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Posts Tagged ‘Chianti’

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

2018-04-24 11.53.47In a moment I’m going to wax lyrical about the plants and wild life in and around our beautiful garden here on the edge of Chianti.  As before, I am not going to talk about Italian politics, other than the fact that we still have no government; you will just have to keep watching this space.

2018-04-28 08.37.42So, back to our garden and what a wonderful week we have been experiencing.  Last weekend the Acacia trees started dripping with white blossoms and the Fiorentina Irises we planted last year have burst into flower!  We have been swamped with butterflies, including the Swallowtail and the birds, well, the birds!  We now have an owl which we have yet to identify, who hoots in the daytime, pairs of pheasant, Jays, Hoopees, swallows and wood pigeons.  Arriving anytime soon will be the colourful Bee Eaters.  Two visiting hares, deer and the occasional cinghiale (wild boar).  And, the weather has been glorious, so my man and I have been able to spend aperitivo time outside, breathing in all the exotic perfumes!  Fotos J Finnigan

2018-04-22 11.55.40And continuing on the subject of aperitivi, I’m really pleased to tell you that the last two weekends have seen us back over in Montespertoli for cocktails, a lovely village just twenty minutes from here.  It is a year ago that we stopped going as the pressure of writing deadlines had me working away every weekend at the keyboard.  But with the weather having turned to sunshine we have returned, and it is so nice to greet old friends again and watch the occasional vintage car rally hooting past.  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-04-29 09.57.46One friend is the lovely Caterina, or I should say The Baroness Caterina de Renzis Sonnino.  Caterina is a very hardworking lady who entertains guests from all over the world giving guided historical tours of Il Castello, Educational visits and Wine tastings.  Yesterday the newspaper printed this article about a visit by Gucci, the Label having chosen Il Castello Sonnino as one of seven cultural projects.  Now, I will try to find out a lot more when I next speak to Caterina, but in the meantime you should visit Il Castello’s website.  My man and I were very lucky to have been given a private viewing a few years ago, and believe me it is an incredibly beautiful and atmospheric place to go.  Oh, you can also stay there, so check it out here!  Website

2018-04-26 08.51.44Meanwhile, back in the world of Music, I noticed that good old Ringo Starr, or Sir Richard Henry Starkey, was in the news and is doing a tour in July/August.  He will include Lucca, Marostica and Roma.  Now I have been to outside concerts in Lucca, which is just over an hour from us, and the setting is fantastic.  Open air concerts are held in one of the most beautiful piazzas and the acoustics are amazing.  Now, in case you did not know, Ringo does do more than just play the drums; he also sings, acts and paints.  It will be interesting to hear the old boy performing, he is seventy-eight, bless him!  I think it’s great that so many of the oldies are still performing live, so there’s still hope for me being discovered at a late age and being sent off on tour!  Rock on I say.  Foto La Repubblica.  See Ringo’s dates here Website and tickets

2018-04-26 08.45.58Now, lest we forget, the 25th April was Liberation Day and it should be remembered that there are a lot of Partisans still alive today who can tell you all about the German Occupation.  Apparently, we are supposed to say Nazi Occupation these days, strange how things get changed for the sake of the modern lifestyle and the now friendly relationship with Germany.   There are some amazingly heroic stories still to be heard about the fight to rid the country of the nasty Nazi’s.  My novel ‘The Italian Connection’ includes a bit based on a partisan’s real life experience, my having interviewed a lovely man called Gianfranco in Montespertoli a few years back.  Foto La Nazione. Visit my author site at Website

2018-04-20 09.19.59Meanwhile, something else being celebrated last week was the 50th anniversary of La Vespa.  That iconic scooter that we all loved seeing in the sixties films and still to be seen today weaving in and out of the traffic in the major Italian cities, and whizzing through the country villages at the weekend, often in big convoys!  Tourists can also hire bright red ones in Florence and surrounding areas, so I’m told.  Did you ever have a Vespa Scooter or were you a Rocker like me, dangerously hanging off the back of 650 motorbikes?  Hey ho!  Send me some of your Fotos.  Foto La Nazione.  Visit Vespa’s site at Website

2018-04-25 09.51.56And finally, lets end with another beautiful Italian fashion shoot, this time found in La Repubblica magazine.  I just love this casual yet sophisticated colourful summer look.  And, the models are so enjoying wearing the clothes, which as you know is something I strongly support, not the usual miserable lot many designers employ.  Also, the weather here is now warm enough to enjoy having one’s feet back in sandals and flip-flops; wonderful. Visit Oltre’s site at website

OK, must go, things to do, places to go and people to see.  May your week be full of nice surprises and as happy as mine.  Oh, and do drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my official author site at June’s site

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget if you want to come to my Rock Concert on 22nd June, write to me at june.finnigan@virgin.net and ask for an invite.

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

2018-04-17 17.42.00Well, thank God for that, spring is really here at last and the forecast is sunshine for the next couple of weeks.  But hang on a minute, if you are thinking of rushing out to Tuscany with your cossies, the swimming pools do not open up until the beginning of May and anyway the air temperature can still be quite chilly this time of year.  On the other hand, there are no mossies around in April, so if you pack layers and don’t want to swim outside, come anyway! Foto J Finnigan

2018-04-15 09.39.32Now for me, spring brings a big lift to the spirits and I feel much more like going out and about.  I noticed an advert for an exhibition over on the coast in Pietrasanta, which is in the Comune di Lucca.  It’s called ‘Il dolce Rumore della Vita,’ which translates to ‘The Sweet Noise of Life’.  It is all about paintings and sculpture by very talented people including the Irish sculptor Paddy Campbell and Tuscan artist Simona Dolci.  I really fancy going over, and to breathe in some sea air before the bulk of the tourists arrive.  It’s easy to get a train there too, so no need to slog along the fipili dual carriageway.  Now I just need to persuade my man to join me.   Foto La Nazione.  Have a look for yourselves, the exhibition is open until 10th June.  Perhaps we’ll see you there.  visit the website

2018-04-16 09.17.41Meanwhile, yesterday saw Florence full of fun runners and their supporters, all there for good causes.  Yes, it was the annual Half Marathon.  What I love about Italians is that they always remember to include families and particularly children.  So, not only did you have the competitive race, but also a non-competitive race of 8km, a walking race over 5km and a kids race called ‘The Tommasino Run’ over 1.5km.  The events were spread around the beautiful city and included Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Duomo.  Foto La Nazione.

2018-04-15 09.25.25What else?  Oh yes, we cannot ignore that beautiful Italian creation the actress Claudia Cardianale who is celebrating her 80th birthday!  Can you believe it?  Now, some of you younger readers may not have seen her films that included starring roles in the sixties opposite leading men like Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson and Paul Newman.  Most of her films are now classics, so look them up!  Just like Sophia Loren, Claudia still scrubs up very well indeed.  Buon Compleanno to her.  Foto La Repubblica   Read about Claudia

2018-04-13 09.50.33Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, relaxing over coffee and reading the newspapers, I found an article about Sulla Orma Citta Millenaria, that is ‘On the Millennium City Footprint.’  I know, it doesn’t really make sense, so one should not always try to translate literally.  What it actually said was, it is a thousand (mille is a thousand in Italian) years ago when the foundations were laid for San Miniato al Monte and other churches in Florence and the surrounding province.  A thousand years!  Think about it, that’s the year 1,018 AD or the 9th century.  These incredibly beautiful buildings were built all that time ago with no electronic or mechanical assistance.  Of course Florence is a most stunning atmospheric ancient city, and that’s not just the places of worship.  Florence was also the birthplace of Leonardo di Vinci and other illustrious designers and inventors.  So, If you have not visited yet, you really should!  Florence website

Queen 3.1Back here in our lovely bit of Chianti countryside, we had an invasion of bees in my study!  A queen had flown in the open window, yes it’s warm enough, and refused to leave.  After she eventually left, the worker bees found her scent and thought she was still here.  So my man being a gung-ho ex-marine, goes in and tries to encourage them to leave by waving a cobweb brush around.  The buzzing got angrier and louder.  “Get out of there!”  I screamed from outside the door, which opened a crack and he squeezed out.  After much discussion, we decided to shut all connecting doors and wait.  Over four hours later, all went quiet, they had finally given up and flown out into the dusk!  What a relief.  I hope they found their Queen.  At least my daft hero man did not get stung!  Foto Queen Bee – pixhark.com

OK, enough already, must concentrate on the day job now.  Do drop me a line or leave a comment, I love to hear from you.  Also note my dates for visiting the UK on my blog at My website

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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

2018-03-19 09.09.05If, like us, you are suffering yet more miserable weather, you will need some uplifting music to cheer you up!   Now I only occasionally mention Italian singers and rarely Pop singers.  So when I tell you that Italy’s own Laura Pausini has released a new album called ‘Fatti Sentiri’ and is off on a world tour, you should prick up your ears!  Laura has a passionate and slightly gravelly voice, which she is this year taking around the globe at the age of forty-four.  She has been around for a few years here, but now things are really taking off for her and she has my full support and best wishes for what will be an exciting if grueling few months.  Foto La Repubblica.  Visit Laura’s website

Certaldo AltoMeanwhile, and a surprise to we locals, the town of Certaldo has been busy formulating it’s very own Wedding Package as part of its new Tourism Campaign.  we do have a number of wedding planners in Tuscany and Certaldo Alto, the hill-top historical centre (centro storica), has always been hugely popular with Brits wanting to tie the knot.  So it will be interesting to see what emerges.  I have to say, that once you visit Certaldo Alto, you will understand why it is so popular.  When I have more information I’ll let you know.  Foto Official Website.  For now, why not visit  Certaldo

2018-03-17 09.39.31Back in the world of politics, you could hardly ignore the fact that Italy has had a General Election!  The country is now considered badly split and we must wait to hear whether the Five Star Movement will merge with its nearest rival to form a government.  Watch this space.  Foto La Repubblica.

2018-03-17 09.21.43But anyway, I promised to post Italian fashion worn by happy models and I think this one makes that grade.  A lovely relaxed outfit as long as you are 5ft 10ins or more and slim.  Well I’m working on the latter, but I will need six-inch heels to make that height!  Ha ha!  I shall have to stand on a box at my next concert, and probably stick with black, that’s always a slimming and gives the impression of height.  But for the outfit in the picture and lots of other gorgeous casual stuff, go to Amina Rubinacci’s site where, yes, you can buy on-line!  Website

2018-03-16 09.10.36If you don’t mind, I want to pop back to Music as I have just read in the paper that Mick Jagger’s younger brother Chris has been in Italy for four concerts.  Chris Jagger, singer, musician, writer, actor and journalist, tours from time to time, with his trio Acoustic Roots.  Pity, I didn’t know he was here until afterwards!  You can read more about him in his interview with askanews. Visit Chris Jagger interview

2018-03-13 17.46.58Finally, a little something to make you smile and to remind all of us all that Spring will get here shortly.  Apparently, according to the locals, today Wednesday is the first day of spring so I have popped in a picture of our pot of Grape Hyacinths for you to enjoy.

Sorry for the slightly later than usual posting of this blog, but sudden events here in Tuscany needed my attention.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Oh, and visit my official author site at My site

Salute June x

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

2018-02-11 09.27.41OK, I have warned you about Italian Romeos in the past and this week girlies of all ages should take extra care.  Anyway, from now up until the fourteenth, beware of Italian men offering you red roses.  One rose is supposed to be very romantic, however, it might also indicate the size of his wallet!  Ask immediately if he lives with his mother.  If yes, then he’s probably after a bit of slap and tickle.  If he gives you a sob story about his aging or ailing mother, he may be looking for a replacement!  Either way, if he’s good-looking and invites you to dinner in a decent ristorante, why not!  Enjoy!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-02-11 09.30.28Meanwhile, the papers continue to be full of the forthcoming elections.  Villages and towns have had the big metal boards erected ready for the posters that go up shortly.  Matteo Renzi, the former Prime Minister, seems to be talking himself into a big political hole, rather like David Cameron did in the UK.  Both he and Silvio Berlusconi are now paying heed to the female political advisors, I’m glad to say, however, no sign of a likely candidate from their ranks for PM yet.  Foto La Repubblica.

Meta and Moro suspended

OK, so how did the Sanremo Music Festival end? I hear you ask.  Well, the winning act was Meta and Moro.  Meta was obviously doing a Doctor Who impression, aka Tom Baker!  The guys nearly didn’t make it after they were suspended pending allegations of violations of the festival’s rules by the song presented by them.  But all turned out rosy in the end.  To watch the video and get an idea of how ‘high’ the standard of entries were, go to Youtube Video No comment.  Would you believe, 12.2 million Italians watched the final on TV , the highest recorded since 2002!  Foto Sanremo official website. 
2018-02-08 09.49.27Guest appearances at the Festival included Sting.  The music man is fully entrenched into Tuscan life having a villa and land just a few valleys away from us, and the Italians love him.  His music is regularly played on the radio and he holds the occasional private concert party in his garden.  He has obviously taken a lead from me and my Garden Rock Concerts in June each year.  More news on that soon!  Foto La Repubblica
2018-02-11 09.32.36Well, back here in our beautiful bit of Chianti, it is cold and raining.  Contrary to popular belief outside of Italy, February can be chilly and wet.  Despite that Crocuses are beginning to show their heads, the Mimosa and some Cherry trees are in full blossom and life is good.  Local towns and villages are finally getting over the Carnivale Period and things are finally a little quieter; until the elections of course!  Foto La Nazione.
Soon, you will have more news about my books.  I will shortly finish and publish my short story, The Man in Black, and am making big strides with the fourth book in the series ‘The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde’ called ‘Assassins List.‘  So watch this space!
Have a great week and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.  Oh, and do visit my official author site at June’s website
Salute June x
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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World

2017-03-08 08.20.20

Daybreak in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

Well, what can I say other than “Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!” and this is despite the recent grey clouds, mist and cold.  You see, here in our little bit of Chianti, there are always reasons to be cheerful!

2018-01-20 08.29.58Meanwhile, last week was a celebration of Men’s Fashion in Italy and this week we are celebrating Kid’s Fashion.  Now, Italian children are extremely fashion conscious and from a very early age.  The shops are full of funky clothes for kids; it’s not unusual to see a three-year old toddling around in a designer leather jacket and hi-tech trainers.  Italian boys are constantly checking their reflections in shop windows and adjusting their designer haircuts!  Sunglasses and top of the range cell-phones are essential accessories.  I have some mixed feelings about all this, but the kids are mostly happy and as long as they are not draining the pockets of their hard-working parents, why not.  What do you think?

2018-01-07 08.44.47Back in the world of politics, Italy’s general election will be on 4th March.  Yes, another one!  Don’t worry, I am not going to say much about this, but here is an article from La Repubblica Magazine showing The Cinque Stella movement currently in the lead, with The PD Party close behind.  Mind you I would not rule out a sudden percentage rise for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party, currently in third place!

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And what’s going on in the world of music? I hear you ask.  Well, would you believe that an exhibition has been opened in Rome by the Mayor, dedicated to Pink Floyd! No, I’m not joking!  Two aging members of the band turned up and were greeted with great enthusiasm by hoards of Italian fans.  Yes, Italy loves Pink Floyd! Also making a few appearances in select cities is U2; not quite so aging but getting on a bit.  Bono also has a big following.  If you are an English or American Rock star, the Italians are likely to flock to your concerts.  I’m still working on my own Rock Star status, at least I’m nearly old enough to qualify.  foto La Nazione

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Meanwhile, back in our lovely converted monastery farmhouse, in the hills above Certaldo, I am forging on with the completion of a short story called ‘The Man in Black’,  which is inspired by my own man and will be published in the next few weeks.  It is a mystery thriller based in London’s theatre land.  I am also well into the fourth book of the series ‘The Continuing adventures of Joanna Wilde’ called ‘Assassin’s List‘, which will hopefully put the final headstones on the nasty Assassins still out there.  Visit my updated website, add yourself to my list of followers and be the first to hear my book news.  June’s site

2018-01-21 13.27.30Finally, something close to my heart, which is good Tuscan food and preferably cooked in a restaurant.  We have just returned from C’era Una Volta in Lucardo, having enjoyed a lovely big bowl of Paolo’s Leek and Potato soup, which really warmed me up, followed by pasta with Pesto di cavolo nero.  Absolutely yummy.  But enough of that.  Foto J.Finnigan.  Visit C’era una Volta

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Have a great week.

Salute June.

2017-05-07 17.25.58

The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

 

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

Now, for me, I cannot think of anything nicer than unwrapping a book or three at Christmas and with this in mind, I have discounted the price of my three paperback books by around 20% from now, right up until Christmas!  The discount is available on all worldwide Amazon sites.  If you prefer e-books, then you can download in an instant!  Go to Click to buy now!

Father XmasMeanwhile, here is a little festive competition for you!  I love this sort of thing, and you can do it on Christmas Day by telling your family you want an answer to be found in a certain book.  So they all dash off to find the book, then scour it for the answer to your question.  If you do it several times, you will end up with a pile of books in the middle of the floor, but you can later occupy the children by having then replace the books back on the shelves, for a reward of course, whilst you relax in front of the fire with another glass of warm punch!

snowman-wallpaperAnd here is your question!  In my book ‘The Bolivian Connection’  what was the real full name of the Female Italian Assassin code-named Sapphire?  Her two christian names and surname please. (Hint – Chapter 27)  And your reward?  The chance to win the complete Trilogy in paperback, signed and dedicated by me, or left blank if you prefer.  The three runners-up will receive one book of their choice, signed or not, the choice is yours.  Send your answer to me by email to arrive no later than Saturday 9th December, and your name will go into my man’s Father Christmas hat.  On Sunday 10th, he will dip in and withdraw four names.  I will then personally email to let you know if you are a winner.  So, if you have the answer, send it to me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Exciting, isn’t it?  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Xmas TreeNow if you want to be absolutely sure of obtaining a signed book, you can purchase one on my website and pay with paypal.  Go to My website

Next weekend, I’ll be sending you a normal blog, with lots of news about the build up to the festivities in our little bit of Tuscany.

Meanwhile, do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and don’t forget to visit my Official Author Website at My website

Salute June x

PS The competition is open to all readers, so do not hesitate to forward this to friends and family!

2017-05-07 17.25.58

The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“It says here that I should not drink alcohol whilst taking my new Opium tablets!”  I groan.  ‘What did you say?’ I hear you all gasp.  Panic ye not, I have just started a course of herbal tablets containing a little Opium, doctor’s orders I hasten to add.  My man grins down at me from his lofty height and says kindly, “Don’t worry June, you’ll cope, it’s not as if you are addicted to wine, after all, you only drink one glass at a time!”  Humph…

2017-11-02 09.03.00Anyway, enough of that, lets look  back at the week, after all, that’s why you are here.  Well, like most other countries in the world, Italy celebrated Halloween.  In fact, the Italians go crazy for it, young and old dress up in the most outrageous costumes and parade around the streets wearing death masks!    The next day is All Soul’s Day, or Day of the Dead, when everyone remembers their dear departed family and friends.   The graveyards here are quite spectacular, always lit by red candles or lights, and masses of flowers both fresh & false, so the effect is a glittering welcoming place.  There is a mix of concrete buildings where the dead are laid one on top of another, family tombs and graves in the ground, all attended regularly and kept bright and cheerful.  I think some of the larger cemeteries should be included in Cultural Tours; I’m not sure if that would be allowed, but you can nip in and walk around anyway.  Foto La Repubblica.

20171031_111427In the run up to Halloween, all the shopkeepers enter into the ‘spirit’ of things, including my man’s favourite Panetteria in Certaldo.  In the picture, you will see the staff behind the counter wearing little hats and the counter loaded up with cakes and goodies for the festivities.  On Saturday mornings, whilst I do the fruit, veg and cheese shopping in the mercato, my man pops down Via Giugno to get bread and sometimes Pizza for supper.  He says, it is the best bakers in the whole area!  Foto P Finnigan.

Olives ready for picking 2Meanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, the last two weeks has been busy with olive picking.  Foreign faces are everywhere; some come for the much-needed work, whilst others treat picking olives as a fun holiday.  Brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees and not one little olive will be overlooked.  Sadly, the harvest has been rather small this year, following the terrible summer drought.  However, the resulting oil is absolutely delicious.  Foto J Finnigan.

20171103_090819There has also been lots of tree felling.  Mostly small-leaved oak trees, that are now in a big pile a few yards from our front gate.  It’s a sad sight, I always feel a little bereft at the thought of any tree being chopped down, but I guess the woodland does need managing to some degree.  My man bought a new chainsaw last year and he has yet to use it.  The temptation to go out there with his boy’s toy, is eating away at him!  He reckons we could pretend that we thought it was our own log delivery!  O Dio!  Anyway, behind the pile of  logs the vineyard is looking very beautiful and it won’t be long before all the vines are bare.  So we should relax and enjoy it, not think about pinching other people’s logs!  Well,on the other hand…..  Foto P Finnigan

2017-11-05 13.14.17Gosh, it’s nearly lunchtime and I should go and get changed.  It’s currently thundering and raining, so we need to go over to C’era una Volta’ in Lucardo and enjoy the hot food, wine, the company of good friends and forget the weather.  On arrival my man orders some fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and toast, because he wants to taste the new stuff.  The oil is Paolo’s own and the colour alone tells you how recently it has been cold pressed.  Yummy!  Foto J Finnigan

OK, time to go, have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  Oh, and keep a watch out for my Christmas Book Promotion, starting soon!  Visit my Official Author Site at June’s Site

Salute June x

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