Florence – Fiesole

THE carriage road from San Domenico to Fiesole was constructed during the reign of the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II. It rises by gentle windings to the Piazza of the old Etruscan city. During the whole ascent the views over the Valley of the Arno are extremely lovely, na interruptions occurring from the usual high walls. Villa Gherardesca, or Villa Landor as it is still called, is situated immediately beneath the road, on its southern side. The house is said to have been built after a design of Michael Angelo, and the grounds were the scene of some of Boccaccio’s tales. The two small streams, the Affrico and the Mensola, which flow through the adjoining vine and olive gardens, were also introduced into Boccaccio’s poem, ` Il Ninfale Fiesolano’ and the Lago delle Belle Donne, mentioned in the sixth day of his `Decamerone,’ is within the grounds. Here, for many years, resided Walter Savage Landor, the well-known writer and staunch adherent to Republican opinions, the friend of Samuel Parr, Robert Southey, and later, of Robert Browning. Landor owned a small property in Warwickshire, but circumstances, connected with his irascible and restless temperament, induced him to live on the Continent, when he purchased this villa, in which he resided fourteen years. Domestic troubles caused him to leave Italy for a time, and to live in Bath, but he yearned to revisit Italy, and returned to Florence, where he died in 1864, having nearly attained his eightieth year.

Not many steps from the summit of the hill of Fiesole the road passes the gate of Villa Spence, also known as Villa Mozzi. The house is situated on the old road, which leads in a more direct line from San Domenico to Fiesole ; but visitors who arrive by the easier road are admitted by another gate, and drive through terraced gardens to the Villa.

The house was built in 1478 for the son of Cosimo Pater Patriæ, Giovanni de’ Medici, who died while still young. It was designed by Michelozzo Michelozzi, the architect of Careggi and several other Medicean villas in the neighbour-hood of Florence, and it was supplied with everything that could tend to the comfort and pleasure of its inhabitants. It was in this villa, in 1478, that the Pazzi intended to have accomplished their scheme of destroying their rivals the Medici. Cardinal Raffaello Riario, nephew of Count Girolamo Riario, and great-nephew of the reigning Pope, Sixtus IV., student at that period in the University of Pisa, was on a visit to Jacopo Pazzi, at the neighbouring Villa of Lavaggi, in Montughi. According to Politian, the former tutor of Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici, after attending Mass at the Badia of San Domenico, the Pazzi, with the young Cardinal Riario and other friends, ascended the hill to the Villa where Lorenzo and Giuliano, little suspecting treason, received their guests with due honour and respect, displayed all their treasures in art and furniture for their gratification, and invited the Cardinal and his suite to dinner. The invitation was accepted, and the feast given, ‘ but Giuliano,’ Politian continues, `excused himself from being present, pleading an inflammation in his eyes, and in consequence the conspiracy for murdering the two brothers was postponed.’ The banqueting-room, where the guests assembled, is still shown, and the Terrazza where Lorenzo, as the story goes, was pacing backwards and forwards with Francesco dei Pazzi, when the latter lovingly passed his arm round his waist to ascertain whether Lorenzo wore a coat of mail beneath his dress. Here, as well as at Careggi, the Platonists Pico della Mirandola, Politian, and Marsilio Ficino, used to gather round Lorenzo. Bandini, in his ‘ Lettere Fiesolane,’ speaking of this villa, mentions a slab of red marble over the architrave of the door leading into Lorenzo’s study, on which was engraved the Greek inscription : TEPMA OPAN BIOTOIO—METPON APITON. `To see the end of life is the best measure or des-tiny.’ The present owner of the villa, Mr. Spence, discovered this slab in a cellar, and has inserted it at the entrance, beneath the arcades.

Towards the end of the last century the villa for a short time belonged to the Mozzi family, who in 1780 restored and embellished it.

The Countess of Orford, widow of the second Earl, and sister-in-law of the celebrated Horace Walpole, spent several years in Villa Spence. She died at Pisa, whither she had gone temporarily for change of air, in 1784. Swinburne, in his `Courts of Europe,’ writes, ‘We dined at Fiesole with Lady Orford. Her villa is the most comfortable and well-appointed we have seen in Italy.’

The chapel on the basement story contains a very beautiful monument by Odoardo Fantacchiotti to the memory of Mr. Spence’s first wife. She lies as if asleep on her bier.

A very few steps higher than Villa Spence is the little town of Fiesole, formerly an Etruscan city of no small importance. Fesulae as it was then called, was one of the twelve confederate cities of Etruria, which acknowledged their Lucumon, or King, in the capital Clusium, the modern Chiusi. Fiesole was more noted as a seat of religious learning, than as a military, or commercial post. The triple thunderbolt in the hands of Jove, symbolical of the three precious metals, was derived from this city, and tradition ascribes the choice of its site to Atlas, as the tomb of one of his daughters. It was here that the Etruscans taught the science of divination and the rite of sacrifice, and when Fiesole was conquered by the Romans, twelve youths from the Capitol were annually sent to study augury at Fiesole. On momentous occasions soothsayers from Fiesole were conducted to Rome, and Pliny mentions a Fiesolan who had seventy-four sons and grandsons arriving at the Capitol in order to perform the solemn sacrifices. The art of divination does not appear to have been wholly lost by their descendants, as we read of Florentines who were in the habit of consulting astrologers before commencing a war or any great enterprise.

Fiesole crowns an advanced spur or buttress of the Apennines, and rises 1,000 feet above the valley of the Arno. It is perhaps due to its distance from Rome that it is not mentioned in Roman history before B.C. 225. During the Gaulish war, when the Romans marched from Clusium, they met their enemies near Fiesole. Again, during the second Punic war, Hannibal encamped here shortly before the battle of Thrasymene. Fiesole in those days is believed to have been bordered by a marsh, which probably extended across the valley of the Arno below Florence. During the Social war, B.C. 90-89, the town of Fiesole was ravaged by fire and sword, and a few days later it was selected by Sulla as the seat of a large military colony. The colonists, however, were not satisfied with the manner in which Sulla distributed the land to his soldiers, and sided with Catiline, who, when driven from Rome by Cicero, took refuge near Fiesole. Here Catiline organised a force of two legions, and lingered among the neighbouring heights, until compelled to fight the armies of Metellus and Antony near Pistoia.

The Fiesolans are reported to have been a fierce and deter-mined race, and their connection with Rome was maintained more by intermarriage than by bondage or submission.

In A.D. 405, Stilicho, General of the Emperor Honorius, then master of Italy, opposed the Goths, who, under their king Radagasius, had crossed the Alps and were encamped on the rough chain of the Apennines near Fiesole. Dreading a protracted siege from the barbarians, the Fiesolans, in concert with the Florentines, sided with Stilicho, and, issuing from their walls, attacked and totally destroyed the Goths.

In A.D. 490, Theodoric, king of the Ostro-Goths, as a reward to the inhabitants of Fiesole, for having given him an honour-able reception, caused a Christian Basilica to be constructed on the Arx, or citadel, dedicated to San Piero in Gerusalemme. This Basilica is one of the oldest in Tuscany, and still exists under the name of Sant’ Alessandro.

The citadel of Fiesole offered a staunch resistance to Belisarius, the General of Justinian, in A.D. 538, but the city was now on its decline, while the neighbouring Florentia was increasing in importance; and the historians Malespini, Villani, Macchiavelli, and others assert that in 1010 Fiesole was taken and destroyed by the Florentines, though this fact is perhaps more legendary than authentic.

The Rocca, or citadel of Fiesole, was still standing in 1125, a stronghold for the Cattani, bandit chiefs, who harassed the neighbourhood by levying contributions on travellers and merchants.

Fiesole was originally protected by three lines of walls above two miles in circumference ; a fourth wall embraced all the circumjacent territory, descending to the banks of the Arno, where the Fiesolan district was entered by three gates at intervals of a mile between each. Some remains of these ancient walls still exist. They are best seen to the north of the city on the slope facing Monte Senario. The blocks. of stone quarried out of the adjacent hill are polygonal in form and closely joined one to the other, though no cement has been employed. The separate blocks are not quite so large as those of the walls of Cortona, another of the Etruscan cities, but are extremely interesting as a type of the Etruscan style of building. There were formerly some traces of a gate inthis direction, but nothing is visible except the remains of a kind of bastion. Some traces of the triple concentric wall exist on the Arx, or citadel, which is now crowned by a Franciscan convent. On this slope stood formerly the Villa of Scipione Ammirato, the Florentine historian.

The remains of the Roman theatre which was situated within the ancient city walls are a little lower than the Cathedral. It was discovered in 18o9 by a German, Baron Schellersheim. A piece of wall exposed to view, on descending to the theatre, has been named ‘the Palace,’ though apparently with-out any reason to justify the name. It may possibly indicate the Etruscan temple, which is said to have stood very near this spot. Niebuhr regarded this Roman theatre as Etruscan, but more recent antiquarians have decided that it belonged to the Roman period, when it was usual to imitate Greek theatres, which were always built against the side of a hill, and were semicircular in form, as the theatre of Tusculum, near Rome.

The Theatre of Fiesole is in better preservation than most that have been excavated ; a small gate composed of solid blocks of stone, and a descent of a few steps, leads to the upper tier of seats facing the stage. There are twenty tiers of seats, quarried out of the solid rock, and five flights of steps, which divide the tiers of seats into six cunei, or wedges. A trench in front of the proscenium, or stage, according to Dennis was in-tended to hold the curtain, siparium. The wall facing the spectators, which was called scena (whence our modern term), has two square bases in front of it, probably once the support of columns. It was the custom in ancient times to paint this scena, varying the design, according as the drama was to be tragedy, comedy, or satire. The proscenium, or stage, was never concealed from the spectators, as it was usual to roll up the siparium, or curtain, beneath the stage, before the commence-ment of the play.’

To the right of the stage are fragments of two erect fluted columns, which appear to have been an entrance to several small chambers, possibly the green-room of the actors. On either side of the space which was occupied by the orchestra are steps where the chorus seem to have entered. The semi-circular low stone coping on the ground is believed to have enclosed the space where the altar stood. The specimens of marbles, fragments of bas-reliefs and statues, which have been collected from this theatre, and are now preserved in the small museum on the Piazza of Fiesole, prove this to have been a very richly decorated building.

Immediately above the theatre, on the slope of the hill, are five parallel vaults, constructed of opus incertum, a peculiar mixture of small stones, brickwork, and cement, belonging to the Roman period. These holes are called by the inhabitants of Fiesole Le Buche delle Fate, or ‘ The Fairies’ Dens.’ Antiquaries have not been able to assign any special purpose for them.

The former Palace of the Podestâ of Fiesole stands on the Piazza, and has its outer walls covered with shields and coats of arms, which it was the custom for each Podestà to place here. It is now used for commercial schools, but several rooms on the ground floor are assigned to the small antiquarian museum just mentioned, and contains a variety of Etruscan and Roman remains, which have been excavated in and around Fiesole.

One of the principal objects is a large fragment of a bronze she-wolf, which was found beneath the house of a peasant in 1882, and close to what is believed to have been the site of the Temple of the Augurs. The mane, ribs, and muscles are wonderfully defined and modelled. Some archæologists believe this to have been brought to Fiesole by the first Roman Legion who came here, and if so, it is of much greater antiquity than the celebrated Wolf of Rome.

A square Pagan altar of white marble is also very interesting ; it was found in Sant’ Alessandro, on the citadel. A curious bronze vase was discovered in the wood near the Franciscan convent. It has designs in relief of cockleshells, as well as small porticoes, in which are seated figures and other devices.

In another room are two stone Etruscan wells. Within cases against the walls are vases of black and red Chiusi and Arezzo ware, and Etruscan articles, such as beads, brooches, lachrymals, bronze chains, a flesh-hook and gridiron, found near the spot where the wolf was excavated, with other sacrificial instruments. The museum contains, as before mentioned, a variety of small specimens of polished marbles, collected in fragments from the Roman theatre, besides terra-cottas, bas-reliefs of stone with very graceful designs of flowers, leaves, birds, men, horses, chariots. A figure of Bacchus holding the thyrsus, accompanied by a small Bacchanal and leopard, a very graceful winged female figure, capitals of columns and fragments of fluted pillars resembling those still standing, were all taken from the same spot. Among the smaller articles, the ivory ticket of admission to the theatre, with the name of the ticket-holder, is curious.

Beyond the Piazza of Fiesole and the Piazza Mino the road leads eastwards across the Fiesolan quarter of Borgo Unto, near where a singular cistern or reservoir for water was discovered called La Fonte Sotterra. A flight of steps downwards, and a long shapeless gallery at a lower level than the surface of the ground, leads to this fountain. The water which it used to yield was perfectly pure, but the source was closed in 1872. Another cistern near this spot had been discovered in 1832, which is considered of far older date, judging by the huge blocks of stone, without cement, of which the walls were composed, and the roof of horizontal slabs, closed by one large stone in the centre. The discovery of some Etruscan amphoræ and water-jars very near, has caused some archmaeologists to assign the cistern to the Etruscan period. Dennis

suggests that when this fountain was closed, possibly from an insufficient supply of water, that of the Fonte Sotterra was constructed to supply its place.

Some traces of an aqueduct have been discovered in this neighbourhood, which is believed to have brought water to Fiesole from Montereggi, an eminence about three miles east of Fiesole, and that it was probably destroyed when Belisarius besieged the city.

Adjoining the Museum of Fiesole in the Piazza is the church of Santa Maria Primeriana, dating from the tenth century. The Podestà and Gonfalonier of Fiesole were installed into office beneath the portico of this little church, where they recited an oration in praise of the city. It is still the custom to transport the Bishops of Fiesole hither on the day of the ceremonial. It contains two reliefs by Luca della Robbia. One represents the Crucifixion ; the Virgin Mary, the Magdalene, and St. John are very good. The other relief represents St. Michael the Archangel, and is inferior. The church also contains a very old wooden image of the Virgin belonging to the thirteenth century : it was originally called Santa Maria Intemerata, the church having been first dedicated to the Virgin ; and on grave occasions, such as sieges or some public calamity or pestilence, the Image was taken to Florence.

The Duomo, or Cathedral of Fiesole, was founded by Bishop Jacopo Bavaro about 1o28, and dedicated to San Romolo, or Romulus, when his relics were brought hither from the Badia at San Domenico. St. Romulus, according to the legend, was a Roman of noble birth, who had been converted by St. Peter, and sent by that apostle to preach Christianity to the heathen city of Fiesole. Accused of being a Christian, he was brought before the authorities and thrown into a dungeon, from whence, after submitting to many tortures, he was brought out and put to the sword, with other believers, on the rock beneath the citadel. This happened in the reign of the Emperor Nero.

The Duomo latterly has undergone thorough repair. The outside of the building is perfectly simple, and the proportions of the interior are extremely beautiful. The nave and aisles are separated by a series of sixteen columns, composed of circular blocks, laid one above the other, of sandstone extracted from the neighbourhood of Fiesole. Two of these columns have marble bases. The capitals are irregular and different. Several belong to the Composite order ; they seem very much disproportioned tothe shafts, and probably were taken from some Roman temple. The narrow windows of the central nave denote the Lombard style of architecture. The difference in the span of some of the arches suggests that there were interruptions during the erection of the building. Over the central western entrance is a large Robbia-ware statue of San Romolo, which was executed in 1521 by order of Bishop Folchi. For a long time it stood in the episcopal palace, but was brought inside the cathedral in 1781.

The crypt, several steps lower than the nave, is supported by small columns, whose capitals belong to the early Christian period, bearing figures of the Dove and other animals sculptured on them. The walls of the crypt were once adorned with frescoes representing scenes in the life of San Romolo, which are much effaced, though some quaint views of Fiesole can be discerned in several of the compartments. The body of the saint is in a sarcophagus in the centre of the crypt. The baptismal font to the right is composed of a huge block of serpentine, and is of very ancient date, by some archæologists supposed to have been once a Pagan altar to Bacchus which stood originally in the Basilica of Sant’ Alessandro within the citadel.

Two flights of marble steps lead upwards on either side of the high altar from the nave to the presbyterium of the cathedral, which is large and lofty. The vaulting above the apse has fresco paintings by Bernardo Poccetti (1548-1612), also representing scenes from the life of San Romolo. To the left of the altar is the tomb of Bishop Jacopo Bavaro, and on the same side a beautiful marble Dossale or Ancona, executed by Andrea Ferucci, of Fiesole (1465-1526). A Ciborium in the centre represents the Virgin and the Angel of the Annunciation, also statuettes of San Romolo and San Matteo. The Gradino beneath is in three compartments : the centre has an entomb-ment of Christ, and on either side are the martyrdoms of San Romolo and San Matteo. This work was presented by the company of the Foundling Hospital (Innocenti), and the swaddled Infant is repeated several times in relief on small shields. The execution of the whole is extremely delicate and beautiful.

The chapel to the right of the apse contains a very beautiful monument by Mino da Fiesole (1431-1484). It is to the memory of Leonardo Salutati, who was appointed Bishop of Fiesole by Pope Nicholas V. in 1450. He was learned in both sacred and profane jurisprudence, and much beloved by Pope Eugenius IV. He died in 146o, but several years previously he had given a commission for this altar to be constructed at his own expense. An alto-rilievo represents a kneeling Madonna with folded hands ; the Infant Christ at her feet holds the cross and ball in one hand, while with the other He blesses the Infant St. John. Both children are singularly sweet and lovely. On either side of this group are statuettes of San Leonardo and Sant’ Antonio. The former holds fetters in his hands, typical of the prisoners whom he loved to visit and console. The latter leans on his crutch, and has a lame beggar seated at his feet. The hands and feet of these figures are executed with marvellous accuracy. Above the Madonna is a feeble representation of the head of our Lord. Opposite this altar is the sarcophagus which con-tains the remains of the prelate. His bust is a speaking and living portrait of the old man, executed with wonderful finish and delicacy. Beneath the bust is inscribed, ` ()Pus MINO.’ Other works of Mino da Fiesole exist in Florence, but few equal the care he has bestowed on this monument. This artist was born in the Casentino, a district lying between the sources of the Arno and the Tiber, north of Arezzo, but he left the Casentino for the neighbourhood of Florence, where he became the intimate friend and companion of Desiderio da Settignano. The four Evangelists are painted in fresco on the vaulting of the chapel, but the colouring is much injured.

The episcopal palace and canons’ residence are opposite the entrance to the cathedral. The conspicuous large building to the left of the road, on arriving from Florence, is the episcopal Seminary, built in 1637. The oratory contains a Luca della Robbia.

The ancient Arx, or citadel of Fiesole, is considerably higher than the Piazza—a steep paved road leads up to it. The summit is crowned by a Convent of Franciscan Friars. In the twelfth century the convent was occupied by some Augustinian nuns, called the Romite, or Hermits of Santa Maria del Fiore, but in 1407 these gave place to the Franciscans. Here Bernardino of Sienna, the founder of the order of `Osservanti’ —Reformed Franciscans—is said to have spent some time. The little church contains a painting by Cigoli (1559-1613), .and a Coronation of the Virgin with Saints, by Piero di Cosimo (1462-1521). The Friars occasionally find Etruscan remains in the convent garden.

Immediately below the Franciscan convent, at the foot of .a steep descent, is the Basilica of Sant’ Alessandro. This saint was a Bishop of Fiesole, and is interred beneath the high altar. It is believed that this Basilica was at one time a Roman temple, which was built, according to Inghirami, on the site of a sacred enclosure of the Etruscans. Some discoveries of remains in 1814, while repairing the pavement in front of the Basilica, makes this surmise probable. Several small cisterns (Favissa) were excavated, which, however, were afterwards re-covered with earth. Such cisterns are often found near ancient Pagan temples, and seem to have been used for receiving those portions of the sacrificial victims which were considered unfit for the ceremonies. Other cisterns resembling those discovered in front of Sant’ Alessandro, were excavated near the Temple of Jupiter, on the Roman capitol, whose foundations are attributed to the Etruscans. The Roman Temple, built on this Etruscan site, would seem to have been Hypæthral resembling that dedicated to Isis, at Pompeii, open to the sky in the centre, with a covered colonnade around. The Temple at Fiesole is believed to have been dedicated to Bacchus, on account of the altar to that god now used as a Baptismal Font in the Cathedral of Fiesole, as well as, from the marble altar in the Museum, but which was on this spot. The columns are composed of rich Oriental Cipollino, sometimes called Euboeic marble, because still quarried at Eubcea, or, as it is now called, Negropont. They rest on plinths of similar marble, which is seldom the case when columns have been moved from their original position. The bases below the plinths are of Parian marble. The capitals of the columns belong to the Roman Ionic order. Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, as already mentioned, converted this Roman Temple into a Christian Basilica, and dedicated it to San Piero in Gerusalemme, preserving the columns with their bases, but adding Lombard arches in place of flat architraves, and roofing in the central court. The name of San Piero was changed to Sant’ Alessandro, who was a Bishop of Fiesole, when the body of this last-named saint was laid here. In 1784 the roof was destroyed, the pavement broken up, and the ground converted into a cemetery, but in 1814, Bishop Tommasi of Fiesole restored the Basilica, and once more converted it into a place of worship.

The earliest and most direct road from Fiesole to San Domenico is very precipitous. It is still used by mule-drivers or for light carts, and it is worth descending by this way to enjoy the exquisite views over the valley of the Arno, seen between the tall cypresses which border the road. Opposite this side of Villa Spence, a steep path to the left leads up to a small convent which was built in r36o,- for some hermits of St. Jerome. The present church and adjoining buildings are of a much later date, and were designed by Michelozzo Michelozzi at the beginning of the fifteenth century in the time of Cosimo Vecchio de’ Medici. The Gerolamites were suppressed in 1668 by Clement IX., when the convent was converted into a villa, and in 1798 it came into the possession of the Barons Ricasoli. It is now occupied by the Jesuits with their head, a very aged man, Father Beckx. The church formerly contained several good works of art, but nearly every object of merit has been removed, except a large fresco of St. Jerome by the modern painter Sabatelli. The view from the portico of the church, built in 1634, is truly splendid.

A few paces distant from the entrance to the grounds of the Jesuit Fathers, an inscription on a large block of stone records that San Romolo and his companions suffered martyrdom on the rock above :

‘ Sopra di questo sasso Per man delle crude, Fesule genii, Spettacolo di morte, orrendo e tristo, Quai vittime innocenti Cadero esangui i gran campion di Cristo.’

‘ Above this rock By the hands of the cruel Fiesolan people, Sad and fearful spectacle of death, How many innocent victims Fell lifeless as champions for Christ.’

Immediately beneath the terraced gardens of Villa Spence is the chapel or oratory of Sant’ Ansano. In 1795 this chapel fell into the possession of a Canon Bandini, of the Cathedral of Florence, who placed in it a variety of paintings, sacred and profane, some of undoubted merit, but many utterly worthless. There are several bas-reliefs by Luca della Robbia or his scholars, and a bronze relief of an Adoration of the Magi attributed to Lorenzo Ghiberti. Two paintings, near the entrance, of the Triumph of Petrarch, are by Sandro Botticelli. They are much injured, but are interesting, because some very valuable engravings were taken from them.

Villa Rondinelli, not far from the Piazza San Domenico, also situated on this old road, is a charming specimen of an Italian country house surrounded by terraced gardens, with flights of steps leading from one level to another. It was formerly the residence of Clemente Vitelli, ambassador to Rome from the Grand Duke Cosimo III., and his marble statue is in the entrance hall of the Villa. It was afterwards inhabited by Pompeo Neri, who lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, and was Professor of Public Law in Pisa, and subsequently minister to the Grand Duke Francis II., the husband of the Empress Maria Theresa.

A few paces lower, on the opposite side of the road, a marble slab is inserted in the wall, to record that on that spot the Bishops of Fiesole were in the habit of resting when on their return from Florence to their palace in Fiesole, before entering their treggia, or sledge drawn by oxen, as is customary in Italy when the road is too steep for wheeled carriages.

Immediately beneath the Villa Rondinelli is the farm which belonged to Baccio Bandinelli, the pupil of Michael Angelo, against whom Benvenuto Cellini bore so much spite. Two lions’ heads, beside a fountain projecting from the wall, were sculptured by Bandinelli and mark his residence.

An amusing anecdote is related by Cellini in his Autobiography, of an encounter he had with Bandinelli in the neighbouring Piazza of San Domenico. One evening Benvenuto was descending by the steep old road from Fiesole, reflecting with much rancour on the behaviour of Bandinelli, who, he had been told, had spoken with the Grand Duke Cosimo in very disparaging terms of his Perseus, then in the process of modelling : he was secretly resolving, if he should meet him, to fell him to the ground, when he suddenly perceived his enemy, mounted on a mule, with a boy behind him, approaching from the opposite side of the Piazza on his way to his farm. ‘ When he descried me,’ Cellini proceeds, ‘he turned deadly pale, and trembled from head to foot. I, who knew his evil deeds, said, “You need not fear, you who are a coward, and not even worthy to receive my blows.” He looked at me with a subdued air, and made no reply. Recovering my better feelings I thanked God, that by His help I had not committed a deed of violence.’ He (Benvenuto) then relates how he took courage, and prayed to Heaven that he might be permitted to finish his work (the statue of Perseus) with such perfection that he might destroy all his enemies, and thereby gain a greater and more glorious victory than by only overcoming a single foe. Having formed this resolution, he returned home in a happier frame of mind.’

The site of the hostelry of the `Tre Pulzelle,’ where the Abate Lami, the writer on Tuscan antiquities was accustomed to rest on his walks, is near Bandinelli’s farm.

The Medicean coat of arms, at the angle of the two roads, was placed here on the 11th of June, 1516, when Leo X. passed on his way to Fiesole.

Near this is the villa of the painter Pietro Benvenuto of Arezzo, whose frescoes are in the Mausoleum Chapel of San Lorenzo.