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Happiness index

Italy may be a mess, but there’s a certain charm to its lack of ambition

By Anna Blundy   January 2011

Tuscany is famous for its medieval villages, olive groves and dusty golden-pink sunsets. It is not famous for its dynamism, its prominent place on the world’s economic stage or the slick efficiency of its civic life. The motto there is “piano, piano,” which, when you are standing in a plumbing-disaster flood in your living room weeping, can make you want to kill.

It is not uncommon to see a baffled ex-pat (usually me) jumping up and down on the pavement in Bagni di Lucca shouting: “But it’s only 12.30! Just sell me the pair of trainers. Don’t you want my…

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