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Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy (1996)

by Frances Mayes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tuscan Memoirs (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,4761411,460 (3.52)1 / 161
Biography & Autobiography. Travel. Nonfiction. HTML:#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The beloved memoir of self-discovery set against the spectacular Tuscan countryside that inspired the major motion picture starring Diane Lane—now in a twentieth-anniversary edition featuring a new afterword
 
“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 first yourself.”—USA Today

For more Frances Mayes, including a tour of her now iconic Cortona home, Bramasole, watch PBS’s Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special!
 
More than twenty years ago, Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned Tuscan villa called Bramasole. Under the Tuscan Sun inspired generations to embark on their own journeys—whether that be flying to a foreign country in search of themselves, savoring one of the book’s dozens of delicious seasonal recipes, or simply being transported by Mayes’s signature evocative, sensory language. Now with a new afterword from Frances Mayes, the twentieth-anniversary edition of Under the Tuscan Sun revisits the book’s most popular characters.
… (more)
  1. 00
    Summer's Lease by John Mortimer (SnootyBaronet)
  2. 01
    Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Under the Tuscan Sun is a dreamier book, gentler and more idealistic than the rough-and-tumble and sometimes drug-soaked Blood, Bones & Butter, but both authors adore Italy and are lavish at showing their love on the pages.
  3. 01
    The Latelife Crisis by Florence Cestac (Anonymous user)
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 Made into a Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun5 unread / 52wonderY, February 2016

» See also 161 mentions

English (134)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  Estonian (1)  All languages (141)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
I was assigned this book for a cre-writ retreat, and while I enjoyed Mayes' writing style and the premise of the book, I ended up not liking her at all! I think it was probably a lack of enough personal information (it's written in 1st person, after all) that made her seem ... flippant? I do love an heiress, and I'm kinda a snob myself, but I don't want to feel that from an author. ( )
  ReluctantFeind | Dec 29, 2023 |
Hmmm. Well I loved most of it, but the last couple chapters have nothing to do with anything, certainly nothing to do with renovating a house. So it ended on a weak note, which I am trying not to let overshadow the rest of the book. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
I expected an Italian "Year in Provence," but Mayes is not Peter Mayle. Here is the rare instance where the movie is much better than the book. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jul 19, 2023 |
I likely purchased this soon after I read Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, and it’s similar in content: ex-pat moves to a new country and describes the people, food, landscape, customs and home-restoration process there. But while I loved that Mayle regaled the reader, Mayes was pleasant but to-the-point. ( )
  DetailMuse | Oct 25, 2022 |
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "Loved it!! True story with recipes!! I think we should find ourselves a Tuscan villa to renovate with the help(?) of local tradesmen, and learn to cook the Tuscan way! Loved it so much, never wanted to get even close to the movie." Well, we never did do the villa thing, but did get to Tuscany finally in 2018 and have Umbria on the list for maybe 2023 or 2024. ( )
1 vote MGADMJK | Sep 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
It was with considerable baggage that I recently revisited "Under the Tuscan Sun" this year, on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, and discovered that my opinion of the book has grown ever so slightly more generous with age. This is not to say that I found the book free of flaws the second time around. For one, it contains virtually no narrative conflicts; each incident that could potentially cause tension gets resolved within paragraphs or, at most, a few pages. Will the villa’s previous owner sell to Frances and her partner, Ed? Yes, he will. Will a big pile of money needed to make the deal arrive by wire? Several paragraphs later, it does. Frances stubs her toe, to much consternation, and a few lines later Ed applies a Band-Aid...

However I feel about Mayes and her privilege, and the marketing phenomenon that has flourished in her wake, there’s no denying that her prose brings Bramasole to life. When the workers begin to open up a wall between her living room and the kitchen, removing large stones, Mayes writes, “It’s the imagination that carries us through the stress of these projects. Soon we will be happy!” During a Christmas Day snowfall, while her daughter and a friend are visiting, she asks, “Is this much happiness allowed?”
 

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mayes, Francesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quijada, EncarnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reerink, DonsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
Important places
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Epigraph
Dedication
for Ann Cornelisen
First words
"What are you growing here?" The upholsterer lugs an armchair up the walkway to the house but his quick eyes are on the land. [Preface]
I am about to buy a house in a foreign country.
Quotations
Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Biography & Autobiography. Travel. Nonfiction. HTML:#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The beloved memoir of self-discovery set against the spectacular Tuscan countryside that inspired the major motion picture starring Diane Lane—now in a twentieth-anniversary edition featuring a new afterword
 
“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 first yourself.”—USA Today

For more Frances Mayes, including a tour of her now iconic Cortona home, Bramasole, watch PBS’s Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special!
 
More than twenty years ago, Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned Tuscan villa called Bramasole. Under the Tuscan Sun inspired generations to embark on their own journeys—whether that be flying to a foreign country in search of themselves, savoring one of the book’s dozens of delicious seasonal recipes, or simply being transported by Mayes’s signature evocative, sensory language. Now with a new afterword from Frances Mayes, the twentieth-anniversary edition of Under the Tuscan Sun revisits the book’s most popular characters.

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