visited Italy in 1867 in what he called "the first organized pleasure party ever assembled for a transatlantic voyage".
He published in 1869 The Innocents Abroad a detailed account of a long journey through most of Europe and the Holy Land.
In 1867 Italy was already a unified country, with the sole exception of Rome and Latium, which were still ruled by the Pope.
This page contains (illustrated!) excerpts of that book dealing with Rome. Other excerpts can be read in pages covering Pompeii.
The sentences between asterisks make reference to the images in the left column.
and ..... The Playbill of the Coliseum!!!!
Of course we have been to the monster Church of St. Peter frequently. I knew its dimensions. I knew it was
a prodigious structure. I knew it was just about the length of the Capitol at Washington - say seven hundred and
thirty feet. I knew three hundred and sixty-four feet wide and consequently wider than the Capitol. I knew
that the cross on the top of the dome of the church was four hundred and thirty-eight feet above the ground, and therefore
about a hundred or maybe a hundred and twenty-five feet higher than the dome of the Capitol. Thus I had one gauge.
I wished to come as near forming a correct idea of how it was going to look as possible; I had a curiosity to see how much I would err.
I erred considerably. St. Peter's did not look nearly so large as the Capitol, and certainly not a
twentieth part as beautiful, from the outside.
... we look out upon many objects of interest from the dome of St. Peter's; and last of all, almost at our feet, our eyes rest upon the building which once was the Inquisition. How times changed between the older ages and the new! Some seventeen or eighteen centuries ago the ignorant men of Rome were wont to put Christians in the arena of the Coliseum yonder and turn the wild beasts in upon them for a show. It was for a lesson as well. It was to teach the people to abhor and fear the new doctrine the followers of Christ were teaching. The beasts tore the victims limb from limb and made poor mangled corpses of them in the twinkling of an eye. But when the Christians came into power, when the holy Mother Church became mistress of the barbarians, she taught them the error of their ways by no such means. No, she put them in this pleasant Inquisition and pointed to the Blessed Redeemer, who was so gentle and so merciful toward all men, and they urged the barbarians to love him; and they did all they could to persuade to love and honor him - first by twisting their thumbs out of joint with a screw; then by nipping their flesh with pincers - red-hot ones, because they are the most comfortable in cold weather; then by skinning them alive a little; and finally by *roasting them in public*. They always convinced those barbarians. The true religion, properly administered, as the good Mother Church used to administer it, is very, very soothing. It is wonderfully persuasive also. There is a great difference between feeding parties to wild beasts and stirring up their finer feelings in an Inquisition. One is the system of degraded barbarians, the other of enlightened, civilized people. It is a great pity the playful Inquisition is no more.
The Capuchin Convent
From the sanguinary sports of the Holy Inquisition ... I naturally pass to the picturesque horrors of the Capuchin Convent. We stopped a moment
in a small chapel in the church ... and then we descended into the vast vault underneath.
The Mosaic in Piazza di Porta S. Giovanni
I wish here to mention an inscription I have seen, before I forget it:
Read What Dante Saw.
Read What Goethe Saw.
Read What Lord Byron Saw.
Read What Henry James Saw.
Read What Charles Dickens Saw.
Read What William Dean Howells Saw.
Read Dan Brown's Spaghetti Bolognaise (excerpts from Angels and Demons)