The infirmatory where the sick lay, was paved with various colored marbles, and the walls hung with noble pieces; the beds are very fair; in the middle is a stately cupola, under which is an altar decked with divers marble statues, all in sight of the sick, who may both see and hear mass, as they lie in their beds. The organs are very fine, and frequently played on to recreate the people in pain.
The Diary of John Evelyn, Vol. 1, William Bray (ed.),London, M. Walter Dunne, 1901, p.43
PLACE: Christ's Hospital, Via Triumphasis, Rome
TIME: January 25, 1645
Having gained the very summit, I laid myself down to look over into that most frightful and terrible vorago, a stupendous pit of near three miles in circuit, and half a mile in depth, by a perpendtcular hollow cliff (like that from the highest part of Dover Castle), with now and then a craggy prominency jetting out. The area at the bottom is plane, like an even floor, which seems to be made by the wind circling the ashes by its eddy blasts. In the middle and centre is a hill, shaped like a great brown loaf, appearing to consist of sulphurous matter,continually vomiting a foggy exhalation, and ejecting huge stones with an impetuous noise and roaring, like the report of many muskets discharging. This horrid barathrum engaged our attention for some hours, both for the strangeness of the spectacle, and the mention which the old histories make of it, as one of the most stupendous curiosities in nature, and which made the learned and inquisitive Pliny adventure his life to detect the causes, and to lose it in too desperate an approach.
The Diary of John Evelyn, Vol. 1, William Bray (ed.),London, M. Walter Dunne, 1901, p..151 - 152.
PLACE: Mount Vesuvius
TIME: Feb. 7, 1645.
Just behind the palace (which is of excellent architecture) in the centre of the inclosure, rises a high hill, or mountain, all over clad with tall wood, and so formed by nature, as if it had been cut out by art, from the summit whereof falls a cascade, seeming rather a great river than a stream precipitating into a large theatre of water, representing an exact and perfect rainbow, when the sun shines out. Under this, is made an artificial grot, wherein are curious rocks, hydraulic organs, and all sorts of singing birds, moving and chirping by force of the water, with several other pageants and surprising inventions. In the centre of one of these rooms, rises a copper ball that continually dances about three feet above the pavement, by virtue of a wind conveyed secretly to a hole beneath it; with many other devices to wet the unwary spectators, so that one can hardly step without wetting to the skin. In one of these theaters of water, is an Atlas spouting up the stream to a very great height; and another monster makes a terrible roaring with a horn; but, above all, the representation of a storm is most natural, with such fury of rain, wind, and thunder, as one would imagine oneself in some extreme tempest. The garden has excellent walks and shady groves, abundance of rare fruit, oranges, lemons, etc., and the goodly prospect of Rome, above all description, so as I do not wonder that Cicero and others have celebrated this place with such, encomiums.
The Diary of John Evelyn, Vol. 1, William Bray (ed.),London, M. Walter Dunne, 1901, p..177.
PLACE: Frascati (formerly Tusculum) villa of Cardinal Aldobrandini, near Rome.
TIME: May 5, 1645.
In another garden, is a noble aviary, the birds artificial, and singing till an owl appears, on which they suddenly change their notes. Near this is the fountain of dragons, casting out large streams of water with great noise. In another grotto, called Grotto di Natura, is an hydraulic organ; and below this are divers stews and fish ponds, in one of which is the statue of Neptune in his chariot on a seahorse, in another a Triton; and lastly, a garden of simples.
The Diary of John Evelyn, Vol. 1, William Bray (ed.),London, M. Walter Dunne, 1901, p. 179.
PLACE: Villa d'Este, Near Rome.
TIME: May 6, 1645.
God grant mine eyes may never behold the like, who now saw above 10,000 houses all in one flame!. The noise and cracking and thunder of the impetuous flames, the shrieking of women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses, and churches, was like a hideous storm.
The Diary of John Evelyn, Vol. 1, William Bray (ed.),London, M. Walter Dunne, 1901, p. 21
TIME: Sept. 3, 1666
CIRCUMSTANCE: The City of London on fire.