Fabri and his party rode on horses from the village of Nova to Trent on April 21st during the year of his second pilgrimage. They stayed the night and left after Mass and dinner on the 22nd to journey to Persa. In his account of their stay in Trent, Fabri writes about the structure of the city, in terms of its geography, architecture, and demographics, characteristics of the German people, the religious history of Trent, and the instance of a flutist and singer entertaining his party at supper.
According to Fabri, Trent is “one of those very ancient cities which were founded in these mountains by the Trojans,” and therefore has a rich history (18). The river Adige, which serves as the boundary between Italy and Germany, “runs past its walls,” adding to its qualifications for being what Fabri calls “in a most beautiful, airy and healthy position” (18). Within the city walls, Fabri notes that Trent is split into an upper city and a lower city “on account of the two races which inhabit it,” with Italians living in the upper city and Germans in the lower (18). Referring to Germans and Italians as races in this section shows that Fabri categorizes people and perceives a difference in their value in accordance with the language they speak or the broad sense of nationality they may adhere to. Fabri distinguishes the Germans and Italians from each other by commenting that “[t]hey are at variance both in language and habits of life, and seldom are at peace with one another; indeed, before our own times the city was often ruined sometimes by the Italians out of hatred for the Germans, and sometimes by the Germans out of hatred for the Italians” (18). From this, we note that language and culture are different between the two groups of people, and that they are as opposed in violence as in nationality. Their equal hatred of the other group, however, is a strong similarity between Germans and Italians in the city of Trent.
In speaking about the presence of Germans in Trent, Fabri highlights the shift in their population over time by noting that “[n]ot many years ago the Germans were but a few strangers in that city; now they are the burghers and rulers of the city,” further predicting that “[the] day will soon come-indeed, has virtually come” when the Duke of Innspruck will add Trent to “his dominions and to Germany” (18). That Trent can shift from being ‘Italian’ to being ‘German’ so quickly and based on demographics rather than boundaries or territory demonstrates the loose sense of countries, nationality, and borders in the time of Fabri’s travels. Even though he describes the border between Italy and Germany as the river Adige, he has no qualms about absorbing Trent into Germany based on the demographic composition of the city. Fabri muses on why “the number of Germans there increases daily” and “why [the German] race should spread over other people’s countries instead of theirs spreading over [the Germans’],” which he admits that he “[has] never learned” (18). Fabri offers the possibilities that Germans flee Germany “on account of [Germany’s] poverty and sterility” or “on account of the fierceness of the Germans” that drives other peoples out of their own lands, but does not confirm either one, possibly because they go against his view of Germans being superior to all other ‘races’ (18).
Illustrating the religious history of Trent, Fabri writes that in 1475, “the holy child Simeon was martyred by the Jews with great torture” and that “[he himself] beheld [the Jews’] accursed bodies” (19). By labeling the Jews as evil torturers of holy children, Fabri shows his negative view of them. If the situation he writes about is similar to the story of the boy drowning in the cesspool in a Jewish neighborhood in England, it illustrates an inherent bias against Jews and will to blame them without knowing the full story. We would need more information about this occurrence to determine if the situations are similar.
While Fabri and his party were at supper, a flutist and singer entertained them. When his party was unsure whether to pay them or not, as it is a mortal sin “either to give or to receive money in such cases,” they asked Fabri to settle the question, which he did “not without fear” (19). By relying on Fabri, his party asserted his superior knowledge in what is sinful and what is not, although Fabri showed hesitation and an unusual self-doubt when he “searched the writing of learned casuists to see whether [he] had decided rightly” upon returning home (19-20).