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THE ARNO AND ITS BRIDGES,
Gaddi, at an expense of 20,000 golden crowns,
having been probably much damaged by the flood of TAE Arno is the principal river in the Grand Duchy 1333 ; and thus restored, it remained standing until of Tuscany, and one of the largest and finest in the that of 1557. This latter inundation is described in whole of Italy. It rises in the Appennines, at the the following manner by an Italian writer, in his life distance of about twenty miles in a direct line to of Ammanati, the artist by whom the bridge of the the north-east of Florence, and empties itself into Trinity was restored. that part of the Mediterranean which is called the “ On the 12th of September there came a violent Tuscan Sea. The direct distance from its source to rain, by which the waters of the river were so much its mouth is about 80 miles ; the length of its actual increased in a short time, that, overflowing on every course is between 140 and 150. Shortly before it side, they began, even at the Casentino, (a long and reaches the city of Florence, the breadth of this deep valley not far from its source,) to throw down river is about 400 feet : in its course through the mills and every sort of building which they encoun. city it is confined by embankments, and much tered, breaking to pieces and demolishing bridges and diminished, in some places, indeed, to little more houses, and destroying many of the inhabitants of than one-half of that extent. The volume of its the country around. The Sieve, too, receiving from waters depends pretty much upon the season of the fulness of the brooks and rivulets a vast quantity the year : in the Summer they generally shrink of water, inundated, in like manner, all the Val di into a shallow stream, occupying the centre of its Mugello, causing a similar desolation, and then bed, while, in the Winter and Spring, when swol- joining the Arno, increased the waters of that river to len by rains, or the melting of the mountain snows, such an extent, that, rushing impetuously into our they raise their rapid and muddy current almost city about the third hour of the night, at the first to a level with the artificial embankments, which blow it levelled the Ponte a Santa Trinità, the ruins have been erected to restrain it along the greater of which then impeding the further passage of the part of its course. This variable character the stream, caused it so to swell in this part of the river, Arno shares in common with the other rivers de- | that, rising above the bank on either side, it flowed scending from the Appennines : their course is so over through the whole plain of the city." short, that any increase which takes place at their The same writer says, that the water brought down sources, at once affects them throughout the whole with it such a quantity of earth, that it not only filled of it. When this increase is extraordinary, it is of up caves and grottoes, but deposited itself, to a concourse accompanied with a corresponding effect, and siderable height, in the rooms on the ground floor of thus sometimes it causes the stream to rush down buildings,—thus causing the waste of immense stores with irresistible fury, and inundate the country of provisions, and the destruction of many houses. adjacent to its banks. The Arno has often been sub- It was a task of some months, and of great expense, jected to these sudden overflowings; and, on such to remove this earth: Ammanati used it to strengthen occasions, the city of Florence and its neighbouring the city walls, by banking them with it on the inside. plain have suffered severely. Two of the most At the time of this calamity, the architect whose. famous were those which occurred in 1333 and in name was held in the highest repute at Florence was 1557; the latter of which occasioned the demoli- Bartolomeo Ammanati, who had executed several tion of the then existing Ponte a Santa Trinità, and works of great merit in Rome and Venice : he was so led to the erection of the present structure. accordingly the person to whom was principally en
In its course through Florence, the Arno is crossed trusted the task of restoring the fallen structures, by four bridges. Of all these, by far the most and repairing the damage which the late inundation beautiful is that represented in our engraving. It is had occasioned. Among other things, he was charged called the Ponte a Santa Trinità (Bridge of the Holy with the erection of the new Ponte a Santa Trinità, Trinity); and it has long enjoyed, with justice too, which he commenced in March, 1566, and comthe celebrity of rivalling the finest structures of its pleted in the spring of 1569. The form and proporkind in Europe. Its singular merit consists in the tions which he proposed for the new bridge were at elegance of its form and proportions, and the light once original and daring. The principal objects ness as well as strength of its construction; and which he had to keep in view, were to obtain great these qualities have always rendered it an object of strength in the piers with the least possible obstrucadmiration, both to the natives of the city which it tion to the stream, to preserve sufficient water-way, adorns, and the travellers who visit it but for awhile. and to keep it undiminished at the highest point to Nevertheless, it is only within the last few years, that which the water would ever rise, and yet not to raise the world has possessed any accurate delineation of its the top of the bridge so high as to make the ascent form, or any exact account of its dimensions, and of the road-way inconveniently steep. To accomplish for this it is indebted to one of our own countrymen, these objects, he was obliged to use a new form of Mr. Lewis Vulliamy: This gentleman, while study- arch; for the circular one of the Romans would have ing at Florence, as one of the travelling students of caused too much interruption to the water, when it the Royal Academy, was much surprised to find that, rose above the point at which the curve commenced, of the few existing representations of the bridge, not the point of "springing," as it is technically called; one deserved attention, either for the beauty of its and the Gothic arch was of too high a proportion, execution or the correctness of its measurement; and, and would have elevated the roadway too much. That with a laudable zeal for the interests of his art, he at which he employed consisted of two portions of a once undertook the troublesome task of supplying very flat ellipsis, its rise in the centre being not much the deficiency. To his description we are chiefly in more than one-seventh of the whole span. From debted for our knowledge of many details con the circumstance of this being an arch of Ammanati's cerning it.
own invention, it is remarked as extraordinary, that The earliest structure which crossed the Arno, on no drawing or description of it by himself should the site of this bridge, was destroyed by a food in be known to exist, especially as the arch must have the year 1252 ; two-and-twenty years afterwards it been drawn to the size of the original on some level was rebuilt. In 1346 this second erection was repaired surface of considerable extent, to afford the necesand strengthened under the direction of Taddeo sary guide for the execution of the centering. It is
said, indeed, that there was such a line traced on the years before by a flood. It was on this site that the floor of the Medicean Theatre, or Hall of the Thir- first bridge ever built in Florence was erected; indeed, teen Magistrates.
the name of Ponte Vecchio, or “ Old Bridge,' suffiThe exterior of the bridge is of marble; its parapet ciently denotes its antiquity. The Florentines say that is solid, and has at its four extremities as many the original structure certainly existed in the time of pedestals, bearing allegorical statues of the four Sea- the Romans; and some even carry it back to the age sons. The centre of each arch, or the key-stone, as of their predecessors, the Etruscans. The present it is technically called, is decorated with a piece of bridge is curious, as having houses built upon either sculpture; this, in the middle arch, is in the form of side of its roadway. According to the favourite a ram's head, with a scroll, and a label above it bear- fashion which prevailed in olden times, and of which ing the zodiacal sign of Capricorn; and on each of our own metropolis afforded a specimen in London. the side arches is simply an enriched conso), with Bridge, from the beginning of the thirteenth to the a scroll and an inscription. There are, consequently, middle of the eighteenth century, low buildings are four inscriptions,—one on each face of the two side erected on both its parapets, but are discontinued in arches: they are all to the same effect, though couched the centre of one side, and their place supplied by in slightly different language, intimating respectively three tall Gothic arcades, which fill up the intermethat “ Cosmo de Medicis, Grand Duke of Etruria, diate space. This arrangement is said to produce a restored its beauty to the city, (which had been happier effect than that which was to be found in deformed by the overthrow of the bridge,) in the year our own city. The stranger passes on, and it is not 1569;" that he “restored the bridge, (which had been till he arrives at the open arcade which occupies the overthrown by the violence of the stream,) in an im- centre of the bridge, that he discovers his situation, proved form," in that year; that he "replaced the " when all the picturesque magnificence with which bridge over the Arno (which it had thrown down,) in the banks of the Arno are dressed breaks in at once the same year;" and that “ Cosmo de Medicis the upon his view.” There is said to be a private passage Second, by restoring the bridge, added to the ornament leading across this bridge from the Palazzo Pitti *, the of the city, and the convenience of the citizens,” in present residence of the Grand Duke, situated on 1569. According to Mr. Vulliamy, these ornaments the south side of the river, to the gallery which stands were evidently intended to conceal the interruption on the north bank. occasioned by the intersection of the two curves which Till the beginning of the thirteenth century, the form the arch. “If, however,” he says, " there be Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence which any visual defects at these points, the general appear- crossed the Arno; the increasing population of the ance does not suffer; for nothing can be more graceful city then called for a more ready and extended comor produce a happier effect than the lightness of the munication between its different quarters. The Ponte arches, contrasted with the massiveness of the piers alla Carraia, or the “ New Bridge," as it was also and their cutwaters. This most judicious union of called, in contradistinction to the Ponte Vecchio, or lightness and strength seems admirably contrived to Old Bridge, was accordingly built. It was commenced answer its end; for the waters of the Arno being often in 1218, and finished two years afterwards, under the suddenly swollen, rise several feet in a short space direction, as is generally supposed, of the father of of time, and rush down with fearful impetuosity. Arnolfo di Lapo, so celebrated as the architect of the Against the violence of the food, the size and weight Cathedral of Florence. But this structure lasted of the piers, the great length from point to point of only a short time: in the year 1269 it was destroyed the cutwaters, and the acuteness of the angle pre- by one of the floods of the Arno, and in the following sented to the stream, offer an effectual resistance, year replaced by a new one. On this, as well as on while the height of the piers before the arches com the former occasion, the foundations alone were of mence, leaves the passage for the water undiminished stone; the rest of the bridge was formed of the less at its greatest elevation.”
expensive, but also less durable material, wood, Most of our information upon the subject of this strengthened with iron. This second structure was bridge is derived from a curious little document pre- scarcely so lasting as the first; for, on the 1st of served at Florence, in the shape of a little memo May, in the year 1304, during the celebration of the randum or pocket-book on vellum, which belonged festival which welcomed the arrival of the Cardinal to Alfonso and Giulio Parigi, the assistant engineers da Prato, on a mission for terminating the war in or superintendants of the workmen, who set down in which Florence was then involved, the bridge was so it many of the principal circumstances attending the crowded with people that it broke down in many progress of the work.
places, causing many persons to perish by a miserable “ It was formerly believed,” says Mr. Roscoe, death. It was afterwards repaired, and then again " that the bridge was unequal to the support of any wholly destroyed in 1333, during the famous inundagreat weight, and on this account carriages were not tion which then happened; in the same year, however, suffered at one time to pass over it; but the French, it was restored at a great expense. After the lapse on obtaining possession of Florence, taught the citi- of 224 years, it was once more completely demolished zens to be less careful of their bridge, and it was by the equally famous flood which happened, as we thence discovered that there was little or no reason have described, in 1557, and caused at the same time to suspect its solidity." They are said to have done the destruction of the Bridge of the Trinity; and again, this by causing their heavy artillery to pass over the in the same year, it was rebuilt by the order of the bridge. Whether the story be true or not, as Mr. Grand Duke Cosmo, under the direction of Ammanati. Vulliamy remarks, it is certain that carriages now
See Saturday Magazine, Vol. IV., p.2. pass over this as over the other bridges; and, from the width of the bridge and the raised footways, it is DISTINCTION of rank is highly necessary for the economy evident that this was originally intended.
of the world, and was never called in question but by barThe bridge seen in our engraving, immediately barians and enthusiasts.—Rowe. above the Ponte a Santa Trinità, is the Ponte Vecchio, Men are so employed about themselves, that they have not which was built in the year 1245, under the super- leisure to distinguish and penetrate into others; which is intendence of Taddeo Gaddi, upon the ruins of an the cause why a great merit, joined to a great modesty, older structure which had been destroyed twelve may be a long time before it is discovered.—LA BRUYERE.
FUNGI AND MOSSES. We have already* noticed some of the peculiarities of this order of Cryptogamic plants, together with a few of their useful and noxious qualities. With the assistance of the microscope we are enabled to observe the peculiar structure of these singular productions, and to notice the economy of the more minute species.
The smaller species of Fungi could never have been properly understood without the aid of the microscope, and, before the invention of that instrument, the appearance they presented when in collected masses was described by the terms canker, mouldiness, &c., terms which conveyed no definite meaning. These minute fungi are constantly found on decaying vege- part of the fungus splits into from five to seven equal table and animal substances, or covering the damp portions, leaving the seed-vessel exposed to the air. walls of cellars and caves, and flourishing in those it is now that a curious provision of nature for the places which are unfit for the support of the more dispersion of the seed comes into action: the inner perfect vegetables. The diseases to which corn and lining on which the seed-vessel rests, is suddenly, many kinds of grass are subject, have their origin in with a jerk, turned inside out, and the little ball is different species of these parasitic plants.
thrown to a considerable distance (fig. 6), leaving the The immense number of species already discovered, parent plant empty, and its inner lining inverted, and and the singular forms they assume, together with forming a dome-like top to the fungus (fig.c). It is the various modes in which they are propagated, wonderful that so great a degree of power should exist renders this order of vegetable productions an endless in a substance not larger than the head of a pin, since source of delightful observation to the inquiring mind. not only is it necessary that the ball of seed should We have selected one of the most common species to be thrown to some distance, but it has also to overillustrate this subject, the Common Ascobolus; it is come a resistance at the opening, which is smaller
. of a greenish colour, and varies in form according to The large shining Cecithospora is found on the dead its age. At first it is a globular substance, about the leaves of the holly, and is rather common at all times size of a pin's head; as it increases in age it gradually of the year: it appears like so many black spots opens, and forms a kind of cup; at length its upper surface becomes perfectly flat, with the exception of a raised margin; at this period of its growth, the vessels which contain the seeds may be seen like so many minute black specks. One of these vessels, highly magnified, is shown in the engraving: it con
LARGE SHININO CEOITROSPORA.
tains eight oval seeds or sporidia ; but the inost singular part of the history of this plant, is the manner in which these seeds are distributed: the seed-vessel, as we have already said, appears at first like a minute black point; this gradually rises from the surface of
about the size of a very small pin's head. When the fungus, until, when the seeds are ripe, it suddenly magnified, its structure is very curious: the upper bursts and distributes its contents over the ground.
figure in the engraving is a section of one of these The next engraving represents the Star-like Sphæro- plants; it contains three seed-vessels, but in some bolus ; it is not common, but is found occasionally on plants the number amounts to five. The seeds, when
1 rotten wood, &c. The natural appearance of the ripe, are discharged in a stream from one end of these : plant is shown in the upper figure. The figure imme- vessels; sometimes, as shown in the lower figure, the diately beneath shows four young specimens, much seed
from both ends of the pods. magnified: at this time they are covered with a kind
The minute parasitic Stilbum has been found as the of white down; from this, however, they gradually parasite upon a parasite, obtaining its nourishment emerge as they become mature. The seed-vessel in
from another species of fungus, which, in its turn, this species is in the form of a small ball, and is con obtained its nutriment from the rotten wood on which tained within the body of the plant. Fig. a repre- it was growing. The seeds in this species are dissents one of these fungi cut in half, so as to show persed immediately from the rounded head of the the situation of the seed-vessel. The substance of the
plant itself. plant itself, it will be seen, is formed of several layers, The least Esaria is another parasitic fungus, gror. or laminæ. As soon as the seed is mature, the upper ing upon a plant of its own order ; it has been See Saturday Magazine, Vol. VI., p. 236.
gathered in damp places in woods, in the spring.
MINUTE PARASITIC STILBUM,
the receptacles for the seed in several species of mosses; these, in many cases, are very interesting objects for the microscope, and require a glass of very moderate power.
The Mosses, the third order of Cryptogamous plants, although extremely minute, and not to be found in any vast abundance, are still well worthy of notice, on account of the uses to which we know they can be applied, and in order to discover, if pos sible, others with which we are at present unacquainted.
It is well observed by a writer in the Edinburgh Encyclopædia, that “we are informed, by the inspired historian of the Creation, that God pronounced good every thiny which he had made; and surely nothing that the Deity has pronounced good, can be unworthy of the contemplation of man. Every research into Nature, when properly conducted, must be like Galen's Treatise on Anatomy, a hymn to that Great Being by whom all things were at first formed, and
are still upheld." “ He who could examine the The Sycamore petiol Peziza was found on the leafstalk of the sycamore. In dry weather nothing is nutrition, the growth, the regular conformation, the perceptible but oblong or eliptical black spots. In provision made for the continuation of the species,
while all the individuals successively disappear, of moist weather the plant makes its appearance by
even the minutest moss without perceiving in them the proofs of intelligence, power, and goodness, would probably receive no more conviction from the sublimer truths that astronomy itself could unfold.”
The mere examination of the structure of mosses would not be useless, in this point of view, even supposing we could discover no useful properties in these minute vegetables, in reference to man, or any of the lower animals. But purposes of utility which have been answered by mosses, have not escaped observation. Many species of this class which inhabit
the water, are of essential service in keeping it pure SYCAMORE PETIOL PIZIZA.
and wholesome; and, in the lapse of time, their regradually distending the small slit in the bark of the mains contribute, in no mean degree, to the formapetiol, till it attains its round form, when the margin tion of vegetable earth, by which quagmires are ultiprojects over the edge of the fissure. In the absence mately turned into fertile fields, and those spots of of moisture, the whole again contracts and becomes ground which were injurious to health, become the invisible.
source of wealth and abundance. Peat-moss, so The next engraving is a magnified view of a useful in many countries as fuel, is frequently found
to have been formed, in a great measure, of the remains of various species of mosses.
Mosses at times are useful in protecting the roots of plants from the too great heat of the sun in Summer, and from severe frost in the Winter season,
Several animals find considerable resource in mosses. It has been observed, that against the approaches of Winter, the arctic bear lines his cave well with a species of moss, (Polytrichum commune.) The squirrel's round and elegant pendulous nest,
which serves not less as a comfortable retreat from species of fungus, which formed the mouldiness on
the Winter's blast, than as a warm and safe habian old shoe.
tation for the young, is chiefly formed of mosses. The following engravings are magnified views of Many birds also build their nests almost entirely of
masses, and numerous tribes of insects find among these vegetable productions a safe retreat, and frequently subsist
upon their delicate leaves. In Lapland, during the Summer, a bed of moss is as much prized as a heather-bed by the highlanders of Scotland. The Laplanders also employ it as a substitute for bed-clothes in the cradles of their infants. In some places in England, where the Polytrichum commune grows luxuriantly, it is made into brooms. Mosses have also, to a trifling extent, been used in dying, and in former days great medical virtues were attributed to them,
THERE is nothing easier, than to persuade men well of themselves; when a man's self-love meets with another's flattery, it is an high praise that will not be believed.BISHOP HALL.
SEED RECEPTACLES IN MOSSES
BISHOP OE EXETER.
MILES 'COVERDALE, In illustration of the adaptation of the trade-winds to the purposes of commerce, a more striking instance, The name of CoVERDALE has of late been so fre. perhaps, could not be adduced than the following, quently brought to the notice of our readers, as which is given in a volume entitled Four Years' Resi- the person who produced the first entire translation dence in the West Indies, written by a gentleman of of the Protestant Bible in the English language, that the name of Bayley. In the description of the island we are glad to give some account of him in the of St. Vincent, it is there stated that a little sloop, | pages of the Saturday Magazine. the private signal of which was unknown to any of Miles Coverdale was born in Yorkshire in 1487. the merchants, sailed into the harbour one morning, His early life corresponded little with his subsequent and immediately attracted the notice of the surround career; for he not only studied in a monastery at ing crowd; and the history of its unexpected appear Cambridge, but became a monk of the order of St. ance is thus given:-
Augustine. It is probable, however, that under Dr. “Every one has heard of the little fishing-smacks Barnes, his prior, who afterwards suffered martyrdom employed in cruising along the coast of Scotland; for the Protestant faith, Coverdale then laid a broad which carry herrings and other fish to Leith, Edin- and deep foundation in Scripture reading, and acburgh, or Glasgow, worked by three or four hardy quired a large portion of that learning which, at the sailors, and generally commanded by an individual proper time, he brought to bear with full effect on the having no other knowledge of navigation than that great question of the Reformation. In 1514, he was which enables him to keep his dead reckoning, and ordained at Norwich; and the University of Tubingen, to take the sun with his quadrant at noon-day. in Suabia, having conferred upon him the degree of
" It appears that a man who owned and commanded doctor of divinity, he, with some other divines of one of these coasting vessels, had been in the habit of Cambridge, avowed his departure from the Romish seeing the West India ships load and unload in the church, and his conversion to Protestantism. This several ports of Scotland; and having heard that important step appears to have been taken about the sugar was a very profitable cargo, he determined, by year 1530, when there was a strong effort made, way of speculation, on making a trip to St. Vincent, especially at the two Universities, to restore the and returning to the Scottish market with a few Church of England to its original purity. hogsheads of that commodity. The natives were In Germany he met with William Tindal, a good perfectly astonished: they had never heard of such a Hebrew scholar, and a learned and pious man, who feat before ; and they deemed it quite impossible that had led the way among the English translators of a mere fishing-smack, worked by only four men, and the Scriptures,--having translated from the original commanded by an ignorant master, should plough Greek, and published the New Testament in 1526. the boisterous billows of the Atlantic, and reach the With Coverdale's assistance he also translated and West Indies in safety: yet so it was. The hardy edited the Five Books of Moses. Tindal, whose life, Scotchman freighted his vessel, made sail, crossed however useful to others, seems to have been one of the Bay of Biscay in a gale, got into the trades, and labour and sorrow," was imprisoned through the scudded along before the wind at the rate of seven influence of King Henry the Eighth, and by virtue of knots an hour, trusting to his dead reckoning all the a decree made in the assembly at Augsburg, brought way. He spoke no vessel during the whole voyage,
to execution in 1536. He was first strangled, and and never once saw land until the morning of the then burnt, his last words being—" Lord, open the thirty-fifth day, when he descried St. Vincent's right, the King of England's eyes!"-a prayer, the object a-head; and setting his gaft-top-sail, he ran down, of which was speedily fulfilled, in the support which under a light breeze, along the windward coast of the Henry afterwards gave to the cause of truth. It is island, and came to anchor about eleven o'clock, remarkable, too, that Coverdale, in the dedication of · under the circumstances before mentioned.”.
his Volume of the Scriptures to Henry, honestly tells Such a vessel, and so manned, could hardly have his Majesty, “ that the Pope gave him the title of performed the voyage here described, had it not been Defender of the Faith only because his Highness sufaided by the current of the trade-winds: and what fered his bishops to burne God's word, the root of then must be the advantages of such a wind, when, faith, and to persecute the lovers and ministers of instead of aiding the puny enterprise of a single and it;" but, at the same time, he intimates his convicobscure individual, it forwards the annual fleets of tion that this title of Defender of the Faith will prove mighty nations?
a prophecy; that, “by the righteous administration But, if we would view the subject in all its mag- of his Grace, the faith shall be so defended, that God's nitude, let us contemplate with a philosophic eye, the word, the mother of faith, should have its free course haven of any one of the larger seaports of Europe; thorow all Christendome, but especially in his Grace's filled with vessels from every maritime nation of the realme.” world; freighted not only with everything which the The joint exertions of these two excellent men natural wants of man demand, or which the state of having been thus interrupted by the violent death society has rendered necessary to his comfort, but of one of them, the zealous and intrepid Coverdale with all which the most refined luxury has been able followed up, with increased energy, the object, in to suggest. “ Merchandise of gold and silver, and the pursuit of which his friend had fallen a sacriprecious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen and fice. Eager to supply the people of England with the purple, and silk and scarlet, and all fine wood, and spiritual food which had been too long kept out of all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of their reach, their appetite for it having been sharpened vessels of most precious wood, and of brass and by the detached portions of Scripture which they had iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours and already seen in their native tongue, he set himself to the ointments, and frankincense, and wine and oil, and great work of publishing the whole of the Sacred Canon fine flour and wheat, and beasts and sheep, and in English, and declaring himself as ready to serve horses and chariots."
the interests of Religion "in one translation as in ano[KIDD's Bridgewater Treatise.]
ther,” the one which he presented to his countrymen, Humility is the low but broad and deep foundation of celebrated on the 4th of October last, was, according
and the third centenary of the publication of which we every Christian virtue.-BURKE.