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ROME-THE COUNTRY.

provinces an extended account will presently be given.

Southern Italy embraces all the lower part of the peninsula-the ankle

and foot of Italy. The natural boundary on the north is, on the Adriatic

coast, the river Frento, and on the Tyrrhenian sea the Silarus. The

mountain ranges in this part of the country sink gradually to lower

levels, and the plains have a wider extent. The Apulian district, next

the Mare Superum of the ancients, is a low lying country, spreading out

to the sea from the declining ridge of the Apennines. The Bruttian

region, however, is nearly all mountainous in character, and Lucania is

traversed from north to south by a range of no mean elevation. Around

the shores of the Gulf of Tarentum, especially on the north and west, a

multitude of streams gather their waters from the Italian instep-a plain

country of great fertility-and discharge into the sea.

The principal of the ancient states embraced within the limits of

Southern Italy were the greatly elongated province of Apulia on the

east, including its subdivisions of Daunia, Perecentia, Calabria, and

Iaphygia; Lucania on the west, and Bruttium on the south, the latter

being the foot of Italy. The sea coasts of these states are of the

greatest beauty and fertility, but the interior mountainous districts

are comparatively sterile and inaccessible. In Calabria, which

constitutes the heel of Italy, there is a great want of running streams,

but the proximity of the sea, strong rains and copious dews, renders the

region of superior fertility, in so much that Strabo represents it as

"bringing forth all things in great abundance."

As already intimated, the climate of Italy varies greatly with the

elevation of the particular district and its distance from the sea.

Considered as a whole, the country is one of the most beautiful in the

world. The condition of its sky and air was not dissimilar to that of

Greece. Though Italy, of all the European countries, has the greatest

annual rain- fall, yet the sky is the bluest and most beautiful to be

seen anywhere in the world. The atmosphere is singularly pure. The rains

come in storms of excessive severity. The rivers run a rapid course, and

under the influence of sudden hurricanes are swollen into floods, which

sweep all before them. But the atmosphere with the morrow clears to its

profoundest depths, and the beholder sees above him only the cerulean

curtains of the endless heaven.

The Alps and northern Apennines receive great quantities of snow. These,

with the approach of warm weather, melt and descend in yellow torrents,

which spread a layer of slime over the riverbeds and adjacent valleys.

The proximity of these snowy mountains to the surrounding seas tends

powerfully to temper and vary the climate and to adapt it to nearly all

the products of Central and Southern Europe.

The ancient Italian seers and bards were specially enthusiastic in their

praises of the loveliness of their native land. Ever and anon the verses

of Vergil respond harp-like as they are swept by the invisible fingers

of nature. Dionysius and Strabo, though little given to ecstasy and

rapture, take fire under the inspiration of Italian landscapes, and in

modern times the immortal verse of Byron has borne its rapturous

testimony to the splendor of this land of song and art:

"The clouds above me to the white Alps tend, And I must pierce them and

survey whatever May be permitted, as my steps I bend To their most great

and growing region, where The earth to her embrace compels the powers of

air.

Italia! O Italia! looking on thee, Full flashes on the soul the light of

ages,

Since the first Carthaginian almost won thee To the last halo of the

chiefs and sages Who glorify thy consecrated pages."

In fertility the plain of Campania possessed a soil which rivaled the

fecund valleys of Egypt and Babylonia. Along the lowlands of Apulia

olives grew, not surpassed by those of any other land under the sun. The

vineyards of Etruria, as well as those of the Falerian and Alban hills,

yielded such fabulous clusters of grapes as are said to have been

brought out of the land of Canaan by the spies of Joshua. On the slopes

of the highlands and in the northern valleys were the richest pastures;

in which flocks of sheep and goats gathered unlimited supplies of

herbage. Higher on the mountain