Mendicity, countenanced and encouraged according to the for¬
mer system of Italian politics, still continues to be one of those
national nuisances to which the traveller must habituate himself.
liegging in Italy is rather a trade than a genuine demand for
sympathy. The best mode of liberation is to bestow a small don¬
ation, a supply of the smallest coin of the realm being provided
for the purpose. A beggar, who in return for a donation of 2 c.
thanked the donor with the usual benedictions, was on another
occasion presented with 50 c, an act of liberality, which, instead
of being gratefully accepted, only called forth the remark in a
half-offended tone: "ma signore e molto poco!"
Travelling in Italy differs essentially in many respects from
that in France, Germany, Switzerland etc., and experience acquired
in these countries here avails comparatively little. An acquaintance
with the language will prove the best aid in supplying the de¬
The traveller is regarded by landlords, waiters, drivers, por¬
ters, and others of the same class, as their natural and legitimate
prey. Deception and imposition are regarded as very venial of¬
fences by Italians of the lower class, who view a successful attempt
as a proof of superior sagacity. The traveller, therefore, who
submits complacently to extortion is regarded with less respect
than he who stoutly resists the barefaced attempt upon his credu¬
lity. Among the Swiss Mountains the judicious traveller knows
well when to make the tender of his cigar-case or spirit-flask; in
this country such amiable manifestations are only calculated to
awaken a further spirit of cupidity and discontent.
On the principal routes, and especially in Naples, the insolence
of this mercenary fraternity has attained to such an unexampled
pitch , that the doubt not unfrequently presents itself to the tra¬
veller's mind whether such a thing as honesty is known in Italy.
A more intimate acquaintance with the people and their habits will,
however, satisfy him that his misgivings apply to the above classes-
only, and not to the community generally.
In Italy the highly pernicious custom of demanding conside¬
rably more than will ultimately be accepted is universal; but a
knowledge of the custom, as it is based entirely upon the presumed
ignorance of one of the contracting parties, tends greatly to miti¬
gate the evil. Where tariffs and fixed charges exist, they should
be carefully consulted. In other cases in which an average price
is established by custom, the traveller should make a precise
bargain with respect to the service to be rendered, and never
rely on the equity of the other party.
Those individuals who appeal to the generosity of the stranger..