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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

Here in our little bit of Tuscany, we are once again horrified at the latest news from London and our love and support goes out to all our family, friends and colleagues in that hard-working and glorious city.

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The view from here, parched fields and garden.  Foto J Finnigan

Back once again in Tuscany, the first week in June looks and feels a lot like August.  No rain for weeks has resulted in bleached fields and gardens, and masses of dust flying up behind vehicles along the strade bianche (white roads) that are actually gravelly dirt tracks.  However, this was good news for La Mostra di Chianti (Wine Exhibition/Fair) in Montespertoli.  It was the first dry week in years; it is normally rained out!  Some rain is forecast tomorrow, but who really knows?

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Mini Rock Festival at Ristorante Quinoa.  La Repubblica

Meanwhile, in our local village of Fiano we enjoy coffee at La Dispensa, and read the papers.  I see that a Mini Rock Festival celebrating the ‘Grande Icons di Rock’ will be staged at the Quinoa Restaurant in Florence.  This is a double whammy for me as the restuarant is Gluten Free too!  The Festival, in the restuarant’s ‘ZAP’ space, will have exhibitions and live music from today through to 7 September. Visit Website

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50 years of Sgt Pepper.  La Repubblica

To coincide with this, there was also a big write-up about the 50 year anniversary of the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonly Hearts Club Band.  The Italians, or at least the journalists, really keep up with what is happening in the music world!  I love it!

Stefano on lead (2)

Stefano Bartalesi Foto P Finnigan

And, continuing on the same theme, The Rock Chick band had its first rehearsal yesterday and its lead singer, yours truly, got the date wrong and my fabulous lead guitarist and ‘boss,’ Stefano Bartalesi, had to ring me up!  We have a great new line-up this year and I am really pleased to welcome back our original rythmn guitarist from 2011, Riccardo Bagnoli, who has been with the professional circuit for the last six years, so we are very lucky to have him.  We also have  English bassist and good friend Charlie Lucas and a great charismatic drummer, Filippo Colca.  Yesterday, over lunch, I expressed some concern to my man about some of the dubious characters that came last year, you know the pot smoking Glastifarian types?  My man responded “Well that rules out the Band then!”  “Very ha ha.” I groaned.  One person has asked to bring a tent this year; things are hotting up!  Email me at email  if you would like an invite to our Tuscan concert on 24 June.

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Fresh fruit and Buffalo Mozzarelli at my desk.  Foto J Finnigan

Oh, what’s that you said, yes I know I have been talking a lot about Rock Music, but you should know that I do also work very hard at my desk during the day, so much so that I even have working breakfasts!

Anyway, may I wish all you lovely people a safe and happy week.  Hopefully with the election out-of-the-way, the UK will become a little calmer.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at My site

 

 

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Foto Finnigan

 

 

 

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

The Statue of David in Florence.  La Reppubblica

The Statue of David in Florence this week.  La Repubblica.

Now, as you know, I always try to bring you fun and interesting news from Tuscany, however, just occasionally I need to talk about rather more serious matters.  The people of Italy, like everyone else with warm beating hearts, were devastated by the news from Manchester.  And the loss of so many children; so very difficult to comprehend.  In Piazza Della Donna in Florence, the Florentines woke to find the Statue of David wearing a black armband and holding the Union Flag.  Whoever did this, thank you for the show of solidarity.  The Italians, in small and large communities alike, evolve everything around their children.  I have had a number of people in our local village expressing their condolences, bless them.

 

The President and the Pope

The President and The Pope.  La Reppublica.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States has visited The Pope.  He and his family wore the traditional black and the women covered their heads in lace.   Apparently, the two men made their peace and for once we saw Donald smiling into the camera.   However, Pope Francis was grimacing, which is most unusual for our very popular Papa.

 

Dante in Pisa

Dante in Pisa. La Repubblica

On a lighter note, Pisa is currently celebrating Dante Alighieri, Il Sommo Poeta, and Fabrizio Gifuni will this evening (Sunday) be reading a selection of Dante’s works from Il Torre di Pisa (The Tower of Pisa) overlooking the Piazza del Miracoli.  This will no doubt be a very atmospheric evening, and the reading starts at ten o’clock.  Have you ever read Dante’s Inferno?  I am thinking that I must have read it at school, I do remember it being described as ‘The Divine Comedy’.  Amazing to think that his works are still celebrated seven hundred years after his death!  Of course, here in Tuscany, he remains hugely popular as he was born in Florence.  I have just read up a little more about him.  He fell in love with a girl who married someone else, so his one and only love, was unrequited.  How sad.  Well, I guess I have better read his works again, as it will come up fresh after all those years since I left the Grammar School.

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Addio Roger.  La Repubblica

Another bit of sadness was the death of Roger Moore.  He is, of course, mostly remembered for his Bond roles.  however, I really liked a TV series called The Saint back in the sixties.  The Italians love the Bond films and there was a big write-up in the newspaper saying ‘Addio to Roger’.

 

Well, here in Tuscany, it’s yet another beautiful day.  We bought four lavender yesterday to plant in a little bare patch, so more lovely perfumes to mingle with the Jasmin.  But Oh, not to forget, I must mention our new resident.  He or she is a large Viper and seems to be living under the path in the lower part of our garden.  My man, being an ex-commando, is very gung-ho about it and says just to make a noise as you near the spot, and it will run away.  Well, slide, should I say.  Well, it may run away from his big noisy feet, but I came face to face with it and it coiled into attack mode and hissed at me.  I just kept slowly walking down to the Cantina with my heart in my mouth!  I ain’t going that way again, thank you!

Well, enough of that.  We have just returned from lunch at C’era Una Volta website where I tasted tagliatelle with sun-dried tomato pesto and smoked ricotta cheese.  Phew, it was Picante!   It was delicious but I had to leave some, much to my disappointment!

So, here’s wishing you all a very good week, free of bad happenings.

Salute June x

PS Do visit my author site at My site

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European Nightjar

The Nightjar dozing during the day.

“So why is a Nightjar still calling out when the sun is already up?  Do you think they are on shifts?”  My man asks as he sips his fresh orange juice.  “Well, anything is possible, why not?”  I smile and open my Kindle for a ten-minute read of ‘Contract to Kill’ by Andrew Peterson.  We have been sleeping with the window open and enjoying the Tuscan fresh air, whilst the Nightjar and the crickets trill their way through the nocturnal hours.  I have yet to see a Nightjar, but they are very shy and their camouflage is incredible.  They can settle down on a branch and sleep all day, right under your nose, and you would never know they were there!  But then you bright sparks probably already know that!

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The Obama’s in Tuscany. Photo La Repubblica

So, it is Sunday morning and La Dispensa, our local caffe bar/alimentare in Fiano, is full of locals, buying their Sunday joints and generally passing the time of day.  We grab the newspapers, before someone else does, and take up our usual position at the long wooden table.  Well, so now we have the Obamas here on vacation, it says in La Repubblica and apparently, they love Tuscany.  Who wouldn’t, I say.  I notice that they are staying near Siena and there is some mention of Bibbiano Wine, which is our current favourite.

Beautiful art by Olga Niescier at Certaldo Alto. Photo J Finnigan

On the subject of wine, last Friday evening we went to Certaldo Alto, the old town up on the hill.  (The cover of my latest book features a silhouette of the town against the backdrop of a stunning sunset which, by the way, I took myself.)  We were there to visit an exhibition of paintings and works by Olga Niescier & Andrei Reggi and to indulge in a little wine tasting.  The artworks were fantastic but sadly, the event itself was rather confusing.  www.vitalitart.it  Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves and then whizzed off to C’era Una Volta in Lucardo for cena.  This time of year there are a lot of events going on, particularly wine tastings.  The American tourists love them.  They arrive by the planeload into Roma and get bussed up to Chianti.

The view from here with two newly planted Jasmine. Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in our own little bit of Chianti, it is the time of year for the rattle of old tractors trundling up and down between the vines and the sound of strimmers clearing the ground around the olive trees.  We bought a load more plants on Saturday morning and now have bright colours in the garden pots and a couple of climbing Jasmine to cover a bit of fencing.  The evenings are perfect for sitting outside for aperitivi, with a nice feeling of satisfaction having done the outside work.  If you are coming this way, there are a few mosquitos arriving, so be prepared.  But we don’t care about that, life eeeeze good, life eeeeze now!

The Rock Chick Band – 2016

Well, doesn’t time fly!  Only five weeks to our next Rock Chick Band concert and I must get on with those daily voice exercises.  We’ve got a few new songs in the repertoire this year and are being joined by an English bass guitarist, which will be fun.  As I always mention, if you are in Tuscany on the 24th June and would like a personal invite, drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net

OK, time to organise those aperitivi and relax with the Tuscan sunset.  Have a great week and do get in touch.  I love to hear from you.

Salute June x  PS Visit my author site at My author site

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

This morning will be noted in my diary as the first real day of early summer.  Why, because finally, it was warm enough to wear flip-flops to our local village of Fiano for coffee!  This gave me a huge lift.  The only sad thing is that my favourite biker jacket may have to be put in mothballs until the Autumn.  But it’s still a strange time of year, here in Tuscany, the clouds can suddenly come over and it changes from hot sunshine to a cool breeze.  As a rock chick, I’m never quite sure what to wear, particularly as one needs to keep that ‘famous in Fiano’ image going.

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Mick soon to be rocking in Tuscany.  La Repubblica.

The most exciting news of the week was the announcement in the papers that The Rolling Stones will be in Lucca, which is just north of Pisa, in September.  Tickets went on sale yesterday on-line, and were sold out in two hours!  My good friend Flavio, who loves rock concerts including my own, told me that the Piazza Arena in Lucca only holds twenty thousand and a Stones tour generally needs space for more than twice that number!  So it was not surprising that it was a sell out so quickly.

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My delicious breakfast.  Photo J Finnigan.

Anyway, back to the relative calm of our lovely old monastery farmhouse, where my man and I are enjoying big bowls of fresh fruit salad for breakfast.  The markets are full of summer fruits including strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwis and the last of the pears.  This also makes me feel so much happier, as we shed the need for hot meals and start thinking about salads.

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Gluten free school lunch. Il Nazione.

On the subject of food, my man spotted an article in the paper.  “Look at this!  Would you believe it, it’s International Coeliac Week and the schools are going to be serving up gluten-free meals on Tuesday and Thursday!”  He said, looking very serious.  Now I was surprised to hear this, I had not heard about it in previous years.  I have to eat gluten-free and I was aware that there is a very high percentage of Coeliacs in Italy.  So, this is a step in the right direction, although non-coeliacs are warned not to take up a gluten-free diet unless they are advised to do so by their doctors.  Fortunately, wine is gluten-free.  Praise the gods!

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Looking east at the sunset’s reflection. Photo J Finnigan.

Meanwhile, we are having some wonderful sunsets here and I thought you might like to see the effect of the sunset looking east from our home across the hills.  The dramatic contrast of orange against the green of the olive trees and vines is really dramatic.

 

And finally, on the subject of summer again, it’s not just time to put away the winter clothes, but also to bring out one’s summery handbags and sandals.  I have just changed my bag from orange to cream, another lift to one’s psyche.  And, of course, we are now enjoying lunchtime and evening aperitivi in the garden.  So far, we have not had an invasion of mosquitos (zanzari), so life is pretty idyllic.  I did just touch wood, can’t have the little devils waking up now, can we?

Well, enough of that.  I’ll finish this blog off when we get back from lunch at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  OK, I’m back, had a great lunch and another delicious bottle of Bibbiano.  I’ve had a siesta and now feel refreshed enough to finish this blog and get it off to you.

Here’s wishing you a good week and don’t forget to chill out in the evenings with a nice aperitivo.  Working long hours is not good for you!

Salute June x

Ps Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

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Benvenuti and Welcome to my weekly Blog from Tuscany

I returned from a week in the UK last Sunday, and I am really glad to be home in our little bit of Chianti.  It was a very exhausting time combining book events and business networking; I can now see the benefits of doing all my book marketing on-line, but it was an interesting exercise.

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My three books on sale in Fiano.  Foto J Finnigan

Of course, as an author, I am very famous in our local village of Fiano and Milko is proudly promoting all three of my books in his glass cabinet frontage at his shop in the Piazza, bless him.  After a week back home, going out for a good coffee every morning and greeting the locals, I have finally recovered from the frenetic pace of life in the cities and towns of England.  But enough of that, you have checked in to read about Tuscany, and I am more than happy to update you.

Of course, the tourist season is upon us.  Once Easter hits, everything gears up for the invasion and for us it is not unpleasant, mainly because we find ourselves people watching and offering help to hapless English-speaking tourists who are lost or confused.  Our little bit of home on the edge of Chianti is very popular with Americans, Germans, Poles, French and other northern Europeans; it is fun to try to identify nationalities by their dress code and/or language.

2017-05-07 12.02.04I must tell you that lots of Contemporary Wine and Art Events are going on around us and I should mention those run by The Vitalita Cultural Association, a number of which we will be attending.  The events include wine tasting, art exhibitions, live music and dance, in stunning locations.  So this will keep the visitors occupied when it’s raining.  Visit the English version website and event calendar

Meanwhile, back at our lovely home, I have a new baby called George.  No, not that kind of baby, it’s a new Fender acoustic guitar, which I bought back from England.  You are probably aware that I am the lead singer of The Rock Chick Band and we perform once a year at our private Concert party in June.  My lead guitarist Stefano will have to teach me to play it, so do not worry, I won’t be playing it live this year!  If you are in Tuscany on the 24th June and would like an invite, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net

2017-05-01 10.03.56So what’s been happening on the political scene?  Ah, not surprisingly, Matteo Renzi, having resigned as Prime Minister, has got himself elected back in as leader of the PD party.  Of course, he’s one of those pretty boys of politics and used to be the mayor of Florence.  The girlies love him, just like they adored Silvio Berlusconi who is eighty now, but still attracts a big following!  So Matteo could be running the country again by the end of the year!

2017-04-17 08.43.28What else, oh yes, I have to share this picture with you.  The Italian shoe designers have mastered the elegant flat shoe look and I just love these, and the handbag of course.

2017-05-05 09.19.03And finally, for now, here is ‘man and dog’ of the month.  Only Gucci can come up with such a beautiful picture.  What is your favourite fashion brand?

Do get in touch, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

 

Visit my author site at Author site

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My current romantic thrillers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auguri and Happy Easter to all my Lovely Followers

“Well, you can tell it’s the Easter weekend, there are all sorts of foreign tourists jogging past in designer running gear.”  My man sighs.  Yes, the holiday season is upon us and the atmosphere in the Chianti countryside changes completely.  As we drive along the Strada Bianca (white road, better described as very dusty gravelly dirty track) We try not to shower the unsuspecting runners with a cloud of dust, which is almost impossible.  They all end up the same colour, despite their various shades of day-glow!  But never mind, they all wave and smile, after all, they are on holiday.

Italian Easter Egg Hunt near Florence. La Repubblica

Here in Tuscany, like most other western countries, the children are off on their Easter Egg Hunts.  Il Solferino caffè bar in Certaldo this morning, rang with calls of ‘Auguri,’ which is short for ‘Best Wishes,’ a greeting used on all Festa Days.  The town was wrapped in a chilly cloud of mist and gloomy tourists traipsed around wondering why everything was closed on a festive weekend.

The new Rock Village in Florence. La Repubblica

Meanwhile, we relax over coffee with the Sunday paper and read that a Rock Village has been built to accommodate visiting rock concerts to Florence!   Ha, ha you thought I meant a village built out of rock, didn’t you!  But this is fabulous news and I love it that the Tuscans take their rock concerts so seriously, just like me of course.  In June it will host Radiohead, Aerosmith, Placebo and many more.  Also, U2 and Madonna are expected during the ‘Summer Festival of Rock’ and the organisers expect to out-do Glastonbury!  Wow!  As soon as I have more information I’ll let you know.  However, if you don’t want to have to buy expensive tickets for any of the concerts, you can always attend The Rock Chick Band’s seventh annual rock concert on the 24th June in the Chianti Hills.  If you ask nicely, I might send you a free invitation.  Email june.finnigan@virgin.net

Silvio and little Lamb. La Repubblica.

OK, what next?  Ah yes, bless him Silvio Berlusconi has been photographed cuddling and bottle feeding a lamb, which has been saved from the Easter roast.  Apparently, he, Silvio, became vegetarian last year so he definitely has my vote if he stands for parliament again.  I know, a candidate needs greater qualifications than lamb saving, but I can’t think of any politician with any.  So this has ticked one box for me.

‘English’ park bench under ‘Italian’ Ash Tree. Photo J Finnigan.

Well enough you may say, and anyway it’s time to pop down to our ‘English’ park bench, which is nicely placed under our ‘Tuscan’ Ash tree for an aperitivo before our Easter lunch.  If any restaurants are open today they will be packed.  From experience, we have learned to stay at home on Festa days.  Can’t help but feeling sorry for those tourists again when they find eighty percent of places closed and no free tables in the remaining restaurants!

So, salute, Cin Cin, Bottoms up and cheers to you all.

Amore June x

PS  I’m off to England next Sunday on a UK book tour, so may not post you a blog next weekend.  To view or buy my latest book ‘The Italian Connection’ visit any Amazon site around the world or my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My other Books.
Foto J Finnigan

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“Arrgh, I’ve broken a fingernail!” I wail.  My man is driving us towards our local village of Fiano for coffee and only a few days before I had enjoyed a manicure and had my nails painted a permanent & glorious metallic red!  The car stops.  “Do you want to go back home?”  He asked, not batting an eyelid.  He understands how important my hands, feet and hair are.  “No, no,” I groan, “but I do feel the need to lie down….”

Deep Purple on tour in Italy. La Reppublica.

We arrive in Fiano, and I have carefully removed the bit of broken nail, but keep my left hand in my pocket.  Then I am cheered to see that the papers are talking about two of my favourite bands, Deep Purple and The Patti Smith Band.  Now they are both in the ageing rocker club of course, but the Italians just love them.  Deep Purple are doing their ‘final’ tour, but they all say that then turn up a few years later on a reunion one!

The great Patti Smith on tour. La Repubblica.

Patty, who at the age of seventy-one is back here on a world tour, is just amazing.  Never one of the pretty girls of rock, but her voice makes up for it.  I have performed cover versions of her songs with my own band over the years.  I particularly love ‘Because the Night’ (belongs to lovers).  She will be here between 6th and 13th May, starting in Parma and finishing in Roma.  There are just a few tickets left for Cremona, Bologna and Rome.  Rush to http://www.viagogo.com

Charles and Camilla in Italy. La Repubblica.

Meanwhile, Charles & Camilla have been doing a grand tour of Italy, Charlie visiting earthquake sites and Camilla her grandmother’s old home in Florence.  I can honestly say that I have never seen Charlie smiling so much as he is in just about all the photos in the papers.  This is the effect this wonderful country has on everyone, of course, myself included.

The former soft orange lighting and the new white horror lights in Roma. La Repubblica.

However, down in Roma, the Romans are feeling very depressed about the new white street lighting.  The gentle orange lights that washed the city in a romantic glow have been replaced by horrible things that have turned the city into a creepy looking black and white horror movie.  People are scurrying home as if they are scared to stay long, and you can see why in the picture!

Back here in our lovely bit of Chianti, I am gearing up for a Book Promotion Tour in the South West of England.  I will be at The Oddfellows , 60 New North Road, Exeter between 5 pm & 8.30pm on the 27th April, and The Oddfellows, High Street, Exmouth between 5 pm & 8.30pm on 28th April.  I would love to see you at one of these events.

‘The Italian Connection’ is now available in paperback and E-book.  However, the official launch will be on 1st May.  If you can’t wait to read it, visit My author site or any Worldwide Amazon site of your choice.

OK, enough already.  Must get the photos uploaded and get this off to you.  Then I shall pour myself a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and go down to our lovely lower garden and sit under the ash tree.

Salute and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

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