Life, Love And Laughter In Our Little Bit Of Chianti In Tuscany

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 will be looking at the here and now, and the exciting events happening in the near future.Well, it was addio to 2018 and a welcome in to an exciting New Year. Here in Italy, January always starts with Befana, when the good witch visits to check if all the children have behaved themselves over Christmas and to give them lumps of coal if they have not. Of course, they never actually get the coal, just more goodies and a day’s holiday!

Then we move on to something completely different down in Florence, as the male fashionisti strut their stuff wearing every type of way out fashion and hoping to be photographed. This week of events is called Pitti Uomo and is hugely popular. We went into the city last Friday, the final day, as our daughter, the director & editor of Envy Italy Magazine, invited us to lunch.

Now lunch was a bit special. It was to celebrate my man’s birthday but also to visit the iconic restaurant Sabatini Firenze, which is under new management. Sabatini is at least one hundred years old and has hosted all the well know celebrities over the years, including Frank Sinatra and President Kennedy. We were treated to a fabulous à la carte tasting menu and, our choice, vegetarian! The chef also produced some amazing gluten-free courses. A new website will be up and running shortly so watch this space.

Meanwhile, I wanted to treat myself to a new year present and took some pictures down to our local town of Certaldo to be framed. Now, I just love artisan picture framers and Bologni Arreda is the perfect place to go. A well-established family owned business, 80% of their frames are shipped abroad. It was great to find another successful business in our back yard.

And talking about our back yard, we took a walk around our rather overgrown garden on the weekend and found lots of pretty wild flowers despite the cold. Also, some fascinating fungi. On that subject, I can confirm that it is still possible to eat Tartufo Bianco (white truffles) at our local restaurant C’era una Volta in Lucardo. Paolo will serve you up the most delicious plate of buttered spaghetti and a generous shaving of this food of the gods, over the top. But you had better hurry, the hunt for truffles is getting harder as the weather is so cold.

Now if you are planning to come to Tuscany to visit all the exhibitions and festas celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo Di Vinci, then you had better get booking your hotels as soon as possible. The Leonardo fans will be pouring into Florence (Firenze) this year and particularly after 1st March. It seems a little odd to celebrate a death, but the Italians can be a little macabre at times!

And what of the music scene? I hear you say. Well, if you are new to my column I should explain that rock music is my main passion and from that point of view I can tell you that a lot is happening. You may be interested to know that I follow D’Alessandro & Gallo’s site, which is smack up to the minute with touring bands and performers. So, if you want to include some concerts in your visit, February onwards is looking very busy indeed. March will see Tears for Fears, Mark Knopler & Elton John visiting Tuscany. The Lucca Summer festival and Firenze Rocks have fabulous line-ups in June & July and, of course, my own group The Rock Chick Band will be performing near Certaldo on 21st June. Email me at June.finnigan@virgin.net for a personal invite.

Salute june x