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Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

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

Now, if you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that it is very rare for me to grumble.  However, I hope you will allow me one gripe having almost got past the final Christmas, New Year and Befana celebrations here in our little bit of Chianti.  As you know the Italians love festas.  That is the excuse to take time off for a day or more and celebrate with family, friends, good food and wine.  Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.  Last Sunday was the final celebration called Befana, when the good witch pays a visit to all the Italian children to check if they have been good or not, and then award them with presents or a lump of coal.

2017-12-31 09.35.11The next day I thought, hurrah, we can get back to normal, ditch or plant the Christmas trees that many of us are allergic to, the shops will all be open and the post office will be functioning.  How, after nearly fourteen years living in this beautiful bit of the world, could I forget that Befana also heralds the start of a week’s holiday for thousands of Italians, when many shoot off to ski destinations!  Last Monday I found a note in my post box, telling me that a long overdue Christmas parcel was waiting for me at Certaldo Post Office.  So I waited in the usual queue and arrived at the counter feeling pretty relaxed.  “Sorry Signora” the male counter assistant said, in Italian of course, “The sorting office is still on holiday, you will have to come back tomorrow!”  Take note, the date was 8th January…..  I took a deep breath and walked back out into a hail storm and did not have a brolly with me!  OK, grumble over, I went back the next day and got my parcel.  Foto La Repubblica

2018-01-15 08.55.09And on the subject of skiing, you would love the Dolomites in Northern Italy this time of year.  Very crowded mind, although from next week onwards most of the Italian tourists may have finally returned to work.  Meanwhile, a little further north in Austria, our brilliant female ski team have just won the World Championship and good for them I say!  Are you a keen skier?  I have always wanted to ski, but never got round to it.  Too many other priorities I guess.  My man skied in Norway with the military; when you next see him, ask him about his experiences, he loves to talk about his wooden skis!

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Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, we continue to enjoy morning coffee and despite the owners, Fabio and Sandra, being on holiday, their lovely daughter Rossella (on the right) was running things at La Dispensa.  She and I always speak in English and at normal speed so that she can even further improve her very good command of the language.  Relaxing over coffee and the newspapers here, always starts my day off brilliantly. Foto J Finnigan.

Well, must get my head around completing my column for Expat Focus and complete a short story called ‘The Man in Black,’ which I started a few years ago.  My man has, over the last few weeks, inspired me to go back and finish it.  So watch this space for news of its publication.  Or, if you have not yet registered for updates on my website, go to June’s Official Website

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

PS My fourth novel ‘Assassin’s List’ is also progressing well!

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Friends, Family and Followers around the World

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As the last sunset of the year settles into a wonderful fiery horizon after a week of stormy clouds, we look forward to a year of wonderful achievements and even greater love, good health and friendships.  Here in Tuscany we raise a glass or three to those who cannot be with us this evening, but will be soon, and to those around the world no matter how far away.  fotos J Finnigan and La Nazione.

Have a wonderful 2018 and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you,

Salute June x  My Official Website

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Father XmasCongratulations to our lovely winner, Molly in Florida, for correctly answering the question ‘What was the real full name of the Italian Assassin Sapphire, in my second novel The Bolivian Connection?’  Yes, the answer was Francesca Maria Bencini.  Molly was the first name out of my man’s Father Christmas hat and my trilogy will be on its way to her tomorrow!  Well done too to the three runner ups who all receive a book of their choice.

May I take this opportunity to encourage all you readers to buy books as presents for Christmas, so that we can enjoy the peace and quiet this will bring, as we toast our toes in front of the fire, sipping a warm mulled wine, engrossed in some fascinating story!

Happy present buying and speak to you next weekend.

Visit my official author site at June’s website

Salute June x

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

2017-12-02 09.57.26The Italians, being Italian, just adore the Festive Period.  If you want to be anywhere in the world this time of year, you will love it here in Tuscany.  All the main towns and cities are now up and running with Mercate di Natale, that’s Christmas Markets to you and me. These lovely ladies were in the nearby town of Empoli on 1st December, making sure that everyone knew what time of year it was!  As if we could forget….. Foto La Nazione.

2017-11-29 08.49.56As I write this blog, I realise that I also need to get out there and start buying up all the goodies, after all, it’s only three weeks to go!  Now, in case my family are reading this, handbags, scarves and books are at the top of my list….  Whilst even I read books on my Kindle, I still like to own real things.  Foto La Repubblica.

2017-12-01 09.36.43Now, if you are likely to indulge in a little more Prossecco than normal, you should be aware that here in Italy, one may not be able to outrun the latest Polizia car, which is in fact a Ferrari!  Yes, that’s what I said, a Ferrari.  The drivers of the local less impressive Polizia vehicles are fast enough, and that’s both male and female; but put them in a Ferrari and god only knows what will happen on our narrow windy roads!  foto La Repubblica

2017-12-02 09.52.46But enough of that, lets look at what is happening in the world of Music.  Well, if you fancy a little romantic singing by a handsome, if getting on a bit, Italian crooner then you could book yourself a couple of tickets for Claudio Baglioni’s 2018 tour.  Claudio has performed with many famous people, including Pavarotti, in recent years.  He’s also a very good pianist.  Go to Hear Claudio sing now!  Foto La Nazione

2017-12-03 12.55.19Meanwhile, my man and I decided to revisit Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle, which we have not been to for over two years.  It’s funny how one can forget how good a place is, and we were reminded by being served up a delicious bowl of pumpkin soup with gluten-free bread for me and stuffed vegetables with potatoes.  My man had a mix of crostini with various veggie toppings, followed by spaghetti tossed in pepper and pecorino cheese.  All absolutely yummy.  I bought home a piece of their traditional Siena Cake, which has all the flavours of the traditional English Christmas cake, but is actually made of crushed figs, fruits and nuts. I can’t wait to eat it!  Go to Osteria La Gramola  They also do very popular cooking courses!  Foto J Finnigan

2017-12-01 09.34.232017-11-29 08.46.57Now I cannot go without sharing some of the gorgeous winter woollies and handbags currently available in Florence, my favourite shopping place.  These can also be bought on-line, so don’t worry if you can’t get here this year.  Snuggly Cashmere and woolly wrap around coats with matching bags, beautiful! Fotos La Reppublica.

Oh, very important, don’t forget to ensure that your name is in my man’s Father Christmas hat, to stand a chance of winning my Book Trilogy, The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.  Only three days to go!  Visit the Events page on my website at My Author Site

OK, enough for now, but do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and see you next week.

Salute June x

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

Now, for me, I cannot think of anything nicer than unwrapping a book or three at Christmas and with this in mind, I have discounted the price of my three paperback books by around 20% from now, right up until Christmas!  The discount is available on all worldwide Amazon sites.  If you prefer e-books, then you can download in an instant!  Go to Click to buy now!

Father XmasMeanwhile, here is a little festive competition for you!  I love this sort of thing, and you can do it on Christmas Day by telling your family you want an answer to be found in a certain book.  So they all dash off to find the book, then scour it for the answer to your question.  If you do it several times, you will end up with a pile of books in the middle of the floor, but you can later occupy the children by having then replace the books back on the shelves, for a reward of course, whilst you relax in front of the fire with another glass of warm punch!

snowman-wallpaperAnd here is your question!  In my book ‘The Bolivian Connection’  what was the real full name of the Female Italian Assassin code-named Sapphire?  Her two christian names and surname please. (Hint – Chapter 27)  And your reward?  The chance to win the complete Trilogy in paperback, signed and dedicated by me, or left blank if you prefer.  The three runners-up will receive one book of their choice, signed or not, the choice is yours.  Send your answer to me by email to arrive no later than Saturday 9th December, and your name will go into my man’s Father Christmas hat.  On Sunday 10th, he will dip in and withdraw four names.  I will then personally email to let you know if you are a winner.  So, if you have the answer, send it to me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Exciting, isn’t it?  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Xmas TreeNow if you want to be absolutely sure of obtaining a signed book, you can purchase one on my website and pay with paypal.  Go to My website

Next weekend, I’ll be sending you a normal blog, with lots of news about the build up to the festivities in our little bit of Tuscany.

Meanwhile, do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and don’t forget to visit my Official Author Website at My website

Salute June x

PS The competition is open to all readers, so do not hesitate to forward this to friends and family!

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The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers,

Simone Armelani in Bar Fiorentino

Simone the wicked cocktail maker and artist. Foto J Finnigan.

It is a beautiful sunny Sunday morning here in Tuscany, and the perfect day for heading over to Montespertoli, a small town just fifteen minutes from us, for the Festa di Pane, Olio & Tartufo. (that’s bread, Oil and Truffles to you and me.)  If you can’t make it today, the Festa will be on again next Sunday and is open from 9am to 8pm in the Piazza Popolo, on both days.  The Festa is all about celebrating the Autumn produce from the locality and in addition includes Vino Novello, Cheeses, Artisan Beers and lots of other goodies for you to try.  Montespertoli has always been one of our favourite places, for the cocktails made by Simone at Bar Fiorentina and the gelato in Piazza Popolo, both owned by the same lovely family.  Spending a relaxed hour, on a late Sunday morning outside the geletaria watching the world go by, is the perfect way to enjoy one’s aperitivo or gelato or both.

2017-11-11 09.31.31Meanwhile, first thing this morning we enjoyed coffee in Fiano and picked up on the latest news in the papers.  I was excited to read, for you other Rock fans out there, that Guns N’ Roses will be performing at ‘Firenze Rocks’  in Florence between 14th and 17th June 2018!  And there’s more; also listed are Ozzie Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Pearl Jam and lots more!  I’ll post a link for tickets as soon as I hear more.  It was nice of them to check that these dates did not clash with my own concert, which is on 22nd June!  If you would like a personal invite to my Garden Party Rock Concert in Tuscany, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Foto La Repubblica.

2017-11-10 10.17.13Continuing on the same subject, we must not ignore that fabulous Italian Rocker Jovanotti, who has just announced his tour dates for next year.  My daughter and granddaughter went to one of his concerts in Florence, and raved about it for weeks.  The tickets are on sale NOW, so you had better get your skates on if you want to nab some.  Foto La Repubblica.  Go to Ticket Sales

I know when my man reads this he will say, “There’s an awful lot about rock music this time June.”  So I can only hold my hands up and argue that all the above info came at once, and I could not ignore any of it.

2017-11-10 08.52.04Anyway, for those of you who would like a little more about  our beautiful bit of the Chianti countryside, here’s a nice ‘good morning Tuscany’ foto, which I took just two days ago from a window at back of our house.  In our part of the world, in between the clouds the sky is a brilliant blue, all year round.  Ah, life eeeez good! Foto J Finnigan

2017-11-12 21.12.57Now, before I go, just a quick mention about the pile of felled tree trunks that, you may recall, were dumped just down the track below our front gate.  It’s now four times the size and has a red a white crime scene tape around it!  Did someone guess we were having devious thoughts about pinching a few, or is there a body underneath?  Either way, we decided to leave things alone, use our own logs and light the first log fire of the season, and very nice it was too!  Foto J Finnigan

Well, I have promised my man some home cooking for lunch, so it’s off to find the kitchen and prepare my tried and tested cauliflower bake and roast potatoes.  I know, nothing Italian about that, but the wine is the real thing!

Next week I will have some news for you about my Christmas Books Special, and also announced on my Official Author Site at June’s Site Watch this space!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

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

“It says here that I should not drink alcohol whilst taking my new Opium tablets!”  I groan.  ‘What did you say?’ I hear you all gasp.  Panic ye not, I have just started a course of herbal tablets containing a little Opium, doctor’s orders I hasten to add.  My man grins down at me from his lofty height and says kindly, “Don’t worry June, you’ll cope, it’s not as if you are addicted to wine, after all, you only drink one glass at a time!”  Humph…

2017-11-02 09.03.00Anyway, enough of that, lets look  back at the week, after all, that’s why you are here.  Well, like most other countries in the world, Italy celebrated Halloween.  In fact, the Italians go crazy for it, young and old dress up in the most outrageous costumes and parade around the streets wearing death masks!    The next day is All Soul’s Day, or Day of the Dead, when everyone remembers their dear departed family and friends.   The graveyards here are quite spectacular, always lit by red candles or lights, and masses of flowers both fresh & false, so the effect is a glittering welcoming place.  There is a mix of concrete buildings where the dead are laid one on top of another, family tombs and graves in the ground, all attended regularly and kept bright and cheerful.  I think some of the larger cemeteries should be included in Cultural Tours; I’m not sure if that would be allowed, but you can nip in and walk around anyway.  Foto La Repubblica.

20171031_111427In the run up to Halloween, all the shopkeepers enter into the ‘spirit’ of things, including my man’s favourite Panetteria in Certaldo.  In the picture, you will see the staff behind the counter wearing little hats and the counter loaded up with cakes and goodies for the festivities.  On Saturday mornings, whilst I do the fruit, veg and cheese shopping in the mercato, my man pops down Via Giugno to get bread and sometimes Pizza for supper.  He says, it is the best bakers in the whole area!  Foto P Finnigan.

Olives ready for picking 2Meanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, the last two weeks has been busy with olive picking.  Foreign faces are everywhere; some come for the much-needed work, whilst others treat picking olives as a fun holiday.  Brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees and not one little olive will be overlooked.  Sadly, the harvest has been rather small this year, following the terrible summer drought.  However, the resulting oil is absolutely delicious.  Foto J Finnigan.

20171103_090819There has also been lots of tree felling.  Mostly small-leaved oak trees, that are now in a big pile a few yards from our front gate.  It’s a sad sight, I always feel a little bereft at the thought of any tree being chopped down, but I guess the woodland does need managing to some degree.  My man bought a new chainsaw last year and he has yet to use it.  The temptation to go out there with his boy’s toy, is eating away at him!  He reckons we could pretend that we thought it was our own log delivery!  O Dio!  Anyway, behind the pile of  logs the vineyard is looking very beautiful and it won’t be long before all the vines are bare.  So we should relax and enjoy it, not think about pinching other people’s logs!  Well,on the other hand…..  Foto P Finnigan

2017-11-05 13.14.17Gosh, it’s nearly lunchtime and I should go and get changed.  It’s currently thundering and raining, so we need to go over to C’era una Volta’ in Lucardo and enjoy the hot food, wine, the company of good friends and forget the weather.  On arrival my man orders some fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and toast, because he wants to taste the new stuff.  The oil is Paolo’s own and the colour alone tells you how recently it has been cold pressed.  Yummy!  Foto J Finnigan

OK, time to go, have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  Oh, and keep a watch out for my Christmas Book Promotion, starting soon!  Visit my Official Author Site at June’s Site

Salute June x

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