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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Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

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In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
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Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

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Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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12 best hotel spas in the UK

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