Sunday, May 27, 2007

Madame BOOT speaks - please save Tuscany

My wife - Madame BOOT - has taken over the blog. Demanding that a word be blogged in the direction of the campaign to save Castelfalfi. If the Sydney Morning Herald and others are to be believed, the entire Tuscan village of Castelfalfi has been bought by TUI. They plan to convert the location into a Tuscan resort for the German market. A ToscanaWeld if you like.

The small village is around 10 square kilometres of land and is reported to have cost around €250 million. Apparently title comes with everything in the village except the church. It will be able to serve 3,200 guests at a time. Travelling to Tuscany to hang out with 3,000 Germans seems strange enough. I wonder want sort of food they will serve: sauerkraut pizza; pesto flavoured bratwurst; or litre steins of chianti.

Madame BOOT is Italian and is throwing pasta at the walls at the thought of a Tuscany theme park - Germans or no Germans. What next: Irish bars in Florence (yes - already there); a Mexican restaurant in Rome (yep - they have one); a McDonalds in the Vatican (there is one less than 500 meters away at Roma Aurelia); or an Ikea in Milan (there are two).

The fact that Starbucks has not yet made it to Italy gives us all hope.

Note - can't find a mention of this deal on the TUI website but the SMH is crediting the Guardian so will assume is true for now.

UPDATE - The Upgrade: Travel Better blog has found other great example of a tour operator buying up a piece of one country exclusively for guest from other country. In this example a US operator Secrets Resorts is aggressively marketing their American themed bars and hotels located in Mexico and the Caribbean. You will see from the TravelWeekly article that they leave no hotdog unturned to ensure that the holiday experience is as American as possible - more like home than home. Reminds me of the Simpsons episdoe - "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" where the family visit the Americatown restaurant in Tokyo. Unfortunately here it is no joke.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Madam BOOT,

In a global world we live in with ever shrinking boundaries think the village as getting s reprieve from extinction, without 3000 Germans what would happen to this village ??? Fade into marketing and nostalgic anonymity. Many small towns and villages in Europe, America, China even that great place Australia are seeing the extinction sun rise and no amount of marketing $ can help as the population gravitates to the larger cities. So what is your Answer madam BOOT, the world awaits.

Tim Hughes said...

From the pen of Madame BOOT -

I say better the untouched, authentic yet fading relics of a simpler time than some monstrous deformation of what was once beautiful. Castelfalfi is dead; you cannot replace the population of Castelfalfi with 3000 touring Germans and say that it is Italy anymore than the Hotel Bellagio in Las Vegas is a small village on Lake Como.

We travel to experience the new, the unexpected, to open our eyes and catch a glimpse of something lovely, or else, I say, stay at home.

Anonymous said...

lucky for you Mr Boot has Foxtel and young to keep you in touch withthe old and hlp you enjoy the new :)

m. said...

Well this was covered in the German press quite extensively. Castelalfi is dead.. touring Germans might bring some jobs and people back to the region. blabla?

Mr & Mrs Boot - the Germans just looove the dolce vita (2.68 million roomnights in Italy generated by Germans per year) and I think it is better to keep the 'pizza con krauti' eating Germans (TUI customers) contained in some remote village than letting them loose all over the place.

On a positive note:
Being married to an Italian myself - I am confident that the Italians won't approve every tacky thing the Germans will ask for.. just out of principle:)

Tim Hughes said...

Madame BOOT replies

m. who doesn't love la dolce vita, snaps to the Germans for recognising the beauty that is Italy, and so close to home...I just wish that people had the integrity to seek the real Italy rather than some fake "Italian experience".

And you are right...TUI will certainly live, love and curse the "real" Italy when they seek planning permission, look to engage builders, try to set deadlines and ask for commitments. Bravi.

Anonymous said...


what is the " real Italy "

Over glamorised people with attitude and BO walking doen the plaza di ego ? Or wandering down the camel track of Positano to get to a pebble passage of water.

Give me a break

Anonymous said...

Anonymous i here what you say regarding itlians

Tim Hughes said...

Madame BOOT replies -

Dear Anonymous 1 and 2 of 1 June

There are 194 countries in the world...if Italy doesn't fit you like a designer kid-leather glove signed Ferragamo you can always go on holidays elsewhere...The Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Germany perhaps?

BTW - in Italy it's called a PIAZZA; PLAZA is Spanish.

Anonymous said...

dear madam Fashion vicitim,

No it's the next bits "di ego"