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.