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Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Second Series   By: (1840-1893)

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SKETCHES AND STUDIES IN ITALY AND GREECE

BY JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS

AUTHOR OF "RENAISSANCE IN ITALY" "STUDIES OF THE GREEK POETS," ETC

SECOND SERIES

LONDON JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.

1914

All rights reserved

FIRST EDITION ( Smith, Elder & Co. ) October, 1898 Reprinted May, 1900 Reprinted June, 1902 Reprinted November, 1905 Reprinted December, 1907 Reprinted February, 1914 Taken over by John Murray January, 1917

Printed in Great Britain at THE BALLANTYNE PRESS by SPOTTISWOODE, BALLANTYNE & Co. LTD. Colchester, London & Eton

CONTENTS

PAGE

RAVENNA 1 RIMINI 14 MAY IN UMBRIA 32 THE PALACE OF URBINO 50 VITTORIA ACCORAMBONI 88 AUTUMN WANDERINGS 127 PARMA 147 CANOSSA 163 FORNOVO 180 FLORENCE AND THE MEDICI 201 THE DEBT OF ENGLISH TO ITALIAN LITERATURE 258 POPULAR SONGS OF TUSCANY 276 POPULAR ITALIAN POETRY OF THE RENAISSANCE 305 THE 'ORFEO' OF POLIZIANO 345 EIGHT SONNETS OF PETRARCH 365

SKETCHES AND STUDIES IN ITALY AND GREECE

RAVENNA

The Emperor Augustus chose Ravenna for one of his two naval stations, and in course of time a new city arose by the sea shore, which received the name of Portus Classis. Between this harbour and the mother city a third town sprang up, and was called C├Žsarea. Time and neglect, the ravages of war, and the encroaching powers of Nature have destroyed these settlements, and nothing now remains of the three cities but Ravenna. It would seem that in classical times Ravenna stood, like modern Venice, in the centre of a huge lagune, the fresh waters of the Ronco and the Po mixing with the salt waves of the Adriatic round its very walls. The houses of the city were built on piles; canals instead of streets formed the means of communication, and these were always filled with water artificially conducted from the southern estuary of the Po. Round Ravenna extended a vast morass, for the most part under shallow water, but rising at intervals into low islands like the Lido or Murano or Torcello which surround Venice. These islands were celebrated for their fertility: the vines and fig trees and pomegranates, springing from a fat and fruitful soil, watered with constant moisture, and fostered by a mild sea wind and liberal sunshine, yielded crops that for luxuriance and quality surpassed the harvests of any orchards on the mainland. All the conditions of life in old Ravenna seem to have resembled those of modern Venice; the people went about in gondolas, and in the early morning barges laden with fresh fruit or meat and vegetables flocked from all quarters to the city of the sea.[1] Water also had to be procured from the neighbouring shore, for, as Martial says, a well at Ravenna was more valuable than a vineyard. Again, between the city and the mainland ran a long low causeway all across the lagune like that on which the trains now glide into Venice. Strange to say, the air of Ravenna was remarkably salubrious: this fact, and the ease of life that prevailed there, and the security afforded by the situation of the town, rendered it a most desirable retreat for the monarchs of Italy during those troublous times in which the empire nodded to its fall... Continue reading book >>




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