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Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,721 ratings  ·  268 reviews
A recipe-complemented work by the memoirist of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany continues her tribute to the region and its people, tracing the course of a year during which she renovated a 13th-century hamlet in the mountains above
Title: Every Day in Tuscany
Author: Mayes, Frances
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publication Date: 2010/03/09
Number of Pages: 306
Binding Type
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Hardcover, 301 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Broadway (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Karen
Oh. My. God. Beyond tedious. I can't even begin to describe how much I do not care about this book. It just doesn't flow. I really loved Under The Tuscan Sun. It had a focus and a purpose. But this thing is a collection of whining anecdotes and whatever else happened to pass through the author's mind at the time that should have been kept to herself. The writing style started to grate on my nerves and I was so distracted I couldn't get through one whole page. She's all over the place. The writin ...more
mwbham
This is really only a 2.5 rating. It was, to my surprise, a disappointment to me. I always love her books and her story (especially after spending 4 days in Cortona a few years ago). The book was a bit like a journal - some longer pieces about life in Cortona, many short bits about travel to small Tuscany towns, some thoughts on her life now and before, much about food. It just didn't feel held together for me. I had to keep making myself work toward finishing it.

My favorites were the pieces abo
...more
Caroline
Frances Mayes continues to mine the territory of her life in Italy in this follow-up to Under the Tuscan Sun. The Italy of Frances Mayes is an idealized fantasy, where every vista is breathtaking, every meal is delicious, and every stranger becomes a fast friend. There are endless hours for drinking cappuccino in the piazza, or lounging at dinners that last for 5 hours, or traveling to country towns to view frescoes, or strolling through fields foraging for wild strawberries. There's no real nar ...more
Ensiform
Not a cohesive memoir so much as a personal diary of the author’s time in Tuscany, now twenty years on since her bestseller. Perhaps because this is her fourth volume of Tuscan ramblings (I have not read anything else by her), she does not take the time to introduce characters but rather just drops their names – is Ed her second husband? Third? Common-law live-in partner? Is her grandchild’s mother her daughter, or Ed’s, or what? Who are all these neighbors, and their relation to her? It’s not t ...more
Suzanne
"Seasons of an Italian Life" is a beautifully written journal by Frances Mayes of her life in Italy, her vacation refuge over the last 20+ years. Sharing this life with her husband, her daughter and grandchild clearly bring Ms. Mayes great joy. The Italy of Frances Mayes fills our senses with images of beauty, whether in the form of frescoes and Renaissance art, vases brimming with freshly picked flowers, tables laden with plates of delicious local vegetables, meats and cheeses and, of course, ...more
Suzanne Barrett
It's been twenty years since Frances Mayes bought Bramasole near the Tuscan village of Cortona and fascinated readers and movigoers with her adventures in Under the Tuscan Sun. Now residing part of the year in North carolina and part of the year in her beloved Tuscany, Ms. Mayes and her poet husband take readers on a wandering adventure of life, love and food.

Every day in Tuscany is a lush tale of reacquainting oneself with good friends, happy jaunts and delicious cuisine, simply prepared in the
...more
Juliana Haught
I am kind of sad that my honest rating of the book is only "okay" after having loved the author's other Tuscany books so much, especially the first one. Frances Mayes is a fabulous writer, very poetic and lovely prose, but I found myself feeling a little lost in this book. Mayes' descriptions are beautifully visual, but could sometimes use a little more clarity - I felt like I should maybe re-read the first two books so I could keep track of the houses and places that Mayes talks about. Also, th ...more
Cheryl
The movie Under the Tuscan Sun was such a hit, I didn't bother reading the book after seeing the movie. This book seems to be a continuation. At the time she is writing the book, Mayes is a local celebrity--you see it reflected in the way the townspeople treat her, and the tourist visits she gets to her house: Bramasole.

"I came to Italy for the art, the cuisine, landscapes, history, architecture, wine, and the ineffable beauty," she says, and you can tell that this is an authentic statement bec
...more
Cerealflakes
I was disappointed in this book. Frances Mayes is always a bit new-agey for me, but the subject matter is often interesting. This book didn't offer interesting subject matter. Often she would talk about minutia as though that were interesting. I guess what disappointed me most is that unlike Under the Tuscan Sun, this book didn't talk much about Italians or Italy, it was about Frances Mayes. I don't have enough in common with this author to appreciate her stories. In short, this wasn't much of a ...more
Marcia
I am a big fan of Ms. Mayes two previous books about her life in Tuscany. Compared to them, this one fell short. The sections chronicling her quest to follow the Italian artists, though meant to share her passion for the artists and their art, lacked passion, feeling more like distracting filler than, quoting the book "a passionate and inviting account of the richness and complexity of Italian art." Far more interesting were the stories about her neighbors, her family her home. Unfortunately, th ...more
Kathryn
Oh. My. God.

Will something PLEASE HAPPEN in this story before I gnaw off my HEAD??????

How completely precious can we get?

Especially with no acknowledgement whatsoever as to the extreme privilege of this lifestyle and the fact that Mayes never, really, hurt for money, since like, forever?

If she translates one more Latin cognate phrase into English for the two 8-year-olds for whom the level of literary challenge this book has been gauged, I will SCREAM.
Joy
I debated whether to give this book 2 stars or 3 but decided it is worth 3 since Frances is a very good writer. Also, I enjoyed the recipes and may try a few.
Kimberly B.
2.5 stars, rounded to 3 My husband bought me this book as a Christmas gift, most likely because he knows I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun and because we went to Italy together a few years back and loved it. I haven't read Mayes' previous two books which left me at a disadvantage reading this as there were certainly references that I didn't quite get. On the negative side, the book didn't flow particularly well for me, because the chapters were comprised of shorter passages that didn't alway ...more
Peggy
I enjoy Frances Mayes' lyrical writing; her descriptions are delightful. I also enjoyed the recipes included in this book and the chance to see how the Italians she knows view, live, and enjoy life.
I read a chapter of this book every night before bed and it was a fun way to settle down and savor another slower, calmer, seemingly carefree world.
It was obvious, however, that Mayes is now a celebrity in her part of Tuscany. She tries hard to convey herself as still one of the common folk living in
...more
Jodi
This review refers specifically to the audio edition. Frances Mayes is a terrible narrator for all that she is a magically lyrical writer. This is not a straight forward memoir. It is a series of disconnected or unconnected vignettes that describe more life in Tuscany. Some of these vignettes were just lovely. Food descriptions that I could practically taste, weather that I could feel. Other stories went on endlessly and though they were well written, they were long. The art section in particula ...more
Wendy
Deeply, painfully familiar.

After finishing: okay, I get why so many people are all "the first book was great and this one is bad", because it's nowhere near as reader-friendly, and of course a lot of this ground has been trod already, but I was perfectly happy to immerse myself back in this world. So many of the less-than-stellar reviews seem like nothing more than envy and resentment; and I do feel a little bit of that, like "wait, this should be MY life", but I'm glad she gets to live this wa
...more
Myra
I would've given this book one star if it weren't for the Italian recipes, the chunk about her grandson visiting her (the only relatable part of this memoir) and the paragraph about how to properly buy and store extra virgin olive oil. I found the rest of the book either incredibly self-indulgent on the author's part or the author desperately grasping to write something substantial post-Under the Tuscan Sun (which I haven't read). I am an Italophile (Someone who loves anything Italian? Is that t ...more
Beth
Ups and downs with this one...too much museum type stuff for me, but her prose is still compelling, such as:

At a Tuscan funeral..."From my vantage, only her gray nose was visible above the side of the coffin, a little sail setting out for the afterlife." A little morbid, but wow!

and

of course, food related, "This dish recalled the contadini, who always used what they had. It tasted as though it had been prepared with a ladle of time added to the pot." I love that!

Recipes included, I was drawn to
...more
Sunni
Okay, I REALLY REALLY tried to listen to Frances Mayes read her book and I just couldn't take it. Why on earth does her publisher let her read her books? Such beautiful words out of one of the worst reading voices imaginable. All the delights of Tuscany turn flat and sour with her nasal accent and her monotonous reading style. I can just not picture Italy when she speaks. And when she says Bramasole I can feel my fillings ache. I had the same problem with her first book, FORTUNATELY I was able t ...more
Amber
I liked this book, but felt the balance was wrong. I love Frances Mayes writing style. It is like a framed story - all the imagery in her sentences makes you see other stories in your mind. I think I feel unbalanced in this book because she did not project enough of her everyday self. I got to peek in at parties and menus of fabulous food and people, but not much of a view of what she and Ed's daily rituals. Did they drink coffee in bed or on the terrace? Do they snack on popcorn at midnight? Wh ...more
Marilyn
I've enjoyed these little books by Frances Mayes that take us on a tour of Italy through the eyes of an ex pat who loves the country and has spent several months a year settling into Italian life. I must say that this was not my favorite. I almost put it down through the first couple of rather disjointed chapters which seemed different than her usual writing. Then, I would hit a familiar voice and enjoy myself for a bit. But it was that kind of experience reading the whole book. Some chapters I ...more
Terri
Life in Italy, Tuscany, no less, seems like an idyllic, simple life, visiting with friends in the piazza over a nice hot cup of coffee that is handed to you for free because you are that gosh darn likeable for an American. In fact, Mayes is so incredible that all the town knows her and loves her and fauns all over her... according to her.

This is the life that Frances Mayes lives over there in Europe, Italy, Tuscany for Pete sake, with her husband Ed. Well, they kind of live there except when the
...more
Dvora
Books by expats, travel and food memoirs are among my favorite books to read. I've read others by Frances Mayes, her first one about Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun, is one of my favorites. But I didn't like this one bit. It was little bits and pieces and didn't seem to be telling me anything. In fact, she seemed a bit full of herself, dropping Italian words and phrases here and there. I read only a few pages and then decided to give it back to the friend who had loaned it to me.
A B
If I wanted a writer to describe a ridiculously boring process - such as watching grass grow or paint dry - and somehow make it sound beautiful and special, I would hire Frances Mayes.

I mean that as a compliment. Ms. Mayes seems like a lovely lady, and she has a rare gift of showcasing the English language at its finest. When used properly, English is a truly beautiful language.

The problem is that this book is really about nothing. It is a disorganized mess. I felt as if I was reading excerpts f
...more
Turi
Frances Mayes third book about her life in Tuscany, Every Day feels a little patched-together but still gives great insight into how the life of an ex-pat can progress. She experiences a bit of xenophobia, travels around on the trail of her favorite painters, shares the area with her grandson, and always learns more about the Italian kitchen. Recipes included.
K.M. Weiland
I will agree that Mayes is probably beginning to reach the end of originality in her series on Tuscany. And I will also agree that this installment is a little less focused and poetic than previous books. But I still love it. Mayes is magic with words, and Tuscany is still a delightful and intoxicating place to get to visit by proxy.
Alison
My sister gave me this prior to my own month long trip to Tuscany. I seemed to have been the last of family & friends to make this trip, but I had read Under the Tuscan Sun years ago & loved it (hated movie) & thought I was ready. I liked her format of walking you through the seasons (although spring & mention of 40 days of rain was something I wish I had known about before booking trip...). She has definitely learned how to eek every cent out of her experience. It felt like an a ...more
Lillian Carl
By the author of the best-selling Under the Tuscan Sun, this book is more about her life in

Italy. She writes about art, the landscape, architecture, and food---lots and lots of food.

The Italians, she points out, eat small slow meals of impeccably fresh food, with less

alcohol and less sugar than we Americans think is normal. A totally different attitude.

Mayes writes well and the book is a soothing vacation in Italy, but there's not all that

much to it. However, I did enjoy this passage: "Since
...more
Jhall
Morer of a cookbook and dairy than Mayes usual books
Gail Cooke
It's always a rare treat to hear a book read by the author, in this case the estimable Frances Mayes who recounts her life in Tuscany with unparalleled passion and zest. After all, who could possible remember those days or experiences as truly as Mayes? Having said that, Mayes is not a professional voice performer hence for this listener the long "a's" seemed a bit unsuited to the text and passages I remember reading almost languorously because they brought so much pleasure seemed hurried. None ...more
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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 Worl
...more
More about Frances Mayes...
Under the Tuscan Sun Bella Tuscany A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller In Tuscany Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

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“POMMAROLA Tomato Sauce ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 small onion, minced 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, or 6–8 firm fresh tomatoes, peeled ½ cup basil leaves, chopped Salt and pepper Heat oil and add onion. After 5 minutes over medium heat, add tomatoes and break them up with a spoon. Add basil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10 minutes on high heat, uncovered, to reduce it. Makes 3 cups.” 0 likes
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