THE FANO CLUB
THE next day was Easter, glorious and cloudless, as Easter should be. We left for a time the Road to Rome, and carried out a project that had been in my mind for eight years. I had never met anyone of any nationality who had ever seen the little town of Fano, on the Adriatic, made immortal by Browning splendid poem, 'The Guardian Angel.' We took the train to the beautiful city of Ancona, and then a branch road took us on the very edge of the blue sea to Fano. On the way we crossed the Metaurus, on whose banks was fought the battle that changed civilization, and in the course of an hour we came to the small city and realized our dreams.
In the Summer of 1848 Mr. and Mrs. Robert Browning left their house in Florence and travelled all night in the diligence over the Apennines to the east coast, their intention being to escape from the intolerable July heat of Florence and find solace in the cool sea air of Fano.
Fano is an old Roman town, with a Roman wall still in a fair state of preservation; by looking at the map of Italy you will see it is about thirty miles north of Ancona. It has a magnificent bathing beach, where people have enjoyed swimming for more than 2,000 years.
The Brownings found Fano even hotter than Florence; and, looking about the city for some shade, they happened by chance to enter the Church of San Agostino. There, in the chapel of the edifice, they were thrilled to discover a large painting, The Guardian Angel (L'Angelo Custode), by