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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

Former Modes of Travel in Italy

Former Modes of Travel in Italy.

The romantic Corniche Road, constructed by the first Napoleon Bonaparte, passes along the heights over Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, and other resorts, which are now so full of attractions and luxurious conveniences to health seekers, were but small places, with little accommodation, when I first visited Italy; but I think that the drive was far more interesting than the present railway route by the shore front; and travellers through Italy, from Genca to Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples, who, like myself, could not afford to provide a special conveyance, usually took seats in a carriage—"vettura"—and placed themselves under the care of the vetturino, who, for a moderate price, engaged to provide hotel accommodation and food for the whole journey agreed upon. Such means of travelling made but slow progress—about 30 miles a day—but the roads lay through populous districts, by towns and villages, affording lively sights of the people, their dwellings, and their picturesque costumes, which last are now almost entirely abandoned. In those days political feelings ran high, stem, and determined; the despotic Governments of Austria in Lombardy, page 63 and Venice, the Papal States, and the two Sicilies were in full tyraunic power. Brave, outspoken patriots were languishing in prisons and fortresses; one felt as if treading on a volcano, which, indeed, soon burst forth. Count Cavour, Garibaldi, and Victor Emanuel have changed all that, and Italy is now a united nation; its people are full of energy, and in Genoa and other great cities improvements have been vigorously carried out. Grand arcades of wide and lofty dimensions have taken the place of narrow and crowded streets, so that many thousands of people find shelter and space for exercise under glass in all weathers.