Crystal clear. Rose at 4. At 5 went with G. to the Garden at the Rocca, & drew Santa Pietra as well as I could: but it is a singularly undrawable place. ― At 7. Off, in Andrea’s carriage, who goes for a frank a mile, & is no bother. The road is a wonderfully lovely one ― along of the olives, in woods & slopes, & vine-festooned.

Also the mountains peep out now & then, but the characteristic of the drive is immense fertility. At 8.15 reached Massa, a very ἐπεδαμένη1 place indeed. How Elisa Bacciocchi2 ever lived in it I don’t know. The town is very ἒτσι κ´ ἒτσι,3 & as I had once seen that more than a day here would be troppo, I did not have the luggage moved, & shall go on to Carrara τήν νύκτα.4 Meanwhile G. & I took an indaginous5 ramble, but little turned up worth drawing. The town is dirty ― compared with others in these parts, & the only thing to be remarked is the fertility of orange, olive, & oleander, near the place;  ― & the gt. olive-wooded sides of the mountain beyond. But no individuality of landscape. So, at 9.45 I came home & wrote this. Slept & read, & queer enough it is to be so compulsorily idle for a day. At 12 ― a rather nasty dinner, but good beer.

Slept again X X ― o! bother! ― & at 3.30 went with G. to an isolated chesnut-&-pine covered hill & drew till 5.30. Oranges frequent[.] Massa is a hindrance. ― At 6 paid & quit, with Andrea, who seems to go on with me. The fact is, comfortable progress is something, & can’t be got on a saddle in small Italian towns: so perhaps, “a bird [on] the hand &c.”6 ― Road onwards ever characterized by immense richness ― & then in Foce or Mountain pass ― every rise of which shewed Massa, in its true  character ― tho’ ever becoming less. The Castle & palace & town come out like spots of gold from the green plain, seems as far as V. Reggio, Leghorn, & M. Nero. At the Top ― Carrara was in sight, very interesting & finely surrounded by mountains. Marbles is cheap, as the doors & windows shew. A “sort of Inn,” ― but not promising: very provincial. G. & I walked from 7 to 7.40. Buildings good & tasteful.

Supper at 9 ― & bed as soon as may be.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

  1. Dead (NB). []
  2. Marie Anne Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi Levoy, Princesse Française, Duchess of Lucca and Princess of Piombino, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Countess of Compignano. []
  3. So and so (NB). []
  4. At night (NB). []
  5. A portmanteau word mixing “idigenous” and the Italian “indagine:” survey, investigation. []
  6. “A bird in/on the hand is worth two in the bush.” Partially blotted. []