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SAVONAROLA

Cardinal Giulio della Rovere (Julius II.) from the plans of Giuliano da Sangallo as a kind of university, and now occupied by the prefecture, the post-office and law-courts. S. Maria di Sastello has a large altarpiece by Foppa and Brea (of 1490). There is a municipal picture-gallery in the hospital of St Paul. The Teatro Chiabrera was erected in 1853 in honour of the lyric poet Chiabrera, who was born and buried in Savona. Four and a half miles W. is a pilgrimage church of the Madonna della Misericordia, founded in 1536. The modern harbour, dating from 1815, has since 1880 been provided with a dock excavated in the rock, 986 ft. long, 460 ft. wide and 23 ft. deep. Savona is one of the chief seats of the Italian iron industry, having iron-works and foundries, shipbuilding, railway workshops, engineering shops, brass foundry, tinplate works, sulphur mills and glass-works. It imports commodities to the value of nearly £2,000,000 yearly, half of which is coal, with petroleum, iron, cereals, &c. In 1906, 777,000 tons of shipping, of which about half was British, and most of the rest Italian, entered. There is a small export trade, chiefly in iron sheets, chemicals, wood and candied fruits. The potteries export their earthenware to all parts of Italy. There is a railway through the mountains from Savona to Turin (91 m. N.N.W.).

Savona is the ancient Sava, a town of the Ingauni (see Albenga), where, according to Livy, Mago stored his booty in the Second Punic War. A buried Roman bridge lies near the stream, which has now changed its course. The place was never of importance in Roman times, the traffic passing to Vada Sabatia (Vado), 4 m. to the W., which was a harbour, and the point to which the coast road from Rome was reconstructed in 109 B.c., and from which a road diverged across the Apennines to Placentia. In 1191 it bought up the territorial claims of the marquesses Del Carretto. Its whole history is that of a long struggle against the preponderance of Genoa. As early as the 12th century the Savonese built themselves a sufficient harbour; but in the 16th century the Genoese, fearing that Francis I. of France intended to make it a great seat of Mediterranean trade, rendered it useless by sinking at its mouth vessels filled with large stones. In 1746 it was captured by the king of Sardinia, but it was restored to Genoa by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Columbus, whose ancestors came from Savona, gave the name of the city to one of the first islands he discovered in the Antilles.


SAVONAROLA, GIROLAMO (1452–1498), Italian monk and martyr, was born at Ferrara on the 21st of September 1452, the third child of Michele Savonarola and his wife Elena Bonaccossi of Mantua. His grandfather, Michele Savonarola, a Paduan physician of much repute and learning, had settled in Ferrara, and gained a large fortune there. The younger Michele was a mere courtier and spendthrift, but Elena seems to have been a woman of superior stamp. She was tenderly loved by her famous son, and his letters prove that she retained his fullest confidence through all the vicissitudes of his career.

Girolamo was a precocious child, with an early passion for learning. His first tutor was his grandfather, the physician; Ear, and, in the hope of restoring their fallen fortunes, his parents intended him for the same profession.Early Years. Even as a boy he had intense pleasure in reading St Thomas Aquinas and the Arab commentators of Aristotle, was skilled in the subtleties of the schools, wrote verses, studied music and design, and, avoiding society, loved solitary rambles on the banks of the Po. Ferrara was then a gay and bustling town of 100,000 inhabitants, its prince Borso d'Este a most magnificent potentate. To the mystic young student all festivities were repulsive, and although reared in a courtier-household he early asserted his individuality by his contempt for court life. At the age of nineteen, however, he had no thought of renouncing the world, for he was then passionately in love with the daughter of a neighbour, a Strozzi exiled from Florence. His suit was repulsed With disdain; no Strozzi, he was told, might stoop to wed a Savonarola. This blow probably decided his career; but he endured two years of misery and mental conflict before resolving to abandon his medical studies and become a monk. He was full of doubt and self-distrust; disgust for the world did not seem to him a sufficient qualification for the religious life, and his daily prayer was, “Lord! teach me the way my soul should walk." But in 1474 his doubts were dispelled by a sermon heard at Faenza. He secretly stole away to Bologna, entered the monastery of St Domenico and then acquainted his father with his reasons for the step. The world's wickedness was intolerable, he wrote; throughout Italy he beheld vice triumphant, virtue despised. Among the papers he had left behind at Ferrara was a treatise on “Contempt of the World,” inveighing against the prevalent corruption and predicting the speedy vengeance of Heaven. His novitiate was marked by a fervour of humility. He sought the most menial offices, and did penance for his sins by the severest austerities. According to contemporary writers he was worn to a shadow. His gaunt features were beautified by an expression of singular force and benevolence. Luminous dark eyes sparkled and flamed beneath his thick, black brows, and his large mouth and prominent nether lips were as capable of gentle sweetness as of power and set resolve. He was of middling stature and dark complexion. His manners were simple, his speech unadorned and almost homely. His splendid oratorical power was as yet unrevealed; but his intellectual gifts being recognized his superiors charged him with the instruction of the novices. He passed six quiet years in the convent, but his poems written during that period are expressive of burning indignation against the corruptions of the church and profoundest sorrow for the calamities of his country.

In 1482 he reluctantly accepted a mission to Ferrara, and, regarding earthly affections as snares of the evil one, tried to keep aloof from his family.Removal to Florence His preachings attracted slight attention there, no one-as he later remarked—being a prophet in his own land. An outbreak of the hostilities between Ferrara and Venice, fomented by Pope Sixtus IV., soon caused his recall to Bologna. Thence he was dispatched to St Mark's in Florence. Lorenzo the Magnificent was then (1482) at the height of his power and popularity. At first Savonarola was enchanted with Florence. His cloister, sanctified by memories of St Antonine and adorned with the inspired paintings of Fra Angelico, seemed to him a fore-court of heaven. But his content speedily changed to horror. The Florence streets rang with Lorenzo's ribald songs (the “canti carnascialeschi”); the smooth, cultured citizens were dead to all sense of religion or morality; and the spirit of the fashionable heathen philosophy had even infected the brotherhood of St Mark. In 1483 Savonarola was Lenten preacher in the church of St Lorenzo, but his plain, earnest exhortations attracted few hearers, while all the world thronged to Santo Spirito to enjoy the elegant rhetoric of Fra Mariano da Genazzano. Discouraged by this failure in the pulpit, Savonarola now devoted himself to teaching in the convent, but his zeal for the salvation of the apathetic townsfolk was soon to stir him to fresh efforts. Convinced of being divinely inspired, he had begun to see visions, and discovered in the Apocalypse symbols of the heavenly vengeance about to overtake this sin-laden people. In a hymn to the Saviour composed at this time he gave vent to his prophetic dismay. The papal chair was now filled by Innocent VIII., whose rule was even more infamous than that of his predecessor Sixtus IV.

Savonarola's first success as a preacher was gained at St Gemignano (1484-1485), but it was only at Brescia in the following year that his power as an orator was fully revealed. In a sermon on the Apocalypse he shook men's souls by his terrible threats of the wrath to come, and drew tears from their eyes by the tender pathos of his assurances of divine mercy. A Brescian friar relates that a halo of light was seen to flash round his head, and the citizens remembered his awful prophecies when in 1512 their town was put to the sack by Gaston de Foix. Soon, at a Dominican council at Reggio, Savonarola had occasion to display his theological learning and subtlety. The famous Pico della Mirandola was particularly impressed by the friar's attainments, and is said to have urged Lorenzo de' Medici to recall him from Lombardy.

When Savonarola returned to Florence in 1490, his fame as an orator had gone there before him. The cloister garden was too small for the crowds attending his lectures, and on the 1st of August 1490 he gave his first sermon in the church of St Mark. To quote his own words, it was “a terrible sermon,” and legend