Happy New Year & Buon Anno to all my lovely followers around the world.
‘I’m back, to let you know that I can really shake them down.’ Yes, I know, ancient song lyrics again!As I write my first column of 2020, I can see the sun rising and trying to break through the heavy mist, which left everything dripping wet overnight. The valley below us looks like a lake with little Islands dotted about! This is quite normal in January and when the sun does break through it will be another beautiful day in Tuscany. If you are visiting though, be prepared for cold and wet weather.
This is a great time of year for getting out and about, particularly visiting museums and art galleries. There are less tourists, so one can enjoy a rather more pleasant experience, particularly in Florence. Il Museo Galileo, which is dedicated to the great man, is an amazing place for children and adults alike. Fantastic collections of antique scientific instruments and some great hands on experiences for those budding scientists or physicists. I love this sort of stuff. And, it’s only a short walking distance from the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio, beside the River Arno! It’s also a good excuse for going to Florence for lunch! Let’s go together!
January 6 was a Festa because of Befana, the friendly witch who arrives to check on the children’s behaviour over the festive period. If they have been good they get a present, if not a lump of coal. I can’t honestly say that I have ever seen a child holding a lump of coal or sporting black hands in evidence of being naughty. Befana also celebrates the end of the festive period, so life can return to normal! Phew.
Well, in many ways it’s good to return to work and to see all the shops and restaurants opening as usual. In the second week we celebrated men’s fashion with Pitti uomo and you would have seen some amazing sites in Florence over a five-day period. All the male fashionisti were strutting around the streets, trying to outdo each other. But oh, they have such style. Only in Italy! Of course, the fashion shops were open then too, so we had to go!
Back in our lovely, if rather overgrown winter garden, a stroll around revealed all sorts of colourful wild flowers and weeds. Also, what with all the damp morning mists, some fascinating fungi. It’s really cold at the moment, so gardening may have to wait a little longer. My man and I would quite like to start a raised vegetable garden, but that’s another project for another time. I would love to hear from you if you already have one!
Anyway, home grown vegetables and fruit are easily obtainable at the market (mercato) in our nearby town of Certaldo. Go there on a Saturday morning where the small market can be found in front of the Town Hall and Church. You can also get mouth-watering local cheeses. If you like much bigger markets, Wednesday is the day to go and you will find it on the edge of town near the Co-op and swimming pool. Cavalo Nero (black cabbage) is currently in season and you can enjoy this on crostini with Paolo’s slow wood-fire cooked white beans at Ristorante C’era un Volta in Lucardo near Fiano. Delicious.
Well, enough for now, time to start thinking about my next Rock Concert in June and get my head around the repertoire. I am also working hard on finishing my fourth novel in the ‘Continuing adventures of Joanna Wilde’ called Assassin’s List. This one is expected to be published in the Spring and much of the plot is located in Italy. I’ll keep you posted.
Have a great January and do keep warm.
Salute June x