are generally agreeable, and often handsome.
The Porta Orientale is a fine structure, and is very creditable to Vantini, who designed it; but the gate of the Simplon, now called Arco della Pace, though unfinished, leaves all other triumphal arches that I have yet seen immeasurably behind. It was impossible not to reflect on the mutability of fortune when viewing this splendid monument. Designed to commemorate the achievements of Napoleon, it now serves to mark his overthrow; the representation of the battle of Leipzic replacing that of the conquests in Italy; a statue of Peace occupying the position allotted to that of the Mars-like Napoleon; and a basso-rilievo of the Emperor Francis of Austria entering Milan in triumph, being substituted for one of Napoleon, according Peace to the Emperor Francis.
The triumphal car has six horses attached to it,
and a horse mounted by a figure of Fame is placed at each angle. The execution of the whole is admirable, and reflects great credit on those employed on it. It was designed by the Marquis Luigi Cagnola, and executed by the sculptor Sangiorgio and the founders Manfredini, the basso-rilievo being the work of Pacetti and Monti, of Ravenna, and of Marchesi, Acquisti, and Pizzi, artists of Milan. The
pure white of the marble employed in the Arco della Pace, increases the beauty of the effect; and even the large blocks scattered around the base of the arch, though unpolished, display this peculiarity, many of them shining like fragments of alabaster.
When looking on the designs of the Marquis Luigi Cagnola for this arch, it is impossible not to wish that it was completed; or to repress a sigh to the memory of him whose victories furnished so many subjects for the painter and sculptor, and whose liberality encouraged the extension of the fine arts.
The Arena, or Circus, which we went over today, was designed as a place of amusement for the public; it is of vast extent, and is said to be capable of containing above thirty thousand people. It can be used as a Naumachia when desired, the water being laid on in a few minutes, and also serves for races, or other exhibitions.
I have no where seen any monuments of modern art so well calculated to give one an idea of those of ancient times as the Arco della Pace and the Arena.
They are magnificent ornaments to Milan, and add greatly to its attractions.
The public garden is one of the many benefits conferred on Milan by her late Viceroy the Prince Eugène Beauharnois, who judiciously carried into effect many of the suggestions of Napoleon for the beautifying of the town. The public garden is situated on the left of the Corso, and is inclosed from the street by granite pillars and ornamented iron railing, with a frieze, on which are placed antique vases. It is tastefully and judiciously laid out, affords abundant shade, is well watered, and the buildings for public amusements are spacious and convenient.
This garden opens into a public walk of long extent on the ramparts, and is in the immediate vicinity of the Villa Reale, the summer residence of the Viceroy, the foliage of whose pretty pleasure grounds appear to great advantage from it.
Spent several hours to-day in the Ambrosian library, to which we were conducted by the Abbé Bentivoglia, an acquaintance we formed at the dear, good Archbishop of Tarentum's, at Naples, from whom we brought a letter to the Abbé. The learning, and amiability of this clever man, render a visit
a to the Ambrosian library a high treat to those who are so fortunate as to know him; for his patience in pointing out whatever is most worthy of attention, and his erudition in explaining them, encourage the timid and unlearned to loiter and question, when
a less good-natured cicerone might induce them to abridge their questions, and visit.
The library contains above fifty thousand volumes, and nearly ten thousand manuscripts, many of them rare and valuable. The Virgil once in the possession of Petrarch, and in which is his note on Laura, was shown us.
This precious volume contains also another note written on the death of his illegitimate son Giovanni, and is illustrated by miniatures, painted by Simon Memmi, of Siena. There is a naïveté in the note on Laura, that evinces the simplicity as well as the vanity of the poet. I refer to that passage in it in which is written “ long illustrious by her own virtues, and long celebrated in my verses.” This avowal of his
power of conferring celebrity on Laura by his verses, if a weakness, is so human a one that it pleased me; and when I dwelt on the handwriting of the poet, whose profound erudition and devotion to study could not preserve him from love, and whose grief for the death of the object of his long-cherished affection, the lines I was perusing so strongly prove, I gave a sigh to the memory of him who, while exposing his passion, has made it redound to the honour of his mistress, and who while vaunting her charms, has avowed her purity.
The next object that excited my attention was a lock of the golden hair of Lucretia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI., whose beauty and talents none ever doubted; but alas! whose