Instead of arriving at Pisa airport and following the popular route south to Siena and into Chiantishire
, my wife and I like to head north into the towns and glorious countryside that so inspired Italy's best-loved composer.
MUST be nice, sitting on one's trim little bottom sipping fine Chiantishire
wine, without a care in the world.
The sprawling property, which he's eyeing, is in the chic "Chiantishire
" region, reports The Telegraph.
Like Thomas Cook and his masses of tourists who "colonized" Italy in the mid-nineteenth century (and continue to do so in the present day in places like "Chiantishire
," for instance), these guidebooks engage the topos of the Eternal City to identify Rome as a locus of multiple pasts and to privilege Rome-as-antiquity over Rome-as-religious-center.
It's all that stress, you see, coping with the misery of paltry pounds 100,000-a-year salaries, scrimping and saving for that autumn break in Chiantishire
and meeting the bill for Camilla's private school fees.
And many Brits have bought property there - earning it the nickname Chiantishire
There are several visual echoes in setting, beyond the Chiantishire
of Branagh's Much Ado: the vision of the Changeling Boy on horseback derives from the Warner Brothers Dream, as do many of the fairies that have their origin in Henry Fuseli's eighteenth-century illustrations (and who co-exist very uneasily with the pixies of Sir John Waterhouse).
Seems Blair resents the fact that he can't afford a pad in Chiantishire
(Tuscany) along with all the other well-heeled Socialists who have second homes there, so it's become traditional for Tony, Cherie and fam-ily to sponge off whichever Italian politician offers free board and lodgings during August.
Staying with a friend, who cruelly declined the role of Miss Honeychurch, we explored the Chiantishire
countryside: long walks and siestas on hay bales, wine-tasting in Montepulciano, site-seeing at San Gimignano.
Simpson Travel (020 83925854)offers seven nights' self-catering near wine town of Castellina for pounds 610 (four sharing)fromMay 29,including car hire and flights ex- Gatwick.
Following in the footsteps of Tony Blair and Nigella Lawson with our choice of destination, we expected the region - nicknamed "Chiantishire
" - to have been invaded by the chattering classes in their people carriers, but in fact didn't spot a single GB plate all week.
Nothing against the Italians, mind you, (after all, they're needed for service in Chiantishire
) but, it was reasoned, since the fog (to which the entertainment industry is allergic) moved from London to Milan in November, why not have a renaissance film market in the U.K.?