A luxury Italian spa hotel is preparing to play host to an unexpected visitor from Moscow: the wife of the outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, the Guardian reports.The Hotel La Pace in Montecatini Terme, which has been graced by the likes of Giuseppe Verdi, Paul Cézanne, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger during its 142-year history, will be occupied for a week by Svetlana Medvedeva, her son, and a 30-strong entourage, including bodyguards and translators.
While Medvedeva, 46, does not have a reputation for a lavish lifestyle, the Tuscan hotel, with rooms priced at €600 ($787) a night and suites at up to €1,300 ($1,705) must have looked like the perfect place to splurge, especially now that she has no duties of a president’s spouse to perform.
Her decision prompted staff to hurriedly re-open the hotel, which was shut for the winter, as Italian police made security arrangements in the town.
Medvedeva’s visit followed promotional trips made to Moscow by hotel managers, according to the Italian daily Corriere Fiorentino. The hotel and local officials hope her visit will encourage more Russian oligarchs and their wives to replicate her trip, just as Roman Abramovich’s visit to Tuscany and Putin’s stay at Berlusconi’s villa in Sardinia did.
Giuseppe Bellandi, the mayor of Montecatini Terme, said signs in the town would now be written in Cyrillic as well as English and Italian.
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