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Posts Tagged ‘Miss Toscana’

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

August in Tuscany can take your breath away.  Yes, it’s beautiful, but in reality I am talking about the heat, humidity and lack of breathable air!  Even in properties like our own, which is old and built of thick stone walls, you will struggle to stay cool.  The problem is the roof, concrete under tiles, which heats up during the day and fails to cool down sufficiently over night as temperatures are not going lower than around 21 degrees.  Today, Monday, temperatures will be up to 38 degrees again and wow, by 4pm we are gasping and changing into our third set of clothes.  So, it’s full pelt for our air conditioning unit and fans.

2019-08-06 09.24.37Of course the high temperatures have been perfect for the bathing beauties parading in front of the judges for the Miss Toscana contest.  Here in Italy it is still a very popular event, despite the rest of the western world frowning on the so-called exploitation of young women.  Lets face it, Tuscany has some very beautiful young women and if they choose to put themselves on show, so be it.

If this is not your cup of tea, and it’s not really mine, there is a lot going on in our lovely province.  It is the time of year for outdoor picnics, parties and festas.  A favourite site for me to find lots of organised events is at discoverTuscany  You may already know this, but you will not find most of the usual places open as Italians, by tradition, go on holiday for most of August.  But there is still lots to do.

torre-mozza2

The 15th August is Ferragosto, or the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary, which is the ‘taking of the Virgin Mary bodily into Heaven,’  whatever that means!  Anyway, everything closes on that day, absolutely nobody works, but they do play!   This week the motorways to the seaside will be nose to tail with traffic, cars loaded up with three generations and enough food to feed an army.  Unless you have already booked a hotel or apartment with their own bit of beach, you will not have a hope of finding a patch of sand to pitch your sun brolly.  Foto torre-mo222.jpg – before the invasion. Extract from discoverTuscany.

2019-06-02 09.43.55Meanwhile, I have been seeing adverts in the paper for Autumn and Winter fashions!   I never fail to be amazed at the number of successful Italian designers.  I noticed this advert for the man in your life; of course all men’s clothes look better worn by Italians, yes I know I’m biased, apart from my English man  who looks good in anything.  It seems you can even find Pal Zileri’s made in Italy clothes at Harvey Nichols in London!  I must say, I love the slightly half-mast trouser look and the flash of socked ankles.  Pity about the model’s long faces though, but we can’t have everything I guess!  Pal Zileri

20190812_132332We have just got back from C’era Una Volta our local ristorante, where it was nice and quiet and gently cooled by the air-conditioning.  Now Paolo, the owner, has a liking for hot spicy food and makes the meanest chilli sauce.  It has been said that in very hot weather you should drink hot tea to cool you down.  Well, Paolo came out of the kitchen with his own cooling down recipe, home grown baby tomatoes cooked in a very hot (picante) sauce.  Here he is displaying his huge pot of the stuff!  My man quite likes the occasional pasta arrabiata but this, whilst smelling delicious, would blow your head off!  We declined a tasting (assaggi) and went for the salsa pecoraia instead.  If you are a meat eater, Paolo will bring out your huge raw Fiorentine Steak to view before he cooks it!  All part of the theatre.

OK, enough already.  Must get this blog edited and off to you.  Back to the day job!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Salute June x

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

2017-08-24 08.58.25

Amatrice today. La Repubblica

Lest we forget, it is one year ago that the hilltop town of Amatrice was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake.  Elsewhere in Italy, lesser tremors also caused chaos and injuries.  But it was the terrible loss of life in Armatrice that really shook the country as a whole.  During this last year, the remaining unstable buildings were pulled down and the roads cleared, but little else has been achieved.  Of course the question is, should the town be rebuilt in a central part of the worst seismic zone in Italy? And if it was, the original old buildings are irreplaceable; new earthquake-proof style houses would have to be erected.  And, do the inhabitants want to go back? After a year in tents, temporary huts and hotels, they’ve had a lot of time to think about things.  Watch this space…….

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Big bunches of the famous Certaldo Red Onion. La Nazione.

On a much lighter note and back here in Certaldo, we are celebrating La Sagra della Cipolla, that’s Festival of the Onion to you and me.  But this is no ordinary onion, we are talking about that lovely sweet red onion, which is grown locally and is famous in Certaldo.  Eaten thinly sliced & raw, sometimes cooked and sold in locally made jars of marmalade, which I eat all year round.  So if you are visiting Certaldo’s Saturday morning market, pick yourself up a bunch.  You’ll love them.

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Fresh Italian Grapes on my kitchen table. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, the Vendemmia, grape harvest, is starting locally.  A little early for some but the drought has forced things forward a bit.  The good news is, we can now buy big beautiful bunches of red Italian grapes in the market and supermarket.  They are almost too gorgeous to eat, so here is a picture for you to drool over as they will be eaten over the next week!

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What next?  Oh yes, Tuscany is celebrating the selection of a new Miss Toscana.  A very pretty twenty-six year old mother called Lavinia Mannucci.  Well done to her, she now goes on to the big national contest, Miss Italia and yes, Italy still loves this sort of thing.  There were some entrants who, in my man’s opinion, did not stand a ‘hope in hell’ of being selected.  Nevertheless, they still stood up on the podium smiling nervously at the judges.  I do wonder at the initial selection process, but still admire those young women who give it a go, bless them!  Foto La Repubblica.

Oh, just a little snippet.  This week my man and I are going into Florence to visit a recommended tailor called Sartoria Vanni.  My man needs a new city suit and this will be the first time he has been to buy a bespoke Italian one.  I love these sort of places, particularly as the business has been going for 200 years!  Yes, I need to be there just to check on the style and my man does appreciate my view.  I’m also very nosy and want to see inside a real Italian Tailor’s showroom!  I’ll report back next week and you may like to visit their website

Anyway, must get this blog up and posted to you.  I have promised to cook my man a roast veggie lunch, so better get a move on.  But I hear something calling me, I sit back and listen, yes there it is a little high-pitched voice saying “Aperitivo time, Aperitivo time…..”  Mama Mia, there’s always something that stops me in my tracks, particularly when I’m expected to cook.  I wonder if I can persuade my man to have salad today, then we can relax with a nice sparkling wine?  O Dio, I can see the disappointed look on his face already; I’ll do the lunch!

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you!

Salute June x

PS Visit my author site at My site or any other world-wide Amazon site.

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