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Wine, Art And Politics In Chianti

Benvenuti and welcome to all my lovely followers,

If you are new to this column I should tell you that each month I reflect back on the previous one, which in this case is May 2017. My aim is to bring you lots of fun things, and not too many serious ones.The lovely month of May welcomed a number of Contemporary Wine & Art events that included wine tasting, art exhibitions, live music and dance, all in stunning locations. We chose to visit an event in the ancient hill town of Certaldo Alto. The cover of my latest book The Italian Connection features a silhouette of this castellated town, against the backdrop of a fabulous sunset. The exhibition featured works by the very talented modern artist Olga Niescier and the sculptor Andrei Reggi. Olga’s work is permanently exhibited at galleries in both San Gimignano and Borgo Pignano near Volterra. Visit the website for more information. Enjoy!

Meanwhile, in the world of Italian politics, the diehard Matteo Renzi, having resigned as Prime Minister after the referendum, got himself elected back in as leader of the PD Party. He is one of the pretty boys of politics and a former Mayor of Florence. The girlies love him, just like they adored Silvio Berlusconi who is now eighty. So, Matteo could be running the country again by the end of the year!

May also came with the warm summer sun and I celebrated by wearing flip-flops for the first time this year. We also started enjoying fresh fruit salads for breakfast as the weekend market was well stocked with all the summer fruits we love. Strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwis and bananas; lovely. Visit Certaldo on Saturday morning for fruit, veg, cheeses, fresh fish and plants.

Still on the subject of food, my man spotted something in the paper and handed it to me whilst we were enjoying our morning coffee in our local village of Fiano. “Would you believe it, it’s International Coeliac Week and the schools are going to be serving up Gluten Free lunches on both Tuesday and Thursday.” He declared. Now I have to eat gluten-free and was aware that there is a high percentage of Coeliacs in Italy, so this was a step in the right direction. However, people are warned not to take on a gluten free diet unless advised to do so by their doctors. Fortunately, wine is gluten free. Praise the gods!

Also in May, Tuscany welcomed the Obamas who were on holiday near Siena, well at least they were trying to be! The papers were full of photos of them, visiting all the well-known locations. They declared that they ‘love Tuscany’, well who wouldn’t. I have to say that they did not look particularly happy, what with the paparazzi dogging their heels.

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On a much less frenetic subject, by mid-month, we were sleeping with the windows open and enjoying the all night chirping of the Nightjar and crickets. This is when you feel that summer has finally arrived, but before the arrival of the mosquitos and Cicadas. The former bites you and the latter makes such a racket that your eardrums will be fit to burst. But that’s next month!

Meanwhile, down in Roma, The President of the United States was meeting The Pope. Apparently, they put their former disagreements to bed and were photographed with Donald’s wife and daughter, dressed top to toe in the traditional black, including the lace on their heads. This is a requirement when visiting the Vatican, however, I can’t say it was very flattering. Donald was grinning wildly in the photo, whilst Francis was scowling, which is most unusual for our normally very cheerful Papa.

Finally, and most importantly, the Italians, like any other warm-hearted race in the world, were horrified to get the news from Manchester. The Florentines woke the following morning to find the Statue of David, in the Piazza di Signoria, wearing a black armband and holding the Union Flag. We thank whoever did this for their heartfelt show of solidarity.

May you enjoy the month of June, wherever you are in the world. I am personally in the run up to my next rock concert, which is on the 24 June. I’ll tell you all about it next month.

Salute June x

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