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Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful Book That Bring You Up To Date on Frances Mayes Life in Italy

I loved the third book on Frances Mayes life in Italy, but had wished she had less description on the religious art in Italy and included more photographs of the town and villages she visited and lived in Tuscany. If you are a fan of her first two novels you will like t...
I loved the third book on Frances Mayes life in Italy, but had wished she had less description on the religious art in Italy and included more photographs of the town and villages she visited and lived in Tuscany. If you are a fan of her first two novels you will like this book also.

posted by DebDD on April 8, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Didn't fly through it

I loved Under the Tuscan Sun, but found this book a little hard to get through. I first found myself thinking it was a lot like some of Peter Mayle's books (which I love), in that it was about everyday life in Italy and there was not a certain cohesiveness to the book,...
I loved Under the Tuscan Sun, but found this book a little hard to get through. I first found myself thinking it was a lot like some of Peter Mayle's books (which I love), in that it was about everyday life in Italy and there was not a certain cohesiveness to the book, but rather a collection of accounts of life. There were bits of the story that I really enjoyed and some that I didn't care for, but other readers may love. For example, there is an extensive part of the book dedicated to the art of Cortona's Signorelli. I can see art aficionados loving that section, I didn't love it, but liked the religious references regarding the art. I found that thought provoking. I prefer to read about Italy's countryside (which was described in beautiful detail in the book) and the food and this book doesn't just focus on those topics (which isn't all bad!). It would be a nice book club book and I thought it would make a great book to read and discuss in a college art/religion course.

posted by Amcgraw on May 6, 2010

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    A Fascinating Travel Companion!

    Like Frances Mayes's earlier books about central Italy, "Every Day In Tuscany" is a beautifully written memoir of her experiences as an American living part-time in the house she and her husband bought and renovated in the Tuscan hill town of Cortona. In her first memoir, "Under the Tuscan Sun," Mayes describes the purchase and renovation of their home, Bramasole. In "Every Day in Tuscany," she provides a series of vignettes that give a detailed, evocative picture of what it's like to live there.

    I brought this book to Tuscany with me, and I found it to be just as useful (and more entertaining) than Frommer's, Rough Guide, and Rick Steves. Because of this book, I knew to try the strangozzi (a wonderful, thick pasta that's a regional dish in Tuscany, excellent with black truffle sauce) and that "cinghiale" on a menu means wild boar. Also because of this book, I made sure to seek out Cortona when I was looking for hill towns to visit, and I discovered that it's just as appealing in person as it is in the book.

    Mayes describes breathtaking landscapes, quirky villagers, and mouth-watering meals. She provides recipes that I'm dying to try out. And she relates her adventures not just living at Bramasole but also traveling around Tuscany and to other parts of Italy. In particular, I was fascinated by her exploration of Etruscan ruins and her search for artwork by Cortona's 15th-century hometown painter, Luca Signorelli.

    This book is less focused than some of her others. As the subhead indicates, Mayes is describing scenes from her life in Italy, not telling a unified story. The lack of a real story arc wasn't a problem. The book is not so much a single narrative as a buffet table of Tuscan experiences. It was fun to dip into while traveling, to serve myself up a chapter about one place or one aspect of Mayes's life, and then to put the book away until I had another spare moment for reading.

    I especially loved the sequences about the author's family. Her daughter and her grandson Willie come from the States to visit Mayes and her husband, and some of my favorite passages were those in which Frances introduces Willie to life in Italy.

    Whether you're traveling to Tuscany in reality or via armchair (and oven) Mayes is a delightful, insightful tour guide for your trip.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Catching up with an old friend.

    Frances Mayes was an English professor in San Francisco CA that bought an abandoned villa in Cortona, Italy in 1990. She journaled as she refurbished her home - Bramasole - and published Under the Tuscan Sun in 1996. Thus was born a legend. Two more books were published in the next four years, with another two in 2004 & 2006. Now, Every Day in Tuscany joins the group, 14 years later. If you liked the other books, you will like this one.

    Much has changed in the 20 years since this journey began. Frances and Ed married, moved from one house in SF to another, then to Marin County, before transplanting their US base to North Carolina. (It must be a relief to save 10 hours of flying per trip to Italy, not to mention the 3 hour time difference to the West Coast). Another ramshackle building was bought and refurbished near Cortona. Both quit their teaching jobs to write full time. Mayes' daughter Ashley married and had a son named Willie.

    Fast forward to the present day. Even though decades have passed, Frances's passion for traveling, food and cooking, as well as the artist Luca Signorelli, remains. It is nice to know that has not changed. Willie is now 8. Reading this book is like catching up with an old friend after 4 years. I found the story about the beloved new neighbors, a Cuban American clan of 17, to be charming. While one story was particularly dark, it was included for a reason. Add to that, Ed and Frances were in Cortona when Italy won the World Cup in 2006.

    I was chagrined to read that Bramasole needed some maintenance, with the Mayes' wondering how it would all be paid for. She only mentioned in passing that she was working with a national American furniture company, designing a collection for them. In addition, a book advance, dear Frances, would pay for the new roof, electrical work, drainage, a terrace door and screens. Life is bella and I look forward to the next installment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    She Lingers

    If you are looking for instant gratification this book is not for you. Frances lingers over wine & food, art and fellowship. She embraces the Italian custom of savoring the moment and she will not be hurried. Bramasole is finished, her gardens lush. Time to travel & see new things. Reviewers who give this book few stars fail to linger and savor the moment along with her.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes

    Read her previous book, "Tuscany Under The Sun" prior to visiting the Tuscany region of Italy. Her description of the region gave an insight about what I was going to experience. I wasn't disappointed with food, people, and general atmoshphere of the region as she described.

    I didn't read her 2nd book, "Bella Tuscany" and feel as though there is a missing link. The way she describes the countryside, wine, tratorrias, and people makes you feel as though you are right there tasting all the wonderful food and experiencing the loving people of Tuscany.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Francis does it again

    Mayes writing style and great recipes wants you to either visit Italy a lot or move there entirely!

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    just as good as under the tuscan sky

    would recommend this book for anyone that loves Italian culture and an in depth look into the Tuscan way of life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Gorgeous Book

    This book is a wonderful follow up to Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany and In the World. She writes with wonder and honesty. Beautiful addition to any library.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Every Day with Frances would be a dream come true!

    This beautiful memoire took me on a relaxing journey that I could smell the herbs in Frances's garden and taste the flavors of each meal. I felt each step as she walked through the small towns shopping, tasting the expressos, the gelatos. In a nutshell, I would like to be Frances.
    She paints such beautiful pictures of the countryside and the people. I felt like they were sitting on my patio chatting and drinking the Brunello.
    Her words of wisdom, especially in the beginning chapters, on life were so inspirational that I wrote them all down in my journal and I read them everyday. Since I have gotten to know Frances Mayes she has influenced so many facets of my life. My dream is to walk the roads the Etruscans did and sample the food and wine of this glorious country. Thank you Frances for another successful journey. I love traveling with you!

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