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Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around The World

Yes, we are still here, not quite melted into the Tuscan countryside yet, but at forty degrees it has been a close run thing!  Thankfully, we have just enjoyed a couple of days respite after high winds and rain cleared the stifling humidity.

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Packed like beached sardines on the Tuscan coast. La Repubblica.

I sincerely hope that you have not booked the next two weeks anywhere on the Tuscan coast.  This week is Ferragosta, when thousands and I mean many thousands, of Italians have flooded the beaches on their annual exodus to Al Mare.  If you want standing room only, well OK, but if you are hoping to stretch out and relax, forget it!  Anyway, It is not so hot inland now, so if you have booked an air-conditioned self-catering place or Agriturismo in this area, you should be OK.

Back in our lovely little bit of Chianti I spotted an interesting bird through the bedroom window, landing in our ancient fig tree and obviously after the young fruits.  But it was so well camouflaged once it was there, I struggled to locate it through my camera lens.  It’s only by chance that I got a picture, I just happened to be aiming in the right direction.

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Fig Tree and Mystery Bird. Photo J Finnigan

If you slightly enlarge the photo of the fig tree and look three-quarters of the way up in the middle you will see it!  A beautiful and fascinating sighting of an unusual bird.  I wondered if it was a Piculet, a type of Woodpecker, but I am no bird specialist.  I saw a flash of stripe on its underbelly or wing and a longish beak.  If any of you clever clogs can tell me what it is, I will send you a signed copy of ‘The Italian Connection’!  Otherwise, you get to see our lovely fig tree…..

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More gorgeous fashion from Gaudi. La Repubblica.

Meanwhile, I was enjoying my morning coffee in our local village of Fiano and found some beautiful Autumn Italian fashion in La Repubblica.  I must say, that Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year and I just love the colours.  The flip-flops get thrown into the washing machine and we once again start thinking about shoes; yes I know, I love shoes almost as much as I love handbags and living in Italy, were they make the World’s most beautiful creations, it can be hard to concentrate.  What is your favourite season?

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Holiday Music in Florence. La Repubblica

But lets bring you back to Tuscany and those of us who have not gone ‘Al Mare’ or to the mountains, will be enjoying lots of music over the next week or so.  Every day up until the 20th August, you can enjoy live music in the Giardino dell Orticultora, a lovely cool green place to chill out in Florence.  Go to http://www.firenzetoday.it/eventi/location/giardino-dell-orticoltura/  They do all sorts of great events throughout the year too!

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Pink Floyd releases new live album recorded in the Roman Amphitheatre in Pompeii. La Republica

And also on the subject of Music, Pink Floyd, who are celebrating fifty years of the release of their first album ‘The Piper at The Gates of Dawn,’ are regularly in Tuscany.  They can always rely of their Italian fans to turn out in the thousands and a whole page news article is no surprise.  The big news is that a new album is being released called ‘David Gilmour Live at Pompeii’ recorded in the Roman Amphitheatre in front of 2,600 lucky fans last year.  It was the first ever rock concert performed there and the audience stood exactly where the gladiators would have fought to the death.  For more information and to watch some excerpts that will give you pins & needles, go to http://www.pinkfloyd.com/news/

Well, I think that’s my roundup for the last week and may the month of August be really cool for you in every sense of the word. (Errr, unless you are in England of course, weather wise.)

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

Salute June x

Visit my author site at Author Site

2017-05-07 17.25.58

 

 

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

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The Cocktail Bar at Jam Caffe in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

So very sorry for the lack of blog last weekend, but had to dash off unexpectedly to England on some family business.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to be back in our lovely little bit of Chianti last Saturday.  If you arrive in Certaldo by train or car at around six to seven the evening, go straight into Jam Caffè next to the station and enjoy one of their wonderful cocktails.  You will find yourself winding down really quickly after your long journey.

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A reveller Al Festa dell’Unicorno. La Repubblica

‘So, what went on during the last two weeks?’ You ask.    Well, before I left for England, I read in the paper over morning coffee that Vinci, Leonardo’s birthplace near Florence, was once again hosting the Festa dell’Unicorno.  This is a crazy event into which Italians flood from miles away, purely to dress up in whatever takes their fancy.  The theme this year seemed to be ‘fantasy’ so anything went.  The Italians just love this sort of stuff!

Meanwhile, our local village of Fiano was also enjoying a weekend of Festivities, with an exhibition of old photos, music and of course lots of food, eating in the piazza, which had been cleared of cars for the three-day event.  We couldn’t get to this but the talk in La Dispensa, Fiano’s bar and alimentare, was all about it, and the flags are still flying in the village.  We’ll definitely try to get to next years events.

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Terry Davies, The Potter, chats to me as we wait for the dancing to start at La Poggiolaia. Foto Vitalita.

And, on the previous weekend, we went to the Vitalita Wine and Dance event, right next door to us at La Poggiolaiawww.poggiolaia.it  It was nice to catch up with friends and to enjoy the beautiful setting, so adored by the tourists who come back every year to stay.  The dancing was artistic, the performers wearing white t-shirts that had just been painted on the back by the guest artist.  It was all very twisty, turny and athletic.  Terry Davies the Potter, was there and he is currently exhibiting his ceramics at Pignano Art Gallery.  www.borgopignano.com

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Remembering Farty Barty. Photo P Finnigan

Lest we forget, it is hard to believe that Farty Barty the Tuscan cat went up to cat heaven a year ago!  I still miss his comforting presence and you will find a chapter dedicated to him in my latest novel ‘The Italian Connection’.  ‘Love you Barty’ xx

Meanwhile, back in the Tuscan countryside, we are now  suffering badly from the intense heat and lack of rain.  Temperatures are expected to be up to forty-six celsius this week, so you may wish to postpone your next visit to Tuscany.  But we are still enjoying ourselves, and yesterday cooked lunch for the family, eating in our lovely big Tuscan kitchen, as it was too hot outside.  My view is this, when things are not perfect, drink copious amounts of Italian wine!

OK, enough of that and time to get this blog finished and sent out to you lovely people.  Do drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net  I love to hear from you!

Salute June x

Ps Do visit my Author Site at www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

2017-05-07 17.25.58

 

 

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

Mercantia 2017

La Mercantia at Certaldo 2017. Foto from official website.

Since Wednesday, parking spaces in our local town of Certaldo, have been swallowed up by tourists, both foreign and Italian.  Why?  Because we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the hugely popular Mercantia, and today (Sunday) is the last day.  If you are going, be prepared for a very long walk in from the outskirts of town, however, if you have not been before, it will be well worth it.  The festivities don’t really get going until after six in the evening, many make the mistake of going in the mornings and find everything is silent as the revellers sleep off the night before.

Extract from the official website at www.mercantiacertaldo.it  Alessandro Gilgli – Artistic Concept.  “La grande festa (the big party) that I have in mind and that has gradually come to be is a festival that draws attention to all the possibilities and events that tend to immerse us in a unique, global spectacle, a vortex of energy. Only our festival has been able to create this in recent years. Our stage is the medieval town of Certaldo, with its red bricks and buildings, the very place for a party like ours. Like the stage of a theatre, Certaldo has offered us all its opportunities, creating osmosis, a delicate balance of all the ingredients of the festival. The stuff our dreams are made on is the materials of the artisan, the substance of our shows, the lines drawn in every direction, our people, the lights, the platforms, the attention and the experience we put into every aspect. All this has enabled the festival to create a new history for street theatre in Italy.”

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The view to the bottom of Via Giugno from Jam Caffe. Foto J Finnigan

Yesterday, Saturday, and to avoid a long walk, my man and I parked in the station car park and enjoyed  our morning coffee at Jam Caffe.  This was most pleasant, and the atmosphere was very vibrant.  So instead of being at the top of Via Giugno, we were at the bottom and a nice view we had too.

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The Boom Town Rats. Foto La Repubblica

Meanwhile, the Boomtown Rats are in Italy!  I read in La Repubblica that the band will be in Cortona on 20th July, now a popular venue for many stars, particularly Sting who lives, or should I say has a farmhouse and land, nearby.  There was a big writeup about ‘Bandaid in the 80’s’ and Bob commented roughly along the lines that the world has changed, but there is still starvation going on.

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Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, La Reppublica.

But enough of that, what about the interview with Hunky Italian Astronaut Paolo Nespoli!  At 60, on 28th July, this amazing man is returning to the stars for the third time, to undertake more scientific research.  Well, he may not be as young as my average hunk, but he is certainly braver.  Bravo Paolo, you are my Hunk of the Month!

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Festa della Fiat 500. La Repubblica

Oh, on a much lighter note, Italians so love the Fiat 500 and last week there was a big Festa to celebrate this little car.  Described as feminine, familiar and sexy in La Repubblica, in my view ‘too small and rather boring,’ but here in Italy it’s a bit like the love of the Mini in England.  So, thousands of the little blighters were travelling in convoy all over the place!

Anyway, today we are going out to lunch at Borgo Antico in Tavernelle.  We haven’t been for a while because every time I ring, the restaurant is full of families celebrating another Baptismo, so no tables available!  Fortunately, I bumped into the owner at the supermercato and she said she would keep a table for us.  I’ll let you know……

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you!

Salute June x

Ps  Visit my author site or any worldwide Amazon site or simply google me. www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

2017-05-07 17.25.58

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

The Statue of David in Florence.  La Reppubblica

The Statue of David in Florence this week.  La Repubblica.

Now, as you know, I always try to bring you fun and interesting news from Tuscany, however, just occasionally I need to talk about rather more serious matters.  The people of Italy, like everyone else with warm beating hearts, were devastated by the news from Manchester.  And the loss of so many children; so very difficult to comprehend.  In Piazza Della Donna in Florence, the Florentines woke to find the Statue of David wearing a black armband and holding the Union Flag.  Whoever did this, thank you for the show of solidarity.  The Italians, in small and large communities alike, evolve everything around their children.  I have had a number of people in our local village expressing their condolences, bless them.

 

The President and the Pope

The President and The Pope.  La Reppublica.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States has visited The Pope.  He and his family wore the traditional black and the women covered their heads in lace.   Apparently, the two men made their peace and for once we saw Donald smiling into the camera.   However, Pope Francis was grimacing, which is most unusual for our very popular Papa.

 

Dante in Pisa

Dante in Pisa. La Repubblica

On a lighter note, Pisa is currently celebrating Dante Alighieri, Il Sommo Poeta, and Fabrizio Gifuni will this evening (Sunday) be reading a selection of Dante’s works from Il Torre di Pisa (The Tower of Pisa) overlooking the Piazza del Miracoli.  This will no doubt be a very atmospheric evening, and the reading starts at ten o’clock.  Have you ever read Dante’s Inferno?  I am thinking that I must have read it at school, I do remember it being described as ‘The Divine Comedy’.  Amazing to think that his works are still celebrated seven hundred years after his death!  Of course, here in Tuscany, he remains hugely popular as he was born in Florence.  I have just read up a little more about him.  He fell in love with a girl who married someone else, so his one and only love, was unrequited.  How sad.  Well, I guess I have better read his works again, as it will come up fresh after all those years since I left the Grammar School.

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Addio Roger.  La Repubblica

Another bit of sadness was the death of Roger Moore.  He is, of course, mostly remembered for his Bond roles.  however, I really liked a TV series called The Saint back in the sixties.  The Italians love the Bond films and there was a big write-up in the newspaper saying ‘Addio to Roger’.

 

Well, here in Tuscany, it’s yet another beautiful day.  We bought four lavender yesterday to plant in a little bare patch, so more lovely perfumes to mingle with the Jasmin.  But Oh, not to forget, I must mention our new resident.  He or she is a large Viper and seems to be living under the path in the lower part of our garden.  My man, being an ex-commando, is very gung-ho about it and says just to make a noise as you near the spot, and it will run away.  Well, slide, should I say.  Well, it may run away from his big noisy feet, but I came face to face with it and it coiled into attack mode and hissed at me.  I just kept slowly walking down to the Cantina with my heart in my mouth!  I ain’t going that way again, thank you!

Well, enough of that.  We have just returned from lunch at C’era Una Volta website where I tasted tagliatelle with sun-dried tomato pesto and smoked ricotta cheese.  Phew, it was Picante!   It was delicious but I had to leave some, much to my disappointment!

So, here’s wishing you all a very good week, free of bad happenings.

Salute June x

PS Do visit my author site at My site

2017-05-07 17.25.58

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Benvenuti and Welcome to my weekly Blog from Tuscany

I returned from a week in the UK last Sunday, and I am really glad to be home in our little bit of Chianti.  It was a very exhausting time combining book events and business networking; I can now see the benefits of doing all my book marketing on-line, but it was an interesting exercise.

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My three books on sale in Fiano.  Foto J Finnigan

Of course, as an author, I am very famous in our local village of Fiano and Milko is proudly promoting all three of my books in his glass cabinet frontage at his shop in the Piazza, bless him.  After a week back home, going out for a good coffee every morning and greeting the locals, I have finally recovered from the frenetic pace of life in the cities and towns of England.  But enough of that, you have checked in to read about Tuscany, and I am more than happy to update you.

Of course, the tourist season is upon us.  Once Easter hits, everything gears up for the invasion and for us it is not unpleasant, mainly because we find ourselves people watching and offering help to hapless English-speaking tourists who are lost or confused.  Our little bit of home on the edge of Chianti is very popular with Americans, Germans, Poles, French and other northern Europeans; it is fun to try to identify nationalities by their dress code and/or language.

2017-05-07 12.02.04I must tell you that lots of Contemporary Wine and Art Events are going on around us and I should mention those run by The Vitalita Cultural Association, a number of which we will be attending.  The events include wine tasting, art exhibitions, live music and dance, in stunning locations.  So this will keep the visitors occupied when it’s raining.  Visit the English version website and event calendar

Meanwhile, back at our lovely home, I have a new baby called George.  No, not that kind of baby, it’s a new Fender acoustic guitar, which I bought back from England.  You are probably aware that I am the lead singer of The Rock Chick Band and we perform once a year at our private Concert party in June.  My lead guitarist Stefano will have to teach me to play it, so do not worry, I won’t be playing it live this year!  If you are in Tuscany on the 24th June and would like an invite, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net

2017-05-01 10.03.56So what’s been happening on the political scene?  Ah, not surprisingly, Matteo Renzi, having resigned as Prime Minister, has got himself elected back in as leader of the PD party.  Of course, he’s one of those pretty boys of politics and used to be the mayor of Florence.  The girlies love him, just like they adored Silvio Berlusconi who is eighty now, but still attracts a big following!  So Matteo could be running the country again by the end of the year!

2017-04-17 08.43.28What else, oh yes, I have to share this picture with you.  The Italian shoe designers have mastered the elegant flat shoe look and I just love these, and the handbag of course.

2017-05-05 09.19.03And finally, for now, here is ‘man and dog’ of the month.  Only Gucci can come up with such a beautiful picture.  What is your favourite fashion brand?

Do get in touch, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

 

Visit my author site at Author site

2017-05-07 17.25.58

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Auguri and Happy Easter to all my Lovely Followers

“Well, you can tell it’s the Easter weekend, there are all sorts of foreign tourists jogging past in designer running gear.”  My man sighs.  Yes, the holiday season is upon us and the atmosphere in the Chianti countryside changes completely.  As we drive along the Strada Bianca (white road, better described as very dusty gravelly dirty track) We try not to shower the unsuspecting runners with a cloud of dust, which is almost impossible.  They all end up the same colour, despite their various shades of day-glow!  But never mind, they all wave and smile, after all, they are on holiday.

Italian Easter Egg Hunt near Florence. La Repubblica

Here in Tuscany, like most other western countries, the children are off on their Easter Egg Hunts.  Il Solferino caffè bar in Certaldo this morning, rang with calls of ‘Auguri,’ which is short for ‘Best Wishes,’ a greeting used on all Festa Days.  The town was wrapped in a chilly cloud of mist and gloomy tourists traipsed around wondering why everything was closed on a festive weekend.

The new Rock Village in Florence. La Repubblica

Meanwhile, we relax over coffee with the Sunday paper and read that a Rock Village has been built to accommodate visiting rock concerts to Florence!   Ha, ha you thought I meant a village built out of rock, didn’t you!  But this is fabulous news and I love it that the Tuscans take their rock concerts so seriously, just like me of course.  In June it will host Radiohead, Aerosmith, Placebo and many more.  Also, U2 and Madonna are expected during the ‘Summer Festival of Rock’ and the organisers expect to out-do Glastonbury!  Wow!  As soon as I have more information I’ll let you know.  However, if you don’t want to have to buy expensive tickets for any of the concerts, you can always attend The Rock Chick Band’s seventh annual rock concert on the 24th June in the Chianti Hills.  If you ask nicely, I might send you a free invitation.  Email june.finnigan@virgin.net

Silvio and little Lamb. La Repubblica.

OK, what next?  Ah yes, bless him Silvio Berlusconi has been photographed cuddling and bottle feeding a lamb, which has been saved from the Easter roast.  Apparently, he, Silvio, became vegetarian last year so he definitely has my vote if he stands for parliament again.  I know, a candidate needs greater qualifications than lamb saving, but I can’t think of any politician with any.  So this has ticked one box for me.

‘English’ park bench under ‘Italian’ Ash Tree. Photo J Finnigan.

Well enough you may say, and anyway it’s time to pop down to our ‘English’ park bench, which is nicely placed under our ‘Tuscan’ Ash tree for an aperitivo before our Easter lunch.  If any restaurants are open today they will be packed.  From experience, we have learned to stay at home on Festa days.  Can’t help but feeling sorry for those tourists again when they find eighty percent of places closed and no free tables in the remaining restaurants!

So, salute, Cin Cin, Bottoms up and cheers to you all.

Amore June x

PS  I’m off to England next Sunday on a UK book tour, so may not post you a blog next weekend.  To view or buy my latest book ‘The Italian Connection’ visit any Amazon site around the world or my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My other Books.
Foto J Finnigan

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“Arrgh, I’ve broken a fingernail!” I wail.  My man is driving us towards our local village of Fiano for coffee and only a few days before I had enjoyed a manicure and had my nails painted a permanent & glorious metallic red!  The car stops.  “Do you want to go back home?”  He asked, not batting an eyelid.  He understands how important my hands, feet and hair are.  “No, no,” I groan, “but I do feel the need to lie down….”

Deep Purple on tour in Italy. La Reppublica.

We arrive in Fiano, and I have carefully removed the bit of broken nail, but keep my left hand in my pocket.  Then I am cheered to see that the papers are talking about two of my favourite bands, Deep Purple and The Patti Smith Band.  Now they are both in the ageing rocker club of course, but the Italians just love them.  Deep Purple are doing their ‘final’ tour, but they all say that then turn up a few years later on a reunion one!

The great Patti Smith on tour. La Repubblica.

Patty, who at the age of seventy-one is back here on a world tour, is just amazing.  Never one of the pretty girls of rock, but her voice makes up for it.  I have performed cover versions of her songs with my own band over the years.  I particularly love ‘Because the Night’ (belongs to lovers).  She will be here between 6th and 13th May, starting in Parma and finishing in Roma.  There are just a few tickets left for Cremona, Bologna and Rome.  Rush to http://www.viagogo.com

Charles and Camilla in Italy. La Repubblica.

Meanwhile, Charles & Camilla have been doing a grand tour of Italy, Charlie visiting earthquake sites and Camilla her grandmother’s old home in Florence.  I can honestly say that I have never seen Charlie smiling so much as he is in just about all the photos in the papers.  This is the effect this wonderful country has on everyone, of course, myself included.

The former soft orange lighting and the new white horror lights in Roma. La Repubblica.

However, down in Roma, the Romans are feeling very depressed about the new white street lighting.  The gentle orange lights that washed the city in a romantic glow have been replaced by horrible things that have turned the city into a creepy looking black and white horror movie.  People are scurrying home as if they are scared to stay long, and you can see why in the picture!

Back here in our lovely bit of Chianti, I am gearing up for a Book Promotion Tour in the South West of England.  I will be at The Oddfellows , 60 New North Road, Exeter between 5 pm & 8.30pm on the 27th April, and The Oddfellows, High Street, Exmouth between 5 pm & 8.30pm on 28th April.  I would love to see you at one of these events.

‘The Italian Connection’ is now available in paperback and E-book.  However, the official launch will be on 1st May.  If you can’t wait to read it, visit My author site or any Worldwide Amazon site of your choice.

OK, enough already.  Must get the photos uploaded and get this off to you.  Then I shall pour myself a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and go down to our lovely lower garden and sit under the ash tree.

Salute and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

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