Besides the civilities shewn us here by Mr. Bonaldi and his agreeable lady, Signora Annetta, we were recommended by letters from the Venetian resident at Milan, to Abate Toaldo, professor of astronomy; who wished to do all in his power to oblige and entertain us. His observatory is a good one; but the learned amiable scholar, who resides in the first floor of it, complained to us that he was sickly, old, and poor; three bad qualifications, as he observed, for the amusement of travellers, who commonly arrive hungry for novelty, and thirsty for information. His quadrant was very fine, the planetarium or orrery quite out of repair; and his references of course were obliged to be made to a sort of map or chart of the heavenly bodies (a solar system at least with comets) that hung up in his room as a substitute. He had little reverence for the petrefactions of Monte Bolca I perceived, which he considered as mere lufus naturae. He shewed me poor Petrarch’s tomb from his observatory, bid me look on Sir Isaac’s full-length picture in the room, and said, the world would see no more such men. Of our Maskelyne, however, no man could speak with more esteem, or expressions of generous friendship. His sitting chamber was a pleasant one; and I should not have left it so soon, but in compassion to his health, which our company was more likely to injure than assist. He asked me, if I did not find Padua la dotta a very stinking nasty town? but added, that literature and dirt had long been intimately acquainted, and that this city was commonly called among the Italians, "Porcil de Padua,” Padua the pig-stye.
Fire is supposed to be the greatest purifier, and Padua has gone through that operation twice completely, being burned the first time by Attila; after which, Narses the famous eunuch rebuilt and settled it in the year 558, if my information is good: but after her protector’s death, the Longobards burned her again, and she lay in ashes till Charlemagne restored her to more than original beauty. Under Otho she, like many other cities of Italy, was governed by her own laws, and remained a republic till the year 1237, when she received the German yoke, afterwards broken by the Scaligers; nor was their treacherous assassination followed by less than the loss both of Verona and this city, which was found in possession of the Emperor Maximilian some years after: but when the State of Venice recovered their dominion over it in 1409, they fortified it so strongly that the confederate princes united in the league of Cambray assaulted it in vain.
Santa Giustina’s church is the most beautiful place of worship I have ever yet seen; so regularly, so uniformly noble, uncrowded with figures too: the entrance strikes you with its simple grandeur, while the small chapels to the right and left hand are kept back behind a colonade of pillars, and do not distract attention and create confusion of ideas, as do the numerous cupolas of St. Anthony’s more