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Bella Tuscany

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  11,142 Ratings  ·  388 Reviews
In this follow-up to her bestselling account of her love affair with Tuscany, Mayes carries forward the concerns and people of Under the Tuscan Sun, while exploring new themes: gardening, travel throughout Italy, deepening friendships with Italians, and primavera, a new season. Interweaving sections on language, art, food, and wine with her journeys in Italy, this audio ca ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 4th 2000 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 04, 2007 Sarah rated it it was ok
Ennchanting though Italy may be, it's hard to keep caring about the endless details of exactly what the author ate or what broke in the house or was planted in the garden. This book is often alleged to be a "meditation," which seems to be a polite term for "has no plot or real character development," and no amount of description of a sun-soaked landscape or excellent red wine seems able to overcome that.
Jun 18, 2007 Heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's wrapped up in the Tuscan craze
I loved Under the Tuscan Sun but was greatly disappointed by this follow-up. While the first book was beautifully crafted and each word seemed to be carefully chosen, this book seemed slapped together with little care. It's as though her editor said, "Hey, your first book is a hit! Give us more of that Tuscany stuff!" To which she promptly obliged, with this book and cookbooks and journals and a bad movie.
Mar 07, 2009 Sheila rated it did not like it
Italy is a beautiful country with a rich history.

This story is largely frivolous. The description of a sunset as "old underwear pink" landed this book firmly in the giveaway pile.

If you want to read a book that glorifies everything Italian (deservedly or not) then you will probably like this book. If glorifying everything because it is Italian may make you gag, skip this book.
Sep 19, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it
Frances Mayes’ Bella Tuscany was, in my opinion, a gem of travel writing. Her work is flowing and brilliant, with amazing pictures painted in easy and unpretentious words. If I could, I would write just like this.

The book gives a beautiful, honest picture of real life in Tuscany, and after reading it I know that someone, somewhere, shares my love of Italy at a basic level.

Mayes’ writing is wonderful and easy to follow. The book even shares some great sounding recipes from both her time in Italy
Sep 25, 2008 Laurel rated it really liked it
Once again we visit Frances Mayes and her husband at their home in Cortona, Italy, a ancient hill town in Tuscany. She's a lovely writer, and her descriptions of the characters, the food, the gardens - and the work involved in making and keeping them so beautiful - draw the reader in until you feel like you're right there beside her. Especially entertaining is the chapter on her difficulties with the Italian language: "Now that I have more understanding of Italian, I have greater occasions to ma ...more
LK Hunsaker
Feb 04, 2013 LK Hunsaker rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I love Italy! It's amazing that a memoir set in Italy can make it sound boring, but I have to give up on this one. Place names are thrown in one after another with no particular importance other than the author being able to say "I was there," and there is no depth. A fourth of the way in and I have no idea who this author really is or what she's about. She's bland. Maybe she isn't in real life, but when it came to the scene where she's watching other people have fun and moaning that they don't ...more
Feb 07, 2009 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: expats-abroad, travel
Mayes reminded me why I became interested in this genre in the first place. Sequel to her ubiquitous Under the Tuscan Sun, she describes her travels as the guide we all wish we could have should we have the good fortune to visit these places ourselves. I particularly enjoyed the topical chapters on gardening and cooking, and noted several pages in my own journal for future reference.
Apr 05, 2015 Kay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book just goes on and on about nothing! The only think I learnt was you buy a lot of veg very cheap on the market in Italy.
Oct 31, 2012 Meghan rated it it was amazing
If you want to be transported and transformed this summer, read this book. Frances Mayes lulls you into the restorative cycle of Italian life. Perched in her idyllic villa, she journals sparsely with a writer’s mind and a food-lover’s heart. She effortlessly recreates the tastes, sights, sounds, and characters of Tuscany in this follow up to her successful novel-turned-film, “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Frances and her husband are restoring an ancient farmhouse in the countryside, and throw themselve ...more
Mar 04, 2012 ayrdaomei rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
I heard Under The Tuscan Sun read on XM's BookRadio a few years ago, and enjoyed it, So I was inspired me to pick up this title when I spotted it among the piles of books my mother rescued from her job. I enjoyed the chapters focused on her observations of individual Italians she meets, and her sojourns to various local markets. I appreciated the recipes liberally sprinkled throughout, and found myself buying fennel this week at Trader Joe's, even though I really haven't the foggiest idea what t ...more
May 30, 2013 Kim rated it did not like it
Unfortunately I didn't like this book nearly as much as I did "Under the Tuscan Sun." I'm not certain how much of that is due to having read that book a long time ago, and how much because I found most of this book to be uninteresting/odd. The beginning and end are interesting. The daughter's wedding was nice, and parts of the middle are alright as well, but most of it read like bad diary entries that you wouldn't normally share with anyone. Things like "and when it was too hot I just sat around ...more
Kerri Barton
Mar 06, 2015 Kerri Barton rated it did not like it
Not recommended if you like books with a plot, or characters, or action, or point really. The only reason you should read this is if you live or plan to travel to Tuscany and want to get a feel for Italian life as seen through the eyes of someone very keen on gardening, cooking, and day trips. This is not a healthy memoir, where you can get behind the voice and journey of the author. She doesn't overcome anything, nor does she provide you with insight on anything more than which asparagus recipe ...more
Nov 18, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chad Manske
Feb 05, 2017 Chad Manske rated it really liked it
Mayes' fantastic follow-up to the immensely popular Under the Tuscan Sun, this volume does not disappoint. Imagine Italy, the sounds, smells, tastes and way of life. Mates invokes the full extent of your imagination with the full richness and simplicity that life in Tuscany has to offer. Your senses are immediately engaged with the taste of Tuscan cooking (including a number of delicious sounding recipes), the richness of good wine, architecture and art like none other in the world, and life as ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Cynthia rated it liked it
Well, I did really like this book, maybe more than 3 stars, but not quite as much as "Under the Tuscan Sun". It's more about her life in Tuscany but kind of episodic, here's when we went hither and yon and what we found/ate there, and then here's how to make some authentic Tuscan food. Which is not as good when you're buying the ingredients from an American grocery store as if you can get them freshly-grown (even Farmer's Market food makes a noticeable difference!). Anyway, I like the recipes, a ...more
Jul 22, 2010 Aylin rated it really liked it
This book wasn't as polished as "Under the Tuscan Sun". It didn't seem tidied up, but had a very real steak to it- right out of the journals and onto the page without cleansing the raw impressions and thoughts of the author to please mass readers. This made it a bit uneven but that did not detract from the whole for me- perhaps even added to it for this type of book. I found the author to be more of a real person.
Jun 22, 2014 Jeannette rated it it was ok
Well written but tiresome about food and plants. It read more like a series of newspaper reports, little articles about what the author did here and there and the many place names and such got a bit boring. Probably my fault because I should have got out a map to read along with the book (why didnt the publishers put in a map?). But I appreciated the poetry in her writing, the images and the background characters.
Oct 22, 2016 Connie added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I really thought that I would enjoy this book since I have lived in Italy, I really didn't like the book. Not so much that I didn't like the book asI disliked the style in which it was written. It felt to me more like a series of snippets instead of a smoothly written tale of the author 's experiences. While I can certainly relate to the feel of Italy and Tuscany especially; and we certainly loved the people, I didn't finish this one- I just couldn't get into it.
Jennifer Hughes
Mar 29, 2010 Jennifer Hughes rated it it was ok
Reading this book was like having a favorite movie and then getting so excited when they make a sequel--and the sequel just doesn't have the magic of the first one. I still love "Under the Tuscan Sun," but "Bella Tuscany" just felt like a travelogue to me. It didn't have the same charm or spark that the first book had. In fact, I didn't even finish it.
Apr 30, 2015 Tbop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-for-fun
I loved this book; probably more than Under the Tuscan Sun. Her writing puts you right there in Cortona. I enjoyed it so much that my husband and I did a driving trip from Florence to Cortona, just so I could see the place that Moyes made me love.
K.M. Weiland
Dec 25, 2009 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing
In a word: beautiful.

Audrey Saltarelli
Jan 21, 2016 Audrey Saltarelli rated it it was ok
Rich white lady spends half her time in Italy. Writes a pretentious book about " the simple life" and thinks that if she uses enough descriptive words it will hide the fact that she is a bad writer.
Jul 07, 2011 Denise rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Under a Tuscan Sun, but this second story about one couple's life and experiences in Tuscany is even better. Makes me want to eat good food and drink good wine and slow down a bit.
Susan Mayhew
Nov 22, 2014 Susan Mayhew rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read
I love to read France's Mayes books. She takes us on an adventure in all her books. Great read
May 15, 2017 Shirley rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
For some reason, I enjoyed this memoir much more than Under the Tuscan Sun. Perhaps I had too many preconceptions about "Tuscan Sun" 14 years ago, having just seen the movie version. The movie and the memoir have little in common, except the name of Frances' home in Tuscany, Bramasole. I have traveled in Italy several times. In this second memoir, Ms. Mayes transported me back to Tuscany, as well as to Sicily, Assisi, San Francisco, and Minnesota.
I also learned that it's ok to fry red tomatoes.
Lindsay Clark
Jun 19, 2017 Lindsay Clark rated it it was ok
From the writer of Under the Tuscan Sun, this book talks a lot I read this while at a Tuscan villa, and I don't know if I would have enjoyed it if this wasn't where I was. I hate putting books down without finishing them, but I couldn't stand reading more about different species of flowers. Good, though, if you're into cooking, gardening, and Italy.
Cara Mcnulty
May 15, 2017 Cara Mcnulty rated it really liked it
“He's already tan, and leaning on the rail in his yellow linen shirt, with the pure glory of Venice racing behind him, I think he looks like someone I'd like to run off with, if I already hadn't.” What a lovely way to describe your husband. I really enjoy her writing and wish I was there with them eating, drinking wine and traveling.
Brad Fonseca
Jun 21, 2017 Brad Fonseca rated it really liked it
A little bit of a travelogue and a renovation journal. A great continuation of "Under A Tuscan Sun"though it ends on a sad note. Definitely recommend it if you liked "Under a Tuscan Sun"
Linda Flynn
May 18, 2017 Linda Flynn rated it it was ok
Perhaps I enjoyed Under the Tuscan Sun so much, nothing else could compete.
Oct 09, 2016 Naomi rated it liked it
I do enjoy Frances Mayes. It took my forever to read this book, but it really is perfect for a slow and savoring read. I want to live in Italy now.
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Frances Mayes's new book is Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir , published by Crown. With her husband, Edward Mayes she recently published The Tuscan Sun Cookbook. Every Day in Tuscany is the third volume in her bestselling Tuscany memoir series.

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 Wor
More about Frances Mayes...

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“He's already tan, and leaning on the rail in his yellow linen shirt, with the pure glory of Venice racing behind him, I think he looks like someone I'd like to run off with, if I already hadn't.” 1 likes
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