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

2019-09-05 20.34.30As I begin writing this blog, which I hope you will enjoy, I have started to sneeze and I feel a little fluish.  Well, not surprising, as we have just returned from ten days in the UK where we were surrounded by people with colds and viruses!  You may not be surprised to know that living in Tuscany, I rarely catch a cold.  We were in England for a mix of family gatherings and work, and by the time we got back to our lovely bit of Chianti, we were both exhausted.  On a lighter note we did have some nice moments, like the strawberry cocktail served up with a rosemary twig at the Italian restaurant Ask in Wells, Somerset.  We also had a good lunch at the Fountain Inn there.

70253039_373968673271567_7776131043521724416_nWe then travelled to Exmouth in Devon and cannot recomend any of the eateries or hotels there.  So other than downing a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio with my lovely school chum Jane from Spain, whilst watching some rugby on the TV in the pub, nothing nice to say!

Then on to London on the Monday for some business meetings and a couple of catch-ups.  My man and I did have a very good lunch at La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone and we can definately recommend this restaurant to you.  Funny how we always seek out Italian places to go!

70201711_1435635506595250_6944089977277906944_oBut what a relief to get home to Beautiful Tuscany and to find that yesterday our local village of Fiano has won back the coveted banner having been victorious at the annual Calambur event!  Bravi to all our lovely italian friends who participated!  This event is a bit like the UK’s It’s a Knockout which was televised and hugely popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

2019-09-03 08.20.00#1And, I read in the paper that Fiano had also won the title Contessa della Cipolla, which is awarded for the most magnificent dishes based on the delicious Certaldo Red Onion.  Wow, the talent is unlimited in Fiano.  Yes it’s that time of year again, the markets are brimming over with the locally grown beauties.  No silly, I’m still talking about the onions!

Next week I’ll bring you up to date with the Vendemia, the Grape Harvest!

Well, enough already, I must get stuck into my working week and also write a few more book chapters.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit my website at My Site

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

2019-08-31 09.28.26Well, would you believe it, Silvio Berlusconi’s ex-wife Veronica Lario has has been told by an Italian court that she will no longer receive her monthly alimony payments of 1.4 million euros, yes, read this again 1.4 million euros, from billionaire Silvia Berlusconi, as it has ruled that Silvio had been unfairly treated!  Who the hell really needs that much a month anyway?  Well, Veronica does have cash deposits of some 16 million, jewels and a real estate business, so methinks she won’t go hungry.  There will, however, be another small dent to her wealth as she will have to pay back around 60 million of alimony, which the courts said she had no right to!  Well, that’s the Berlusconi planet for you.  Meanwhile, it looks like his political career is on the rise again too!  Watch this space.  foto La Nazione.

2019-08-30 13.37.22Meanwhile, back in the real world and in my case, our little bit of Chianti, it’s fig or Ficchi time!  I love Italian figs and Paolo has just started serving them up at Ristorante C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  When the olive wood platter arrived with a wonderful display of figs and Pecorino cheeses, I couldn’t wait to dig in, then remembered you guys!  I should have taken a foto before I started eating!  Anyway, here is the last one for you to drool over.  it is also Zucchini (courgette) Flower time; Paolo’s Zucchini Flower fritters are to die for! Foto J Finnigan

2019-08-28 09.31.51Now another important indulgence for me is my four weekly visit to Sandra at La Parrucchiera in Certaldo for ‘colore.’  Sandra is my hairdresser and has been for the last fifteen years!  Fortunately, she is a lot younger than me, so should be around even when I am in my nineties.  My man understands that, no matter what my state of physical or mental health, he must get me to Sandra’s.  It is also the only time that I have the chance to read some glossy magazines and last week I spotted these gorgeous Hand Made Italian Moccasins.  As you know, I am dead against trianers as a fashion item, other than for sport.  All I can say ladies, if you want to look good in flats here’s the answer; beautiful and comfortable at the same time! Moccasins Live!

images.jpgWhere were we?  Did you know it is the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock.  Woodstock?  Now come on, even my grandchildren have heard of Woodstock and by the way, love my music from the 60’s an 70’s.  Our local village of Fiano is celebrating this momentous event in the Piazza with great food and two bands thumping out the original music!  I absolutely adore the Italians for their love of great music and bands.  Where else in the world can one be an aging rocker and be considered normal?  I sometimes include the song ‘Woodstock.’ by Mathew’s Southern Comfort in my concert repertoire.  Pop on to You tube and have a listen.

67346061_2433870966884573_7785530085527781376_nOf course the next thing we have to enjoy is Il Calambur.  This is the annual battle of Certaldo Commune’s factions (Quarteriere), ours is Fiano, which won the year before last.  The big event is held in central Certaldo and we hope the this year our village will come out on top again!  There will be sporting and intelligent tests and a lot of fun.  Put 15th September in your diary! The flags will be flying soon!

OK, it looks like I need to cook lunch today as my man has just asked for one of his favourite lentil bakes.  He’s been very loving lately, so I can hardly refuse him, can I?

I’ll quickly do a last minute edit first and get this off to you.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute june x

Ps Don’t forget to visit my website at My site

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

Rosella, manuella, Silvia.jpgWhen we first moved to this little bit of Chianti in Tuscany, some fifteen years ago, we quickly established that our closest village and community was to be found in Fiano.  We have been made very welcome despite living outside the village and being English.  We have witnessed the arrival of new babies and watched them grow up, start nursery and then school, and we have shared the joy of birthdays and romances and the sadness of loss,  almost entirely by visiting the coffee bar and spending a while chatting.  We now have some lovely Italian friends.   Thank you the people of Fiano.  In the picture are three beautiful friends from Fiano, Rosella, Manuella and Silvia, enjoying my concert in June.  Foto P Finnigan.

castiglione-di-pescaia-015It is the time of year when lot’s of music and the sound of celebrations are filling the air, people are off enjoying holidays on the coast or up in the cool air of the mountains. Foto P Finnigan – Our favourite coastal town at Castiglione della Pescaia.  

It is simply too hot to be doing anything active and I think it is time to read a few good books.  I have dedicated August to finishing the first draft of  my fourth novel, as I mentioned last week, and to at least have mastered the very basics of my birthday guitar.  And, three new flowers have just opened on my white orchid, which was a gift for my birthday last year, so that’s good news.  I also heard Phil the Pheasant call out this morning after a couple of weeks absence, whilst the foxes seem to have moved on now that they have had their fill of mulberries, but I did spot two cubs crossing the track to Certaldo a few days ago.

2019-07-31 11.33.33Meanwhile, the UK has a new government.  Apparently the Queen said to Boris Johnson, when he asked her permission to form a government, “I can’t think why you would want the job!”  She gave her permission anyway.  Well, he has a job and a half negotiating a new Brexit deal, we wish him ‘in bocca al lupo’ which translates to ‘in the mouth of the wolf’ a phrase used in Italy to wish someone good luck.  In Boris’s case it’s most appropriate!  Let’s hope the new government are true to their word and make sure we expats are not penalised!  Either way, we will adapt!  I suppose our European/UK passports could become collector’s items!

Well, last Saturday we were drowned by a deluge of rain and hail storms!  This went on for a day and a half and the temperature dropped from 39 to 15 degrees centigrade!  I can honestly say it was a huge relief after the long heat wave, particularly afteMaltempo: Arezzo, allagamenti negozi, cantine e antica piever hearing about a cornfield fire not far from us. Our area is also prone to landslides and we could see some of the banks looking precarious and ready to slide into the road!  Certaldo had five inches of water in an hour!  But we don’t worry about that.  Life eeez good, life is now!  The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hurrah!  Foto ANSAit newspaper.

Anyway, how are things with you?  Have any interesting weather or good news stories?  I do love to hear from my readers, drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Oh, and do check out my website at My site

Salute June x

PS Am searching for an italian Hunk of the Month for August – any suggestions?

PPS No-one has claimed the reading glasses left behind at my concert.  Do ask around if you know of anyone who came and have lost theirs!

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DSCN3433This is a very difficult time of the year for me, but a truly exciting one too.  Difficult, because my head is full of song lyrics as I am practising daily for my up a coming concert and this has the effect of drowning out all the other things in my brain that I need to focus on too!  Exciting because it’s the time of year to get back together with The Rock Chick Band and to make fabulous music!  My man has to keep my feet on the ground and to remind me not to forget simple things.  I keep a hard copy diary.  It’s big and red and sits on my desk and cannot get lost like a cell phone or accidentally deleted like an electronic one, things I am prone to do!  The repertoire is now finalised and our first rehearsal is on Sunday.  Email me at june.finnigan.virgin.net for an invite to the concert on 21 June here in Tuscany.

download-1.jpgMeanwhile, a visiting fox has discovered the fruits of our mulberry tree, but Phil the pheasant isn’t happy with that.  He has been noisily complaining and shooing the poor thing away.  I am also worried about the fox turning on Phil in a stand off.

250px-Fasan-male-1347.jpgPhil is quite formidable and frightening when he’s angry, but he would also make a good dinner for a hungry fox and it’s family and, he has a family of his own to protect in our garden!

porcupine1On the subject of wildlife we had the rare sight of the shy porcupine run across the track in front of us the other day.  Unlike the UK, we do not get a lot of road kill, but nevertheless it can happen.  So we were glad to see it in time.  It’s surprising really, what with the fast and crazy driving in Tuscany, that we don’t see more poor dead creatures.  We often see deer and cinghale (wild boar) cross the road, sometimes whole herds, which is fabulous to see.

20190608_110617Anyway, what next?  Ah, yes.  We have just celebrated something very special in our local village of Fiano.  The local school children worked with potter Terry Davies and The Caba Association Culturale, to create ceramic tiles to line the  front of the steps of the amphitheatre in the Gardens of Fiano.  I am so impressed with this cultural innovation and the children are so proud.  The steps were unveiled after a grand brass band performance.  Screen shot taken from Terry Davies facebook page. Terry was one of the first people we got to know, all those years ago, when we arrived in this little bit of Chianti.  He makes wonderful unique pots and ceramics, exhibiting all over the world.  You can visit his workshop and showroom in the countryside between Certaldo and Bacio, but why not visit his website for lots more info first.  website

2019-05-13 09.14.16Now back to the subject of Made in Italy and the first things to spring to mind, well mine anyway, is fashion and handbags.  In the local papers I spotted two beautiful images that I loved.  The colour red always gives me a lift and it goes with anything, so here is a beautiful shoulder bag from Felisi to drool over.  website

20190608_091538And what do you think of this frock?  I think the simple cut and the gorgeous harbour scene print is so eye-catching and irresistible.  Pop it on I say, head for the coast, then simply take a stroll.  You’ll be turning heads for sure!  You’ll need to click ‘find a store near you’ if you want to buy from this collection.  Website

Well enough of that, I’m still searching for an Italian hunk of the month, so if you have a nominations let me know!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Your summer reading can be found on my website at my site

Salute June

(Wildlife fotos from Poke Community, Living in Italy and Tierdoku.com) 

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

2019-05-29 08.55.40What’s that you said?  A European Election?  Oh, yes that one, I had noticed.  Don’t get me wrong, but I promised myself I would not write about politics this week.  But how can one ignore it, especially with the massive move to the right in many of the European countries.  But it’s hardly surprising.  Apart from Tuscany, Italy has followed the lead of the very proactive Matteo Salvini, currently the Minister of Internal Affairs, who’s Lega party has swept it’s way to a massive victory.  Sig Salvini has spent many months out and about wearing various uniforms and T-shirts, making himself as visible as possible and shutting the ports to the immigrants, as Italy is supposedly sinking into the sea with the weight of the thousands already here!

2019-05-29 08.56.31The most surprising election victory was for the Forza Italia party in Milan, where the veteran of politics and purveyor of scandal, Silvio Berlusconi, has won a place at the big round table in Brussels.  At the age of 83 there is no keeping Silvio out of the spotlight.  From a non-political point of view, I’m quite pleased to see him back, it makes for more colourful reporting.  When allegations swirled about escorts and ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties, Silvio admitted “I’m not a Saint, you’ve all understood that.”  Watch this space…..

2019-05-26 09.38.09Meanwhile, back here in our little bit of Tuscany, our local village of Fiano hit the news when it was chosen as a place to interview the locals on their view of the impending election.  We were delighted to find our favourite cafe bar and shop singled out for this purpose and in the foto you will see our lovely friends Fabio, Sandra and Rossella at La Dispensa.  If you are in Tuscany, do pay them a visit.

2019-05-22 09.49.45Well, I thought I would change the subject and talk about Italian interior design.  We live in an ancient converted Monastery Farmhouse, which has it’s original brick floors and beams.  Modern Italian furniture designs really lend themselves to old properties.  The contrast makes for a perfect blend.  As does modern art.  We have recently bought new sitting room furniture, comfortable but modern.  It is also possible to muddle in a few antique bits here and there; somehow in this property it works.  A set of modern furniture in a large high ‘ceilinged’ villa also looks great; like in the enclosed picture.  website

2019-05-21 10.03.23Then of course, if we want to get into Summery Fashion designs, I’m all for it.  The weather has been terrible and we have been out and about wrapped in winter jackets every day in May.  The poor tourists have been drenched in rain for weeks on end, however, we are reliably informed that summer starts tomorrow!  Do you get maudlin after lengthy periods of grey skies and rain?  I am a naturally cheerful soul, but just lately it’s been hard to keep a smile on my face.  Anyway, I love the relaxed look in the enclosed foto.  Whilst my signature colour is black, the occasional colourful outfit will catch my eye and this look has both.  Website

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The Rock Chick Band

So, what next?  Ah yes, the excitement is starting to build!  It’s nearly June, my favourite month of the year.  My next Rock concert is on 21st and my birthday is the 23rd.  I’m so looking forward to having a house full of friends & family and concert goers.  If you would like an invite, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

OK, I’m a little late sending this blog out, my apologies.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers at june.finnigan@virgin.net or pop your comments into the box below.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

ps visit my website at My site

Newspaper fotos extracted from La Repubblica, La Nazione.

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

Yes, I’m back, I am not 100% but feeling a whole lot better.  Thank you to all those lovely people who sent their best wishes!

2019-05-17 11.24.07Well, I always say that if you are feeling a little down, buy clothes or better still a new handbag!  And, that’s exactly what I did on Thursday.  My man felt sorry for me and offered to drive me across to Barberino val D’Elsa and my favourite atelier Colleregio Firenze.  I have mentioned this place before; for me it is the ultimate shop for all types of bag, purses, belts and hats.  However, I must fill you in with the run-up to buying this, my latest bag, and the importance of understanding how these specialist shops operate.  Or don’t as the case may be.  Two weeks ago I did the round trip to Barberino and arrived at the shop during opening hours, to find it closed!  OK, well things happen, so I decided to ring and check that they were open before going for a second time, this time with my man, and yes the nice lady said she would be there.  Guess what, they were closed!  So late afternoon I ring again only to find that the nice lady had been waiting at their other shop in Castellina in Chianti; apparently the telephone number goes through to her wherever she is!  But no worries, the shop in Barberino would open for us that evening.  We arrived and yes the nice owner Francesco, had come up from Florence to open it for us!  Thank heavens they had the bag I wanted, otherwise, I would have sunk into a bout of despair.  The moral to this story is ‘be very precise.’  If you ring a shop, make sure they know which shop you want to go to, as they may have more than one, If you turn up on spec you may be disappointed.   It was all worthwhile, I love my new bag!

2019-05-17 09.13.57Anyway, Last weekend was a pink one.  Yes, pink or Rosa in Italiano.  Montespertoli and Certaldo were bedecked in pink balloons and flags as it was the first time that the big cycle road race, Giro D’Italia, had passed through in sixteen years.  Pink is the colour for this very popular event, the winning cyclist ended up being presented with, yes you guessed it, a pink shirt!  There was a lot of excitement being generated in our local village of Fiano, which is half way between the two towns!  The Tuscans love a festa and especially if it involves cyclists!

STREET_FOOD_web.jpgAnd, this weekend was another celebration, that of Street Food!  Certaldo hosted a street food festa over a long weekend in Piazza Boccaccia, which is normally the central carpark.  I walked through it on Friday evening and it was heaving with people and children enjoying the fairground type rides.  I couldn’t help but notice two tourists who had obviously arrived by train, pulling their cases through the crowd heading for the funiculare, the little cable train which would take them up to the safety of Certaldo Alto, the historical centre.  They both looked scared to death!  There had also been a train strike that day, which only ended in the early evening!  Poor things.  But they will love Certaldo Alto!

My other reason for being in Certaldo was the need to get a lawyer to certify a copy of my passport and identity card for forwarding by email to London.  I won’t bore you with the whys and wherefores, but it turned out to be another Italian learning curve.  Never expect anything to be straight forward.  The very nice lady avvocato explained that whilst she was a lawyer, there were different types.  In Italy, one type could do certifications, another could not.  She finally agreed to do it as we explained it did not matter to the London lawyer which type she was, just her signature would do nicely.  Two hours later, we emerged having had her very obliging assistant do all the necessary scanning and emailing, so let’s hope the London guys are happy.

2019-05-07 09.11.00But enough of that.  Life eeez good, life eeez now!  back in Fiano and reading the papers over coffee, I notice that a new film is about to be launched simply called Leonardo.  You may think that there have been enough films and documentaries made about the great man, but apparently this is not the case.  I really enjoyed the Medici films so I will look out for this one too.

2019-05-13 09.09.18OK, where are we?  Oh yes, just a little cautionary story.  Italy is a very welcoming country and particularly Tuscany.  But down in Rome, some not very nice eatery charged two tourists 81 euros for two hamburgers and coffees, which is totally unacceptable.  So just beware of the tourist traps!

And, to end on a much brighter note, the sun has just broken through the rain clouds and my man is taking me out to lunch at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  I went to the manicurist yesterday, so will be flashing my bright orange fingernails!

Have a great week, I certainly will!

Salute June x  Visit my website at my site

PS  Great to see Mick jagger almost back to normal.  Rock on that man!  I will be performing ‘Paint it Black’ at my concert on 21 June!  Email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net for an invite.

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

2019-05-04 17.30.23Well, who’d have thought it.  The first week in May and we have been swamped with rain and thunder storms.  Una bomba d’aqua!  If you are visiting, do not be dismayed; when the sun comes out even briefly, you will see the how the light will change and once again everything becomes an artist’s dream.  Just stand still in the countryside, no electronic equipment please, hear the rain dripping off the trees, soak up the lush view of many shades of green and the glut of white Acaccia and Elderflower blossoms, oh and the bright yellow Broom.  The perfumes will intoxicate you, and then you will see that 3D effect as the sunlight picks up every hill and valley, every row of trees and vines, it will take your breath away!  Close your eyes for a second, open again and you will see that you overlooked the steam rising from the valleys as the hot sun starts to dry things out.  Then there is the birdsong, the Cuckoo, newly arrived Bee Eaters, the Hoopoe and all the other beautiful regulars.  Well, enough said.

2june_2007_367.jpgThe bad weather prevented us from going down to Certaldo on Sunday morning for the annual parade of I Bersaglieri (Marksmen) who are the wonderful running infantry soldiers who wear plumed hats.  We watched them arrive in town last year, running and playing their brass instruments at the same time.  They are so impressive to watch and I must say the leader was a bit of a hunk.  Do go on to Youtube where there is some great footage.  Also visit Wikipedia to read about their fascinating history.

20190504_165739Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano we are all delighted to welcome the lovely Gabriella Carbini and her Ceramic showroom and studio, Ceramiche D’Arte Carbini.  The ‘shop’ is in the main street, Via Firenze, and is full of beautiful traditional ceramics for you to drool over.  Your problem will be what not to buy!  In addition to the ceramics, Gabriella (on the right in picture) will be pleased to welcome small groups to demonstrations of her work in her studio.  You can telephone her on (0039) 346 418 8211 or email ceramichecarbini@gmail.com  We attended the opening yesterday evening and can’t wait to go back and start buying things!

2019-05-05 10.18.16Still in Fiano and enjoying coffee at La Dispensa, I read an article about the dark side of Italy, that being the Italian Mafia.  Of course they have always been around but more predominantly in the south.  We do not see much evidence of their existence here in Tuscany, but then we are not really looking for it either!  Anyway, this article was about a new film release called Il Traditore, The Traitor.  The Plot is about revenge and betrayal revolving around Tommaso Buscetta, “boss of the two worlds”  It is directed by that great master of film, Marco Bellocchio and will be released on 23rd May.  Watch this space!

2019-05-04 09.45.20And, on a much brighter side, the lovely Fiorentine Iris has once again survived the winter and is standing proud in the garden.  I had promised to post pictures of our new potted plants but due to the heavy rain most remain under cover and will be planted as soon as we have a rain free day.  So I hope you enjoy seeing the Iris!

Anyway, enough already, time to get this blog finished and off to you.  I love to hear from you so do drop me a line.  Oh and visit my website at my site

Salute June x

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