21 March – 21 June 2016 in Florence, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Padua

The late eclipse

The following extract from a letter of a gentleman residing in Malaga constitutes a small contribution to the history of the late eclipse:-
“Malaga, Fonda de la Alameda, December 25, 1870.
“All this time I am not saying a word about the eclipse which was quite the most awful and wonderful sight I ever saw. The gradual darkening and the lurid light, like what comes before a storm, the mysterious rim of light which surrounded that dark ball, and the bright shining Venus, during the sun’s obscurity, were strange sights indeed to me. Then when the sun began to emerge there was en extraordinary glare of light, more like that of turning magnesium than any light that ever shone on sea of shore. Altogether it was a sight to haunt one; so also was the demeanour of the crowd on the Alameda just beneath my windows. I think I told you that a great annual fair takes place there during the week that precedes Christmas Day. It is as pretty, merry, bustling a sight as anyone need wish to see. But on this special occasional dead silence fell upon all, and lasted as long as the darkness lasted. As soon as that began to decrease you could hear the crowd take breath with a kind of sudden gasp. Then came clapping of hands and shouting, with an obvious sense of relief – relief to find that the last day had not yet come.”

The Cardiff Times, 1871

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