« EdellinenJatka »
There are at Florence two large hospitals, a foundling hospital, and a Casa di Lavoro, or workhouse, by which street-begging is much lessened. At the Ospedale degl' Euxo centi, nearly three thousand foundlings are annually received. The manner in which infants in most parts of Italy are swaddled up in cloths, somewhat after the fashion of an Egyptian mummy, the head only being left to move freely, is often productive of distortion of the limbs, and other bad consequences. The Spedale Santa Maria Nuova is one of the finest hospitals in Europe, and the oldest in Italy (having been founded in 1287 by the father of Dante's Beatrix). The handsome façade was subsequently added by Buontalente. The wards are spacious and lofty. Smaller wards are appropriated for the more interesting cases, which serve for clinical instruction; pupils, after having attended the university classes at Pisa, being obliged to attend this hospital. Buffalini, who has long enjoyed a European reputation, is still professor of medicine; Regnoli is professor of surgery. The St. Bonifazio is also a fine establishment, appropriated to
a chronic cases and to the insane. The hospitals here, and the courses of medical instruction, as in most other parts of the continent, are superintended by government; patients are admitted on application, without any other recommendation than that of their requiring assistance.
The diseases which prevail most in Florence are pleurisy, bronchial and pulmonary inflammation, which in winter and spring carry off a great number of the poorer people. Among the town practitioners the frequently repeated abstraction of small quantities of
blood is a very common practice; this has the effect of debilitating patients without effectually checking the progress of inflammatory attacks,—which, not being treated at the outset with sufficient energy, frequently occasions consumption at a later period. Nervous complaints, rheumatism, gastric irritation, and diseases of the eyes, as also, of late years, miliary fever, are also extremely prevalent.
Dr. Harding, and one or two other English practitioners, reside at Florence ; Dr. Taussig, a German, and physician to the Grand Duke, who speaks English, also occasionally attends visiters.
The climate of Florence is extremely variable; in the summer months, the circle of hills concentrating the sun's rays upon the town, renders the heat oppressive; and the glare from the houses and pavement is exceedingly trying to the eyes. This cause, together with the cold winds in spring, sufficiently accounts for the great prevalence of diseases of these organs. In summer, likewise, the depressing southern winds are the most frequent. These likewise predominate in the autumnal months, and are usually accompanied by rain. The number of rainy days throughout the year is stated to be 110; the fine days, 160 ; the variable, 95.* In winter, the weather is much colder, and this season lasts longer than at Rome, Pisa, or Naples. Northerly winds prevail; the transitions of temperature are great and sudden. The tramontana, sweeping over the Appenines, is sharp and piercing ; while the heat of the sun is at times inconveniently felt in sheltered parts of the city. Thus, in less than
* Mondat, Topographie Medicale de Florence.
a minute, by passing into a different street, the change from summer's heat to winter's cold may be experienced, rendering the persons more susceptible to catarrhal affections, inflammation of the lungs and air-passages, than would be those living in a climate uniformly cold. The Italians guard against these transitions, by the practice of wearing large cloaks, without which they seldom stir out in the colder months. Foreigners, who are less cautious in this respect, frequently suffer from the effects of their negligence.
According to M. Carriere's recent work on the Italian climate, the mean winter temperature is 6-8 R., that of summer 24°, more than a degree higher than Rome. Florence is one of the stations where it rains most, notwithstanding the number of rainy days in the year is less than at some other towns. This arises from the violence of the storms, which causes a great deal of rain to fall in a short time, and often occasions inundations. Thus, Florence is sharp and cold in winter, while in summer the heat becomes intense ; the transition from one season to another is sudden and sensible. This variation of the climate produces its effect upon the population, Florence having given birth to so many illustrious characters, distinguished by their mental powers, and in the arts, sciences, and poetry. It also tends to produce the agitations, changes of opinion, and political disturbances which have so frequently been recorded, Dante refers to this characteristic in the following lines :
“Quante volte del tempo che remembre
Varchi, the historian, agrees with the poet, and observes, The nature of the Florentines leads them often to disagree among themselves. They are easily led away by love of pleasure and frivolous amusements. They are sensitively morbid in disease, whence inflammatory diseases assume a nervous character.”
The weather in October and November is usually fine and warm. Invalids proceeding to Rome will frequently benefit more by remaining these months, and even part of December, than by going on at once. They should not return before April, at which period the weather is delightful, and the Vale of Arno appears in all its beauty.
From the end of November till April, Florence is less adapted than any other place of resort in Italy to persons labouring under pulmonary, bronchial, or rheumatic complaints. It generally agrees well with dyspeptic and nervous patients, who seek mental recreation, and I have known it suit several asthmatics better than any other continental town. Those of a strumous, inert, and lymphatic temperament, likewise generally find the climate suited to them. The best situations are the Lung' Arno; the Piazzas St. Trinità; Santa Maria Novella, and the adjacent streets. The Via de Servi, near the cathedral, has some good houses, but the situation is colder, The best street on the left side of the river is the Via Maggio. *
* In a small work published by Galignani, “ Brief Advice to Travellers in Italy,” the authoress (Miss Carleton) says, “Fair Florence stands first of the above-mentioned cities (Rome and Pisa) for badness of climate and company. Naples comes next, both being of a mixed kind. Florence is cold in winter, hot in
The principal hotels are the Italia, in the Borgo Ognisanti; the Isole Britanniche; the Grand Bretagna; and the Arno on the Lung' Arno; the Nord, in the Piazza St. Trinità; the York, near the cathedral : the Hotel Schneiderf, on the opposite quay, is now Clark's boarding house, the apartments and general accommodation are excellent.
The distance from Florence to Rome is about two hundred and twenty miles, which are passed over by the courier in thirty hours. The country is pretty as far as Sienna (connected by a railroad with the Florence and Leghorn line, at the Empoli station). This city, formerly of considerable importance, now contains scarcely more than 20,000 inhabitants. Living is cheap, and the population is cheerful and intelligent. The local society is good, and the Italian language is spoken in its greatest purity. On account of its elevated position, Sienna is one of the coolest summer residences in Italy. It has, moreover, the advantage of being free from mosquitoes. The cathedral, constructed of black and white marble, is one of the oldest, as well as one of the finest, in Italy. Besides the magnificent Chapel del Voto, the interior contains several objects of interest. The other churches possess some good pictures. The Piazza del Campo is a
summer, and damp at all times. It is the winter that is dangerous to health, being foggy, windy, and rainy, and exceedingly apt to attack the throat; the teeth and eyes have their share of the compliment.” She prefers the town to the villas for the summer, in which I differ from her; the villas raised above the level of the valley, being more exposed to the air, and less affected by
the sun's rays.