Saturday, November 29, 2008


Fellows met us at the airport. The hotel was not up to standard so he went to see the Italian side of the family and arranged for us to stay there. We don't usually do this in case they decide to come back and stay with us...(and there's history there). So we found ourselves in a convoy of limousines with outriders approaching the Castillo. A guard of honour with flaming torches lined the rain-sodden red carpet as we went up the steps to meet cousin Silvio and his lovely wife Radiccio (striking red hair and a bitter sense of irony). We were shown to our suite and settled in. The room was about a hectare in size with marble floors, ornate frescoed ceilings, and a splendid rendition of the Adoration of the Magi on the wall.

The reason for the trip was an Uncle's brithday. The reason for the location was a family joke. Several great grandfathers back one of my ancestors made it to Firenze on his Grand Tour (hence the Italienate garden beyond the west terrace at home). He loved Firenze - the art, the gardens, the churches, the frescoes and the statuary. It was this last item that was his downfall, but more on that later. He stayed in Firenze for several months and had a fleeting liaison with the daughter of the noble house of Borgia-Berlusconi. All went well as long they kept their liaison secret, but when he became notorious after the incident, she spoke up for him - their friendship became public knowledge and he was run out of town not realising until years later that he had started a new branch of the family.

The incident? Yes. Well. 
I mentioned before that Firenze is famous for its statues. One in particular is known by everyone - the Venus de Milo. In a childish prank he tried to dance with the staue to impress his lover. The parts of the statue fell off and he panicked. That was it. The broken bits were brought home to England as a trophy and now reside in a room at home that we mischievously call the "arm"oury.

No comments: