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Bella Tuscany Paperback – 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Frances Mayes, whose enchanting #1 New York Times bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun made the world fall in love with Tuscany, invites us back for a delightful new season of friendship, festivity, and food, there and throughout Italy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076790284X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767902847
  • ASIN: B007CT17EK
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
OK--Many of the customers who wrote previous reviews about Bella Tuscany have some valid complaints. It is several chapters too long and we do get tired of Mayes' whining. We have little pity for her trying to restore two houses at once and we don't need to hear about every meal and shopping excursion. It certainly does not surpass her first effort, "Under the Tuscan Sun." Still, as someone who has never been to Tuscany (or Italy for that matter), many of the descriptions in "Bella Tuscany" are little treasures. Who wouldn't want to live where you can go to one local farm for ricotta, another for pecorino romano and a third for wine? Or where Roman and Etruscan ruins are to be found in so many unsuspecting places? Or where fabulous meals can be made with only the simple ingredients you grow in your garden? Or where every small local church has a major work or art or two? I do have two recommendations that would have made this book more enjoyable; a map of Tuscany and Italy would have been helpful in identifying the many places Mayes visited. Also, I would have enjoyed more photographs other than those on the dust jacket. Maybe the few "teaser" pictures are to whet our appetite for her 3rd book, "In Tuscany." In any case, while this book has some character flaws, I think potential readers need to try to overlook these and to dig deeper for the jewel within.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I adored Under the Tuscan Sun and couldn't wait to read Bella Tuscany. But like so many others who have reviewed the book here, I had trouble finishing it. It simply did not have the beauty or the charm of the first book. In addition, the constant sniping really got on my nerves. In my opinion, if you are lucky enough to have a villa in Tuscany and to live "the sweet life," you shouldn't be complaining about the mafia in Sicily or your never-ending parade of rude houseguests. Mayes should have included fewer gripes and more recipes. But worst of all were the unbelievable number of typographical errors in the book. Is it possible that a university professor can be such a poor speller and that her editors could fail to correct so many mistakes? The errors drove me absolutely to distraction and sent the message that Mayes was rushing her second book into print before it was ready, just to capitalize on the success of her first book. I would say that parts of the book were pleasant to read, but all in all I would have been just as happy not picking up the book at all.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really can't understand why so many reviewers have complained about this sweet little book. Although I'm French, not Italian, I have traveled all over Italy and I found Bella Tuscany to be a sweet and interesting book that provides a few evenings of lighthearted and entertaining reading. In Bella Tuscany, Mayes travels to regions outside Tuscany, such as Sicily and Venice, as well as to the many castle towns, fishing villages and islands. Many reviewers have complained about the chapter on recipes, but I found them quite interesting and delicious! Although I don't think Mayes captures the essence of Tuscany with quite the wit and verve of Peter Mayle, writing about Provence, Bella Tuscany is still a sweet and lighthearted look at one of the world's most beautiful regions.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Another disappointment. This dribble has little to do with Italy and no plot. This best part of the book is the picture of the house. The chapter on Sicily appears to be plagerized from On Persephone's Island by Mary Taylor Simeti who has lived in Sicily for years, speaks the language and in contrast to Ms. Mayes really knows the people (published 1986). it is disgusting to see a writer mention her sadness about prostitution in Italy and then move on to discuss hiring full time garderners and choosing between tile or marble for the bathrooms. Also, it is suprising for a woman who claims to love teaching to portray the students she has as "uh like idiots".
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Susan on October 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is so obnoxious it surely deserves recognition! Aside from the author being self-obsessed, I found her completely without any sense of the real world. Does one really "endure" the flight to and from Italy several times a year to live in their summer house?
I also found the constant mention of the costs involved with renovating two massive houses in some of the world's most expensive real estate markets quite despicable.
Also, it was in poor taste to allow people to stay at your hallowed house and then write horrible things about them in a published book. As a Southerner, I am quite embarrassed for her manners.
I would suspect that if another novel comes from this series (the first was much more palatable), it is only because she wants to add a guesthouse.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Deborah E. Colter on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I loved Under The Tuscan Sun which focused on Tuscany, its people, places and food. This book is about Sicily, where the author was either cold, rained on, put in crummy rooms or deeply frightened by the mafia, which she seems to believe are everywhere, and Venice, where we learn about her bird phobia, and San Francisco, where she buys another house to renovate and gives the ultimate bird to her former husband by (if you believe it) not recognizing him at her daughter's wedding. It is also about Ed, who I refuse to believe exists. But most of all it's about shopping. Fran buys everything she sees, smells, or heard rumors of, and will doubtless be named the patron saint of shopkeepers in Tuscany and Umbria. This is a boring and self-absorbed effort that her editor should have stopped cold.
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