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Arcadia. Massa contains little worth notice except its ancient and picturesque castle, which overhangs the town; and a better inn than is often to be met with in so small a place.
7th.—Lucca is beautifully situated, and is clean; but even more triste and deserted than the generality of Italian towns. In the evening, however, it assumes a gayer aspect; for carriages of every form and fashion except that of our own country, are seen traversing it towards the ramparts, which is the promenade resorted to by the aristocracy of Lucca. Thither we proceeded, being assured, by our hostess, that we should be amply repaid for the trouble of our excursion by the view of the beau monde of Lucca. The carriages resembled those we see in old pictures, and must have been of very ancient date; the harness laden with ornaments, and the hammer-cloths as antediluvian as the carriages. These last might be heard at a considerable distance, and made more noise than any of our hackney coaches. The liveries of the servants were like those in a comedy of the olden time; but the heterogeneous addition of a chasseur in a rich uniform, stuck up behind, rendered the tout ensemble supremely absurd to eyes accustomed to the neat and well-appointed equipages of England. The female occupants of these carriages were dressed in the Paris fashions of three months ago; thanks to the celerity with which “ Le Petit Courrier des Dames” voyages, conveying to remote regions les modes nouvelles, and enabling their inhabitants who cannot visit that emporium of fashion, Paris, to look somewhat like its fair denizens. It was curious to observe even the most elderly women dressed d-la-mode de Paris, seated by husbands in the costume of half a century ago ; many of the latter comfortably enjoying their siestas, while their better-halves fluttered fans of no small dimensions, with an air not unworthy of a Spanish donna. The fan seems an indispensable accessoire to a lady's toilette here, and I could have fancied myself in Spain when I saw the female occupant of every carriage waving this favourite weapon, and in vehicles also which accord so well with the descriptions I have read of those to be seen on the Prado at Madrid, Cadiz, or Seville. The young girls too, with their sparkling dark eyes and olive complexions, served to make the resemblance
complete; nor were they wanting in those intelligent glances cast at the smart young cavaliers, who passed by on prancing steeds, glances of which report states the ladies of Spain to be so liberal. The beaux of Lucca nearly all wear mustachios, and locks that wave in the air as they gallop on horses that show more bone than blood; each covered with more leather acoutrements than would be required to caparison half a dozen chargers in England.
The cathedral at Lucca is a fine gothic building, and contains the tomb of Adalbert, said to be the progenitor of the house of Este, to which we owe our sovereigns. It has a few tolerable pictures, among which is one by Zuccari, and another by Tintoretto ; and some fine painted glass windows, and an inlaid marble pavement. The palace at Lucca presents a perfect picture of elegance and comfort. Nothing that could contribute to either has been omitted ; and the sovereign of a powerful nation might deem himself well lodged in the residence of the duke of this small principality. An example of patriotism, that all princes would do well to imitate, was given in this palace. The whole of the decorations and furniture were supplied by native artists ;
and, I will venture to assert, could not have been better finished or designed at Paris, or London.
FLORENCE, 8th.—The approach is imposing, and prepares one for the grandeur and beauty of a town that
surpasses my expectations; much as they had been raised by the various descriptions I had heard and read of it. A thousand associations of the olden time recur to memory on viewing this noble city. The Medici, those merchant princes to some few of whom Florence owed so much, from Cosimo, the Padre della Patria, to the licentious, depraved, and banished Alexander, seem to be brought before us with an identity that they never were invested with while we perused their histories in cold and distant lands. Through the streets which we now pass, paced many a brave and many a dark spirit, “ fit for treason, stratagem, and spoil ;” and many a branch of that family, the catalogue of whose crimes, as given by the old historians, forms one of the darkest that ever made a reader shudder. Here was born Catherine and Mary de Medici, whose ambition, and reckless mode of satisfying it, have furnished so many atrocities to the page of history; and here figured Bianca Capella, more fair than chaste, whose tragic death formed a dramatic sequel to her romantic story.
Here shone the lovely Eleonor of Toledo, niece to the grand duchess of that name, and wife to her profligate son, Don Pietro de Medici ; who, suspecting her virtue, removed her to Caffaggioli, a country residence of his family, and there plunged a dagger in the heart he had alienated from him by a series of actions of the most open depravity. This crime was acknowledged by Francisco, his brother, then reigning duke, to Philip of Spain, who took no steps to punish it; notwithstanding that the family of the murdered victim, and in particular the Duke of Alba, evinced their just abhorrence and indignation at the ruthless deed.
Here, too, dwelt the beautiful Isabella de Medici, daughter of Cosmo I., and wife to Paul Orsini, Duke of Bracciano. The rare personal attractions, and still more rare mental endowments, of this lovely and ill-fated woman, rendered her the universal favourite, as well as the acknowledged ornament of the Tuscan court. Fondly beloved by her father, he encouraged, rather than censured, her