Claire asked Frances Mayes:

I would love to know if you still split your time living in Tuscany and the US and if so, how do you cope with being caught 'between two worlds'. What are the main differences between living in Tuscany and the US?

Frances Mayes It's easy, really. I live in NC about seven months and in Tuscany the rest of the year. I don't feel caught at all. It's interesting to see each place from another perspective. Keeps your mind alert to the stereotypes and false impressions that go on around the world. Personally, I find living in the South and living in Tuscany wonderfully similar and yet still different. People are beyond civil--I think of California as civil--and are, instead, truly friendly and warm. BUT--Italy, we must admit, has the renaissance, the heavenly beauty of the towns, and the sublime landscapes. The long, long culture of Italy makes it like nowhere else.

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