Gumball Capital



[Illustration: Pope Julius II. Viewing the Newly-found Statue of the
Apollo Belvedere

From the painting by Carl Becker. Permission of the Berlin Photographic

(The Renaissance)



Author of "Romance of the Italian Villas," "Romance of the
Feudal Châteaux," "Romance of the French Abbeys," Etc.


G. P. Putnam's Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press


In came the cardinal, grave and coldly wise,
His scarlet gown and robes of cobweb lace
Trailed on the marble floor; with convex glass
He bent o'er Guido's shoulder.


Still unrivalled, after the lapse of four centuries the villas of the
great cardinals of the Renaissance retain their supremacy over their
Italian sisters, not, as once, by reason of their prodigal magnificence
but in the appealing charm of their picturesque decay.

The centuries have bestowed a certain pathetic beauty, they have also
taken away much, and the sympathy which these ruined pleasure palaces
evoke whets our curiosity to know what they were like in their heyday of
joyous revelling.

If we run down the list of the nobler villas of Rome we will find that,
with few exceptions, they were built by princes of the purple, and that
the names they bear are not Roman but those of the ruling families of
other Italian cities.

That the sixteenth century should have produced the most palatial
residences ever inhabited by prelates was but a natural outcome of the
conditions then existing. The society of Rome was a hierarchical
aristocracy made up of the younger sons of every powerful and ambitious
family of Italy, and the red hat was so greatly desired not for the
honour or emoluments of the cardinalcy _per se_ but because it was a
step to the papacy.

"To an Italian," says Alfred Austin, "it must seem a reproach never to
have had a pope in the family, and you will with difficulty find a villa
of any pretension, certainly not in Frascati, where memorial tassels and
tiara carven in stone over porch and doorway do not attest pontifical

The young cardinal's first move in the game which he was to play was at
all expense to create an impression, and if, as in the case of Ippolito
d'Este, he had no benevolent uncle in St. Peter's chair to guide his
career, the parental coffers were drawn upon recklessly and the cadet of
the great house led a more extravagant life in his Roman villa than the
duke his elder brother in his provincial court. The object of his
ambition once attained the new Pope unscrupulously enriched his family,
and endeavoured to make his office hereditary by elevating his favourite
nephew to the cardinalcy, and endowing this future candidate for the
papacy with means from the revenues of the Church to purchase the votes

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