Rollo in Naples by Jacob Abbott

Rollo in Naples by Jacob Abbott 2396

Rollo in Naples by Jacob Abbott 1803-1879 CONTENTS. CHAPTER I.- -THE VETTURINO, II.- -CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS, III.- -THE JOURNEY, IV.- -SITUATION OF NAPLES, V.- -PLANNING THE ASCENSION, VI.- -GOING UP, VII.- -THE SUMMIT, VIII.- -POMPEII, IX.- -THE MUSEUM, X.- -THE STREETS, XI.- -AN EXCURSION, XII.- -THE ORANGE GARDENS, ROLLO IN NAPLES. CHAPTER I. THE VETTURINO. If ever you make a journey into Italy, there is one thing that you will like very much indeed; and that is the mode of travelling that prevails in that country. There are very few railroads there; and though there are stage coaches on all the principal routes, comparatively few people, except the inhabitants of the country, travel in them. Almost all who come from foreign lands to make journeys in Italy for pleasure, take what is called a _vetturino_. There is no English word for _vetturino_, because where the English language is spoken, there is no such thing. The word comes from the Italian word _vettura_, which means a travelling carriage, and it denotes the man that owns the carriage, and drives it wherever the party that employs him wishes to go. Thus there is somewhat the same relation between the Italian words _vettura_ and _vetturino_ that there is between the English words _chariot_ and _charioteer_. The Italian _vetturino_, then, in the simplest English phrase that will express it, is a _travelling carriage man_; that is, he is a man who keeps a carriage and a team of horses, in order to take parties of travellers with them on long journeys, wherever they wish to go. Our word _coachman_ does not express the idea at all. A coachman is a man employed by the owner of a carriage simply to drive it; whereas the vetturino is the proprietor of his establishment; and though he generally drives it himself, still the driving is only a small part of his business. He might employ another man to go with him and drive, but he would on that account be none the less the vetturino. The vetturino usually takes the entire charge of the party, and provides for them in every respect,- -that is, if they make the arrangement with him in that way, which they generally do, inasmuch as, since they do not, ordinarily, know the language of the country, it is much more convenient for them to arrange with him to take care of them than to attempt to take care of themselves. Accordingly, in making a journey of several days, as, for example, from Genoa to Florence, from Florence to Rome, or from Rome to Venice, or to Naples, the vetturino determines the length of each day's journey; he chooses the hotels where to stop, both at noon and for the night; he attends to the passports in passing the frontiers, and also to the examination of the baggage at the custom houses; and on arriving at the hotels he orders what the travellers require, and settles the bill the next morning. For all this the travellers pay him one round sum, which includes every thing. This sum consists of a certain amount for the carriage and horses, and an additional amount of about a dollar and a half or a dollar and three quarters a day, as agreed upon beforehand, for hotel expenses on the way. Thus, by this mode of travelling, the whole care is taken off from the traveller's mind, and he has nothing to do during the daytime but to sit in his carriage and enjoy himself, and at night to eat, drink, sleep, and take his comfort at the hotel. It was at Florence that Mr. George and Rollo first commenced to travel with a vetturino. They came to Florence by steamer and railway; that is, by steamer to Leghorn, and thence across the country by railway. Florence is a very pretty place, with the blue and beautiful River Arno running through the middle of it, and ancient stone bridges leading across the river from side to side. The town is filled with magnificent churches and palaces, built, some of them, a thousand years ago, and all so richly adorned with sculptures, paintings, bronzes, and mosaics, that the whole world flock there to see them. People go there chiefly in the winter. At that season the town is crowded with strangers. A great many people, too, go there in the winter to avoid the cold weather which prevails at that time of the year, in all the more northerly countries of Europe. There is so little winter in Florence that few of the houses have any fireplaces in them except in the kitchen. When there comes a cold day, the people warm themselves by means of a jug or jar of earthen ware, with a handle passing over across the top, by which they carry it about. They fill these jars half full of hot embers, and so carry them with them wherever they want to go. The women, when they sit down, put the jar under their dresses on the floor or pavement beneath them, and the men place it right before them between their feet. You will see market women and flower girls sitting in the corners of the streets in the winter, attending to their business, and keeping themselves warm all the time with these little fire jars; and artists in the palaces and picture galleries, each with one of them by his side, or close before him, while he is at work copying the works of the great masters, or making drawings from the antique statues. There is another very curious use that the people of Florence make of these jars; and that is they warm the beds with them when any body is sick, so as to require this indulgence. You would think it very difficult to warm a bed with an open jar filled with burning embers. The way they do it is this: they hang the jar in the inside of a sort of wooden cage, shaped like a bushel basket, and about as large. They turn this cage upside down, and hang the jar up in it by means of a hook depending inside. They turn down the bed clothes and put the cage in it, jar of coals and all. They then put back the bed clothes, and cover the cage all up. They leave it so for a quarter of an hour, and then, carefully turning the clothes down again, they take the jar out, and the bed is warmed. But to return to Mr. George and Rollo. They engaged a vetturino for the first time at Florence. Mr. George had gone to Florence chiefly for the purpose of examining the immense collections of paintings and statuary which exist there. Rollo went, not on account of the paintings or statues,- -for he did not care much about such things,- -but because he liked to go any where where he could see new places, and be entertained by new scenes. Accordingly, while Mr. George was at work in the galleries of Florence, studying, by the help of catalogues, the famous specimens of ancient art, Rollo was usually rambling about the streets, observing the manners and customs of the people, and watching the singular and curious scenes that every where met his eye. The reason why there are so many paintings and sculptures in Italy is this: in the middle ages, it was the fashion, in all the central parts of Europe, for the people to spend almost all their surplus money in building and decorating churches. Indeed, there was then very little else that they could do. At the present time, people invest their funds, as fast as they accumulate them, in building ships and railroads, docks for the storage of merchandise, houses and stores in cities, to let for the sake of the rent, and country seats, or pretty private residences of various kinds, for themselves. But in the middle ages very little could be done in the way of investments like these. There

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