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Document number: 01048
Date: Mon 27 Jan 1823
Recipient: FEILDING Elisabeth Theresa, née Fox Strangways
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 1st September 2003


Monday Evening
27th Janry 1823

We have had one of the finest days, and one of the most beautiful drives I ever remember. We set off soon after nine & reached Albano at twelve – As we crossed the Campagna, ruins & barrows of earth innumerable on our right, marked the course of the deserted Appian Way. – Arrived at the inn, we determined, as the day was before us, to take a little walk; so we ascended slowly the long, straight hill that leads to the Capuchin Convent. After considerable time we gained the top, when to our surprize & delight the lake of Albano lay at our feet, with its peaceful dark blue waters embosomed in the hills – On our left Castel Gandolfo in a most picturesque position overhanging the lake, on our right Palazzuolo, and beyond it Monte Cavo, crowned with its convent – Returning to the inn we harnessed six horses to our carriage, & set off full gallop, which the sight of the tomb of the Horatii & Curiatii <1> caused us almost immediately to check – The postillions stopped with some difficulty, and we jumped out to survey it, while Jane <2> sketched it. It is very curious more ruined than I expected, for I thought the five cones had been all entire. Proceeding we arrived immediately at Aricia, & went up the very hill where Juvenal <3> says he was so plagued with beggars –Pretty church, & still prettier country. The postillons <sic> offered to make a détour <4> & shew us the lake of Nemi, we consented, & were rewarded with the most lovely view of it from the garden of a convent, lying in tranquil beauty at the foot of Monte Cavo. The ancients called it the Looking Glass of Diana, & the moderns, lo Specchio. On the opposite bank we saw Nemi, on our right was Genzano. The Monks would not let Jane into their garden, so we contrived to shew her nearly the same view from a field not far off; and besides found two crocusses of a species I never saw before, white, elegantly veined with brown – We hailed it as the first flower of the spring. Leaving Gensano we saw on our right Civita Lavinia, <5> the ancient Lanuvium; – Between the ridge of hills on which we stood, & the sea, is a dreary flat of about 10 miles in breadth, in which we saw but few objects, – isolated towers – the church of Pratica (anciently Lavinium) & very far to the right the mouth of the Tiber. A noble view now burst on our sight in the opposite direction, Velletri near us; – beyond it an immense flat (the Pontine marshes) beyond them again the lofty Apennines tipped here & there with snow, with scattered villages on their flanks, among which Cora was conspicuous, where are the famous temples of Hercules, & Castor & Pollux; – On the right, where the Apennines terminate, I imagine Terracina is situated – Still more to the right, the mountains are succeeded by a perfect flat, when suddenly there rises alone by itself the lofty promontory of Circe – Beyond is the sea, scattered with distant islands – Between the Rock of Circe and the Apennines, we saw over the marshes, in the extreme horizon, a blue mountain, which our imaginations made Vesuvius.!!!

At Velletri we found Mr Peploe already arrived, tho’ it was but ½ past 3 – He passed us while we were gone to the lake of Nemi – however the Inn holds us all comfortably. The view from Velletri was charming at Sunset – It stands on a hill, separated by a valley from the Monte Artemisio which backs it; to the North is the distant spire of Civita Lavinia, to the South a plain of 10 miles, woody & trackless, divides it from Cora – I have described the view to the West & South West, the marshes, the islands, and the hill of Circe. My love to all.

Your affectionate Son

W.H.F. Talbot

Miladi Feilding
Palazzo Ceva


1. Two sets of warrior brothers who fought a duel for Rome’s supremacy over the ancient city preceeding Albano.

2. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874).

3. Decimus Junis Juvenalis, Roman satirical poet.

4. Deviation, turning.

5. Civita Lavinia (modern Lanuvio), Lazio, Italy.