Yes, the tourists have returned to our little bit of Chianti, although mostly from northern Europe, Dutch, Belgian, German, Polish and Austrian. These are the few that we are aware of, there may be lots more nationalities in Florence and Siena. So, our tourist industry friends are sighing with relief and are even taking some new wedding bookings! Most visitors have been well behaved , wearing the masks and keeping their distance. However, our American friends must wait awhile before the Italians will let them in, they also need to be able to leave the USA!Meanwhile, back here in the countryside it is incredibly noisy. Cicadas finally emerged from their seventeen or so years of hibernation, leaving their beautiful shed husks attached to our garden bench. They are now chirping their little hearts out! Also, the toads in our pond are trying to compete. The land is also busy with squeaky tractors and the shouting of imported Bangladeshi field workers. A big white people carrier drops them off at one vineyard to prune the vines, then picks them up again to take them to another one!
The once silent track outside of our property is now busy with cars, walkers and cyclists, we even spotted two tourists on motorised scooters! Drivers slow down at our place and gaze through the gate, yes, it is a very lovely house, but nevertheless one is starting to feel a little goldfish like! But we don’t really mind, it’s nice to hear the foreign voices and the sound of children squealing from nearby swimming pools!
Every evening we listen out for some possible live music coming from an open-air celebration or concert. Musicians have been hit very badly by the lock-down including my own band, of which one guitarist is a full-time bassist. The others do have daytime jobs and are back to work. I so missed my June concert that I decided to turn one of the rooms in the downstairs guest apartment into a Sound Studio. I can now practice my singing into a mic, which is so much better and enables me to tell whether I’m singing well or not!
On the subject of singing, thanks to our neighbour and friend the potter Terry Davis, we have finally been able to identify the bird with the most beautiful haunting song now in our garden. We have heard it every year since we arrived in Italy sixteen years ago, usually in the distance but never knowing what it was until now. It is the Golden Oriole, almost impossible to spot, very secretive and beautiful. We have plenty of birdsong in and around our garden but this song is really special. You should google it and listen for yourself!
Well, what else? I hear you ask. Now, one thing that has been missing over the last four months is entertainment and the Italians so love cinema. So, I was delighted to see that Certaldo Alto, which is the historical walled centre of our local town, has started Cinema D'Estate from 9th July at 9.30 in the evenings in Palazzo Pretorio. What a beautiful setting for some great films. You can park down in Certaldo and get the funicular train up the hill, which runs until midnight or drive around the back of Certaldo Alto and park there. You’ll also find some lovely places to eat and drink there too! For more information and to buy tickets visit the Valdelsa Cinema website.
For events including Cinema D’Estate in Florence, you could check out The Florentine.
As regards everyday life, things are pretty much back to normal apart from the masks and distancing. Yesterday, Saturday, we went down to Certaldo and the fruit and veg market was back in full swing. Also, local cheeses and fresh fish. Virtually all shops that have survived are open and the car parks are full! So, fingers crossed, as long as people remain vigilant, the virus seems to be under control.
So, we do hope to see all you lovely people back again as soon as possible. Life eeez good, Life eeez now!
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Salute June x