INTERCOURSE WITH ITALIANS.
amiable manifestations are only calculated to awaken greater cu¬
pidity and discontent.
On the principal routes, and especially in Naples, the insolence
of this mercenary fraternity has attained to such an unexampled
pitch, that the traveller is often tempted to doubt whether such
a thing as honesty is known in Italy; but a more intimate acquain¬
tance with the people and their habits will satisfy him that his
misgivings apply to the above classes only, and not to the com¬
In Italy the pernicious custom of demanding considerably more
than will ultimately be accepted is universal; but a knowledge
of the custom, which is based upon the presumed ignorance of
one of the contracting parties, tends greatly to mitigate the evil.
Where tariffs and fixed charges exist, they should be carefully
consulted. In other cases where an average price is established by
custom, the traveller should make a precise bargain with respect
to the service to be rendered, and never rely on the equity of
the other party. The preliminaries of a bargain once adjusted,
the traveller will often find the people with whom he has to
deal more trustworthy than he anticipated.
Individuals who appeal to the generosity of the stranger, or to
their own honesty, or who, as rarely happens, are offended by
manifestations of distrust, may well be answered in the words of
the proverb, lpatti chiari, amicizia lung a'. In the following
pages the average prices of hotel accommodation and other items
are stated with all possible accuracy, and although liable to
fluctuation, will often prove a safeguard against gross extortion.
The equanimity of the traveller's own temper will greatly assist
him if involved in a dispute or bargain, and he should pay no
attention whatever to vehement gesticulations or an offensive
demeanour. The slighter his knowledge of the Italian language
is, the more careful should he be not to involve himself in a war
of words, in which he must necessarily be at great disadvantage.
It need hardly be observed that the representations of drivers,
guides, and others of a similar class, with whom even the in¬
habitants of the place often appear to act in concert, are unworthy
of the slightest reliance. Thus in Naples the charge for a single
drive is 70 c, and yet the driver would find no difficulty in
producing twenty individuals to corroborate his assertion that
the proper fare was 5 fr. In such cases the traveller may gen¬
erally rely on the data in the Handbook. Where farther in¬
formation is required, it should be sought from printed tariffs, from
fellow-travellers, gensdarmes, respectably dressed persons present,
occasionally from landlords, but seldom or never from waiters.
The traveller should always be provided with an abundant
supply of copper coin in a country where trifling donations
are incessantly in demand. Drivers, guides, porters, and donkey-