Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

About the book

Frances Mayes – widely published poet, gourmet cook and travel writer – opens the door on a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. She finds faded frescoes beneath the whitewash in the dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles – and even a wayward scorpion under her pillow. And from her traditional kitchen and simple garden she creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes, all included in this book.
In the vibrant local markets and neighbouring hill towns, the author explores the nuances of the Italian landscape, history and cuisine. Each adventure yields delightful surprises – the perfect panettone, an unforgettable wine, or painted Etruscan tombs. Doing for Tuscany what Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion. A celebration of the extraordinary quality of life in Tuscany, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN is a feast for all the senses.

Reviewed by Selborne Book Circle:

Although all our group agreed that it was well written and very evocative of Tuscany sun, scenery, hill top towns and markets, some of us thought the theme of restoring old houses in foreign parts has become hackneyed. The rest of us enjoyed the book and felt it was almost as good as a holiday. We mostly felt that the recipes and wine sampling were excessive.

Star rating: ***

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3 thoughts on “Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes”

  1. Review by Cambridge Reading Group:
    We found it repetitive – so much so that several people did not finish it. Too much description of local buildings – mostly very similar. Not a “page-turner”.
    Star rating: **


  2. Review by The Benches Reading Group:
    What a disappointing book! We felt that it had been cobbled together from articles written for an American magazine. Result producing a disjointed narrative that was neither a travelogue, memoir or cookbook. Could not relate to either the author or her husband and felt that even of the ten years of restoration of her property she did not become absorbed into the local community.
    Star rating: *


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