Under the Tuscan sun
by Frances Mayes









Under the Tuscan sun
by Frances Mayes

Alternative Titles
Under the Tuscan sun: at home in Italy

Summary
Buying a villa in the spectacular Italian countryside is a wonderful fantasy - even if 17 rooms and a garden in need of immediate loving care are included in the asking price. Frances Mayes - gourmet cook, widely published travel writer, and poet - changed her life by doing just that. Sprinkled liberally with delicious recipes for inspired Italian dishes, amusing anecdotes about the risks of being your own contractor, and a savvy traveler's reminiscences, Under the Tuscan Sun is Mayes's enchanting account of her love affair with Tuscany: of scouring the neighborhood for the perfect panettone and the perfect plumber; of mornings spent cultivating her garden, and afternoons spent enjoying its fruits in leisurely lunches on the terrace; of jaunts through the hill towns in search of renowned wines; and the renewal not only of a house, but also of the spirit. An unusual memoir that combines the appeal of M. F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, and Martha Stewart, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast for the senses.

Notes
Includes recipes

Biographee
NameMayes, Frances
GenderFemale
OccupationCreative writing instructor
Writer
Poet
AttributesDivorced
American
Bought and renovated an abandoned villa; spends her summer vacations here; writes poetry, travel, and food books; gourmet cook; head of the creative writing department at San Francisco State University


Genre
NonFiction
Adventure
    --Travel
Psychological
Cinematization
Memoir

Topics
Italian culture
Social customs
Italian cooking
Life changes
Summer vacations
Poets
Writers
Chefs
Cooking
Divorced women
Self-discovery
Transformations
Teachers
Building renovation
Tuscan lifestyle

Setting
San Francisco, California -- West (U.S.)
California -- West (U.S.)
Tuscany, Italy -- Europe
Italy -- Europe
Countryside
Farm house
Villa

Time Period
1990s -- 20th century






Prefacep. 1
Bramare: (Archaic) To Yearn Forp. 5
A House and the Land it Takes Two Oxen Two Days to Plowp. 24
Sister Water, Brother Firep. 41
The Wild Orchardp. 63
Whir of the Sunp. 75
(Make Haste Slowly)p. 90
A Long Table Under the Treesp. 107
Summer Kitchen Notesp. 124
Cortona, Noble Cityp. 138
Riva, Maremma: Into Wildest Tuscanyp. 159
Turning Italianp. 180
Green Oilp. 194
Floating World: A Winter Seasonp. 205
Winter Kitchen Notesp. 220
Rose Walkp. 234
(Always Stone)p. 242
Relics of Summerp. 258
Solleonep. 271




Buying a villa in the spectacular Italian countryside is a wonderful fantasy - even if 17 rooms and a garden in need of immediate loving care are included in the asking price. Frances Mayes - gourmet cook, widely published travel writer, and poet - changed her life by doing just that. Sprinkled liberally with delicious recipes for inspired Italian dishes, amusing anecdotes about the risks of being your own contractor, and a savvy traveler's reminiscences, Under the Tuscan Sun is Mayes's enchanting account of her love affair with Tuscany: of scouring the neighborhood for the perfect panettone and the perfect plumber; of mornings spent cultivating her garden, and afternoons spent enjoying its fruits in leisurely lunches on the terrace; of jaunts through the hill towns in search of renowned wines; and the renewal not only of a house, but also of the spirit. An unusual memoir that combines the appeal of M. F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, and Martha Stewart, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast for the senses.





A native of Georgia, Frances Mayes received a B.A. from the University of Florida and an M.A. from San Francisco State University. She is a creative writing professor at San Francisco State University. Mayes' memoir "Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy," about buying and restoring an abandoned villa in Cortona, was a national best seller in 1996. In addition her travel writing, Frances Mayes is the author of six books of poetry and is a respected essayist and gourmet cook. (Bowker Author Biography)





In a carefully written story, poet Mayes (Ex Voto, Lost Roads, 1995), who chairs the creative writing department at San Francisco State University, recounts the purchase and renovation of an abandoned Tuscan villa. She begins with the 1990 search with her companion, Ed, for a summer home to take the place of the rented farmhouses of past years. They finally decide on Bramasole ("Yearning for the Sun"), a villa with 17 rooms and a garden that has been standing empty for 30 years. There is the ordeal of getting money transferred via the tangled Italian banking system, as well as bringing together the owner, builders, and government officials to get the necessary work done. The daunting process requires several years. Meanwhile, Mayes finds Italian country life a healthy antidote to hectic San Francisco, enjoying, for example, the fruits of her own garden, friends in the village, and the first olive harvest. This is an unusual memoir of one woman's challenge to herself and its successful transformation into a satisfying opportunity to improve the quality of her life.‘William R. Smith, Johns Hopkins Univ. Lib., Baltimore (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.





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. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved





It takes a determined effort to read this account of restoring and enjoying a Tuscan farmhouse without experiencing a violent attack of adolescent jealousy. Why her and not me, you'll be screaming as writer and professor Mayes describes languorous lunches on the patio, local wine flowing freely and olive pits casually pitched toward the nearby stone wall. Yes, there were problems--wells running dry, workers vanishing--but the image Mayes creates of her house, the Italian countryside, and her summers there with fellow professor Ed and sundry visitors is nothing short of idyllic: a real-life version of the film Stealing Beauty, but without the funny-looking sculpture scarring the landscape. Mayes' delightful recipes, evocative descriptions of the nearby village of Cortona, and thoughtful musings on the Italian spirit only add to the pleasure. This is armchair travel at its most enticing. Can we really blame ourselves for wanting to strap Mayes down in some ratty armchair while we go live in her farmhouse? (Reviewed Sept. 15, 1996)0811808424Bill Ott





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.      Excerpted from Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.






Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2014 Follett Software Company