Italy's Nobility Rolls Up Its Sleeves to Survive
La vita's not so dolce anymore. Facing tough times, 150 Italian nobles have banded together to market their lush estates as boutique hotels, while others are working the land and, in some drastic cases, selling off their holdings. It may run counter to the dream of palace life, but it's necessary given expensive upkeep, high taxes and economic woes. The idea is to form a pan-European "aristocracy route" to attract tourists to their castles and mansions and offer what Machiavelli called a "tinge" of greatness before they lose their flavor.