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Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy Paperback – September 2, 1997
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In this memoir of her buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in Tuscany, Frances Mayes reveals the sensual pleasure she found living in rural Italy, and the generous spirit she brought with her. She revels in the sunlight and the color, the long view of her valley, the warm homey architecture, the languor of the slow paced days, the vigor of working her garden, and the intimacy of her dealings with the locals. Cooking, gardening, tiling and painting are never chores, but skills to be learned, arts to be practiced, and above all to be enjoyed. At the same time Mayes brings a literary and intellectual mind to bear on the experience, adding depth to this account of her enticing rural idyll. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Mayes's favorite guide to Northern Italy allots seven pages to the town of Cortona, where she owns a house. But here she finds considerably more to say about it than that, all of it so enchanting that an armchair traveler will find it hard to resist jumping out of the chair and following in her footsteps. The recently divorced author is euphoric about the old house in the Tuscan hills that she and her new lover renovated and now live in during summer vacations and on holidays. A poet, food-and-travel writer, Italophile and chair of the creative writing department at San Francisco State University, Mayes is a fine wordsmith and an exemplary companion whose delight in a brick floor she has just waxed is as contagious as her pleasure in the landscape, architecture and life of the village. Not the least of the charms of her book are the recipes for delicious meals she has made. Above all, her observations about being at home in two very different cultures are sharp and wise.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The life that Mayes describes is a brief part of the movie. When the character based on Mayes writes on the postcard, the language she uses is what this novel is infused with.
It is a love letter to this area of Tuscany. Bits and pieces of the story make their way on screen, but the continuity is different.
The movie is a tale with beginning, middle and end.
This book is lovely, and one feels a sense of attachment to a place you never have been through the words and writing of Mayes. But it is not the story that made its way to the screen. That, to me was more engaging than the tale of Mayes and her husband Ed restoring Bramasole.
I will watch the movie over and over. I will read other books by Mayes, but I don't think I will revisit this again. I can recommend it for all of us should experience her use of language, that is wonderful.
But this is one of the few books I remember and really enjoyed the author's turn of phrase this time around as well as imagining the foods she cooked and the landscaping and house refurbishing the couple engaged in over a several year period.
I was a tad skeptical, having seen bits and pieces of the movie and being severely underwhelmed. I wanted to like it; I enjoy Diane Lane as an actress, and how could I not also love a movie set in Italy, with all the food and scenery and handsome Italians in its favor?! However ... it was not meant to be.
Thankfully, my initial inclinations about the book were unfounded. I honestly found the book to be ... enchanting. The descriptions of the house restoration process; the foods; the wines - everything was drool-worthy.
The only aspect of the book I struggled with was Mayes' description of a tour she and her husband Ed took through small-town Italy. I was overwhelmed with names! dates! wine they bought cases of to take home! It's a blur - still.
But that didn't hinder me from highlighting away and dreaming of recipes to try, from the simple pears and Gorgonzola cheese to the high-brow cherries steeped in Chianti. (Can't wait to try that when cherries are in season here - only a couple months to go! I even bought a cherry pitter from Williams-Sonoma just for that recipe.)
Read it; enjoy; skip over the small-town Italy road trip; and start planning your next European Adventure. I know I am.