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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 Benvenuto to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!

2018-09-16 09.51.05Well, last Sunday morning was busy at coffee time at La Dispensa, in our local village of Fiano, with lots of locals wearing their team Calambur T-shirts, in readiness for the exciting contest due to start at two-thirty.  This was going to be a hard-fought contest for the coveted victor’s banner, which the team can keep displayed in their zone for the next twelve months.  Our Fiano team is called La Fonte, and our colours are red and white.  The village was festooned with flags as was Certaldo, where the big event was to be held.  The event is a bit like the ‘It’s a Knockout’ contest we used to have in the UK and is very entertaining to watch, but taken very seriously indeed by the contestants.

2018-09-17 09.31.21At the end of the day it was La Canonica team from Certaldo who came out victors, despite our team putting in a superb effort.  La Fonte did win two years ago and I remember the beautifully embroidered banner being displayed in La Dispensa.  Oh well, there’s always next year!

41632253_2158631247686062_3080309205630976000_nMeanwhile, there has been a lot of busy preparation for the Truffle (tartufo) Hunting Season, which starts on 22nd September.  Lots of tourists include this rather exciting event in their holiday itinerary and if you visit EnvyItaly on-line you will find an article all about it.  Click on ‘Magazine’ then ‘Best Experiences in Italy’.  There are also hunts available locally to us; I can put you in touch with the right people.  Foto Envy Italy.

As I have just mentioned the magazine Envy Italy, I should also tell you that it is a new publication co-published by my very clever daughter and her friend from Ireland.  As a writer, I have been very impressed with the articles and professional way the magazine has been put together.  This is one for you if you like the very best that Italy can offer.  I love it!  Go to the website

2018-09-16 09.50.26And, so to my other love, Italian Autumn Fashion.  The papers and magazines here are filling up with gorgeous Autumn colours, my favourite time of the year.  I noticed that Burberry in England has taken on a new look, but believe me, Italian designers do have the edge when it comes to style.  I just adore this fringed coat, couldn’t you just snuggle up in it?  MaxMara’a models are not the most cheerful lot, but I have let this fact pass for once.

2018-09-16 09.36.51The other advert I found, was for a pair of comfy shoes!  Arrrgh, I hear you say, fashion and comfort just don’t go together!  I have spent a lot of years trying to combine both, and yes it’s difficult.  However, what do you think of these shoes?  Are they stylish enough or too clumpy?  I’m almost tempted to buy some, but I’m not sure…..

2018-09-14 09.37.50#1And back in the real world, yesterday, Monday, was back to school day.  Lots of nervous children and students were starting the new term and some, like my 13 nearly 14-year-old granddaughter, a new senior school in Siena!  The Italian school holidays, particularly the summer one, is very long, almost three months in fact, so parents and grandparents alike are sighing with relief.

Anyway, enough already.  Oh, in case you were wondering I am still on the hunt for September’s Italian Hunk of the Month.  So if you spot a candidate send me a pic! My email

Have a great week wherever you are in the world.

Salute June x

PS If you did not manage to download my free short story, The Man in Black, you can now purchase it for just 99p or the equivalent $ or Euro.  Go to my website at June’s Site

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

2018-09-08 09.26.33Firstly, we were really delighted to see the arrival of a community Drinking Water Fountain/dispenser in Fiano, our local village.  I am so very pleased because if this is happening in all the communities, then Italy is already making a massive leap towards reducing the plastic bottle problem.  Tap water in Italy has always been a little suspect, so the demand for bottled water has been enormous.  Now we can just refill our existing bottles with fresh still water absolutely free!  In the picture is Milko demonstrating how to use a plastic card, which you can purchase from his Cartalibreria next to the Fountain, should you want the chilled or fizzy variety.  The cost for these is only a few centesimi per litre.  Brilliant!  Foto J Finnigan.

Equally exciting is the arrival of the new red wines which many Italians like to drink young, not aged.  This year the grapes are very healthy and the harvest is expected to be an excellent one.  It is a time of celebration.

Rione "Le Fonti" Fiano's photo.Meanwhile, Fiano is gearing up for Il Calambur and the big annual dinner will be held in  Piazza Gasparri this evening.  This then marks the run-up to the Calambur contest itself,  which will be held in Certaldo on Sunday 16th September.  The contest involves the five teams of the Commune di Certaldo wearing medieval outfits, who compete to win the coveted banner.  Fiano’s team is all in red and is called Le Fonti.  The contest involves all kinds of races and intelligence tests.  It’s all sooo exciting!  Visit the website for lot’s of colourful pictures from last year.    Website

2018-09-08 08.54.39Meanwhile, I spotted this gorgeous jacket in La Repubblica as I was enjoying my coffee in La Dispensa this morning.  I know, I do go on a bit about fashion and particularly those modelled by happy models.  And, yes, Luisa Spagnoli has done it again with a jacket you could wear smart or with jeans & T-shirt.  OK, she is not cheap but in my view something like this is timeless and therefore a very good investment.  website

OK, enough all ready.  Next week I hope to have found my September Hunk of the Month and more Autumn Fashion colours for you to drool over.

2018-09-09 10.34.57Oh dear, I nearly forgot!  My man’s new Man Bag, which we purchased in Barbarino Val D’Elsa last Thursday, is really beautiful.  Hand-made (fatto a mano) and it fits his apple lap-top perfectly.  So he’ll be swanning around London posing in his hand-made shoes, bespoke suit and his new bag casually slung over his shoulder!  Don’t you just love him?  I do.

Well, must go and organise Sunday lunch.  My man wants to cook today, which means starting early and finishing late, as he has to weigh everything due to his lack of experience in the Kitchen.  He has just told me, the lack of experience is nothing to do with it, he just likes to be ‘properly organised.’  Does your partner cook? I resort to restuarants as often as possible……

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  Salute June x

PS.  Visit my official Author Site at My Site  and thank you for all your support for my short story publication!

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

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleFirstly, just to remind you that my Short Thriller story can still be downloaded absolutely free of charge from any Amazon site around the world, or directly from my site at My Amazon Site  Last day is tomorrow the 5th September!  Enjoy!

Meanwhile, back here in our beautiful little bit of Tuscany, it is the mass return to work for most Italians.  We love this time of year because shops, restaurants, Markets and caffe bars reopen after the long August holiday, which inevitably overlaps into September.  The towns and villages morph from ghost towns into bustling welcoming places, and it is such a relief.

2018-09-01 10.25.14In the countryside, the Vendemmia (grape harvest) is underway; the white grapes are already in and the red harvest is just starting.  And, droves of tourists are arriving to enjoy watching and being part of the harvest.  Many are taking organised vineyard treks that take wine lovers through miles of picturesque vineyards, stopping off for the odd tasting here and there.  A very productive and satisfying time of year.

2018-09-04 12.08.49Oh yes, I really must tell you about the discovery of a Leather Atelier in Barbarino Val D’Elsa near Tavernelle.  I was out and about with my visiting sister-in-law yesterday and went to the town, because I had seen an Artisan market advertised.  The town is a tiny hilltop place, beautiful and old, but little to offer in the way of restaurants or caffè bars.  But then we discovered the shop Colleregio (Firenze) owned by Francesco Bojola!  Well, you know what I am like with handbags, so you can imagine how I felt when we walked through the door.  Everything was handmade and beautiful, no rubbish there, oh no, and the prices reflect this of course.  To me a handbag bought from a place like this is an investment.  It also occurred to me that this was the ideal place to bring my man who has his Italian shoes and suits hand-made, and he really needed a smart shoulder bag to carry his Apple Mac and stuff whilst in London.  So we took the man in this morning and he was impressed.  The lovely owner, Francesco, will have just what is needed brought over from his other shop on Thursday, so watch this space!  Foto from their brochure.  Website Colleregio

2015-09-11 14.16.13

Whilst mentioning my sister-in-law, who likes to photograph herself in front of every old Italian doorway and under every archway, we do get to go out and eat rather more often as she likes to do this a lot.  So we have made two return trips to Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle, two to C’era Una Volta in Lucardo and one to  Osteria Casa Chianti near Fiano.  Once Tuscany has shed more of its tourists we will head up to San Gimingiano (see foto J Finnigan) for some sophisticated dining.  San Gim is better visited out of season and for eating, in the evening.  Can’t wait!

2018-08-25 19.13.49And so to the beautiful month of September in Tuscany.  As if by magic, with the arrival of the new month, the weather changed from hot and humid to sunny and fresh with the odd shower, overnight.  Although not really autumn yet, I do love this season for the weather, the return to normality and the fashions.  It is also the time for new wine and the run up to the Olive Harvest, which will be in full swing come October.  Wonderful.  Foto – our September garden – J Finnigan.

Well, what else can I say, except ‘life eeez good, life eeez now’!

Do drop me a line or leave a message below, I love to hear from you.  Visit my official author site at My website

Salute June x

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

2018-08-19 08.38.29I know you will forgive me for starting this blog with an emotional outburst about the state of our roads and bridges.  Last week was the great holiday exit to the coast and mountains, so the roads were full of happy Italians heading off for their little bit of paradise, meeting up with family and friends, some never made it…….  The loss of so many lovely people with the collapse of the Morandi Bridge is unforgivable.  There will be thousands of people counting their blessings, including ourselves, who have driven over the same bridge in the past.  We have lived here in Tuscany for fourteen years.  The first thing that hit us was the terrible state of the roads.   Roadworks and bridge repairs are started and left unfinished, the weeds taking over and years passing before the work is completed; some never finished.  We see it every day!  Thank you for listening.

20180603_104928Meanwhile, families gather round and support each other, many still on holiday and so help them, they will still enjoy the rest of the time they have on the beach.  August is not our most favourite month of the year, but nevertheless, when we sit under our big ash tree and gaze across these Chianti Hills towards San Gimingiano and beyond, where our lovely family lives, we are reminded just how lucky we are.

2018-08-19 14.15.44Other things to celebrate include Our local restaurant, C’era una Volta, which continues to serve up the best Tiramusu in Tuscany,

2018-08-18 09.07.04And, Jam Caffe in Certaldo, which continues to make the best early morning pastries  and our lovely local Villagers in Fiano who continue to smile and greet us like we are old friends.  Life eeez good, Life eeez now.  Fotos J Finnigan

And, some good news for us fashionisti.  Autumn fashions are starting to appear in the shops and newspapers.  This is my time of year for both the colours and the styles, and as my man and I will be off for a short luxury break on the coast in the near future, its time to check my wardrobe.

2018-08-18 09.49.48I love this outfit in the foto, which I spotted in La Republica.  Luisa Spagnoli website is one of my favourite Italian designers.  Did I tell you that I have dropped a dress size after I stopped drinking alcohol last January?  Living in Tuscany surrounded by vineyards is wonderful, but it can also have its negative effects.  No my friends, this does not mean I will never drink a glass of Chianti wine again, but it may be some time before I do!  Salute x

And, down in our local town Certaldo, it is time to celebrate that beautiful glossy red onion, with La Sagra della Cipolla, famous for its flavour and uniqueness.  I may have mentioned before, but I keep a stock of Certaldo Onion Marmalade in my cupboard; it’s delicious.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to celebrate and be grateful for in beautiful Tuscany.

Have a great week and do drop me a line and/or visit my author site at My site

Salute June x

PS  Just sending off my short story & thriller ‘The Man in Black’ for publishing.  It will be available to download free, so watch this space!

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