Felix Fabri describes his party’s journey through Ower, Italy in the account of his second pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In the account, Fabri writes that his party left the previous town, Feltre, in the evening of the 24th of April, crossed a “great river” and passed through a “Venetian guard-house” before stopping for the night in Ower (19). They left Ower for Treviso, Italy after Mass on the 25th of April. Fabri’s account of Ower focuses on the geography around the town, the history of nearby castles and towns, and the festival of St. Mark’s Day. Additionally, the interaction between Fabri and his lords sheds light on their relationship from Fabri’s point of view.
The first thing that Fabri writes about the town of Ower is that it “lay at the foot of a delightful grassy hill,” which Fabri and his party decide to climb in order to see the Mediterranean (19). Fabri notes that the Mediterranean Sea is directly south of them at this point in their journey, beyond mountains and the “plain country” of Italy. In writing about the appearance of the Mediterranean on that day, Fabri highlights that the journey ahead of them is ominous, as most of the Mediterranean in their view is covered by a “lofty, thick black cloud, of the colour of darkling air (19). Their turning away from the ominous omen of the dark sea faces Fabri’s party towards more of the surrounding mountains that encircle the plain Ower is situated in.
In viewing the surrounding mountains, Fabri notes that they can see “many ancient castles in ruins,” and follows with a recounting of the history of the placement of the castles and other ruins (19). According to Fabri, the castles were built in the hills by Antenor the Trojan’s army to defend the city of Padua, which was located on the plain, from the people who lived beyond the surrounding Alps. Fabri highlights that the people who lived beyond the Alps “at that time were still savages, dwelling in the woods like wild beasts” (19). Fabri’s syntax shows that he supports Antenor the Trojan over the people living beyond the Alps and also hints that the people who live beyond the Alps may no longer be the savages that he depicts them as. At this point, the reader may start to question how Fabri seems to know the history of many of the towns his party passes through, especially because he notes little interaction with the people of the towns.
Fabri’s interactions with his lords in the town of Ower paint him as the guide he is meant to be on this journey. When looking over the Mediterranean Sea, Fabri characterizes his lords as “delicately-nurtured youths” that could only imagine the “dangers which awaited them at sea,” which Fabri, the wizened guide, “was something cast down at the sight of it, albeit [he] had already had a good taste of its bitterness” (19). The syntax Fabri uses when describing his lords in particular both gives them an excuse for being so frightened of the sea and patronizes them a little, although it is probably completely warranted by their lack of experience with travel.