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Posts Tagged ‘Romantic Thrillers’

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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Benvenuti and Welcome to All my lovely Followers around the World,

MUSEO BEGOMost of you will know that early morning coffee at our local bar, is an essential start to our day.  The other benefit of this is, over the years, having met some lovely locals; some very interesting and talented.  One of these is the beautiful designer and artist, Gloria Campriani.  Gloria was born in Certaldo and her studio is still here.

SIMBOLI DI POTEREFor many years Gloria worked with well-known names in the fashion sector and this experience led her to choose yarn as one of the main medias for her artistic career and the use of recycled materials now plays a big part in her creations.   I love her work.  Fotos provided by Gloria.  Visit her website here.

2018-11-02 09.32.10And, by amazing co-incidence, this weekend is the Festa de Lane (wools) di San Martino, in Florence.  You will find everything you can imagine related to and /or made with wool.  Don’t you just love hand-knitted stuff?  I do.  Did you learn to knit?  I had the basics as a girl, but all my creations came out five times too big!  Scarves a mile long, and so on!

2018-11-02 09.11.25Over coffee this morning, I spotted in La Repubblica, this advert for Berwich pantalone, that’s trousers to you and me, but it was the winter knits that caught my eye.  I’d love to get the waistcoat for my man, but he may not like it as much as I do; I’ll have to ask him.  What do you think? Visit their website

2018-10-31 10.29.38Then I saw these beautiful hand-made shoes by Fratelli Rossetti.  Wow!  They are just things of beauty; if you are into flats like me, there’s no need to be dull for the sake of comfort, not here in Italy! They have a shop in Florence!  Yes!  Here is their website

2018-11-02 09.51.14Meanwhile back at our lovely converted monastery farmhouse, we are surrounded by autumn coloured vineyards.  This one is just to the left of our front gate.  Some of the most beautiful views are to be had right now.  despite the grey skies, high winds and rain.

2018-10-30 18.08.15And, last Tuesday we finally lit the log fire, having gone into denial for a couple of weeks, refusing to believe it was cold enough.  And what a joy it is, snuggled up on the sofa with my man, gazing into those warming flames!  Ah, life eeez good!

Anyway, time to think about cooking a hot plate of comfort food.  I gave my man the choice of eating out for pranzo or cena (lunch or dinner).  He chose the latter.  So best see if I can remember where the kitchen is!

Salute June x

Ps.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  And, do visit my website and register for updates!  Here

Pps.  My man just ask me if this blog is meant to look like a fashion magazine!  Am I harping on too much about clothes and stuff?  do be honest!

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

Now, I know you are reading this because you love to hear about all things Tuscan, so please forgive me for mentioning my visit to England last week.  You see, I really want to tell you about our stay at the ancient, and possibly haunted, Swan Hotel in Wells, Somerset.  My man and I were passing through and stayed overnight on the Sunday, then returned on the Wednesday night on the way to the airport.  The first night we had the body in the wardrobe scenario.  The doors were locked and we had to call room service to come and open it; it was a very old wardrobe and was firmly closed with the key missing.  The helpful man tried to prise it open but there was a nasty sound of wood splitting, so he stopped.  “Err, there’s something inside.”  He groaned.  “This has never happened before, we had better move you to another room!”

20181017_152822On our return, we were keen to hear about the wardrobe.  Did they find a body?  But they quickly changed the subject and strangely announced that they had upgraded us to the Cathedral Hotel Suite for the night!  Mmmm.  We opened the door and were swallowed by a massive three roomed suite, dripping in old gilt furniture and a huge bathroom with a freestanding copper bath!  When I went to the toilet in the dead of night, I heard a door creaking open.  When I came out, someone or something had opened the door to the old grandfather clock!  Oooooooh! Photos P Finnigan.  visit the website

Enough already.  Thursday evening and we were hugely relieved to be back in our little bit of Chianti.  I was away just five days and the Olive Harvest (Raccolta) seemed to have come and gone already!  Well, I think it has, because we could not see any olives on the trees, apart from a few stragglers.  Either that, or I hadn’t noticed how poor the harvest was looking beforehand!  Perhaps one of you locals could let me know!

20181020_135553Meanwhile, we have returned to C’era una Volta restaurant in Luccardo, to enjoy the Tartufo Bianco (white truffles).  Big shavings sprinkled over buttered pasta; food of the gods!  Some people don’t like the taste, so I’ve heard, but we just love it!  Photo J Finnigan.

20181021_112125And, it’s the time for roasting chestnuts (castagna or marone)!  The Italians love this season and are out there collecting bagfuls in the woodland.  Unfortunately, other hunters are about, the shooting kind, so things can get a little hairy out there.  The chestnuts are not just roasted, they are celebrated like so many other foods, with Festas across the country. Foto La Nazione.

20181013_091622Ah, and not to forget.  I always keep a look out for Autumn Fashion to drool over every week and I thought you might like these ‘hand-made in Italy’ shoes, from igi & Co.  Chunky smart shoes and ankle boots are all the rage here.  Visit  The website

Ok, must get on with the day job!  But, do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers. Visit my official author site at June’s 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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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-09-19 09.11.30Yes, it has been Milan fashion week and as my man and I enjoy coffee in our local village of Fiano, the papers & magazines we are reading, are full of it.  As you know I love clothes, but this year I am even more convinced that ninety percent of designers are on speed.  The bulk of the designs are any old bits of mismatched stuff, draped over or stuck to miserable looking models desperately trying to hide their embarrassment.  Basically, the outfits are unwearable.  I will not give up on the belief that it is possible to buy wearable clothes and still be fashionable.  Now, as many of you know, I am a bit of a rock chick, so I am keen on black.  However, I also love Autumn colours, so I have included an Etro picture, which is a compromise and also satisfies the gypsy in me.  The models at least look at ease, despite the fact they are not quite smiling.  Now, I took it upon myself, to go onto Etro’s website and I was impressed.   To see a video of the whole range, mostly stunning, despite the long faces and presented in Milan, go to Website

2018-09-22 10.27.19#1Another of my loves is chunky Jewellery.  To go with your autumn wardrobe, this lovely design by Angela Caputi is right up my street.  You can visit her site at Website

2018-09-22 10.26.24OK, now you are decked out in beautiful autumn clothes and jewellery why not pop down to a local bar for an Autumn cocktail.  Now here’s a great idea, fresh strawberry juice with Prosecco and topped with whipped cream and blueberries!  Mmmmm.  Foto La Repubblica Mag.

And, so to one of our favourite restaurants, Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle, where yesterday’s menu included Spaghetti con pesto di Barbabietole 2018-09-21 14.04.51Rosse e Mandorle, that’s spaghetti with Red Beetroot & Almond Pesto to you and me.  Foto J Finnigan.  It was a flavour so exquisite I scoffed the lot, despite having had a filling antipasto beforehand!  Visit La Gramola at Website

2018-09-22 18.49.25Whilst there, we bumped into our lovely artist friend Patrizio Landolfi, who has his studio just down the road.  He has just recently sold a huge abstract painting of David Bowie to a Canadian billionaire for sixty thousand euros!  2018-09-21 13.18.47-1Very impressive.  And, to think we were considering buying it ourselves……!  Well done to him and you can see more of his paintings in La Gramola restaurant.   Foto from his book Antologica & cutting from the magazine Panorama.  Visit his website at Website

I was asked the other day, what are the Autumn smells in Tuscany?  Well, right now the air is full of the smell of crushed red grapes that have left dark stains across the local tracks.  You could get quite tipsy on the smell alone!  Then of course the smell of roasting chestnuts will be with us soon and the glorious smell of white truffles (Tartufo Bianco) grated over eggs, pasta and other dishes.  And, the countryside generally smells glorious.  We are desperate for some rain, so the smell of dried grasses still fills the air.  Sadly, sitting outside is still restrictive due to the mosquitos (zanzari) that will eventually go in late October.  But it’s lovely for strolling around in the unseasonable hot September sunshine, with ones arms and legs protected!

2018-09-22 10.11.00Anyway, here is some good news.  With all the fashion fotos around, I have found us the September Hunk of the Month!  Now I may be a Rock Chick, but I do love the Italian classic look and a handsome clean-shaven face.  This is not so trendy here in Italy.  Younger men are tattooed and bearded, somehow I find this unattractive, I know that most Italian women under forty will disagree, but there you go.  I hope you like my chosen man and you can visit the designer Tagliatore at Website

OK, enough already.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  Oh, and do visit my Official Author Site at June’s site

Salute June x

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

2018-08-14 10.12.12Only in Italy will the front page of a national newspaper show the Prime Minister and other political big wigs splashing around in or by the sea!  You see, tomorrow is Ferragosta and If you are Italian you know exactly what that means.  You down tools, pack your extended family into a car, get into a crazy queue of traffic stretching for hundreds of miles, eat your way through hampers of food and wine on the journey and if you are lucky arrive at the coast or mountains by night fall!  If you are a foreign resident like us, you stock up with food and wine, batten down the hatches against the heat and stay at home.  Meanwhile, the unfortunate tourists arriving in Pisa this week, will find themselves in an endless queue trying to pick up a hire car, then another one trying to get on the FiPiLi dual carriageway, the caffes and pit stops are closed, because it’s the annual holiday and the petrol stations are only geared up for self-service cash only pumps!  When they finally arrive at their destination after endless stops in the overheated traffic queues, they find that local shops and restaurants are also closed!  So they all fall into the swimming pools, cool off and compete over who gets bitten the most by the zanzari (mosquitos) as no-one thought to pack any insect repellent.  By day three, the tourists will have discovered how best to deal with things.  The towns and villages are like ghost towns, so they eventually find which supermarkets are open, that hot pizzas are only sold in the evenings, the few available restaurants, only open in the evening as it is too hot to eat outside for lunch, and that cities like Florence are cauldrons this time of year and are best avoided.  Despite all these things they will leave after their week or two here, totally in love with Tuscany and wax lyrical to all their envious friends!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-08-14 10.17.02#1However, Ferragosta is also a week of fantastic music and theatre, if you know where to go, like Follonica over on the Tuscan coast.  For the Follonica Summer Festival go to their website

Locally, there will be firework displays and private parties to go to.  Art galleries and museums are mostly open, some with limited hours due to the skeleton staffing.  San Gimignano is a good place to go for these, if you can manage to park, or better to get a bus from Certaldo, Poggibonsi or Siena.  Expect big crowds though!  Foto La Nazione.

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On the subject of our local town, Certaldo, a recent addition to the curious things to see is a statue opposite Jam Caffe near the station.  Foto J Finnigan.  Whilst the mediterranean diet is supposed to be the healthiest in the world, this may remind you of the dangers of overindulging in pasta and pastries!  And on the subject of pasta, we met a lovely young English couple at Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle websitewho were wading through a tasting menu of nine pasta dishes!  Now, this was their own fault as they had just finished a pasta making course that morning and had no choice but to try every one.  They only had a small taste of each dish, but they were definitely struggling with the last few servings!  If you are reading this; nice to meet you guys and we hope you organised a portavia!

2018-08-12 08.56.46#1Meanwhile, down in Roma the traditional pilgrimage to visit Pope Francis is at full throttle, this year seventy thousand fans filled the Vatican City on greet the masses days.  The heat has been horrendous, so I hope there was a good supply of chilled water and holy wine.  This man has a huge following, whether you are religious or not.  It is no doubt his likeable personality and charisma combined.

Back at the ranch, or rather our lovely former monastery farmhouse home, our daughter and grandchildren arrived for an overnight stay as their house had been invaded by hornets and the spray used to rid them was toxic to say the least.  “Come on over” we had said, “We have no hornets or wasps here!”  Then the next morning my daughter found a puppy racing around our garden, obviously stuck inside the fence and unable to find its way out again.  So my man opened the rarely used lower exit gate to let it out and promptly found a wasp’s nest inside it! The puppy raced back to its owners, parked just down the lane, whilst my man got himself stung three times!  Hey ho!  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now.  And now it’s raining praise the gods, so no need to water for a few days!

2018-08-14 10.25.36And finally, to say brava to Manuela who has been drafted in from her house next door to La Dispensa in Fiano, to man the bar for two weeks whilst Rosella goes off for a hard-earned holiday on the south coast with her amore.  As you can see in the foto and after several days of practice, she can now make perfect coffee even with her eyes closed!  Bless her.

OK, over to you.  Do drop me a line and/or visit my official author site at My site for your summer reading.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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

terrazza-1_1d5e9c21dd4815517157de38d3d56952_tIt is Sunday morning in Beautiful Tuscany and we have returned from Fiano having enjoyed morning coffee and a chat with three visiting hunks from Milano.  Paolo’s (his English was excellent) father lives locally and his mother in Montespertoli.  I thought there had to be a good reason to visit our part of the world during an August heat wave, as every other Italian that can, has gone off to the coast or the mountains.  These nice looking young men apparently live near Lake Como, which is one place I would really like to visit.  anyway, I picked up another pack of bottled water and headed home with my man who is now stretched out on the sofa with a fan whizzing around full blast, and ready to take off, in the sitting room.  Yesterday, we realised that our air-conditioning unit was getting very hot, only to discover that the filter tray was completely blocked.  You may all like to check your own units!  We have had the out pipe stuffed up our chimney, but now we have realised that the hot air is heating up the metal flue and radiating the heat back into the room!  Saints preserve us!  Foto – The Relentless sun at Osteria La Case Chianti, from website.

2018-08-05 10.17.40Reading the papers I see that the Chinese and Japanese tourists continue to flood into Florence, that beautiful city that anyone with any common sense, avoids during the heat of summer.  The only difference is that it’s not the guide holding up the brolly for the faithful to follow, it is the tourists themselves that have converted their brollies into sunshades!  Foto La Repubblica.

Anyway, I’m sure my story is very similar to all you other poor souls fighting the European heat wave.  I watered the pots at seven o’clock this morning and made sure the two water bowls were full for the wildlife.  We have a large old black bucket outside our fence for the larger creatures (wild boar, deer etc) that cannot get into our pond, which is rapidly disappearing anyway.  And a smaller one for the cats, family of pheasants and visiting hare that manages to get under the fence.

Well, what else have I got to tell you.  Quite honestly, it’s been too hot to spend much time doing anything other than an early morning coffee at Fiano, then shutting ourselves in until dusk!  But I have had some new ideas for my fourth book ‘Assassin’s List,’ which is finally coming together.  Also, I must find the energy to keep up the strumming practice on my lovely Fender guitar, which sits on its stand in the corner of my study, begging to be played.  I need to change the strings to some that are better for learners, thank you John, but am frightened to death of trying to do it myself.  So I must wait for my band member Stefano to surface from his summer break!

tom-hill.jpgSo, what are you up, to apart from staggering around with your tongue hanging out and using up whole packets of wet wipes to cool yourselves down?  Perhaps Iceland would be a good idea.  My man and I did discuss moving out of Tuscany to cooler climes for a month in August last year, but here we are again, still here. Life’s events can tend to get in the way and prevent any well laid plans from happening!  Actually, I can recommend a hotel there, Iceland that is, its called Hotel Ranga, my daughter stays there regularly.  Foto from website.  Go to  Website

Gosh, am I rambling?  That’s what this relentless heat does to the brain!  I’ve even started talking to Izzy Lizard; he dashes from his vantage point above left of the cantina door, races across the side wall and hides behind the compost sacks.  But the last couple of weeks, I’m convinced he has been devising a cunning plan.  He’s started making strange cackling sounds that to me is talking, but not in a very friendly way.  So I talk back and say nice things to keep him relaxed.  Today he stopped halfway across the wall and stared at me!  I smiled, then he went behind his sacks, cackling away,  until I had finished sorting out the laundry.  He’s quite big and fat, so I think he’s the one keeping the insects down. Perhaps he thinks I’m after them too!

OK, must get this blog off to you.  Sorry about all the gobbledygook, that’s the way it is at the moment!

Have great week and do drop me a line, and/or visit my official author site at June’s site

Salute June x

PS  In this hot weather make sure your loved one is provided with plenty of chilled drinks and pampering.  Amore is the one thing that keeps us sane at times like this!

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