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Italian authorities say at least 7 killed in fire at Chinese-run garment factory in Tuscany

MILAN - A fire early Sunday swept through an illegal, makeshift dormitory in a Chinese-run garment factory in Tuscany, killing seven, firefighters said. The blaze, which partially collapsed the factory's roof, broke out in a loft where 11 people were sleeping, said fire inspector Stefano Giannelli. The cause was under investigation. Two people remained hospitalized, while two were treated and released, Giannelli said.

Aristocrat moans tourists threatening Florence

A descendant of Florence's famous Medici family told AFP on Tuesday that mass tourism was a "threat" to his native city and called for it to be put on a Unesco list of endangered areas. "There is serious urban degradation, an overuse of the city, an insufficient attention to the artistic heritage of the city," the angry prince, Ottaviano de Medici, said in a statement. The prince said he had presented a project called "Save Florence" on the website www.de-medici.com with 16 proposals sent to Florence city authorities and Italy's Unesco representation.

Renaissance 'ideal city' inspires anew in Tuscany

An "ideal city" inspired by Renaissance humanism off the beaten track in the Tuscan hills is finding new fans with 15th century urban planning that still appeals to today's city dwellers. "It looks idyllic!" said a tourist from Melbourne in Australia as she admired the harmonious mix of palazzi, churches and immaculately-kept homes of Pienza, a town of 2,000 people in the Italian region of Tuscany.

Horse race fires up troubled Tuscan city

For residents of Siena -- a Tuscan city rocked by financial scandal and economic crisis -- summer horse races offer a welcome respite to the doom and gloom. The famous Palio race on the spectacular Piazza del Campo is held twice a year in July and August and pits traditionally rival neighbourhoods against each other. In Friday's race, the horse riding for the Onda quarter, or contrada, came first in an exhilarating spectacle lasting just over a minute.

Indian film to be based on Italy cruise shipwreck

An Indian film loosely based on last year's Costa Concordia shipwreck is to start shooting this year in the same region of Italy where the disaster happened, the Toscana Film Commission said on Friday. Shooting of the Tamil-language film was due to start next month but will have to be delayed because local sensitivities on the island of Giglio where the wreck still lies mean it will have to be filmed on a different island.

Italy's crisis-hit Monte dei Paschi: half a millennium in banking

* Bank was founded more than 500 years ago * Dominates life in and around Siena * Trading losses could reach nearly $1 billion By Silvia Aloisi SIENA, Italy, Jan 25 (Reuters) - When the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank was founded in 1472, Michelangelo was not born, Columbus had still to discover America and Henry VIII of England had yet to split from the church of Rome.
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