They are soft and lustrous, with a peculiarly smooth feel, and though often confounded with mica-schists may be distinguished by their richness in magnesia; many of them contain tremolite or actinolite; others have residual grains of olivine or augite; and here also every gradation can be found between the unmodified igneous types and the perfectly metamorphic schists.
They are remarkable for skill in the massing of light and shade, richness and delicacy of colouring, and for the admirable style in which the drapery of the figures is handled, Bartolommeo having been the first to introduce and use the lay-figure with joints.
From the richness and mellowness of the soil potatoes and all taproots reach a great size.
Its extreme richness in number of species (it comprises six-sevenths of the European flora) and the extremely restricted areas of many of them point to a great antiquity.
It may be safely deemed the most peculiar area of the earth's surface, while from the richness and multifariousness of its animal, and especially of its ornithic population, New Zealand cannot be 'compared with it.