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 December 2017. My aim is to bring you lots of fun things, and not too many serious onesMy man and I started the month off by revisiting a favourite ristorante in Tavernelle. La Gramola serves delicious Tuscan food with an artistic edge. Massimo and Cecilia are proud of their menu, which caters for all diets and specialising in gluten free. So you can go there and still get freshly baked bread with your meal, even if you do not eat gluten! Meat and veggie eaters are all catered for. Massimo is also a very good photographer and you may find some of his pictures of the Tuscan countryside on sale. They also make a delicious Siena Cake, which tastes a lot like English Christmas Cake but is in fact made of crushed figs, fruits and nuts. I took a big piece home with me! Visit their web page.
Meanwhile, down in Florence, my favourite shopping place, lovely winter woolly coats and sweaters were on sale, I adore the cashmere at Somers and the matching coats and handbags at Carpisa. These can also be found online, so if you cannot make it to Florence this winter, check this out in the comfort of your own home!
Now, if you were tempted to have one too many glasses of Prosecco and drive, you may have been horrified to find the Polizia right up your bottom driving their latest car, which is a Ferrari! No, I am not joking, keep your eyes peeled for a white Ferrari hurtling along the narrow bends. If you see it in your mirror, get out of the way and let it pass. The Polizia are crazy drivers at the best of times!
And back to the festivities. Don’t we just love the Christmas markets? If you decide to visit next December you will not be disappointed. Every small town and city has one. Florence not only has its own but also hosts a German one, which is famous worldwide for its wonderful festive décor and entertainment. So if you are thinking about doing something different in 2018, why not Florence or the Chianti Hills!
Back in our lovely old converted monastery farmhouse, I launched a Christmas Book Competition. This was won by Molly in Florida, who correctly answered the question ‘what was the real full name of the Italian Assassin Sapphire, in my second novel ‘The Bolivian Connection?’ Molly’s name was the first one out of my man’s Father Christmas hat, so she won my signed trilogy of books. The three runners up each received a signed book of their choice. I thoroughly enjoyed the fun of this competition and might do something similar in 2018.
And so to the end of the year. Capodanno, or New Year’s Eve, is a very big celebration here in Tuscany and everywhere else in Italy. We only need to walk down to our terrace to watch firework displays across the sky from Siena, Poggibonsi, Certaldo and San Gimignano and in the direction of Volterra. In our immediate vicinity, families were whooping and cheering, setting off fireworks and playing live music! We did not stay out long as the air was a little cold and damp. Anyway, there’s nothing like a log fire and a glass of fizz to see the New Year in.
Salute June x