Remember that odd letter you got from an unknown Italian? This is who sent it

A note to Lords Foster and Rogers: Mr Morello is awaiting your replies.

Mr Morello, along with his wife, three children and pet goat, is the creation of Knightsbridge-based commercial lawyer Duncan McNair.

Over the past 10 years, he has written to public figures including lordly architects, politicians and companies as this Italian gent, who loves the UK but has not yet grown accustomed to its ways.

He wrote to John Prescott asking if his son Rizzo (7) could name one of his puppies after him. Prescott’s office replied:

“Mr Prescott is content for your son to name one of Wendy’s offspring in his honour.”

Sir Cliff Richard was less obliging, refusing a request to allow nudist ramblers to walk through his back garden.

The letters, which McNair began writing for the amusement of his nephews and nieces, have now been published as a book, entitled The Morello Letters: Pen Pal to the Stars.

Construction and architecture have provided McNair with a rich source of potential targets. Not included in the book are his letters to Rogers and Foster, which were only sent in April. John Smith, who is an architect, as well as McNair’s friend and tennis partner, used to work for Rogers and said he had “a great sense of humour”. McNair is hoping for replies in time for a second book.

Sir Cliff Richard refused Morello’s request to let nudist ramblers walk through his garden

“Rogers is from an Italian background, so I mentioned in the letter that he should go there one day, because they’ve got loads of old buildings, one of which is tipping over, and they’ve done nothing about it,” he laughs.

He also congratulated Foster for “his” tremendous work on the Pompidou centre and the Millennium Dome.

A month later he wrote to “the top PR person” at Wembley National Stadium Limited, demanding compensation for going to Wembley rather than Cardiff for the FA Cup final in May.

In one of the book’s funniest exchanges, extracts from which are reproduced below, he asked Barking & Dagenham council for permission to insert a double-decker bus into the roof of a house he was buying.

The planning inspector turned out to be most helpful, informing Mr Morello that it might “fall foul of the Building Regulations”.

And one of his next targets is a major contractor. McNair is rather taken with the contractor’s logo and has decided to inform the company that there might be something awry with it.

You have been warned.