Welcome to my new look column. 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, here we are in March in Beautiful Tuscany. It’s been a strange month, cusping between winter and spring; cold yet sunny, but absolutely no rain for weeks! The lack of rain is now a little worrying for the vineyards and more long term for the quality of next Autumn’s olives.
Despite this, the Italians and our good selves get on with enjoying life! There is a lot going on. Fiano, our local village, is staging a number of variety shows and comic operas in the Old Cinema. The music scene both locally and down in Florence and other cities, all within reasonable reach, is hotting up and concerts include the hugely talented Italian singer Elisa, who moved to the USA to improve her status and now tours the world. She is in Florence now and Monday night at Teatro Verdi. For info about future concerts you could visit www.bandsintown.com.
Every day is a Saint’s day here in Italy and there is usually some form of celebration going on. The Italians, of course, don’t need a reason to celebrate, they will find an excuse one way or another.
Meanwhile, out there in the world of politics, which I have not talked about recently due to the confusing nature of everything, we are about to have the European elections. Now my man and I are allowed to vote, but what or whom do we vote for? Take, for example, the joint Deputy Prime Ministers that make up the head of the coalition government. They are like a couple of cry baby siblings, with completely opposing views, no wonder things are all over the place! Listening to the rumblings over coffee at Fiano, there is a big desire to return to the Lira, which to me also smacks of wanting out of Europe. At least by watching the way the Brits are cocking things up, there will be a lesson learnt on how not to do it! Watch this space.
But we don’t care about that, it’s the season for wild asparagus, and delicious they are too. They’re found by foraging amongst long grasses and under brambles. They are long and thin, so can hide amongst the grasses that are good camouflage. But I leave other people to do the searching; I just wait until our local shop, La Dispensa in Fiano, has some standing in a pot of water and I buy the lot! I am told by the locals that they are best cooked in risotto, but I love them par-steamed, then popped in the oven with olive oil, cheese and pine nuts! Delicious.
This morning La Dispensa, which is also our favourite coffee bar, was heaving with people. My man and I knew as we walked up the road it would be busy, as cars were parked all along the pavement on the opposite side. This, by the way, is why we walk on the road as the pavements are generally parked on! At the weekend the big table, which we like to sit at, is often occupied by a very nice local family, usually at least six of them, so we attempted to squeeze in at the end. But La Nonna got the whole family up to leave and smilingly offered the whole table to us! Now this comes of being treated like a local, but famous ones. Well, the locals think I am a famous English author and I also sing rock music, so I am given a goodly amount of respect. The silly thing is, the last thing I want to do is disturb them on a Sunday morning and vacate the table for me! There is comfortably room for at least eight people! Bless their cotton socks.
Anyway, if you are thinking of moving to Italy, it is a good idea to get to know the locals ASAP and be extremely smiley and friendly towards them. It may take a while, we have been here fifteen years, but they will begin to warm to you if you regularly buy locally, learn the language and pop in the caffè bar every morning.
OK, well enough already. The sun has just broken through and the countryside is looking and feeling very spring like. Time to get outside and weed the pots!
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Salute June x