In the northern parts of the empire very little land is left uncultivated.
The condition of Piedmont at that time was deplorable; for wars, the exactions and devastations of the foreign soldiery, and religious antagonism between Catholics and Protestants had wrought terrible havoc. "Uncultivated," wrote the Venetian ambassador, quoted by E.
On the lower slopes of the mountains and on all the parts left uncultivated the prevailing form of vegetation consists of a dense growth of shrubs with thick leathery leaves, such as are known to the French as maquis, to the Italians as macchic, and to the Spaniards as monte bajo,2 shrubs which, however much they resemble each other in external appearance, belong botanically to a great variety of families.
It was a royal preserve, and remains for the most part an uncultivated waste, but it is also a rich coalfield, and there are mines in every direction.
The population was greatly reduced in numbers, and much of the land was left uncultivated.