Historic Puccini villa under flooding threat
Emergency workers were battling to save the Tuscan lakeside villa of the composer Giacomo Puccini from flooding as winter storms swept Italy.
The two-storey, palm-fringed villa at Torre del Lago, on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, is a beacon for opera lovers who come for performances of his works, including 'Madame Butterfly', 'Tosca' and 'La Boheme', on a stage set up on the shore.
The idyllic scene has been transformed by torrential rain since Christmas with the lake threatening to burst its banks. Thousands of sandbags have been put in place to protect the villa, which sits 45 metres from the water's edge.
Simonetta Puccini, the composer's granddaughter who runs the villa as a museum and shrine, said that volunteers had begun to move the collection of antique furniture, paintings and documents upstairs for safety.
"I hate having to move his things and he would have hated it, too," she said.
She added that she would stay at the villa to guard it "until the emergency is over".(© The Times, London)