The Ten Books on Architecture, 2.10.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 2.9.17 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 2.10.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

10The Apennines begin from the Tyrrhene Sea, extending to the Alps on one side, and the borders of Tuscany on the other; and their summits spreading in the shape of a bow, almost touch the shores of the Adriatic in the centre of their range, which ends near the Straits of Sicily. The hither side of them towards Tuscany and Campania, is in point of climate extremely mild, being continually warmed by the sun’s rays. The further side, which lies towards the upper sea, is exposed to the north, and is enclosed by thick and gloomy shadow. The trees, therefore, which grow in that part being nourished by continual moisture, not only grow to a great size, but their fibres being too much saturated with it, swell out considerably. When hewn, therefore, and squared, and deprived of their natural vegetation, they change in drying the hardness of the grain, and become weak and apt to decay, on account of the openness of their pores. They are, therefore, of little durability in buildings.

Morgan translation

10The first spurs of the Apennines arise from the Tuscan sea between the Alps and the most distant borders of Tuscany. The mountain range itself bends round and, almost touching the shores of the Adriatic in the middle of the curve, completes its circuit by extending to the strait on the other shore. Hence, this side of the curve, sloping towards the districts of Tuscany and Campania, lies basking in the sun, being constantly exposed to the full force of its rays all day. But the further side, sloping towards the Upper Sea and having a northern exposure, is constantly shrouded in shadowy darkness. Hence the trees which grow on that side, being nourished by the moisture, not only themselves attain to a very large size, but their fibre too, filled full of moisture, is swollen and distended with abundance of liquid. When they lose their vitality after being felled and hewn, the fibre retains its stiffness, and the trees as they dry become hollow and frail on account of their porosity, and hence cannot last when used in buildings.