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very old town, and its fortifications of the sixteenth century are still well preserved. We entered by one of its four gates. It is famous for its fine olive oil.
Wednesday, September 28. We made an early start this morning, passing through the Piazzo San Michele, which in early days was the forum. It is in the center of the old town. We saw the Church of San Michele. This has bands of columned arcades across its west front, something like the Pisa Cathedral. Our drive from here was through a lovely hill country, thickly wooded with chestnut trees. We stopped for luncheon at a little town called Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. (The name is longer than the town.) At the Albergo Il Globo (Globe Hotel). The luncheon was typically Italian; macaroni, etc. After leaving here, we commenced our ride over the Apenine Mountains, not far from where we crossed two weeks ago. This is a long, beautiful ride, and we only tried to cross and get into the valley on the other side before dark. This we succeeded in doing just as dusk settled down. Gaston tried to light the powerful center lamp, but was not successful, so lighted our side lamps and our back light of red. It was very difficult to see through the night. Gaston was very tired and Augusta and I helped him watch. We passed many ox carts and donkey teams, all without lights, some of the drivers being asleep. It was extremely hard for us and we stopped every little while to inquire our way. There were so many cross roads it confused us. Every one we met was interested and kindly anxious to assist us. One Italian gentleman in a small village came to our car and after talking a few minutes with Gaston, volunteered with our permission to go on with us to the next village and show us the way, saying he had friends there, of whom he could borrow a wheel to return home. We accepted gladly. I do not see how we could have possibly found our way without his help, as the cross roads grew more numerous. Gaston is splendid, but he was very tired to-night. The gentleman left us at this little village and we followed a bicycle with a lantern, which led us into Reggio.
We had a little difficulty in locating Hotel Albergo Posta, and even when we did, we found it difficult to get accommodations, the hotel being in a dismantled state, as it is being modernized and remodeled, so were obliged to take the accommodations they could offer. The hardware was not all in place, some doors being without knobs or locks of any kind. I had a large back room, with knob and lock. But there was no fastening of any kind on Gusty's door. She said she was not afraid. I don't think either one of us enjoyed a very good night's rest.
Thursday, September 29. We left early and had a fine drive, as our motor was working perfectly. We stopped at White Cross Hotel, Parma, for lunch. Before luncheon, we took a carriage and drove to the cathedral to see Correggio's frescoes of the Assumption in the dome. This is a beautiful painting, with numbers of figures in it, but it has been injured by dampness and is so high up that it is difficult to see it plainly. Parma was the home of Correggio, and many of his finest paintings are here.
We left after lunch, passing through Piacenza, which is quite an interesting old town. It has a public square in its center, as usual. We saw the Palazzo Municipaleo (town hall). This has a large arcade on the ground floor. We drove by the cathedral, which has three porches in front, with columns resting on lions, and passed the Church of San Sisto. The Sistine Madonna was painted for this church and was there for a long time, and then sold. This can not be done now, without permission of the German government.
On leaving, we crossed the Po river on a pontoon bridge. It was late evening when we reached Milan. We had not wired for rooms, as we felt there was no occasion for doing so. When we drew up in front of the hotel the porter came out, asking if our rooms had been engaged. On learning they had not, he said it would be impossible to accommodate us, as the hotel was full and so was the town, it being aviation week. He kindly said he would 'phone to a hotel not far away and try to engage rooms for us. He was successful, and we drove on to Hotel de la Ville. We asked for a room for Gaston and was promised one, but in an hour the poor fellow came to our door to say they could not give him a room and he had been hunting one outside, but had not been successful so far. He then left for another hunt.
Friday, September 30. Gaston came in the morning to get his order, and said he had found a room at the station, but I do not think he slept well from his looks. I am sorry, as he was very tired from the long, hard day. We called a carriage, driving first to the beautiful cathedral. The exterior is like a piece of lace work. Even the roof is marble. The interior is rich in coloring and decorations. The vaulting is supported by fifty or more pillars that have niches in them and statues instead of the ordinary capitals. In the choir there are enormous stained glass windows. It is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. I was extremely anxious to see the “Last Supper,” by De Vinci, but the church, where it hangs, is too far away for us to try to go, as we start on our drive shortly. On our way to the hotel, we went into the galleries of Vittorio Emannale just across the Plazze from the cathedral, or (duomo). This is one of the finest and largest arcades in Europe. It is a popular promenade, being protected from both rain and sun. The best shops are in this arcade. Returning to the hotel and finding Gaston ready, we packed and started. It was a most delightful ride to Como on beautiful Lake Como. The lights of the Italian lakes are lovely, so soft and blue. We lunched here at Grand Hotel Phinius. Leaving after lunch, we had a charming view of the southern end of the lake. It being narrow here, both sides are plainly seen. It is heavily wooded with dark green chestnut trees, and handsome white villas of the Italian aristocracy are numerous among them, as they spend their summers here. Not far from Lake Como we crossed the Swiss frontier and passed the customs at Chiasso.