Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
By Frances Mayes
Published by Broadway Books
Copyright © 2010
Every Day in Tuscany is the latest book from the author of the extremely popular book Under the Tuscan Sun, which was made into a movie featuring the beautiful Diane Lane. I had never really heard of the book until I saw the previews for the movie and, to be honest, it looked like such a chick flick that I had no desire to see it or read the book. However, when I saw the cover of this new book and read the dust jacket I decided I would give it a try. This is mostly due to the use of the word “cuisine” in the jackets description.
Every Day in Tuscany is a memoir of how Frances spends 8 months of one particular year in Tuscany from late winter to early fall. She introduces us to the people of her village of Cortona, not just the natives but also the ex-pats like herself. She describes the Italian (and wannabe Italians) mind set, the way they think about life, food, and art. She shares their wisdom and their passion, and she shares how this way of life that she has chosen has affected her being.
There was so much to love about “Every Day in Tuscany”. As a lover of food, the description of informal banquets with close friends and amazing food had my rapt attention. (Anyone interested in the locavore/slow food movement will love this memoir.) Nearly every chapter made some reference to food because it is something that is so entangled in the Italian way of life. Frances blesses us with recipes as well, some of which I shall soon be trying. Her depiction of her home (Bramasole) and her mountain retreat, the architecture, the gardens, the sights, smells, and sounds are all so inviting and comforting. Mayes also makes you love the people. She doesn’t make them out to be perfect, but she certainly tells us what captivates her and draws her affection. The only part of this book that was a little hard to get through was her journey in search of the art of the renaissance artist Luca Signorelli. It is really difficult to understand her love of his work if you have never seen it. So I might recommend doing a quick study of his work if you want to enjoy every bit of this book. This is a wonderful book, and I will have to put “Under the Tuscan Sun” on my list of books to read next.