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Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

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

imagesIt’s a shame really.  Italy’s Rugby team are getting a little better at the game every year, but a little is not enough.  As English fans living in Italy, my man and I support both England and Italy and our hopes of victory in the Six Nations, still lie shakily with England.  But to watch England pulverise Italy with a win of 57 – 14, was rather sad.  Great that England have those extra points, but we would love to have seen the Italians put up a better fight.  Hey ho, next time I guess.  Image from the Guardian.

2019-03-10 10.11.40Anyway, on a much lighter note and what with all the fashion parades going on, I did spot this rather lovely outfit in La Repubblica.  But, as I was about to take this foto at La Dispensa this morning, I was approached by a very sweet local Signora who loves to talk about her one and only visit to London a quarter of a century ago.  So, I’m trying to take the foto for you, and she is pulling up a chair and kissing me on the cheek.  She is about four-foot-ten so she did not think much of the outfit I was photographing.  Anyway, I listened for at least ten minutes and understood about eighty percent, which is a way of helping with my language skills I guess.  Eventually, she must have seen my eyes glass over, as she  finally stood and went about her shopping.  Bless her.  Anyway, I finally got the foto!

2019-03-09 09.51.52Where was I?  Ah, Sock Shoes.  Now these seem to be the latest thing here in Italy.  They look very comfortable, but methinks you need slim ankles or long legs and preferably both to set them off.  But then I also feel the same way about the fad for trainers with everything.  If you are short or dumpy, they are so unflattering!  What do you think?

2019-03-09 09.49.40Back out there in the world of politics, which I have not talked about recently due to the confusing nature of everything, we are about to have the European elections.  Now my man and I are allowed to vote, but what or whom do we vote for?  Look at these two Joint Deputy Prime Ministers that make up the head of the coalition government.  They are like a couple of cry baby siblings, with completely opposing views, no wonder things are all over the place!  Listening to the rumblings over coffee at Fiano, there is a big desire to return to the Lira, which to me also smacks of wanting out of Europe.  At least by watching the way the Brits are cocking things up, there will be a lesson learnt on how not to do it!  Watch this space.

2019-03-10 10.10.42But enough of that, I saw this interview in the paper and whilst you may not recall her name, Giovanna Ralli, you will remember her beautiful face.  This Italian actress was hugely popular in the 60’s and at the age of eighty-four, still looks stunning.  There have been many Italian actresses who graced the cinematic screens over the years, more than you may realise.  Giovanna made her first film in 1942 at the age of seven and her last one in 2013.  She was nominated for numerous awards and was awarded the Golden Globe for her career in 1975.  Recently asked if she would be making any more films she retorted I’m eighty, why not?

2019-03-07 09.46.01And, here is another thing of beauty and made in Italy, the new Ferrari F8!  But what’s this, I here you say, they’ve painted it blue!  Now I always thought Ferrari were traditionally red, but my man who knows about these things, says not.  Anyway, methinks that whilst I need a new car it is too low slung for our dirt track roads, so perhaps not.

OK, time to get on with the day job, am a little late in posting this blog, sorry about that.

Have a great week and do contact me if you want a Rock Concert invite for June 21 here in Tuscany.  Email june.finnigan@virgin.net  Visit my website at my site

Salute June x

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all My Lovely followers around The World,

2019-03-03-10.11.50Yes, Spring has sprung early this year, hopefully we won’t get another nasty cold snap and kill things off. Bees have been buzzing for the last couple of weeks and I learnt recently that they take nectar from dandelions if there is nothing else available, so don’t dead head those weeds yet! Other insects are appearing as are small creatures like lizards, which is a little worrying as animals are starting to come out of hibernation a tad too early. Our resident Viper will no doubt appear soon; she had a big nest of swirling babys last spring. Our resident pheasant Phil, is sending out mating calls from various perches around the garden so we look forward to seeing one or more hens arriving.

2019-02-28-14.35.06This is also the time of year for finding Wild Asparagus. These are not the big thick stems you find in the supermarkets, oh no. They are lovely thin stems often missed growing amongst grasses that resemble them and under brambles. Well, you know me, I let other people hunt them down and then I buy and cook them. I was delighted to find a big fat bunch in a pot of water, just waiting to be grabbed by me at La dispensa in Fiano. There was enough for me to eat them three days running. Now, most of you know I am not the greatest of cooks; I like to do things the easy way. I snapped off the tough bits, then steamed for about five minutes, dropped them on to some baking paper, drizzled with olive oil, topped with pecorino cheese & pine nuts and baked in a hot oven until the cheese had browned. And, hey presto! I know you are out there clapping, which I appreciate.  I just hope my friend and neighbour the celebrity cook Judy Witts Francini isn’t reading this, she would probably hold her hands up in horror.  A local signora told me I should make risotto with them, but that’s too much like hard work.  PS you should go to Judy’s site and buy her wonderful Tuscan cook book!

2019-02-21-10.08.00Today is Sunday and the forecast is for temperatures up to 17 degrees centigrade! Well, I braved it this morning, popped on some thin tights and flats, so glad to have my feet out of boots. Meanwhile, I have been thinking about spring jackets and coats. Why is it that on every change of season, I find myself with nothing to wear? My man is horrified when I say this, he says I have a wardrobe full of stuff, how can I have nothing to wear? But you girls understand, don’t you? Then I saw this rather lovely coat in a magazine at Sandra’s hairdressers, perfect for the cool to warm weather, what do you think? I love it. And, the bag too!  But I could only find the bag on the website, which is a rather nice one, website that is, so I will have to do a bit more research!  Ah, I’ve found it in the Sale section!  The site is obviously still work in progress, so not brilliant to negotiate.  But the clothes are really gorgeous!

2019-02-26 18.21.30OK, enough of my fashion indulgences and time to go off for lunch at my daughter’s home between San Gimignano and Volterra.  Meanwhile, here is another sunset picture; it’s the time of year for fabulous skies every night.  Enjoy.

And, don’t ever say that I never indulge the man I love.  I do not eat or cook with eggs, but for him I am persuaded to cook pancakes on 5th March as it’s pancake day and he misses them more than words can say.  Bless him.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Visit my website at my site and email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net if you have not already received an invite to my Tuscan Rock Concert in June.

Salute June x

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

Italy is said to be the land of romance.  Having lived here for fifteen years, I can honestly say that if you want to find romance, Tuscany is as romantic as it gets.  I have been inspired to write every day since I arrived here and I cannot help but write ‘Romantic’ thrillers.  Yes, Italy has its dark side too, but that makes it all the more exciting.

961db7f4-40e3-4875-b1d5-a8478c4edf3eAlong with the rest of the western world, we have just celebrated San Valentino, when the single men chase replacements for their Mamas and single women chase men for love and romance.  Maybe that’s a little unfair, we do have a number of single men locally who are happy to stay at home with Mama and have the occasional dalliance.  I hope you found your valentine last week!

images.jpegBut back to romance; I have just read a lovely article in The Florentine Weekly  all about the origins of ‘Bacci Chocolates’ in which it features this gorgeous painting called, yes you guessed it, ‘The Kiss’, by Francesco Hayez (1859).  Bacio means kiss and I was really surprised to read that the chocolate was invented in 1922 by the founder of one of my favorite clothing designers, Luisa Spagnoli!  You can either bite the top off for the hazelnut, or put the whole thing in you mouth and let it slowly melt and disintegrate leaving you to crunch on the nut later!  Yummy.

cover-issue-2Gosh, how does one follow that?  Well, if you are not already here, you are likely to be dreaming of Italy right now.  A fabulous magazine that will have you drooling even more is Envy Italy Magazine, a gorgeous hard copy and on-line publication, which brings you everything that is luxurious about this beautiful country.  Issue two features an interview with the fabulous Andrea Boccelli, and that’s just a taster.

Well, back to my own daily living and simple things like enjoying morning coffee at La Dispensa in Fiano, reading the papers, greeting the locals and driving back through gorgeous vineyards and olive groves to my heavenly spot on the edge of the Chianti Hills.  Oh, am I still at it, painting a glorious picture again. So sorry, just can’t seem to help it!

2019-02-18 09.04.50Now, most of you know that my other love is Italian Fashion and I spotted this beautiful cardigan by Elena Miro  worn by a happy smiley model, and just waiting to be ordered on-line.  It has fringes, which I really like.  I know, I’m indulging again, but a bit of shopping therapy does me the power of good.  Where do you shop?  Send me your recommendations.

Well, enough of that, the sun is shining, there’s washing flapping in the wind, a pheasant calling and, if I were to start drinking again, a very nice glass of Chianti is in easy reach.  But I’ll just dream about that for now.

OK, time to get this blog edited and send off to you; am already a day late!

Do have a great week and drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Visit my website at June’s Site

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

Yes I’m back and busy catching up on the news and events in our little bit of Chianti and beyond.

2019-02-08 08.52.41In February, It is possible to fill one’s diary with events, particularly Art Exhibitions.  I love galleries, they have a sense of calm away from the madding crowds, unless you go on the opening day, which I avoid.  Whilst drinking my morning coffee in Fiano and reading La Republica, I noticed an article about finding Italy, that is historically, in Art form.  Just look at these fabulous pictures by Italian greats that include Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Francesco Hayez and Federico Zandomeneghi painted between the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  They really bring the era alive.  This Grand Exhibition is open now through to June.  Visit The Website

2019-02-06 09.13.41Then I saw another article and a completely different medium; the modern work of Maurizio Monti.  What draws me to his paintings is the intense colour and the combining of the beauty found in the female form and flower petals.  A sort of fairy like fantasy that reminds me of book illustrations done in the 1930’s.  His exhibition is at Florence Art Gallery now until 23rd February.  Do try and go!

2019-02-05 09.20.13Meanwhile, this past week has been all about the Sanremo Music Festival.  Yes, it happens every February, a ‘so very Italian’ music contest to find the best singer of the year.  You either love it or hate it.  However, this year it was co-hosted by Claudio Baglioni who is celebrating 50 years crooning at the microphone.  I have to say, he has aged rather well, despite the white hair he is looking and sounding rather good.  If you hang on a minute, I’ll pop onto his website to get you some more info.  OK, I’m back.  Now to be honest, whilst he is hugely popular here in Italy, his music is not quite up my street.  Despite that, I think we can award him the longevity medal and nominate him aging Italian Hunk of the Month!  Google Sanremo 2019.

Now what’s this?  Veganism seems to be taking over the world including The Vatican.  Mind you, my Italian translations are not always perfect but I am sure I just read that The Pope has been offered money if he makes Lent Vegan!  Well who am I to comment on this?  I am almost a vegan, other than my love of cheese (sorry).  This has something to do with Paul McCartney and other celebrities.  When I find out more, I’ll let you know……

2019-02-06 18.13.52Anyway, this time of year in Tuscany is great for sunsets.  Also the air is cold, but clean and fresh.  And, when the sun shines it’s possible to sit outside in direct sunshine, as long as you are in a sheltered spot protected from the wind.  So life eeez good, life eeez now!  Foto J Finnigan

Am currently working hard on my fourth novel ‘Assassin’s List,’ which continues the Adventures of Joanna Wilde.  Do let me know if you spent any time in Havana during the mid-1990’s, I would love to talk to you about it.

But, for now, it’s time to conjure up some Sunday Lunch.  My man needs some comfort food.

Do get in touch, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

My website

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Low flying Air Balloons on a covert mission? Foto P Finnigan

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely Followers from around the World,

This is just a quick message to assure you that you are not forgotten.  I have been preoccupied by a temporary health issue and am having to focus on this.

Meanwhile, here is a lovely picture from Tuscany for you all to enjoy.

Back soon.

Amore June x  My website

 

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

January is a funny old month, here in our little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti.  Whilst a lot is going on, it remains a difficult period to organise restaurant lunches and visits to galleries.  January is considered a time for closing down for a bit, until the return of the tourist season in March.  Hey ho!

2019-01-19 09.11.17#1But otherwise, it being the season of fashion, last week was the mens’ time for strutting their stuff, this week has had the newspapers full of Bimbi Pitti (children’s) fashion.  Now I am a little out of touch with children’s fashion outside of Italy, but here the kids are very fashion conscious and from an early age.  Black is very vogue and apparently styles are currently being influenced by the Rock Music scene!  Well, at least the Bimbi will be growing up with a taste for good rock music; I hope.  Addio to the pastel shades we kids were adorned in, and that’s not a bad thing methinks.  What do you think?

xbirrao-dell-anno-2-680x454.jpg.pagespeed.ic.qat_nctg3gSo what else is going on? I hear you ask.  Well a great news magazine to follow, particularly for Florence and surroundings is The Florentine.  I’ve mentioned this publication before and I follow it regularly, it’s also in English and can be subscribed to online if preferred.  Events include HOPS/Brewer of the year, (there is and increasing number of micro-breweries popping up in Italy) A shop Vintage event and International Ice skating Awards. Busy, busy.  The Florentine

And there’s a lot more stuff going on here locally.  If you are interested in our local village of Fiano, go their Facebook page at Alfiano Fiano.

2019-01-20 09.24.52OK, what next?  Oh yes.  The children returned to school last week and much is being talked about regarding the state of the buildings.  Some students went out on strike as the temperature in the classrooms were as low as 10 degrees centigrade!  Of course, we are now formerly in recession here (again) so spending on the essentials is not always happening.  In today’s paper was an article about a survey of the under 18’s. The new young people (Giovani) mostly love school and their teachers. They have had enough of disputes and want to get on with preparing for the future.  My man and I arrived here nearly fifteen years ago and so a whole new generation has grown up during that time.  Fifteen years ago, society seemed thirty years behind us Brits, but the new Giovani seem to have caught up and cut the time difference down by at least half.

2019-01-18 09.30.55#1And moving to the much older generation, which includes the Peter Pan of politics Silvio Berlusconi.  Yes, Silvio is back!  At the age of 82, and as leader of Forza Italia, he is campaigning for the March elections for the European parliament.  This assumes it hasn’t fallen apart by then, the parliament that is!  Anyway, Silvio has a way of putting a bit of colour back into the world of politics.  You either love him or hate him, either way, it makes for an interesting time.

Meanwhile, I am cracking on with my latest novel, Assassin’s List, which is taking my heroine to Italy and Cuba.  If you have any experience of visiting or living in Havana in the mid 1990’s, I would love to hear from you.  Exciting isn’t it!

OK, have a great week and do drop me a line.  Oh and visit my author site at My Site

Salute June x

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Buon anno and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-12-15 09.05.25Yes, I’m back and what a pleasure it is to be writing again after all the flus and viruses of last year.  As I sit in my studio, the sun is pouring through the window, brightening up the day with all the promises the New Year will bring!  But before we move on into 2019 properly, I would like to thank the lovely family at La Dispensa in Fiano, Fabbio, Sandra and Rossella, for providing that lovely warm atmosphere where we can enjoy our morning coffee and read the papers every day.  In the picture, beautiful Rossella stands next to the hand-made designer Christmas Tree on which we happily hung our names like all the other customers.

2019-01-08 09.44.25So what is happening now? I hear you ask. Well down in Florence it’s the time of year for the male fashionistas to be strutting their stuff.  Yes, it is the annual Pitti Uomo, when mens’ fashions are celebrated and anyone who is anybody will be proudly walking the streets hoping to be photographed.  Yesterday was the last day and we went into the city for Lunch.  We did not strut, but there were many that were.  This foto is obviously not in Florence, but purely on the basis that they are real men & gorgeous fashion models, I shall nominate them as joint Hunks of the Month for January!

2019-01-11 13.44.10Now lunch was a bit special, because our beautiful daughter the editor of Envy Italy magazine took us to lunch at the iconic restaurant, Sabatini Firenze, which is under new management.  The restaurant is about to undergo some modernisation, but limited by the fact that it is a historic building and its interiors are to be retained for posterity.  It has a fascinating long history and just about every famous person has dined there from Frank Sinatra to J.F.Kennedy.  A new website will be launched shortly and an exciting future awaits the new owners and staff.  We enjoyed a very artistic tasting menu and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Thank you Sharon. Envy Italy magazine

20190107_153007#1Meanwhile, back in our local town of Certaldo, I finally got around to framing some pictures as a little New year treat.  I just love artisan framers, the smell and the atmosphere just sends me into a heavenly bubble.  Bologni Arreda, another well-established family business, are framers to the world.  Eighty percent of their frames are shipped overseas.  It’s so good to find a successful business in our own back yard.  Here is a framed picture of Farty Barty my former writing buddy, who went up to cat heaven a couple of years ago, drawn in coloured crayons by my talented sister-in-law Jane. Framers

2018-12-25 12.58.45Back in our lovely, if rather overgrown winter garden, a stroll around revealed all sorts of colourful wild flowers and weeds.  Also, what with all the damp morning mists, some fascinating fungi.  It’s really cold at the moment, so gardening may have to wait a little longer.  My man and I would quite like to start a raised vegetable garden, but that’s another project for another time.  I would love to hear from you if you already have one!

2018-12-31-09.15.15.jpgOh yes, lest we forget, Italy and Tuscany in particular, is also celebrating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo di Vinci’s death.  So 2019 is going to be teeming with tourists visiting all the exhibitions and celebrations.  Leonardo of course, was born  near Florence at Vinci, just north-west of the city.  We visited some years ago, a lovely place.  So if you are fascinated by this historic genius, get booking your hotels ASAP.

46813756_2030275983685025_7214526595980066816_oAnd what of the Music Scene?  You ask.  Well, as you know rock music is my main passion and from that point of view I can tell you that a lot is happening.  You may be interested to know that I follow D’Alessandro & Gallo’s site which is smack up to the minute with touring bands and performers.  In March we will see Tears for Fears, Mark Knopler, Elton John and many more.  The Lucca Summer Festival and Firenze Rocks in June/July have line-ups to die for.  And, of course, my own band will be playing on 21st June near Certaldo!  Watch this space.  Music Scene site

OK, time to get this blog off to you and to wish you all a fantastic 2019.

Salute June x

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