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When in Tuscany . . .

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Tony Blair's callous treatment of his holiday hosts, La Famiglia Strozzi, recalls an earlier tussle between that distinguished clan and the forces of bourgeois revisionism. Between 1489 and 1539 when their magnificent Florentine palazzo rose in place of several smaller structures, the family followed Alberti's prescriptions, even creating a piazza, only to find local traders wanted to hold a market there. They decided to fight, and three centuries of legal struggle later, the civic authorities finally conceded the Strozzi claim to control of the space. Mr Blair must be hoping that the next load of old toffs he hopes to ease out of a building occupied for generations by their ancestors will display the effete meekness of the present-day Strozzi, and not the resolve of their forebears.

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