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Posts Tagged ‘Chianti’

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

86190121_10158256389728083_4300638138889404416_oWednesday 12 February.  I would never have guessed that a beautiful fallen bloom, from an early flowering shrub, could have given me such a lift.  It wasn’t just the beauty of the thing but how I received it that made all the difference.  I have had three weeks of feeling pretty run-down after a minor operation, due to my pathetic immune system.  I went to Fiano this morning for my usual espresso, newpapers and chat; then Roberto our local sculpture walked in and presented me with the bloom!  Bless his lovely kind heart, the site of it in the palm of my hand sent a wave of sheer joy through my still fragile system!  I knew there and then that my head was sufficiantly clear to start writing again!  Thank you dear Roberto.  (someone, please let me know what the flower is; thank you x)

So off I went, with the bloom on my dashboard, down to Certaldo and an overdue visit to Sandra to have my hair coloured.  Although tired, I felt even more invigorated  as I was now looking more like my old self.  Also, Sandra has a batch of the usual glossies and I indulged in some trivia reading and fashion drooling.  A bit of pampering and time wasting, can do one the world of good.  I left Sandra’s and walked into bright warm sunshine and the temperature guage registered 17 degrees on the dashboard!  Great!  Back home in our lovely monastery farmhouse, I see that the forecast for Friday and Saturday is for sun and a high of 19 degrees,  then good weather right up to the end of February; hurrah!  So things go from good to even better!  What a great day.

IMG-20200205-WA0007Thursday 13 February.  Well, its the next day and I’m still feeling in a good mood.  I decided that I would scour the papers for some good news to post and, yes you guessed it, nothing.  But then I saw a big red heart and an advertisement for San Valentino in Florence.  Yes! ‘All you need is  love, da da da da da’  Just when you think things could not get more depressing, up pops San Valentino!  Hurrah.

The Florentine on-line magazine has come to the rescue with some lovely locations for Helvetia-e1581345841702-680x728celebrating with your amore.  But what’s this?  Somewhere called the Bristol Winter Gardens (yes Bristol) in Florence!  Sounds like a great place to eat, you only have to look at the dish in the foto.  Mmmmm.  The Florentine

Well, going to finish here as I am still not one hundred percent, but by next week you can rest assured that I will be rocking.  Have a great weekend.  Oh and Happy Valentines Day!

Salute June x

Visit my website at My site

Fotos my own or uploaded from The Fiorentine on-line mag.

 

 

 

 

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

January is a funny old month, here in our little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti.  Whilst a lot is going on, it remains a difficult period to organise restaurant lunches and visits to galleries.  January is considered a time for closing down for a bit, until the return of the tourist season in March.  Hey ho!

2019-01-19 09.11.17#1But otherwise, it being the season of fashion, last week was the mens’ time for strutting their stuff, this week has had the newspapers full of Bimbi Pitti (children’s) fashion.  Now I am a little out of touch with children’s fashion outside of Italy, but here the kids are very fashion conscious and from an early age.  Black is very vogue and apparently styles are currently being influenced by the Rock Music scene!  Well, at least the Bimbi will be growing up with a taste for good rock music; I hope.  Addio to the pastel shades we kids were adorned in, and that’s not a bad thing methinks.  What do you think?

xbirrao-dell-anno-2-680x454.jpg.pagespeed.ic.qat_nctg3gSo what else is going on? I hear you ask.  Well a great news magazine to follow, particularly for Florence and surroundings is The Florentine.  I’ve mentioned this publication before and I follow it regularly, it’s also in English and can be subscribed to online if preferred.  Events include HOPS/Brewer of the year, (there is and increasing number of micro-breweries popping up in Italy) A shop Vintage event and International Ice skating Awards. Busy, busy.  The Florentine

And there’s a lot more stuff going on here locally.  If you are interested in our local village of Fiano, go their Facebook page at Alfiano Fiano.

2019-01-20 09.24.52OK, what next?  Oh yes.  The children returned to school last week and much is being talked about regarding the state of the buildings.  Some students went out on strike as the temperature in the classrooms were as low as 10 degrees centigrade!  Of course, we are now formerly in recession here (again) so spending on the essentials is not always happening.  In today’s paper was an article about a survey of the under 18’s. The new young people (Giovani) mostly love school and their teachers. They have had enough of disputes and want to get on with preparing for the future.  My man and I arrived here nearly fifteen years ago and so a whole new generation has grown up during that time.  Fifteen years ago, society seemed thirty years behind us Brits, but the new Giovani seem to have caught up and cut the time difference down by at least half.

2019-01-18 09.30.55#1And moving to the much older generation, which includes the Peter Pan of politics Silvio Berlusconi.  Yes, Silvio is back!  At the age of 82, and as leader of Forza Italia, he is campaigning for the March elections for the European parliament.  This assumes it hasn’t fallen apart by then, the parliament that is!  Anyway, Silvio has a way of putting a bit of colour back into the world of politics.  You either love him or hate him, either way, it makes for an interesting time.

Meanwhile, I am cracking on with my latest novel, Assassin’s List, which is taking my heroine to Italy and Cuba.  If you have any experience of visiting or living in Havana in the mid 1990’s, I would love to hear from you.  Exciting isn’t it!

OK, have a great week and do drop me a line.  Oh and visit my author site at My Site

Salute June x

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

Now, I hope you don’t mind, but there is so much going on here in Tuscany by way of entertainment, this blog is rather full it!

2018-11-13 09.34.19Firstly, as you know, I mostly follow the Rock Music scene, my being an aging Rock singer, however, just occasionally I pick up on something else that really excites me.  This time it is the amazing soprano voice of the young Martina Barreca.  I must confess that what really caught my eye was the fact that she is getting together with rock musicians to do some ‘metal’ music.  Now, I am not certain if a performance will be included in her up and coming stage show in Pisa, but she is such an amazing singer that I am tempted to go anyway, purely to hear her voice.  Theatre Tickets and info

2018-11-11 09.38.39Back in Fiano drinking coffee in La Dispensa, I read in La Repubblica a two page article about that gorgeous iconic actor Marcello Mastroianni.  Brilliant actor, both serious and funny, I loved his many films alongside my favorite Italian actress Sophia Loren that we will watch again over Christmas.  I’m thinking that, if you have any really favourite old films its important to get a load in on DVD.  This is the only sure way of having them in your home; streaming has become hugely popular, but why risk having all your stuff in a cloud!

2018-11-04 18.31.58Funny how vinyl music records have become popular again.  I have a lot of original 60’s and 70’s LPs, and as our music centre has died, I have been researching for a new ‘deck’ and speakers.  I found this one, which has built-in speakers and might just buy it for a joint christmas present!  What do you think?  However, I need to persuade my man that the music centre really is dead; he never throws anything out, if it exists it’s repairable!

2018-11-07 09.57.18A band that beeped my radar last week, was Brit Floyd.  I have to admit that I am not too keen on the idea of tribute bands, but I guess and if they are good, it does keep the live music out there.  Brit Floyd have just completed their tour of Italy and I have taken the trouble to check them out on YouTube.  They have their own style and have performed some of Pink Floyd’s classics really well.  They sound and look good live, so why not give them a go!  I sing cover songs, so who am I to cast any doubts!  Their Balkan and European tour continues.  Tour dates

imageAs you know, my other love is books.  Just like my mention of buying DVD’s for your film storage, I am from now on pushing for the purchase of more paper & hardback books.  I’m as guilty as the next person for downloading onto Kindle!  The Pisa Book Festival has just finished and it is good to read there were hundreds of enthusiasts turned up to hear from the illustrious Italian authors and writers.  We must look out for this next year and make sure it’s in the diary!  So, start buying in those books for Christmas! Take a tip from Iceland where it is traditional to give a book gift every Christmas Eve and to go to bed to read it whilst eating chocolates!

2018-11-13 10.56.47And finally, much closer to home is the village of Marcialla, which has the lovely cosy little theatre called Teatro Communal Regina Margherita.  It has lovely comfortable red velvet seats and is like something out of the vaudeville days!   I have just picked up its winter/Spring performance dates and there will be evenings to suit all tastes.  From comedy to children’s theatre, Jazz, opera, classical and other concerts.  Even if you don’t speak Italian, you will love the atmosphere there.  The Theatre

Well, enough already.  Time to think about lunch.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  And, do visit my Official Author Website at My site

Salute June x

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

I’m back, and thank heavens for that.  After a particularly nasty cold virus I went for the best possible way of recuperation and booked a five-star hotel on the coast for a couple of nights.  My man and I popped over to the Hotel Grande Imperiale in Forte dei Marmi, just a two-hour drive from here.  The hotel lived up to its name, lovely fruity cocktails and good food, but the location did not.  So we won’t dwell on that.

20181005_121427Instead, we drove up to the lower regions the spectacular Apennine Mountains and found Pietrasanta,  a lovely historic and arty town, which my artist friend Anne Shingleton Anne’s website had recommended to me.  And, what a great place for wiling the time away and watching the world go by.  Also for strolling around galleries and finding top class restaurants!  Foto J Finnigan

2018-10-05 13.52.02And on the subject of the latter, we took the trouble to walk as far as possible from the main piazza to the very last awning in the Via P.E.Barsanti, which beckoned above an osteria called Barsanta54.  This was a little haven of nice arty furniture, but with a little class and not pretentious.  Lovely waitress, the perfect ambience and delicious food.  I can highly recommend this place to you.  Foto J Finnigan  website

20181012_095451And so, back to our little neck of the woods on the edge of Chianti; morning coffee and newspapers at La Dispensa in Fiano.  I noticed in the paper that U2 is here on tour and Bono, bless his little cotton socks, has quoted “Thank you Italians for your love that you show for the refugees, others would be ashamed…”  Mmmm, not sure if he has the whole picture here, but that is what he obviously believes.  Foto La Repubblica.

20181012_095139In the same newspaper, I was really pleased to find some Rock Chick Fashion in Florence, with models that are happy and smiley, and I love the handbags.  Go to The Bridge’s website

20181010_093245Anyway, In the countryside the grape harvest is all but done and the olive groves will shortly be full of imported workers and enthusiasts to pick the lovely healthy looking olives.  So it is anticipated to be a good year for Extra Virgin Olive Oil this year, unlike 2017.  Whoopee!  Foto La Republica.

Meanwhile, the warm sunny weather is still with us.  Can’t wait for he last of the mosquitos to go, then we can chill out on our terrazza again!  I just love Autumn in Tuscany.

Salute June x

PS Do drop me a line and/or visit my Amazon author site at Amazon

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Ciao and Hi to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-10-02 08.14.06-1#1Only a short note, I’m afraid, as I am recovering from a nasty cold virus.  The creative grey cells are still lying flat on their backs!  So here is a foto from our window taken early morning on 1st October, to wish you a happy new month and to bring you all closer to our little bit of Chianti.

See you next time.

Amore June x

Visit my website here

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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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