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

2019-03-31 13.00.14Sunshine, smiling happy locals in Fiano and the smell of cut grass.  Yes, the joys of Spring and the first of April, what a wonderful morning to start the day here in our little bit of Chianti.  Even the Poison Dwarf stopped me to wish me a ‘buona giornata’; she usually glares at me!

2019-03-31 13.03.31And, in the garden, what a wonderful weekend!  All the wintering pots came out of the cantina.  They needed some TLC and thankfully we only lost two plants.  The sun was hot yesterday, so much so that I eventually gave in and wore a hat as I tidied and pruned all the plants on the garden table.  Still lots to do and we will be down to the market in Certaldo next Saturday to buy more plants.  Really looking forward to that!

2019-04-01 09.52.00Meanwhile, back at La Dispensa, our local shop and bar in Fiano, I found a newspaper article about a female politician who has given up politics in favour of being an entertainer.  Yes, I know.  Well, I think the lovely Nunzia De Girolamo does have a certain something, but I’m not too sure about the outfit.  The former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has taken to the stage.  She is a forty-three year old lawyer, but it just goes to show that ‘you can do anything, if you want to’!  So, perhaps Theresa May should think about this as a new career.  Theresa, if you are reading this and would like an introduction to Nunzia, do let me know.  PS Song lyrics above from Thin Lizzy’s ‘Do anything you want to,’  which I will be performing at my next concert in June.  Theresa, if you would like an invite email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

2019-03-31 09.20.28Now here’s something to make you smile.  An Italian handbag so beautiful it is being promoted by the stunning Penelope Cruz.  Yet another excuse to visit Carpisa in Florence.  Nothing else needs saying.

Now where was I?  Oh, yes.  I have been very conscious of all the 70+ actors and musicians popping their clogs of late, so I was pleased to read about one of my favourite actors who is celebrating his 80th.  The gorgeous Terence Hill has always been a heart-throb of mine, having many years ago adopted Italy as his place to be, starring in films for both the big screen and TV.

2019-03-29 08.51.58You may have come across his ongoing TV series Don Matteo, where he plays a priest, who is friends with the hapless Carabiniere, in a remote Italian hill town.  He goes about cycling madly from a. to b. on his bicycle, cassock flying and black beret hairgripped on, solving crimes and rescuing the helpless.  I love the series, you can get it on DVD or stream it!  Don Matteo

Anyway, I’m a little late with this blog so best get it off to you smartish.

Have a great week and do visit my website.  Am planning a visit to the West Country, UK in May, let me know if you want to meet up!  My site and contact details

Salute June x

PS Wishing Mick jagger good health and a happy return to the stage.

Fotos La Repubblica & J Finnigan

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

O Dio!  My worst nightmare has arrived in the shape of a bright orange plastic fence, which is being erected around the barn by builders who are about to convert it!  The fence is just about the worst eyesore you could imagine in these sweet hills, dolce colline.   But hey ho, I must get my head down and write to you.

I was interested to read the other day that Italy has been voted the safest country in the world to live in!  Well, I am pleased to hear this and may it last.  I have no idea who were canvassed to come up with this surprising result; the Mafia has obviously been a little quiet of late!

2019-03-25 08.25.21Anyway, to move on, in the same paper was this foto of some gorgeous jewelry and a handbag. Sodini  If the rest of the world is falling apart, we can always concentrate on beautiful hand crafted Italian bags, shoes, frocks and jewelry.  This does not mean that I and many others here in Tuscany are ignoring the things happening worldwide, but for peace of mind it’s important to find time to take pleasure from beautiful things and people we love.

2019-03-25 08.17.46And on the subject of love, apart from food, the Italians adore football, calcio.  After Italy’s sad failure in the Rugby Six Nations, their national football team is doing well in the European Cup!  Bravo to them.  Calcio is what the Italians breath; the sports pages in the caffè bar are the most sought after for football results.

2019-03-24 09.08.39As regards Italian newspapers, I particularly like La Repubblica.  Yes, OK, it is a little to the right and there is still a strong communist following here, but it features a lot of the things I am interested in.  Saturday is for listings of all the latest published books, in Italian of course.  Last weekend there was a superb article about children and books and today one about encouraging board games.  A friend in Fiano suggested  that I get my books translated to Italian and he would arrange for a grand book signing event in the village.  The problem is, costing at least 3,000 euros a book, I’m not sure it will be worth it!  I would need to sell around 600 copies of each book to come out even…..What do you think?

2019-03-23 09.27.13And what about the arrival of the Chinese President Xi Jinping!  At least he left the Red Army behind, you know what I mean don’t you…..  No, it seems that the Silk Road is the thing he is bringing and the hope that Italy will benefit from substantial investment and trade deals.  I have to say that there are masses of Chinese tourists here every year, so the country already benefits.  Mind you, there are also a few Chinese vineyards in the area…!  PS I couldn’t help but notice his first lady Peng Liyuan has great styling, probably influenced by Italian designers.

2019-03-23 09.11.47Then I turned the page to find another brilliant piece of street art by Tvboy, which depicts the Prime Minister Conte as Pinocchio, you know the puppet whose nose kept growing every time he told a lie, and the two Deputies Di Maio & Salvini as a cat and a wolf!  Don’t you just love it!

Well enough of that, time to get this blog off to you and get back to my music.

Do get in touch 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,

2019-03-13 14.16.07Now for all you lovely people who have never seen or eaten Wild Tuscan Asparagus, I thought I should take a foto before I madly start eating the stuff again!  I love it!  I spoke about it last week, so I won’t go on about it too much.  But anyway, if you are in Tuscany and want to go on a hunt, this is what it looks like!  Foto J Finnigan.

2019-03-13 09.10.07One of my other loves is of course Rock Music and these hills are full of great musicians, artists and other artisans.  But what about this, a music studio in a restored fattoria in the Tuscan countryside!  It’s a dream come true!  It is owned and run by the American record producer Rick Rubin, who apparently costs a fortune to work with.  His clients have included many top recording artists, some loved him, some didn’t.  But anyway, his taste in locations cannot be faulted and if one is going to work in a music studio and can afford the fees…….!

2019-03-14 09.58.19One such artist who might consider this is the hugely popular Claudio Baglioni, who is currently on a massive Italian tour, performing with hardly a break, right up until the end of April!  The Italians love this home-grown artist who is celebrating 50 years in pop/rock music!

Meanwhile, back in Fiano over coffee, I read an article about Montalbano.  It is not surprising to hear that his TV episodes, books and other media outlets have exported 150% more than any other fictional series in Italy.

2019-03-13 09.03.29(A very unhappy film maker friend of my man, turned down the rights to this series before it went live!)  I, for one, have read all the books, watched all the TV series including Young Montalbano and can’t wait to read or view more.  The series has even been inspirational for my book The Italian Connection. 

matteo-bocelliNow, what else?  Oh yes, very important.  A friend of mine who loves the Hunk of the Month series, nominated the gorgeous son of Andrea Boccelli.  Have you seen him performing with his dad?  Well you really should get hold of their recording release, Fall on Me, it’s absolutely beautiful. You Tube  And here is a picture of Matteo; they say that Italy has some of the best looking men in the world, what do you think? Foto official website.

OK, time to get back to the day job.  Am a little late with this blog, sorry about that, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, visit my website for all my contact details My Site

Salute June.

Fotos – all newspaper articles with fotos are extracted from La Reppublica.

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

imagesIt’s a shame really.  Italy’s Rugby team are getting a little better at the game every year, but a little is not enough.  As English fans living in Italy, my man and I support both England and Italy and our hopes of victory in the Six Nations, still lie shakily with England.  But to watch England pulverise Italy with a win of 57 – 14, was rather sad.  Great that England have those extra points, but we would love to have seen the Italians put up a better fight.  Hey ho, next time I guess.  Image from the Guardian.

2019-03-10 10.11.40Anyway, on a much lighter note and what with all the fashion parades going on, I did spot this rather lovely outfit in La Repubblica.  But, as I was about to take this foto at La Dispensa this morning, I was approached by a very sweet local Signora who loves to talk about her one and only visit to London a quarter of a century ago.  So, I’m trying to take the foto for you, and she is pulling up a chair and kissing me on the cheek.  She is about four-foot-ten so she did not think much of the outfit I was photographing.  Anyway, I listened for at least ten minutes and understood about eighty percent, which is a way of helping with my language skills I guess.  Eventually, she must have seen my eyes glass over, as she  finally stood and went about her shopping.  Bless her.  Anyway, I finally got the foto!

2019-03-09 09.51.52Where was I?  Ah, Sock Shoes.  Now these seem to be the latest thing here in Italy.  They look very comfortable, but methinks you need slim ankles or long legs and preferably both to set them off.  But then I also feel the same way about the fad for trainers with everything.  If you are short or dumpy, they are so unflattering!  What do you think?

2019-03-09 09.49.40Back out there in the world of politics, which I have not talked about recently due to the confusing nature of everything, we are about to have the European elections.  Now my man and I are allowed to vote, but what or whom do we vote for?  Look at these two Joint Deputy Prime Ministers that make up the head of the coalition government.  They are like a couple of cry baby siblings, with completely opposing views, no wonder things are all over the place!  Listening to the rumblings over coffee at Fiano, there is a big desire to return to the Lira, which to me also smacks of wanting out of Europe.  At least by watching the way the Brits are cocking things up, there will be a lesson learnt on how not to do it!  Watch this space.

2019-03-10 10.10.42But enough of that, I saw this interview in the paper and whilst you may not recall her name, Giovanna Ralli, you will remember her beautiful face.  This Italian actress was hugely popular in the 60’s and at the age of eighty-four, still looks stunning.  There have been many Italian actresses who graced the cinematic screens over the years, more than you may realise.  Giovanna made her first film in 1942 at the age of seven and her last one in 2013.  She was nominated for numerous awards and was awarded the Golden Globe for her career in 1975.  Recently asked if she would be making any more films she retorted I’m eighty, why not?

2019-03-07 09.46.01And, here is another thing of beauty and made in Italy, the new Ferrari F8!  But what’s this, I here you say, they’ve painted it blue!  Now I always thought Ferrari were traditionally red, but my man who knows about these things, says not.  Anyway, methinks that whilst I need a new car it is too low slung for our dirt track roads, so perhaps not.

OK, time to get on with the day job, am a little late in posting this blog, sorry about that.

Have a great week and do contact me if you want a Rock Concert invite for June 21 here in Tuscany.  Email june.finnigan@virgin.net  Visit my website at my site

Salute June x

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all My Lovely followers around The World,

2019-03-03-10.11.50Yes, Spring has sprung early this year, hopefully we won’t get another nasty cold snap and kill things off. Bees have been buzzing for the last couple of weeks and I learnt recently that they take nectar from dandelions if there is nothing else available, so don’t dead head those weeds yet! Other insects are appearing as are small creatures like lizards, which is a little worrying as animals are starting to come out of hibernation a tad too early. Our resident Viper will no doubt appear soon; she had a big nest of swirling babys last spring. Our resident pheasant Phil, is sending out mating calls from various perches around the garden so we look forward to seeing one or more hens arriving.

2019-02-28-14.35.06This is also the time of year for finding Wild Asparagus. These are not the big thick stems you find in the supermarkets, oh no. They are lovely thin stems often missed growing amongst grasses that resemble them and under brambles. Well, you know me, I let other people hunt them down and then I buy and cook them. I was delighted to find a big fat bunch in a pot of water, just waiting to be grabbed by me at La dispensa in Fiano. There was enough for me to eat them three days running. Now, most of you know I am not the greatest of cooks; I like to do things the easy way. I snapped off the tough bits, then steamed for about five minutes, dropped them on to some baking paper, drizzled with olive oil, topped with pecorino cheese & pine nuts and baked in a hot oven until the cheese had browned. And, hey presto! I know you are out there clapping, which I appreciate.  I just hope my friend and neighbour the celebrity cook Judy Witts Francini isn’t reading this, she would probably hold her hands up in horror.  A local signora told me I should make risotto with them, but that’s too much like hard work.  PS you should go to Judy’s site and buy her wonderful Tuscan cook book!

2019-02-21-10.08.00Today is Sunday and the forecast is for temperatures up to 17 degrees centigrade! Well, I braved it this morning, popped on some thin tights and flats, so glad to have my feet out of boots. Meanwhile, I have been thinking about spring jackets and coats. Why is it that on every change of season, I find myself with nothing to wear? My man is horrified when I say this, he says I have a wardrobe full of stuff, how can I have nothing to wear? But you girls understand, don’t you? Then I saw this rather lovely coat in a magazine at Sandra’s hairdressers, perfect for the cool to warm weather, what do you think? I love it. And, the bag too!  But I could only find the bag on the website, which is a rather nice one, website that is, so I will have to do a bit more research!  Ah, I’ve found it in the Sale section!  The site is obviously still work in progress, so not brilliant to negotiate.  But the clothes are really gorgeous!

2019-02-26 18.21.30OK, enough of my fashion indulgences and time to go off for lunch at my daughter’s home between San Gimignano and Volterra.  Meanwhile, here is another sunset picture; it’s the time of year for fabulous skies every night.  Enjoy.

And, don’t ever say that I never indulge the man I love.  I do not eat or cook with eggs, but for him I am persuaded to cook pancakes on 5th March as it’s pancake day and he misses them more than words can say.  Bless him.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Visit my website at my site and email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net if you have not already received an invite to my Tuscan Rock Concert in June.

Salute June x

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Welcome and benvenuti to all my followers around the world,

Busy, busy, that’s the best description for the music scene here in Tuscany!

The ‘We will Rock you’ musical by Queen and Ben Elton is currently showing at Teatro Verdi in Florence, fabulous music of course and as a Musical, really entertaining.  It’s a great time of year to be in this atmospheric city for concerts and theatre.  You can get a last-minute ticket for tonight (Sunday) at Italian Ticket Office

Sup-dawg_2Just a short distance away and closer to us, Dominic Miller’s concert tour hit Empoli last night.  Now Dominic has been around for years, a lesser known but brilliant guitarist who is best known for supporting Sting (our neighbour) on many world tours.  I have only just spotted this in the paper, so too late for me to go, I am a little annoyed with ‘Bands in Town’ who are supposed to notify me of these events!  But anyway, look out for Dominic’s new album being released on the 1st March called ‘Absinthe’.  Visit dominic miller he has a fascinating history.

5172And what else is happening in Tuscany? I hear you ask.  Well, whilst enjoying coffee in Fiano this morning, I discovered an article about The Orient Express.  Now I never travelled on this rather intoxicating sounding train, I would have loved to mind.  But this reminded me of a much more local steam train excursion which takes you through gorgeous Tuscan countryside stopping at towns and villages along the way.  You can take a whole day out just indulging in the ride and stopping for events, festas and wine tastings.  The train company is based in Siena and is called Terra di Siena Treno Natura and runs between March and October.  OK, I have persuaded myself that I will book a trip this year!  Why don’t you come with me?

2019-02-21 08.44.20#1Also in the newspaper, as in most papers around the world, it was addio to that unique fashion designer and celebrity, Karl Lagerfield.  As you know, I follow Italian fashion closely, and whilst Karl was based in Paris and associated with Chanel, since the sixties he worked closely with Fendi and became a director of the company, which is based in Rome.  Fendi dedicated it’s show in Milan last week to the great man.  Well I had best get my orange handbag out again as it is obviously back in vogue!

2019-02-23 09.39.01And staying with the subject of fashion I couldn’t help but fall in love with another Luisa Spagnoli outfit.  Clothes should be striking and for me feminine.  I have been in business all my life and historically wore smart skirt suits, with understated jewelry and a subtle flash of colourful silk scarf.  These days I like to be less formal but with a touch of sophistication.  It’s perfectly possible to dress Italian with a girlish edge and still go to business meetings.  Good clothes can help one ooze confidence, try it, get noticed, boost your ego!  Oh and wear your hair loose!

Meanwhile the sun is shining on our little bit of Chianti, but the biting wind has us scurrying inside and lighting the log fire.  February is always an unpredictable month but the promise of spring is on the budding ash tree and the first daffodils are appearing in nooks and crannies.

Well, we are going out for lunch at today and we’ll decide where once we get in the car.  It’s very easy to fall into the habit of going to the same place every week.  If the people, the ambience and the food all tick the right boxes, it’s tempting not to go any further than one’s local ristorante.  February is also a little limited as many restaurants only open in the evenings out of season.  Roll on April!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Send me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net if you want to be added to my Rock Concert invitation list.  The next date is June 21 2019 in Tuscany and personal invites will go out the first week in March!

Salute June x

Here is my website

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

Yes I’m back and busy catching up on the news and events in our little bit of Chianti and beyond.

2019-02-08 08.52.41In February, It is possible to fill one’s diary with events, particularly Art Exhibitions.  I love galleries, they have a sense of calm away from the madding crowds, unless you go on the opening day, which I avoid.  Whilst drinking my morning coffee in Fiano and reading La Republica, I noticed an article about finding Italy, that is historically, in Art form.  Just look at these fabulous pictures by Italian greats that include Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Francesco Hayez and Federico Zandomeneghi painted between the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  They really bring the era alive.  This Grand Exhibition is open now through to June.  Visit The Website

2019-02-06 09.13.41Then I saw another article and a completely different medium; the modern work of Maurizio Monti.  What draws me to his paintings is the intense colour and the combining of the beauty found in the female form and flower petals.  A sort of fairy like fantasy that reminds me of book illustrations done in the 1930’s.  His exhibition is at Florence Art Gallery now until 23rd February.  Do try and go!

2019-02-05 09.20.13Meanwhile, this past week has been all about the Sanremo Music Festival.  Yes, it happens every February, a ‘so very Italian’ music contest to find the best singer of the year.  You either love it or hate it.  However, this year it was co-hosted by Claudio Baglioni who is celebrating 50 years crooning at the microphone.  I have to say, he has aged rather well, despite the white hair he is looking and sounding rather good.  If you hang on a minute, I’ll pop onto his website to get you some more info.  OK, I’m back.  Now to be honest, whilst he is hugely popular here in Italy, his music is not quite up my street.  Despite that, I think we can award him the longevity medal and nominate him aging Italian Hunk of the Month!  Google Sanremo 2019.

Now what’s this?  Veganism seems to be taking over the world including The Vatican.  Mind you, my Italian translations are not always perfect but I am sure I just read that The Pope has been offered money if he makes Lent Vegan!  Well who am I to comment on this?  I am almost a vegan, other than my love of cheese (sorry).  This has something to do with Paul McCartney and other celebrities.  When I find out more, I’ll let you know……

2019-02-06 18.13.52Anyway, this time of year in Tuscany is great for sunsets.  Also the air is cold, but clean and fresh.  And, when the sun shines it’s possible to sit outside in direct sunshine, as long as you are in a sheltered spot protected from the wind.  So life eeez good, life eeez now!  Foto J Finnigan

Am currently working hard on my fourth novel ‘Assassin’s List,’ which continues the Adventures of Joanna Wilde.  Do let me know if you spent any time in Havana during the mid-1990’s, I would love to talk to you about it.

But, for now, it’s time to conjure up some Sunday Lunch.  My man needs some comfort food.

Do get in touch, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

My website

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