By my estimation, if I stood in a certain position and stretched out my arms diagonally, I could simultaneously touch the dark wood concierge’s desk that sits to the left of the doorway of this Georgian town house and the white, dark wood-topped curvy reception desk a little way in on the right side of the small lobby.
Few of us need a particular reason to visit Tuscany but, if you do, the Puccini Opera Festival, commemorating the 90th year since the Italian maestro died, should do the trick.
There is, certainly, nowhere better to enjoy Puccini’s soaring operatic melodies than on warm nights under a moon-lit sky at an open-air amphitheatre on the edge of Lake Massaciuccoli in Torre del Lago.
A small city has been built in the centre of Aarhus, the up-and-coming but lesser-known cultural capital of Denmark. The student population has been allowed to run riot with creativity, displaying their university art projects, elusive theatre and musical constructs for the 50th anniversary of the ten-day Aarhus Festival - one of the largest cultural events inScandinavia.
Friends were sceptical when I told them of my plans to visit Berlin. And it wasn't hard to understand why. Paris has Versailles and food, Rome has the Colosseum and fashion, Athens has the Acropolis and antiquity, Madrid has the Prado and flamenco.
There are 600 acres of land surrounding this remote but very stately home in St Laois. Parked by its lake are bikes and golf buggies but the best way to look around is by pony and trap. The driver, Lionel, points out the estate’s parish church, various follies, such as the viewing tower built to create jobs during the potato famine, the grottos and hidden gardens.