Mayor Tanzarella who controls the council in Ostuni has decreed ( ordered) all the citizens owning houses there to have them freshly whitewashed as he feels the town’s brand and tag ” The White City” is fraying at the edges because cheapskates aren’t doing their bit with the paint pot. Refreshingly the local paper has hit back saying that the Mayor has some responsibilities to tourism too and is failing in them.
Regulars will remember that A.A. Gill the British travel writer was a little scathing to say the least about the half built buildings that litter the coastal landscape and nowhere is that more in evidence than in Mayor Tanzarella’s coastal area around Villanova. Once thriving bars that expanded terracing beyond the agreed limit and four story half built hotels are but a few of the debris that litter the beachfront. The newspaper wants it’s readers to send in photos of such buildings with if possible a history of them and a brief reason if known as to why they were stopped by the council. These they intend to pass on to Mayor Tanzarella for his own comments.
They have already discovered ( unsurprisingly) that very little is known about why they were stopped. The underlying tone is that palms weren’t greased or worse still general ineptitude and time wasting by the council he runs meant developers gave up and went elsewhere to build. Now the newspaper wants the matters resolved and the buildings either restarted or razed to the ground with either solution creating jobs in the hard pressed economy. Laudable sentiments but lets not hold our collective breath playmates.
The lack of clarity regarding what is known as “abusivo” building is one of the major problems and the penalty seems to vary for private householders from a fine to knock it down. Clearly the council in Ostuni will come up with a hundred reasons why things happened or didn’t , the bar expanded more than the terrace, the hotel was to be single story and that the developer must do the dirty work to rid the landscape of the eyesore. But the developer and the bar owner are long gone whilst the tourists and the travel writers are very much here and not enjoying the vista.
Tucked further into the paper was the announcement that British Gas after 11 years of trying are to give up attempting to build an LPG (GPL) plant in Puglia. They have spent £350million attempting to weave their way through obscure planning laws, even more obscure decisions , delay tactics and in the end outright blocks from the Governor who hailed the British Gas decision and the withdrawal of potentially 1,000 new jobs as a victory. BG said they had never met such time wasting and bureaucratic obstinacy anywhere else in the world. Our leader in Rome said Italy must learn from this loss. Even further into the paper was the announcement that B.F. Goodrich are to close their Puglian tyre factory with the loss of 1,200 jobs. The Japanese owners described how bureaucracy and arcane labour laws led to the decision. Our leader in Rome said Italy must learn from this loss. Well at least he’s consistent.
In the last 3 years Italy has attracted just €18 billion in inward investment, Germany €90 billion, France €132 billion and UK €208 billion. Our leader in Rome said of these figures, yes you guessed it ! Italy ranks below Zambia and Albania but just above Zimbabwe in the “Easy to do Business in” world rankings.
Ah those were the days. La Dolce Vita. The Sweet Life.
Of far more startling news is the fact that early this morning a new invasion of hornets stormed the beaches of Casa Jones. The invaders quickly established a beachhead and within minutes a second wave arrived . The two sentries charged with guarding the house ( us) were of course sound asleep following an excellent Sunday celebrating Geraldine’s birthday. However by 10 a.m. General Geraldine had called up her crack trooper to engage the enemy: Geraldine gave me a speech before I left
I was kitted out and went around the side of the house to do battle
The fact that I am writing this proves testament to my survival and The General is to now take me for a well deserved beer.
Never in the field of human hornet fighting has so much been owed by so many to just one !!