goes to the crazy piano and sits in the twilight playing, I too shall return with the shadows, and with a ghostly company gaze in at that I once called home-if I too shall wait and listen while the fire burns low, but none is beside it, only a woman sits by the window playing, not to any human listeners, but to those who stand in an unseen world, the threshold of which is bounded by an everlasting silence.

From Blackwood's Magazine.


IF to the lovers of art and to the painters, few cities are so fair and interesting as Florence, from its wealth of pictorial and architectural beauty, so are few cities more pleasantly situated, amid such varied and charming surroundings. When the life of the city tires, and the mind is satiated with admiring, there are delightful spots to retire to at no great distance from the city walls; on the mountain-sides of Fiesole and San Miniato may be found seclusions much loved by those who seek for repose, situated amid the most pic turesque scenery, with glorious perspectives; and to add to their charm, the whole district is very rich in historic associations.

If the epithet of the Magnificent is to be justified by the noble memorials of Lorenzo di Medici, which are to be found in every quarter of Florence, that of lover of the beautiful will be granted by those who visit the delightful sites the Medici selected for their summer residences on the slopes of Fiesole overlooking the valley of the Arno; but truly there is not a road from the city that does not lead to some objects of present beauty or of past interest, it may be a chateau which owes all its ornamentations, if not its foundation, to Leo X.; or, within a short drive, may be visited a castle rendered famous by the exploits of Sir John Hawkwood, one of those adventurers and freelances of the feudal times with whom life and war, property and plunder, were sy nonymous terms. It is hard to realize, as we wander in gardens of rare beauty, where even the wild flowers vie in color and perfume with the carefully tended produce of other lands where all nature conveys the impression of peace and repose that for decades of years these charming, sunny, fragrant, quiet spots were the scenes of deeds of violence, of

rapine and war and cruel persecutions. At Careggi, the view, from the terrace, of the Arno flowing through the variegated plain into the purple distance, with the long waving line of the Apennines glowing in the sunset, has a soothing influence on the heart, and is suggestive of anything rather than war and desolation; it was to this retreat that the Medici loved to retire from the storms of the city factions-it was here Cosmo died, and Lorenzo had the final interview with the great reformer and preacher, when Savonarola left him on his death-bed, "unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd," because he refused to restore the liberties of the Florentines. We can imagine the great prince, in the fulness of his glory, in this charming retirement, looking down on the city which owed so much of its magnificence and adornment to his own grandeur of conception and refined taste, and contemplating with grateful feelings the scene of his triumphs. The Medici had many other country residences, but Careggi is the one they preferred. The nearest to Careggi is the Villa Mozzi, which is full of arttreasures, and is appropriately at the pres ent time the property of a delightful artist and an admirable connoisseur, from which it takes its modern name of Spence. The prince, philosopher, and statesman was accustomed to invite to this villa (as the most conveniently situated) the most illustrious of the citizens, and the distinguished men who frequented his court. We can picture them on a summer's evening, at one time in grave discussion, at another in blissful idleness, watching the lights and shadows speeding across the fertile undulating vale, so rich in flowers and fruit that it well deserved the name of giardino, the garden. But to a beneficent ruler the signs of material prosperity on all sides must have afforded the greatest satisfaction.

The Medici were truly a great race, and worthy of rule, for not only did fortress and palace, church and tower, spring forth at their command, but they scattered seeds of good with lavish hand on all sides; and fertile crops and many a homestead proved that all their interest was not concentrated in the glory of the City of the Lily.

The one spot which at the present time possesses the greatest interest for trav ellers is situated on the same mountain ridge as the Villa Spence, but is ap proached by a different route. It is the famous castle of Vincigliata. The trav eller, to arrive there, passes by streams which have formed the subject of many of

Boccaccio's poems. At Fiesolano is a Buonacini, and finally it was possessed by farmhouse where Robert Dudley, Duke of the Albizzi, when it was permitted to fall Northumberland, son of Robert Dudley, into a state of decay. Fortunately it at Earl of Leicester, resided. In the imme-last was purchased by Mr. Temple diate vicinity is Majano, where Benedetto, Leader, who was already owner of a large the architect and sculptor, was born. He property in the vicinity of Fiesole. A built the Strozzi Palace, and has left beau-wide extent of hill and dale is comprised tiful memorials of his style and taste in within its limits, with a landscape of unthe Churches of Santa Maria Novella and rivalled beauty. The prospect on every Santa Croce. As one ascends the moun-side, as seen from the mountain heights, is tain-side and approaches the castle, on its such as the eye loves to rest on. Besides, lofty and rocky eminence, the view be- far and near are spots connected with the comes more and more striking. The whole great names recorded in Florentine hishill is covered with groves of pine and tory; the old tower, the still loftier turrets, ilex, while wild flowers of brightest col- of Bellosguardo, the ruins of Galle. And ors flourish on the undulating ground. then, in charming contrast to these historic That a scene so rich in its natural charms sites, there is, within a short distance, the should have won the sympathy of many a pleasing, graceful Majano, which has also poet, past and present, may well be imag-renewed the beauty of the past, under the ined.

Here whisper the tall pines to me so dear,
Here through the cypress boughs the
zephyrs sigh;
Here from the earth the bubbling fountains

And the pellucid waves reflect the sky.

same fostering, loving care that has created Vincigliata. It was one thing, in imagination and dreamlike fancy, to restore Vincigliata, and another seriously to undertake so great a work. It demanded a great study of old records and ancient edifices; for it was not an imitation of an old castle which was to be produced, but Vincigliata as it actually stood when exposed to the repeated assaults of foreign foes, or, more frequently, hostile neighbors. With this view great researches were made, and old plans were brought to light; and in all this work Mr. Leader was aided by a young man who resided in the Borghetto di San Martino, who from his earliest youth had taken a deep interest in historic and classic art, and made archæology his peculiar study. He had roamed all over the country, and was well acquainted with every interesting site and ruin. He died at the early age of thirty-eight-the age when the mind has matured its early impressions, and all the sympathies, studies, and imaginings of youth aid the work and the practical business of manhood. To this young man, Giuseppe Fancelli, this important and interesting work was intrusted. Vincigliata had been at one time a very cele brated fortress, and was strongly fortified, surrounded by massive walls and battlements. The lofty towers crowned the heights, from which the warders could distinguish any hostile army. It may be The earliest historic record which ex- well imagined that they had no easy post ists of the Castle of Vincigliata dates from when life was an incessant warfare; espe the eleventh century. At that time it be- cially in the fourteenth century Vincigliata longed to the family of Visdomini, a name was subjected to many an attack, and many still associated with one of the oldest a celebrated adventurer had to beat a rechurches in Florence. The castle passed treat before the stubborn resistance he from the Visdomini into the family of the experienced. It must be remembered

But Vincigliata is not only remarkable for its grandeur of situation, and the combined sternness and softness of its surrounding scenery, but on account of its associations with the feudal times; and it is very rarely that we have an opportunity of seeing an old castle exactly as it was. We are indebted for this architectural treat to the admirable taste, skill, and knowledge of Mr. Temple Leader, who has long since settled at Florence, and who brought to this labor of love all the qualities which are developed by a residence among objects of beauty, and a perfect knowledge of architectural detail. In the admirable "Life of Mr. Hope Scott," Mr. Leader (who was one of the remarkable young men who awakened so much interest in Christ Church in 1830) writes to his friend Mr. Hope Scott, and insists on success in every undertaking requiring "a head to plan and a heart to execute. This head and heart Mr. Leader brought to Vincigliata, and fortunately he found a heart and head to carry out his plans, and the result has been a work of abiding interest.

that these soldiers of fortune, who sold as much from commercial as from military their services, were no mean foes. Sir causes. The middle of the fourteenth John Hawkwood,* already mentioned, commanded the army at Florence at the time of the Alassandri, when by his sagacity and audacity he on more than one occasion preserved Florence from a great disaster.

century was especially a period of great speculation, and of much suffering to many of the most illustrious houses; the Bardi, the Anciaioli, the Mozzi, the Peruzzi, were all struck down. It was at this date that commenced the decay of the The ruined castles, and the numerous great fortress of Vincigliata, and that the relics of the past, which are found on the noble pile was permitted to fall into ruin, mountain summits of the Apennines, bear until there was little left to bear testimony testimony in their decay, not so much to to its former magnificence. When Giuthe strength and skill of the repeated at-seppe Fancelli commenced this great detacks to which they were exposed (for in sign, it was after a conscientious study of many cases they were impregnable, before old Italian castles, and a great knowledge the invention of artillery), but, unfor- of the annals of Italian history. He had tunately, to the neglect of their owners, wandered over many a battle-field and visarising mainly from the reverses which ited many a crumbling ancient hall, and the great families from time to time expe- was intensely interested in his work. He rienced. Most of the illustrious Italian was so fortunate as to find drawings of houses were connected with trade; this the castle as it had been restored by the was a characteristic of the great republic Usimbardi ; from these he was enabled to at least one member of each family was discover the line of the ancient walls, and enrolled in some guild or mercantile cor- remove all the earth and rubble - the acporation. This connection with trade in cumulations of centuries. For not only no degree diminished the refinement of were all the outworks, and the foundataste or the love of the beautiful of the tions, and the exterior defences, mostly most illustrious of the Florentines. On buried under earth and rubbish, but even the contrary, the merchant princes, with the remains of the towers, the halls, and the richest products of other climes, ruined stairs were hid, or, where exposed gained much experience and art-knowl- to view, were worn away by decay. Trees edge, which found their expression in the had taken root in courts once the scene of noble works and the adornment of their princely festivities. The whole place, cities. But there was one evil result of when Mr. Leader commenced his operathis association of nobility of race and tions, was very picturesque a favorite commercial pursuits, that it rendered their resort for the poet and artist- but very prosperity very precarions; the frequent hopeless, if regarded with the view of rerevolutions in the Italian republics arose construction. Mr. Leader had to aid him, not only the intrinsic merit and skill of the young architect, but the deep interest in all natural works of art, in the love of the beautiful, which is a possession of the Italian people, and which Fancelli possessed in a pre-eminent degree. If the great painters, architects, sculptors, who created the kingdom of art in Italy, have not transmitted their creative powers to the present generation, their wonderful productions are studied to such advantage that the appreciation of merit exists in all classes. There may not be now a Brunelleschi, a Tasso, a Leonardo da Vinci, still the people look with admiring gaze on the vast unsurpassed tower of Brunelleschi which crowns the City of the Lily. Tasso is not unknown to the peasant, and (Byron notwithstanding) his verse is still sung by the gondoliers in the stillness of a Venetian evening; and the tribune of the Florence Gallery is not unfrequently crowded by even the lowest classes, who possess

• Among all the condottieri of the fourteenth century none was more remarkable than Hawkwood, for his works of charity as well as for his military exploits. Among other good deeds he founded a hospital at Rome for the poor sick English. He first became famous in the war with France, when his regiment laid Provence waste; and he was subsequently hired by the Pisans in 1363, to assist them against Florence at the cost of forty thousand florins for four months' service. Villari speaks of him "as this great master of war, of a deep and cunning nature." Muratori says, "He was a most distinguished and courteous captain (un brigante di primo ordine)." Francis Sacchetti remarks: There was little peace in Italy during his life, which lasted longer than any other commander's." His soldiers were called the Compagnia Bianca (the White Company), from the color of their plumes, their banners, and their scarves; their armor shone like brilliant mirrors and dazzled their foes; they carried scalingladders with them, which enabled them to reach the loftiest battlements. I do not believe," says Piero Farnese, "that Cæsar had any troops to equal Hawkwood's Compagnia Bianca.""They are magnificent robbers and freebooters," exclaims II Pache Azario.

In 1375 this remarkable man made terms of peace his great renown. He became master of numerous estates and castles, at San Donato, Montecchio, Pozziboni, Conguola. He died at Florence in 1394, and was buried in Santa Maria dei Fiori with extraordinary honors.

with Florence, where he received a welcome worthy of

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the deepest sympathy with grand master- Guelphs and the Ghibellines, the Neri and pieces, and no mean knowledge of the the Bianchi, afforded plenty of occasion principles of art. This admirable popular for the feudal chiefs to burnish their arms taste was well proved recently in the pub- and prepare for combat; and if there was lic fêtes given last spring at the uncover- any repose from the great State and party ing of the facciata of the cathedral.* The conflicts, there were never wanting private historical pageant was no mere vulgar feuds and vendettas to arouse the passions show, but a most accurate and picturesque and keep the sword unsheathed. When representation of the Middle Ages. While no high causes of dissension arose, annorthern nations, on any public festivity, cient feuds were ever being renewed. satisfy their love of the beautiful by gaudy may be truly said of all northern Italy decorations and a display of signal flags, more especially, "Quis non nostro santhe southern people enter into the true guine pinguior campus?" The highest spirit of any grand ceremonial; no vulgar education was to be a true and faithful folornamentation is acceptable to them. An lower of a worthy chieftain the more historic pageant in an Italian town is really reckless and ruthless the better. Vinto have the past brought vividly before cigliata possessed a formidable rival in the the people. The humblest classes are Castle di Poggio, which was situated on acquainted with the history of their native one of the summits of the Monte Cecesi. land, and are proud of everything which This fortress, from the earliest days, was is in any way associated with its great- considered one of the strongest in the Apennines. Unfortunately it aroused the jealousy of the Florentine Signoria, who in 1343 gave orders for its destruction. However, it was able to make a noble defence against the arms of the republic. The siege was of long duration, and the assailants were frequently driven back. At last the gallant band of defenders were surrounded and starved into surrender; and when the stern old tower was laid low, Vincigliata was left in its solitary grandeur on its rocky height.


It was this spirit which greatly aided Mr. Leader in carrying out his noble idea. It influenced all the workmen employed under Giuseppe Fancelli at Vincigliata, where in the completed work the olden feudal time is well represented to the imagination — not alone by the greatness of the conception and its admirable execution, but by its accuracy in every detail; even the very frescoes which adorned the walls of the noble halls have been reproduced with singular fidelity. As the road winds up the steep mountain-side, the visitor begins to realize the labor and cost of this remarkable undertaking. The castle stands on a plateau of rock, in a most commanding situation for defence. Most of these massive fortresses were erected, as far as possible, in almost inaccessible sites - not only for prolonged defence, but because they were the centres of protection for all the dependants and retain


These fortresses, like our old Border towers, were in general surrounded by large courts, where the frightened peasants could take refuge whenever a raid was made by ruthless freebooters on their flocks and herds. In our Border land, however, these occasions were comparatively rare, whereas the castles on the Apennines were frequently full of armed hosts and terrified villagers. A republic is not in general a peaceful form of gov ernment. It has been well said, "People like wars more than kings." The Italian republics were scarcely ever at rest. The

See The Restorers of Florence (LIVING AGE, No. 2245, p. 36).

It must not be imagined that even in these feudal times, while there was so much war, havoc, and ruin without, there were no sweetnesses and graces of life within these gloomy castles. If martial strains echoed through the windings of the mountain passes, gentle voices were still heard in the garden and terraces. All palaces and castles, and even the strongest fortresses or lonely watch-towers, possessed a loggia, which afforded a grateful shelter from the sun, and from the violent storms whenever they swept down the mountain slopes. There on an evening the families and their guests would meet together and enjoy the happiness of repose after the tumult of the city parties and factions, gazing on the mountains, bright in their varied coloring, and many a homestead embosomed in the deep woods

Longique Volumina,
Despicit Arni.*

"And let us from the top of Fiesole,
Whence Galileo's glass by night observed
The phases of the moon, look round below
On Arno's vale;

While many a careless note is sung aloud,

The Arno rippling through the rich Cam-
pagna must have been a charming scene.
The grand Signoria fitly represented the
dignity of the proud republic; their pic-
turesque dress, such as poets have loved
to describe and painters to depict, was
admirably adapted to the scene. Here
were gathered together refined and deli-
cate châtelaines, and "dark-daired youths,
with large unquiet eyes;" here were
heard in the stillness of the night the lute
and guitar, the song and the madrigal.
We can also imagine that the "lenesque
sub noctem susurri," in the flowery glade,
might be heard by the attentive listener.
Moreover, we read that in the rare times
of peace and repose, not unfrequently
these loggias were brilliantly illuminated,
and from the far distance long lines of
light marked the outline of the battle-
ments and turrets; this was especially in
the early spring, when flowers and fruits
might be gathered in profusion. We can
picture how, on a warm summer night,
cavalcades of richly dressed ladies, and
cavaliers, accompanied by torch-bearers
and minstrels and pages, approached the
walls, winding their way through the nar-
row, rocky defile; at such a time the
"bruised arms 99
were hung upon the
walls, the merry carouse succeeded to the
tumult of war, the rich armor and the glit-
tering helmet were replaced by the gay
doublet and the plumed hat, the stern
alarums changed to merry meetings, the
feudal banquet in the baronial hall for the
joyous, festive revel.

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whole place and all the detail of its ornamentation faithfully represent the old times. It is said, and truly, that the nature and character of a man may be known by the style of the house which he builds; and the observation is a just one -whether we look at the plain, unadorned square mansion of the practical man of business, the beautiful abbey of the Elizabethan period, the feudal castle on the Rhine, the grace and grandeur of the French Renaissance. Here, then, the lives of the Italian chiefs may be studied, in the armory, the chapel, the hall of San Bernardo, so called from the frescoes which were taken from the church dedicated to San Bernardo, from the Convent of La Via della Scala. The great hall leads to large, lofty rooms with vaulted ceilings and narrow windows, affording little light or air. They cannot be said to represent modern comfort. An interesting little work on Vincigliata says truly: "Come abitazione Vincigliata non sarebbe certamente gradita dappoichè gli ambienti principali sono troppo oscuri anzi melanconici il vano destinato al passaggio troppo ristretto.' Few people, excepting those in the happy age of youthful romance, would care to reside in the stern old tower of other days; for here there is no sham-all is real, as if it had been transmitted unchanged through a long line of feudal chiefs; even whatever furniture it contains is in the style of its age. Had it been intended to serve as a residence at any time, it would of course have been very different as at Alnwick or at ArunIt was thus with a keen perception of del, the adaptation of the old style to the the merits of the subject that Fancelli requirements of the day, and the union of commenced what has proved to be his age and youth in the building, might, if master work. He had first to clear away attempted, have been equally successful. all the débris, the inevitable accumulation But the object aimed at in Vincigliata was of neglect, of time, and decay. He then no selfish one; it was a generous desire rebuilt the outer circle of walls, so strong to confer on the public an accurate repreand massive that even now they would sentation of the thirteenth-century archistand a lengthened siege, unless the at-tecture. So in carrying out this idea not tacking force was provided with artillery. the minutest detail has been omitted; as After passing the outer walls, we find ourselves in a garden, the bright and variegated colors contrasting with the grey stone of which the castle is built. Here there is a lofty watch-tower, from whence a splendid prospect expands to the view; a great gate leads into an inner court, which contains many objects of interest. Those who can venerate the past by the study of its remains, here will find full opportunity for gratifying their taste. The

Filling the air with sweetness.

Beautiful Florence! all within thy walls,
Thy groves and gardens, pinnacles and towers,
Drawn to our feet."- Roza's Italy.

already remarked, even the frescoes on the walls are, so far as they can be traced, precisely similar to those which decorated them in the past; these are mostly battle scenes, records of the chivalrous deeds of the great feudal lords. Yet in a few apartments are not wanting evidences that gentler qualities were found in those stern warriors; charming faces are seen on some of the walls, which, as they beamed on the gallant knights, must have taught them other lessons than those of war. Vincigliata has become a real museum of the Middle Ages. There may be seen not only the history of the families who in

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