The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on Primo august 1804

Summers in Rome were insufferable because of the foul air, which in Italian is called aria cattiva. It is also mentioned by Thiele I, p. 109 and II, p. 29 as a problem that Thorvaldsen solved by leaving Rome in the summer.
It was generally believed that the unhealthy air was due to the hot winds from the Pontine Marshes that brought a great many malaria mosquitoes.
The Swiss writer Karl Viktor von Bonstetten also mentions this phenomenon in Reise in die klassichen Gegenden Roms, zur Schilderung ihres ehemaligen und gegenwärtigen Zustandes, vol. 2, Leipzig 1805, p. 7-11. He calls the problem cattiva aria, and writes, among other things, about the area in Rome where Thorvaldsen lived and worked: “Im Jahr 1775 hielt man die Höhen von Trinita del monte frey von dem Einfluss der ungesunden Luft; im Jahr 1802 nicht mehr.”

Last updated 26.05.2015