Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home In Italyby Frances Mayes
"With appealing and very vivid snapshot imagery . . .
Widely published poet, gourmet chef, and travel writer, Frances Mayes opens the door to a voluptuous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. What she shares with her readers is a feast for the senses as she explores the pastoral Italian landscape, history and cuisine.
"With appealing and very vivid snapshot imagery . . . what Miss Mayes mostly provides are the kind of satisfying personal crotchets and enthusiasms you might exchange with an old friend over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table." --New York Times.
"This beautifully written memoir about taking chances, living in Italy. loving a house and, always, the pleasures of food, would make a perfect gift for a loved one. But it's so delicious, read it first yourself."
"Irresistible...a sensous book for a sensous countryside."
“An intense celebration of what [Mayes] calls ‘the voluptuousness of Italian life’ . . . appealing and very vivid . . . [The] book seems like the kind of thing you’d tuck into a picnic basket on an August day . . . or better yet, keep handy on the bedside table in the depths of January.”
—New York Times Book Review
"Armchair travel at its most enticing."
“Mayes [has] perfect vision. . . . I do not doubt that centuries form now, whoever lives in Bramasole will one day uncover bits of pottery used at Mayes’ table. She has, by the sweat of her brow and the strength of her vision, become a layer in the history of this place.”
Los Angeles Times
"After buying a rundown villa in rural Tuscany, the American author Frances Mayes moves to Cortona to renovate the property and learn more about the Italian dolce vita. Her bestselling memoir on her time there paints a vivid description of the town, the people and the lush surrounding countryside of rolling hills and vineyards. A poet and a gourmet cook, Mayes includes a number of chapters on food, replete with classic Italian recipes to further whet the appetite."
Read an Excerpt
In 1990, our first summer here, I bought an oversized blank book with Florentine paper on the cover and blue leather binding. On the first page I wrote ITALY. The book looked as though it should have immortal poetry in it but I began with lists of wildflowers, lists of projects, new words, sketches of tile in Pompeii. I described rooms, trees, bird calls. I added planting advice, "Plant sunflowers when the moon crosses Libra," although I had no clue myself as to when that might be. I wrote about the people we met and the food we cooked. The book became a chronicle of our first four years here. Today it is stuffed with menus, postcards of paintings, a drawing of a floor plan of an abbey, Italian poems, and diagrams of the garden. Because it is thick, I still have room in it for a few more summers. Now the blue book has become Under the Tuscan Sun, a natural outgrowth of my first pleasures here. Restoring then improving the house, transforming an overgrown jungle into its proper function as a farm for olives and grapes, exploring the layers and layers of Tuscany and Umbria, cooking in a foreign kitchen and discovering the many links between food and the culture--these intense joys frame the deeper pleasure of learning to live another kind of life. To bury the grape tendril in such a way that it shoots out new growth I recognize easily as a metaphor for the way life must change from time to time if we are to go forward in our thinking.
Meet the Author
FRANCES MAYES is the author of a series of Tuscany memoirs, including Every Day in Tuscany and Bella Tuscany; the travel memoir A Year in the World; the illustrated books In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home; Swan, a novel; The Discovery of Poetry, a text for readers; five books of poetry; and most recently a southern memoir, Under Magnolia. She divides her time between homes in Italy and North Carolina.
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