Touring Cinque Terre with the Nobility

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We’ve had our share of clients with impressive resumes — former CEOs of Big Three automakers, members of the Federal Reserve Board — but recently we found ourselves with an unexpected type of VIP: real, honest-to-goodness Italian nobility.  We certainly didn’t know this ahead of time, though if we had bothered to look up the last names of our clients we would have found out soon enough, but as details came out over the course of our day tour, a certain suspicion came creeping into our minds.  Hearing about how they were putting up the entire group — all twenty of them — in a single home, about marble sculptures lurking around every corner, about servants arriving with crystal glasses on silver trays and wearing white gloves, about the family wine label … these things start to make you wonder.  And after one of the other clients described the home they were being put up in as a “palace”, we were pretty sure.  A quick Google search confirmed our suspicions.  A marquis, in flesh and blood, had been out on a private tour with us.

(It should be mentioned that noble titles in Italy, while thrown about now and then, are not legally binding and have not been since the Italian Constitution was ratified in 1948.  But still … nobility has a certain ring to it.)

Many have asked how these members of a noble family were, and the answer, of course, is: perfectly nice and fairly normal.  Somehow everyone is surprised by this, but after all, what should they be?  Monsters waiting for a new era in which they can renew their droits du seigneurs?  Snooty stiffs who expect you to kiss their hands?  Times change, and even royalty has to change with it.

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