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Chapter 20: Italy.—May to September, 1839.—Age, 28.

Leaving Paris April 20, and going by way of Lyons, Sumner embarked at Marseilles, May 3, by steamer for Naples. On the route he visited Genoa,1 Leghorn, and Pisa, and was kept a day at the unattractive port of Civita Vecchia. While at Naples, where he remained about twelve days, he visited the well-known points of interest,—the Museum, Lake Avernus, Misenum, Baiae, Capri, Pompeii, and Vesuvius. Leaving Naples May 20, and riding during the night, he had the next day his first view of St. Peter's from the Alban hills. That moment a darling vision of childhood and youth was fulfilled. No pilgrim ever entered the Imperial City with a richer enthusiasm,— not even Goethe, who, in his German home, could not, for some time before he crossed the Alps, look at an engraving of Italian scenery or read a Latin book, because of the pang they gave him. Here Sumner remained till the close of August. Rome and the Campagna have attractions at this season which are withheld in winter, and he always regarded the time of his sojourn there as well chosen.2 He afterwards referred to these days as the happiest of his whole European journey. Thence he went, by way of Siena, to Florence, where he passed a fortnight; and then with a vetturino to Bologna, Ferrara, Rovigo, Padua, and ‘across the plains of Lombardy alone, in a light wagon with a single horse, ’

1 See his description of Genoa, July 4, 1845, in ‘The True Grandeur of Nations:’ ‘She still sits in queenly pride as she sat then,—her mural crown studded with towers; her churches rich with marble floors and rarest pictures; her palaces of ancient doges and admirals yet spared by the hand of Time; her close streets thronged by a hundred thousand inhabitants,—at the foot of the Apennines as they approach the blue and tideless waters of the Mediterranean Sea, leaning her back against their strong mountain-sides, overshadowed by the foliage of the fig-tree and the olive, while the orange and the lemon with pleasant perfume scent the air where reigns perpetual spring. Who can contemplate such a city without delight?’—Works, Vol. I. p. 26.

2 Mr. Ticknor wrote to him, Dec. 3, 1839: ‘I agree with you about the season for seeing Italy. I have been there every month of the year except August, and give me the sunshine even at the expense of the heat.’

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