There’s a soulless, stone-glass-and-steel, black-and-white corporate hotel sitting next to our hotel (the Villa Gaia) here in Cefula. I suspect that you need to be a kind of soulless, stone-glass-and-steel corporate asshole (or the wife or girlfriend of one) to want to stay in one of these chilly Dante-esque abodes. Every attractive European town has one, and the people walking in and out are always Masters-of-the-Universe types driving shiny black cars and wearing slick dark suits.

In an era of diminishing natural resources and encroaching corporate cancer, old-world elegance (i.e., aged wooden floors, organic plaster or brick exteriors, organic clay-tile roofs, Oriental throw rugs, grandfather clocks, 19th Century paintings) is the only way to go for anyone with a smidgen of taste. Try telling that to the Hugo Boss hotshots who swear by those corporate hell palaces. They don’t get it, and they probably never will. Or at least not until they’ve kicked around for a couple of decades and learned a few things.

The general theory is that people who prefer splendorous hard-stone dwellings are looking to make a statement (to themselves or to others) about where they want to be or how they’d like to project themselves, as opposed to who they really are or where they’ve come from (genetically, culturally, economically). They’re looking to dwell in a nouveau-riche atmosphere of faux-Roman splendor, and figuring that if they don’t buy into this Blaupunkt life-of-Nero lifestyle their competitors (or women they’d like to attract) will suspect they’re wood-floor losers at heart, and will write them off. Or something like that.

In short, the more your lodgings reflect this ancient-Rome-meets-Gordon-Gekko style, the more socially insecure and desperate-for-approval you’re likely to be. Just saying.