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Summer In Tuscany

Well, here we are in mid-July, enjoying a couple of fresher days after a few weeks of heat wave. Unfortunately, it won’t last long as we are expecting temperatures to rise up to 37 degrees again next week.So, it is understandable that during July and August, the majority of Italians who can, will be off to the coast or the mountains where the air will be fresher and breathable! This also means tourists will find central Tuscany lacking in the usual big choice of restaurants, bars and shops. Why? Because it is also the tradition here to close down during the hot months and join all the other sensible people elsewhere. In our local town of Certaldo, things can look deserted until the early evening, when the remaining locals venture out for a passagiata and gelato, that’s a walk with friends and family and an ice-cream. A lovely time of day.

But don’t be put off. If you are staying in one of the many beautiful self-catering places, the supermarkets remain open and you will find a fruit and veg market in Certaldo on Saturday morning and in the general market on Wednesdays. You will also be able to buy fish and local cheeses. Don’t forget to buy some Marmalata di Cipolle if you spot some, that is Onion Marmalade, which is delicious and a local speciality made with the red Certaldo onion. Spread it all over your Tuscan Pecorino cheese! I love it.

As regards entertainment, there is a lot going on. The Music scene is very active, you only have to visit Bandsintown and insert the area you want, e.g. Certaldo, Italy to find a huge choice of concerts & artists and, if you wish, buy your tickets at the same time. Italy, and particularly Tuscany, is alive with musical, art and gastronomic events throughout the summer. Here in our little bit countryside near Fiano, we are surrounded by artists, artisans, musicians and writers. This weekend Fiano is in Festa, from Friday 19 July through to Sunday 21 you will find the evenings busy with music, food and foto exhibitions. Do go along. If you miss this year’s events, check out this time next year!

Fiano is our local village and also our place to go for morning coffee and catching up with the newspapers. My man and I like to visit La Dispensa (The Larder) for morning coffee, greeting the locals and picking up groceries. The village also has a new Ceramics shop where I love to browse and chat with Gabriella who creates them all. She is happy to arrange a demonstration of her work if you are interested.

Our location is also perfectly placed for visiting Florence, Siena and San Gimignano either by car or train/bus. This time of year the cities are teeming with tourists and will be very hot, so be warned. My man and I look forward to the cooler months for visiting the cities, which I love to do for shopping, lunch, gazing into my man’s eyes over a glass of vino and watching the world go by. I never get tired of visiting Florence (Firenze).

Back here in the countryside, we have been relieved to have had some heavy rain last Monday. The region is perfect for vineyards despite periods of drought, this is obvious by the way the vines stand out a brilliant green against the parched bleached landscape. The olive trees too, remain that beautiful silvery green promising a rich harvest in October. The land around us is a rich mix of vineyards, olive groves, grassland, wild woodland and crumbling inland cliffs that are full of fossils for the hunters amongst you. Hard to believe that two thousand years ago the Chianti Hills where under water. We have a big collection of fossilized shells.

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From my own point of view, and with the dust having settled after my rock concert last month, I am getting on with book four of ‘The continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde’ which is called ‘Assassin’s List’. A large part of the story is set here in Italy and sitting here at my Tuscan desk makes for a perfect writing centre. I am a lucky girl!

Well, that’s all for now, do drop me a line by emailing me at June.finnigan@virgin.net

I love to hear from my readers and do tell me about your own Italian experiences!

Have a great summer. Salute June x

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