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Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. "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...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Not bad

I thought the book well written. However, it did not capture my attention quite as well as Peter Mayle’s ‘A Year in Provence’ published, as I recall, around 10 years prior. Mayes’s style is perhaps a bit too introspective, for my liking, and does not do as well as Mayle’s more light hearted approach in relating the nature of the region, his personal experiences, and the native inhabitants. That said Maye’s effort is a good read.

Toscana here I come!

In preparation for a two-week visit to Tuscany, I made it a point to read "Under the Tuscan Sun." If you are planning on visiting Tuscany this is the book to read. A reading of her book provided a wonderful and most helpful underpinning to my visit to Tuscany.Frances Mayes descriptive approach to writing makes the Tuscan towns and countryside, churches, wine, restaurants and cuisine, and people virtually come to life. The book also provides an incredible account of her and her husband's love affair with the Italian culture and the restoration of house that eventually becomes their "home." She literally brings Tuscany alive in a very compelling and readable manner!Frances Mayes is a complete optimist. Her glass is literally always half full despite the numerous obstacles she encounters during her home renovation in Italy. While I share her love of Italy - I am of Italian descent and I've lived in Italy - I do not share in her ability to overlook many of the shortcomings of Italy. For example, I agree with Frances Mayes that the food is wonderful. But it is hard to overlook the seemingly ever-present flies hovering near it in a restaurant and the ability of the locals to overlook that. Not to berate, but the future reader will note that Frances Mayes has gone native.This is a book that I highly recommend. Just don't expect it to be like the movie.

Voluptuousness of Italian life

"I thought I was strange to feel this way. Since I've met so many people who read Under the Tuscan Sun, I've found out that lots of people feel this way. It's complicated but feels so very easy. The warmth of the people, the human scale of the towns, the robust food, yes, but I've begun to think, too, that it's the natural connection with art, the natural exposure to beauty on a day-to-day basis." -Frances Mayes Frances Mayes presents a sensual celebration of Tuscany with hypnotic descriptions of culinary bliss and everyday rituals on long days when she savors the sun. This is creative writing heaven! She is not only a best-selling author, widely published poet and gourmet cook; she is also a travel writer who can describe lands and culture in sensuous and evocative language. Halfway into the book, I became heady with the desire to just run away to Tuscany. I want to write like her, I want to think like her, I am intoxicated by her creativity. I first fell in love with creative writing when my teacher in Africa explained metaphors to me. It is no wonder I have just completely fallen in love with Frances Mayes writing style. I also discovered she is a creative writing professor at San Francisco State University and has directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing. Frances first started visiting Tuscany when she was fresh out of college. In 1985, she rented a farmhouse for the first time and enjoyed going to the local markets to buy suntan lotion and culinary specialties. After this visit, she and Ed rented various farmhouses around Tuscany and finally decided to buy Bramasole. Frances Mayes gives a vivid and compelling account of how she bought and started restoring this farmhouse in Tuscany. "Under the Tuscan Sun" is really an outgrowth of the diary she kept about her experiences when she first moved to Italy. She sees homes as metaphors for the self and gives herself to decorating and renovating them with a certain passion. "The houses that are important to us," she writes, "are the ones that allow us to dream in peace." In sumptuous detail, Frances Mayes describes her home and Italy like a delicate poem as she balances enjoyment of life with responsibility to finishing an extensive renovation. Her writing shows she is most at home in Italy and enjoys immersing herself in words that describe her private escape. She is living the fantasy and sharing every delicious bit of her joy in this fascinating memoir. I love her observations about life. While they sometimes have little to do with Tuscany, they are enlightening. Through gorgeous descriptions, she says: "Life is beautiful, take deep breathes, enjoy food and pleasure." Through intimate reflection, she considers how life changes so we can go forward in our thinking. She writes about tours of ancient churches and towns, fig-pollinating wasps, the ancient tile roof, books with blue leather binding, art, festivals, walks through the piazza, gardens and ev


What do people want Frances to write about? Her trials and tribulations? How she had to take a second mortgage on her California home to finance her Italian one? Then you'd say she was nothing but a complainer. Do you want French words in a book about Italy? As for Frances trying to be Peter Mayle, I never saw that. I think you all were EXPECTING Peter Mayle and when you got Frances instead, you decided to attack her! Lighten up, please! This is a sweet, friendly little look at Tuscany and I know I will treasure it!

so beautiful

The word "Tuscany" alone conjures up rich images of rolling green hills and an endless flow of red wine. This book was a pleasure to read. The beautiful descriptions of castles and food ... and more food made the daydreams we all have had about packing our bags, leaving the smog, and setting up house on an Italian countryside almost a reality.

It's a memoir not a travelogue

I adored this book. I'm stunned by all the negative and frankly, bitter, comments of many of the previous reviewers. Remember this is not a travel book; it is a memoir written by a poet. One reviewer complained about "authors [who] just bore you to death with the banal details of their lives." That is what a memoir is. A memoir presents the details of daily life, the activities, the thoughts, the memories, the reflections, and what it was like to experience them. A memoir certainly may present vivid details of events with finely drawn portraits of the people involved, but it doesn't have to. This memoir, as you might expect from a poet, is the author's private interior monologue. It is more about her than about Tuscany; that is what I loved about it. I don't generally like straight travel books. Nothing wrong with them; I just prefer autobiography. This book wasn't meant to be a travelogue. I didn't find her tone smug or superior; it was my impression that she was in a perpetual state of wonder at her great good fortune in finding the house and being able to acquire it. The key to her attitude is in a comment she made during the Christmas visit: "Is this much happiness allowed?" I rationed this book like a bag of my favorite cookies, slowing down as I reached the bottom of the bag, hating to have it end.
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