The Crimson Petal and the White began as a bad laudanum dream: "This city is vast and intricate and you do not know your way around," said a female voice ominously, half warning and half threat. The London she moved through was – it was suggested – both a physical and a moral maze, a warren of squalid streets marked by odd visions: a grubby angel with swan's wings on his back, a crow-headed figure, a dying horse down on the cobbles. Things were just as feverish inside too, as Sugar – the whore hero of Michael Faber's bestselling Victorian pastiche – threaded her way past piglets and obese slatterns and pissing doxies to discover a friend dying, savagely beaten by her latest clients.
Against a Tuscan backdrop and performed in three languages by an opera singer and Juliette Binoche, this romance has edge
National Gallery, London
Florentine luxury with a view to thrill
Livorno president Aldo Spinelli claims striker Alessandro Diamanti is on the verge of a move to West Ham.
British tourists may have given Tuscany its "Chiantishire" epithet, but the appeal of converting rustic, historic properties into chic tourist accommodation is apparently universal. The Danish-owned newcomer Borgo Santo Pietro enters a market already groaning with luxury hotels; that it stands out from the crowd is because it perfectly strikes that tricky balance between luxury and informality.
A freight train carrying liquid gas came off the tracks and exploded in the heart of an Italian seaside resort
Historic architecture meets modern design in in these tasteful retreats. By Rhiannon Batten
Some first-time visitors to Florence have been known to suffer from Stendhal syndrome – often referred to as Florence Syndrome – which is named after the 19th-century French novelist. As a result of prolonged proximity to such "sublime beauty", he was overcome with an extreme case of nerves and palpitations.
Visit this Tuscan city as it marks the 150th birthday of its son, Puccini, says Adrian Mourby
He has sold 50 million records, but the blind tenor Andrea Bocelli is hoping his latest release will finally win over the critics. Peter Popham meets the singer at his Italian home
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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.