Britain to Close a Consulate With a ViewBreaking News
FLORENCE, Italy — It has seen the rise of the Grand Tour and the package tour, the romance of E. M. Forster’s “Room With a View” and the tensions of two world wars. And now, after five centuries, the British Consulate in Florence is closing its doors, a victim of budget cuts and the currents of history.
Once a haven for traveling aristocrats and dreamy Britons escaping the strictures of home for the looser ways of Italy, in recent years the consulate has dealt more with lost passports than lost morals. But it holds a central place in the history of British-Italian relations, and news of its closing has been taken as an affront here.
The mayor of Florence has expressed regrets, one Florentine aristocrat says she hopes to raise the issue at the royal wedding, and a leading British historian here has questioned Britain’s diplomatic priorities.
As the sun streamed through the windows of his office overlooking the Arno River on a recent morning, David Broomfield, the man who will most likely be the last British consul of Florence, treated the news wistfully. “It’s not like I’m the last governor leaving the old colony with a feather in his hat,” Mr. Broomfield said. “But it’s the end of an important tradition here for 500 years.” There was an English diplomatic presence in Florence as far back as the 1450s....
comments powered by Disqus
- Rise of Donald Trump Tracks Growing Debate Over Global Fascism
- Tales of African-American History Found in DNA
- History Celebrates New Show Roots With Project to Digitize Post-Slavery Documents
- In 1453, this Ottoman sultan ended Christian rule in Constantinople. But was he a good Muslim?
- Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation among documents sold for $6.2m in New York
- History Relevance Campaign meets at the Smithsonian
- Bernard Lewis Turns 100
- David Lowenthal, author of "The Past Is a Foreign Country,” says it’s folly to scratch the names of slaveholders off buildings
- Jean Edward Smith, biographer of FDR and Ike, has a new biography coming out … of George W. Bush
- Flora Fraser, biographer of George and Martha Washington, wins $50,000 George Washington Prize