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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

As you know, my man and I go out every morning for coffee and pastry before the start of the working day.  It’s a great way to catch up with the local people, activities and to read the national newspapers.  In my blogs I attempt to share what I think are things that will interest you, wherever you are on this beautiful planet and preferably fun things.

2019-10-13 09.40.52Sometimes a little sadness cannot be avoided, but at the same time a smile can come out of such occasions.  On October 12 we said addio to that very funny Italian actor from Naples, Carlo Croccolo, a face never to be forgotten. He was 92.  Carlo worked alongside the likes of Toto and many other famous Italian actors.  What most of us did not realise was that he was a prolific Interpreter and dubber.  He actually interpreted 118 films and was the dubbed voice behind some very famous people including Laurel and Hardy!  He also wrote and directed three films of his own!  He also worked in the theatre and on TV most recently playing the fisherman Totonno in the series ‘Capri’ as recent as 2010.  I loved his character and it’s worth revisiting some of his old comedy films from the 50’s like ’47 dead talking’ with Toto.

2019-10-13 09.39.13Meanwhile, if you are walking through Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, staring down at your phone, you might bump into a Very Big Book.  Yes, that’s what I said, a very big book!  It is actually an instillation celebrating Zanichelli’s new amazing updated ‘Vocabularly of the Italian Language.’  A must for every Italian speaker or student of the language.  Well that’s started my Christmas present list off then!  website

72483414_1410772322406457_3365531111810662400_nThen, if you keep walking, and it also happens to be the evening, you can follow the smell of roasting Italian chestnuts.  By this time I hope your phone will be put back in your pocket!  There are lots of opportunities to join organised trips to find your own chestnuts in the Tuscan countryside.  And, organised is better as there are a lot of hunters about carrying guns; at least one local hunter gets killed or badly injured every season!  Foto BeautifulItaly.

2019-10-14 09.06.40But enough of that, back to my adored world of Italian fashion!  Hand made Italian shoes and boots.  Just that sentence alone makes one drool.  My man has hand made shoes with his name inscribed inside.  He once had to take a shoe off in a UK bank to prove who he was, as he had left his identification behind!  It worked!  Anyway, his first shoes he bought in Arezzo, but they were made in Florence.  However, there is a factory near Arezzo called Soldini Scarpe, which you may like to visit if you are in the area.  This advert reminded me.  Don’t you just love the woman’s hair colour in the picture?  Website

2019-10-14 09.01.27What else did I want to tell you?  Oh yes, how could I forget, Italian made Pasta of course!  In the paper the other day, was a very revealing article on the making and exporting of Italian pasta.  I knew that a lot of the stuff was made, but was amazed to find that 58% of production of spaghetti and macaroni is exported and worth 2.4 billion euros a year!  Mind you, I know from experience that the quality here is the highest in the world.  Even we gluten free diners can enjoy delicous Italian made pastas at home and in the ristorante.  My last pasta dish was tagliatelle with fresh porcini; just wonderful.  Porcini is being collected locally in the woods, I just adore this time of year.  Not long before White Truffles (tartufo bianco) will be served at ‘C’era una Volta’, our favourite ristorante in Lucardo.

Well, I guess I had better get this off to you and return to the day job.  Places to go, people to see!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Visit my website at my site

 

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2019-10-06 11.10.29“look at this lot, all crushed under car tires and ignored!”  My man, having been a champion player in his youth, is bemoaning the fact that hundreds of conkers are going to waste in the Piazza in Fiano, which is also a car park.  There are several big Horse Chestnut trees growing around the edge of the Piazza that are looked after quite well and pruned when needed.  They also provide shade for villagers during the summer months so that they can sit outside and enjoy village life.  But, O Dio, the poor conkers are left to be crushed by the cars!  My man decided to check this disaster out with Rossella at La Dispensa, our local alimentare and coffee bar.  ‘No’ she replied in very good English, ‘We have never heard of conkers!’  My man was visibly upset by this.  How could generations of children never have picked up the conkers, selecting the best, threading the old shoe lace through and leaving them to dry in the sun?  He decided to rectify this and between us we threaded up two conkers and took them in this morning.  Rossella and her handsome young amore, Alessio, thought this hilarious.  So we showed them how to play, rather restricted by all the breakables around us and here is a foto.  You have to look closely for the conkers, but I think my man will have started a whole new craze in Tuscany!  Foto J Finnigan

72619985_1730607577069999_7124708358690439168_oMeanwhile, yesterday evening was the big celebration party for having won the beautiful hand-made Calambur banner.  The banner was apparently made by a disabled person, I will try to find out more.  If you want to see how the Italians celebrate, here is the village crammed into the Old Cinema, enjoying a feast of home-made food and gallons of wine. Foto Rione ‘Le Fonte’ Fiano, Facebook page.

2019-10-04 08.50.13Earlier in the day I managed to capture one of the villagers and got him to pose in the bar next to the banner.  Let me introdude you to the very handsome Massimo Maccari, who always has a smile on his face and readily posed for his picture.  Sorry ladies, I have to tell you that he is happily married and the father of two children, but I promise to find you a Hunk of the Month for October soon.  Foto J Finnigan

2019-10-04 09.01.04On a quieter note, I do love Italian men’s classical clothes.  Other than my man, very few men can wear beautiful tailored outfits and still look sexy.  I know, here I am a bit of a Rock Chick, black is my signature colour, but I do like to be seen with a man who can really wear his clothes well.  My man, being ex-military and having a naturaly tall balanced frame, finds it impossible to look scruffy.  Clothes hang on him like he is made for them.  The alternative to being like my Englishman is to be born Italian, as male models here just have that subtle edge.  Don’t you agree?  Canali

2019-09-19 09.05.36Then I noticed something quite different for we ladies (I prefer to say girlies, but you know how it is).  This outfit from Fracomina is strikingly different, a subtle designer edge to the jeans and matching cuffs, very clever.  And, the jaunty little cap to set it off!  I would order this but just need to slim down a bit first……  Francomina

Mustn’t forget the most topical thing at present  is of course World Cup Rugby.  As we support both England and Italy, we have enjoyed both success and failure.  Needless to say, although keeping a brave face, Italy was thrashed by South Africa having been ahead on games beforehand.  England hasn’t lost a game yet, so fingers crossed.  Next up, they play France.

Life is very exciting isn’t it?  Anyway, must get ready for a working day tomorrow, hope you enjoy this blog and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Ps visit my website at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2017-08-27 10.38.52

Fresh Tuscan Grapes on my kitchen table. Fot J Finnigan

As we strolled through the carpark in Fiano on Saturday morning the air was full of the sweet smell of crushed grapes and back in our little bit of countryside the cracks in the tarmac outside Villa Bacio were full of wine overflows, you could almost get drunk on the fumes!  So yes, the vendemia or grape harvest is almost complete and the new young wines are already being drunk by the locals.  What a wonderful, if noisy time of year!

2019-09-24 17.43.53#1Earlier in the week two copies of that gorgeous magazine Envy Italy arrived.  I do like the hard copies, but you can also read it free on-line, so no need to miss out!  My beautiful daughter Sharon is joint Editor of this lovely publication, which is full of everything you need to know about the best things that Italy has to offer.  The theme is ‘Eat, Stay, Love’ and this Autumn Winter edition has a focus on  ‘gourmet’ featuring the finest foods and wines in the Country.  Wonderful features too, so go on spoil yourselves! Envy Italy Mag

71796519_2400600350203552_4456049627824652288_oMeanwhile, Fiano is preparing for the formal celebration of the winning the much coveted banner at the Calambur event a couple of weeks ago!  If you woud like to meet the locals and join in the celebrations get your tickets ASAP!

Something else to celebrate here in Italy is the wonderful range of mouth watering cheeses.  Italy’s main source of milk for cheesemaking is from the herds of sheep, many are moved across the countryside herded by shepherds from one bit of pasture to another.

download-5.jpgThey are often assisted by the big gorgeous white Maremmena sheepdogs, easily mistaken for sheep, which certainly fools any predators! The resulting cheese is called Pecorino (Italian for sheep) and is truly delicous ranging form a very soft young version to a very mature hard one.  Other cheeses to love include Buffala Mozzarella and the creamy soft Burrata, which I adore, the latter being made from both cow and sheep’s milk, so you woud need to check if avoiding Lactose.  Foto petGuide.com

2019-09-30 09.19.49Meanwhile, yesterday Sunday, the weather was lovely and Roberto Manetti, our local sculptor, finally unvieled his lovely sculpture, ‘Le Speranza che Le Mani’, which does not easily translate into English.  So perhaps one of my local Italian readers might send me the English version.  The sculpture shows three of Roberto’s charming little characters holding hands across a globe, which signifies to me the reaching out in friendship across the world.  I love it.  Foto J Finnigan

2019-09-29 10.51.44#1And, the final celebration of the week was Silvio Berlusconi’s 83rd birthday.  Well, love him or hate him, he keeps forging on, at the edge of the political scene with his long suffering and much younger fiancé, Francesca Pascale, who was absent from the birthday party in Arcora.   How long are you normally a fiancé?  It’s been a few years now.  I wonder who is postponing the wedding; Silvio, Francesca or Dudu the dog.  There are rumours……watch this space!

Well, enough of that already.  Time to get this blog off to you lovely people and relax in the sun before lunch.

have a great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

PS  visit my website at My site

 

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2017-05-07 17.25.58

The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Yes, it’s Milan Fashion Week and one of my favourite designers, Luisa Spagnoli, has done it again.  Just wh053_en you think a fashion designer has reached her zenith, she goes to even greater heights!  I have just watched the video of her latest collection and just drooled over the beautiful flowing and very wearable outfits.  Somehow, she manages to turn beautiful fabrics into clothes that are comfortable yet gorgeous and sexy.  Here she is surrounded by her celebrity friends and fashionisti.  Look for yourselves and let me know what you think!  magazine + video

2019-09-22 09.04.22Meanwhile, that other great Italian beauty and brilliant actress Sophia Loren, has been celebrating her 85th!  Can you believe it?  she still scrubs up very well indeed and why not I hear you say.  For me Sophia will always be the most iconic Italian actress of all time.  She was so good at serious and funny parts, playing opposite the likes of Peter Sellers and Marciello Mastroianni.  I have a whole collection of DVD’s and, dare I say, old videos of her films that I will watch again at Christmas!  Just noticed in the paper that she accompanied eight-five year old Valentino to his Green Carpet Fashion Award ceremony!  Rock on Sophia!

2019-09-22 08.59.31Back in our local village of Fiano, my man and I take our morning coffee and read the newspapers at La Dispensa.  By the way, La Dispensa translates to The Larder.  An English friend thought it was a little confusing because it sounds like Dispensary, which is normally found in Chemists.  So here you are, the true meaning is correct as it is a grocers, butchers and bar combined. Back to yesterday’s paper and I noticed an advert for a new Festive Art Exhibiton at the famous Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.  This one I must attend as it brings together the likes of Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso!  It starts on 28 September and runs until 12 January.  Yes, I know, yet another excuse to have lunch in Florence!

2019-09-22 08.57.05Meanwhile, September is the month for the Annual Slow Travel Fest, which is hugely popular and takes walkers slowly and gently through the Tuscan countryside whilst stopping off for wine and food tastings, Art and Music.  What a lovely way to spend three days.  Go to Travel Fest

20160305_143212Roberto Manetti, our lovely sculptor friend and all round nice man, has donated a sculpture to Fiano, but oh no, heavy rain has postponed the unveiling so make sure you are there next Sunday 29 September at 7pm instead!   The sculpture will be unveiled in the Communual Gardens behind the apartment block opposite La Dispensa.  My man and I visited Roberto’s studios a couple of years ago, his characters seem to be part of their own world of little people and, most of his works have a little dog or cat looking out.  I just love them.  See next week’s blog for pictures of the actual event!

Well, must get this posted and get on with my current novel!  I love to hear from my readers, so do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS Both Italy and England have won their first round Rugby matches!  Hurrah!

Visit my website at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2019-09-05 20.34.30As I begin writing this blog, which I hope you will enjoy, I have started to sneeze and I feel a little fluish.  Well, not surprising, as we have just returned from ten days in the UK where we were surrounded by people with colds and viruses!  You may not be surprised to know that living in Tuscany, I rarely catch a cold.  We were in England for a mix of family gatherings and work, and by the time we got back to our lovely bit of Chianti, we were both exhausted.  On a lighter note we did have some nice moments, like the strawberry cocktail served up with a rosemary twig at the Italian restaurant Ask in Wells, Somerset.  We also had a good lunch at the Fountain Inn there.

70253039_373968673271567_7776131043521724416_nWe then travelled to Exmouth in Devon and cannot recomend any of the eateries or hotels there.  So other than downing a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio with my lovely school chum Jane from Spain, whilst watching some rugby on the TV in the pub, nothing nice to say!

Then on to London on the Monday for some business meetings and a couple of catch-ups.  My man and I did have a very good lunch at La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone and we can definately recommend this restaurant to you.  Funny how we always seek out Italian places to go!

70201711_1435635506595250_6944089977277906944_oBut what a relief to get home to Beautiful Tuscany and to find that yesterday our local village of Fiano has won back the coveted banner having been victorious at the annual Calambur event!  Bravi to all our lovely italian friends who participated!  This event is a bit like the UK’s It’s a Knockout which was televised and hugely popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

2019-09-03 08.20.00#1And, I read in the paper that Fiano had also won the title Contessa della Cipolla, which is awarded for the most magnificent dishes based on the delicious Certaldo Red Onion.  Wow, the talent is unlimited in Fiano.  Yes it’s that time of year again, the markets are brimming over with the locally grown beauties.  No silly, I’m still talking about the onions!

Next week I’ll bring you up to date with the Vendemia, the Grape Harvest!

Well, enough already, I must get stuck into my working week and also write a few more book chapters.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit my website at My Site

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2019-08-31 09.28.26Well, would you believe it, Silvio Berlusconi’s ex-wife Veronica Lario has has been told by an Italian court that she will no longer receive her monthly alimony payments of 1.4 million euros, yes, read this again 1.4 million euros, from billionaire Silvia Berlusconi, as it has ruled that Silvio had been unfairly treated!  Who the hell really needs that much a month anyway?  Well, Veronica does have cash deposits of some 16 million, jewels and a real estate business, so methinks she won’t go hungry.  There will, however, be another small dent to her wealth as she will have to pay back around 60 million of alimony, which the courts said she had no right to!  Well, that’s the Berlusconi planet for you.  Meanwhile, it looks like his political career is on the rise again too!  Watch this space.  foto La Nazione.

2019-08-30 13.37.22Meanwhile, back in the real world and in my case, our little bit of Chianti, it’s fig or Ficchi time!  I love Italian figs and Paolo has just started serving them up at Ristorante C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  When the olive wood platter arrived with a wonderful display of figs and Pecorino cheeses, I couldn’t wait to dig in, then remembered you guys!  I should have taken a foto before I started eating!  Anyway, here is the last one for you to drool over.  it is also Zucchini (courgette) Flower time; Paolo’s Zucchini Flower fritters are to die for! Foto J Finnigan

2019-08-28 09.31.51Now another important indulgence for me is my four weekly visit to Sandra at La Parrucchiera in Certaldo for ‘colore.’  Sandra is my hairdresser and has been for the last fifteen years!  Fortunately, she is a lot younger than me, so should be around even when I am in my nineties.  My man understands that, no matter what my state of physical or mental health, he must get me to Sandra’s.  It is also the only time that I have the chance to read some glossy magazines and last week I spotted these gorgeous Hand Made Italian Moccasins.  As you know, I am dead against trianers as a fashion item, other than for sport.  All I can say ladies, if you want to look good in flats here’s the answer; beautiful and comfortable at the same time! Moccasins Live!

images.jpgWhere were we?  Did you know it is the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock.  Woodstock?  Now come on, even my grandchildren have heard of Woodstock and by the way, love my music from the 60’s an 70’s.  Our local village of Fiano is celebrating this momentous event in the Piazza with great food and two bands thumping out the original music!  I absolutely adore the Italians for their love of great music and bands.  Where else in the world can one be an aging rocker and be considered normal?  I sometimes include the song ‘Woodstock.’ by Mathew’s Southern Comfort in my concert repertoire.  Pop on to You tube and have a listen.

67346061_2433870966884573_7785530085527781376_nOf course the next thing we have to enjoy is Il Calambur.  This is the annual battle of Certaldo Commune’s factions (Quarteriere), ours is Fiano, which won the year before last.  The big event is held in central Certaldo and we hope the this year our village will come out on top again!  There will be sporting and intelligent tests and a lot of fun.  Put 15th September in your diary! The flags will be flying soon!

OK, it looks like I need to cook lunch today as my man has just asked for one of his favourite lentil bakes.  He’s been very loving lately, so I can hardly refuse him, can I?

I’ll quickly do a last minute edit first and get this off to you.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute june x

Ps Don’t forget to visit my website at My site

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2019-08-24 09.30.51.jpgNow, this time of year is all about being out there on beaches and in Piazzas having great music concert parties.  If you also happen to be Lorenzo Jovanotti you will find your party will become a mass of sand stomping fans, as far as the eye can see.  Simply known as Jovanotti, Lorenzo has taken to the beaches this year to hammer out his fabulous music and to put across a little more politics than he has in the past!  He has gone from wearing silver alien suits to the scruffy pirate look and the fans still love him.  In an interview he was recorded as stating ‘We have more intelligence than democracy.  Young people, don’t be afraid of the world!’  Javanotte is hugely popular here in Italy.  Beach Parties

2019-08-24 09.18.02Back in our little bit of Chianti where things have been nice and quiet due to 90% of Italians being at the seaside, we relax over coffee and the newspapers at La Dispensa in Fiano.  Yesterday I found a lovely story about the romance and secret marriage of two Italian Partisans, right under the noses of the Nazi’s, in 1945.  I love to read these kinds of stories.    Detail of the romance and marriage of Tullio and Theresa have only recently been unearthed and the article was written by novelist Maurizio Maggiani.  His books can be found on most online outlets, but mostly in Italian at the moment. You will also find a little bit involving wartime Partisans and Romance in my third novel ‘The Italian Connection.’ My site

2019-08-23-09.47.031.jpgMeanwhile, it’s been a busy week for the the lovely ladies lining up for the Miss Toscana (Tuscany) final.  And, the winner is the beautiful Chiara Gorgeri!  Methinks she may not be happy with this picture, obviously taken form a lower position from where she is standing, giving her thunder thighs and big hands!  On the subject of big hands, did you notice that Michelangelo’s Statue of David has hands too big for his body?  Sorry, I digress.  But now my mind has wondered off even further!  There are a lot of really hunky handsome men in italy, so why do we not have Mr Italy contests,?  It all seems rather one-sided.  What do you think?

2019-08-21 09.03.18And, back to the real world, last week I said that the Italian Government is about to implode and as anticipated the long suffering Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti has resigned.  He is absolutely fed up with the bickering between the coalition parties and in particular cites Matteo Salvini as the main culprit, quote ‘He has been irresponsible and dangerous’ and many will agree.  So what’s on the cards?  Another election I guess.  Watch this space.

Well, enough already.  Time to think about Sunday lunch, to go out or not to go out that is the question.  I”ll go and look in the fridge first…..

Hope you are enjoying a good weekend and have a great time in the week to come.  Do drop me a line at the bottom of this page or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Ps visit my website at My site

Pps We wnt out for lunch……again.  I just can’t help it!

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