to Rome. BOLSENA. il- Route. 105
Bolsena (1140 ft.; Alb. Stella d'Oro, in the main Street), a
little town with 3288 inhab., picturesquely situated on the N.E.
bank of the lake, a little below the site of Volsinii Novi, which
arose after the destruction of the old Volsinii (p. 100). Numerous
inscriptions, columns, etc. of this Roman municipium are preserved.
The Museo Comunale, in the Piazza, contains a Roman sarcophagus
with the triumph of Bacchus. An antique road paved. with basalt
ascends from the N. end of the town to the ruins. Beautiful view
of the Jake.
The church of Santa Cristina was founded in the llth cent.,
and embellished with its Renaissance facade by Cardinal Giov.
Medici, afterwards Pope Leo X., about 1500. Above the doors are
two terracotta reliefs by Andrea della Robbia.
Interior. To the right of the choir is a bust of Santa Lucia, of the
school of the Robbia, beneath a wooden crucifix of the 14th century. A
portai in the left aisle dates from the llth cent. ; the relief represents
the Five Wise Virgins and the Adoration of the Magi. Beneath the church,
in the space before the entrance to the Catacombs, stands a terracotta
aitar, of the school of the Robbia; to the right, above the stone with
which St. Christina, a maiden of Bolsena, was drowned in 278, is the
Aitar del Miracolo (see below), beneath a canopy of the 8th century.
Adjacent is the Tomb of the Saint, below a modern canopy, with a fine
recumbent terracotta figure by Andrea della Robbia. — The cure also
keeps the key of a small Museum, with inscriptions and glass vessels
from the catacombs, and Longobard antiquities.
The 'Miracle of Bolsena', the subject of a celebrated fresco by Raphael
in the Vatican (p. 385), occurred in 1263. A Bohemian priest, who was
somewhat sceptical as to the doctrine of transubstantiation, was convinced
of its truth by the miraculous appearance of drops of blood on the host
which he had just consecrated. In commemoration of this Pope Urban IV.
instituted the festival of Corpus Domini in 1264 and ordered the erection
of the superb cathedral of Orvieto (p. 101)
The remains of an ancient Amphitheatre are preserved about
V/2 M. from the town.
The Lake of Bolsena, the ancient Lacus Vulsiniensis, 1000 ft. above
the sea-level, a circular sheet of water, 44 sq. M. in area, 26y2 M. in
circumference, and 480 ft. deep, is the centrai point of a volcanic district
not inferior in size to that of Mt. Etna. More than 500 square miles of
country, stretching from Orvieto almost to the sea, are covered with its
eruptive tufa. Numerous streams of lava flowed down to the W. and
S.W., but it is doubtful whether a true cone was ever formed. The lake-
bed, instead of being a crater, is more probably the result of the sub-
sidence of the earth's crust into the subterranean hollow, whence the
volcanic matter was ejected. Lateral craters are found near Valentano,
in the W., near Montefiascone and the island of Martana (see below), in
the" S.E., and at other points. The lake abounds in fish (its eels are
mentioned by Dante, Purg. xxiv. 24) ; the S. and E. banks are cultivated,
while the W. bank is covered with shrubs. It finds an outlet to the sea
in the Marta (p. 110). The monotony of the surface is relieved by the two
small islands of Bisentina (1184 ft.) and Martana (1236 ft.). On the latter,
which consists of a horseshoe-shaped crater, Amalasuntha, Queen of the
Goths, the only daughter of Theodoric the Great, was imprisoned in 534
and afterwards strangled whilst bathing, by order of her cousin Theodatus,
whom she had elevated to the rank of co-regent. The church in the island
of Bisentina was erected by the Farnese family and embellished by the
Caracci. It contains the relics of St. Christina. — On the Monte Casteltomond,