Centro Risorse Territoriale di Pesaro e Urbino

Fano, a 1769 Guide

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This city likewise belonged to the duchy of Urbino: its present name is a remainder of that of fanum fortunae given to it by the Romans. In many respects it resembles Pezaro, but is more populous, and has what Pezaro wants, one of the finest opera theatres in Italy. Its churches abound in pictures by the greatest masters of the Bologna school. St. Joseph's marriage, in the first chapel on the right-hand in coming into the cathedral, pleased me beyond any I ever saw of Guerchini. The composition is quite simple, nihil habere ex ingenio videtur ; but such sublimity, and such grandeur in this simplicity! The principal subject consists of the high-priest, the Virgin and St. Joseph. It was unquestionably to make it more projecting that the painter has introduced in the deepening, some mean persons spitefully leering at the ceremony. In the same church is a chapel decorated with small pictures of Domenichini, representing the mysteries of the Rosary. But these pieces, no more than one of Guido's in this cathedral, did not take with me any thing like that of Guerchini.

In the church of the Phillipini, or fathers of the oratory, built about the middle of the last century by a man of wealth, who had taken the habit of the oratory, is a most valuable collection of paintings, collected by the founder; a printed list of them is given. There are several by Guido, but part of them scarce to be known, having been disfigured by a dauber, who was employed to clean them, and who, after scraping them, put the finishing hand to spoiling them by his presumptuous retouches. That of the great altar, being less exposed to moisture than the others, luckily did not stand in need of repair, and thus escaped the general ravage. It is a capital composition, of the same labour and value as the greatest pieces of that master to be seen at Bologna. There is likewise another very well preserved in the false window on the left.

The sight of all the beauties and curiosities in Pezaro I owed to the politeness of a friendly priest, whom I accidentally fell in with at the cathedral. He carried me every where, and informed me of every thing in the most obliging manner; he even insisted on treating me at the coffee-house. I found by his conversation which entirely corresponded with this uncommon courtesy, that he was geniale Francese , a hearty Frenchman. For in all the cities of Italy and the very villages, the European powers have very warm sticklers, who are generally such from father to son, and downright hate those of a contrary party. The ancient regard of these people for martial achievement still animates them, so that Lewis XIV. by the greatness of his projects and the rapidity of his conquests was become the universal favourite among them.

The quarrels of these different parties are to Italy, as the religious quarrels in France, England and Germany. An Italian in the French interest detests the English and their partizans, as heartily as a good French Molinist detests Port-Royal and the Jansenists, and vice versa . These parties however have been put to a kind of nonplus, by the unforeseen alliance between Austria and France; yet has it not yet reconciled the geniali of those two powers, most of them retaining their former affections. In the present war, enthusiasm has formed a considerable party for the king of Prussia; in short, the wars of the European princes are to the Italians pretty nearly what the shews of gladiators were among the Romans. They amuse the people's idleness; and the sovereigns foment these parties, as diverting their attention from objects which more nearly concern them, according to the maxim, divide & impera . See the article of Ravenna in the sequel.

Fano has likewise a triumphal arch of white marble, erected to Augustus. It was thirty cubits high, but is now half ruined by the artillery of Paul II. in the siege which Fano sustained against that pontiff in 1463. Some very uncertain ruins are shewn as remains of that temple of fortune, from which the city received its name.

At the space of a league from Fano, the Flaminian way crosses the Metaurus , now the Metro , in the very spot where Asdrubal was worsted by the Romans.

Testis Metaurum flumen &Asdrubal

Devictus

This river had little or no water, though we crossed it at its entrance into the sea. The pompous Silius Italicus has dedicated to it this inflated verse.

Rapidasque sonanti

Vortice contorquens undas & saxa Metaurus

Let us now cast an eye on the present state of trade, in that part of Romania which we have travelled over.

Of the first four cities between Bologna and the Rubicon, Forli is the only one whose inhabitants have any inclination for work: their chief business is wax, linen, and umbrellos, with which they supply the far greater part of Italy. At Sinigaglia fair we saw a dealer, who alone disposes of at least three thousand umbrellos every fair. Faenza, as if satisfied with the honour of having given name to the finer sort of earthen ware, makes at present but very little, and that likewise very bad.

The manufactures of Rimini and Pezaro scarce suffice for home consumption; they were relinquished to the English, for the advancement of another kind of domestic industry. The silk, which is still gathered in the duchy of Urbino, and in the upper part of Romania, is bought up by the traders of these two cities, who for this purpose have entered into terms with the English, in which Italian subtilty seems to have forgot itself. They remit these silks to England, and the ensuing year the English bring them in return stuffs of their manufactures, such as mohairs and silk and cotton stuffs, with a profit for the workmanship; and all, according to the conscience of the English, who thus get both silk and money from Romania. The Romanese dealers perhaps may find a present profit in this measure, but it can proceed only from the very low price of the raw silks, which are brought to their warehouses; in the mean time the cultivator, disheartened by this reduction of price, makes his mulberry-trees give place to others of more profit, feliciores conferit arbores. The silk harvests diminish daily, and thus in time Romania will be deprived of a branch of employment, which, should industry, by any unexpected vicissitude happen to revive here, it will bittery lament. The Lyons traders, who call these silks soies d'Outremer , beyond-sea silks, and who are fully acquainted with their goodness, may worm the English out of this trade, or at least come in for a share: but the Romanese say, that they have very good reason for dealing with them only for ready money.

Fano has rejected the proposals of the English, making use at home of a great part of its silks, in a narrow stuff called ferendine , which is commonly well manufactured, and makes very creditable and likewise very serviceable linings; the French, I believe, have some notion of it.

The fairs are the chief object of the active commerce of all these cities; their consumption trade is for the greater part carried on by Jews, who find the sweets of it. In this trade England furnishes its woolens, and the Swiss their linens, the sale of which enables them to purchase the Venetian cottons. The French manufactures are absolutely unknown, and of course make no part of this commerce.

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