Views a-foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 522 pages of information about Views a-foot.

Next to the Duomo, the most beautiful specimen of architecture in Milan is the ARCH OF PEACE, on the north side of the city, at the commencement of the Simplon Road.  It was the intention of Napoleon to carry the road under this arch, across the Piazza d’Armi, and to cut a way for it directly into the heart of the city, but the fall of his dynasty prevented the execution of this magnificent design, as well as the completion of the arch itself.  This has been done by the Austrian government, according to the original plan; they have inscribed upon it the name of Francis I., and changed the bas-reliefs of Lodi and Marengo into those of a few fields where their forces had gained the victory.  It is even said that in many parts which were already finished, they altered the splendid Roman profile of Napoleon into the haggard and repulsive features of Francis of Austria.

The bronze statues on the top were made by an artist of Bologna, by Napoleon’s order, and are said to be the finest works of modern times.  In the centre is the goddess of Peace, in a triumphal car, drawn by six horses, while on the corners four angels, mounted, are starting off to convey the tidings to the four quarters of the globe.  The artist has caught the spirit of motion and chained it in these moveless figures.  One would hardly feel surprised if the goddess, chariot, horses and all, were to start off and roll away through the air.

With the rapidity usual to Americans we have already finished seeing Milan, and shall start to-morrow morning on a walk to Genoa.



It was finally decided we should leave Milan, so the next morning we arose at five o’clock for the first time since leaving Frankfort.  The Italians had commenced operations at this early hour, but we made our way through the streets without attracting quite so much attention as on our arrival.  Near the gate on the road to Pavia, we passed a long colonnade which was certainly as old as the times of the Romans.  The pillars of marble were quite brown with age, and bound together with iron to keep them from falling to pieces.  It was a striking contrast to see this relic of the past standing in the middle of a crowded thoroughfare and surrounded by all the brilliance and display of modern trade.

Once fairly out of the city we took the road to Pavia, along the banks of the canal, just as the rising sun gilded the marble spire of the Duomo.  The country was a perfect level, and the canal, which was in many places higher than the land through which it passed, served also as a means of irrigation for the many rice-fields.  The sky grew cloudy and dark, and before we reached Pavia gathered to a heavy storm.  Torrents of rain poured down, accompanied with heavy thunder; we crept under an old gateway for shelter, as no house was near.  Finally, as it cleared away, the square brown towers of the old city rose above the trees, and we entered the gate through a fine shaded avenue.  Our passports were of course demanded, but we were only detained a minute or two.  The only thing of interest is the University, formerly so celebrated; it has at present about eight hundred students.

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Views a-foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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