Having spent her summers in Tuscany for the past several years, Frances Mayes relished the opportunity to experience the pleasures of Primavera, an Italian spring. A sabbatical from teaching in San Francisco allowed her to return to Cortona - and her beloved house, Bramasole - just as the first green appeared on the rocky hillsides. Bella Tuscanyis a passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people and the joys of art, food and wine. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto and faces transitions in her family life. Spiced with recipes from Mayes' Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, BELLA TUSCANY is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.
The follow-up to Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany is less about the home Ms. Mayes and her partner have built than their settling into the landscape and community. They spent more time in Italy during this memoir than they did in the last, using up a great deal of vacation time I suspect!
I really enjoyed reading Ms. Mayes descriptions of the Italian landscape; they were as evocative and rich as in her first memoir. They spent more time touring around small Italian towns in this memoir, and a lot more time visiting local wineries and farms. This is what I loved about the sequel, I felt like Ms. Mayes was delving deeper into the Italian mindset; I felt like I better understood the area she was living in this time around. I also loved her musings about the Italian language - I've tried to learn Italian too and it's exceptionally difficult!
I know that she has written a third memoir about her life in Italy, and another about traveling to Greece. Big plans to track down copies to read in the sun!
Clearly I highly recommend this memoir. It was beautiful, lyrical, and rich.