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.Right now, it is late morning on Friday 15 February, cold and 4 degrees centigrade. It is a glorious sunny morning and I have flopped down on our old English park bench having hung out the washed bedding to dry in the garden. The sun is actually hot, despite the cold air temperature and no wind, so one can actually soak up that important vitamin D, yes, even in winter! The view is currently clear and bright and more open as the acacia trees that border our garden are bare of leaves. This part of Tuscany, amongst the vineyards and olive groves, is about as idyllic as it gets. I just love it!
So, you think that there will be nothing to do in Tuscany this time of year? Well, let me put you straight. These Tuscan Hills are full of busy artists, sculptors, musicians, writers, winemakers, celebrity cooks and country restaurants. Every day, events are being posted on social media and in the local towns and villages. The annual national song contest at Sanremo is currently all the rage on TV, if you like that kind of thing, but I like small intimate live rock concerts and if you want to know what’s on in our little patch, drop me a line. Looking ahead, check out Firenze (Florence) Rocks in June. You will need to book well ahead for this big event, as some of the world’s top rock bands will be attending! You will find Firenze Rocks on Facebook. My own rock concert is on 21 June, watch this space.
To remind you, we live in the hills above Certaldo in Tuscany. Both Florence and Siena are a 35-minute drive away in opposite directions. If there is not a local event to attract us we can easily pop down to one of these gorgeous cities instead. I often make an excuse to go to Florence, just for lunch, oh and shopping of course! If you follow my weekly blog, you will know that I love Italian clothes and Florence is full of shops where you can buy straight from the designer. These days, of course, you don’t need to go to Florence or Milan, you can buy from most Italian designers online!
Another exciting event happening in February is the annual Carnivale at Viareggio, up on the east coast north of Pisa. It is probably one of the most spectacular carnivals in the world, to which people flock from around the globe. The Italians love this stuff and the more gruesome the better, which I find a little disturbing. If you like gruesome, you will love the Museum of Torture up in San Gimignano, the city of Towers, just half an hour from here! I love San Gim; but out of season or at night. It is a town overrun with tourists in the season, but really beautiful and atmospheric. Out of season a lot of the shops and restaurants are closed, but you will still find some little gems.
Me? I love galleries and there is a fabulous exhibition on in Florence right now and open up until June. Wonderful paintings by Italian artists that bring alive the era between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Another exhibition in a completely different medium is the modern work of Maurizio Monti. What draws me to his paintings is the intense colour and the combining of the beauty found in the female form and flower petals. A sort of fairy-like fantasy that reminds me of book illustrations done in the 1930s. His exhibition is at Florence Art Gallery now until 23rd February. Do try and go!
Well, I could ramble on, there is so much to say about my wonderful adopted homeland. But I should save you some snippets for next month. Life eeez good, life eeez now!
Salute June x