Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

2019-04-14 09.51.03Yes, it’s that time of year again; the run up to Easter or Pasqua as we say here in Italy.  Florence has experienced a big increase in tourist bookings for the Easter holidays so you can guarantee the city will be heaving.  But don’t worry about that, it’s all part of the Florence experience at this time of year!  Park your car south of the river and walk or telephone Taxi Firenze on 055 4390 and they will pick you up in no time!  The shops are full of giant chocolate eggs and it will be a weekend of family festivities whether you are religious or not.  In the foto you will see an advertisement for Quinoa Gluten Free Restaurant, which is my absolute favourite place to eat.  Don’t be put off by the ‘gluten free’ thing, they cater for all diets and you will love their freshly baked bread.  Website

2019-04-13 09.39.05Whilst in or near Florence, there are some really interesting museums and exhibitions to get your teeth into.  The Stibbert Museum is one place I will be going to in the next few weeks.  I have been promising myself a visit for ages!   It is easy to reach on the tram, which you can pick up outside Santa Maria Novella train station.  The museum has a vast personal collection of military and lots of other collections, from around the world.  Frederick’s English father came to Italy after fighting against Napoleon in Spain.  He came to Rome and then Florence where he met and later married Frederick’s Italian mother.  After Frederick’s death, his home and museum was opened to the public in 1909.  It’s a fascinating story, do read about it and try to visit.  Website

2019-04-11 09.10.33Now I love the work of the Italian artist Marcello Scuffi.  You would be forgiven for thinking his art was from the art deco period of the 1920’s or 30’s.  But no, he was born in 1948 in Pistoia, near Florence and his medium is sometimes described as GrecoArte here in Italy.  I am mentioning Marcello because he currently has an exhibition at the Florence Art Gallery, which ends on 27th April.  If you like his style, do drop in for a visit. I would love to own one or two of his paintings.  Let me know what you think!

2019-04-13 09.49.34Again, on the subject of museum pieces, we may think of Archimedes, his being one of the most famous historical mathematical geniuses of all time.  Hang on a minute, I hear you say, but he was Greek not Italian!  Yes, yes I know this, I was just testing.  Well actually I was leading up to introducing Italy’s very own modern-day Archimedes, eighteen year old Valerio Pagliarino!  It is a reminder that many of the most intelligent mathematicians and inventors were Italian.  And still are.  This is not just a land of wine, olives, pizza and pasta, oh no.  Valerio’s innovative new technology, the LaserWan project, is able to transmit data with light and has been recognised as Industrial Patent of Invention!  Unsurprisingly he was one of the winners at ‘Intel International Science & Engineering Fair 2017.’  So bravo to Valerio and all the other young brilliant Italian techno designers rising to the surface!  Foto La Repubblica magazine.

download.jpgNow what else did I have to tell you?  Oh yes, the Chianti countryside is currently having a deluge of rain.  It’s also cold.  But the coming week is looking better and I know that many of you will be travelling here during the next couple of weeks and will be glad to know that.  I can see the beautiful Hoopoe bird trotting around the wet garden at this moment, easily finding worms that have come up to the surface.  There is nothing like spring in Tuscany.  Foto Pininterest.

Well enough of that already.  Must get the fotos added for you to enjoy and catch up with my Sunday to do list.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.  By the way, my man says this week’s blog is too much like a travel article.  Do you agree?  Let me have your views!

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Salute June x

PS  The Italians are very active on Facebook and are constantly posting events.  Pop in the location you want to visit and hey presto, masses of things come up including concerts, theatre, exhibitions etc!  All newspaper extracts from La Repubblica.

2017-05-07 17.25.58





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

2018-04-01 10.08.07Well, it’s April first, yes really and the sun is shining.  This morning we drove down to Certaldo for coffee as, quite rightly, La Dispensa in Fiano is taking a couple of days off for an Easter break.  Jam Caffe, our favourite bar in Certaldo, was heaving with big family groups, several of which had returned home for the Pasqua (Easter) celebrations.  Few Italians can bear to be away from Mama’s or Nonna’s Easter lunch and the traditional gathering of clans.  In this picture, the caffe looks quiet, but behind me the bar was chocker!  My man waxed lyrical over his pastry, which was freshly baked on the premises, as we met and greeted old friends.  What a pleasant start to the day! Foto J Finnigan.

2018-03-30 13.46.31Looking back to Good Friday, we were invited over to our daughter’s lovely home between San Gimignano and Volterra, for a delicious lunch.  The desert was my man’s absolute favourite, Strawberry Pavlova and the remaining strawberries were dipped in chocolate!    Fortunately our daughter and granddaughter like to cook, so we were extremely happy to be treated.  They live in untamed woodland with a view to the distant sea, such a lovely spot to live in.  Grazie la Famiglia xx  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-03-30 09.06.04Meanwhile, earlier in the week, we were enjoying our morning coffee in Fiano and I found some really nice fashion in La Repubblica for you to enjoy.  All made in Italy, of course, and with a wonderful air of Spring about them.  For the clothes visit Oltre’s Website

2018-03-30 09.08.19       It has been a strange time here in Tuscany, the trees are only just in bud and a number of young trees have not survived the terrible unseasonal cold we have suffered over the last couple of months.  But the forecast is looking good now, so time to think about the Spring wardrobe at last!  I’m going to look through my things tomorrow!  For the shoes go to Frau’s website

2018-03-30 08.48.07  Once you have sorted out your Spring wardrobe, you may wish to pop over to Florence for a great Artisan Exhibition.  There is nothing like viewing or buying products with the ‘Made in Italy’ label or sticker, so this is something you should try not to miss.  This annual, traditional exhibition has been running since 1978 and is to be found in the 16th Century fortress, Fortezza da Basso, in the heart of Florence close to the railway/bus station.  There is lots of parking in the area too, but I would always recommend taking a train or bus in if you can.  Why not stay in Certaldo and travel from here, we could go together!  You have plenty of time to plan for this, as it starts on 21st April.  For lots more information go to The Website

2018-03-29 18.14.10Back at our lovely home, a converted monastery farmhouse, my man has been stacking the latest wood delivery.  He also brought in a pile for our inglenook.  “Look at this!”  He said indicating the most peculiar shaped log.  I stared and gasped.  “It’s a dinosaur’s foot fossil!” I squealed.  “Don’t be daft,” he sighed. “It’s obviously the bottom of a tree, with some of its roots still attached.”  “No, no, it’s a fossil with a tree wrapped around it!”  I argue.  My man goes off to do more useful things.  To burn or not to burn? That is the question.  What do you think?  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-03-29 09.34.47Back again in the coffee bar in Fiano last weekend, I read about the sad loss of a hugely popular TV celebrity, Fabrizio Frizzi.  At only sixty, he has left our screens forever, having hosted numerous TV quiz shows; he was always around doing something entertaining.  His funeral attracted thousands of fans and many celebrities too.  Addio Fabrizio.  Article by Di Piero Degli Antoni.

But enough of that, to happier things.  Next Saturday I look forward to going down to Certaldo’s market to buy lots of pansies, primroses and other colourful plants for our pots, that will come out of the cantina into the fresh air again.  Grazie Tuscany.

Auguri June x

PS Do leave a comment and/or visit my Official Author site at Junes Site




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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

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Welcome to all my Loyal and New Followers

Fiorentino in strange crouching position. Photo Official Website

Fiorentina in strange crouching position.
Photo Official Website

Easter morning in our local village of Fiano and like every other self-respecting Italian, Laura has closed her bar/alimentari for the Festa.  So we repair to the other bar, Caffe La Piazzetta, in the piazza where it is sunny enough to sit outside and watch the world go by.  The village was very quiet, even subdued, then the man reminded me that the Fiorentina (Florence) football team lost their match the day before.  The football results always affects the mood in the village.

The tourist invasion starts at Easter and the advance guard were five Russian men at a nearby table.  I studied these characters and noted that the leader was a bit of a loudmouth.  The others consisted of a humorist, a silent old boy, an idoliser and a bored one.  The latter went into the bar and came out with some hair of the dog to try to liven things up.  I gazed around the piazza, which is really a car park.  The big horse-chestnut trees were sprouting their first blossoms and what with the wintered in brollies now being up, it was all very relaxing.  Then I saw my man stiffen as four aliens arrived in bright skin-tight dayglow outfits and oval hard hats, floating on bicycles.  Their strangely clad feet made tapping noises as they walked into the bar, to check which planet they had landed on.  They did not stay long, and left sucking on tubes stuck into plastic bottles.  My man shook his head, “Ha, look at that, only pansies have mudguards on the back of their bikes….”

Buratta con Verdura Grilliata

Buratta con verdure Grilliate

Later, over lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ in Lucardo, the ristorante is full.  Paolo had saved us our favourite corner spot so that we could people watch again.  “Gosh, look over there, the last time I saw an outfit like that it was worn by  a member of The Who Band in the early 70’s,” my man hooted.  He was right; a beautiful purple trouser suit with flared trousers, black shiny cuban heeled ankle boots and a matching scarf thrown around the neck.  Make-up had been carefully applied and the hair was big and sprayed carefully into place.  The eighty plus year old Nonna was stunning.   “To your left June…” my man was nudging me, “Those two are the Italian version of Absolutely Fabulous!”  I tried not to laugh out loud, as he was spot on again.  Patsy and friend (please remind me of the friend’s name) were posturing two tables down to my left.  Hair and faces were almost identical to the TV stars and the clothes were so seventies.  I was starting to really enjoy myself.  I dug into my wonderful dish of Buratta con verdure Grilliate and sighed with contentment.

Earlier, over cocktails in Montespertoli, we had spotted a thirty something male with a pony tail in silver lame suit and black silk scarf, several smart jacketed ladies in tight jeans, leopard skin stilettos and matching handbags.  And the Crew-Cut Family, all ladies and three generations walking in twos, arms linked with matching black crew-cuts.  The parade from church is always fascinating.

Easter Monday, the family invaded and our granddaughter stayed on for two nights.  The grandson was recovering from a bout of asthma, so went home with Mum and Dad.  He is fine now.  My Man went to London on the Tuesday so my beautiful nine-year old granddaughter and I, had some quality girls time and far too much chocolate!

Silvio gaffes again photo Huffington Post

Silvio gaffes again
photo Huffington Post

Oh dio, Silvio has gaffed again.  SB has provoked outrage, in suggesting that Germany did not acknowledge the existence of World War Two concentration camps!  Some say it was a swipe at his old foe Martin  Schulz, the German president of the European Parliament and the centre-left candidate to lead the EU Commission.  The two previously came head to head in 2003.  SB said that his own centre-right party would pick up around 20 percent support in the up and coming elections in May.  SB claimed that his original comments in 2003 were not meant to be insulting, suggesting that MS might like a part in a film, thinking of ‘Hogan’s Heros’ and the part of the stupid guard, Sergeant Schultz!  He had thought MS would have been flattered…….!  Oh Dio…….

So, its back to the drawing board for SB and the novel for me.  I would love to hear from you, so do drop me a line.  If you would like an invite to my Tuscan Rock Concert on 28 June email june.finnigan@virgin.net

Salute June x

ps visit my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan



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Benvenuto to all my Loyal and New Followers

My apologies for the lateness of this post, but I have been battling with a really lousy internet connection….

Giorgio Armani Man

Giorgio Armani Man

My man left for London on the Monday morning and the doorbell rang in the afternoon.  I hung out the bathroom window, which is above the main gate, and thought ‘Wow, one gorgeous man leaves, then two arrive  and, my god, one of them is clutching my novel!  Both men are Italian, tall, wearing Armani suits and hand-made shoes.  “Buona Sera Signora, We have come to invite you to a meeting in Certaldo on Monday.”  I am flushed with delight.  “A book signing?” I gush.  “Err, well, a book reading actually, are you interested?”  Well this all sounds too good to be true, so to check that I am hearing correctly, I ask if they speak English.  The tallest one smiles, flashing his perfect teeth.  He takes the book from under his arm and holds it up.  Hang on a minute, that is not my book, it’s a wedge of orange leaflets.  “Please to come to a memorial for Jesus Christ.”  “Jesus Christ!” I echo.  “Yes, Signora, we will be reading err, book of Mormon…”  He opens a leaflet and shows a picture of Jesus looking very American and I swallow my disappointment.  “Oh, how nice, pop it in the post box beside you,”  I say gracefully.

Would my week get better I wondered?  Hurrah, brightly wrapped Easter eggs adorn the shelves at Laura’s Bar/Alimentari in Fiano, and there are two lotteries to buy tickets for.  I would not want any of the prizes that range from a huge box containing a tea & coffee set with fruity lemon designs, to a water filter, Easter Cake and Eggs.  Alessandro our rotund friend and local sports paper reader, has displayed some ‘attractive’ glass vases and a roulette set on a separate table, as he is representing the lottery for the local football club.  So, naturally, I buy tickets for both.   As you can imagine, there is a huge following for the Easter Celebrations in Italy and Pope Francis has already been performing in Roma.  He is so hands on with the people, that I expect to see him ascend towards heaven and then do a belly flop into the crowd like a rock singer!

A flock of common Italian men, one with olive branch. Photo J Finnigan

A clutch of  Italian men, one with olive branch.
Photo J Finnigan

In Montespertoli on Sunday, the congregation poured out of church carrying olive branches, which is traditional here.  Those wanting to be a little less obvious, had them sticking out of their pockets and handbags;  some of the women did too.

Wisteria over the car port. Photo P Finnigan

Wisteria over the car port.
Photo P Finnigan

New flowery arrivals this week have included masses of wild red poppies in the hedgerows.  In the garden Wisteria, Jasmin and Night Scented Stocks fill the warm air with heady perfume.  One could almost get drunk, breathing it in!

My man returned on the Friday and the next day we are enjoying coffee in Fiano, reading Il Terreno, which is a better newspaper than Il Nazione.  However, I do quite like the reporting on visiting Bands and theatre in the back of the latter.

A crotchity moment for Silvio Photo Il Terreno

A crotchety moment for Silvio
Photo Il Terreno

Suddenly, I am roaring with laughter!  Only in an Italian newspaper will you see a photo of  Silvio Berlusconi clutching his…..well, vital bits!  I show the picture to Laura and Benedetta who laugh and say, that all Italian men do that when they are feeling insecure.  At the age of seventy-six, SB obviously still has something worth clutching, so that’s in his favour….

Meanwhile, I forge on with the ‘Bolivian Connection’ and three more chapters are under my belt.  Farty Barty is very happy with life and the grandchildren will be here for an overnight stay on Easter Monday.  So a double dose of chocolaty Easter celebrations for them.

Ok, must finish here, as the day job is calling.

have a great week and don’t forget to check out my author page at https://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June xx




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