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Art, Music And Culture In Tuscany

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers,

If you are new to this column I should tell you that each month I reflect back on the previous one, which in this case is July 2018. My aim is to bring you lots of fun things, and not too many serious ones.During the first week in July, some of our Rock Chick Band’s concert-going friends were still here, staying in and around Certaldo, and I was delighted to take two of them to visit Anne Shingleton’s studios at Vico D’Elsa near Poggibonsi. Now I have known Anne for many years but this is the first time I have managed to visit her, see her wonderful paintings & sculptures, and hear her story.

As a contemporary artist, Anne is way up there with the world’s greatest painters of wildlife: being a zoologist herself, this is the medium of first choice for her. But Anne can paint anything, from portraits to landscapes, creating better than photographic images. Then there are the sculptures and her most recent undertaking was a huge Swan, which is currently exhibited in the beautiful Gheradesca gardens of the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence. Ask at reception and you will be shown through to the gardens, Anne’s swan is next to the pond.

Without seeing Anne’s work first-hand it is difficult to ‘paint the picture’ well enough to really appreciate just how amazing she is. However, if you visit her website you will get a good idea and she is always available to discuss commissions, sales or exhibits.

Meanwhile, the Music Scene was really heating up here in Tuscany, and at this time of year there is a lot going on in Lucca, Pistoia and Florence, all of which have rock and blues festivals. My own concert had now slid into the recent past and it was time to see who else had been and would be on tour here and the list was very impressive! If you want to plan your summer for 2019, why not visit Tuscany and plan your itinerary around these fabulous annual festivals?

Back on June 15th we saw the summer start with a fantastic line up at Firenze Rocks in Florence. The list included Foo Fighters, Guns n’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest. Go to Firenze Rocks for more information.

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In Pistoia the three-day blues festival started on the 13th July and included Graham Nash, James Blunt, Steve Hackett, ZZ Top and Crosby Stills & Nash. Find out more here.

In Lucca the summer festival continued up to 26th July and included Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, Jonny Depp, Roger Waters, Lenny Kravitz (look him up, he’s brilliant) James Taylor, King Crimson, Nick Cave and loads more.

Meanwhile, in the world of sport we cannot help but mention that in July we had a world champion on our hands. Yes, the thirty-five-year-old golfer, Francesco Molinari, won the 2018 Open Championship, the first Italian ever to do so! Well bully for him I say. Oh, I think that’s a hockey term, but hey ho! It seems that Francesco has homes in both Turin and London. How fantastic to earn a living playing a sport you love and to have homes in two of the greatest cities in Europe.

Now the highlight of the last week for me was a visit to Castello Sonnino in Montespertoli with my two lovely American friends. Thank you to Caterina for squeezing us into a busy July schedule and releasing your lovely assistant to give us a history tour of the Castello. And the history is to die for. Sidney Sonnino was twice Prime Minister of Italy and later Finance Minister during the First World War. The current Sonnino family have proudly dedicated their time to preserving all the archives for that time and more. They have also built an enviable income-producing estate to help preserve the castle, its history and the land. Read lots more on their beautiful website. You can even stay there, so check it out!

Meanwhile, down in Florence, the new T1 Leonardo Tram-line was up and running. In issue 247 of the Florentine Weekly is a great article all about it. The Tram stops at lots of interesting places, twenty-six in all, over 11.5 kilometers and you can jump on every four minutes! Brilliant I say! Can’t wait to get on board!

More locally, our nearby village of Fiano was celebrating the annual ‘Festa in Fiano’, a weekend of good food, wine and music. And, Certaldo was hosting the annual Mercantia; five days of festivities with acrobats, musicians and all kinds of entertainment.

OK, that was July and it was and always is, a very good month for finding exciting things to do.

Salute June x

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