Tomb of Virgil. NAPLES. 4. Route. 79
the road to be paved; it was again repaved and improved by
Charles III. (1754), who left it in its present condition. The
passage is about i/2 M- in length, at the E. entrance SO—90 ft.
high, varying in the interior from 20 to 50 ft. , in breadth
24—30 ft. , and always well lighted. Small chapels are situated
at the entrance and in the middle for the use of the pious.
On a few days in March and November the sun is in such a.
position as to shine directly through the grotto, producing a magic
Among the vineyards on the height, to the 1. of the entrance
to the grotto, is situated the Tomb of Virgil, a Roman burial-
place or columbarium. The door of the vineyard is opened for
the visitor and a considerable number of steps ascended. The
view of the bay and city obtained from this point is fine; the
monument itself is of little interest and its authenticity extre¬
mely doubtful. For admission each visitor pays 1/2 1., a trifle to
the attendant at the tomb and to the opener of the door. This
digression occupies about 3/4 hr.
The monument contains a chamber about 15 ft. square, with three
windows and vaulted ceiling. In the walls are 10 recesses for cinerary urns,
and in the principal wall, which has been destroyed, there appears to have
been one of greater size. Probability and local tradition favour the im¬
pression that this was the last resting-place of the poet, who, as he himself
informs us, here composed his immortal works, the Georgics and the ^Eneid,
and who unquestionably possessed a villa on the Posilipo and at his express
wish was here interred after his death at Brundisium B. C. 19 on his return
from Greece. Petrarch is said to have visited this spot accompanied by
king Robert, and to have planted a laurel, which at the beginning of the
present century fell a prey to the knives of curiosity-mongers, and has since
been replaced. It is on record that the tomb in 1326 was in a good state
of preservation, and contained a marble urn with 9 small pillars, the frieze
of which bore the well-known inscription :
Mantua me cenuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc
Parthenope : cecini pascua, rura, duces.
Of all this no trace now remains. In 1530, however, Cardinal Bembo's.
epitaph on the poet Sannazar (p. 80) proves that he believed in the genu-
in ness of the tomb, on which the following inscription, which is still
egeible, was accordingly placed in 1554 .
Qui cineres? tumuli hsec vestigia: conditur olim
Ille hie qui cecinit pascua, rura, duces.
The question may therefore he considered to be decided in favour of the
prevalent belief, and the poet's name is thus inseparably connected with
Naples and its fascinating environs.
At the farther extremity of the grotto of Posilipo is situated
the village of Fuorigrolta, where several roads diverge. A new
road to the r. leads to Orsolone and Capodimonte. The second
leads to the village of Pianura (3 M.) at the foot of the hill of
Camaldoli, with its vast quarries; a third to the Lago d'Agnano
and Astroni, and that in a straight direction to the small Bagnoli
with warm springs, situated on the coast, on the road to Pozzuoli.