News The Costa Concordia at Giglio

Divers searching the Costa Concordia have found eight more bodies, including that of a 5-year-old Italian girl, onboard the semi-submerged cruise ship.

Paperback: Love Falls, by Esther Freud

It's just a week before Charles and Diana's wedding when Lara, a north London teenager, is invited on holiday to Tuscany with a father she barely knows. Soon she is luxuriating by the pool in long lunches and pool side siestas, and about to encounter the Willoughby family – a clan of dissolute toffs staying on the hilltop next door. Readers of Freud's previous novels will spot some familiar refrains – Lara's father is a German Jew, her mother a veteran of the hippie trail. This sultry coming-of-age story captures the cool shock of emerging into the adult world, and discovering that even royal romance is dead.

Hills of Tuscany: Vines and views

Mary Novakovich is given a warm welcome as she takes a ramble through the Tuscan hills

Pandora: Mick's new social circle

Despite the chatter, don't bet your house (even if it is one you have bought outright with a parliamentary second home allowance) on Michael Martin, the hitlisted House of Commons Speaker, resigning before this year's summer recess.

Leading article: Home movies

A report that buyers of second homes abroad are guided in their purchases by blockbuster films or television series will bring contemptuous smiles to the faces of those who count themselves immune to such propaganda.

Here's to you, old bean: Skye Gyngell's Tuscan feast

To celebrate a visit from an acclaimed Tuscan food writer, Skye Gyngell created a simple, robust feast to make her guests feel right at home

Villa: Val d'Orcia, Tuscany

Anyone can book a hotel online these days, but demand is growing for expert advisers who know exactly where to get the best plate of pasta con le sarde in Palermo or where to go for a blow-the-budget fishing trip in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula. Bespoke specialists can open doors that would otherwise remain firmly shut.

Different class of protester fights for 'Chiantishire'

Were it not for the placards, anyone strolling past the National Gallery might have thought the gathering was a novel extension to the debutante season.

Flower power: A trip to Italy provides Anna Pavord with a riot of inspiration. But how to translate the glory of Tuscany to a British setting?

I have a new mission. It is to walk every footpath shown on the superb maps produced by the Club Alpino Italiano. We made a small start this month using just one of the maps, grandly headed "Itinerary of Montagnola Senese and the Lecceto Wood". We were staying in a farmhouse at Cetinale and this map alone, covering the region west of Siena, gave us 18 different route marches.

Milder than forecast winter aids acquisitive Homeserve

The emergency repair group Homeserve unveiled a better than expected 28 per cent jump in its annual pre-tax profits yesterday, boosted by a milder than forecast UK winter.

The vow factor

Aoife O'Riordain was so smitten by Gargonza that she decided to get married there. The walled Tuscan village was perfect for a wedding, or indeed any other occasion

New money brings a touch of Tuscany to Dublin strikes death blow at heritage

COME THE next millennium, students of Irish folklore may well ponder the significance of place names such as Tuscany Downs and Graceland to the rural landscape at the end of the 20th century.

Blair babe was a French conception, No 10 reveals

SO IT'S come to this. As Cherie Blair spoke yesterday of her "surprise" at her pregnancy, the world's media was treated to the unusual spectacle of the press spokesman for the First Lord of the Treasury addressing the delicate subject of where the happy-event-to-be was set in train, so to speak.

Leading Article: A cheer for Provence

SURELY ANYONE who has a heart would be forgiven a little romantic musing on the splendid surprise the Prime Minister and his wife have sprung on a delighted nation, and, it rather seems, themselves. But it's not easy. At first, it was claimed that the Blair Titch Project (thank you, Daily Star) had its beginnings last summer in Tuscany. Tuscany! Who would not be inspired by the light and landscape that inspired the masters of the quattrocento, whether you were staying at the 50-room villa loaned by the regional president, or the 50-room mansion loaned by Prince Girolamo Giuccardani Strozzi! And that scent of vine and olive on the soft, warm breeze of the crepuscolo, almost an aria in itself! Even the most ardent Eurosceptic must concede that Britain would be pushed to match this magic, even at a Center Parc.

Letter: Going up?

GEORGE ROBERTSON's "elevation" to the House of Lords? In these egalitarian New Labour days, such terminology seems inappropriate. I would prefer the term "relegation" - but I'll settle for "transfer". Any other surely denigrates our elected chamber and its members. Maybe Tony was too busy sunning himself in Tuscany to notice the insult.
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The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
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Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

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Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
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George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album