Blairs trapped in palace by security fears

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Italian newspapers reported yesterday that the Blairs have been confined to base in Tuscany since the discovery of a time bomb in a Sardinian resort close to the villa where Silvio Berlusconi entertained the Prime Minister and his wife with fireworks and wine.

Italian newspapers reported yesterday that the Blairs have been confined to base in Tuscany since the discovery of a time bomb in a Sardinian resort close to the villa where Silvio Berlusconi entertained the Prime Minister and his wife with fireworks and wine.

Tony and Cherie Blair flew back to Tuscany from Sardinia on Tuesday afternoon. Later police defused a bomb close to the Italian Prime Minister's villa on the island.

The repercussions of that discovery have been felt outside the medieval hill town of San Gimignano, where the Blairs are staying as guests of Prince Girolamo Guicciardini Strozzi.

Security around the 15th-century palace has been stepped up, with 150 guards and four helicopters protecting the wooded enclave.

Corriere della Sera said the Blairs had cancelled a visit to see Puccini's Bohème in San Gimignano and an outing to Siena.

The first cracks have appeared in San Gimignano's genial, tolerant welcome for Mr Blair. Posters have gone up around the town informing the Prime Minister that he is not welcome. Notices stuck up by Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, the most left-wing of the established Italian parties, said that Mr Blair had "initiated an illegitimate war founded on lies", adding, "while you are on holiday, your war is killing people".

In response, the San Gimignano mayor has threatened to have the Rifondazione thrown off the local council.

Comments