April In Tuscany

Welcome to my new look column. For those who have followed my column over the last few years will know that I have historically written about the previous month and the happenings therein. My new column is looking at the here and now, and the exciting events happening in the near future.Well, it’s really hotting up here in beautiful Tuscany. No, I don’t mean the weather, in fact it’s a pretty chilly four degrees centigrade this morning, I mean all the events lining up between now and the end of summer! The Italians love to celebrate and as every day is a Saint’s day, there is always an excuse. They will even have a day celebrating an onion, mushroom or, of course, vino and olive oil. This often means that you may find shops and restaurants closed for a day during spring & summer, because it’s a Festa Day! If you use Facebook, you can click on ‘events’ and find masses of things happening in your selected area. Select Certaldo for example and you won’t fail to find something to do in our area like concerts, theatre and markets.

Of course Florence always has things going on like art exhibitions, cultural events and markets. We are currently celebrating five hundred years after the death of Leonardo Di Vinci and there are exhibitions everywhere, particularly in the city. Odd isn’t it that we should celebrate his death, but then why not, it makes for another reason to get the tourists busing in. It’s too late to celebrate five hundred years after his birth anyway, which seems a better reason for a celebration. Mind you, they probably already did that, who am I to know?

Now, what next? Oh yes, I must tell you that if you come to Tuscany and want to buy a ruin to renovate, the planning permission could take years. Our landlord has managed to get permission to convert the barn in our garden after having made the application four years ago. The builders have been very pleasant although a portaloo arrived yesterday and I can see it peeking through the trees like a preying Tardis! Do you think that’s a bad sign; are they here for the long term? I am told they will be finished before my garden Concert Party in June, but these are Italian builders; watch this space.

On the subject of properties, we live near the town of Certaldo and on the edge of Chianti. Renting and buying in this area is a lot cheaper than in central Chianti like the Greve in Chianti zona. I think it’s just a beautiful here in the hills and far more convenient for trains and Pisa Airport. The rail network in Tuscany is pretty good and cheap, but you need to keep an eye out for strike days that happen regularly.

Our local village is called Fiano. I go there every morning for coffee and to read both the local and national newspapers. I am not a political animal, however, it’s not possible to ignore the big notice boards that have gone up for the local & European elections and, of course, the papers are full of it. The Italians are dumbfounded by the daily news about Brexit in the UK and the villagers are constantly asking me how I feel. If any country were to be the next to leave Europe, it would be Italy. Politicians here will be keeping an eye on all the daily events with a view to not making the same mistakes as the ‘idiotic’ British government.

Things have changed in Italy over the last fifteen years, which is how long my man and I have been here. With all the immigrants now trying to eke out an existence, it is hard to find work. If you are hoping to move here soon, make sure you have a means to support yourself outside the country or a job already lined up. You will find it difficult to get residency if you don’t.

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But let’s look at the brighter side, we absolutely love it here. Whilst we will always be the English couple, we have been accepted into the local community, no questions asked. As long as you are friendly, learn the language and shop locally, you will be made very welcome.

Personally, I am in the run up to my next Garden Rock Concert, which is on 21st June 2019. I have a number of readers turn up for this event every year and if you would like an invitation email me at June.finnigan@virgin.net.

OK, time to get out into the garden and finish readying the terracotta pots for the new plants that I will buy next weekend. It’s still a little too cold for the spring to summer flowers I always buy. So roll on some warmer weather.

Salute June x

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