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In Tuscany Hardcover – October 31, 2000

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In Tuscany + Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy + The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Frances Mayes continues her love letter to Italy in this sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. The restoration of her home, Bramasole, is complete, but Tuscany keeps unfolding. While the earlier books chronicled her and her husband's first years in Italy, this one is less full of stories than meditations on the elements of Tuscan pleasures, accompanied by photographs that give color to the place Mayes has described so lovingly and well.

"What makes the people so friendly, no, not just friendly, so genuinely kind and generous?" Mayes asks an Italian friend, then turns her intense attention to answer the question herself. Her answers range from baci (kisses), an intimate expression that "keeps alive the joy we all are born with," to la piazza, the navel of Italy's intense sense of community, to a deep love affair with food and seasonal delights. (Mayes shares the latter and once again gives recipes from the traditional to the idiosyncratic while her poet-husband Edward treats us to a description of the olive harvest). Then there is the Tuscans' territorial attachment to the land. Place, Mayes writes, makes you who you are and it is by reading the landscape that you find the story of how the people lived. Like a guidebook written by a good friend who reveals to you all the secret places they've found, Mayes leads us from out-of-the-way towns to great frescoes to tiny restaurants with exquisite delicacies (and even gives you their addresses). Turn down any one of Mayes's streets and there is something to contemplate.

In the distance you see villages crowning a hill or protectively stacked against a slope. Every one pulls me toward its altarpiece, special triptych, arched gate, gothic window, or fountain. Every one has its opinionated, eccentric, friendly, and intrinsic characters who make each place deeply itself.

Once again, Mayes presents Tuscany as an irresistible place where the pleasures are unexpected, sumptuous, and downright enviable. Immersing yourself in In Tuscany is the next best thing to being invited home to Bramasole. --Lesley Reed

From Publishers Weekly

Riding on the success of her previous books, Mayes, who here collaborates with her husband, returns with a curious amalgam of cookbook, coffee-table book, travel guide and memoir. As in Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, Mayes lovingly admires her adopted Tuscany, where she purchased a villa 10 years ago. Chapters are loosely organized around general concepts: for instance, "Baci (Kisses)" focuses on Italian effusiveness; "La Piazza" centers on the meeting place of Italian village life; and "La Festa (Celebration)" opens with a quote from a song by Jovanotti (an Italian pop band) and goes on to classify the many types of celebrations held in Italy, from Siena's Palio to weekly Sunday lunches. Mayes includes 25 recipes throughout the book, though concentrated in the chapters "La Cucina" and "Il Campo." While there are local recipes such as Onion Soup in the Arezzo Style and Chicken Liver on Little Crusts, some of her choices are puzzling. Mayes freely appropriates non-Tuscan items such as Capri's famed limoncello and Parmesan cheese and even provides a recipe for the mirepoix that is the base of many Italian dishes. A list of resources provides a calendar of festivals in the region as well as addresses and phone numbers for bars, restaurants and specialty stores. Kirst's (Spirit of the Place) endearing photos of Tuscan life fill the pages. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (October 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767905350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767905350
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frances Mayes has always adored houses, and when she saw Bramasole, a neglected, 200-year old Tuscan farmhouse nestled in five overgrown acres, it was love at first sight. Out of that instant infatuation have come four marvelous, and hugely popular, books: the bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, In Tuscany, a collaborative photo-textbook with her husband, the poet Edward Mayes, and photographer Bob Krist, and Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy, another collaborative book with Edward Mayes and photographer Steven Rothfeld. All four highly personal books are about taking chances, living in Italy, loving and renovating an old Italian villa, the pleasures of food, wine, gardens, and the "voluptuousness of Italian life." The third book in her Tuscan trilogy, Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life (due out in spring 2010), is about Tuscan seasons and Mayes' reflections on her Italian life. She was awarded the Premio Casato Prime Donne for a major contribution in the field of letters in 2009.

Her first novel, Swan, a family saga and mystery, returns Mayes to her childhood home of Georgia and was published in 2002. A film version of Under the Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane, was released in fall of 2003. Frances Mayes was the editor for the 2002 Best American Travel Writing. She is also the author of the travel memoir entitled A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller, which immediately debuted as a New York Times bestseller in 2006. Working again with Steven Rothfeld, she published Shrines: Images of Italian Worship, also in 2006.

A widely published poet and essayist, Frances Mayes has written numerous books of poetry, including Sunday in Another Country, After Such Pleasures, The Arts of Fire, Hours, The Book of Summer, and Ex Voto. Her work The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems is widely used in college poetry classes. Formerly a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing, Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing, restoring an historic garden and to her "At Home in Tuscany" furniture line at Drexel Heritage. She and her husband divide their time between North Carolina and Cortona, Italy.

Biographical note from Steven Barclay Agency

"Tuscany may have found its own bard in Frances Mayes."
-- The New York Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 90 people found the following review helpful By M. Morgan on November 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read Frances Mayes' first two books about Bramasole, I found myself wishing that I could see all the fascinating places and people she described in such loving detail. It is obvious that she is a poet, for who else would notice the little everyday things that she re-creates so vividly for us? When I heard that her new book would have photographs, it seemed too good to be true. Would the little shrine down the terrace from Bramasole be there? Would the marketplaces in Cortona? Would there be portraits of the people whose character studies have made us wish we could have them for friends and neighbors? Not to worry, all these and so much more is there. The photographer is an artist, and the quality of his work belongs in a gallery. Mrs. Mayes must have known that many of her readers would want to own a book like this, and I feel as though it is my own personal trip to Tuscany to keep forever.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a necessary companion to Mayes' earlier books about the restoration of her home. This book is all about photos of Tuscany and the hill town (apparently Italy's oldest) of Cortona in particular. These photos compliment her previous works very well by showing you what she is seeing in an area of Italy she knows so well. Tuscany and Umbria are beautiful places. I have seen other photograph books with better pictures of Tuscany and Umbria, but this one goes along with Mayes' previous books. I have driven down the road on the cover and it is truly a site to see. Don't get confused by other reviews which reference the images from this book as "Italy" in general. Not all of Italy is like this, but the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria are and a must see for the traveller who is looking to relax for a week or two in the Tuscan or Umbrian hillside.
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Brenda VINE VOICE on October 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Frances Mayes' love for Tuscany has traversed in to a third book. Before In Tuscany, there was Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. In Tuscany has been written with Edward Mayes and the famous photographer Bob Krist provides some rich awe inspiring pictures that show the reader why the author is so in love with the splendor of Tuscany. His pictures give an artistic appearance that captures and keeps the reader's eye.
Frances writes that Tuscany is a world; Italy is a universe. She has spent a notable amount of time exploring Tuscany in order to experience more of the wonder and pleasure it beholds. Each chapter is organized and presented in a clear manner. The author's bounty of information flows in a pleasurable reading style making it easy to read and enjoy; the author's passion shines through in every word.
Here are the chapters and the subjects they deliver:
Baci (Kisses) - An introduction of sorts La Piazza (Piazza) - Where everyone enjoys life La Festa (Celebration) - Elaborate celebrations and how history plays a part Il Campo (Field) - The countryside and vineyards La Cucinal (Kitchen) - Menu and cooking traditions La Belleza (Beauty) - The beauty and light of Tuscany
It's a joy to read and the pictures a pleasure to look at.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had been waiting eagerly for the next book in the Tuscany series and I am not disappointed. The format is certainly different than the other 2, but Mayes' love for and delight in her Tuscan home and adopted land comes through as clearly as ever. Her use of language is absolutely perfect, the photos beautiful and evocative, and the author's love of detail comes through wonderfully! At times, I felt I could almost touch the objects she describes, and taste the food so lovingly depicted! Bravo, and I'm already looking forward to the next volume!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Llewellyn C. Douglass on June 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After having lived in Italy, I can say that this book catches the true essence of that country. The quietly beautiful photographs recall the Italian masters and the scenes portray the everyday life of Italy and it's people. This 3rd book of Frances Mayes is not filled with the hilarious anecdotal stories of the first two, but it is broader and told with more assurance of time and place. How can one read and look at this book and not fall in love with Italy ?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Hill on June 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is quite different from Mayes' first two books about Tuscany, which were more like travel memoirs. This book's focus is photographs, accompanied by some commentary, thoughts, and insights from Mayes, as well as some recipes. Frankly, I didn't read the text at all. I just enjoyed the photographs. I wish I'd had this book when I was reading Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany because all the places she talks about in those books are scattered throughout the pages of this book in beautiful photographs. We finally get to see what Mayes' charming Bramasole house looks like, as well as the town of Cortona and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. If you haven't read Mayes' first two books, read them and have this one handy so you can see for yourself just how beautiful these houses, towns, and people are.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly on December 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book has some beautiful photographs that really capture the essence of Italian life and the Italian people. The prose is captivating and charming. It's a perfect coffee table book and would make a great holiday gift. The recipes look good too! I think anyone interested in Italy will enjoy this book and Frances Mayes' previous books on Tuscany.
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