Under the Tuscan Sun Review

I received this book in return of my honest review



Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.


I’d read a lot of reviews of this book, ranging from lukewarm to downright cold, but I read it anyway, having been such an ardent fan of the film.

First off, the film and the book share a name and that’s about it. The real Frances Mayes writes about her experiences in traveling to Tuscany, experiencing the culture and subsequently buying and renovating a villa in Cortona, Tuscany, but by all accounts her decision to travel there had nothing to do with heartache. Now, while the story in the book isn’t as lustrous as the screenplay, I still found it to be rather enjoyable. What you have in this book is a bonafide experience, a woman who dares to explore a life that is completely unknown to her. She talks about the food, the people, the joy/stress of building a home in a foreign country, and while this may not seem like such a feat to some, I believe that those of us who have the benefit of age and experience might more readily understand and appreciate the audaciousness of Ms.Mayes’ undertaking. People just don’t do these things ordinarily, but she shows us that it is absolutely attainable, this life of food and leisure.

Some of us fantasize about living in a land of magic and beauty, but she actually did it. Reading about it probably isn’t as satisfying as living it, but I’ll take it, anyway.


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