Tuscany: A new way to buy abroad

Until now, owning a rustic retreat in the depths of the Tuscan countryside meant expensive renovations and costly upkeep. But as Janet Street-Porter discovers, there is an alternative

Perfect places to live: Tuscany, Kefalonia, Rome... and Burford?

<i>Forbes</i> magazine ranks Cotswolds town sixth most idyllic place in Europe

48 Hours In: Siena

Ancient traditions are part of everyday life in this medieval Tuscan town. See it at its best, bathed in spring sunshine, before it is invaded by tourists &ndash; and horses.

Property abroad: Tuscany

Forget boring new-builds &ndash; Tuscany's the place to find character and history


Serves 6-8

24-Hour Room Service: Four Seasons, Florence, Italy

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.

Madama Butterfly, Floria Tosca &ndash; they all came from Lucca

Visit this Tuscan city as it marks the 150th birthday of its son, Puccini, says Adrian Mourby

Andrea Bocelli: Voice of the people

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

The Conversion, By Joseph Olshan

From Henry James via Mavis Gallant to Edmund White, stories about innocent Americans being undone by encounters with wicked Old Europe are a well-used literary trope. US writer Joseph Olshan seems well aware that his latest novel, The Conversion, sits on the tassel on the end of this tradition; he name-checks James early on. His plotting, however, is most unJamesian in its candour.

The hip hop guide to Tuscany's treasures

The half-term holidays are fast approaching. But how do you keep all the family entertained?

Unrelated (15

Tuscan temptation

See Italy &ndash; from the wheel of a Ferrari

The Grand Tour of Europe was a rite of passage for the well-bred Englishmen in the 1800s. It's a great trip for the 21st-century traveller, too. And, as Peter Victor discovers, one company is offering an exciting new way to explore the Continent

A Death in Tuscany, By Michele Giuttaritrs Howard Curtis

The case begins with the discovery of the scantily-clad corpse of a teenage girl, and Supt Michele Ferrara's investigation soon turns up another murder, a kidnapping, a drugs racket and a paedophile ring, plus the involvement of the Freemasons, the Mafia and a gang of psychotic Albanians.

School's nearly out, but there's still time to book a bargain before it's too late

Still haven't decided where to take the family for a summer holiday? Simone Kane rounds up the best deals

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.

Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
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

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

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
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments