No, he’s not president any more, but that didn’t stop Barack Obama from showing up in the same European nation where the current president was holding court last week — and in grand style: in a private plane escorted by six fighter jets and a 13-car motorcade for a five night-stay in a $15,000-a-night private villa.
It’s not clear what the former president’s motives were, arriving in Tuscany just as his successor’s plane was touching down in Rome. Maybe Obama was seeking to upstage Donald Trump as Bill Clinton did to him early in his presidency, but Obama doesn’t cast that long a shadow, and the current president’s visit received all the front-page attention — and largely favorable coverage at that.
As for Obama’s post-presidency, the one constant is flaunting his wealth, which stands in stark contrast to the lectures on forced austerity he periodically gave the wealthiest 2% of Americans during his first term. While in Tuscany, the villa the Obamas stayed in has 22 bedrooms, spread across five buildings. The largest of those is an 800-square foot “Medici” master bedroom with its own steam room, Jacuzzi, and sauna.
As well as the smaller dining spaces in the villas, there are two full-scale dining rooms that seat a total of up to 44 people, as well as outdoor dining spaces, a wine-tasting room and a wet bar.
There are also courts for fans of tennis, basketball and the Italian bowling game bocce, as well as a group spa, sauna and steam room, a swimming pool, and a gym and fitness center.
And visitors are cared for by a staff of 19, including a concierge, executive chef, wait staff, bartender and housekeepers.
Special requests can also be made to explore the surrounding countryside on horseback, by car or scooter, or even using helicopters and hot air balloons.