Centro Risorse Territoriale di Pesaro e Urbino

Romania, a 1769 Guide

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Imola, Faenza, Forli, Cesena, Rimini, Pezaro, Fano and Sinigaglia .

The above towns make the most considerable part of Romania. Our short stay would not allow us a very particular survey of their beauties, of which they are not quite bare; but, short as it was, we were heartily tired of those slothful indolent set of scoundrels, strutting with swords by their sides along the streets, especially in their first four cities.

Both the Romanese and the people along the Po are of one common origin with the modern French, being the descendants of those Gauls who followed Brennus above two thousand years ago. The part of Italy confining on the Adriatic sea, took the names of those provinces of Gaul from whence these people came, whether because they settled apart as provincial bodies, or whether they were united only fortuitously, and the resemblance of the countries and sites gave rise to those appellations. Thus Bologna became the capital of a new Berry ( a ) : One part of Umbria took the name of Senones; the country near the mouth of the Po, that of the people who had left the mouth of the Loire; and these last had for neighbours new Manceaux ( b ).

To go on tracing any vestiges of a common origin between the Gauls settled in Italy, and the modern French, would be lost labour: it being now many ages since all resemblance either in manners, customs, or sentiment, has been worn out.

Never did they so differ as in the party for which one and the other declared in a matter of the utmost importance and in like circumstances. The decay of the imperial prerogative under the descendants of Charlemain rouzed the Gauls, now become Lombards and Romanese, to recover a liberty which they maintained for the space of three centuries, less indeed by open force, than the suppleness of an ever intriguing policy. The Venetians immediately availed themselves of the anarchy to secure the foundations of their government. The Lombards and Romanese, being pressed by that power, and by the popes, who left no stone unturned to make themselves potentates, and being farther harrassed, from time to time, by the emperors coming sword in hand to renew their claims, which had grown obsolete; their only shift was, to give themselves up alternately, according to the times, to one or other of those powers, who however treated them with the considerations due to new conquests. But no sooner did the yoke begin to make itself felt, than they shook it off. The boldest strokes often decided these revolutions, by means of which these Gauls recovered their independency; but such intervals only served the turn of petty tyrants, either foreign or natives, and they were driven out or made away with, either on suspicion or mere humour. In a word, till Julius II. who laid on these turbulent people a yoke which they have not yet thought of throwing off, they found means to preserve a liberty, which they were every instant in danger of losing. The love of independency has survived their liberty, and for its last security has made choice of indolence. Thus under that anarchy, which we know only from wretched accounts ( c ), the state of Lombardy and Romania was the same as that of Greece, under those shining aeras immortalized by Herodotus and Thucydides

Vixere fortes post Agamemnona

Multi : sed omnes illacrymabiles

Urgentur, ignotique longâ

Nocte, carent quia vate sacro.

The condition of France to which we must return, was very different under that same anarchy, introduced by the weakness into which the regal authority fell under Charlemain's descendants. Whilst usurpers were setting up a new form of government on the ruins of that authority, the love, nay the very notion of liberty was wearing away among the people , who seemed to prefer a quiet slavery to a liberty ever in arms. The new masters of the several provinces found in the Frenchman, now under villenage, a compliance and submission the more wonderful, as that brave people quietly restrained their courage, except when the advantage of their masters called for its exertion.

Whether was this people or that of Lombardy and Romania the happier at that time? A very nice question, the decision of which will be more certainly come at, by a knowledge of the peculiar temper and disposition of these people, than by any moral or political speculations. The towns, in our passage from Bologna to Sinigaglia, are well built and without porticos: in some of the churches we saw very good paintings; they have likewise elegant palaces with squares and fountains. Romania has even had a painting-school to itself; and for its head counts a Barocci, whose compositions are not at all inferior to those of the great masters of Lombardy. This school is still subsisting in a painter settled at Fano, and whose talents, being without employment in his own country, have happily found a generous patron in the Marckgrave of Bareith, who, without troubling him to remove, has made him his with a pension. This painter is to work for Germany, Italy being already too full of the performances of ancient masters to think of encouraging living talents.

All we saw at Imola, Faenza, Forli, and Cesena ( d ) was the cathedral of Forli, its cupola, painted by Cignani, and the vice-president of that city, to whom we applied for justice against the postillion who had brought us from Faenza. His excellency, who was in his waistcoat and a brown linen cap, was then at work in his closet about a piece of black glossy linen, for a summer's waistcoat, and he did not leave off for our coming. At length, after a very long delay, vouchsafing to hear us, he cut short the dispute with a mezzo termine , by which part of the postillion's buonamancia , or fee, went into his people's pockets.

( a ) Boü
( b )
It is unquestionably from these annals that the arch rogue Rabelais, as Brantome calls him, has forges his Poltronismus rerum Italicarum , which is in St. Victor's library
( d ) Rimini, Pezaro, and Fano, we saw more at leisure, passing through them again both in our way from Sinigaglia to Venice, and in our return from Venice to Rome.

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