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Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life

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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,679 ratings  ·  362 reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A TIMELESS CLASSIC FROM THE AUTHOR OF UNDER MAGNOLIA
 
Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opnes the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity o
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Broadway Books (first published 1998)
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Karen
Feb 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 writing is so ab ...more
Obsidian
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was disappointing. I haven't read it in years, and am now recalling why I haven't. I really loved Under the Tuscan Sun and this one was painful to get through. I kept falling asleep. Mayes makes the decision to write rambling passages in this one and includes poetry and her musings on random things when she is supposed to be telling you about the days she spends in Tuscany starting in the Spring through the Summer. 

It's been 20 years since Mayes and her husband Ed bought a
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Ensiform
Feb 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
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
Caroline
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 narrati ...more
mwbham
May 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 th
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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
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
Joy
May 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Beckie
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be a little hard to follow at times but overall a very beautiful read. The book reads like poetry and a diary at the same time. I found both these aspects to be incredibly enjoyable. The diary aspect means it doesn’t exactly flow like a book might but more offers little vignettes of Mayes’ every day life in Tuscany. And each of the chapters or stories reads like an individual poem or series of poems. Mayes is a beautiful writer and if you have the patience to read her writin ...more
Terri
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
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 exc
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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 becaus
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Suzanne Barrett
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pre
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Juliana Haught
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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 Parmeter
Feb 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 SCRE
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K.M. Weiland
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dorina
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Frances Mayes. When I read her books, I feel like I am right there beside her. This was no exception. I felt like I was traveling through Tuscany and it’s villages. The descriptions were vivid, the food sounded amazing and I am happy she included a few recipes to try. I am looking forward to visiting Tuscany but in the meantime, I will travel with Frances.
Michele
I enjoy Frances Mayes' writings about Italy and I love the recipes she includes. Another book about her enviable Italian life. Good summer read.
Jo
Nov 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A cookbook? A diary? A non-cohesive book of random thoughts about Tuscany. Marketed as a sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun. Extremely tedious
Jenifer
I thought this memoir was interesting, because I'm interested in a lot of the things that Mayes loves to talk about; food, friends, family, architecture, art and living a simple, well-intentioned life.

I liked her writing and I didn't think she was overly optimistic or complaining. Man, people love to read a memoir and then pick every detail and statement of the author apart! I think maybe they just don't like memoirs.
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
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Christine Zibas
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well known for her books about the Tuscan countryside, its people, and the life of an expat in Cortona, Frances Mayes brings us yet more stories in her newest book, Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life. Unlike other authors who dwell on the same subject (even those whose life is similar to Mayes albeit in another European idyll instead of Tuscany), however, Mayes breathes new life into a place readers have come to know through her writings (Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, among ...more
Kimberly
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2012, biography
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 always ...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
Marilyn
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Peggy
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 fol
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Wendy
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Myra Flor
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
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
May 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
...more
Sunni
Jul 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
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
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Frances Mayes's new book is See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy published by Crown. Her most recent novel is Women in Sunlight, published by Crown and available in paperback in spring 2019. 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 h
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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.” 1 likes
“Ik hou van de spannende periode van afwachten, van de geestelijke en fysieke sensatie van bochten als iets geheimzinnigs naar de oppervlakte van het bewustzijn zigzagt.” 0 likes
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