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Under the Tuscan sun : at home in Italy
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Buying a villa in the spectacular Italian countryside is a wonderful fantasy -- even if 17 rooms and a garden in need of immediate loving care are included in the asking price. Frances Mayes -- gourmet cook, widely published travel writer, and poet -- changed her life by doing just that. Sprinkled liberally with delicious recipes for inspired Italian dishes, amusing anecdotes about the risks of being your own contractor, and a savvy traveler's reminiscences, Under the Tuscan Sun is Mayes's enchanting account of her love affair with Tuscany: of scouring the neighborhood for the perfect panettone and the perfect plumber; of mornings spent cultivating her garden, and afternoons spent enjoying its fruits in leisurely lunches on the terrace; of jaunts through the hill towns in search of renowned wines; and the renewal not only of a house, but also of the spirit. An unusual memoir that combines the appeal of M. F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, and Martha Stewart, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast for the senses.
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Booklist Review
It takes a determined effort to read this account of restoring and enjoying a Tuscan farmhouse without experiencing a violent attack of adolescent jealousy. Why her and not me, you'll be screaming as writer and professor Mayes describes languorous lunches on the patio, local wine flowing freely and olive pits casually pitched toward the nearby stone wall. Yes, there were problems--wells running dry, workers vanishing--but the image Mayes creates of her house, the Italian countryside, and her summers there with fellow professor Ed and sundry visitors is nothing short of idyllic: a real-life version of the film Stealing Beauty, but without the funny-looking sculpture scarring the landscape. Mayes' delightful recipes, evocative descriptions of the nearby village of Cortona, and thoughtful musings on the Italian spirit only add to the pleasure. This is armchair travel at its most enticing. Can we really blame ourselves for wanting to strap Mayes down in some ratty armchair while we go live in her farmhouse? (Reviewed Sept. 15, 1996)0811808424Bill Ott
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Table of Contents
Prefacep. 1
Bramare: (Archaic) To Yearn Forp. 5
A House and the Land it Takes Two Oxen Two Days to Plowp. 24
Sister Water, Brother Firep. 41
The Wild Orchardp. 63
Whir of the Sunp. 75
(Make Haste Slowly)    Festina Tardep. 90
A Long Table Under the Treesp. 107
Summer Kitchen Notesp. 124
Cortona, Noble Cityp. 138
Riva, Maremma: Into Wildest Tuscanyp. 159
Turning Italianp. 180
Green Oilp. 194
Floating World: A Winter Seasonp. 205
Winter Kitchen Notesp. 220
Rose Walkp. 234
(Always Stone)    Sempre Pietrap. 242
Relics of Summerp. 258
Solleonep. 271
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