The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.
I am really excited to be able to share my wonderful life in Tuscany with you and this is the perfect time of year to begin this column. If you have ever visited my little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti, you will know that September is the start of the Vendemmia (grape harvest) and the countryside echoes with the sound of squeaky old tractors and the clanking of trailers carrying big juicy grapes, both purple and green, to be crushed at the local fattorie(farmhouses). Now, please do not worry, this column is not going to be dedicated to the food and wine of Tuscany, despite how delicious the cibo and vino is. No, I intend taking you much deeper in the lifestyle of the region and all will become clear as to why we have lived here for nine years.Principally, we came here because my man wanted to learn Italian and he is a lovely old romantic. On a more practical level, the internet meant that we could live anywhere in Europe and still continue with our UK business. But enough of that. Let me tell you more about September.
The very first thing you notice is the amazing light. The shadows get longer and the countryside becomes an artist’s dream. It gets a little cooler and less humid, however, we can still enjoy an aperitivo outside on the terrace, whilst gazing across to San Gimignano. The owner of every property we viewed in the area went to great pains to point out San Gimignano, even if we did have to lean far out over balconies or peer through a little chink in a fence; it was a great selling point!
A very important start to our day is driving to our local village of Fiano for coffee. We have a choice of two bars, however, we prefer the Alimentari/Bar, which is run by the lovely Laura and her beautiful daughter Benedetta. Now we have always embraced the Italian lifestyle and you cannot do that if you drink your morning coffee at home. Subsequently, we have been accepted as ToscanDoc, which means we are considered true Tuscans, and you should have seen the smile on my man’s face when our good friend and farmer Claudio told him this. Talk in the bar throughout September naturally included the harvest, but as with every month, calcio (football) is high on the list and the trials and tribulations of the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi.
Now Silvio is a great favourite with our friends in the bar. Girlies of all ages love him and the men just shrug and say ‘better the devil you know’, in Italian of course. SB has had a real roller coaster ride and September proved to be a ‘mese orribile’, a horrible month. Early in the month, he appealed to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg over his potential ban from politics. By mid-month, he was threatening to pull his ministers out of government if he is ousted and by the end of the month, he was appearing in Vanity Fair with his overaged fiancé Francesca Pascale in an airbrushed photo-shoot. It is important that SB remains high profile, as I am very concerned for all the hairdressers, makeup artists, and plastic surgeons in the country who consider him a walking advertisement.
On the subject of hairdressers, and due to the longevity of our lovely Italian ladies and their desire to remain sexy even at the age of eighty plus, there are an awful lot of them. If you see a grey-headed lady, she is probably a tourist! As you get to know me better, you will realise that I will never be grey, not whilst I can get myself to my lovely hairdresser Sandra in Certaldo.
Ah, Farty Barty has just arrived and is looking ravenously hungry. To be continued next month…
June Finnigan is an English expat who lives with husband Paul and Barty the cat in their lovely villa overlooking the Chianti Hills, in Tuscany.
June is a published Author and her first book 'My Father,The Assassin' is available on Amazon.