Once a wild and foreboding place, Manciano is on its way to becoming southern Tuscany’s hottest postcode and the locals are anything but starstruck.
It all started with Caroline Kennedy.
The phone in a crumbling 12th-century fort at the top of a forgotten town rings. The ageing secretary puts down his cigar and paintbrush and grumbles as he walks towards his desk. Annoyed at the disturbance, he patches the call through to the assessor for tourism. (Disclaimer: the assessor for tourism also happens to be my husband, and this is not the beginning of a Montalbano novel, but an honest retelling.) Days from retirement, the town’s secretary Renzo came to work to finish his watercolours and scare away the tourists who rightly wondered why Manciano’s primary tourist attraction, its medieval fort, had been transformed into the bland post-war offices of the town council. Italy has a long history of appropriating its most beautiful buildings for government purposes, and Manciano is no different. But this particular tourist would not be shooed away. She was a Kennedy and she wanted to climb to the top of the watchtower, where the view mesmerizes in its infinite march through the Tuscan countryside to the seas of Corsica.