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

TELEMMGLPICT000213558850_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqN_gmPEf4gh9KGKN0H_DnHzvQzZCz4snK584jwNUNHokBefore I start, I must apologise.  I have spent most of the weekend watching the Rugby World Cup, instead of writing to you.  So I trust you can forgive me for making this blog a little shorter than usual as it is already lunchtime on Sunday!  What a great match yesterday, England played incredibly well, the poor All Blacks couldn’t even get a look in.  So today’s match  between Wales and South Africa was rather an anti-climax.  Anyway, now we know that the final next weekend will be England vs South Africa.  Make sure you diary date to watch it!  Foto UK Telegraph

Ooops, sorry, just realised that I have been waxing lyrical about Rugby and you have tuned in to read about Tuscany.   To make up for this I am posting some gorgeous fotos of the autumn colour that currently surrounds us and hope that you can enjoy it as much as we are.  The vineyards develop lines of colour due to the planting of different grape varieties in one field.  This results in the gorgeous range of colours including yellow, gold, bronze and red.  Driving through the hills this morning we were able to enjoy some autumn canvases that are difficult to photograph and need to be seen here to really appreciate.  Sorry about that. But here are some lovely shots.

 

 

2019-10-21 10.57.41I must also mention that the local farmers are very busy with the olive harvest and brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees.  The harvest started over a week ago, and whilst this year may be a little less productive due to the nasty fly again, the oil should be very nice indeed.  We also have some lovely productive pomegranate bushes.  I’m never quite sure how best to use the fruits, but I I’m sure you will come up with some ideas.  Drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net or leave a message below.  

2019-10-27 13.24.32Well, must dash off to lunch, but will add a little more to this blog when I return.  OK, I’m back and ready to tidy this blog and get it off to you.  But before I go I thought you might like to enjoy this bottle of Sticciano’s Cantastorie Rosso with me, which my man and I had with lunch at C’era una Volta Ristorante.  Ooops sorry, we finished it off.  Oh well, perhaps next time!

Have a great week and do visit my website at My Site

Salute June x

 

All Fotos, unless otherwise marked, J Finnigan.

 

 

 

 

 

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

2019-10-06 11.10.29“look at this lot, all crushed under car tires and ignored!”  My man, having been a champion player in his youth, is bemoaning the fact that hundreds of conkers are going to waste in the Piazza in Fiano, which is also a car park.  There are several big Horse Chestnut trees growing around the edge of the Piazza that are looked after quite well and pruned when needed.  They also provide shade for villagers during the summer months so that they can sit outside and enjoy village life.  But, O Dio, the poor conkers are left to be crushed by the cars!  My man decided to check this disaster out with Rossella at La Dispensa, our local alimentare and coffee bar.  ‘No’ she replied in very good English, ‘We have never heard of conkers!’  My man was visibly upset by this.  How could generations of children never have picked up the conkers, selecting the best, threading the old shoe lace through and leaving them to dry in the sun?  He decided to rectify this and between us we threaded up two conkers and took them in this morning.  Rossella and her handsome young amore, Alessio, thought this hilarious.  So we showed them how to play, rather restricted by all the breakables around us and here is a foto.  You have to look closely for the conkers, but I think my man will have started a whole new craze in Tuscany!  Foto J Finnigan

72619985_1730607577069999_7124708358690439168_oMeanwhile, yesterday evening was the big celebration party for having won the beautiful hand-made Calambur banner.  The banner was apparently made by a disabled person, I will try to find out more.  If you want to see how the Italians celebrate, here is the village crammed into the Old Cinema, enjoying a feast of home-made food and gallons of wine. Foto Rione ‘Le Fonte’ Fiano, Facebook page.

2019-10-04 08.50.13Earlier in the day I managed to capture one of the villagers and got him to pose in the bar next to the banner.  Let me introdude you to the very handsome Massimo Maccari, who always has a smile on his face and readily posed for his picture.  Sorry ladies, I have to tell you that he is happily married and the father of two children, but I promise to find you a Hunk of the Month for October soon.  Foto J Finnigan

2019-10-04 09.01.04On a quieter note, I do love Italian men’s classical clothes.  Other than my man, very few men can wear beautiful tailored outfits and still look sexy.  I know, here I am a bit of a Rock Chick, black is my signature colour, but I do like to be seen with a man who can really wear his clothes well.  My man, being ex-military and having a naturaly tall balanced frame, finds it impossible to look scruffy.  Clothes hang on him like he is made for them.  The alternative to being like my Englishman is to be born Italian, as male models here just have that subtle edge.  Don’t you agree?  Canali

2019-09-19 09.05.36Then I noticed something quite different for we ladies (I prefer to say girlies, but you know how it is).  This outfit from Fracomina is strikingly different, a subtle designer edge to the jeans and matching cuffs, very clever.  And, the jaunty little cap to set it off!  I would order this but just need to slim down a bit first……  Francomina

Mustn’t forget the most topical thing at present  is of course World Cup Rugby.  As we support both England and Italy, we have enjoyed both success and failure.  Needless to say, although keeping a brave face, Italy was thrashed by South Africa having been ahead on games beforehand.  England hasn’t lost a game yet, so fingers crossed.  Next up, they play France.

Life is very exciting isn’t it?  Anyway, must get ready for a working day tomorrow, hope you enjoy this blog and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Ps visit my website at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

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skysports-rugby-six-nations_3877729OK, what to say about the Rugby?  I am almost speechless after watching England’s terrible performance, losing to Scotland yesterday.  However, we do want to congratulate the Scots on a game well played.  On Saturday we watched a much more exciting match between Wales and Ireland, which followed a disappointing meeting between Italy and France.  Italy did put up a good show in the early stages, but they still have so much to do to improve their game.  So for us, being English and living in Italy it was a poor weekend of rugby!  But never mind, life eeez good, life eeez now!  Foto SkySport

2018-02-25 09.18.18Meanwhile, there was a snow warning in place for the region of Florence, so we have dashed to the local village and stocked up for a few days.  La Dispensa shop and caffe bar is such a godsend for us and the local people in the Fiano area.  Back in our cosy converted Monastery Farmhouse, it’s good to be in the warm and to watch the heavy snowflakes from inside my studio.  Despite this, daffodils and snowdrops are popping up; roll on spring!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-02-24 09.38.33Now, I know I go on about fashion and I know that last week I groaned about the miserable looking models on the catwalks, but I have to inform you that I am now campaigning for happy models that look as if they are enjoying the clothes they are wearing!  If you look at the pictures in the paper, no don’t, of the shows in Milan this last week, you would have cringed.  So each or every other week I will share with you a fashion shot that will make you smile.  Only beautiful things Made in Italy of course.  Foto La Repubblica.

2018-02-24 09.34.20A question; are you nervous about carrying a clutch bag?  I am, as I’m always afraid it will be snatched or I will put it down and forget it.  Well here is the answer to both those dilemmas, a clutch with a wrap around strap, brilliant and I love this one too!  Do send me a picture of your own favourite bag!  foto La Repubblica.

2018-02-22 09.06.00Back in the world of good Italian food, I just read this great article about 3D Printed Pasta!  I’m also quite keen on an artistic presentation in the right surroundings, and these creations hit the spot.  Produced by BluRhapsody in Emilia (Foto La Reppublica), you can take a look at their amazing Website

2018-02-25 09.20.40And last but not least, Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister, has written a book dedicated to their mother, called Imagine This.  It is the true story of John Lennon’s childhood.  She is currently in Italy on a book promotion tour.  Foto La Nazione.  If you are a fan of JL you may want to buy a book at amazon link

OK, enough of that.  Time is rushing by and I must get this blog off to you today.  Oh, lest I forget, I will be sending out my Tuscan rock concert invitations in early March, so make sure you send me an email, if you are not already on my mailing list.  I would love to see you there!  write to june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my official author website at June’s website

Salute June x

PS In next week’s blog, Italian Hunk of the Month!

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

2018-02-05 09.21.12Yes!  Rugby Six Nations has started and whilst I don’t intend bombarding you with unnecessary results of the first weekend, I do want to mention yesterday’s match between England and Italy in Roma.  Now, whenever I watch these two teams play I am torn between them; who am I supporting I ask myself?  My man has no such problems, he is English and an ex-serviceman, so Queen and country naturally makes him a supporter of England.  I am also English, but after nearly fourteen years in Tuscany, I am cheering both sides on and delighted with every try, conversion and drop kick.  And Italy put up a really good performance, they even scored the first try, only to lose in the end to the stronger team!

2018-02-05 09.17.28Anyway, back in the world of politics, and whilst enjoying my morning coffee at La Dispensa in Fiano, I read in La Republica  that eighty-seven year old politician Lilian Segre, has been nominated ‘Senatrice a Vita’ by the Presidente della Republica Sergio Mattarella.  Now, this either means she has been given a life sentence or made a Senator for Life.  In the picture she appears to be in a state of shock, poor old thing, so take your pick!

2018-02-01 09.19.29But let’s turn our thoughts to the world of music, which is close to my heart as you all know.  We are in the run-up to the Sanremo Music Festival.  This is a hotly contested song contest which, over five days will find a winner selected by a celebrity panel.  Of course this makes for very popular TV watching, however, if you do attend the Ariston Theatre in Sanremo, or watch it on the box, you will have to sit and listen to some pretty awful music.  The Italians are crazy for it!  A guest appearance will be made by Ornella Vanoni.  Who?  Ah, well she was a hugely popular singer donkeys years ago and this will be her first appearance in nineteen years.  Good for her, I say.  If you would like to learn more, or even buy tickets you should go to The Website

2018-01-29 09.24.39Meanwhile, at number two in the album charts, you will find the lovely EMMA, with Essere Qui, which means ‘Being here’.  Born in Florence, she is currently a bit of a Blondie lookalike, but her voice is very different.  Husky and very much a singer of the modern age, she became popular after winning Sanremo in 2012.  She also plays acoustic and classical guitar; impressive!  Hear her sing here video

OK, so what else.  Oh yes, Amore of course.  It is the run up to Valentines day, which single Italian men love and married men don’t bother with once they have snared you.  Well, so I’m told!

Well, enough of that.  Must get this blog posted to you and organise some lunch.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget to visit my official author site at June’s site

NB Fotos from La Repubblica.

cropped-2017-05-07-17-25-58

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuto and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

The traditional Carnevale in Tuscany. Foto La Republicca

The traditional Carnevale in Tuscany. Foto La Repubblica

“Ah, it’s Carnival time again!”  My man looks over his newspaper, as we drink coffee at La Dispensa in Fiano.  “I remember last year,” he continued “because I was on the plane coming back from Bristol, surrounded by a big crowd of carnival enthusiasts from Bridgwater!”   Now, he was talking about Bridgwater in Somerset, England, where they have a huge carnival every year, but nothing like as macabre and gruesome as the Italian ones so often are.  In their defence, the Italian ones are amazing to see.  Huge moving figures, loud music and bright colours.  This year the first one will be in Empoli on 11th February, then they continue through to 5th March throughout Tuscany, the biggest is probably at Viareggio.  Live carnivals will even be shown on Rai 3 television on the 26th and 28th February, if you don’t fancy going out in the cold.  So, whether you are an enthusiast or not, you won’t be able to avoid all the excitement, if you are here in Tuscany.

The forthcoming San Remo Music Festival. Foto La Repubblica

The forthcoming San Remo Music Festival. Foto La Repubblica

Anyway, what about the music scene, you ask?  Well, it’s also San Remo Music Festival time again.  I can tell you, February in Italy cannot be described as a dull or quiet time.  Carlo Conti, the hugely popular TV presenter will be playing host to all the entries from the Italian music world, hoping to be voted as the best and therefore eligible for entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.  What was that you said?  Yes, I know some of you hate this programme, but the Italians talk about little else in the bars during the four days of the festival, between 7th and 11th of February. Also, San Remo does attract a few famous stars to entertain the crowds in between bouts of the contest, and this year includes Robbie Williams and Ricky Martin!  Err, Wow?

The very versatile vegetable Carciofo. Foto La Repubblica

The very versatile vegetable, Carciofo. Foto La Repubblica

Coming down to earth and back in the local restaurants, we are enjoying the very popular vegetable, Carciofo, or Artichoke to you and I.  As you probably know, the Italians eat seasonal veg and fruit, and this time of year the carciofo is being served up in every shape and form.  Now, I love them, but my man does not, so I have never tried cooking them at home.  Anyway, why bother when you can pop down the road to a good ristorante!

Mmmm, lovely Gucci handbags to drool over. Foto La Repubblica

Mmmm, lovely Gucci handbags to drool over. Foto La Repubblica

What next, oh yes, handbags…..  Don’t you just love Italian made handbags?  I do.  I just had to share this collection of Gucci bags, I might go for the black one, as I already have one similar to the orange version.  What do you think?

And finally, sorry to end with sad news, but Italy just lost to Wales in the Six Nations Rugby.  Mind you, if you are Welsh, you are probably very happy about that.  At least we had the pleasure of watching England beat France yesterday, so not all was lost.

Well, enough of that.  Must get this blog off to you as soon as possible.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x  PS Hope you like the new background theme.

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

 

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and new followers,

main via in Certaldo alto oct 2013

The main via in Certaldo Alto. Foto J Finnigan.

Here in my our little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti, I try to write this blog every Sunday Morning; occasionally it slips over to early Monday Morning.  But today I have cleared my desk and am on schedule!  My man and I have just returned from morning coffee at Bar Solferino in Certaldo and the sun is shining, so despite the freezing temperature, it is yet another beautiful day in Tuscany.

Now you may have noticed that we are rarely in our local village of Fiano these days.  The sad fact is that Laura’s Bar/Alimentare has been closed for two weeks again and the village has fallen into the doldrums.  Bar Piazzina in the centre of the village was abandoned months ago, so now there is nowhere to get coffee!  The heart has gone out of the village and there are a lot of retired people who need somewhere to focus on.  Fortunately, there are other shops; a tiny bakery and pizzeria, butchers, chemist, Milko’s book and card shop and a post office, however, the latter is only open two days a week now.  The only snippet of good news is that the village hall has been converted into a Gymnasium for the village elementary school, so at least that’s something!

So for now, Certaldo it is, a town that manages to still be active with several bars, small shops and businesses, despite the dreadful economic situation.  Do you remember when the UK was described as a nation of ‘shopkeepers?’ Well Italy is much the same, but things are changing fast.

Elton John is coming to the San Remo Song Festival! La Nazione.

Elton John is coming to the Sanremo Song Festival! La Nazione.

Saint Jude! A new TV series starting in the Autumn! Glossy magazine at my hairdressers.

Saint Jude! A new TV series starting in the Autumn! Glossy magazine at my hairdressers.

Back at Bar Solferino earlier in the week, I read that Elton John is this year attending the Sanremo 2016 Song Festival.  Looking at the list of other ‘stars’ I only recognise one and he is Italian!  Oh, and would you believe it the gorgeous Jude Law seems to have taken his vows and will soon be starring as Pio XIII in a new TV series directed by Paolo Sorrentino.  He still manages to look sexy, lets hope they haven’t cast him as gay, but hey ho.  Apparently it will go out on Sky Atlantic and most European countries, including the UK, will be able to tune in.  Mmmm must get SKY in before Wimbledon starts this year, methinks!

On the subject of sport, have you been to Florence and watched Historical Football, known here as Calcio Storica?

Calcio Storica. Very rough, half naked rugby/football in Florence! La Nazione

Calcio Storica. Very rough, half-naked rugby/football in Florence! La Nazione

It’s unique to Florence and is a kind of rugby match, however, the players wear medieval pantaloons and are stripped to the waist!  It’s been going on for several hundred years and there are regular demands for it to be banned because of the extreme violence.  Well it’s in the news again with more complaints.  I cannot understand what the fuss is all about, if these guys want to play the game, why not!  We girlies like it…..

Siena's Il Palio says no to invite from the Queen! La Nazione

Siena’s Il Palio says no to invite from the Queen!
La Nazione

Meanwhile, the other rather rough sport, the horse race called Il Palio in Siena, has caught the interest of Queen Elizabeth.  She invited the riders and their horses to attend her next birthday celebration, but they have turned her down.  They say that for just three days, the logistics are too problematic; so Queenie can’t always get what she wants despite being in the top ten most wealthy women in the world!

Well, enough of that.  Back here in the villa, life goes on in the most pleasurable way.  The sun is still shining and if we tuck into a sunny spot protected from the cold, we might just sit out with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio.  On the other hand, if we go over to ‘C’era Una Volta’ at Lucardo for lunch, I won’t have to cook.  O Dio, these executive decisions can weigh heavily on the mind; particularly on a Sunday.  Ok, time to shut the studio down and make a decision.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS. I would love it if you visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Aroar of frustration for Italian rugby.

A roar of frustration for Italian rugby.

“England were stuffed last night, I can’t believe it!”  My man was very depressed over the Rugby results, so I try to change the subject.  “I can’t wait to get back into my book this weekend.” I say, meaning my current novel ‘The Italian Connection.”  “Oh you mean you can’t wait to get back between the covers?”  He grins.  Then his face drops again and he says, still on the subject of rugby, “Let’s hope Italy do a better job when they play Ireland this afternoon…..”  I hope so too, as I cannot have both the teams we support going out of the world cup;  our little villa will be under a dark cloud for days!

Daniel joins us for coffee.

Daniel joins us for coffee.

Meanwhile, over coffee in Certaldo we are joined by Daniel Craig.  I know, not really, but his picture is in the newspaper and I can’t wait to see the new Bond film Spectre.  Are you a Bond fan?  Oh, I also read that a Cinghiale, wild boar, was rescued six kilometres off the Calabrian coast by some fishermen.  The poor thing was exhausted and swimming round in circles!  This proves that pigs can swim!  But what’s this?  Would you believe it, six British tourists have been arrested for skinny dipping in the Fountain of the Naids in Piazza della Republica in Rome!  It was the early hours of the morning, but it is against the law to go in or throw anything into Rome’s historic fountains!  Perhaps these people would like to go back to holidaying in Spain!

Fresh salad from the farmers market. Photo J Finnigan

Fresh salad from the farmers market.
Photo J Finnigan

Back in our lovely terraced garden, we enjoy a late lunch with the sister-in-law who has arrived for seven days.  The man is off to London the next day, so immediately after lunch, he rushed around cutting our weedy lawn.  We girlies were forced to drink the rest of the wine and watch him go up and down.  Then a little flying stone hit me on the eyebrow, so he had got his own back!  Earlier, we had picked up some lovely fresh salad in the market in Certaldo and we could see all the stands going up for the afternoon’s Slow Food celebrations.  The sister-in-law and I intend wandering around tomorrow and sampling the food as my man heads off for London.  Sadly it’s now belting down with rain!

Sig Jazzman in Il Castello Bar in Certaldo Alto. Photo J.S.

Sig Jazzman in Il Castello Bar in Certaldo Alto.
Photo J.S.

Fast forward to Sunday and we drop my man at Certaldo station.  The rain is still heavy, so we trudge up Via Giugno and catch the funiculare train up the hill to Certaldo Alto.  To get out of the rain, we rush into the nearest bar and grab a table.  It turns out to be part of Il Castello, which is a popular hotel and there is yet another wedding celebration going on.  In the small bar we sip our wine and wait for the rain to stop, then discover an upright piano and the barman comes around and starts playing some jazz on it.  His English is good and he explains that he’s really a jazz drummer, and did we know that Scott Hamilton lives in the village?  My sister-in-law is very impressed and I tell him that I sing rock music.  His face drops, he’s not into rock…….

Man on stilts with the sister-in-law. Photo J Finnigan

Man on stilts with the sister-in-law.
Photo J Finnigan

Ah, the rain has stopped, so we head up the main via and visit all the local produce stalls, people are selling big porcini mushrooms and questionable looking Tartufo (truffles).  I buy another jar of Certaldo red onion marmalade, which I love with cheese, and then pop into the artisan shop to buy a little present for a friend I’m visiting in England next week.  Then we try to find somewhere for lunch, but it’s heaving with tourists, however, we manage to squeeze in for one course of pasta.  Walking back to the funiculare, giants are walking towards us!  Oh no, it is actually stilt walkers and the sister-in-law poses with one, as she likes to do, pose that is.

Well, I really must get this blog off to you as it is already Monday morning.  I’ll update you on Silvio Berlusconi next weekend.

Have a truly fabulous week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS We now know that both England and Italy are out of the Rugby World Cup – Oh No!

 

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

 

 

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