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DSCN3433This is a very difficult time of the year for me, but a truly exciting one too.  Difficult, because my head is full of song lyrics as I am practising daily for my up a coming concert and this has the effect of drowning out all the other things in my brain that I need to focus on too!  Exciting because it’s the time of year to get back together with The Rock Chick Band and to make fabulous music!  My man has to keep my feet on the ground and to remind me not to forget simple things.  I keep a hard copy diary.  It’s big and red and sits on my desk and cannot get lost like a cell phone or accidentally deleted like an electronic one, things I am prone to do!  The repertoire is now finalised and our first rehearsal is on Sunday.  Email me at june.finnigan.virgin.net for an invite to the concert on 21 June here in Tuscany.

download-1.jpgMeanwhile, a visiting fox has discovered the fruits of our mulberry tree, but Phil the pheasant isn’t happy with that.  He has been noisily complaining and shooing the poor thing away.  I am also worried about the fox turning on Phil in a stand off.

250px-Fasan-male-1347.jpgPhil is quite formidable and frightening when he’s angry, but he would also make a good dinner for a hungry fox and it’s family and, he has a family of his own to protect in our garden!

porcupine1On the subject of wildlife we had the rare sight of the shy porcupine run across the track in front of us the other day.  Unlike the UK, we do not get a lot of road kill, but nevertheless it can happen.  So we were glad to see it in time.  It’s surprising really, what with the fast and crazy driving in Tuscany, that we don’t see more poor dead creatures.  We often see deer and cinghale (wild boar) cross the road, sometimes whole herds, which is fabulous to see.

20190608_110617Anyway, what next?  Ah, yes.  We have just celebrated something very special in our local village of Fiano.  The local school children worked with potter Terry Davies and The Caba Association Culturale, to create ceramic tiles to line the  front of the steps of the amphitheatre in the Gardens of Fiano.  I am so impressed with this cultural innovation and the children are so proud.  The steps were unveiled after a grand brass band performance.  Screen shot taken from Terry Davies facebook page. Terry was one of the first people we got to know, all those years ago, when we arrived in this little bit of Chianti.  He makes wonderful unique pots and ceramics, exhibiting all over the world.  You can visit his workshop and showroom in the countryside between Certaldo and Bacio, but why not visit his website for lots more info first.  website

2019-05-13 09.14.16Now back to the subject of Made in Italy and the first things to spring to mind, well mine anyway, is fashion and handbags.  In the local papers I spotted two beautiful images that I loved.  The colour red always gives me a lift and it goes with anything, so here is a beautiful shoulder bag from Felisi to drool over.  website

20190608_091538And what do you think of this frock?  I think the simple cut and the gorgeous harbour scene print is so eye-catching and irresistible.  Pop it on I say, head for the coast, then simply take a stroll.  You’ll be turning heads for sure!  You’ll need to click ‘find a store near you’ if you want to buy from this collection.  Website

Well enough of that, I’m still searching for an Italian hunk of the month, so if you have a nominations let me know!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Your summer reading can be found on my website at my site

Salute June

(Wildlife fotos from Poke Community, Living in Italy and Tierdoku.com) 

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

2019-05-29 08.55.40What’s that you said?  A European Election?  Oh, yes that one, I had noticed.  Don’t get me wrong, but I promised myself I would not write about politics this week.  But how can one ignore it, especially with the massive move to the right in many of the European countries.  But it’s hardly surprising.  Apart from Tuscany, Italy has followed the lead of the very proactive Matteo Salvini, currently the Minister of Internal Affairs, who’s Lega party has swept it’s way to a massive victory.  Sig Salvini has spent many months out and about wearing various uniforms and T-shirts, making himself as visible as possible and shutting the ports to the immigrants, as Italy is supposedly sinking into the sea with the weight of the thousands already here!

2019-05-29 08.56.31The most surprising election victory was for the Forza Italia party in Milan, where the veteran of politics and purveyor of scandal, Silvio Berlusconi, has won a place at the big round table in Brussels.  At the age of 83 there is no keeping Silvio out of the spotlight.  From a non-political point of view, I’m quite pleased to see him back, it makes for more colourful reporting.  When allegations swirled about escorts and ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties, Silvio admitted “I’m not a Saint, you’ve all understood that.”  Watch this space…..

2019-05-26 09.38.09Meanwhile, back here in our little bit of Tuscany, our local village of Fiano hit the news when it was chosen as a place to interview the locals on their view of the impending election.  We were delighted to find our favourite cafe bar and shop singled out for this purpose and in the foto you will see our lovely friends Fabio, Sandra and Rossella at La Dispensa.  If you are in Tuscany, do pay them a visit.

2019-05-22 09.49.45Well, I thought I would change the subject and talk about Italian interior design.  We live in an ancient converted Monastery Farmhouse, which has it’s original brick floors and beams.  Modern Italian furniture designs really lend themselves to old properties.  The contrast makes for a perfect blend.  As does modern art.  We have recently bought new sitting room furniture, comfortable but modern.  It is also possible to muddle in a few antique bits here and there; somehow in this property it works.  A set of modern furniture in a large high ‘ceilinged’ villa also looks great; like in the enclosed picture.  website

2019-05-21 10.03.23Then of course, if we want to get into Summery Fashion designs, I’m all for it.  The weather has been terrible and we have been out and about wrapped in winter jackets every day in May.  The poor tourists have been drenched in rain for weeks on end, however, we are reliably informed that summer starts tomorrow!  Do you get maudlin after lengthy periods of grey skies and rain?  I am a naturally cheerful soul, but just lately it’s been hard to keep a smile on my face.  Anyway, I love the relaxed look in the enclosed foto.  Whilst my signature colour is black, the occasional colourful outfit will catch my eye and this look has both.  Website

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The Rock Chick Band

So, what next?  Ah yes, the excitement is starting to build!  It’s nearly June, my favourite month of the year.  My next Rock concert is on 21st and my birthday is the 23rd.  I’m so looking forward to having a house full of friends & family and concert goers.  If you would like an invite, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

OK, I’m a little late sending this blog out, my apologies.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers at june.finnigan@virgin.net or pop your comments into the box below.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

ps visit my website at My site

Newspaper fotos extracted from La Repubblica, La Nazione.

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

Yes, I’m back, I am not 100% but feeling a whole lot better.  Thank you to all those lovely people who sent their best wishes!

2019-05-17 11.24.07Well, I always say that if you are feeling a little down, buy clothes or better still a new handbag!  And, that’s exactly what I did on Thursday.  My man felt sorry for me and offered to drive me across to Barberino val D’Elsa and my favourite atelier Colleregio Firenze.  I have mentioned this place before; for me it is the ultimate shop for all types of bag, purses, belts and hats.  However, I must fill you in with the run-up to buying this, my latest bag, and the importance of understanding how these specialist shops operate.  Or don’t as the case may be.  Two weeks ago I did the round trip to Barberino and arrived at the shop during opening hours, to find it closed!  OK, well things happen, so I decided to ring and check that they were open before going for a second time, this time with my man, and yes the nice lady said she would be there.  Guess what, they were closed!  So late afternoon I ring again only to find that the nice lady had been waiting at their other shop in Castellina in Chianti; apparently the telephone number goes through to her wherever she is!  But no worries, the shop in Barberino would open for us that evening.  We arrived and yes the nice owner Francesco, had come up from Florence to open it for us!  Thank heavens they had the bag I wanted, otherwise, I would have sunk into a bout of despair.  The moral to this story is ‘be very precise.’  If you ring a shop, make sure they know which shop you want to go to, as they may have more than one, If you turn up on spec you may be disappointed.   It was all worthwhile, I love my new bag!

2019-05-17 09.13.57Anyway, Last weekend was a pink one.  Yes, pink or Rosa in Italiano.  Montespertoli and Certaldo were bedecked in pink balloons and flags as it was the first time that the big cycle road race, Giro D’Italia, had passed through in sixteen years.  Pink is the colour for this very popular event, the winning cyclist ended up being presented with, yes you guessed it, a pink shirt!  There was a lot of excitement being generated in our local village of Fiano, which is half way between the two towns!  The Tuscans love a festa and especially if it involves cyclists!

STREET_FOOD_web.jpgAnd, this weekend was another celebration, that of Street Food!  Certaldo hosted a street food festa over a long weekend in Piazza Boccaccia, which is normally the central carpark.  I walked through it on Friday evening and it was heaving with people and children enjoying the fairground type rides.  I couldn’t help but notice two tourists who had obviously arrived by train, pulling their cases through the crowd heading for the funiculare, the little cable train which would take them up to the safety of Certaldo Alto, the historical centre.  They both looked scared to death!  There had also been a train strike that day, which only ended in the early evening!  Poor things.  But they will love Certaldo Alto!

My other reason for being in Certaldo was the need to get a lawyer to certify a copy of my passport and identity card for forwarding by email to London.  I won’t bore you with the whys and wherefores, but it turned out to be another Italian learning curve.  Never expect anything to be straight forward.  The very nice lady avvocato explained that whilst she was a lawyer, there were different types.  In Italy, one type could do certifications, another could not.  She finally agreed to do it as we explained it did not matter to the London lawyer which type she was, just her signature would do nicely.  Two hours later, we emerged having had her very obliging assistant do all the necessary scanning and emailing, so let’s hope the London guys are happy.

2019-05-07 09.11.00But enough of that.  Life eeez good, life eeez now!  back in Fiano and reading the papers over coffee, I notice that a new film is about to be launched simply called Leonardo.  You may think that there have been enough films and documentaries made about the great man, but apparently this is not the case.  I really enjoyed the Medici films so I will look out for this one too.

2019-05-13 09.09.18OK, where are we?  Oh yes, just a little cautionary story.  Italy is a very welcoming country and particularly Tuscany.  But down in Rome, some not very nice eatery charged two tourists 81 euros for two hamburgers and coffees, which is totally unacceptable.  So just beware of the tourist traps!

And, to end on a much brighter note, the sun has just broken through the rain clouds and my man is taking me out to lunch at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  I went to the manicurist yesterday, so will be flashing my bright orange fingernails!

Have a great week, I certainly will!

Salute June x  Visit my website at my site

PS  Great to see Mick jagger almost back to normal.  Rock on that man!  I will be performing ‘Paint it Black’ at my concert on 21 June!  Email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net for an invite.

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Ciao Tutti,

2019-05-11 17.48.08So sorry, but am down with a nasty virus and my creative brain cells are not functioning.  So I am sending you this lovely picture of the gorgeous green Tuscan countryside, viewed from our garden, for you to enjoy.

I’ll be back…..next weekend for sure.

Salute June x

Visit my website at My site

2017-05-07 17.25.58  35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

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

2019-05-04 17.30.23Well, who’d have thought it.  The first week in May and we have been swamped with rain and thunder storms.  Una bomba d’aqua!  If you are visiting, do not be dismayed; when the sun comes out even briefly, you will see the how the light will change and once again everything becomes an artist’s dream.  Just stand still in the countryside, no electronic equipment please, hear the rain dripping off the trees, soak up the lush view of many shades of green and the glut of white Acaccia and Elderflower blossoms, oh and the bright yellow Broom.  The perfumes will intoxicate you, and then you will see that 3D effect as the sunlight picks up every hill and valley, every row of trees and vines, it will take your breath away!  Close your eyes for a second, open again and you will see that you overlooked the steam rising from the valleys as the hot sun starts to dry things out.  Then there is the birdsong, the Cuckoo, newly arrived Bee Eaters, the Hoopoe and all the other beautiful regulars.  Well, enough said.

2june_2007_367.jpgThe bad weather prevented us from going down to Certaldo on Sunday morning for the annual parade of I Bersaglieri (Marksmen) who are the wonderful running infantry soldiers who wear plumed hats.  We watched them arrive in town last year, running and playing their brass instruments at the same time.  They are so impressive to watch and I must say the leader was a bit of a hunk.  Do go on to Youtube where there is some great footage.  Also visit Wikipedia to read about their fascinating history.

20190504_165739Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano we are all delighted to welcome the lovely Gabriella Carbini and her Ceramic showroom and studio, Ceramiche D’Arte Carbini.  The ‘shop’ is in the main street, Via Firenze, and is full of beautiful traditional ceramics for you to drool over.  Your problem will be what not to buy!  In addition to the ceramics, Gabriella (on the right in picture) will be pleased to welcome small groups to demonstrations of her work in her studio.  You can telephone her on (0039) 346 418 8211 or email ceramichecarbini@gmail.com  We attended the opening yesterday evening and can’t wait to go back and start buying things!

2019-05-05 10.18.16Still in Fiano and enjoying coffee at La Dispensa, I read an article about the dark side of Italy, that being the Italian Mafia.  Of course they have always been around but more predominantly in the south.  We do not see much evidence of their existence here in Tuscany, but then we are not really looking for it either!  Anyway, this article was about a new film release called Il Traditore, The Traitor.  The Plot is about revenge and betrayal revolving around Tommaso Buscetta, “boss of the two worlds”  It is directed by that great master of film, Marco Bellocchio and will be released on 23rd May.  Watch this space!

2019-05-04 09.45.20And, on a much brighter side, the lovely Fiorentine Iris has once again survived the winter and is standing proud in the garden.  I had promised to post pictures of our new potted plants but due to the heavy rain most remain under cover and will be planted as soon as we have a rain free day.  So I hope you enjoy seeing the Iris!

Anyway, enough already, time to get this blog finished and off to you.  I love to hear from you so do drop me a line.  Oh and visit my website at my site

Salute June x

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

2019-04-28 10.53.02It’s been a busy week here in our little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti.  It has also rained a lot, which dictated much of planning for the week.  I decided not to buy more plants this weekend as it is still too damp, but just for you I have taken some pictures in our Tuscan garden.  The smell of the Acaccia Blossoms and our now climbing English Rose, shortly after the rain, is intoxicating.  Just standing under the dripping trees and breathing in the air is so invigorating.

20190420_102732Most of the time things are very quiet here, the sound of ancient squeaky tractors spraying the vineyards can be heard, but this is almost drowned out by the birdsong.  We have a small number of Magpies roosting in our trees and one fat male has taken to admiring himself in the glass of our windows and doors.  That’s Ok until he starts loudly banging the glass to get his reflection to respond to his posturing!

2019-04-26 09.43.20Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, I was somewhat taken aback to be asked by a man I have only seen occasionally to go up to his apartment to see his ceramics!  Well, you girls have no doubt heard the saying ‘would you like to come up and see my etchings?  Well, let me explain.  I was paying Fabio at La Dispensa for my coffee, when I noticed a new ceramic dish for the change on his counter.  I said how much I liked it and as if by magic the maker of said dish, was at my elbow.  Fabio introduced me to Leonardo, yes I know, whose surname is Lazzeri.  With a manic wave of his arms and a big smile on his face, he invited me up to his apartment!  So there I was, standing in his big parlour (having met his lovely wife) and agape at all the beautiful ceramic creations, both big and small.

2019-04-26 12.18.57Leonardo is now retired, but still does the odd piece now and then.  His work is sold in San Gimignano which, if you do not already know, is the city of towers and is massively popular with tourists.  Leonardo’s work is unique, in that he concentrates on an Antico (old fashioned) style with the characters having distinctive pointed noses.  He has also published books containing his works over many years.  Unfortunately, Leonardo is also old fashioned and does not have a web site to show you, but if you are in Fiano or San Gimignano, I know he would love to meet you!  He gave me this lovely spoon holder as a parting gift, such a nice man!

2019-04-24 09.39.18Now, in addition to Easter we had Liberation Day to celebrate on 25th April.  Much is written about the French Resistance during the 2nd World War, however, the heroics of the men and women of the Partisans, the Italian resistance, is an incredible story.  I have met and interviewed some of these amazing people and learnt how whole villages were wiped out by many of the retreating soldiers.  Memorials can be found in many villages and seeing some of these really can bring a lump into one’s throat.

FEBBRAIO 2007 175.jpgOn a lighter note, this morning my man and I had coffee with friends at La Dispensa.  Our friend Ute was telling us about the amazing number of weddings she is overseeing at Villa il Pozzo a 3* hotel close to us.  She already has ten wedding bookings this year and was meeting with two further clients this weekend in preparation for next years nuptials! I have to say, Il Pozzo is a very beautiful place, castellated and with stunning views. Take a look.  Website

Ok, enough I think, must get the fotos inserted and send this blog off to you. But suddenly we’re In the middle of a thunder storm, ooooeeeer!  Now the lights have gone out!!  It’s eerily quiet.  The lights are flickering but still nothing.  My man won’t be happy as he’s down in the guest apartment putting together some IKEA furniture.  Mama Mia!  Now I’m being told that the saving of this draft has failed; well not surprising, theres no electricity!!  Damn and blast, what to do?  Now the heavy rain is starting again, and there are loads of tourists just arrived in the area wearing skimpy summer clothes, poor things!  Best keep my computer open, so I can save this as soon as possible.  Sound of fingers strumming on my desk, five minutes gone and still in the dark!  OK best get some candles ready before it’s completely dark!  Fifteen minutes now, have lit a candle, this is really annoying!  But just a minute, this candlelight is rather nice.  Will pour some drinks and get some nibbles.  An hour has gone by, so I’ve saved the blog to word, phew, should have thought of that before!

It is the following morning and finally we have electricity!  Still overcast but brighter!  Here is the blog!

Have a great week and do visit my website for updates.  My Site

Salute June x

 

2017-05-07 17.25.58  35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

 

 

 

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

20180815_101857Yes, it’s that time of year again, Easter Weekend and the Tourists have poured in from every part of the globe.  Cars and mini-buses are cruising past our Old Monastery Farmhouse with big-eyed faces staring out of the windows.  Then there are the walkers.  As we are surrounded by agriturismo places to stay, it’s normal to hear the sound of footsteps on the gravel track and wondrous voices in many different languages.  But, we don’t mind, as this weekend heralds the run up to summer and it’s a pleasure to see and hear visitors enjoying themselves.  Anyway, we have our giant spider guarding the gate; just in case.

2019-04-22 09.48.18Now the tourists will have found ninety percent of shops, bars and restaurants closed on both the Sunday and Monday.  This includes our usual haunt La Dispensa in Fiano as Fabio, Sandra and Rossella have taken a well deserved two-day break.  The Italians like their festa days and most will have gone off to the seaside or mountains.  But if you know where to go it’s not a problem.  On both days we dropped down to Certaldo and Jam Caffe where you will find the best pastries in the region and of course very good coffee.  The weather is beautiful at the moment so you can enjoy sitting outside on the big terrace.  We like to be inside looking out.

2019-04-10 08.58.05#1On the subject of coffee, which the Italians serve up so much better than anywhere else in the world, on Saturday I spotted this advert for illy coffee.  Yes, I know, the hunky guy in the advert did draw me in.  But look at his face; which look do you like?  Clever advertising this; Classico, Intenso (intense) & Forte (strong).  I must say I do rather like the Intenso look; that hint of danger in the eyes…..  Sorry, where was I?  Oh, yes, I was about to mention that I do buy the tins of illy classico coffee.  I like the tins, they look great on the sideboard and the coffee is seriously good too!

2019-04-20 10.18.47On Saturday morning, the Mercato in Certaldo was heaving.  We stocked up with fruit, veg and Cheese, but our lovely plant lady had not turned up again.  I asked one of the neighbouring market holders and was told she had not been there for months.  But the good news is, I suddenly remembered a flower kiosk at the top of the hill next to the old cemetery, where our old friend Simon Moody rests in peace, bless him.  The kiosk was busy, but to my delight I found lot’s of plants for sale as well as flowers.  I bought quite a few, but will need more, so will go back next weekend.  I’ll send you some fotos of the finished pots next time.

2019-04-17 08.40.05OK, what else.  obviously the National news has not been too good this last week, what with the Notre Dame fire.  Here in Italy we have a Joint Deputy Prime Minister who likes to dress up in various uniforms, depending on where he is appearing, so it was inevitable that one of our Italian cartoonists would come up with this cartoon of Matteo Salvini.  We quickly move on….

2019-04-17 08.37.35Meanwhile, the various Leonardo exhibitions and festas continue and for a change I will mention Prato, which is a rather attractive town between Florence and Pistoia, where there is an Ingenuity & Textile Exhibition going on at Il Museo del Tessuto.  I’ve always been fascinated by machines, big and small.  I love steam trains and the workings of clocks and watches.  In fact anything that is not dependant on electricity or technology.  Prato is also good for historical buildings and excellent restaurants!  website

Anyway, today is Monday Bank Holiday, as the Brits say, and we must make the most of it and enjoy the remaining sunshine.  The hedgerows are bursting with Poppies, Acacia blossom is just peeking out, the Cuckoo is back and life eeez very good indeed.  So, take the time to read a good book, preferably one of mine, and relax.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

PS  do visit my website at My site

NB.  Newspaper fotos are extracted from La Repubblica.  Other fotos J Finnigan.

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