(Aqua Dei e Vitæ.)
[From The Field, 12 November, pp. 704-5; 17 December, p. 87; and 24 December 1881, p. 926.]
I am at once performing an act of gratitude and of patriotic service to the travelling Englishman, descended from generation of "Port-wine" drinkers, by drawing public attention to these most valuable waters. Moreover, it is a favour conferred upon locked-up capital to point out one of the many hopeful investments offered by Lower Austria. At this stage my readers, perhaps, will be disposed to ask "And where may Monfalcone be?" — a legitimate curiosity which shall be satisfied by the inquirer being ciceroned from Trieste to "Falcon's Mount."
The Rive or port-quays of the vice-queen of the Adriatic show the beautiful sweep of the Adriatic head, turquoise-blue in fine weather when water mirrors sky, and glaucous-green after the torrent-feeding mountain rains. The background is formed by the picturesque sierra of the Carnian Alps: in the middle distance, a dwarf hillock crowned by a dwarfer tower is "La Rocca"— our destination.
The Thermæ may be reached in one hour fifteen minutes of the Südbahn or Great Southern: the Monfalcone Station lies within a few minutes' walk of the townlet; and hackneys await the arrival of trains. But if my advice prevail, the visitor will take a "Zweispänner"from the Tramway-company, Trieste, and draw out his drive to an easy three hours. The line is charming, and the country full of interest, past and present.
The strip of road along the shore ends at "Miramar,"a manner of unfinished summer-palace, half-built to reflect Dunrobin by ill-fated Emperor Max of Mexico. It is now Crown property; and, as every tourist knows, it has become one of the few show-places of the Austrian port. Its grounds, the glebe of the most venerable San Grignano Convent, now demolished, are pretty specimens of the artificial French garden, with geometrical beddings, trimmed trees, vases of exotics, and statues that sweat and shiver in sun, wind, and rain. The less we say the better for the building in its present state, with its general aspect of the suburban villa. My chief grievance is that it outs short the level carriage-road, much wanted in hill-and-sea-girt Trieste: if the line be prolonged, an expensive tunnel under the rocky tongue is now necessary.
At the Südbahn station we strike north with westing, and begin to mount the maritime wall of the Carso or Karst, that flattened prism of sandstone and calcaires (hippuritic, nummulitic, &c.) which parts the Adriatic head from the southern watershed of the Danube. In places the sea-facing cliffs wave and break after a fashion reminding one of Syrian "Blúdan:"below us runs the railroad, and above us an unfinished carriage-road, whose cuttings, the work of the late Cav. Visentini, would suit M. Lesseps' last spec, the visionary Panama Canal. The steep and ill-graded wheelway now forms a zig and a zag; and in fifty-five minutes we reach the crest, some 900 feet high, at Contovello, about one-third of our way. This is a sort of mediæval village, or rather town in small, whose houses still form its wall of defence. Seen from the sea, its tall campanile (belfry) rising in the middle suggests a bleached bone stuck through a crow's nest, ragged, brown, and splotched with white. Contovello still shows, in a heap of rubbish to the north, remains of a "castelliere,"a prehistoric and probably Keltic settlement. An ascent of five minutes, shutting out the view of the fair gulf, conducts to Prosecco, a larger place. Its vineyards, which clothe the sea-fronting inclines, produce a sparkling sweetish white wine, fatuously supposed to represent the far famed "Vinum Pucinum."As in this part of the "Coast-land"generally, Bacchus is trained to run between two parallel lines of poles, so that the leaves get all the sun and the fruit all the shade. But the vine-grower everywhere has a prejudice in favour of his own way; and it is said that the French fashion has been tried and failed. On the whole, I should advise travellers not to taste the œnologic compound that has been baptised "Istrian Champagne."
Passing the white and grey church and the yellow houses of Prosecco, we debouch upon the Carso platform, which was, until late years, right worthy of its name, Caer, a stone. (?) In pre-Venetian days this Petræa of grey rock was, they say, a thin woodland; and now the "Enforesting Society"of Trieste is doing good work, and the railroad better. Florins have encouraged the growth of villages; the farm-houses are substantial as those of England; wayside inns abound; and the long lengths of tall and loose stone-wall, reminding one of Galway, show that pasture-land is becoming valuable. The characteristic of the Carso surface is its pitting — a system of funnels varying in diameter from a few feet to nearly a mile. Here they are called "busi"(for "buchi"); in Friuli "inglotìdors"; in Italy "vallicoli imbutiformi"; in French "entonnoirs," and in the Libanus "talláját,"or snow-holes. The process of formation is still under the judge. Some hold them to be the old vents of explosive gases — in fact, submarine salse. Others make them the sub-aerial work of rain and weather, turning a bowl by the drainage that sinks through the crevices of the floor: others again detect corallines, and consider them congeners of the "atolls."The rocks are everywhere veined with a rich red soil which Trieste uses for her gardens.
Beyond Prosecco we pass the Octroi-bar or Finanza, one of the line that girds the free port of Trieste. To the right, at a manufactory of poor pots, the road forks to Comen, the old Segeste (?), distant an hour and a half's drive. At the Santa Croce hamlet, whose inn is a favourite with picnickers, we come upon the quarries, a local industry much affected even in Roman times. Their yield is a whitish marmorine stone. The grey Carso marble, miscalled "granite," is produced hereabouts; and the black slabs, unfortunately veined with white, come from the diggings of Reppen-Tabor, the church-village now left behind us. The "scavi" (quarries) of Santa Croce, worked by a Triestine society with modern machinery, have built the opera house of Vienna, and not a few of her palaces.
A pair of dwarf stout pillars, each capped by its ball and finial, an iron halberd-head, the heraldic crest of Trieste, shows that we are passing out of the Küstenland into the "circle or county of Gorizia, district of Duino." The "Nice of Austria "is properly Gorica — the little Gora or hillock, so called from its castellated mound. On the left is the brand-new tower of the city waterworks, which raises the produce of a small spring sufficiently to produce a fall. The supply, however, is scanty and bad, partly accounting for a mortality which exceeds that of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras: I know no place in Europe that can rival Trieste in this matter except Rotterdam. Vienna was almost as bad till 1875. when the grand new aqueduct suddenly reduced her rate from 36 to 28 per 1000 per annum. Trieste suffers thirst from an overabundance of possible water; each party proposes its own with equal vigour; and the unfortunate city is in the condition of the animal that hungered between two bundles of hay.
On the right of the carriage-road rises the red-capped steeple of Nabresina; and the far side of the valley shows the yellow station where the Südbahn forks, one prong leading to Italy, and the other to the "gate of Italy" — Istria. The name, like all hereabouts, is old; the Slavs, disliking, as usual, terms to them insignificant, changed the Roman Aunsina into "Nabresina," from Na-brek (zum Berg), "at the hill," conserving a certain similarity of sound. At an easy walk from the station, and lying below the white-steepled village San Pelai (Felagius), lies the protohistoric ruin, the Castelliere of Jurkovac, which I described in the Athenceum (Nov. 4,1876). Seen from afar, it is a giant ring-fence of dry stone, a truncated cone of dove-coloured calcaire, roughly-piled blocks that have now assumed the natural angle of the hill-side. Around the central head of rock an industrious peasant is planting onions; and the whole is surrounded by Carso vegetation — elm scrub, mountain ash (frassino), nut bushes, and dwarf oak, slowly growing, but hard and durable. Here and there we note the wild Marasca cherry which is the basis of Maraschino. The ruin is worth visiting; it shows the usual remains of rude pottery, the "black malm" produced by animal and vegetable decay, and the double division of the area; this, I suppose, was intended to separate bipeds and their quadrupeds. Of the thousand thousand Englishmen who have passed through Nabresina, how many have noticed its Castelliere?
We now run under the long and costly viaduct of the Trieste fork, the uneconomic work of the last engineer-generation. After the second or Italian viaduct (equally vast and wasteful), the Carso platform, which has been a series of ups and downs, begins to droop northwards, and as we approach its edge we look down upon an endless plain that bounds the gracefully curved head of the Adriatic. We remark the three blues — the sky-blue of the air, the lapis lazuli blue of the water, and the purple, fading to plum-blue, of the land. The latter is humilis Italia, which passes through the Paduan and the Milanese to the Gulf of Genoa, the top of the Italian boot broken to the south by its seam, the Apennines. The lowland, bounded by a blurred sky line, scolloped end fringed with inlets and cut by streams, lies almost level with the sea. The Carso-arc of rounded and ribbed rook-hills sweeps off to the east and north-east, while further to the west the Carnian-Tyrolese Alps, with serried peaks and paps, white as a bride-cake even in torrid June, rim the northern horizon. Between their feet and the Gulf they have built a level strip, here of marsh land, and further on of poor, lean, brown mould rarely two feet thick, clothing white and water-rolled pebbles. Despite its poverty, the soil is covered with vegetation and cultivation, especially with the vine, which is still treated in Virgilian fashion, and further west the growth will become luxuriant. Geographically and ethnologically speaking, all here is Italy, while politically we are still in Austria. As of old, the frontier-line seems to project and retire without order or reason, and will do so till the boundaries of Europe shall be rectified by geographical science and common sense.
Following the well-kept postal road, the highway between Istria and Venice, we pass the large quarries known as the Scavi Scalpellini, and, further to the left, the larger Scavi Romani. We again sight the Adriatic at the little harbour of Sestjana, a break in the regular limestone-cliff. It is like an opera scene, this theatre terraced with vines. Half-way down it lies a chapel, with a "convent for noble ladies," now become a manor-house, and the fronting waters are protected by two breakwaters. The.shore is dotted with navvies' huts, and streaked with the wooden jetties where the limestone enrochement for the new port of Trieste is discharged into barges awaiting their tags. Near the carriage-road is a grey and castellated mansion, with roofed turrets at the four corners, and loop-holes now blooked up. It was usually held by a cadet of the Torriani or Thurm house, and legend says that the coelebrated brigand Johann Sbogar once made it his home. Now it lodges a peaceful care-taker.
A few yards further shows us historic Doveinos, Duino, the Slav Divin, whose two castles (old and new) are visible from Trieste. The senior is a picturesque shell of time-blackened wall, perched upon an almost-insulated hill of spray-bronzed rock. Originally built by the Patriarchs (archbishops) of Aquileja, it came into the hands of their vassals, the Signori di Duino. This family held it for three centuries, and ruled the land as far as Fiume, including the island of Veglia. In the fourteenth century the "lords" became extinct in the person of Ugone (Hugh), and the property passed to his kinsmen by marriage, the Counts of Walso-Lik. Like Tolmein Castle and other places in the neighbourhood, it preserves the tradition of having afforded a temporary home to Dante during one of his many exiles. The people still give the name "Sasso di Dante" to a bit of rook lying below the castle, and insulated only at high tide. Viewed from the old walls, it looks like a giant crocodile turning to seize its prey, the back scales being represented by green bush and dwarf tree. Near it also is seen from the sea the outline of the "White Lady," who haunts one of the balconies of the new castle. Like her namesake, the Banshee of Berlin, she is unpleasantly connected with a husband and a baby. But the real historic interest of the old ruin lies in the fact that, long before Franklin "brought down fire from heaven," the electric spark was utilised at Duino. In "The Travailleurs de la Mer" we read of "la pique du Chateau de Duino dans le Frioul, que le soldat de la garde faisait étinceler en la touchant du fer de sa lance." When the sentinel on the terrace suspected foul weather, he touched with his halberd the pike planted like a conductor, and the appearance of the spark was followed by the ringing of the castle bells, a storm-signal to the careless fisherman, victor Hugo probably took his information from Dr. Bianchini's "Mémoire," written in 1764. The idea is supposed to have originated with the learned Servites, an old order that produced the celebrated Fra Paolo Sarpi. Their little monastery (now the parish rectory) is within the village-walls.
The new castle, according to its chronicler, Giuseppe Carlo Rottura, was begun in the fourteenth century, the nucleus being a Roman guard-tower, a "monopyrgos," which an inscription dates from the days of Diocletian. It is now capped with modern masonry and ugly battlements. This "Castello dei Torriani "has a noble aspect from a distance. The landward side shows a tall pile of four distinct stages, with their crenelles — the Roman "monopyrgos," which flies the flag; the donjon, or keep, with the armoury on the ground floor; the terrace; and the lower works, falling into a rock-hewn moat. The northern frontage is essentially feudal. The southern face appears to consist of tall, rectangular modern houses, here and there lit up by creepers and broken by a little battery. The old tilting-yard is now unroofed, and a winding path runs down to a bathing-place cut in the rock. The village of Duino forms the outer wall; the homes contain 368 souls, and the people are industrious and long-lived. Early in the nineteenth century it ran Trieste hard in the race for supremacy. Its neat little harbour is now "nowhere." The houses outside the wall are chiefly composed of three inns; and, during a six-weeks' cure, we found the Albergo d'Italia a great improvement upon unclean and noisy Monfalcone.
The present châtelaine is the widowed Princess Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingfürst, neé Countess Teresa dei Torrioni, the old Lords of Milan; the name, connected with that of La Tour d'Auvergne, has been barbarised to Thurm. The late prince was a major in the Austrian service, with a fine taste for collection, and his relict is an accomplished artist. The French of the Napoleonic days kindly relieved the armoury of all its incumbrances, but they did not meddle with the library. The Princess and her amiable family take a pleasure in showing their treasures to connoisseurs. Very wisely (I think), Duino, which has a post-office and a telegraph, has been left without a station; consequently it escapes the visits of that class of town-rats which the country-rats call artisti.
About Duino my learned friend Dr. de Marchesetti (Del sito dell' antico Pucino) would place the vineyards of the vinum Pucinum, the "Aphrodite's milk," which, they say, enabled Julia, alias Livia Augusta, to see her eighty-second year. As many places contend for this honour as for Homer's birth. Gernical was proposed by Sohönleben (1674); Pedena by Abbé Ughilio (1720); Grignano and the neighbourhood of Miramar by Tomasini, Manzuoli, and Grillo; Contovello by Gian Battista de Peterliniis (1525); and, to mention no others, Prosecco, the Roman Prosecchium, by Mattiolo (1325), Wolfango Lazio (1551), Padre Ireneo della Croce, and Valvasor. Duino, advocated by Count Giacomo Filiasi (Memorie Storiche, &c, Venice, 1796), agrees well with the notice of Pliny (N. H. iii. 18), that the "Castellum nobile vino Pucinum" lies in Carnia-land, xxiii. M.P. from Aquileja, and therefore between the Timavus and Trieste. The objections are that about Duino there is little land for grape-growing, and that what grapes are grown do not distinguish themselves. In our day, the vinum Pucinum is still represented by the Carso wine called "Terrano," slightly bitter, somewhat heavy, and held to be most wholesome by all Triestines.
From the Duino village we have a good view of Monfalcone, a white townlet clustering round a tall Venetian steeple of grey limestone, resting upon a seaward or southern slope, and backed by a square tower perched upon a knoll, one of the last vertebræ of the Carso. We avoid the modern road which was opened in 1831, and follow on foot the older line, traditionally attributed to the Romans, but now showing no mark of pavement. We pass the castle kitchen-garden, whose gate is supported by two queer columns from the old Sohloss des Timavus; and the well-walled Wildpark, La Cernica, "the little black," where holm-oaks seem to grow upon bare rooks, and where deer are preserved. In the central rond-point whence the paths radiate, there is a cavern with an abyss, which I hope to explore. Near the so-called Roman road was found, they say, a fine ossuarium of glass with a silver collar, fitting into a stone jar, and containing hnman remains; this would suggest a Via Appia. Striking towards the coast, we observe a double baylet, facing west, and fringed with aquatic growth. According to the Canonico Adolfo Pichler, now professing at Trente, and proposing to print a history of Duino, here lies the traditional palace of Attila. The blocks of ruins upon the cliff-head, some eighty feet high, are mediæval masonry, and a hole now blocked with rubbish is supposed to be the church-vault. The northern half of the baylet was apparently the burial-place, and here eight skeletons were turned up by the owner of the ground, Stefano Valentinicic, facetiously termed, "L'avvocato di Duino." He showed an unmistakable amphora and flanged tiles, together with oertain coins, especially a Diocletian of the most doubtful origin.
Continuing the Roman road, we reach, at the foot of the Cargo-wall, the little church-village, San Giovanni (Baptista) di Duino, as opposed to Duino, the castle-village. Our total drive from Trieste has been two slow hours; and here we must halt to inspect the scene. The low church of time-stained grey stone, with its brick-capped tower, is also entituled Ad tubam, because the "last trump" will sound from its walls. Pretentious! and sounding improbable in the ears of the 19th century, which believes only in the "nebular hypothesis," and in a possible change of the earth's axis. However that may be, St John occupies an old and classical site, the fane of Diana and Diomede. The latter is not the Etolian, but the Thracian tamer of steeds, whom Hercules slew and served up to his own cannibal horses. Hence, they say, the white breed descended from the Lencophori, and so famous in the days of the "Serenissima Republica." Strabo (V. i. § 8) speaks of a fine grove with seven springs of water near the Diomede temple. I searched in vain for the old foundation in the modern building, whose tower-door bears for date MDCCII, and the restored western entrance 1719. In the outside wall of the apse are built up three Latin inscriptions: one is placed high and south of the blocked lancet-window, and two are below. They are normal votive tablets, doubtless belonging to the Thermæ, and removed for building-material. In one of them occurs the name of Julia Stratonica; and there was a fourth near the western door-way, dedicated by a Stratonicus to the goddess Spes (La speranza è femmina), in gratitude for his water cure. It has been removed — in plain English, stolen; but I am assured that it was printed by Messieurs Berini and Brumati.
Hence, too, has totally disappeared the Thurmisches Schloss of St. Johann, tile Torriani Castle of St. John. A drawing in Duino Castle, dated 1780, shows a large building astride over the old road, and overhanging the northern source of the Timavo. It is of three stories, with a central gable, and bearing on each flank what may be a very large chimney or a very small tower. According to some authorities it was a convent of Servites, suppressed by the Emperor Joseph II. in 1782, when the archives were transferred to the Castle of Duino.
And here we mast pause to take notice of the Timavo, in which most archæologists find the Timavus of Virgil (Æneid. i. 246) and Strabo (V. i, § 8), despite the notable absence of the *'ora novem" and the "seven springs." It cannot be the Timavus of Lucan (viii., 6) who represents an augur sitting upon the Euganean hills of Padua, where Antenor's stream was dispersed into many channels; he must therefore allude to the Tilavento, the Brenta, the Bacchiglione, or the Po. But Pliny (iii., 18), who dates between the two, positions his Timavus in the region of Camia, a word which is evidently a congener of Car-so, like Car-niola and Car-inthia. However, even without the aid of "Timavus," the Timavo, a name applied only to the lower bed, is one of the many "wonders of the Carso." It is the model of a subterranean river, reminding the classicist of Alpheus and Stymphalus, and the Britisher of Spenser's
Only the "swallows of the Mole" measure three miles instead of thirty.
The Timavo heads in the Dletvo forest on the north-western face of the Trstnik (cane-ground) (1) mountain, an important vertebra in the spine "della Vena" which separates the Istrian peninsula from its mainland. The upper stream, called the Recca, or rivulet, rolls a shallow sheet in a well-defined valley, trending north-northwest. After running some 37.9 kilometres to the village of San Canziano, where it is 316.6 metres above sea-level, the water dashes at a perpendicular wall of limestone, tunnels it, and disappears —"precipitates itself into a chasm," says Strabo. A split, or rather a series of shaft-like faults, in the calcaire at the Trebich village, 10.4 kilometres west of San Canziano, leads down to the "Kathavothron," 900 ft. below ground. Many have descended the zigzag, but the ladders are now wanting. Under the Opcina village the gurgling of water from a depth of a thousand feet can be heard in rainy weather. Lastly, after 18.96 kilometres from Trebich, the imprisoned stream again greets the upper air. Thus the total length is 67.26 direct kilometres, of whioh 29 are subterraneous. The latter figure in Strabo is 130 stadia (furlongs).
At San Giovanni the Timavo bursts out in sundry "polle," as they locally term these emissaries, whioh again remind us of the Libanus. I suppose the word, like "Pola," to be a Keltic congener of the Irish "poll," the Welsh "pwl," the Icelandic "pollr," and our "pool." The main main springs lying within a few yards are three. The northern, nearest the fane, is large, sluggish, and weedy the built-up basin is provided with weirs and lashers to work the Molino Grande, or greater flour-mill. The central source boils up from beneath a dwarf cliff-wall with Cyclopean stratification, festooned with the beautiful ivy that characterises Istria; its bed is narrow, straight, and deep. No. 3, to the south, welling from a cave under a tree, with a backing wall, is the largest: tame, broad, and shallow, it feeds the Molin Piccolo on its left bank. Between the two latter a tongue of ground is still called the Garden, and a wart at the tip was the Belvedere of the old Sohloss.
Such are the springs of the Timavo proper. After enclosing two small river-holms, they unite in the "Mandria (port) di San Giovanni." This is a narrow, deep, and ditch-like channel, shaped like an inverted S. The green-blue, sulphur-like waters are full of fat eels (bizatti), and Martial mentions the famous lupus-fish, now called "branzino." The safe and land-locked line is well known to the trabaccoli and barcazze, which not a little resemble the old "Margate hoy."' These country craft load at the two flour-mills near the springs. The stream finally enters the Gulf by two heads, north and south, the former rapidly silting up. Here it receives the Lukovac or "Cave (luka)-stream." The latter, also fed by a multitude of minor sources from under the Carso edge, is part of the Timavo system. Thus we can find seven or nine "ora," or a dozen, if we please. The Venetians have a bad name hereabouts, and the Republic is accused of damaging the river by sinking a ship at its mouth. "Belforte," the work which they built (13th century) against their enemies, the Patriarch of Aquileja and the Count of Gorizia, is now under water, and shows only at low tide. Some suppose it to have succeeded the original "fanum Diomedis."
From the San Giovanni Church we walk round the head-waters of the lower Timavo; and, after twenty minutes of wet plain, we climb along the sea-facing edge of the Duino cliff, which here fronts south-west. After a few yards we find, among the fat rushes and lethean reeds fringing the gulf, a gap in the limestone, whence at low tide bubbles out a small quantity of water highly charged with sulphur. The temperature of the spring in June at 5 p.m. was 10° R. (= Fahr. 55°) Like the waters of Istrian "Isola," it would be expensive for thermal use; but it is strongly diuretic; and, where pelagra and other cutaneous diseases abound, it should not be allowed to waste its unsweetness by feeding the sea.
This walk has given us a fair study of the classical Stagna or Lacus Timavi. In ancient times here lay a lake, faced seawards by the Insulæ Clara. It has been supposed, and not without reason, that in Roman days these swamps were the embouchure of the Sontius or Isonzo River, whioh now flows by Gorizia and Gradisca, and which has therefore been entitled "the youngest river in Europe." (2) It is certain that great changes have taken place. A current sweeps up the eastern shores of the Adriatic, turns round the head, and flows down the Venetian Romagna, and Apulia. As a rule, the western coast is rising, and thus cities like Adria and Ravenna, once maritime, are now inland. The eastern side falls, as shown by a line of ruins now under water, between Istria and the Bocche di Cattare. But there are exceptions, and one of them is the littoral between Duino and Monfalcone, where strong iron rings that served to moor boats were found high and dry; and besides the secular rise of the Stagna, the plains are warped up by the washings of the Carso-wall that trends off eastward.
We now regain the main road, which here also dates from 1831; the older line ran along the right bank of the Timavo. A few ruined walls to the right show the limits of the old Signoria di Duino. As we advance, we notice remains of the Stagnum in tall, lush, aquatic growth, in water-lines beautified with lilies, and in square plots, here dry, there flooded, that signify rice-fields. As the yellow faces of the peasantry show, these aguish "sponges" call loudly for drainage. They support hosts of never-silent frogs, the "nightingales of Monfalcone;" harmless snakes of two kinds, black and green, and flocks of crows and dingy starlings. Wildfowl at times are found, and "Caccia riservata" (preserved) appears in large letters; bnt game must be rare when every man has a gun and a dog, and passes every Sunday a-potting.
The Tneste-Venice highway now bends from north to west; the ragged avenue of old Lombardy poplars, which presently will become mulberries, wriggles over the Stagnum to Monfalcone, increasing li kilom. to 3 kilom. On our left we see the features which Pliny (Nat. Hist. iii. 26) calls the "Claræ insulæ, ante ostia Timavi... juxta Histrorum agrum, Cissa, Pullaria," &c. They lie between us and the Adriatic, in the shape of two detached lumps or hogsbacks of grey limestone, evidently outlying bits of the Carso; formerly islet-rocks, they were united to the continent after the 12th century. The first or easternmost is the "Monticello della Punta," flanking the northern side of a little bay formed by the swampy embouchure of the Timavo-Lukovac. It is so-called from its fort "La Punta," which guarded the harbour's mouth, the wooden bridge over the Lukovac, and the main road, now a cross line that backs it. The works of stone and mortar, once Venetian and subsequently Austrian, were allowed to fall to ruins after 1849. You may wander about their grassy slopes and broken terrepleine without meeting anyone save the coast-guard (finanza) who is housed in the prim whitewashed cottage.
Separated from the "Insula Clara" by a dwarf bog, hardly above the high tides of the Gulf-head, is the second, now known as the "Monticello di Sant' Antonio." Longer and larger than its neighbour, it rises in ridge-shape 50 to 80 feet high. In days to come a Kurhaus will crown the hillock, and patients will enjoy the sea-breeze and the sea-view. It contains two of the caverns so common in these limestone lands. The smaller, facing landwards or northwards, is called in books "Grotte delle Fate,"and by the people "Del diavolo zoppo" (of the lame devil). It has been famous amongst treasure-seekers. In 1730 five men attempted it by night, and four were frightened to death, they say, by the barbagianni or horned owl. They were followed by two priests and a woman, who dug carefully below the stalactites and found nothing. The "Grotta dei Nottoli" (of bats), fronting the sea, is a much larger feature, remarkable for its abundance of ossiferous breccia, the usual broken mass in a red paste. I carried away specimens, but no human remains have ever been found in it. At the east end of the quondam islet is the mean and melancholy little chapel of the patron Sant' Antonio, the hermit of Thebes. Teseseræ and other remains, probably Roman, have been found around it. Here, and indeed all along the seaboard, the then masters of the world had their villas, potteries, and dye-works, and in mediæval days there was a guard-tower. West of this Insula Clara a branch-road runs to Porto Rosica, the harbour of Monfalcone, a weedy, dirty ditch, big enough for its barge-like craft, formed by a breakwater of boulders and a dyke ending in a stone wall. Beyond it stretches the head of the "Ionic Gulf,"now called the Adriatic. The shores of the shallow water, which is rapidly silting up, show the deep inlets known as Pausano, Cavana, and Fiumisini. Quarantìa lies opposite the village Gli Alberoni, whose big trees are supposed to represent the Henetan "Silva Diomedæa." The steeple of Aquileja is, as usual, conspicuous. Beyond the long, thin point La Sdobba, which forms the left bank of the modern Isonzo River, and which is fast pushing out to sea, we note the belfry and white houses of Grado harbour and the tufty vegetation of the Holy Isle, Barbana.
So much for the left-hand view. On the right are the stone-ribbed buttresses of the Carso, bare of trees and yellowing even in June. The stratification has changed from horizontal to vertical, and in places it looks like striped stuff ill-folded and laid up. The Lukovac streamlet, crossed by a stone bridge which has succeeded the wooden one, drains the country in Timavo fashion. The origin is the long, shallow Doberdo Lake; a "swallow" or underground passage thence leads to the well-wooded Lago di Pietra Rossa; another "swallow" brings it to a ravine crossed by the railway bridge; and lastly, when it issues upon the Stagnum, it is fed by a number of "polle." The lower bed was navigable till late years, and the "Sacca dei Bagni" is a "broad" above the bridge. A little further on we shall see the village of Medeazza, remarkable for having no priest, no lawyer, and no doctor; consequently the villagers attain extreme old age. I hold the name, which is pronounced Medeavazza, to be one of the many derived from "medvat," the bear, a beast which once must have been common. It has, however, induced certain local antiquaries to connect it with the ill-wife of Colchis. The original expedition of the Argonauts was a piratical cruize to the Enxine, where gold was collected in primitive fashion by sheepskins — the "golden fleece." In process of time the Keltic name of the Istrian peninsula was oonfused with the delta of the lower Danube. "Istria " probably derives from Keltic "histr" or "histrinn," a shell, alluding to the murex, the modern garuse, formerly worked for purple dye. Hence the Vistro port and islands south of Rovigno. (3) This easily became "Ister "= uisge (water), and dear (large); and thus the details of the Jason-Medea-Absyrtus myth were transferred from Danubian later to Adriatic Istria. They named old Laibach "Nanportns," the portage of "Argo navis "; and, to mention no more, they transferred the memorable fratrioidal death from Ovidian "Tomi" to the Dalmatian island Cherso.
At last we reach the Thermal establishment, which lies half-way between Duino village and Monfalcone town, exactly twenty minutes' drive from either. The site is a dry oasis in a reedy swamp, subtending the postal road and extending well backwards.
The grounds to the west of the house wonld grow anything from a palm to a mountain-ash. The building, which dates from 1838-40, is low and not oonspicuous. The southern face is a corps de logis of two stories, the upper rooms being occupied by the proprietor. They open upon a central balcony inscribed —
BAGNI TERMALI SI MONFALCONEI;
and the lower part is a carriage-porch. The flanking wings, ground-floors only, show each a public door and three windows: the latter belong to as many bed rooms, which lodge, and lodge poorly, the patients that cannot drive to and fro. The roofs are tiled, the walls are washed pink, the shutters are green, and the whole looks neat and clean. To the east stands a detached shed, with stabling, wood-store, coal-store, and other offices. Bare and stony St. Antonio Island, up which a sketch-road has been run, keeps out the view of the sea; and the rush-grown swamp almost reaches the landward walls.
We now enter the Establishment. The little hall is hung with historical inscriptions, to which we shall return. On the right is the clerk's office, opening upon the consulting room, where the good doctor, Ferdinando Tamburlini, a hale and hearty man, who reckons from A.D. 1810, gives ear to his patients. On the left a similar office is occupied by the accountant and ticket-distributor. A long corridor, running east-west, subtends the whole front, and joins another which lies parallel to the north: the baths are disposed at right angles to these passages. Thus the whole is composed of two halves, reflecting each other, the feminine east fronting the masculine west, divided by a long and covered central gallery. The walls are lined with votive offerings, walking-sticks and crutches no longer wanted; formerly they were thrown away, till a happy thought suggested their being hung up as trophies. On each side of the gallery is a long subtending strip of unroofed ground, utterly waste where ground is wanted. On the right is the engine-room, the water being pumped into large cooling tanks overhead. On the left is the fuel and furnace room; and here a trapdoor opens, you descend by a ladder, turn eastward for a few feet, and find a low vault covering the spring. The water wells from a crevice in the rock fronting the north and under the southern end of the long covered gallery; above the crevice a dwarf wall has been built. It is connected by percolation with the mud-chamber in the open space that flanks the gallery to the west. You descend by five steps, showing the growth of the upper ground, into a barrel-roofed vault of solid masonry and brickwork, measuring 30 ft. by 12 ft. The "fanghi," or muds used for topical application, sweat through the sides of the vault, which are dewed with iridescent drops; a few confervæ and other cryptogams appear on the half-flooded ground, which bubbles with sulphohydric gas; and the wall-cracks show a green gelatinous substance with the character of the Tremellæ. A small univalve (Paludina) is also found in the mud; and the sooner the latter is analysed the better.
The spring water is limpid and pure; it does not alter in air, though left exposed for some days, and it keeps long when bottled. Stirred with a glass rod, it throws up bubbles, which disperse as they reach the surface. It is said that if a flame be held over the fountain the vapour fires with a mild explosion: I never could see this. The gas slightly tarnishes silver and lead, but the deposit is easily removed. The water has the distinctly hepatic odour of Harrowgate; and the taste is nauseous, like that of the sea. Its specific gravity varies, the average at high water being 1.015. At low tide and with the air at 18° Cent., the temperature at the head is 38° Cent. (= Fahr. 100°.4); and at high tide it rises to 38°.5 Cent. (= Fahr. 101°.3). During the hottest weather, and when the sea is agitated by the scirocco, it attains 39° and even 40° Cent. I was assured that the temperature increases in "earthquake years." The winter of 1880-81 raised it 1° to 1°.5 Cent., and produced a greater proportion of sulphohydric gas. The mineral matter is more copious when the tide ebbs, suggesting that the flow reaches the springs, the latter being about one foot above the highest line. At Monfalcone one of the first operations should be to find, by boring, the true source, unaffected by sea water, and to increase its power by defending it from the blend. For many years the baths were used by patients only when the water was full. This tidal movement was remarked by Pliny, who twice asserts (Nat. Hist. ii. 108, and iii., 26), "cum restu maris crescount minu-unterqne."
The water was briefly described as "chloruretted-sulphuretted," till Professors Chiminelli and Faralli (4) prefixed "iodo-bromo," thus assimilating it with Aix-la-Chapelle and Paduan Abano. The last and generally accepted analysis (5) (Udine, 1862) was by Giovanni Attilio Dr. Cenedella, of Brescia, a learned professor who died too soon for science in 1878. The tables show that the preponderating minerals are chlorures and sulphates, which vary considerably with the tides, whilst the gases are little affected. The radical defect of this analysis is that it takes no account of the electric properties, to which so many thermæ owe their healing powers. For instance, the springs of Römerbad and Gastein yield the feeblest chemical and the strongest medical results; whereas, if connected with an eleotric cumulator, the needle shows the wildest commotion. This branch of "balneology," first cultivated, I believe, by Italian scientists, explains why mineral waters exercise suoh powerful effects at the springs, and lose almost all their effects drunk cold and bottled.
We will now follow the water to the baths, describing only the masculine or western side of the house. The front corridor admits to a waiting-room, supplied with newspapers, and this leads to a covered passage parallel with the central gallery. Here are fourteen baths and seven cabinets, with beds, where the muds are applied. At the northern end there is a vascone, or swimming-tank, with douche and shower-pipe. The baths are fairly good, sunken sarcophagi of Carso marble, containing 115 kilogs of water; and two cocks admit hot and cold water. Each room has its chair and sofa; the linen is scrupulously clean, and the attendance is excellent. The bath costs 50 soldi (100 S. = 1 florin) without linen, 60 with, 70 if "muds" are added, and one florin for the vascone; 1 florin 20 soldi includes brougham coming and going from Monfalcone. The poor of the Commune bathe gratis, and others pay half-price, or reduced prices. Physicians' fees are moderate, rarely exceeding ten florins a course. The honoraria would keep the leanest of apothecaries lean: Ferdinando Dr Tambnrlini, (6) however, is also medical officer to the Gommone, and his son, Dr Antonio, who kindly drew me a plan of the building, is public engineer. The defects of the establishment are palpable. It was good in 1840; in 1880 it has fallen behind the age. The true spring ahonld be found. The gas should be utilised by building a Russian (steam) bath over the Bouree; and space could be found by removing the cooling-reservoirs and building them over the bath-rooms. Arrangements should be made for the "nebnlisation of water,"the spray-system of perfumers' shops worked by machinery. Ita action is most powerful, and it is less used than it deserves to be. Finally, the establishment wants increasing.
We now return to the historic hall, and learn the story of the place. Of course, the origin is classical, as are all things hereabouts. The Romans, whose use of Thermæ and Balnea was exemplary, guarded the spring by a masonry-band. Chroniclers declare that Cæsar Augustus here made a cure, and allowed his physician Musa to set up an imperial statue in honorem. Filiasi thinks that Galen may have visited the baths. Coins and medals, fine marbles, and fragments of mosaic'd tanks have been turned up. A broken line of leaden tubes has been traced across the actual Stagnum to the northern hills, suggesting that the ancients appreciated pure air more than the moderns. To the north of the house — where the waste water flows into a cistern and is used as a horse-bath, with great benefit to the animals — was found, according to Sertoli, Filiasi, and others, a bit of leaden pipe inscribed AQUA DEI ET VITAE — an epigraph as expressive as it is laconic.
In the fourth century (A.D. 315), when Attila and his Huns had wasted Aquileja, the second Rome, and dispersed her wealthy and civilised community, the Thermæ were deserted, and the neglect lasted a thousand years; so we are told by a marble set in the wall over the doorway of the western gallery. The doggrel is as quaint as the crowded and unartistic characters that contain it: —
Thus we learn that in A.D. 1433 the "Magnificus Pretor" — now answering to "Magnifico Podestà" — Francisco Nani, the Venetian "count" or governor, re-established the baths when repairing the port of Monfalcone. He built a tank, 30 by 12 feet, for general use, and it lasted till A.D. 1799. What then happened we learn from a board-tablet to the right of the marble: —
A meridie ubi jugum in campos effunditur totum illud usque ad litora Adriatici Montis Falconiager, sumpto nomine ab oppido quod prope montem positum et antiqua structura munitum, vam in Istros tuetur. Opur quondam Theodorici Gothorum Regia, qui Verucem insuper adjecit intes vicinas rupes; juxta D, Antonii æedis: quam attingunt os idarum aquarum balnea ad frigidos depellendos affectus valida. Ischiadis præcipue, et articulorum doloribus saiuberima. Insnia hæc olim; nuno saxum Continenti adjunctum. Locum non Foro-Julienses solum, sed ex remotissimis Germaniæ partibus mortales frequentant.
This extract from the history of Gradisca, by Enrico Palladio de' Olivi of Udine, brought up to A.D. 452, and published in 1710, describes the site of the baths. They lie in Monfalcone territory, where Theodoric the Goth had built a tower; this is the ruin above the town. The substructure, the scarping of the rocky foundation, and the moat sunk in the stone, may be Roman; the tower is Venetian, and attributed to the famous Sansovino. The same king added a small fortified work, called "Veruca," near the chapel of St. Antony, where sign of ruins is still found. The Thermæ are visited for various complaints here glanced at, and the sufferers are not only Italians; they hail from the furthest part of Germany.
The continual wars between the Venetians and the neighbouring nobles were varied by irruptions of the savage Uzkoks from the Gulf of Fiume, and by the raids (scorrerie) of the Bosniac Slavs, Christian heretics converted to El-Islam and miscalled "Turks." The Thermæ suffered, and it was not till 1875 that Professor Kranz, of Vienna, and Dr Patuna, of Gradisca, made the first analysis of the waters; it was published by Dr Vertilingher, medical officer of Monfalcone, in a memoir now rare. His study produced a company, limited to the brothers Matiassi and Michieli, of Monfalcone. They hired the springs from the Commune, and rebuilt the tank of Pretor Nani, now the mud-depository, which they roofed over and supplied with wooden baths and sheds. The enterprising brothers died long ago, leaving only one daughter. A second analysis and notices of the Thermæ, a conscientious work by Giovanno Antonio Vidale, "apothecary of Venice," was printed (presso Francesco Andreola) in 1801. Then (1804) took place the first imperial visit. The "condescension "of Archduke John is thus chronicled in yellow letters upon a black board bound red:
D • O • M •
The honour was presently enhanced by the appearance of Kaiser Franz in person:
D • Francisco • I •
Lastly, in the next year, came Archduke Ranier:
Ranieri • Arciduci •
Despite the difficulties of the times, a good citizen of Monfalcone, Francesco Ostrogovich, commissary of the district, raised the sum of 22,000 florins; and the present establishment was opened (1838-40). The third analysis by Professor Chiozza was published (Gorizia, Tip. Peternolli, 1857) and followed in 1858 by the fourth: Karl Hauer, of Vienna, however, was deficient as his predecessor. Lastly, that of Cenedella, now adopted, was begun in the winter of 1847-48, and did not appear till 1862: it first established the presence of iodine and the proportions of the gases. The company ceded their rights in 1868 to the late Giuseppe Cav. Tonello, a Triestine, who by industry and energy made a large fortune: he introduced some notable improvements. In 1871 the management was undertaken by Sig. Giorgio Settomini, who increased the 257 patients of 1871 to 486 in 1877; this ex-proprietor still lives to bathe in the baths once his own — a high recommendation to them. Lastly (1879), the Thermæ came into the hands of Deputy (M.P.) and Doctor (LL.D.) Giuseppe Rabl; and he still holds the concession.
The general table of cures shows that the waters are used especially for scrofula and arthritis in their protean forms; for neuralgia, sciatica, and ischia; for oertain kinds of ophthalmia; for rheumatism, lumbago, and gout; for ataxy and paralysis (hemiplegia and periplegia); and for various symptoms following syphilis. Skin diseases are successfully treated, as eczema (simple and red), and the pelagra, (7) which is becoming a plague: of the six million souls in Northern Italy some 98,000 suffered from it (1879). The waters are equally efficacious in chronic poisoning by lead and mercury. Not a few patients take them by way of precaution. As the table at the end of this paper shows, the number of bathers was 448 in 1877; 414 in 1878; 420 in 1879; and 450 in 1880. They are chiefly from Trieste and her neighbourhood, the "Coast-land: "next in the list comes Gorizia, country and town; and, lastly, Monfalcone territory. Despite the baths near Padua, Italy sends a oertain number: the more distant locales are represented by Camiola and Carinthia, Croatia and Dalmatia, Albania, Bosnia, and Montenegro, Russia and Greece, Constantinople and Egypt.
Here the season begins, after Italian fashion, with late spring. At Vichy you can take baths throughout the year. The Monfaloone establishment opens on May 1-8; but few patients appear before the last days of the month. At the end of September the pumping-machine ceases working, and a complete hybernation of eight months sets in. Thus it will be till a proper Kurhaus is built. At present the twenty minutes' drive from Monfalcone town is made dangerous, after warm bathing, by the terrible winter "Bora" or north-north-easter. The poorer patients lodge in private houses; the richer live in the many alberghi (country inns), the Roma or the Posta (Widow Viu). Bed and board are not expensive. The hire of three rooms at the Posta, during the season of 1880, was a florin a day, and the average cost of food was a florin and a half per head. The "Brums "(hackney carriages) are dear and bad; they charge, under the Direction, half a florin fare for going to and coming from the baths, and six florins for afternoon trips in the neighbourhood. The horses are miserable. Austrians (Germans or Slavs) are merciful to their beasts: Italians are not; and here we are in Italy. Monfalcone is by no means "nice"i n summer. The air is heavy and "muggy," damp, and feverish. There is a plague of flies and other nuisances that shall be nameless. Like all Italian towns, it is noisy, strepitous. The men shout at one another, the women scream, and the children howl; even the "roosters" seem Stentors of their kind, doubtless fortified by life-long practice and training; the church bells are rarely silent, and there is a dreadful clock that strikes the whole hour after every quarter. The effect at 11:45 p.m. can be imagined!
By way of practical illustration, I will now transcribe the tale of a "cure" told in the notes of a compatriot, who kindly allowed me to use them. The account, given at some length, should interest the large class in England which suffers from the combined results of atavism, Port, and Sherry. My friend, after returning from Egypt to the perspiration-checking climate of Trieste, famous for arthritis as Venice, was "laid by the heels" for five weeks. He was advised to try Abano, near Padua, a favourite resort with gout-struok Triestine*; but he felt wholly unequal to face "united Italy," now the most disagreeable, as it was once the most pleasant, line of South-European travel. He had heard, and had heard favourably, of Monfalcone, and he resolved to give the waters a fair trial.
His treatment began by consulting Dr. Tamburlini. The good medical director afforded no hope that his or any other waters would heal an hereditary taint, but he undertook to alleviate the effects, and to make life worth living. He recommended the full course of twenty baths, the minimum being flfteen and the maximum forty; but in the latter case the double period is divided by a considerable interval. Some bathers, at Monfalcone and elsewhere, have attempted a "tumultuous cure," and have lost much time by precipitating matters to save it. The bath was not to outlast half an hour, rising to forty-five minutes, and the temperature was to be 37° (= F. 98°.66); a greater heat is trying, and often does more harm than good. The diet was to be liberal after the Banting fashion; and as much exercise as possible was to be taken, despite invalid languor and physical agony.
The result of the first week was an exacerbation of symptoms. The feet became redder and the joints more painful; this is considered a favourable sign. During the fifth bath fanghi (muds) were applied. The patient sits, or (preferably) lies down, while the black mire, hot as he can bear it, is poulticed over the peccant part, and bound with towels. This infliction usually lasts from fifteen to twenty minutes. On removing the cataplasm a small quantity of water is found separating mud and skin. The mud only made matters worse; and, after two trials, increased pain and total loss of appetite compelled the patient to pass a day (July 12) in, or rather on, bed. The good doctor, seeing in my friend a hard and muscular Englishman, under sixty years old, had over-hurried the cure. Treatment was resumed by rejecting the "muds "and reducing the temperature of the bath to 25°-26° Cent. (= Fahr. 77°-79°). Two tumblers of the sulphur-water were added. Rapid improvement now set in. On July 17 Mr X. Y. Z. could drive to Aquileja and back in the chill and dewy air after sunset. He allowed an idle interval of two days to follow the fourteenth bath, and on July 24 he could hobble to the caverns in the Sant' Antonio "Mountlet." Finally, on the 26th, he walked up the warty hillock to "La Bocca di Monfalcone,"' the orumbling tower attributed to Theodoric. This feat is the popular test of a complete cure. On the next day my friend definitely left La Posta, delighted with the baths, and with the kindness and attention he had met with from the whole establishment. His feet were free from arthritic pains, and he suffered only from excessive weakness, which he attributed to profuse perspiration; it was the result of five weeks in bed and of not baths in midsummer. Hence, too, the blains and boils, the effect of irritated skin, which troubled him for six weeks afterwards.
A case like this speaks for itself, and strongly recommends the "Aqua Dei et Vitæ." My friend was perfectly satisfied with what followed t there were twinges, but no regular attacks, during the winter of 1880-81. He had persuaded the good doctor to prepare for him sundry bottles of *' Physalis-wine," and the use of this alkaloid may partly account for his immunity. The "winter-cherry "grows in wild abundance about Monfalcone, and ripens with the grape-harvest in September. Dr. Tamburlini bruised stalks and fruit, and mixed the juice with old and generous wine. It is an ancient remedy for gout, and of late years it has been revived by Dr. Gardner in "Household Medicine, and in "Longevity."
My friend thought so highly of the Monfalcone waters that he resolved to try prophylactic treatment in '81. He took rooms at the Italia, a comfortable country-inn just outside the Duino Castle-village. The first patient of the year, he began operations on May 17, made several interruptions, and ended on June 28. This time he could freely ramble over the neighbouring hills, the Fraschak and others, and visit the various ruins on foot. He had no subsequent sufferings from weakness and exanthemata.
Meanwhile he applied himself to a plan for a regular Etablissement. He mentally built a "Cure-house "upon the crest of the Sant' Antonio hillock, whioh could readily be levelled for the purpose, whioh is within a few minutes' walk of the Baths, and which, besides commanding the most charming prospect, is open to the sea-breeze. Something of the kind has long been proposed, but Lower Austria moves slowly. A score of Government commissions has been unable, though unanimous in opinion, to bring the Timavo River into Trieste, whose inordinate mortality is mainly caused by bad drainage and by an insufficient supply of bad water. Nor have they availed aught to open the solid dam that connects the lighthouse with the shore. The wiser Romans had an arched causeway that allowed the scour free action, and prevented the silting-up of the "Sacchetto,"or inner port. But hereabouts there is none of that cosmopolitanism whioh has worked suoh wonders in Northern France and in Switzerland. The beautiful line of country between Vienna and Trieste is unknown to the travelling crowd. The Baden Baths near the capital call aloud for the presence of the British grumbler. Here the Austrian pays, with ready money and a polite bow, bills that would shame Paris, for a style of bed and board that would damage the reputation of a second-rate country inn. The Austro-Hungarian Lloyd's started with a fair opportunity of becoming a serious rival to the Peninsular and Oriental, but they would not change hours or dietary to suit the travelling English; consequently the enemy has established a footing in their own stronghold, Trieste.
An Etablissement for the Monfalcone Baths was strongly advocated by Dr. Lorenzutti in 1878. "Seeing our thermæ efficacious in so many and various maladies, I ask myself again and again why they are not preferred to others. I do not hesitate to repeat that one of the chief causes, if not the chief, that drives our invalids to seek after what they can find at their very doors, is simply the total want of establishments, and the deficiency of comforts and luxuries whioh all others are so careful to provide. Of a truth, our enterprising citizens, especially the Triestines, should not neglect such treasures! ...Our rough material is first-rate, but it must be adapted to the practioe and exigencies of the times; and we must not persevere in onr neglect until some foreigner from afar invites us, with a mocking smile, to admire the works which we have not had the spirit to undertake."
All well said, and quite true! But, as three years have sped without a step being taken, it is time for that invidious person, the "stranger," to put in an appearance. English capital, doing little at home, is now being applied to the lead-mines of Carniola, and I cannot doubt that the results will be satisfactory. Monfalcone is another place where a small outlay should secure fair profits. An expenditure of £50,000 would suffice for the additions and improvements required by the Baths, and to build an establishment that would attract hundreds where scores now come. A "Monfalcone Company" (joint-stock, with limited liability) would easily raise the money, and a German or Swiss manager would do all the rest.
] ] ] ] ]
The return-drive from Monfalcone to Trieste may be varied by exchanging the straight road through Prosecco for the round vid Opcina village. This "Over-cave"(o-picina = upon the hole) is so called because under it, as I have said, runs the subterranean "Recca-Timavo."The name has been Latinised to Opicina by those determined Latinisers who affect everywhere to see remnants of the Roman Empire, and who are rapidly bringing about a new Roman republic.
At Opcina, where the air, after Duino, is balm, we alight and enjoy the view from the Hotel dell' Obelisco. The latter was built in 1874 by a local landowner, Sig. Danéu. He is a good specimen of the enterprising and energetic Slav, who made one of his four stalwart sons a civil engineer, and sent another to study "aristology "in Paris. The panorama surprises everyone that sees it. Looking northwards or landwards, the eye ranges over the Carso, a desert of dove-coloured limestone, which is recovering its old status by being reforested. A valley without a river, it sweeps with a gradual rise, broken only by a line of wooded stone-waves, to the bold buttress "Na-nos "("at the nose"), the voyager's landmark for many a mile before making Trieste, This is the Mons Regius where Alboin, King of the Longobards, planted his lance on the topmost height, and threw the first glance over the rich regions — Italy and Istria —- which he was about to conquer. Further west, and upon a more distant plane, rises the Tri-glava or Terglon, the three-headed crown and apex of the Julian Alps, section Carinthian. During the greater part of the year it shows a gorgeous and glorious spectacle. Nothing more beautiful than its dazzling snow-peaks tossed high towards the blue heavens, and its long slopes falling into the valley-depths, both resplendent with virgin ermine, now glazed light azure by intervening air; then blushing the delicatest rose tint as they reflect the first and last looks of the sun. Nor is the southern or seaward porospect less remarkable. Straight in front stretches the Adriatic, an ocean of live turquoise fading into the light blue of the horizon. To the right lies "humilis Italia," whose shallow waters are building slowly, but surely, new shores for new towns and cities, and pushing out points and natural piers from the purple plain. Here
The sea has got entangled is the land.
Among the reticulation of lagoons we descry through the transparent air the white houses of Grado, the trees of Barbana, and the tall belfry of Aquileja, once the "Lady of the Land;" the whole backed by the broken and serried curtain of the Carnian Alps. Opposite low Italy stretches the bold-featured base of the Istrian triangle, a beautiful picture: I prefer none to it in Europe. The sea-line, scolloped by the deep bays of Muggia, Capodistria, and Porto Rose, and fretted with promonitories — Ponta Grossa, whioh is thin; Ponta Sottile, whioh is fat, and picturesque Pirano, that combines the characteristics of Este and Assisi — is finished to the extreme west by Ponta Salvore, of old Salburium, whose twinkling Pharos, burning dim with distance, shows that the shore-line here turns abruptly southwards. Among the inland heights the Risano Valley displays its giant features, contrasting with the abrupt and rocky Bollunz-gorge, down which the Turkish Spahis used to ride and raid. The eye wells upon the tall white campaniles of old Maggia and Artignano, and the Black Rock of San Servolo: this baronial castle, whose oooupation of traveller-plundering is gone, dots the horizon below the twin breasts of Slavnik, the "Mount of Glory." Lower down is Monte Mugliano, capped by a large farm-house, and still entitled in legend "Old Trieste," the Tergeste of the Carnian villagers. New Trieste, comparatively modern, as it dates only from the beginning of the Christian era, lies under us as it were; and when the transparent-obscure of a Mediterranean night falls upon it, the lamps like glowworms trace in ruddy points the outlines of streets and squares, of quaysB and the twofold ports.
The hôtel takes its name from an obelisk whose raison d'étre ia explained by a faded inscription — "Francoiscus I., ad verticem Ocræ montis mutuis commodis Italiæ Germaniæ MDCCCXXX." Here Kaiser Franz, travelling by his new road, alighted to admire his good city of Trieste. The obelisk has every fault an obelisk can have. It is single; the Egyptians, who were too wise to countenance the folly of a detached support supporting nothing, always doubled these "Ubn-Ra "(sunbeams) to form avenues approaching the temples. It is built up of blocks, when the essence of an obelisk is to be a monolith. Its pedestal measures one-third of the total height, when it should have no pedestal to speak of. Its pyramidion, the Egyptian "ben-ben,"wants the burnished copper disk that explains the emblem, but the defect is universal in Europe. I dwell upon these details because Padua is actually proposing a barbarous single obelisk as a memorial to her "great African," Belzoni.
This paper may be allowed to end with a reminiscence of a quarter-century ago. In the autumn of 1856, when en route for the Lake region and the Nile-source, I found the Südbahn or Great Southern ending at Adelsberg. There, after being nearly drowned in a mad attempt to explore down the celebrated river-bed cavern, I hired a carriage with a Prussian officer and his wife. Ending the stony abomination of the Carso, which in those days grew about as many trees as the back of a man's hand grows hairs, we suddenly reached the obelisk, and sighted for the first time the marvellous panorama stretching from below our feet. Madame had never before seen the sea, and she burst into tears which claimed all my sympathy.
How terrible would be life if we knew what was coming! One of the prime excitements in a traveller's career is that, for all knows, the unlikeliest place may become of capital importance to him — he may die in it, or he may marry in it. I should have carried a heavy heart to Zanzibar had any evil one whispered to me that it was my doom to undergo nine years of life at Trieste. Quiet, pleasant years enough they had been, but for the mortification of attendance upon that unpleasant being, the British merchant-seaman. Still the "friar's life" would have formed a gloomy prospect for an active-minded kind of man, who prefers doings to sayings and writings, who feels time fast slipping away from under him, and who wishes to make the most of what little remains.
Trieste, Oct. 5.1881.
Table (Dr Tamburlini's),
Printed by Horace Cox, "The Field" Office, 846, Strand, London, W.C.
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