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Posts Tagged ‘Certaldo Alto’

Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Whilst I normally try to bring you only good news and fun things, the terrible Earthquake tragedy cannot be ignored.  Thank you for all those messages from around the world and to say that yes we are fine, and lucky enough to be some way north of the terrible disaster.  The country as a whole has been, once again, in shock and yesterday was a day of mourning.  This time, we have decided to take more precautions and have put a packed survival bag just inside the front door and parked the car away from the house.  But, you know, the Italians are a resilient race and whilst an enormous amount of effort is still being put into the rescue work, everyday life continues, as continue it must.

Lovely sweet red Certaldo Onions from the market. Foto P Finnigan

Lovely sweet red Certaldo Onions from the market.
Foto P Finnigan

Yesterday, we were really pleased to find that the Saturday morning market in Certaldo was fully attended by both traders and customers.  It’s nearly the end of August so things are beginning to return to normal after the long holiday.   Everyone seemed cheerful enough and I bought some lovely sweet Certaldo Onions, which are delicious finely sliced with salads, or cooked in the oven.  Then I bought some of my favourite young Pecorino cheese, delicious served with sliced sweet melon.  And, as it is the season for peaches, plums and apricots, I bought a few bagfuls for our breakfast.  Oops, I hope I’m not sounding like a food junky, but the market stalls look so tempting this time of year!

Buratta with grilled vegetables and Certaldo onions. Foto J Finnigan

Buratta with grilled vegetables and Certaldo onions.
Foto J Finnigan

Last Friday, we met our beautiful family for lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ in Lucardo.  The grandchildren love the deep-fried polenta there.  My daughter and I enjoyed that great favourite Buratta cheese again with grilled vegetables and of course sliced Certaldo Onions.  Today my man and I are going to revisit a restaurant in Tavernelle.  We haven’t been there for years but bumped into the owner a few days ago, so I booked a table.  Fingers crossed, I’ll let you know.

Eddie Lizard on our kitchen wall. Foto P Finnigan

Eddie Lizard on our kitchen wall.
Foto P Finnigan

Back in our lovely home we had a visitor in the kitchen.  A very plump Gekko Lizard was keeping very still on the wall while we had our supper.  Then my man crept over and got a couple of fotos.  Don’t you just love those feet?  We’ve decided to call him Eddie, get it?  You remember the comedian and actor Eddie Izzard don’t you, that’s right him, so we have our own Eddie Lizard.  Well I think it’s funny.  If you have not been to Italy, you may not know that lizards are everywhere and often provide great entertainment whilst we are enjoying an aperitivo in the garden.

Well, enough of that.  Must get back to ‘The Italian Connection’ as my heroine Joanna Wilde is currently in Rome and waiting for me to write the next chapter.

Have a really good week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

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

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

 

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Benvenuto to all my Lovely Loyal and new Followers

Roberto Manetti Photo P Finnigan

Roberto Manetti
Photo P Finnigan

Now, by Friday morning I had planned out all the fun things I wanted to tell you, then I bumped into Roberto Manetti, our local world-famous sculptor.  We were both in the chemist (farmacia) in Fiano and I asked him if he had a lot of work on.  “Come and see for yourself!” he whispered, only because he speaks that way after an operation.  “Come tomorrow, I’ll meet you in the Piazza and you can follow me to my studios!”  “Well,” said my man, “Thats another morning gone!”  But I was really excited as I had never had the honour of visiting his studios before, and I had heard that he was an amazing artist.  So, Saturday we were in the Piazza at ten sharp and there he was with a big smile on his face.

Roberto's fabulous studio and exhibition centre. Photo P Finnigan

Roberto’s fabulous studio and exhibition centre.
Photo P Finnigan

We followed his big car/truck to a turning down a track only five minutes away from Fiano.  We drove over a stretch of concrete and back on to a dirt track, which was lined with terracotta pots filled with blooming shrubs, and into a small carpark fenced in natural wood.  We climbed out and breathed in the welcome smell of woodland, then down a few steps into the garden of a most amazing Art Decco type property with fabulous views.  I can honestly say it took my breath away.  Roberto had designed and built it himself thirty years ago as a studio and exhibition centre.  You would never know it was there from the road above.  Yes, people came by invitation only and he explained that he would often have groups of people who not only enjoyed the exhibition, but the huge garden too.

The exhibition. Photo P Finnigan

The exhibition.
Photo P Finnigan

Couple, dog and cat at window. Photo P Finnigan

Couple, dog and cat at window.  This is three dimensional.  If you go round the back you will see the bottoms and tails of these lovely characters!
Photo P Finnigan

Firstly, we were shown where he worked and there were two statues in progress.  Then into the exhibition centre and we were overwhelmed by the wonderful original work he had completed over many years, some of which have been in exhibitions all around the world.  My heart swelled when I realised how much he loved dogs and cats, these appeared in many of his creations.   My man was snapping away with his camera as Roberto and I did the rounds and he explained the background to each one.  Do take a closer look at these pictures.  My man and I agreed that we would ask him to do a statue of our last dog Bosun, just as soon as we we had sufficient spare funds!

One of hundreds of flowering pots. Photo P Finnigan

One of hundreds of flowering pots.
Photo P Finnigan

Man reading, with dog under olive tree. Photo P Finnigan

Man reading, with dog under olive tree.
Photo P Finnigan

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, he took us on a tour of the garden, through arbours and tunnels, where beautiful shrubs, protected from the wind were in full bloom.  Up to a copse of Famiglia Trees he had planted thirty years ago and were now three stories high, and to visit his two peacocks that had a pen with a natural stream running through it and a bit higher up to see two fresh water ponds, one full of gold-fish and higher still to benches overlooking the Chianti Hills.

Rooftop View of the Chianti hills. Photo P Finnigan

Rooftop View of the Chianti hills.
Photo P Finnigan

Now all this time a cold wind was howling around the place, so we could only imagine how glorious it would be in Spring and Summer.  What a privilege to be allowed to see this place and to be able to tell you all about it.

The ancient hill town of Certaldo Alto, silhoueted against the sunset. Photo J Finnigan

The ancient hill town of Certaldo Alto, silhouetted against the sunset.
Photo J Finnigan

The only other thing I must show you, which was also very beautiful and caused me to screech to a halt on my way down to Certaldo on Tuesday evening, was the first sunset for weeks and Certaldo Alto’s wonderful silhouette against that gorgeous sky.

Yes, I know, what about all those other things I was planning to share?  Well I’m afraid Roberto’s place and Certaldo Alto in the sunset, has taken all my thoughts away.  But, please come back next week and we’ll catch up on everything else that did not get a mention this time, including some good news for Fiano!

Salute June x

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

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Farty Barty lazing around. Photo S Stobbs

Farty Barty lazing around.
Photo S Stobbs

Well, what a hectic but most enjoyable week.  My lovely sister-in-law arrived to beautify the garden pots in preparation for the arrival of a group of American water-colour artists who were coming on the Thursday.  Farty Barty the cat lazed around a lot oblivious the plans we had, and only disappeared off when the ‘invasion’ started.

Mist filled valleys last Thursday morning. Photo J Finnigan

Mist filled valleys last Thursday morning.
Photo J Finnigan

I awoke on the Thursday morning to the most beautiful sky; the sun was rising and thick mists filled the valleys below us leaving the hilltops peeking out on top.  We popped down to Certaldo for early morning coffee then returned to make a jug of Bucks Fizz.

Book signing for the Artists Photo J Stobbs

Book signing for the Artists
Photo J Stobbs

When the group arrived at ten, the sun had risen above the trees and the distant hills had taken on a mix of grey through to blue and lilac.  An artist’s dream in fact and we were so lucky with the weather.  I welcomed them and did a quick book signing before they all settled in around the garden to Paint.

Artists at work. Phoot J Stobbs

Artists at work.
Photo J Stobbs

Sonja, the art teacher, was such a lovely lady and had them all doing  washes of colour, then drying it in the sun before the next wash.  I was very impressed with the high standard as they were all amateurs.  Individually, the artists were very interesting people ranging from writers to musicians, so I felt completely in tune with them.

Our lovely visiting American artists, me and the Sister-in-law

Our lovely visiting American artists, me and the Sister-in-law

My own family has been artististic back through several generations and I was able to show Sonya some of my most treasured pictures painted by my grandmother in 1924.  I can honestly say it was the most pleasant ‘meet and greet the English Author’ session I have ever done, and they will be most welcome to return.  Thank you to Jackie at http://www.frenchescape.com for arranging things in such a professional and relaxed way.  To contact Sonya Hamilton, the art teacher who is based in Auburn, California  go to http://www.sonjahamilton.com

Lunch at Il Castello with Julia and David. Photo J Stobbs

Lunch at Il Castello with Julia and David.
Photo J Stobbs

Everyone left around twelve-thirty and the sister-in-law and I rushed off down to Certaldo Alto to meet English friends of hers who were over to buy trees in the famous market gardens at Pistoia that are just a thirty-five minute drive away.   David and Julia run a garden design company in Somerset England and import Cypress and other trees from Italy.  It was fascinating to meet them and to hear that they were first approached by the Italians for the kind of trees they were growing in Somerset.  So a bartering system got set up and now our friends have to come to Tuscany from time to time, to be wined and dined by the Italians.  But it is not that easy, they had obviously spent an exhausting time visiting all the garden centres to select their trees.  We had lunch on the balcony of Il Castello and the food was delicious.  Visit http://www.albergoilcastello.it  Thank you to David for treating us!  My turn next time.

Well, I did say that I would update you on the comings and goings of Silvio Berlusconi.  Unfortunately, I will have to postpone that as I have so much catching up to do.  I am off the England on Wednesday for my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday and to stay one night with old friends in Somerset.  It will be a nice change, however, I will be very glad to get back to my little bit of Tuscan heaven.

Have a fantastic week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS Do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’. Book two in the series.

Read Full Post »

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