The sun had climbed towards the zenith, and shone full upon this fair city, as the yacht entered the harbor. Many of the buildings are white, five or six stories in height, with flat roofs covered with plants and shrubbery. If the weather is favorable the inmates resort at sunset to their roof-gardens to enjoy lovely views and the cool breezes from the bay.
The Spiaggia, a popular thoroughfare, is adorned with statues, and extends along the shore to the Tomb of Virgil, and the mole. It is crowded every evening with Neapolitans in equipages, some elegant, and some grotesque.
Two or three days were spent in studying the palaces and art galleries of Naples. Of special interest is the national Museo Borbonico, which is remarkable for its collection of antiquities. In the palmy days of Borne, Naples was a luxurious retreat for emperors and wealthy citizens of the great empire. Naples was the scene of a most disgraceful outrage in May, 1848, when it was plundered by the Lazzaroni, or Begging Community, and fifteen hundred lives were lost.
When the sight-seeing in Naples was completed Captain Hall offered to take the Harrises in his yacht back to Rome, but his offer was declined. Good-byes were cordially exchanged and the “Hallena” steamed south to Palermo, en route to Athens and other Levantine cities, while the Harrises took the express for Rome.
Leo was glad to see the “Hallena” steam away, and to be with Lucille aboard a train moving towards Rome. When the station in the eastern part of the city was reached, a carriage conveyed the Harrises along the Corso which at the hour of their driving was enlivened by many vehicles and foot-passengers.
Leo told Lucille of the popular festivals at Rome, especially of the Carnival that extends over several days, which consists of daily processions in the Corso, accompanied by the throwing of bouquets and comfits; the whole concluding with a horse race from the Piazza del Popolo to Piazza di Venezia, upwards of a mile. On the last, or the Moccoli evening, tapers are lighted immediately after sunset. Balconies most suitable for observing these animated scenes are expensive, but always in great demand, especially by tourists.
Colonel Harris took his family and Leo to an excellent hotel on the Piazza de Popolo. The weather being uncomfortably warm, it was decided to spend only a few days in the city, and go as soon as possible to the country. Leo was very familiar with Rome, ancient and modern, and he felt that weeks were absolutely necessary to study and comprehend the grandeur of a city that for so many centuries had been mistress of the world. He agreed with Niebuhr, “As the streams lose themselves in the mightier ocean, so the history of the people once distributed along the Mediterranean shores is absorbed in that of the mighty mistress of the world.”