Rome April 7 1835.
We have had rather an agreeable journey to Rome. The first night brought us to Volterra where we remained a day to look at the curiosities of the place. One of the most extraordinary of these is the Balza a deep ravine formed by the rains and winter torrents, and terminating near the north wall of the city in a precipice of reddish earth about five hundred feet in height. Every year this frightful chasm approaches nearer the city. The ruins of a convent the inmates of which were removed a few years since to the city for safety stand near the verge--these and some fine pieces of old Etruscan walls must soon fall into the gulf. Next will follow a church not far distant--then another with a monastery--and finally the ravine if not stopped in its progress by artificial means, must undermine and swallow up the walls of Volterra itself with all its monuments of the olden time. I was scarce ever more awe struck than when I stood upon the brink of this precipice and saw the manifest tokens of its gradual approach towards the city. It seemed as if the earth, jealous lest the works of its children should last too long, was preparing to engulf what time had not been able to destroy. --We had a letter to the commandant of the piazza at Volterra who sent his adjutant to shew us the fortress from the top of which is enjoyed a picturesque view extending to a great distance in every direction. Among the mountains to the south was seen the smoke