From Rome to Florence. As we travelled north from Rome, the scenery changed. The hills grew into mountains & there wasn’t much cultivation. We saw hardly any flowers. But because we saw no flowers, it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any colour _ No! If anything there was more colour than we should find in many flowers. The hills were brown &, as the sun went down, changed into many shades of blue. The grass was a brilliant green in some places, mixed with various other shades of green & also blue in the shadows. And the sky was bright blue dotted with little white clouds, &, over the hills it looked as if there would be a storm _ the clouds were black & grey outlined with silver & gold. In one place, to add to the scene,there was a small lake _ bright blue, nestled away in the valley. In what flowers could one find more colour _ or even colours more soft & beautiful than those of these Italian hills & valleys? As we passed on, we noticed lots of things different from England _ & even Rome. Children played about bare foot _ women carried their loads on their head & the only domestic animals we saw were pigs, sheep & cattle with very long horns_* These bulls were used always instead of horses. They drew the ploughs & carts & did everything that our horse would do. Sometimes a mule or ass was used instead of the bull _ or perhaps with a bull. I only saw one horse in the whole time I was on the journey which lasted 4 1/2 hours. We saw the peasants in their native costume. We passed little villages & towns on the hills. At 5.45 we arrived in at the lovely station of Florence.
*See photo of the page for Peggy’s drawing of a bull with long horns.
The Colosseum is the biggest theatre in the world. It is an old Roman ruin. Inside there are great stones in the form of tiers. One can see the places under the floor where animals were kept, & the Royal box. There is no roof to the Colosseum.
The Tower Fra Angelo was built by the emperor Hadrian. It is a big round tower standing on the River Tiber & next to the Palace of Justice. The tower stands almost whole. It is made famous for its entrance into the opera “Tosca.” At one time it was a prison & the prisoners were thrown into the river. One can see some of the rooms in the tower, which are as they were in the way of decoration & furnature[sic] From the top one gets a lovely view over Rome.
The Pantheon is an old Roman church. It consists of only one big dome. The root of which is open. Part of the floor is wet, where the rain has fallen. At the Panthéon is the tomb of the painter Raphaël.
From Rome to the tomb of the Curias We took a carriage at the Colosseum & went out of Rome for a drive in the country. The day was sunny & hot & the sky was blue. The scenery was lovely. We passed the Roman baths & the Palace of the Emperor Augustus. At the little church of Quo Vadis we stopped & went in. It is a tiny place and very beautiful. On the floor there is a square, raised block of mantle in which there are 2 footprints sunk in. These footprints are suppose [sic] to be those of Jesus when he descended, after the Resurrection, to St Peter in this church. There is a piece of the original floor which still stands & where St Peter was supposed to have walked. We left Quo Vadis & went on in the carriage to an old ruined castle. There was nothing much to be seen here. We only saw some Roman skulls in a case. After the castle we didn’t stop until we reached the tomb of the Curias. On our way we passed the Catacombes [sic] of St Sebastian & the tomb of the Horaces. The country was very flat with the sea in the distance on our right & (a long way off) hills on our left. We saw lots of ruins of old aquiducts [sic] dotted about over the fields. In the hills there was the town of Tivoli, but we didn’t have time to go there. Our road passed through an avenue of pine trees, one of which is famous in photos & that has been painted by Turner & other painters. These pine trees have queer shapes. They are tall with a flat top_____* On our return journey we passed through villages which were very poor & miserable. We reach the Colosseum again at 6.15 after a ride of nearly 4 hours. And as we left a wonderful afternoon behind us, so we will leave Rome to continue our way to Florence.
*See the photo of the page for Peggy’s drawing of one of the pine trees.
These is the final Sketch of the Week post, as it is the last of the drawings I have by Peggy. This week in 1937, she sketched ‘The David’, by Michelangelo, in Florence. She has signed it ‘Betty Newgass’. Peggy was known as Betty for most of her life.
Rome & what we saw. Rome is the capital of Italy. Nearly all the houses are old Roman Palaces & where-ever you go you’ve got the Roman ruins all around you. The different Forums of Roman times still exist & the big Colosseum, churches & lots of other places. St Peter’s Cathederal [sic] is more modern, built in the 16th century. Michaelangelo, at the age of 24 years made the wonderful statue of St Pietro which is also found in St Peter’s. There is another church with another well-known statue by Michaelangelo _ The Moses. In the same church there is a case in which are the chains with which St Peter was bound. The Forum is the most interesting place in Rome. It is very big & all the ruins are left in there [sic] original place. There are ruins of temples, villas, churches, gardens & triumphal arcs. One of the temples is still complete. In many places the original floor of mosaïc is still there & one bit is well preserved which still holds its bright colours. On a wall, one can see little coloured birds which were also painted by the Romans. There are wells also, one of which shows two marks where the cord of the vessel rubbed away the stone. In the middle of the Forum stand the three famous pillars of an old temple. In one corner of the Forum is the first Christian church ever built. This church has been preserved quite well. All over the place, one sees cases with relics of the Romans. In some cases there are skulls too. In the middle of the Forum one can see the place where Julius Caesar spent his last night. There is another Forum close to the Grand Forum _ The Forum of the Trajans. This is much smaller than the other. There are the ruins of a small temple in it & other ruins. Near to the Forum there is the church in which St Peter was imprisoned. The cell is a tiny little place, dark & dirty. There is the stone there to which St Peter was tied & also a small cull in the wall where his head was supposed to have laid.
St Peters Cathederal [sic] is the most holy church in the world. It is the Church of the Pope. It is very big & very beautiful with works by the great cheifs [sic] of art _ Michaelangelo, Raphael & Bellini. There is a very big modern monument made in white marble in Rome. It is the monument to Victor Emmanuel II. It took 7 years to construct. There are statues there of bronze with a coating of gold. It stands in the Piazza Venizia [sic] & on two sides there are the Roman Forums. In front of the monument is the Palace of Il Duce. From the top of the steps, one can get a lovely view over Rome. One can see St Peter’s, the Palace of Justice, the King’s Palace, the tower of Fra Angelo.
Vintimillia* Vintimilia is the border town of France & Italy. It is quite a small town, situated on the Mediterranean. There is a little river which meets the sea at Vintimillia. The town is the centre of a very fertile country & therefore there is a lot of flowers & fruit there.
*Correct spelling is Ventimiglia
Genoa The town of Christopher Columbus. It is quite a big town with a big monumtent of Columbus. The streets are very narrow & dirty. Genoa is a big port on the Mediterranean sea.
Nice was not yet awake when we left by the 6. o.clock train. We followed the sea in the train which looked simply lovely _ red with the rising sun. On our left the mountains & villas where (were) also of a lovely rose hue. All along the gardens where (were) bright with flowers & trees. Upon the walls of the villas hung whisteria[sic]. We saw avenues of palm trees & cacti & fields of orange & lemon trees. Our first stop was Monte-Carlo, where one can get a view of the Casino from the train. We stopped again at the Cap Martin & Menton. At Vintimille we left France & found ourselves in Italy. We spent an hour in this frontier town. We set off again at about 8.o.clock. Gradually the soil that is so vertile[sic] on the Riviera, diserpeared[sic]. We passed fields and fields of carnations. We were still following the sea. The mountains got smaller as we went south. We stopped again and changed trains at Genoa. We were 2 hours here. We had some lunch and then went to look at the shops. At 2.50 we were off again. We were travelling fast. The train stopped at quite a lot of stations. We passed through Carraras, famous for its marble. We stopped at Pisa & were able to see the leaning tower from the train. After Pisa, the sun went down _ a lovely red ball inflaming the sky. We tried to sleep a little. At 12.o.clock midnight, we reached Rome. The journey took 18 hours.
Monaco. Monaco is a town built on a Rock jutting out to sea. Although it is on the Riviera, it has (with Monte-Carlo) a Principality of its own. The Prince has his palace there. There is a cathederal[sic] & a museum at Monaco. The museum is Oceanographic & the biggest in the world of its kind, it was founded by Albert 1st in 1919. Albert 1st was the reigning Prince of Monaco at the time. Monaco has also its own stamps, soldiers & police force. The soldiers are dressed in blue & red uniforms & very picturesque.
Monte-Carlo Monte-Carlo is the only other town in the principality of Monaco. It is situated at the foot of the rock on which Monaco is built, & spreads along the coast. At Monte-Carlo there is the world’s most famous Casino. From the terraces of this Casino there is supposed to be one of the finest views in the world _ over looking the mediterranean[sic] & the rock of Monaco. One can see the Italian frontier also from Monte-Carlo. There are the most beautiful gardens full of bright coloured flowers & trees. There is only one thing that keeps Monte-Carlo from being most probably the happiest & sunniest town in the world _ & that is the Casino, where people go to throw away their money on gambelling[sic]. Monte-Carlo is 40 mins bus ride from Nice, & the road follows the coast the whole way along.
Gourdon. Gourdon is a very small village built on the very top of a mountain. On three sides of it there are cliffs which descend into a valley – the valley of the river Loup. On the fourth side, the mountain descends in an escarpment. There is a road running up the mountain _ which zig-zags all the way up. This road is known as Le Chemin de Paradise. From Gourdon one has a lovely view over the mediterranian[sic] & the neibouring[sic] mountains. One can distinguish, also, Cannes, Juan Les Pins, Nice & other towns & villages. This village is very isolated & rather wild. There is a sweet little church there & a small “château”.
Tourettes sur Loup. This is a little village built on the lava of an old volcano. The lava has formed rocks and this village is built on the edge of a precipice. Some of the houses are actually constructed in the rock.
La saut du Loup. Where the River Loup falls to a lower level. They are big waterfalls & simply lovely. The water is all churned up with the force & rapidity with which the water falls. The light on the spray forms a rainbow.
Grasse. Grasse is a town in the mountains. It is the centre of the well known perfumeries. There are some fountains there made of perfume. One can see over the factories.
The Riviera of France is very beautiful at this time of year. The flowers are just coming out and the sun is hot. The Mediterranean is very blue & the rocks, which jut out of it are red. The houses on the small hills are usually white or of a bright colour, surrounded by palm trees. In the gardens, which are formed in steps down the hill sides, there are orange & lemon trees, fig trees, almond & olive trees, cactus & many bright flowers. On the walls of the houses there is whisteria [sic]. Everything is very beautiful & colourful. The Riviera is picturesque & the colours are bright beyond imagination until one has seen them. In the distance there are mountains & hills & on a clear day the snow caps of the Maritime Alps can be seen. The soil is red & very fertile. Some of the most picturesque of the towns are built on the mountains & hills. On going to Nice by train from Geneva _ One passes through _ Lyon, Vienne (in France), Avignon, Arle, Marseille, Toulon, Fréjus, St Raphael, Cannes, Juan les Pins, Antibes and Cagnes. The journey takes 7 1/2 hours.
Nice. One of the chief towns on the Riviera. It is quite big & full of Hotels. Lots of people of different nationalities go there & there are a lot of English people. The town spreads along the coast. There are quite a lot of public parks which are very pretty. The whole town is beautiful, with its flowers, cacti, palms and orange & lemon trees. There is a big casino. Along the sea front there is a long promenade. In the summer there are carnivals & at Easter, Nice goes gay with her famous Flower Carnival. There are trips to different places in the Riviera each day, in Charabancs*.
*Charabancs are horse-drawn or early motor coaches, usually open-topped, common in the early part of the 20th century.