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light, after lying for so many ages in darkness and oblivion. His collection of medals, cameios and intaglios, is likewise very princely, and so are the articles in natural history: but the polite and amiable behaviour of the owner gives more pleasure than all his curiosities. He did not, ostentatiously, like the prince of Villa Franca, tell us, that his house and carriages were at our command; but without any hint being given of it, we found his coach waiting at our door; and we shall probably be obliged to make use of it during our stay.

His family consists of the princess his wife, a son, and a daughter, who seem to emulate each other in benignity. They put me in mind of some happy families I have seen in our own country, but resemble nothing we have met with on the continent. He is just now building a curious villa on a promontory formed by the lava of 1669. The spot where the house stands was formerly at least fifty feet deep of water ; and the height of the lava above the present level of the sea, is not less than fifty more.

This afternoon I walked out alone to examine the capricious forms and singular appearances that this destructive branch has assumed in laying waste the country. I had not gone far when I spied a magnificent building at some distance, which seemed to stand on the highest part of it. My curiosity led me on, as I had heard no mention of any palace on this side of the city. On entering the great gate, my surprise was a good deal increased on obserying a façade almost equal to that of Versailles ; a noble staircase of white marble, and every thing that announced a royal magnificence. I had never heard that the kings of Sicily had a palace at Catania, and yet I could not account for what I saw in any other way. I thought the vast front before me had been the whole of the palace ; but conceive my amazement, when, on turning the corner, I found another front of equal greatness ; and discovered that what I had seen was only one side of a square.

I was no longer in doubt, well knowing that the church alone could be mistress of such magnificence. I hastened home to communicate this discovery to my friends, when I found the Canonico Recupero already with them. He abused us exceedingly for presuming to go out without our Cicerone, and declared he had never been so much disappointed in his life ; as he had come on purpose to carıy us there, and to enjoy our surprise and astonishment, He

then told us, that it was no other than a convent of fat Benedictine monks, who were determined to make sure of a paradise, at least in this world, if not in the other. He added, that they were worth about £15,000 a year; an immense sum indeed for this country.

We went with Recupero to pay our respects to these sons of humility, temperance, and more tification ; and we must own, they received and entertained us with great civility and politeness, and even without ostentation. Their museum is little inferior to that of the prince of Biscaris, and the apartments that contain it are much more magnificent. But their garden is the greatest curiosity : although it be formed on the rugged and barren surface of the lava, it has a variety and a neatness seldom to be met with. The walks are broad, and paved with flints : and the trees and hedges (which by the by are in a bad taste, and cut into a number of ridiculous shapes) thrive exceedingly. The whole soil must have been brought from a great distance, as the surface of this lava only (150 years old) is as hard and bare as a piece of iron. The church belonging to this convent, if finished, would be one of the finest in Europe ; but as it is founded on the




surface of the porous and brittle lava, part of the foundation has given way to the pressure of so huge a fabric; and several of the large arches that were intended to form the different chapels, have already fallen down. Only the west limb of the cross (not a fifth of the whole)

fini ed; and even this alone makes a very fine church. Here they have the finest organ I ever heard, even superior, I think, to that at Haerlem.

We went next to examine where the lava had scaled the walls of Catania. It must have been a noble sight. The walls are sixty four palms high, (near sixty feet) and of great strength; otherwise they must have been borne down by the force of the flaming matter which rose over this height, and seems to bave mounted considerably above the top of the wall before it made its entry; at last it came down, sweeping before it every saint in the calendar, who were drawn up in order of battle on purpose to oppose its passage ; and march. ing on in triumph, annihilated, in a manner, every object that dared to oppose it. Amongst other things, it covered up some fine fountains

; one of which was so much esteemed, that they have at a great expense pierced through the

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lava, and have now recovered their favourite spring This excavation is a very curious work, and worthy of the attention of travellers.

Catania is looked upon as one of the most ancient cities in the island, or indeed in the world.—Their legends bear, that it was founded by the Cyclops, or giants of Ætna, supposed to have been the first inhabitants of Sicily after the deluge: and some of the Sicilian writers pretend that it was built by Deucalion and Pyrrha as as the waters subsided, and they had got down again to the fuot of the mountain. Its ancient name was Catetna, or the city of Ætna.

It is now reckoned the third city in the kingdom: though since Messina was destroyed by the plague, it may well be considered as the second. It contains upwards of thirty thousand inhabitants; has a university, the only one in the island; and a bishopric. The bishop's revenues are considerable, and arise principally from the sale of the snow on Mount Ætna; one small portion of which, lying on the north of the mountain, is said to bring him in upwards of £1000 a-year; for #Etna furnishes snow and ice not only to the whole island of Sicily, but likewise to Malta,

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