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ROME-THE COUNTRY.

mountain brooks, which roar and plunge along for a brief season in the

winter, dwindle in spring, and run dry in summer. The longest of these

creeks is the Laus, which divides the provinces of Lucania and Bruttium.

On the eastern or Adriatic side of the peninsula the rivers are many,

but of small importance. Between the borders of Cisalpine Gaul-where the

Rubicon forms the boundary between that province and the peninsula

proper-and the heel of Italy, are sixteen rivers, which enumerated from

north to south and designated by their classical names are as follows:

the Ariminus, the Crustumius, the Pisarus, the Metaurus, the Aesis, the

Potentia, the Flusor, the Truentus, the Vomanus, the Aternus, the

Sagrus, the Trinius, the Tifernus, the Frento, the Cerbalus, and the

Aufidus. The Frento constitutes the boundary between Central and

Southern Italy. The Aufidus is by far the longest and largest of the

sixteen streams which fall into the Adriatic.

In Northern Italy the melting snows of the southern slopes of the Alps

are in several parts gathered into enclosed valleys, which must be

filled brimful before they can overflow into the tributaries of the

Padus. Thus are formed those celebrated Alpine lakes which are reckoned

among the most beautiful in the world. The principal of these are the

Lacus Verbanus, the modern Maggiore; the Lacus Larius, or Como; the

Lacus Sebinus, or Iseo; and the Lacus Benacus, or Garda. These sheets of

water are long, narrow, and deep, and reflect from their placid faces

the shadows of beautiful shores, the image of cerulean skies.

Very different in shape and character are the lakes of Central Italy.

These are collections of waters in the craters of extinct volcanoes,

generally without an outlet, circular in form, small in area, but very

deep. The largest of these volcanic lakes is the Lacus Vulsiniensis, the

modern Bolsena. It is in Southern Etruria, and has a circumference of

about thirty miles. Other lakes of similar sort are the Sabatinus, or

Bracciano; the Ciminus, or Vico; the Albanus, the Nemorensis, and

especially the Avenus, in Campania. In the same province are the Lacus

Trasimenus and the Lacus Fucinus, both of which are formed by an

aggregation of waters in natural basins of non-volcanic origin.

The principal mountains of Italy, detached from the regular chain of the

Apennines, are Amiata, in Central Etruria; Ciminus, a group of volcanic

heights; Albanus, Vesuvius, Vultur, and Garganus. Of these peaks the

highest is Amiata, which rises 5,794 feet above the level of the sea;

and the lowest, the Mons Albanus, which has an elevation of three

thousand feet. Such in brief is a sketch of the principal physical

features of the peninsula of Italy.

Turning to the consideration of the Roman provinces, and beginning at

the north, we have first of all, the great district of Cisalpine Gaul.

The name so used distinguishes the country from Gallia Transalpina, or

Gaul Proper, lying beyond the Alps. The province is bounded on the north

and west, by the mountains; on the south, by Liguria, the Apennines, and

the northern boundary of Umbria; on the east, by the Adriatic and the

province of Venetia. The vast country thus defined consists of the great

and fertile valley of the Padus, and viewed as it respects extent, is by

far the largest, and as it respects agricultural resources, the most

important, of all Italy.

The second province of Northern Italy is Liguria. It is bounded on the

west by the river Varus; on the east, by the Magra; on the north, by the

Po; and on the south, by the Gulf of Genoa. It thus includes the whole

of the Maritime Alps and the upper portion of the chain of the

Apennines. The former mountains descend almost to the sea, and the

lateral branches form headlands along the coast throughout a great

extent of the southern boundary. The whole province, except on the

north, where the slopes descend into the valley of the Po, is

exceedingly mountainous. The Ligurians were a race of highlanders who,

from their situation as well as disposition, participated but slightly

in the momentous affairs of Italy.

The remaining state of the north was Venetia, at the head of the

Adriatic. It extended from the foot of the Alps, where they descend to

the sea, to the mouth of the Po, and westward to the river Adige. The

boundaries of