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Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life Hardcover – 9 Mar 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (9 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767929829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767929820
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.7 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 280,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


JANUARY 1st, 2010
"Seasons of an Italian Life
Broadway (320 pp)
March 9, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7679-2982-0
"Mayes ("A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller, 2006, etc) "continues to gather voluptuous memories in Tuscany and Umbria, Liguria, the Marche and beyond.
This collection of two-dozen set pieces finds the author true to her romantic form-hungry to live as close to the bone in her corner of Tuscany as possible, to drink in equal measure from the local wine, the paintings of Luca Signorelli, village folklore and the lilac morning sky. Occasionally she slips into deliquescence, but mostly she s stirring the reader s gastric juices with luscious tales from the table or tendering a descriptive nugget that holds fast in the mind s eye. This might be a day trip to nearby Loreto, "home of the house of the Virgin Mary, borne aloft by angels in 1294, and blown in a storm from Croatia, where it has paused en route from Nazareth"; a morning spent foraging asparagus, fennel flowers and figs; an owl that lifts the roof tiles and squeezes into the attic; or finding a grenade, with accompanying warning note, in her front yard. This last event was the result of a certain dissenting brashness she brought to a civic issue. Understandably distraught, Mayes never quite convinces the reader that the "bomba" will end her days in Cortona, but rather she will learn how to get her opinion heard without discovering explosives in the garden. Food is the pivot around which her days swing, and Mayes serves it forth with brio and dash-and recipes, including stuffed and fried olives, Parmesan flan and chicken under a brick. If the parade of art, food, elemental landscape and abiding camaraderie gives the reader a case of eye-ache and envy, the author can only be admired for having worked hard to earn the life and for celebrating it with such genuine relish.
Mayes the sensualist in full bloom. ("Local events and interviews out of Raleigh/Durham. Agent: Peter Ginsberg/Curtis Brown).

"Publisher's Weekly
Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian LifeFrances Mayes Broadway, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7679-2982-0
In her most recent Tuscan tour, Mayes conducts readers through the gentle and sometimes violent and disruptive undulations of the seasons from winter to summer in her Tuscan home of Bramasole. In this new memoir, she reflects on the palpable scents emitted by the old-growth chestnut, apple, and olive trees, the jovial hospitality and strength of her friends and neighbors, and the familiar and sometimes disturbing sounds of herds of wild boars rushing through the orchards. Mayes and her husband, Ed, situated themselves even more firmly in Tuscany a few years ago when they discovered a falling-down stone cottage on a rugged slope and restored it as a second home. We follow Mayes as she forages for the prizedamarini, cherries the size of five-caret rubies, which are bottled with alcohol and brought out in winter to spoon over polenta cake, pears, blackberries, asparagus, fennel flowers, and figs. We continue on our journey with her as she leads us in search of the great Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli from Cortona, where her new house lies.Mayes s affectionate and warm memoir vividly celebrates the lush abundance and charm of daily life in the Italian countryside.(Mar.)

"By Barbara Hoffert -- Library Journal, 11/1/2009"
Mayes, Frances. Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life. Broadway. Mar. 2010. 288p. ISBN 978-0-7679-2982-0. $25.
The woman who singlehandedly started the travel-memoir craze returns with more on her life in Tuscany, including her purchase and renovation of a new house in a 13th-century village. With a four-city tour; can't miss.

Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life.
Mayes, Frances (Author)
Mar 2010. 320 p. Broadway, hardcover, $25.00. (9780767929820). 945.
Almost 20 years have passed since Mayes planted roots in a dilapidated (read: insanely charming) old farmhouse outside the Tuscan hill town of Cortona. Now, in her third memoir, she takes us to her second Italian abode, a rundown (read: cozy and idyllic) cottage in the woods. We take an hour walk to gather the makings for tonight s dinner, we smell the lemon trees growing in the next room over; we re right there with Mayes, fighting every urge to jump straight into these sun-soaked and citrus-scented pages. Also on the menu: Mayes serves up a delightful smattering of the recipes that she has the undisputed privilege to enjoy during lengthy dinners with friends. Following in the tradition of her first two memoirs, Under the Tuscan Sun (1996) and Bella Tuscany (1999), Mayes is generous with her thoughts, and her evocative writing simply oozes charm and warmth. In these times, this quick read is a thoroughly enjoyable way to
visit Italy without once considering the heartbreaking dollar-to-euro conversion rate.
" Annie Bostrom""

About the Author

In addition to her Tuscany memoirs, "Under the Tuscan Sun"and"Bella Tuscany," Frances Mayes is the author of the travel memoir"A Year in the World"; the illustrated books"In Tuscany"and"Bringing Tuscany Home";"Swan," a novel;"The Discovery of Poetry," a text for readers; and five books of poetry. She divides her time between homes inItalyandNorth Carolina. Visit France Mayes s blog at www.francesmayesbooks.com."

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is 20 years since American author Mayes purchased her dilapidated villa Bramasole, 15 years since the publication of her first book "Under the Tuscan Sun" which recounts the purchase of Bramasole. This book, her third memoir, finds Mayes the owner of two Tuscan villas and a historic farmhouse in North Carolina, where she lives in the winter months. She and Ed are now married, and have a young grandson. Reading this review, you may ask, who's Ed? What is Bramasole? If you're wondering this, then I would advise you go back and read "Under the Tuscan Sun" before you read this book. In my opinion, this was Mayes' finest book and I envy anyone who is about to read it for the first time. It is beautifully written, all about Mayes first years living part-time in Tuscany, taking a risk to purchase an old villa with 5 acres of land, the pleasures of living a new life in a foreign country after a painful divorce. "Seasons of an Italian Life" will have much more meaning if you have read this book first.

"Seasons of an Italian Life" is a collection of Mayes' introspections on her Tuscan life, her friends (she has a lot of them), the places she visits. There is a chapter on an unsettling event which causes her to re-evaluate her future in Tuscany. She writes of another rural property she has purchased nearby, and the careful renovations. (Oddly she lives in both of her houses at the same time, flitting between the two). As in her other books, the prose is luscious, her love of Tuscany shining through. However, I only gave 4 stars, as I felt at times the book was a little disjointed, almost like diary entries.
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Format: Hardcover
There's something about Italy that evokes poetic adjectives in anyone trying to capture its essence in prose. Blush-worthy effusions, which seem obligatory to the country's foreign inhabitants, are symptomatic of the Italian disease, which, once it strikes, is not only virulent but also incurable.

In Ms. Mayes, I detect a fellow chronic sufferer, and as such, I feel for one whose clouds are "flocculent," whose "topiary trees" are "wise," whose hot chocolate is "creamy and unctuous," whose cypresses are "dark-hearted," to give but a few examples. Having absorbed the magic, the author is endeavouring to convey it to her readers, who, unless they themselves have experienced Italy on a long-term basis, will probably not only fail to perceive the enchantment, but will also be immune to it. They may well dismiss such fulsome prose (as heartfelt as it might be) as either overblown or pretentious.

Of course, I'm jealous! I would give anything to be "waking with the splendiferous Tuscan dawns, listening to the bees mining the linden, lying in the grass at night watching the falling stars" (p. 99) instead of waking in the smog-choked Land of Malls, where the bees have vanished and honey is to be found only on the shelves of pricey supermarkets, and the light pollution is so severe that all the stars (except the three bright ones in Orion's belt) seem to have fallen already.

Bottom line: If your lodestar blazes over Italy, buy this book--especially if you are fascinated by lengthy descriptions of the renaissance paintings and frescos of Luca Signorelli (which, if you are unfamiliar with them, you can view on Google Images), and if you enjoy philosophical epigrams such as "Time, the big breadbasket we fill, raid, fill, and empty" (62).
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By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 April 2010
Format: Hardcover

Have you ever looked forward to a dinner, a party, an event with so much eager anticipation that the reality could not possibly match your expectations? That's descriptive of the situation I found myself in when awaiting the arrival of Frances Mayes's latest EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY.

I am a huge fan of Mayes's work, totally bewitched by UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN and others, so in all fairness it may be that nothing she wrote could possibly enchant me as much as her previous work. As always, her prose is poetic, beautifully wrought, and her powers of description undiminished. EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY is surely a pleasure, but for this reader simply not as exciting, as exhilarating as the others. Wonder if after almost two decades spent in Italy the subhject is not as intoxicating for her either. Mayes's narrative tends to be a bit rambling, disjointed reminiscences of time spent in Tuscany and environs. More introspective, at times very much a diary filled with random thoughts.

One would have to share her passion for tracking the works of the artist Luca Signorelli throughout Italy or find interesting her remembrance s of a Southern childhood. Having said all of that the narrative is, of course, pure unadulterated Mayes who often weaves a spell with words, allowing us to smell the bubbling tomato sauce, taste the "creamy and unctuous" hot chocolate, and experience Cortona where "the rhythms of the piazza are an ancient folk dance." So, indeed, there is much to enjoy in EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY.
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