Read CHAPTER XIX. of A Visit to the Holy Land, free online book, by Ida Pfeiffer, on

My imagination was so powerfully excited, I may say over-excited, by the accounts I had heard and read concerning this fairy city, that here once more my expectations were far from being realised. This was, perhaps, partly owing to the circumstance that I had already seen Constantinople and had just quitted Palermo, the situation of which latter town had so enchanted me that my enthusiasm was here confined within very narrow bounds, and I felt inclined to prefer Palermo to Naples.

At two o’clock in the afternoon I landed, and the kind assistance of Herr Brettschneider at once procured me an excellent room in Santa Lucia, with a prospect of the harbour and the bay, besides a view of Vesuvius and the region surrounding it. As usual, I wished to commence my researches at once; but already in Palermo I had felt an unceasing pain in my side, so that my last walks there had been attended with considerable difficulty.

Here I became really ill, and was unable to quit my room. I had a boil on my back, which required the care of the surgeon, and kept me in my room for a fortnight, until the fever had abated.

If this misfortune had happened to me in the East, or even while I was in quarantine at Malta, who knows whether I should not have been looked upon as having a “plague-boil,” and shut up for forty days?

During my imprisonment here, my only relaxation during the hours when I was free from fever and it did not rain, was to sit on the balcony, contemplating the beautiful prospect, and looking on the bustling, lively populace. The Neapolitans appeared to me very ill-behaved, boisterous, and quarrelsome, and seemed to entertain a great horror of work. The latter circumstance seems natural enough, for they require little for their daily support, and we hardly find that the common people any where work more than is necessary to shield them from immediate want; this is particularly the case in Italy, where the heat is oppressive during the day, and the temperature of the evening so agreeable, every one wishes to enjoy himself rather than to work.

I sometimes saw men employ themselves for half a day together in pushing bullets with a little stick through a ring fastened to the ground: this is one of the most popular games. The women are always sitting or standing in front of the houses, chattering or quarrelling; and the children lie about in the streets all day long. The veriest trifle suffices to breed a quarrel among old or young, and then they kick one another with their feet a very graceful practice for women or girls! Even with their knives they are ready on all occasions.

For making observations on the Neapolitans no better post can be chosen than a lodging in the quarter St. Lucia. The fishermen, lazzaroni, and sailors live in the little side lanes, and spend the greater part of the day in the large street of St. Lucia, the chief resort both for pedestrians and people on horse-back and in carriages. In and about the harbour we find numerous vendors of oysters and crabs, which they bring fresh from the sea. The lazzaroni no longer go about half naked, and the common people are dressed in a decent though not in a picturesque manner.

Here a number of handsome équipages rolled by; their lady occupants were very fashionably attired.

Even among the better classes it is usual for the men to purchase all the household necessaries, such as fish, bread, poultry, etc. Poultry is very much eaten in Italy, particularly turkeys, which are sometimes sold ready cut up, according to weight. On Sundays and holydays the shops containing wares and provisions, and the meat and poultry stalls, are opened in the same way as on a week-day. Throughout all Italy we do not see them closed for the observance of a Sunday or holyday.

On the fifteenth day I had so far recovered that I could begin my tour of observation, using, however, certain precautions.

At first I confined my researches to churches, palaces, and the museum, particularly as the weather was unprecedentedly bad. It rained, or rather poured, almost every day, and in these cases the water rushes in streams out of the by-lanes towards the sea. The greater part of Naples is built on an acclivity, and there are no gutters, so that the water must force its way along the streets: this has its peculiar advantages; for the side-lanes, which are filthy beyond description, thus get a partial cleansing by the stream.

As I am not a connoisseur, it would be foolish in me to attempt a criticism upon the splendid productions of art which I beheld here, in Rome, and at Florence and other places. I can only recount what I saw.

During my excursions I generally regulated my movements according to the divisions and instructions contained in August Lewald’s hand-book, a work which every traveller will find very serviceable and correct.

I began with the royal palace, which was situate near my lodging at St. Lucia, with one front facing the sea, and the other turned towards the fine large square. This building contains forty-two windows in a row. I could see nothing of its interior excepting the richly decorated chapel, as the royal family resided there during the whole time of my stay, and thus the apartments were not accessible to strangers.

Opposite the castle stands the magnificent Rotunda, called also the church of San Francesco de Paula. Adjoining this church on either side were arcades in the form of a half circle, supported by handsome pillars, beneath which several shops are established. The roof of the Rotunda is formed by a splendid cupola resting on thirty-four marble pillars. The altars, with the niches between, occupied by colossal statues, are ranged round the walls, and in some instances decorated by splendid modern paintings. A great quantity of lapis lazuli has been used in the construction of the grand altar. In the higher regions of the cupola two galleries, with tasteful iron railings, are to be seen. The entire church, and even the confessionals, are covered with a species of grey marble. The peculiar appearance of this place of worship is exceedingly calculated to excite the visitor’s wonder, for to judge from its exterior he would scarcely take the splendid building before him for a church. It was built on the model of the famous rotunda at Rome; but the idea of the porticoes is taken from St. Peter’s.

Two large equestrian statues of bronze form the ornaments of the square before this church. Quitting this square, we emerge into the two finest and most frequented streets in the town, namely, the Chiaga and Toledo. Not far off is the imposing theatre of St. Carlo, said to be not only the largest in Italy, but in all Europe. Its exterior aspect is very splendid. A large and broad entrance extends in front, with pillars, beneath the shelter of which the carriages drive up, so that the spectators can arrive and depart without the chance of getting wet. This evening there was to be a “particularly grand performance.” I entered the theatre, and was much struck with its appearance. It contains six tiers, all parcelled off into boxes, of which I counted four-and-twenty on the grand circle. Each box is almost the size of a small room, and can easily accommodate from twelve to fifteen people. A fairy-like spectacle is said to be produced when, on occasions of peculiar festivity, the whole exterior is lighted up. Here, as in nearly all the Italian theatres, a clock, shewing not only the hours but the minutes, is fixed over the front of the stage. A “particular performance” commences at six o’clock, and usually terminates an hour or two before midnight. This evening I saw a little ballet, then two acts of an opera, and afterwards a comedy, the whole concluding with a grand ballet. It is usual on benefit-nights to give a great variety of entertainments in order to attract the public; on these occasions the prices are also reduced one-fifth.

The greatest square, Largo del Castello, almost adjoins the theatre; it is of an oblong form, and contains many palace-like buildings, including the finance and police offices. A pretty spring, the water of which falls down some rocks and forms a cascade, is also worthy of mention.

A little to the left we come upon the Medina-square, boasting the finest fountain in Naples. Between these two squares, beside the sea-shore, lies Castel Nuovo, said to be built quite in the form of the Bastille. It is strongly fortified, and serves as a defence for the harbour. This is a very lively neighbourhood. Many an hour’s amusement have I had, watching the motley crowd, particularly on Sundays and holydays, when it is frequented by improvisators, singers, musicians, and mountebanks of every description.

Not far from the harbour is a long street in which numerous kitchens and many provision-stalls are established. Here I walked in the evenings to see the people assembled round the macaroni-pots: it is advisable, however, to leave watch and purse at home, and even one’s pocket-handkerchief is not safe.

Of the shouting and crowding here no conception can be formed. Large kettles are placed in front of the shops, and the proprietors sit beside them, plunging a great wooden fork and spoon into the cauldron to fill the plates of expectant customers. Some eat their favourite dish with fat and cheese, others without, according to the state of their exchequer for the time being; but one and all eat with their fingers. The army of hungry mortals seems innumerable; and during feeding-time the stranger finds no little difficulty in forcing a passage, notwithstanding the breadth of the street. Not far from this thoroughfare of the people two “Punchinellos” are erected. In one of these the Marionettes are a foot and a half, and in the other no less than three feet high.

There is, besides, a theatre for the people, where pieces of tragic and comic character are performed, in all of which the clown plays a prominent part. The remaining theatres, the Nuovo, the Carlini, and others, are about the size of those in the Leopold- and Josephstadt at Vienna, and can accommodate about 800 spectators. Their exteriors and interiors are alike undistinguished; but in some of them the singing and playing are very creditable. In one of these theatres we are obliged to descend instead of to ascend to reach the pit and the first tier of boxes.

Naples contains more than three hundred churches and chapels. I visited a number of them, for I entered every church that came in my way. St. Fernando, a church of no great size, but of very pleasing appearance, struck me particularly. The ceiling of this edifice is covered with frescoes, and the walls enriched with marble. At the two side altars we find a pair of very fine half-length pictures of saints.

St. Jesu Nuovo, another exceedingly handsome church, stands on the borders of the Lago Maggiore, and is full of magnificent frescoes, surrounded by arabesque borders. The latter appear as though they were gilded, and the effect thus produced is remarkably fine. This spacious building contains a number of small chapels, partitioned off by massive gratings. The great cupola is exceedingly handsome, and every chapel boasts a separate one.

St. Jesu Maggiore does not carry out its appellation, for it is a small unpretending church, though some splendid gothic ornaments beautify the exterior.

St. Maria di Piedigrotta, another little church, is much frequented, from the fact that the common people place great confidence in the picture of the Virgin there displayed. The church contains nothing worthy of notice.

The grotto of Pausilipp, a cavern of immense length, now called Puzzoli, is not far distant. This grotto, hewn out of a rock, is about 1200 paces long, between 50 and 60 feet in height, and of such breadth that two carriages can easily pass each other. A little chapel cut out of the rock occupies the middle of the cavern, and both grotto and chapel are illuminated night and day. As in the whole of Naples, the pavement here is formed of lava from Mount Vesuvius.

Immediately above the grotto, in the direction of the town, we come upon a simple gravestone of white marble the monument of the poet Virgil. A long flight of steps leads to the garden containing this monument: the poet’s ashes do not, however, rest here; the spot where he sleeps cannot be accurately determined, and this monument is only raised to his memory. The prospect from these heights as well repays a visit as the grotto of Pausilipp, where we wander for a long time in deep darkness, until we suddenly emerge into the broad light of day, to find ourselves surrounded by a most lovely landscape.

The public garden of Naples is also situate in this quarter of the town. It extends to the lower portion of the Strada Chiaga, is of great length without being broad, and displays a vast number of beautiful statues, prospects, and rare plants; a large and handsome street, containing many fine houses, adjoins it on one side. I also rode to the Vomero, on which are erected the king’s pleasure-palace and a small convent. A glorious prospect here unfolds itself: Naples with its bay, Puzzoli, and a number of beautiful islands, the lake Agnaro, the extinct craters of Solfatara, Baiae, Vesuvius with its chain of mountains, and the stupendous ocean, lie grouped, in varied forms and gorgeously blending colours, before the gaze of the astonished spectator. This is the place of which the Neapolitans say, with some justice, “Hither should men come, and gaze, and die!”

Still the prospects from St. Rosalia’s Mount, and from the royal palace Favorita at Palermo, had pleased me better; for there the beauties of nature are more crowded together, are nearer to the spectator: he can obtain a more complete view of them, while in varied gorgeousness they do not yield the palm even to the fairy pictures of Naples.

I more than once spent half a day in the Academy “degli Studii,” for in this place much was to be seen. The entrance to the building is indescribably beautiful; both the portico and the handsome staircases are ornamented with statues and busts executed in most artistic style. A door on the right leads us to a hall in which the paintings from Pompeii and Herculaneum are displayed; several of these relics have no small pretensions to beauty, and the colours of almost all are still wonderfully bright and fresh. In the great hall at the end of the courtyard we find on one side the Farnese Hercules, and on the other the Bull, both works of the Athenian Glycon. These two antiques, particularly the latter, have been in a great measure restored.

The gallery of great bronzes is considered the first in the world, for here we find united the finest works of ancient times. So many beautiful creations of art were here brought together, that if I attempted a description of them I should not know where to begin.

Opposite the gallery of bronzes is that allotted to the marbles, among which a beautiful Venus stands prominently forth.

In the gallery of Flora, a statue of the same goddess, called the Farnese, is also the principal attraction.

A statue of Apollo playing on the lyre, of porphyry, is the greatest masterpiece in the hall of coloured marbles; while in the gallery of the Muses a basin of Athenian porphyry occupies the first place.

In the Adonis room the beautiful Venus Anadyomene engrossed my chief attention; and in the cabinet of Venus the Venus Callipygos forms an exquisite sidepiece to the Venus de Medicis.

The upper regions of this splendid building contain an extensive library and a picture-gallery.

I also paid a visit to the catacombs of St. Januarius, which extend three stories high on a mountain, and are full of little niches, five or six of which are often found one above the other.

In the chapel Santa Maria della Pieta, in the palace St. Severino, I admired three of the finest and most valuable marble statues that can be found any where; I mean, “Veiled Innocence,” “Malice in a Net,” and a veiled recumbent figure of Christ. All three are by the sculptor Bernini.

The largest church in the town is the cathedral dedicated to St. Januarius. This structure rests on a hundred and ten columns of Egyptian and African granite, standing three by three, embedded in the walls. The church has not a very imposing appearance. The chief altar, beneath which the body of St. Januarius is deposited, is ornamented with many kinds of valuable marble. Here I saw a great number of pictures, most of them of considerable merit. The chapel of St. Januarius, also called the “chapel of the treasure,” is one of the most gorgeous shrines that can be conceived. The Neapolitans built it as a thank-offering at the cessation of a plague. The cost was above a million of ducats, and the wealth of this chapel is greater than that of any church in Christendom. It is built in a circular form, and all the resources of art have been lavished on the decoration of the chief altar. Every spot is covered with treasures and works of art, and the roof is supported by forty-two Corinthian pillars of dark-red stone. All the decorations of the high altar, the immense candelabra and massive flower-vases, are of silver. At a grand festival, when every thing is richly illuminated, the appearance of this chapel must be gorgeous in the extreme. The head and two bottles of the blood of St. Januarius are preserved here; the people assert that this blood liquefies every year. The frescoes on the ceiling are splendidly painted; and on the square before the church is to be seen an obelisk surmounted by a statue of St. Januarius.

St. Jeronimo has an imposing appearance when one first enters. The whole roof of this church as far downwards as the pillars is covered with beautiful arabesques and figures. It also contains some fine paintings, and is, besides, renowned for its architecture.

St. Paula Maggiore, another spacious church, is well worth seeing on account of its magnificent arabesques and fresco-paintings; besides these it also contains some handsome monuments and statues of marble. Two very ancient pillars stand in front of this church.

St. Chiara, a fine large church, offers some fine monuments and oil-paintings.

Among the excursions in the neighbourhood of Naples, that to Puzzoli is certainly the most interesting. After passing through the great grotto, we reach the ancient and rather important town of Puzzoli, with 8000 inhabitants. Cicero called this place a little Rome. In the centre of the town stands the church of St. Proculus, which was converted from a heathen into a Christian temple, and is surrounded by fine-looking Corinthian pillars.

Remarkable beyond all else is the ruined temple of Seropis. Almost the entire magnitude and arrangement of this magnificent building can yet be discerned. A few of the pillars that once supported the cupola are still erect, and several of the cells, which surrounded the temple and were once used as baths, can still be seen. Every thing here is of fine white marble. The greater portion of the ruin was dismantled, to be used in the construction of the royal villa of Caserta.

The harbour of Puzzoli is related to have been the finest in Italy. From this place Caligula had a bridge erected to Baiae, about 4000 paces in length. He undertook this gigantic work in consequence of a prophecy that was made to him, that he would no more become emperor than he could ride to Baiae on horseback. This prophecy he confuted, and became emperor. Of the amphitheatre and the colosseum not a trace remains. A little chapel now occupies the site on which they stood; tradition asserts that it is built on the very spot where St. Januarius was thrown to the bears.

Not far from this chapel we are shewn the labyrinth of Daedalus; several of its winding walks still exist, through which it would be difficult to find the way without a cicerone.

We ascended the hill immediately beyond the city, on which some remains of Cicero’s villa are yet to be seen: here we enjoyed a splendid prospect.

In this region we continually wander among ruins, and see every where around us the relics of the past. Thus a short walk brought us from Cicero’s villa to the ruins of three temples those of Diana, Venus, and Mercury. Of the first, one side and a few little cells, called the “baths of Venus,” alone remain. Part of Venus’s temple stands in the rotunda. It was built on acoustic principles, so that any one who puts his ear to a certain part of the wall can hear what is whispered at the opposite extremity. A few fragments of the rotunda were the only trace left of the temple of Diana.

The vapour baths of Nero, hewn out of the rock, consist of several passages, into which it is impossible to penetrate far on account of the heat. A boy ran to the spring and brought us some boiling water; he returned from his expedition fiery red in the face, and covered with perspiration. These poor lads are accustomed to remain at the spring until they have succeeded in boiling some eggs; but I would not allow any such cruelty, and did not even wish them to fetch me the water, but Herr Brettschneider would have it so in spite of me.

From this place we crossed by sea to Baiae, where at one time many of the rich people had their villas. Their proceedings here are said, however, to have been of so immoral a character, that at length it was considered wrong to have resided here any time. Every visitor must be enchanted with the fertility of this region, and with its lovely aspect. A castle, now used as a barrack for veterans, crowns the summit of a rock which stands prominently forth. A few unimportant traces can still be here discovered of an ancient temple of Hercules. Some masonry, in the form of a monument, marks the alleged spot where Agrippina was murdered and buried by order of her son.

The immense reservoir built by order of the emperor Augustus for the purpose of supplying the fleet with fresh water, is situate in the neighbourhood of Baiae; it is called Piscina. This giant structure contains several large chambers, their roofs supported by numerous columns. To view this reservoir we are compelled to descend a flight of steps.

Not far from the before-mentioned building we come upon the “Cento Camarelle,” a prison consisting of a multitude of small cells.

On our way back we visited Solfatara, the celebrated crater plain, about 1000 feet in length by 800 in breadth, skirted by hills. Its volcanic power is not yet wholly extinct; in several places brimstone-fumes (whence the plain derives its name,) are still seen rising into the air, which they impregnate with a most noxious odour. On striking the ground with a stick a sound is produced, from which we can judge that the whole space beneath us is hollow. This excursion is a very disagreeable one; we are continually marching across a mere crust of earth, which may give way any moment. I found here a manufactory of brimstone and alum. A little church belonging to the Capuchins, where we are shewn a stone on which St. Januarius was decapitated after the bears had refused to tear him to pieces, stands on a hill near the Solfatara.

Towards evening we reached the “Dog’s Grotto.” A huntsman from the royal preserve Astroni accompanied us, and fetched the man who keeps the keys of the grotto. This functionary soon appeared with a couple of dogs, to furnish us with a practical illustration of the convulsions caused by the foul air of the cavern. But I declined the experiment, and contented myself with viewing the grotto. It is of small extent, about eight or ten feet long, not more than five in breadth, and six or eight high. I entered the cave, and so long as I remained erect felt no inconvenience. So soon as I bent towards the ground, however, and the lower stratum of air blew upon my face, I experienced a most horrible choking sensation.

After we had satisfied our curiosity the huntsman led us to the neighbouring hunting-lodge, and to a little lake where a number of ducks are fattened. This man spoke of another and a much more remarkable grotto, of which he possessed the keys, and which he should have great pleasure in shewing us. Though twilight was rapidly approaching we determined to go, as the place was not far off. The man opened the door, and invited us to enter the cavern, advising us at the same time to bend down open-mouthed, as we had done in the Dog’s Grotto, and at the same time to fan the air upwards with our hands, that we might the better inhale it, a proceeding which he asserted to be peculiarly good for the digestive organs. His eloquence was so powerful, that we could not help suspecting the man; and it struck us as very strange that he was so particularly anxious we should enter the cavern together. This, therefore, we refused to do; and Herr Brettschneider remained outside with our guide, while I entered alone and did as he had directed. Though the lower stratum of air in the Dog’s Grotto had been highly mephitic, the atmosphere here was more stifling still. I rushed forth with the speed of lightning; and now we clearly saw through the fellow’s intention. If Herr Brettschneider and myself had entered together, he would undoubtedly have shut the door, and we should have been stifled in a few moments. We did not allow him to notice our suspicions, but merely said that we could not spend any more time here to-day on account of the lateness of the hour. Our worthy friend accompanied us through a wild and gloomy region, with his gun on his shoulder; and I was not a little afraid of him, for he kept talking about his honesty and the good intentions he had towards us. We kept, however, close beside him, and watched him narrowly, without betraying any symptom of apprehension; and at length, to our great relief, we gained the open road.

The royal villa of Portici lies about four “miglia” from Naples, and we made an excursion thither by railway. Both the palace and the gardens are handsome, and of considerable size. Thence we proceeded to Resina. Portici and Resina are so closely connected together by villas and houses, that a stranger would take them for one place. Beneath Resina lies Herculaneum, a city destroyed seventy-nine years after the birth of our Saviour. In the year 1689 a marquis caused a well to be dug in his garden, when, at a depth of sixty-five feet, the labourers came upon fragments of marble with divers inscriptions. It was not until 1720 that systematic excavations were made. Even then great caution was necessary, as Resina is unfortunately built upon Herculaneum, and the safety of the houses became endangered.

At Resina we procured torches and a guide, and descended to view the subterranean city. We saw the theatre, a number of houses, several temples, and the forum. Some fine frescoes are still to be distinguished on the walls of the apartments. The floors are covered with mosaic; but still this place does not offer nearly so many objects of interest as another which was overwhelmed at the same time Pompeii.

Pompeii is without doubt the most remarkable city of its kind that exists. A great portion of the town is surrounded by walls, and entire rows of houses, several temples, the theatre, the forum, in short a vast number of buildings, streets, and squares lay open before us. The more I wandered through the streets and open places, the more I involuntarily wondered not to find the inhabitants and labourers employed in repairing the houses; I could hardly realise the idea that so many beautiful houses and well preserved apartments should be untenanted. The deserted aspect of this town had a very melancholy effect in my eyes.

Though a great portion of the town has already been dug out, only three hundred skeletons have been found, a proof that the greater portion of the inhabitants effected their escape.

In many houses I found splendid tesselated pavements, representing flowers, wreaths, animals, and arabesques; even the halls and courtyards were decorated with a larger kind of mosaic work. The walls of the rooms are plastered over with a description of firm polished enamel, frequently looking like marble, and covered with beautiful frescoes. In Sallust’s house a whole row of wine jugs still stands in the cellar. In the houses the division of the rooms, and the purposes to which the different apartments were devoted, can still be distinctly traced. In general they are very small, and the windows seldom look out upon the street. Deep ruts of carriages can be seen in the streets. All the treasures of art which could be removed, such as statues, pictures, etc., were carried off to Naples, and placed in the museum there.


In the agreeable society of Herr M. and Madame Brettschneider, I rode away from Resina at eleven in the forenoon. A pleasant road, winding among vineyards, brought us in an hour’s time to the neighbourhood of the great lava-field, Torre del Greco. It is a fearful sight to behold these grand mounds of lava towering in the most various forms around us. All traces of vegetation have vanished; far and wide we can descry nothing but hardened masses, which once rushed in molten streams down the mountain. A capitally-constructed road leads us, without the slightest fatigue, through the midst of this scene of devastation to the usual resting-place of travellers, the “Hermitage.”

At this dwelling we made halt, ascended to the upper story, and called for a bottle of Lacrimae Christi. The view here, and at several other points of our ascent, is most charming.

The hermit seems, however, to lead any thing but a solitary life, for a day seldom passes on which strangers do not call in to claim his attention in proportion as they run up a score. The clerical gentleman is, in fact, no more and no less than a very common innkeeper, and partakes of the goodly obesity frequently noticed among persons of his class. We stayed three quarters of an hour in the domicile of this hermit-host, and afterwards rode on towards the heights, along a beautiful road among fields of lava. In half an hour’s time, however, we were completely shut in by lava-fields, and here the beaten track ended. We now dismounted, and continued our ascent on foot. It is difficult for one who has not seen it to picture to himself the scene that lay around us. Devastation every where; lava covering the whole region in heaps upon heaps, fantastically piled one on the other. Here a huge isolated mound rises, seemingly cut off on all sides from the lava around; there we see how a mighty stream once rushed down the mountain-side, and cooled gradually into stone. Immense chasms are filled with lava masses, which have lain here for many years cold and motionless, and will probably remain for as many more, for their fury has spent itself.

The lava is of different colours, according as it has been exposed to the atmosphere for a longer or a shorter period. The oldest lava has the hue of granite, and almost its hardness, for which reasons it is largely used for building houses and paving streets.

From the place where we left our donkeys we had to climb upwards for nearly an hour over the lava before reaching the crater. The ascent is somewhat fatiguing, as we are obliged to be very careful at every step to avoid entangling our feet among the blocks of lava; still the difficulty is not nearly so great as people make out. It is merely necessary to wear good thick boots, and then all goes extremely well. The higher we mount, the more numerous do the fissures become from which smoke bursts forth. In one of these clefts we placed some eggs, which were completely boiled in four minutes’ time. Near these places the ground is so hot that we could not have stood still for many minutes; still we did not get burnt feet or any thing of the kind.

On reaching the crater we found ourselves enveloped in so thick a fog that we could not see ten paces in advance. There was nothing for it but to sit down and wait patiently until the sun could penetrate the mist and spread light and cheerfulness among us. Then we descended into the crater, and approached as closely as possible to the place from which the smoky column whirls into the air. The road was a gloomy one, for we were shut in as in a bowl, and could discern around us nothing but mountains of lava, while before us rose the huge smoky column, threatening each moment to shroud us in darkness as the wind blew it in clouds in our direction. When the ground was struck with a stick, it gave forth a hollow rumbling sound like at Solfatara. In the neighbourhood of the column of smoke we could see nothing more than at the edge from which we had climbed downwards a peculiar picture of unparalleled devastation. The circumference of the crater seems not to have changed since the visit of Herr Lewald, who a few years ago estimated its dimensions at 5000 feet. After once more mounting to the brim, we walked round a great part of the edge of the basin.

At the particular desire of Herr M., who was well acquainted with all the remarkable points about the volcano, our guide now led the way to the so-called “hell,” a little crater which formed itself it in the year 1834. To reach it we had to climb about over fields of lava for half an hour. The aspect of this hell did not strike me as particularly grand. An uneven wall of lava suddenly rose fifteen paces in advance of us, with whole strata of pure sulphur and other beautifully-coloured substances depending from its projecting angles. One of these substances was of a snowy-white colour, light, and very porous. I took a piece with me, but the next day on proceeding to pack it carefully, I found that above half had melted and become quite soft and damp, so that I was compelled to throw the whole away. The same thing happened to a mass of a red colour that I had brought away with me, and which had a beautiful effect, like glowing lava, clinging to the fissures and sides of the rocks. We held pieces of paper to the fissures in this wall, and they immediately became ignited. Herr M. then threw in a cigar, which also burst into a flame. The heat proceeding from these clefts was so great, that we could not bear to hold our hands there for an instant. At one place, near a fissure, we laid our ears to the ground, and could hear a rushing bubbling sound as though water was boiling beneath us. There was really much to see in this hell, without the discomfort of being enveloped in the offensive sulphurous smoke of the chief crater.

After staying for several hours in and about the crater we left it, and returned by the steep way over the cone of cinders. The descent here is almost perpendicular, and we could hardly escape with whole skins if it were not for the fact that we sink ankle-deep into sand and cinders at every step.

To avoid falling, it is requisite to bend the body backwards and step upon the heel. By observing this precaution, the worst that can happen to one is to sit down involuntarily once or twice, without danger to life or limb. In twelve minutes we had reached the spot where our donkeys stood. We reached Resina during the darkness of night, having spent eight hours in our excursion.

My last trip was to the Castle of Caserta, distant sixteen miglia from Naples, in the direction of Capua. It is considered one of the finest pleasure-palaces in Europe, and I was exceedingly pleased with its appearance. The building is of a square form, with a portico 507 feet long, supported by ninety-eight columns of the finest marble. The staircase and halls in the upper story alone must have cost enormous sums, as well as the chapel on the first floor, which is very rich and gorgeous. The saloons and apartments are decorated in a peculiarly splendid manner with a multiplicity of frescoes, oil-paintings, sculptures, gildings, costly silk-hangings, marbles, etc. A pretty little theatre, with well-painted scenery, is to be found in the palace. The garden is extensive, particularly as regards length. A hill, from which a considerable stream rushes foaming over artificial rockwork into the deeper recesses of the garden, rises at its extremity. Scarcely has this river sunk to rest, flowing slowly and majestically through a bed formed of large square stones, before it is compelled to form another cascade, and another, and one more, until it almost reaches the castle, near which a large basin has been constructed, from whence the water is led into the town. Seen from the portico, these waterfalls have a lovely appearance. From Caserta we drove ten miles farther on to the celebrated aqueduct which supplies the whole of Naples with water. It is truly a marvellous work. Over three stupendous arched ways, one above the other, the necessary quantity of water flows into the city.

This was my last excursion; on the following day, the 7th of November, at three in the morning, I left Naples. Apart from the delightful reminiscences of lovely natural scenes, I shall always think with pleasure on my sojourn in Naples in connexion with Herr Brettschneider and his lady. I was a complete stranger to them when I delivered my note of introduction, and yet they at once welcomed me as kindly and heartily as though I had belonged to their family. How many hours, and even days, did they not devote to me, to accompany me sometimes to one place, sometimes to another; how eagerly did they seek to shew me all the riches of nature and art displayed in this favoured city! I was truly proud and delighted at having found such friends; and once more do I offer them my sincere thanks.