The Casino - Florence
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN all foreign cities, from the most insignificant village to the greatest metropolis, we find the public walk considered as an object of primary importance; therefore, in describing points of beauty in Florence, the walk by which it is adorned, styled the Casino, or royal farm, being, perhaps, one of the finest in Europe, is well de-serving of mention. It is situated just beyond the gates of the city, by its tall trees and varied pathways offering a deep refreshing shade, and in its extent affording the opportunity of solitude, among rich foliage, even in the busy evening hour, when the assembled throng crowd its wide and splendid walks. In the centre of the Casino, among flowering shrubs and lofty trees, stands a royal rural palace, of simple, plain, but pretty architecture, where the dairy is kept, the vintage gathered, the wine (chief produce of the farm) made, and where also, from time to time, entertainments are given by the court. In the evening hour, these walks are the resort of the whole city; and on Sunday, or on " jours de fete," the scene is gay and rural. Every variety of equipage may be seen, from the suite of the Grand Duke to the little two-wheeled calash; while the footpaths at each side of the road, under the shade of the trees, are filled with citizens, of every age and class, all well dressed, happy, and placid. A short period of rapid driving is generally succeeded by a universal pause; then the carriages and horsemen assemble in front of the royal building, when nods of recognition, salutations, and inquiries, pass from one party to another, forming a species of conversazione. One side of the Casino is bounded by the Arno, which here runs with a stronger current, enlivened by the frequent little trading vessels which pass to and from Leg-horn; while, on the other, the hills surrounding the vale of Arno, rise in beautiful variety, crowned by the noble remains of Fiesole, the parent stock from which Florence sprung.