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An Italian villa is like any other Italian belle; we would rather pay either a morning visit than summer and winter with them; both dress themselves out for strangers, and often at the expense of their rightful owners. An Italian villa is very charming for a brief spring, malarious in summer and autumn, and incommodiously furnished for every season. Comfort makes but slow progress abroad, and has not yet found its way into Italy at all; neither into her dictionaries as a name, nor into her dwellings as a thing. What should we, ease-loving English, think of a house, which, lined with marbles and frescoes, carpeted with mosaics and adorned with statues, offered nothing but niches and marble curule chairs to write on and to sit in? Yet such is the general scheme and internal arrangement throughout most villas in Italy; for as to the prime of the house, the piano nobile, that belongs as by prescriptive right to the Cæsars, being indeed only fitted for impassive marble and bronze emperors: while the over-hospitable entertainer of these august guests is content to stow away himself and family in apartments which are frequently little better than our offices for menials, in which his few articles of rococo furniture, of all sorts and sizes, are crazy, cumbersome, undusted, and ill-matched; in short, more like the promiscuous contents of some inferior broker's shop, than the elegant ameublement we might have expected to correspond to the profusion of objects of vertu which grace the principal show-rooms of the mansion. At home, we may differ in our notions about comfort in the details, but there are certain conditions which are rightly held essential to its possible existence; and if "the cold neat parlour, and the gay glazed bed," have their admirers, it is because cleanliness and neatness are two of them: but in Italy we look in vain for either, and there is nothing to compensate their absence. Few Englishmen could engage in literary labour in the fireless, ill-furnished rooms which throughout Italy are a matter of course; where carpets, curtains, or an easy chair, are unknown luxuries; and into which, entering by various ill-placed and worse fitting windows and doors, confluent draughts catch you in all directions, turning the sanctum of study into a perfect Temple of the Winds! Yet, to some men, comfort seems as unnecessary as it is unattainable. The Italian antiquary, in particular, had need be careless of his ease, and regardless of external temperature; as that degree of it necessary for the conservation of nude marble figures, is by no means congenial to flesh and blood. This reflection occurs to us to-day not for the first time, certes under the noble portico of the villa Albani, with a volume of Winkelmann in our hand; for in this palace, and in some such study as we have hinted at, must he have shivered over these recondite labours, while meditating, composing, and consulting authorities, to constitute himself hereafter the great oracle of the fine arts. Had Winkelmann been half as curious in his research after comfort as vertù, verily the world would have lost many an able dissertation and ingenious conjecture; and this villa in particular to which we are now come to pay our respects we fear our last respects had been deprived of this renowned commentary on her treasures. Let us hope parenthetically that a recent perusal of the venerable antiquary, together with some slight acquaintance with the objects themselves, will on such an occasion excite in us a spark of that enthusiasm which animates all his descriptions. What a beautiful portico! we catch ourselves saying con amore for the hundredth time and who will gainsay us? with its thirty columns of different coloured granites and rare marbles, cipolino, porta santa, occhio di pavone (vide Corsi); its busts, its ornamented tazzas, its statues, and many other et coeteras too numerous to catalogue. Among the statues, our eye soon singles out the queenly figure of Agrippina seated in her marble chair. Stateliness and high rank apparent in her features, grace and perfect self-possession in her attitude, doubtless she is expecting a deputation of importance, or maybe a visit from the emperor, and has prepared her well-tutored countenance to receive either with dignity. Here are the busts of Nerva and of the first Cæsar, to whose characters, while history gives the key, we are apt to fancy, as we stare at them, that to Lavater we owe the discovery. Those ubiquitous emperors Hadrian, Trajan, Antoninus Pius, and Gordianus ditto, on whom as on other boring acquaintance you are sure to stumble in every gallery at Rome till you almost yawn in their faces, are here of course. Besides these, by way of novelty, we fall in with the grave, much-bearded, long-faced bust, Epicurus underwritten on the pedestal. If it be that sage, then has not his face any vestige of the jovial "live while you live" expression which we might have expected, were he true to his own philosophy; but, on the contrary, a dignified Melancthon sadness, as if, like Solomon, he had had enough of pleasure, and had found nothing but "vanity and vexation of spirit" from them all. Opposite to him, we look with interest on the much less apocryphal head of Scipio Africanus, not only exhibiting on his bald temple a large crucial cicatrice, in token of a wound which we know him to have received, but presenting the singular appearance of having been trefined, an operation of which there is certainly no record in his life. Just before we ascend, we glance up at those beautiful Caryatides, who give their name to one of the principal saloons, and, loitering for a few moments on the stair before a charming little group of Niobe and her children, are presently in the gallery above. There omitting all minor objects of interest chronicled in the guide books, (which we have now no time to re-examine,) we devote ourselves chiefly to the reconsidering two or three favourite marbles and bronzes. First among the former stands the Minerva, a specimen of Roman sublime, (vide Winkelmann) perfect, say all the guide books; but how a lady with an artificial nose, and a right arm palpably modern, can be so considered, it would be difficult to explain. By the side of his wise daughter is niched a noble statue of Jupiter, executed by some great artist while the god was master of Olympus, and probably brought to Rome when he had ceased to reign, and his effects were sold. In the effeminate Antinous, an alto-relievo of whitest marble, we admire the prototype of that arrow-stricken youth, the comely St Sebastian. Nothing can exceed the grace of the bronze Apollo; but, on looking from his form into his face, you are surprised to find him literally stone-blind; a shocking case of double cataract, produced by adopting for eyes two sardonyxes, whereof the second layer, representing the iris, is dark, while the white centre of the orb, corresponding to the pupil, exhibits a hopeless opacity. We pause in succession before those weird sisters, arranged stiffly