Madding crowds: the Lido di Camaoire
in Tuscany is prepared for the hordes
Of course, if you're rich enough to important enough, you don't have to mingle with the brawling riff-raff on your favourite beach. Consider the Blairs. In 1998 the Prime Minister and his family went to stay at a villa in San Rossore in Tuscany and suffered a little local difficulty. The villa, near Pisa, is owned by Tuscany's Regional President, Vannino Chin. He told locals and tourists alike that they weren't allowed anywhere near the place while the Blairs were in residence, access to the sea was also restricted. It all made Prime Minister Blair seem like a latter day King Canute, holding back the waves of Italians. Weren't beaches originally free for everybody to use?
But there was a serious reason for the restriction, namely
that Signore Chin and his officials were worried that local agitators might
intrude on the Blairs. The local Communist Party threatened to stage a
demonstration against the Prime Minister's visit by displaying banners
bearing slogans such as “Why don't you go on holiday to Kosovo?”. Worse
still, British ex-pats were reported to be poised to take the Prime Minister
to task for his party's policies on fox hunting. Obviously the exclusion
zone ruling drove Italians crazy. Tony, with the saintliness we have come
to know and feel disturbed by, stepped in to lift the Blair Exclusion Zone
and allowed locals to use their own beach. They were properly grateful.
There are wonderful restaurants right
on the beach at Fregene.
Eat fantastic seafood, drink great wine.....
.... then sweat all those calories off.
Senator Andrea Guglieri, the mayor of Diano Marina, a small family resort west of Genoa, and his council drew up a plan in 2000 to ban fat and ugly women from walking around in two-piece costumes. Traffic wardens were to be entrusted with the task of stopping and examining women to ensure that they passed eight out of ten requirements, ranging from the size of their bust to the firmness of their buttocks. New applicants flooded the predominantly male traffic warden force, and sexual harassment suits were expected to follow.
Signor Guglieri also said there was no reason why bare-torsoed men sporting tight or daringly cut trunks should not be made to pass a similar set of requirements. A local newspaper cast aspersions on Signore Guglieri's own looks - and called for all ugly mayors to be sacked!
One can't imagine such a row taking place in Weston-Super-Mare
or Bournemouth (well actually, it could happen in Bournemouth).