'Thou art the garden of the world, the home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
E'en in thy desert, what is like to thee?
Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste
More rich than other climes'1 fertility,
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.''
I. Travelling Expenses. Money.
Expenses. The cost of a tour in Italy depends of course on the
traveller's resources and habits, but, as a rule, it need not exceed
that incurred in other much frequented parts of the continent. The
average expenditure of a single traveller, when in Italy, may be
estimated at 25-30 francs per day, or at 12-15 francs when a pro¬
longed stay is made at one place; but persons acquainted with the
language and habits of the country may easily restrict their ex¬
penses to still narrower limits. Those who travel as members of a
party effect a considerable saving by sharing the expense of guides,
carriages, and other items. When ladies are of the party, the ex¬
penses are generally greater.
Money. The French monetary system is now in use throughout
the whole of Italy. The franc (lira or franco) contains 100 centesimi;
1 fr. 25c. = 1 s. = 1 German mark = 50 Austrian kreutzers. In
copper (bronzo or rame) there are coins of 1, 2, 5, and 10 centesimi.
A piece of 5 c. is called a soldo, or sou, and as the lower classes of¬
ten keep their accounts in soldi, the traveller will find it useful to
accustom himself to this mode of reckoning. See also the Money
Table opposite the title-page.
During the war of 1866 a paper currency was introduced at a
compulsory rate of exchange, and for many years gold and silver
almost completely disappeared from ordinary circulation. In 1880,
however, a measure was passed for the gradual redemption of the
banknotes, and the government loan of 450 million francs for this
purpose has been taken up with such avidity, that the extreme
date fixed for the complete substitution of a gold currency (the end
of 1883) will probably be anticipated. The exchange in favour of
gold, which formerly amounted to 8-10 or even to 15 per cent.,
has already sunk to 1V2-3 per cent. The only banknotes which are
current throughout the whole country are those of the Banca
Nazionale and the so-called Biglietti gia Consorziali, formerly issued
in common by six banks but now taken over by the government.
Other notes should be refused.