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its grand and savage features on one side, with the deep blue of the Mediterranean sea, of which it seldom loses sight, on the other. It is carried along the shore round capes, on turning the sharp angles of which, the most exquisite prospects unexpectedly burst into view sometimes it ascends a spur of the Alps in order to avoid a détour, and then an extensive view is displayed of the long curve of the beach, with receding bays and advancing headlands stretching out one beyond another in the distance. Numerous antique towns, abounding in curious relics of architecture not yet described in any English work, stud the margin of the shore, and picturesque white latteen sails sparkle along the dark blue sea.
NICE. (Ital. Nizza.) Inns : Hôtel des Etrangers; Hôtel de York; Pension Anglaise; Hôtel de l'Europe.
Nice, a town of 20,000 inhabitants, is less remarkable for anything which it contains than for its situation on the shore of the Mediterranean, and at the foot of the Alps, which shelter it as with a wall from most of the cold winds, except the bise or west wind. All the rich vegetable productions of a southern climate-oranges, figs, olives, pomegranates. capers, myrtles, and even palm trees-flourish around, and in the open air. On account of these peculiar advantages of climate, it is annually resorted to by invalids in the winter season, and the English usually form a predominating colony here.
Nice is built on the banks of the river Paglione, and along the margin of a little bay it is provided with a small port and pier, at which the steamers to and from Marseilles and Genoa touch. The ground plan of the town is in the shape of a triangle. The language of the lower orders is a singular dialect, in which Latin, French, and some words of Teutonic origin are intermixed. The quarter called Croix de Marbre is that in which the English chiefly reside, though its situation is not well chosen for invalids a row of houses built under the shelter of the old castle, on the opposite side of the river, would be far preferable. Nice is most ́agreeable as a residence during the months of November, December, and January. In February, the Vent de Bise begins to blow, and drives away the invalids. Persons in bad health ought to avoid the heights above the town, which are much exposed to cold blasts from the Alps from these the town itself is sheltered.
The rocky eminence crowned by Fort Montauban, and bearing at the extreme point of the promontory a lighthouse, commands a very extensive and beautiful view all along the coast westward to Antibes, in France, and Cannes (where Lord Brougham and Sir Herbert Taylor have built themselves
villas), and eastward it extends to Mentone, and the picturesque castle of Monaco; the Island of Corsica, more than 90 miles off, is also visible in clear weather. On the east side of the promontory of Montalban lies the little town of Villa Franca, the place for quarantine, and a station for galley slaves, situated at the end of a nearly oval harbour, deep and large enough to hold 100 ships of the line, but exposed to the south, where it is entered by a narrow mouth. The east slope of the hill is so much more sheltered than even Nice, that aloes and lemon groves flourish in the open air atVilla Franca. Outside the bay there is a considerable Fishery of Tunny, which begins in April.
The eminent naturalist, M. Risso, who resides at Nice, has published a most valuable description of its geology, natural productions, etc.
Very pretty boxes, toys, etc., in the style of Tunbridge ware, and even larger articles for household furniture, are manufactured at Nice from the olive wood. From the wood of the fig tree, turned in the lathe, baked in a furnace, and covered with a black varnish, light cups, and other utensils capable of holding hot water, are formed. The stalks of the palm leaves are converted into walking-sticks.
The journey to Genoa along the Riviera may be performed in a light calèche, with post-horses, in 2 1/2 or even 2 days, halting at Oneglia. Few travellers, however, will be willing to pass over its interesting scenes in so hurried a manner. It is a country to be dwelt upon the artist may enrich his sketch-book at every step, and the architect or antiquary will find ample field for the most interesting researches. Persons travelling in a heavy carriage, which requires four horses, should be cautioned that in some places the road is steep and narrow, and runs along the verges of precipices, whose bases, 200 or 300 feet below, are washed by the Mediterranean parapets are not always provided in such spots; and, unless the horses are very quiet, and accustomed to the road, there is some danger. With a heavy carriage, the traveller should compel the postilion to drag down every hill, and the drag-staff should be let down always in ascending the hill; lest the horses should back over the precipice. With a light calèche there is little to fear on this score; and, indeed, since the opening of the road only one carriage has been overturned down the precipice. With Vetturino horses the journey may be made in four days, and may be thus advantageously divided. Start from Nice in the afternoon, or earlier to visit Monaco, and rest:
1st night at Mentone, where there is a very comfortable little inn.
2d, Oneglia-good inn.
3d, Savona-capital inn; and in the morning of the 4th, To Genoa.
A long and laborious ascent leads out of Nice to an elevation of 1500 or 1600 feet above the city. On this height the road is carried along for some distance; and offers a series of views of extraordinary beauty, extending over Nice and Villa Franca, which appear at the feet of the spectator; while, if he look back along the coast of France, he may discern the Estrelles, Cannes, Antibes, and the castle of the Iste Ste. Marguerite, the prison of the Man in the Iron Masque, and the Islands of Hyères, rising against the horizon. Further on the road, Eza appears below, singularly perched on a rock; and at the sea side, the castellated Monaco, also crowning a rocky promontory.
At Turbia (a corruption of Trophœa Augusti) stands the remarkable ruin of a Roman monument erected to commemorate the conquest of the various tribes of the Maritime Alps by Augustus; a design which would have long since been frustrated by the destruction of the inscription, had the fact not been recorded by Pliny. It is a vast circular structure surmounted by a tower. The village has been built out of its fragments and masses: the ground is strewn with blocks and inscriptions, and bas-reliefs are built into some of the walls.
We now enter the principality of Monaco, which, though only eight miles long by five broad, is yet governed by a sovereign prince, under the protection of Sardinia, who levies duties and taxes, and is occasionally very troublesome to travellers, by means of his douane and police officers. His revenues are derived chiefly from oranges and lemons, which grow abundantly in his territory. The principality was founded in the tenth century, in favour of the Grimaldi family; but when the male line became extinct, it descended through the females to the family of Matignon. The reigning prince resides chiefly at Paris.
Monaco, the capital, is a singular town, fortified, and containing 1200 inhabitants. It is built on an elevated rock, a promontory above the sea, on the shore of a little bay, on the right of our road. It is said to have been founded by Hercules, and was known to the ancients as "Portus Herculis Monœci." It has the honour of having been mentioned by Virgil. Close to the castle cactuses grow in profusion.
6 Mentone, also within the principality, is a much larger place, of 3000 inhabitants, provided with a port. Mentone. though counted 6 posts from Nice, is not more than 20 English miles distant.
Near Mentone a fine arch has been thrown across the
gorge of the Baussi Rossi, on the high road to Ventimiglia, The traveller should not fail to alight, enter a vineyard on the right hand close to the bridge, and examine this extraor dinary structure, in such a situation, it is called the Pont St. Louis.
1 1/2 Ventimiglia (Albium Intemelium). Inn: Hôtel de Turin. This small town has been recently fortified.
Near Bordighiera, and in other places along the coast, palm trees grow in the open air; but they will scarcely be recognised as such at first, owing to the practice of swathing their branches to protect their leaves, which form an important article of commerce, being exported to Rome and other large cities of Italy, to be used in the religious ceremonies of Palm Sunday.
3 St. Remy, or St. Remo, is a considerable town, of 11,000 inhabitants, situated on the slope of a hill. It exports large quantities of oil, dried fruits, and lemons.
2 1/4 St. Stephano. The scenery falls off in interest between Porto Maurizio and Oneglia. The route is chiefly on the shore, and is a wretched, uninteresting portion of the
2 3/4 Oneglia, a town of 5000 inhabitants, the birthplace of Andria Doria: it is famed for good oil. It was taken by the French in the campaign of 1792–4.
1 1/2 Albenga, a very ancient and interesting town. The Album Ingaunum of the Roman itineraries contains many interesting relics of the middle ages, such as a circular baptistery. Several remarkably lofty towers, and the whole of the ancient feudal fortifications still remain.
The streets of many of the old towns through which the road is carried are so narrow, that the walls of the houses on both sides are grooved by the marks of the axletree. From the scarcity of ports in some parts of the coast, vessels of 30 or 40 tons burden are drawn up high and dry on the beach. Several of the torrents descending from the Alps require to be forded; a process attended, at times, with some risk, owing to their sudden increase after rain: they subside, however, equally fast.
The views of the bay of Albenga, from either of its headland boundaries, are singularly beautiful.
The last hill on the road remains to be surmounted before reaching Finale. Its ascent is not less than three miles long, and the descent by zigzags, on the east side, two miles. To avoid this unnecessary labour, the government are at present constructing a new line close to the sea. In 1838, at least 400 workmen were employed in opening a tunnel through a part of the mountain for it to pass, and thus preserve its Jevel without ascent or descent.
3 Finale, a town of 7000 inhabitants.
Soon after leaving Finale, the road passes the western headland of the little bay of Noli, by a gallery cut in the rock, 500 feet long. The effect of looking from it, on emerging upon the deep blue sea, is very striking.
The little fishing town of Noli, once a republic! is supposed to be the Ad Navalia of Antoninus. The town is deeply embayed between the capes of Noli and Vado. The road round the latter is very fine to
Vado, which is passed a short while before reaching Savona; it was the Roman Vada Sabatia.
3 3/4 Savona.
Savona (Sabatium), an episcopal town of 12,000 inhabitants, was at one time the most important seaport on this coast next to Genoa, and excited the fear and jealousy of her citizens, who, to keep down so formidable a rival, ruined the harbour for a time by sinking two old vessels laden with stones at its mouth, in 1525. The French afterwards repaired the damage, and it is once more a flourishing port, carrying on a considerable export trade of sail-cloth, cables, soap, fruit, and lace. There are several fine churches here. The Duomo, richly decorated, contains paintings by Albano.
Between Savona and Genoa the magnificent new road is conducted on a perfect level, near the sea, partly along arched terraces, partly through cuttings and blastings by gunpowder in the solid rock. As a work of engineering, it is not surpassed on any alpine pass.
Cogureto, or Cogoleto, a humble village, would be passed unnoticed, except for a claim which it sets up of being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. The generally received opinion, founded on Columbus's will, is, that Genoa was the place where that great man first drew breath. Here, nevertheless, is shown the identical house by the sea side; and it is marked by more than one inscription to commemorate the fact. The will, it must be observed, does not express that he was born in the city of Genoa, but that he was a Genoese, "Siendo yo nacido in Genova,"-being, as the will was written in Spanish and in Spain, as applicable to the state as to the city. At Cogoleto the torrent Leone is crossed by a ford it is at times a dangerous stream, when swollen by rains.
4 1/2 Voltri.
The tall white tower of the lighthouse of Genoa, seen at a long distance off, announces the approach to that proud and stately city.
3 1/2 GENOA.
See Handbook for NORTHERN Italy.