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Bella Tuscany

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  8,950 ratings  ·  329 reviews
A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF UNDER MAGNOLIA

Frances Mayes, whose enchanting #1 New York Times bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun made the world fall in love with Tuscany, invites us back for a delightful new season of friendship, festivity, and food, there and throughout Italy.

Now with an excerpt fromFrances Mayes'slatest southern memoir, Under Magno
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ebook, 0 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sarah
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.
Heidi
Jun 18, 2007 Heidi rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Heather
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
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Laurel
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
Scott
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.
Sheila
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.
Kim
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
Meghan
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
ayrdaomei
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
LK Hunsaker
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
Kay Brady
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.
Susan Mayhew
I love to read France's Mayes books. She takes us on an adventure in all her books. Great read
Cynthia
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
Aylin
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.
Susan Biel
Moments ago, I finished this book, a second reading. First, I have to note that "Under The Tuscan Sun" book is DEFINITELY not the movie. While the movie is a great, fun chick flick, the book is so much more. And "Bella Tuscany" is a continuance of Frances' love affair with Italy. Her descriptions paint pictures in the mind - I could almost smell and feel the flowers, the food, the art, etc. etc. Her references and quotes from numerous authors makes me feel so..."unread". I also must add that I j ...more
Elizabeth
It was like reading her other book, Under the Tuscan Sun, for the second time ! Amazing how somebody can get away with publishing a book with the same anekdotes and stories. Not sure about the recipes, have not compared those yet. However, it was good to read again about the interaction between people, the respect people have for each other in this country, her plans for her house and garden, etc.
Jennifer Hughes
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.
Katherine Relf-canas
This is a foodie book. It took me awhile to realize that. I was wondering why it had so much to do with meals and mealtime and then realized like a person who has had a big meal and is ready for a nap: oh, this is her entry into the Michael Pollan, Carlo Petrini genre. But it dances around many other subjects: the changing face of Tuscany, getting to a ripened stage in life where you alter your dreams and make do with what seems within your range rather than building castles in the air. She talk ...more
Kerri Barton
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
Denise
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.
Ron
Like its predecessor this may be rather self-absorbent and thus frustrating to readers with less cash to spend than Ms Mayes, and it does contain many confusing names of people and places [I kept going to a map to see where these villages are]. It is also less focussed than "Under the Tuscan Sun" as there is more set away from Tuscany whether travelling to Sicily and Venice or back in California where the couple live and work [part-time?].

However, if only because I am planning a trip to Tuscany
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Nd
Thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been reading this while holed up during a cold winter snow/ice storm in Georgia and found it completely transporting. On closed-in day #2, inspired by Frances Mayes's Tuscan cooking, I roasted vegetables -- broccoli, mushrooms, garlic -- and folded them into a quiche with a small bit of ham, fresh rosemary, and cheddar-feta-parmesan. These slow food and fresh cooking inspirations result from Ms. Mayes's adaptation to and incorporation into Tuscan land and flow of life ...more
K.M. Weiland
In a word: beautiful.

Jessica
I did not enjoy this book as much as Under the Tuscan Sun, the first book in Mayes's Tuscany series. At least Under the Tuscan Sun had a story holding it together--the story of how Frances Mayes bought and renovated Bramasole in Tuscany. This next book does not have any similar thread, or even a plot, to hold it together. Bella Tuscany is simply a jumble of thoughts on art, food, old linens, gardening, and whatever else popped into the author's head, I guess. There's no overall point or structur ...more
Melissa

Ah, after the first book I was very excited to delve into this one. Only to receive some disappointment. There were some definite changes in style from the first book, but I don't think they were the good kind of changes that they could have been.

Frances Mayes returns to visiting her home Bramasole in Tuscany. For summers, some springs, and Christmas's this is her home away from home. They host friends, visits different villages, and cooks lots of different food while enjoying all that Tuscany h
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Geoff
You can’t help but love the way Frances Mayes writes her books. You can tell she has a background in literature, but truly loves writing. Her rich descriptions and colorful asides take her beautiful memoirs from just being books to being journeys. Having read Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in the World, when I found out Ms. Mayes was speaking as part of the Lowell Lecture Series at the Boston Public Library I had to go and listen. I had a brief opportunity to speak with her after the lecture ab ...more
Agreenhouse
Add two extra stars in you are sitting in Tuscany reading the book. I had the pleasure to encounter this book while staying in the medieval castle hilltop town of Vellano. I had previously avoided reading or seeing the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, thinking it was simple chick flick/lit territory, but I was impressed with Mayes writing style. She has a wonderful way of capturing the essence of a place in a few well-phrased sentences. I am in love with Italy now, and reading her book was like talki ...more
Leland
After reading about a third of this book, I perused some of the Goodreads reviews and I was somewhat surprised by the comments that this book had no plot. Quite simply, it isn't that kind of a book. I enjoyed this book very much. It floats from place to place, thought to thought. The flow of the book evinces time in a garden, with seasons, blooms, harvests, and inevitable feasts. The comparisons to her previous book, Under the Tuscan Sun, might be somewhat misleading, as that book followed a mor ...more
Lucy Williams
Belle Tuscany is the second of two books Frances Meyes has written about her life in Tuscany (the first one was called under the Tuscan sun). It is pretty impossible to get any quotes from this book so I will have to do without.

This book is carrying on with the characters and the house that Frances and Ed brought and decided to renovate in Tuscany. They live back at home in California the rest of the year and then come to Italy for the other part of the year.

I would describe this book as nice. T
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Amy Jo Cousins
I am confused by the people who review this on Goodreads and complain that nothing happens, that it's a terrible novel because there's no real story. Um, perhaps because it's not a novel at all? Bella Tuscany is Mayes' second book about the different rhythms and habits of her part-time life in Italy, and most of it is quite charming and lovely. There was one chapter that I didn't particularly enjoy, as it was clearly written as a 'stop in this town and see this, stop next in that town and do tha ...more
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Twenty going along with base runners 1 1 Apr 04, 2015 12:25AM  
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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
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More about Frances Mayes...
Under the Tuscan Sun A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller In Tuscany Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

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