Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Cover Image

From the back of the book: 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 sensuous and evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy.
Having only seen previews years ago for the film version of this book, I was expecting a different book. Under the Tuscan Sun could be considered a “how to” manual for the person who wants to live in an Italian village a few months each year – in a home that has needed to be almost completely rebuilt. Not many readers would probably be up to the task if faced with the same challenges as Mayes and her partner Ed. Let me tell you, Frances was very lucky to have Ed in her life. Seems like nothing was too much for him to face. We should all have an Ed! I love my husband but he’s not the best handyman. I’d hire Ed in a second and pay him whatever he asked if he could cross all the items off my to-do list. There were usually professional contractors and tradesmen heading up the work, but Ed was always a willing participant and did a lot of work.

Mayes also takes us along on day trips and mini-vacations through Tuscany. We tour numerous Etruscan ruins. There are a couple of chapters covering recipes using seasonal ingredients. I enjoyed the chapter on harvesting their olives to be made into their own personal oil. They found it delicious – who wouldn’t?! And if I didn’t have a garden I’d want to shop in the Cortona market. Oh, I’d shop there anyway. It seems you could find almost anything you need, food or otherwise. Another chapter was about celebrating Christmas in Cortona. That sounds like my kind of Christmas.

Over all, I found the book surprisingly interesting and even entertaining in spots. There were a couple of chapters that I found unnecessary. I look forward to watching the movie version.