Tranquil haven: Villa in the Vineyard in Montelpar

Child's play: Alastair Sawday's top 15 family-friendly Italian stays

I am writing this from my desk in Bristol, with all the frustrations of introducing an article about such stunning places. There is not one place here that I would not give a wet weekend in England for – and if I had a young family, I'd be unable to resist.

All fuel is drained from stricken 'Concordia'

Authorities say they have removed all the fuel that was left aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off Italy.

Costa captain not wearing glasses, says first officer

The captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner was not wearing his glasses on the evening of the accident and asked his first officer to check the radar for him, the officer's lawyer said yesterday at a hearing held in the Tuscan city of Grosseto.

The Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio last month, killing at least 25

Costa Concordia voice recorder analysis may take months

The first evidence hearing into the January 13 shipwreck of the luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia began today, with so many people trying to cram into an Italian courthouse it had to be moved to a nearby theater.

The Costa Concordia at Giglio

Divers find eight more bodies on Costa Concordia as police widen investigation

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.

Captain Schettino, who is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning his vessel

Cocaine found on cruise ship captain's hair

Experts and lawyers representing survivors of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship want further drug tests on the ship's captain after the discovery of cocaine on the outside of a hair sample. A forensic analyst involved in the case reportedly described the finding as no more than a "marginal problem". The full test results given to investigators show that the drug was not found within his hair or in his urine, which would have indicated that he had used it.

Concordia officer saved by frying pan

The last person to be found alive on the wrecked Costa Concordia has revealed how he banged on the inside of the ship with a frying pan to attract attention.

The Death of King Arthur, By Simon Armitage

This is Simon Armitage's second shot at an alliterative epic. His Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007) was highly entertaining: perhaps more entertaining than this version of Morte Arthure, but only because Gawain contains more startling images. As a feat of re-telling, The Death of King Arthur is more remarkable and sustained. One single decision makes it: consistency of tense. Epic medieval poems switch from past to present in a way that jars modern ears. Armitage held to this in Gawain, but here chooses past tense throughout.

Woman's body found on cruise ship

Divers have found a woman's body in a submerged section of the grounded Costa Concordia, raising the death toll in the cruise liner tragedy to at least 12.

Costa Concordia search suspended as ship shifts

Divers searching the capsized Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia suspended work today after the vast wreck shifted slightly, but officials said they are hoping to resume as soon as possible.

When it's so much more than just a bed and some breakfast

Britain's bed and breakfasts have a reputation for querulous hosts, poky, tired rooms and nylon sheets, but – please sit down – they are actually the best in the world, according to TripAdvisor.

Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, leaves court in Grosseto yesterday

View from the bridge: the inside story of Italy's cruise disaster

Coastguard tapes and witness accounts paint damning picture of captain's dereliction

The Twenty One in Brighton

Rooms with a glowing review: Britain's B&Bs are best in the world

TripAdvisor's poll of visitors' comments shows UK has six of the top 10 places to stay

Costa Concordia captain 'defied orders'

Five more bodies were recovered from a shipwreck off Italy today as an audio tape appeared to expose the captain defying orders to return to his vessel.

Rescue workers inspect the Costa Concordia

Ship's captain was 'showboating', admits cruise firm

Coastguard increases number of missing passengers as Facebook message suggests 'saluting' of Italian island was planned in advance

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
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Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
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Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
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Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
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Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
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