Why Chiantishire has become Ruscany | World news | The Observer

The wife of the marquis put down her drink on a silver coaster and sighed. “This area used to be an English colony, but now there is an epochal change under way,” she said. “The English? They were gentlemen. Now their place is being taken by the Russians.”

It’s a busy time at Villa Orlando, a gorgeous 17th-century country mansion surrounded by pools, parks and lemon groves outside Lucca, as wealthy Russian buyers looking for a Tuscan bolthole arrive to cast an eye over the Marquis Ludovico Gavotti’s massive oil paintings, damask four-poster beds and frescoed ceilings. The house is now up for sale with an asking price of €8m (£6.3m) as Gavotti struggles with taxes and a broken roof, making it the latest Tuscan jewel that could now be sold to millionaires from Moscow.

Read More >