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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely followers around the world,

74219010_568403283921734_5820832841121923072_nYet another potentially beautiful day in Tuscany!  I say potentially because it is currently overcast and raining again, however, the weekend was lovely and my man and I dropped down to Certaldo for the market (mercato) on the Saturday morning.  I like to shop from the smaller stall holders who are selling the fruit and veg grown in their own garden or orto.  It all looked wonderfully fresh after the rain and it was a joy to be there in the cooler air and amongst the jolly shoppers of Certaldo.  I also bought some delicious cheeses, both sheep and goat’s cheese, again local products.  I don’t get to the market often enough and must get back to going every Saturday morning.  Not long before all the Christmas stuff will be about and Certaldo comes into it’s own at this time of year.  Exciting isn’t it!

71530727_1399845073499182_5815258218384850944_nAnd on the subject of Italian cheeses, you may be surprised to know that the country produces an awful lot more than Parmesan!  The Gran Reserve Leonardi has just won gold in the A1 World Cheese Awards, and it’s a Gorgonzola!  Just look at this massive range of cheeses made in Italy, don’t they make you salivate?  I adore cheese and I always get in a big choice at Christmas time.  Must have some for lunch!

71783322_2988290284517508_577776249246580736_o.jpgMeanwhile, I read that Andrea Bocelli has launched a new album.  (Foto from his Facebook page.)  Now, as well as books, it’s rather nice to buy albums for Christmas and this latest one sounds wonderful. Last Christmas we treated ourselves to a new record player, so all our old albums can be played again!  Andrea’s album includes wonderful duets with Ellie Goulding and Jennifer Garner amongst other guest performers.  It is called ‘Si Forever’ and can be bought or streamed Here

Sophia and 75289046_1447485298735159_2866407838446518272_nThe other thing I really love at Christmas time is old Italian films.  Some of the comedies are really brilliant and what with so many Italian actor icons dying off, it’s good to keep these films on the shelf.  Sophia, bless her, is still very much alive, but so many of her co-stars like Marcello Mastroianni, are not.  What a formidable acting team those two made!  By now you have probably worked out that I am a horder of books, records and DVD’s.  No I am not digital, well maybe a little bit.  I am a little sad that buying gifts like diaries, calendars, CD’s and watches are just not of interest to the younger lot, as everything is digital now!  Yes, my thoughts have gone all festive already.  It was not my intention to start talking about Christmas, but it is only six weeks or so away!  Foto from Facebook.

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleNow I’m going to mention my books as we are on a Festive roll at the moment.  I really want to encourage you to buy real books this christmas.  If any of you buy my current trilogy, My Father, The Assassin, The Bolivian Connection & The Italian Connection between now and Christmas and in paperback form, I will be delighted to send you a signed copy of my short story The Man in Black.  Just email me a copy of your receipt and your postal address.  june.finnigan@virgin.net.  Visit my website for easy access to on-line purchasing.  My site

Well, enough for now, must get on with the day job.  Have a great week.

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

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

2017-12-28 16.41.41Sunday morning and it’s a little scary here in our normally sunny spot in Chianti.  The wind is picking up and the shutters have started banging; yes, there is a storm coming.  The forecast is for serious storms in both the north and south of Italy; we are not expected to be hit so badly, but I think we will tuck in for the day.  I’ll make us some comfort food like pear crumble.  Yes, I know, how English, but to be honest we mostly go out to eat Italian and I tend to keep to recipes I have known for years.  I am not a creative cook, I’d prefer to employ one, but that would be very lazy indeed and my man actually likes my cooking, bless him.  biglietti-concerto-bryan-adams-ex560x350

Anyway, you want to hear about the Music scene, don’t you!  There is always a lot going on this time of year, with indoor concerts of course.  It’s a tad too cold for outside gigs and the chance of rain is high in November.   In the coming two to three weeks Bryan Adams will be in Bologna & Milan, Rickie lee Jones will be in Lucca (just an hour from us) Milan & Rome and Ian Anderson, he of Jethro Tull fame, is in Florence on 5th November. Now for those of you who have not heard of the American Rickie Lee Jones, I should tell you that she is a hugely talented singer, musician and actress.  She has a real bluesy voice and great to listen to as well as to see on stage.  Listen to her yourself on YouTube  Virtually all visiting musicians get a full house in Italy as the Italians just love American and English music.  And, if you are an aging rocker like me, you’ll be even more popular!  So, if any musicians are reading this and you have not yet toured in Italy, you really should!  Foto Shine a Light Tour Image.

2019-10-26 08.45.36Meanwhile, back in the relative calm of La Dispensa, our local coffee bar and alimentare in Fiano, my man and I are enjoying our coffee and reading the local and national newspapers.  “ha, ha, just look at this picture!”  My man passes his paper to me and there is a picture of Niccolo Machiavelli by Antonio Maria Crespi.  Just look at that profile!  There, almost four hundred years ago, was the original Mr Bean, or should I say Rowan Atkinson.  There is also a family in Montespertoli that resembles Mr Bean, particularly the daughter, bless her cotton socks.  Perhaps they are descendants of the great Machiavelli?

2019-11-02 08.55.49But lets move on and enjoy a bit more Italian Fashion.  I spotted this perfect Autumn outfit yesterday.  Personally I would wear flat boots with this, but on this model the whole outfit looks great.  I have checked out the website for The Flexx and have to say it’s worth visiting.  They are actually makers of women’s foot fashion with a factory in Pisa and shops in Pistoia and Florence; so very local!   I found some gorgeous flat boots, moccasins and pumps.  Oh, no, I also found some handbags!  Take a look.

So, it’s late morning on Sunday and I must get my head around lunch.  The sky is now very grey and threatening so I will go and make that crumble.  I’ll come back and finish this blog a little later; don’t go away!

I’m back and the storm seems to have abated thank goodness.  Feeling a little sorry for the England Rugby Team going home with their tails between their legs.  But, so very disappointing.

Never mind, lets look forward to a good week.  Life eeez good, life eeez now!

Salute June x

Ps Visit my website at My site

 

 

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

TELEMMGLPICT000213558850_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqN_gmPEf4gh9KGKN0H_DnHzvQzZCz4snK584jwNUNHokBefore I start, I must apologise.  I have spent most of the weekend watching the Rugby World Cup, instead of writing to you.  So I trust you can forgive me for making this blog a little shorter than usual as it is already lunchtime on Sunday!  What a great match yesterday, England played incredibly well, the poor All Blacks couldn’t even get a look in.  So today’s match  between Wales and South Africa was rather an anti-climax.  Anyway, now we know that the final next weekend will be England vs South Africa.  Make sure you diary date to watch it!  Foto UK Telegraph

Ooops, sorry, just realised that I have been waxing lyrical about Rugby and you have tuned in to read about Tuscany.   To make up for this I am posting some gorgeous fotos of the autumn colour that currently surrounds us and hope that you can enjoy it as much as we are.  The vineyards develop lines of colour due to the planting of different grape varieties in one field.  This results in the gorgeous range of colours including yellow, gold, bronze and red.  Driving through the hills this morning we were able to enjoy some autumn canvases that are difficult to photograph and need to be seen here to really appreciate.  Sorry about that. But here are some lovely shots.

 

 

2019-10-21 10.57.41I must also mention that the local farmers are very busy with the olive harvest and brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees.  The harvest started over a week ago, and whilst this year may be a little less productive due to the nasty fly again, the oil should be very nice indeed.  We also have some lovely productive pomegranate bushes.  I’m never quite sure how best to use the fruits, but I I’m sure you will come up with some ideas.  Drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net or leave a message below.  

2019-10-27 13.24.32Well, must dash off to lunch, but will add a little more to this blog when I return.  OK, I’m back and ready to tidy this blog and get it off to you.  But before I go I thought you might like to enjoy this bottle of Sticciano’s Cantastorie Rosso with me, which my man and I had with lunch at C’era una Volta Ristorante.  Ooops sorry, we finished it off.  Oh well, perhaps next time!

Have a great week and do visit my website at My Site

Salute June x

 

All Fotos, unless otherwise marked, J Finnigan.

 

 

 

 

 

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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,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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