Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

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

2017-08-27 10.38.52

Fresh Tuscan Grapes on my kitchen table. Fot J Finnigan

As we strolled through the carpark in Fiano on Saturday morning the air was full of the sweet smell of crushed grapes and back in our little bit of countryside the cracks in the tarmac outside Villa Bacio were full of wine overflows, you could almost get drunk on the fumes!  So yes, the vendemia or grape harvest is almost complete and the new young wines are already being drunk by the locals.  What a wonderful, if noisy time of year!

2019-09-24 17.43.53#1Earlier in the week two copies of that gorgeous magazine Envy Italy arrived.  I do like the hard copies, but you can also read it free on-line, so no need to miss out!  My beautiful daughter Sharon is joint Editor of this lovely publication, which is full of everything you need to know about the best things that Italy has to offer.  The theme is ‘Eat, Stay, Love’ and this Autumn Winter edition has a focus on  ‘gourmet’ featuring the finest foods and wines in the Country.  Wonderful features too, so go on spoil yourselves! Envy Italy Mag

71796519_2400600350203552_4456049627824652288_oMeanwhile, Fiano is preparing for the formal celebration of the winning the much coveted banner at the Calambur event a couple of weeks ago!  If you woud like to meet the locals and join in the celebrations get your tickets ASAP!

Something else to celebrate here in Italy is the wonderful range of mouth watering cheeses.  Italy’s main source of milk for cheesemaking is from the herds of sheep, many are moved across the countryside herded by shepherds from one bit of pasture to another.

download-5.jpgThey are often assisted by the big gorgeous white Maremmena sheepdogs, easily mistaken for sheep, which certainly fools any predators! The resulting cheese is called Pecorino (Italian for sheep) and is truly delicous ranging form a very soft young version to a very mature hard one.  Other cheeses to love include Buffala Mozzarella and the creamy soft Burrata, which I adore, the latter being made from both cow and sheep’s milk, so you woud need to check if avoiding Lactose.  Foto petGuide.com

2019-09-30 09.19.49Meanwhile, yesterday Sunday, the weather was lovely and Roberto Manetti, our local sculptor, finally unvieled his lovely sculpture, ‘Le Speranza che Le Mani’, which does not easily translate into English.  So perhaps one of my local Italian readers might send me the English version.  The sculpture shows three of Roberto’s charming little characters holding hands across a globe, which signifies to me the reaching out in friendship across the world.  I love it.  Foto J Finnigan

2019-09-29 10.51.44#1And, the final celebration of the week was Silvio Berlusconi’s 83rd birthday.  Well, love him or hate him, he keeps forging on, at the edge of the political scene with his long suffering and much younger fiancé, Francesca Pascale, who was absent from the birthday party in Arcora.   How long are you normally a fiancé?  It’s been a few years now.  I wonder who is postponing the wedding; Silvio, Francesca or Dudu the dog.  There are rumours……watch this space!

Well, enough of that already.  Time to get this blog off to you lovely people and relax in the sun before lunch.

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

Salute June x

PS  visit my website at My site

 

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

2017-05-07 17.25.58

The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

Yes, it’s Milan Fashion Week and one of my favourite designers, Luisa Spagnoli, has done it again.  Just wh053_en you think a fashion designer has reached her zenith, she goes to even greater heights!  I have just watched the video of her latest collection and just drooled over the beautiful flowing and very wearable outfits.  Somehow, she manages to turn beautiful fabrics into clothes that are comfortable yet gorgeous and sexy.  Here she is surrounded by her celebrity friends and fashionisti.  Look for yourselves and let me know what you think!  magazine + video

2019-09-22 09.04.22Meanwhile, that other great Italian beauty and brilliant actress Sophia Loren, has been celebrating her 85th!  Can you believe it?  she still scrubs up very well indeed and why not I hear you say.  For me Sophia will always be the most iconic Italian actress of all time.  She was so good at serious and funny parts, playing opposite the likes of Peter Sellers and Marciello Mastroianni.  I have a whole collection of DVD’s and, dare I say, old videos of her films that I will watch again at Christmas!  Just noticed in the paper that she accompanied eight-five year old Valentino to his Green Carpet Fashion Award ceremony!  Rock on Sophia!

2019-09-22 08.59.31Back in our local village of Fiano, my man and I take our morning coffee and read the newspapers at La Dispensa.  By the way, La Dispensa translates to The Larder.  An English friend thought it was a little confusing because it sounds like Dispensary, which is normally found in Chemists.  So here you are, the true meaning is correct as it is a grocers, butchers and bar combined. Back to yesterday’s paper and I noticed an advert for a new Festive Art Exhibiton at the famous Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.  This one I must attend as it brings together the likes of Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso!  It starts on 28 September and runs until 12 January.  Yes, I know, yet another excuse to have lunch in Florence!

2019-09-22 08.57.05Meanwhile, September is the month for the Annual Slow Travel Fest, which is hugely popular and takes walkers slowly and gently through the Tuscan countryside whilst stopping off for wine and food tastings, Art and Music.  What a lovely way to spend three days.  Go to Travel Fest

20160305_143212Roberto Manetti, our lovely sculptor friend and all round nice man, has donated a sculpture to Fiano, but oh no, heavy rain has postponed the unveiling so make sure you are there next Sunday 29 September at 7pm instead!   The sculpture will be unveiled in the Communual Gardens behind the apartment block opposite La Dispensa.  My man and I visited Roberto’s studios a couple of years ago, his characters seem to be part of their own world of little people and, most of his works have a little dog or cat looking out.  I just love them.  See next week’s blog for pictures of the actual event!

Well, must get this posted and get on with my current novel!  I love to hear from my readers, so do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS Both Italy and England have won their first round Rugby matches!  Hurrah!

Visit my website at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

2019-09-05 20.34.30As I begin writing this blog, which I hope you will enjoy, I have started to sneeze and I feel a little fluish.  Well, not surprising, as we have just returned from ten days in the UK where we were surrounded by people with colds and viruses!  You may not be surprised to know that living in Tuscany, I rarely catch a cold.  We were in England for a mix of family gatherings and work, and by the time we got back to our lovely bit of Chianti, we were both exhausted.  On a lighter note we did have some nice moments, like the strawberry cocktail served up with a rosemary twig at the Italian restaurant Ask in Wells, Somerset.  We also had a good lunch at the Fountain Inn there.

70253039_373968673271567_7776131043521724416_nWe then travelled to Exmouth in Devon and cannot recomend any of the eateries or hotels there.  So other than downing a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio with my lovely school chum Jane from Spain, whilst watching some rugby on the TV in the pub, nothing nice to say!

Then on to London on the Monday for some business meetings and a couple of catch-ups.  My man and I did have a very good lunch at La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone and we can definately recommend this restaurant to you.  Funny how we always seek out Italian places to go!

70201711_1435635506595250_6944089977277906944_oBut what a relief to get home to Beautiful Tuscany and to find that yesterday our local village of Fiano has won back the coveted banner having been victorious at the annual Calambur event!  Bravi to all our lovely italian friends who participated!  This event is a bit like the UK’s It’s a Knockout which was televised and hugely popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

2019-09-03 08.20.00#1And, I read in the paper that Fiano had also won the title Contessa della Cipolla, which is awarded for the most magnificent dishes based on the delicious Certaldo Red Onion.  Wow, the talent is unlimited in Fiano.  Yes it’s that time of year again, the markets are brimming over with the locally grown beauties.  No silly, I’m still talking about the onions!

Next week I’ll bring you up to date with the Vendemia, the Grape Harvest!

Well, enough already, I must get stuck into my working week and also write a few more book chapters.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit my website at My Site

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

image

My books

Read Full Post »

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

2019-08-31 09.28.26Well, would you believe it, Silvio Berlusconi’s ex-wife Veronica Lario has has been told by an Italian court that she will no longer receive her monthly alimony payments of 1.4 million euros, yes, read this again 1.4 million euros, from billionaire Silvia Berlusconi, as it has ruled that Silvio had been unfairly treated!  Who the hell really needs that much a month anyway?  Well, Veronica does have cash deposits of some 16 million, jewels and a real estate business, so methinks she won’t go hungry.  There will, however, be another small dent to her wealth as she will have to pay back around 60 million of alimony, which the courts said she had no right to!  Well, that’s the Berlusconi planet for you.  Meanwhile, it looks like his political career is on the rise again too!  Watch this space.  foto La Nazione.

2019-08-30 13.37.22Meanwhile, back in the real world and in my case, our little bit of Chianti, it’s fig or Ficchi time!  I love Italian figs and Paolo has just started serving them up at Ristorante C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  When the olive wood platter arrived with a wonderful display of figs and Pecorino cheeses, I couldn’t wait to dig in, then remembered you guys!  I should have taken a foto before I started eating!  Anyway, here is the last one for you to drool over.  it is also Zucchini (courgette) Flower time; Paolo’s Zucchini Flower fritters are to die for! Foto J Finnigan

2019-08-28 09.31.51Now another important indulgence for me is my four weekly visit to Sandra at La Parrucchiera in Certaldo for ‘colore.’  Sandra is my hairdresser and has been for the last fifteen years!  Fortunately, she is a lot younger than me, so should be around even when I am in my nineties.  My man understands that, no matter what my state of physical or mental health, he must get me to Sandra’s.  It is also the only time that I have the chance to read some glossy magazines and last week I spotted these gorgeous Hand Made Italian Moccasins.  As you know, I am dead against trianers as a fashion item, other than for sport.  All I can say ladies, if you want to look good in flats here’s the answer; beautiful and comfortable at the same time! Moccasins Live!

images.jpgWhere were we?  Did you know it is the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock.  Woodstock?  Now come on, even my grandchildren have heard of Woodstock and by the way, love my music from the 60’s an 70’s.  Our local village of Fiano is celebrating this momentous event in the Piazza with great food and two bands thumping out the original music!  I absolutely adore the Italians for their love of great music and bands.  Where else in the world can one be an aging rocker and be considered normal?  I sometimes include the song ‘Woodstock.’ by Mathew’s Southern Comfort in my concert repertoire.  Pop on to You tube and have a listen.

67346061_2433870966884573_7785530085527781376_nOf course the next thing we have to enjoy is Il Calambur.  This is the annual battle of Certaldo Commune’s factions (Quarteriere), ours is Fiano, which won the year before last.  The big event is held in central Certaldo and we hope the this year our village will come out on top again!  There will be sporting and intelligent tests and a lot of fun.  Put 15th September in your diary! The flags will be flying soon!

OK, it looks like I need to cook lunch today as my man has just asked for one of his favourite lentil bakes.  He’s been very loving lately, so I can hardly refuse him, can I?

I’ll quickly do a last minute edit first and get this off to you.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute june x

Ps Don’t forget to visit my website at My site

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

image

My books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

IMG00020-20100501-1931I would like to mention the passing of my lovely Mother-in-Law Marie at the age of 93.  Marie spent just over a year living with us in Tuscany and she absolutely loved the language, the people and the restaurants.  She had learnt a little Italian and, whilst she mispronounced many words, like absolutamente instead of assolutamente, we loved her for it.  She had a marvellous singing voice and could reach all the high notes, singing along to Andrea Bocelli; her favourite was Ave Maria of course!  Forever with us, darling Marie.  Foto P Finnigan

2019-08-17 08.52.15Back here in our little bit of Chianti it is the weekend after Ferragosto, and this year we feel almost completely abandoned.  La Dispensa in Fiano remains open, bless them, for coffee and groceries catering for the few of us still here and the tourists.  Reading the paper I see that 95% of Fiorentines have abandoned Florence for the coast or mountains, although some museums and art galleries remain open.  This seems even more than last year!  Roads are empty of traffic and most shops and venues will remain closed now until the second week in September; the Italians will try to stretch the holiday out as far as they can, love them!  Roll on September.

2019-08-16 09.13.36Meanwhile, the papers are full of politicians frolicking in the sea sporting more than just a little too much belly.  Parliament is in complete disarray, the alliance is imploding in on itself, so we would not be surprised to see elections in October.  Funny that, probably also in the UK……

2019-08-15 08.39.08But what’s this?  We also read the news about Trenitalia, our famous Italian train service, part owned by the government, is now an invested partner in in the UK’s London to Scotland High speed Rail Link!  Italy does have a very good high speed service, linking Rome and Milan, Florence and Venice and several other places and, the fares are not high like the UK.  In fact travel by rail in Italy is probably the cheapest way to get around,  Just a warning though, when checking on train times, also take a look at the section on train strikes (sciopero(i), which is updated regularly due to the tendency for rail staff to strike as often as Italians take days off for festivals.

2019-08-15 08.22.44But, enough of this.  Just a question, do you love trainers?  Am I the only one who really dislikes trainers, except for sport of course, particularly worn with skirts and worse, evening dresses!  I think they make the wearer look clunky or indeed frumpy in some cases.  They also encourage people to stomp around, forgetting how to walk with a little bit of style or elegance.  Also, men’s feet have become too soft for army boots!  My man is an ex-Royal Marine and is horrified at the inability of young men joining the forces to wear the necessary tough boots.  In the paper I found this crazy Italian guy who has a huge collection of the things.  Well, it takes all sorts to make up a world, I guess.

OK, lets get back to the real world, which ain’t so bad.  The weather has cooled a little at night and the really high daytime temperatures have dropped to between 28 and 32 degrees, so that’s a relief.  But I am now informed that it’s going to get hotter again!

OK, lets get this blog honed and off to you.  Hope you enjoy it and do leave your comments, or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Salute June x

PS Do also visit my website for updates on my books and events.  My site

2017-05-07 17.25.58

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

August in Tuscany can take your breath away.  Yes, it’s beautiful, but in reality I am talking about the heat, humidity and lack of breathable air!  Even in properties like our own, which is old and built of thick stone walls, you will struggle to stay cool.  The problem is the roof, concrete under tiles, which heats up during the day and fails to cool down sufficiently over night as temperatures are not going lower than around 21 degrees.  Today, Monday, temperatures will be up to 38 degrees again and wow, by 4pm we are gasping and changing into our third set of clothes.  So, it’s full pelt for our air conditioning unit and fans.

2019-08-06 09.24.37Of course the high temperatures have been perfect for the bathing beauties parading in front of the judges for the Miss Toscana contest.  Here in Italy it is still a very popular event, despite the rest of the western world frowning on the so-called exploitation of young women.  Lets face it, Tuscany has some very beautiful young women and if they choose to put themselves on show, so be it.

If this is not your cup of tea, and it’s not really mine, there is a lot going on in our lovely province.  It is the time of year for outdoor picnics, parties and festas.  A favourite site for me to find lots of organised events is at discoverTuscany  You may already know this, but you will not find most of the usual places open as Italians, by tradition, go on holiday for most of August.  But there is still lots to do.

torre-mozza2

The 15th August is Ferragosto, or the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary, which is the ‘taking of the Virgin Mary bodily into Heaven,’  whatever that means!  Anyway, everything closes on that day, absolutely nobody works, but they do play!   This week the motorways to the seaside will be nose to tail with traffic, cars loaded up with three generations and enough food to feed an army.  Unless you have already booked a hotel or apartment with their own bit of beach, you will not have a hope of finding a patch of sand to pitch your sun brolly.  Foto torre-mo222.jpg – before the invasion. Extract from discoverTuscany.

2019-06-02 09.43.55Meanwhile, I have been seeing adverts in the paper for Autumn and Winter fashions!   I never fail to be amazed at the number of successful Italian designers.  I noticed this advert for the man in your life; of course all men’s clothes look better worn by Italians, yes I know I’m biased, apart from my English man  who looks good in anything.  It seems you can even find Pal Zileri’s made in Italy clothes at Harvey Nichols in London!  I must say, I love the slightly half-mast trouser look and the flash of socked ankles.  Pity about the model’s long faces though, but we can’t have everything I guess!  Pal Zileri

20190812_132332We have just got back from C’era Una Volta our local ristorante, where it was nice and quiet and gently cooled by the air-conditioning.  Now Paolo, the owner, has a liking for hot spicy food and makes the meanest chilli sauce.  It has been said that in very hot weather you should drink hot tea to cool you down.  Well, Paolo came out of the kitchen with his own cooling down recipe, home grown baby tomatoes cooked in a very hot (picante) sauce.  Here he is displaying his huge pot of the stuff!  My man quite likes the occasional pasta arrabiata but this, whilst smelling delicious, would blow your head off!  We declined a tasting (assaggi) and went for the salsa pecoraia instead.  If you are a meat eater, Paolo will bring out your huge raw Fiorentine Steak to view before he cooks it!  All part of the theatre.

OK, enough already.  Must get this blog edited and off to you.  Back to the day job!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at My site

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

image

My books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

458A8440_paginabeach.jpgWell, if you were here in Tuscany at this very moment, you would be amazed to find hardly any British or American tourists in the area.  Even the papers are talking about the huge drop in tourists from outside the Eurozone.  The beaches of Versiglia, a typical high-end resort north of Pisa and usually packed solid with Russians and Americans, was photgraphed with empty sun-beds as far as the eye could see.  We have to face it, exchange rates are apalling at the moment.  One pound sterling will only buy you 1.09 euros today.  When we came here nearly sixteen years ago, we could buy as much as 1.49 euros!  This will change of course, but at this moment in time it seems to be having a profound effect on the tourist industry! Foto trip advisor.

2019-08-02 21.15.52But lets not worry about that.  Just up the road from us is our most frequented ristorante called C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  We quite like it when it’s quiet, but on Friday evening Gianlucca our favourite waiter, was outside trying to wave down the traffic!  Then he disappeared down the road to Bon Hugo, the pub and pizza restaurant and came back with a freshly baked Pizza.  He then sat down next to us with a bottle of beer and tucked in!  No, this is not a reflection on the food in his own restuarant, it does not serve pizza, just the fact that the first few customers weren’t expected for another hour or so and he just fancied one.  But somehow this came across to us as really funny! foto J Finnigan

2019-07-29 09.31.29#1Of course pizza is so very Italian, but a less talked about food is the Italian Potato.  I absolutely love the new potatoes here.  Not the little round things that the Brits like, simply newly harvested ones in all shapes and sizes, sliced in their skins boiled and tossed in butter.  The Itallians like to chop them up into small pieces and roast with garlic and rosemary twigs, also nice, but I prefer them as they are.  In the picture is my favourite brand, which I can buy in our local Co-op.

2019-08-02 09.39.35Meanwhile, back in Fiano our local village, we catch up on the papers over coffee and can’t help but notice some fotos of the politician Licia Ronzulli of Forza Italia (Silvio’s party) in house with her new baby strapped around her, oblivious and sleeping as it’s impressive mother gets on with the debating and voting.  I must say good for her.  I know there are those out there that would not approve of such behaviour, but here in Italy all mothers would understand.  Things have changed a lot since we have arrived.  There are fewer grandparents taking care of the little ones, and the pre-school nurseries (Asilonido) are getting busier.

2019-08-02 09.38.47And, still on the subject of Politics, I see that Silvio Berlusconi, that veteran of all things controversial, is back in the news.  Formerly an Italian Prime Minister presiding over four parliaments, a cruise ship singer and Bunga Bunga party goer, he currently represents North West Italy as MEP for his Forza Italia party and has a net worth of around $6.6 Billion due to his entrepreneurial activities.  Now keen to give his political profile a boost, he has announced that he wants to launch a new party.  I wonder what he will call it?  Perhaps you could come up with some suitable names and I’ll let Silvio know! Leave your thoughts at the bottom of this page or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

download-2.jpgYou thought I had forgotten the Hunk of the Month didn’t you!  Well I’m glad to say that I spotted a picture in The Telegraph the other day and I thought ‘perfect’!  How, I wonder, have I only just come across Jack Savoretti?  He’s apparently made six albums!  He’s gorgeous, plays acoustic guitar and sings like a god.  Yes, OK, he’s English but he is of Italian descent so he definitely qualifies, well you will hardly argue that point will you?  Check him out on You Tube, you’ll be mesmerised!  Foto found on twitter.

Well, enough of that already.  Looks like I’m actually getting this blog out to you on time, it’s good to out of the mist!

Have a great week.

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at my site

image

My books

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: