The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat. September Reflections
Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers
Well, September is the month for the Vendemia, or grape harvest to you. In the first week the local farmers got started on the white grapes and so the tractors and trailers started their crashing and clattering past our kitchen window.
Meanwhile Laura’s bar and alimentare had closed for a couple of days as she was celebrating the birth of her first grandchild, Alessandro, a new baby for our local village of Fiano.So we spent more time in Bar Solferino in Certaldo for morning coffee and have been thoroughly enjoying it. The coffee and pastries are delicious.
If you are visiting Certaldo the bar is just to the right of the entrance to the Funiculare Railway, which will take you up to the historical centre of Certaldo Alto, a hugely popular place for tourists. In the bar I read in La Nazione that there is gondola racing in Venice and Silvio Berlusconi is back in the news making waves in politics after the summer break. This is good as the political news is pretty boring without him!
On the Sunday we went and checked out an abandoned property and made some enquiries with the neighbours. It is a beautiful villa and is apparently owned by a man from the Philippines, who has not visited for some years as the Italians are after him for non-payment of property tax! There are a lot of abandoned properties in this area and pinning down ownership and contacting them to see if they want to rent is not a simple task.
The second week of September saw the gradual return of the workers from the seaside and mountains. August is traditionally the month for a long holiday, which always seems to extend well into September. So it is always good to see life returning to the town centre with shops, cafés and restaurants opening again.
The Italians all come back with skin colours ranging from orange to chocolate brown and they love to be seen sporting their suntans for the following two weeks until it starts to fade.
Mid-month and it was a return to hot humid weather. Only the week before my man had been complaining about how cold it was and that he would have to put on a pair of long trousers. “Mind you,” he moaned, “when I was twelve I didn’t want to wear short trousers either…..” Don’t you just love him? I do.
Meanwhile the Vendemia was at full throttle as the red and purple grapes were hauled past our villa to be taken for crushing half a mile away. This is very important as we must keep our supply of Chianti wine well stocked, you never know who might turn up!
Back at Bar Solferino I read that both Italian female tennis players reached the final of the American Open, so bravi to Flavia and Roberta. Then my man and I discuss the fact that whilst the Italians have been on holiday, we have been working flat out without a break. So we decide to take Friday off and pop over to San Gimignano for lunch at ‘San Martino 26 Ristorante,’ which had been recommended by our lovely discerning daughter who lives nearby. We were not disappointed and if you are looking for good Tuscan food but with the addition of a little sophistication, this one is for you.
In the middle of the month I started an on-line three month fitness course with Alexandra Merisoiu. We meet on Skype for an hour every week, which is brilliant for all you expats and busy business women who want to get fit and healthy but cannot afford the time to go to classes.
In the third week the Commune di Certaldo was revving up for an ‘It’s a Knockout’ kind of contest called The Calambur. The community is divided into four factions and they all have their own colours on flags and t-shirts whilst the main contestants dress in traditional costumes. This used to be a macho contest where the young men would try to impress the local signoras. Now the signoras also take part. The newspaper is full of pictures of the handsome male contestants and even our local village of Fiano will be taking part. So on the last weekend the contest takes place and it is like a Palio without the horses, races and around the main Piazza and tests of strength & endurance. The eventual winners were central Certaldo in their blue and white (or viola) regalia. A brave Fiano came second.
By the end of the month, the Vendemia nearly finished, the pastry counters were selling the very popular Schiaciatta con L’uva. This is flat baked bread topped with red grapes. Meanwhile, Milan fashion week was coming to an end and the papers were full of it. I have to say, I still think the Italians have the edge when it comes to wearable but stunning fashion.
Back in our beautiful terraced garden, we had managed to dine alfresco for most of the month and the flowering shrubs were beautiful. And so into October and stepping up the search for a larger country property to rent. Yet another adventure unfolds.
Have a great October and do drop me a line.
Salute June x
PS don’t forget to visit my author site on Amazon.
June Finnigan is an English expat who lives with husband Paul and Barty the cat in their lovely villa overlooking the Chianti Hills, in Tuscany. She is a published Author and her novels, 'My Father, The Assassin' and the "The Bolivian Connection" are available on Amazon. June also shares more information about life in Italy through her Blog, JuneFinnigan's Weblog