Rus News Journal

Pushkin in Italy


As there was a destiny of the first-ever monument to the great Russian poet

As it it is strange, but in Italy where Pushkin directed time and again in thoughts and verses, much is connected with a name of our poet not eligible to travel abroad. And let there was no Alexander Sergeevich on coast of Tiber, but travel across Pushkin Rome all - taki is possible if to peer at its areas, palaces and ruins, in tablets of streets and monuments. And then to an attentive look the invisible threads connecting the Eternal city with a name and creativity of the great Russian poet will open, the Roman Pushkin addresses will be remembered many.

such walk follows, certainly, to begin with country house Volkonsky, this address was saved and in modern toponymics of Rome: Villa Wolkonsky. Up to now, in the heart of shady park, absolutely nearby to the Lateran basilica of John the Baptist and church Santa - the Rock (" the Sacred ladder ") The stocky two-storeyed house where when - Pushkin`s that name sounded not less often, than on coast of Neva was saved. Here in 30 - e years of the XIX-th century there was a present Russian salon in which there were many acquaintances and friends of the poet. About the Roman country house to Volkonsky and its mistress it is much written (including in popular " to Library " the Spark " ") And the history of this corner of Rome is surprising and dramatic.

" the tsarina of muses and beauty "
Zynaida Aleksandrovna Volkonsky was born in 1789 in Turin where her father, the prince A. M.Beloselsky - Belozersky, was the Russian envoy at court of the Sardinian king. She has early married prince Nikita Volkonsky, a wing - aide-de-camp Alexander I. For the first time the princess has arrived to Rome in 1819. Already then a palace Weed, where she rented a floor (at the well-known fountain of Trevi), became literary - the art centre of Russian diaspora.

to Rome poet Evgenie Baratynsky has devoted to its departure such lines:

It hurries on the south perfect,
Under the Avzonijsky sky
Animated, voluptuous,
Where in kushchah, in porticoes of chambers
Oktavy Tassovy sound...

In September, 1828 itself Volkonsky enthusiastically wrote about Italy to the and Pushkin friend to prince Peter Vjazemsky: " This country where I have lived four years, became my second native land: here I have the true friends who have met me with pleasure which me never to estimate adequately ".

Volkonsky has bought a site on the Eskvilinsky hill, in suburb of Rome of that time, for residence building in 1830. The Earth on which the country house settled down, is no time belonged to sacred Elena mothers of emperor Konstantin. When the princess has got a place for a manor, there still there were rural grounds. The ancient aqueduct built by emperor Klavdiem in 52 year d.C. This majestic construction on an insisting of the princess nearby settled down has been restored. Volkonsky has transformed the earths on either side of an aqueduct into a romantic garden, having landed hundreds roses, bushes and trees. It has planned paths, ponds and avenues. A considerable quantity of statues and the Roman artefacts (vases, amphoras, etc.) Decorated a garden and have been built in an aqueduct and grottoes. The manor building was constructed by the Italian architect Giovanni Azzuri.

On a country house there was the richest meeting of manuscripts, pictures, sculptures and excellent library. Volkonsky held, as then spoke, " the open house ". Its salon drew to itself many brilliant representatives of the world of the Italian art, foreign artists, musicians, architects and the writers living in Rome or coming to the Eternal city. Many outstanding figures of Russian culture were its visitors also. The list of habitues pulls on the paragraph: Nikolay Gogol and Vasily Zhukovsky, Michael Glinka and Alexander Turgenev, Charles and Alexander Brjullovy, Alexander Ivans and Samuil Galberg, Feodor Bruni and Silvestr Schedrin, Orest Kiprensky and Vasily Sazonov, Peter Basin and Feodor Matveev, Feodor Iordan and Peter Orlov, Vasily Stasov and Ivan Kireevsky, Sergey Shevyrev and Michael Pogodin, Feodor Buslaev and Konstantin Ton, Dzhakomo Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti, Bertel Torvaldsen and Antonio Kanova, Dzhoakkino Belli and Victor Hugo, Adam Mickiewicz and Walter Scott, Anri Stendal and Fenimor Cooper and many other things, including, presumably, Alexander Duma. Reach Pushkin Rome, it, of course, would happen on evenings at the princess!

personal acquaintance Volkonsky has occurred to Pushkin in Moscow when he has just returned from exile. Zynaida Aleksandrovna extremely was proud of the friendship with the great poet, and its poetic message (on May, 6th, 1827) decorated an album of Volkonsky life till last days:

Among absent-minded Moscow,
At rumours of whist and bostona,
At ball babble of a rumour
You love Apollo`s games.
Tsarina of muses and beauty...

the First monument
the Message on duel and Pushkin`s death has shaken Russian colony on the Apennines. And very few people knows that the monument very first in the world to Pushkin has been established in Italy. In 1837 as soon as the message about  destruction of the poet has reached the Eternal city, the princess Volkonsky has disposed to establish stelu in memory of it on the country house, on avenue of friends. This first modest memorable sign has been built still to marble nadgrobja, put by Natalia Nikolaevnoj Pushkinoj in the Svjatogorsky monastery.

the small obelisk in honour of Pushkin settled down nearby to the aqueduct rests. In the same place stones and stely in memory of others expensive to the mistress of a country house of names then took place: Baratynsky, Zhukovsky, Karamzin, Venevitinova, Goethe, Byron, Walter Scott... On the same was more scarlet the marble bust of emperor Alexander I and #150 is established also; a copy from the known original of Torvaldsena anthemed by Pushkin (" the Master weak and crafty... ") . For a pedestal the fragment of a piece of a granite of the well-known Aleksandrovsky column has been used that till now towers on Palace Square of St.-Petersburg. Unfortunately, Pushkin stela, unlike this bust, in an original form up to now has not lived, many long years there was only small stone column, and now and it is lost.

the princess Volkonsky has died in 1862. Concerning its leaving from life there were different versions. Some sources asserted that the princess has died almost in poverty. On the other hand, it is known that Zynaida Volkonsky who has accepted a Catholicism and much endowing church, bequeathed to bury itself in the most important roman catholic basilica in the Roman St. Peter`s Cathedral where there are only three female burial places Queens of Sweden Hristiny which have recanted from protestantizma, countess Matildy to which collars of the lock in Kanosse king Henry IV has made humiliating pilgrimage, and Polish beauty Maria Sobessky, wife of the English king from Stewart`s dynasty, its big oval portrait decorates a family crypt near to a cathedral baptistery. The request Volkonsky has not been satisfied by a papal court yard, but to the princess have rendered a great honour: her have allowed to bury in a wall of one of side-altars of church of Sacred Vinchentso and Anastazio known also as a temple of Mazarini, on the area of a fountain of Trevi, that is opposite to a palace Weed, where the winter apartment Volkonsky and where Gogol read for the first time fragments from " earlier settled down; Dead souls ". This church too has the special status in roman catholic Rome: in its vault urns with hearts of many died pontifexes are buried. In 2003 the temple of Sacred Vinchentso and Anastazio is passed by the decision of father John Pavel II in using of the Bulgarian orthodox church. In the same temple reposes Nikita Grigorevicha Volkonsky`s ashes, Zynaida Aleksandrovny`s husband, and Marias Aleksandrovny, her sisters.

the country house Volkonsky was inherited by the son of the princess Alexander, and after his death in 1878 it has passed to Nadezhde Vasilevne Ilinoj, marchioness Kampanari who has been adopted by Alexander. Then the country house has replaced a number of owners, has not been got yet by the government of Italy (in 1922). Before its Second World War have transferred to the possession of the German state, the official residence of the ambassador of Germany there has taken place. In nazi occupation of Rome (1943 - 1944) in territory of the former country house Volkonsky has been placed a staff - Gestapo apartment, barracks where the arrested participants of a resistance movement contained are built.

during post-war time the country house Volkonsky remained the foreign property, and since 1947 it belongs to the British government and ministers residence of the ambassador of its majesty in Italy.

Diplomatic fragments
In honour of 200 - letija from the date of Pushkin`s birth in June, 1999 in residence of the British ambassador there has passed the big diplomatic reception and gala - a concert. Glinka`s music, romances on Pushkin verses sounded, the vocal cycle of young English composer Dzherarda Makberni, the graduate of the Moscow conservatory, on motives of prose of Pushkin for the first time has been executed. Lady Maria Fejrvezer, the spouse of the ambassador, Russian by origin, has saved language of ancestors and collected materials about life and Zynaida Volkonsky`s creativity. It drove us, the Russian visitors, on paths of ancient park and has stopped to show a remarkable kind on the antique aqueduct, which majestic skeleton the main ornament of a country house. I have remembered, where saw this panorama: in Vasily Andreevicha Zhukovsky`s drawing. The poet has embodied against a basilica towering in the distance the Dignity - Giovanni - in - Laterano Nikolay Vasilevicha Gogol on a manor porch. (The certificate of the writer was saved: " We with Zhukovsky hurriedly drew kinds of Rome, Gogol Danilevsky informed, having added: Zhukovsky one minute threw on ten drawings, it is extremely correct and good ".)

And here later 13 years I could visit again on a historical country house Volkonsky, where its present owners ambassador Christopher Prentis and it italo - the American spouse Nina King hospitably received visitors on the occasion of diamond anniversary of crowning of queen Elizabeth II. The personnel diplomat (in Forin - office since 1977), sir Christopher, the expert in the Near East and the former ambassador of its majesty in Amman and Bagdad, working also in Budapest, Washington and Khartum, more year is engaged in strengthening English - the Italian relations. His wife, as well as it is necessary to the mistress of the big estate, zealously supports and improves, on the understanding, got to it in management the former manor of the Russian aristocrat. It was still light enough, numerous visitors with curiosity considered ancient dense park, aqueduct arches, ponds, fountains, beds, a small apiary and even the swimming pool dug in this reserved garden under the personal order staying here rejhsmarshala of Goering. I too looked around, but have not found, alas, avenue of friends... That place where this avenue when - that was, has grown with a high grass and has been enclosed by tags. At some distance I have seen fragments of statues growing white on the earth and columns, splinters of fencings and the beaten off stone ornaments, the heap of rubble collected by a rake or even the bulldozer... Having noticed Russian letters, I have pulled out from garbage the marble tablet with a treasured inscription " Pushkin ". Heart was compressed at thought that so the history of the very first monument in the world to the greatest poet of Russia has disgracefully come to the end...

Then on an official site of the British embassy in Rome I have read the verbose description of park and a country house Volkonsky, with transfer of all breeds of trees, bushes (200 names!) and even the birds occupying these four acres of a green oasis of the Italian capital. There are there, of course, mentions of an antique aqueduct, the Roman vases and unusual roses. It is told and about a bust of tsar Alexander (all - taki the relative of the queen!) . It is told and about " pieces of marble with inscriptions in honour of faithful servants and even favourite pets ". But words about Pushkin and preservation of its memory. In the explanatory text Management of real estate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain " is told, by the way, that; cares of country house main halls, and almost all pictures are given diplomatic representative office by the state art meetings of the Connected kingdom ". As they say, " it is protected by the state, and it is more anybody ".

In the Eternal city is much and other treasured parks and the gardens at times hidden from extraneous looks. The majority some steels reserved territories belong to private persons, offsprings of the notable surnames, others are passed foreign missions and the cultural centres. The well-known country house concerns their number ", for example; Abamelek " residence of the Russian ambassador. It was stretched on 33 hectares of magnificent park at the Janikulinsky hill and bears a name of last owner - Russian prince Simeon Semenovicha Abamelek - Lazareva. All monuments, etrusskie vases, caves and constructions in its territory are under responsibility of the Russian government, and the Italian carabinieres only check from time to time safety of these mammons, and present inhabitants of a country house care of their inviolability. To a country house Volkonsky, unfortunately, has carried less. I, of course, do not call for the next diplomatic scandal, occasions to them and so suffices. And only to original respect of uniform our cultural heritage without which preservation all conversations on the all-European values sound at least false.