The praises of the magnificence and splendor of the Cathedral of Milan are sung all over the world. It is nearly 500 feet long and 250 feet wide through the transepts, covering an area of almost two acres and three quarters! The height of the nave is 150 feet! Its entire walls, and its pinnacles, spire and roof are all constructed of fine marble. The spire is over 350 feet high. The marble slabs constituting the roof are about three inches thick; how enormous the weight of that roof must be! Each of the 135 pinnacles or smaller spires is crowned with a statue, and throngs of others (some 4,500) ornament the outside of this magnificent building. The interior of this edifice is one of the most imposing in the world. As I looked at the rich decorations and delicate traceries of its high ceiling, 150 feet above me, I felt as if no human being could be worthy of enjoying such a magnificent view. But, “unless a language be invented full of lance-headed characters, and Gothic vagaries of arch and finial, flower and fruit, bird and beast,” the beauties and glories of the temples of Italy, and her unparalleled galleries of art, can never be described. From Milan I went to Vicenza, where I spent a sleepless night in skirmishes with the mosquitoes! The number and variety of obnoxious insects multiplies fearfully as one approaches the topical regions. Thence I went to
As I was very much disappointed with Venice, I shall not occupy much time in describing this daughter of the sea. The railway bridge which leads to this city is about two miles long. I expected that a city whose streets are canals and whose carriages are all boats, would present a very unique appearance, but when I once saw them, they were so exactly what I had anticipated, that I felt disgusted and left the city without doing justice even to the vast collection of paintings in the Ducal Palace, which alone is worth going a great distance to see.
The church of San Marco is one of the grandest and most wonderful structures in Italy, and I can only refrain from copying Ruskin’s very fine description of it, because his account, though true in every particular, would, to one who has never seen any of the architectural glories of Italy, seem more like the attempt of a poet to depict in glowing language the vagaries of a dream, than like the description of an edifice really in existance.
On the Piazza above the portal of San Marco, stand the celebrated bronze horses “which Constantine carried from Rome to Constantinople, whence Marino Zeno brought them hither in 1205; they were taken to Paris by Napoleon in 1797, but restored by the Allies in 1815.”
Venice to Bologna.