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country. To prevent this, the king has sold the monopoly of it to certain persons, who are obliged to furnish the city with it all the year at so much the pound. They have a high mountain at about eighteen miles from the town, which has several pits dug into it. Here they employ many poor people at such a season of the year to roll in vast balls of snow, which they ram together, and cover from the sunshine. Out of these reservoirs of snow they cut several lumps, as they have occasion for them, and send them on asses to the sea-side, where they are carried off in boats, and distributed to several shops at a settled price, that from time to time supply the whole city of Naples. While the banditti continued their disorders in this kingdom, they often put the snow-merchants under contribution, and threatened them, if they appeared tardy in their payments, to destroy their magazines, which they say might easily have been effected by the infusion of some barrels of oil.
It would have been tedious to have put down the many descriptions that the Latin poets have made of several of the places mentioned in this chapter: I shall therefore conclude it with the general map which Silius Italicus has given us of this great Bay of Naples. Most of the places he mentions lie within the same prospect, and if I have passed over any of them, it is because I shall take them in my way by sea, from Naples to Rome.
Stagna inter celebrem nunc mitia monstrat Avernum:
Mulciber immugit, lacerataque viscera terræ
Averno next he showed his wondering guest,
On Mount Vesuvio next he fixt his eyes,
Silius Italicus here takes notice, that the poisonous vapours which arose from the lake Averno in Hannibal's time, were quite dispersed at the time when he wrote his poem; because Agrippa, who lived between Hannibal and Silius, had cut down the woods that enclosed the lake, and hindered these noxious steams from dissipating, which were immediately scattered as soon as the winds and fresh air were let in among them.
THE ISLE OF CAPREA.
Having staid longer at Naples than I at first designed, I could not dispense with myself from making a little voyage to the Isle of Caprea, as being very desirous to see a place which had been the retirement of Augustus for some time, and the residence of Tiberius for several years. The island lies four miles in length from east to west, and about one in breadth. The western part, for about two miles in length, is a continued rock, vastly high, and inaccessible on the seaside. It has, however, the greatest town in the island, that goes under the name of Ano-Caprea, and is in several places covered with a very fruitful soil. The eastern end of the isle rises up in precipices very near as high, though not quite so long, as the western. Between these eastern and western mountains lies a slip of lower ground, which runs across the island, and is one of the pleasantest spots I have seen. It is hid with vines, figs, oranges, almonds, olives, myrtles, and fields of corn, which look extremely fresh and beautiful, and make up the most delightful little landscape imaginable, when they are surveyed from the tops of the neighbouring mountains. Here stands the town of Caprea, the bishop's palace, and two or three convents. In the midst of this fruitful tract of land rises a hill, that was probably covered with buildings in Tiberius's time. There are still several ruins on the sides of it, and about the top are found two or three dark galleries, low built, and covered with mason's work, though at present they appear overgrown with grass. I en
tered one of them that is a hundred paces in length. I observed, as some of the countrymen were digging into the sides of this mountain, that what I took for solid earth, was only heaps of brick, stone, and other rubbish, skinned over with a covering of vegetables. But the most considerable ruin is that which stands on the very extremity of the eastern promontory, where are still some apartments left, very high and arched at top: I have not, indeed, seen the remains of any ancient Roman buildings, that have not been roofed with either vaults or arches. The rooms I am mentioning stand deep in the earth, and have nothing like windows or chimneys, which makes me think they were formerly either bathing-places or reservoirs of water. An old hermit lives at present among the ruins of this palace, who lost his companion a few years ago by a fall from the precipice. He told me they had often found medals and pipes of lead, as they dug among the rubbish, and that not many years ago they discovered a paved road running under ground, from the top of the mountain to the sea-side, which was afterwards confirmed to me by a gentleman of the island. There is a very noble prospect from this place. On the one side lies a vast extent of seas, that runs abroad further than the eye can reach. Just opposite stands the green promontory of Surrentum, and on the other side the whole circuit of the Bay of Naples. This prospect, according to Tacitus, was more agreeable before the burning of Vesuvio; that mountain probably, which after the first eruption looked like a great pile of ashes, was in Tiberius's time shaded with woods and vineyards; for I think Martial's epigram may here serve
as a comment to Tacitus.
Hic est pampineis viridis Vesuvius umbris,
Hæc juga quàm Nisa colles plùs Bacchus amavit:
Oft to the mountain's airy tops advanced,
Lib. ii. Ep. 105.
Alcides here, here Venus graced the shore,
This view must still have been more pleasant, when the whole bay was encompassed with so long a range of buildings, that it appeared, to those who looked on it at a distance, but as one continued city. On both the shores of that fruitful bottom, which I have before mentioned, are still to be seen the marks of ancient edifices, particularly on that which looks towards the south there is a little kind of mole, which seems to have been the foundation of a palace: unless we may suppose that the Pharos of Caprea stood there, which Statius takes notice of in his poem that invites his wife to Naples, and is, I think, the most natural among the silvæ.
Nec desunt variæ circùm oblectamina vitæ,
They found in Ano-Caprea, some years ago, a statue and a rich pavement under ground, as they had occasion to turn up the earth that lay upon them. One still sees, on the bendings of these mountains, the marks of several ancient scales of stairs, by which they used to ascend them. The whole island is so unequal that there were but few diversions to be found in it without-doors; but what recommended it most to Tiberius was its wholesome air, which is warm in winter and cool in summer, and its inaccessible coasts, which