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In Tuscany [Hardcover]

Frances Mayes
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 31 2000
From the bestselling author whose memoirs Under the Sun and Bella Tuscany have captured the voluptuousness of Italian life comes a lavishly illustrated ode to the joys of Tuscany's people, food, landscapes, and art.  In Tuscany celebrates the abundant pleasures of life in Italy as it is lived at home, at festivals, feasts, restaurants and markets, in the kitchen and on the piazza, in the vineyards, fields, and olive groves.  Combining all-new essays by Frances Mayes and a chapter by her husband, poet Edward Mayes, with more than 200 full-color photos by photographer Bob Krist, each of this book's five sections highlights a signature aspect of Tuscan life:

La Piazza--the locus of Italian village life.  With photgraphs of the shop signs, the outdoor markets, medieval streets, people, their pets and their cars, and snippets of conversations overheard, Mayes reveals the life of the Piazza in her town of Cortona as well as out-of-the-way places such as Volterra, Asciano, Monte San Savino, and Castelmuzio.

La Festa--the celebration.  Essays and photos of feasts and celebrations, such as the Christmas dinner for twenty-seven at a neighbor's house and a donkey race around the church at Montepulciano Stazione, illustrate how the Tuscans celebrate the seasons--their open ways of friendship, their connection to nature, and most of all, their sense of abundance.

Il Campo--the field.  Here Edward Mayes evokes the deep sense of the shift of seasons as he picks olives before he and Frances head off to the olive oil mill and enjoy the first bruscette with new oil.

La Cucina--the kitchen.  An intimate view of the all-important role of the kitchen in Tuscan culture, including photographs of her own kitchen and gardens, menus from great local cooks, the elements of the Tuscan table, dishes with cultural and culinary notes on each, and, of course, delectable recipes.

La Bellezza--the beauty.  From the quality of the light falling on sublime landscapes in different seasons and Tuscan faces in moments of laughter to a silhouette of cypress trees in the early evening and a wild bird perched on a neigbor's head, In Tuscany features views of beauty that reveal the singular splendor of one of the world's best-loved and most artistic regions.

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In Tuscany + The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen
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Product Description

From Amazon

Frances Mayes continues her love letter to Italy in this sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. The restoration of her home, Bramasole, is complete, but Tuscany keeps unfolding. While the earlier books chronicled her and her husband's first years in Italy, this one is less full of stories than meditations on the elements of Tuscan pleasures, accompanied by photographs that give color to the place Mayes has described so lovingly and well.

"What makes the people so friendly, no, not just friendly, so genuinely kind and generous?" Mayes asks an Italian friend, then turns her intense attention to answer the question herself. Her answers range from baci (kisses), an intimate expression that "keeps alive the joy we all are born with," to la piazza, the navel of Italy's intense sense of community, to a deep love affair with food and seasonal delights. (Mayes shares the latter and once again gives recipes from the traditional to the idiosyncratic while her poet-husband Edward treats us to a description of the olive harvest). Then there is the Tuscans' territorial attachment to the land. Place, Mayes writes, makes you who you are and it is by reading the landscape that you find the story of how the people lived. Like a guidebook written by a good friend who reveals to you all the secret places they've found, Mayes leads us from out-of-the-way towns to great frescoes to tiny restaurants with exquisite delicacies (and even gives you their addresses). Turn down any one of Mayes's streets and there is something to contemplate.

In the distance you see villages crowning a hill or protectively stacked against a slope. Every one pulls me toward its altarpiece, special triptych, arched gate, gothic window, or fountain. Every one has its opinionated, eccentric, friendly, and intrinsic characters who make each place deeply itself.

Once again, Mayes presents Tuscany as an irresistible place where the pleasures are unexpected, sumptuous, and downright enviable. Immersing yourself in In Tuscany is the next best thing to being invited home to Bramasole. --Lesley Reed

From Publishers Weekly

Riding on the success of her previous books, Mayes, who here collaborates with her husband, returns with a curious amalgam of cookbook, coffee-table book, travel guide and memoir. As in Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, Mayes lovingly admires her adopted Tuscany, where she purchased a villa 10 years ago. Chapters are loosely organized around general concepts: for instance, "Baci (Kisses)" focuses on Italian effusiveness; "La Piazza" centers on the meeting place of Italian village life; and "La Festa (Celebration)" opens with a quote from a song by Jovanotti (an Italian pop band) and goes on to classify the many types of celebrations held in Italy, from Siena's Palio to weekly Sunday lunches. Mayes includes 25 recipes throughout the book, though concentrated in the chapters "La Cucina" and "Il Campo." While there are local recipes such as Onion Soup in the Arezzo Style and Chicken Liver on Little Crusts, some of her choices are puzzling. Mayes freely appropriates non-Tuscan items such as Capri's famed limoncello and Parmesan cheese and even provides a recipe for the mirepoix that is the base of many Italian dishes. A list of resources provides a calendar of festivals in the region as well as addresses and phone numbers for bars, restaurants and specialty stores. Kirst's (Spirit of the Place) endearing photos of Tuscan life fill the pages. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Tuscany is a world; Italy is a universe. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read! Oct. 31 2000
By Brenda
Frances Mayes' love for Tuscany has traversed in to a third book. Before In Tuscany, there was Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. In Tuscany has been written with Edward Mayes and the famous photographer Bob Krist provides some rich awe inspiring pictures that show the reader why the author is so in love with the splendor of Tuscany. His pictures give an artistic appearance that captures and keeps the reader's eye.
Frances writes that Tuscany is a world; Italy is a universe. She has spent a notable amount of time exploring Tuscany in order to experience more of the wonder and pleasure it beholds. Each chapter is organized and presented in a clear manner. The author's bounty of information flows in a pleasurable reading style making it easy to read and enjoy; the author's passion shines through in every word.
Here are the chapters and the subjects they deliver:
Baci (Kisses) - An introduction of sorts La Piazza (Piazza) - Where everyone enjoys life La Festa (Celebration) - Elaborate celebrations and how history plays a part Il Campo (Field) - The countryside and vineyards La Cucinal (Kitchen) - Menu and cooking traditions La Belleza (Beauty) - The beauty and light of Tuscany
It's a joy to read and the pictures a pleasure to look at.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet! Nov. 26 2000
For those who love pictures to complete the story this book is for you. Frances Mayes and her husband are fortunate to be soul mates and it is obvious to the reader that they enjoy living and working together for a common goal. Previous books of Ms. Mayes have been critized for her being "too self-involved and having lots of money to restore their home in Cortona", but this is the culmuniation of their genuine love for Italy. They have captured the people and show the reader their enjoyment of all the reasons they have ventured this far to enjoy life. The words flow with the pictures and the look at Italy is really as it is. Having only been to Italy once I felt like I was back walking the hill towns, driving the roads, and enjoying every minutes of the three weeks spent with these wonderful people. Reading the prequels gives the history of the time and energy and love that is brought forth in this pictorial. Enjoy!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wish Granted Nov. 12 2000
Having read Frances Mayes' first two books about Bramasole, I found myself wishing that I could see all the fascinating places and people she described in such loving detail. It is obvious that she is a poet, for who else would notice the little everyday things that she re-creates so vividly for us? When I heard that her new book would have photographs, it seemed too good to be true. Would the little shrine down the terrace from Bramasole be there? Would the marketplaces in Cortona? Would there be portraits of the people whose character studies have made us wish we could have them for friends and neighbors? Not to worry, all these and so much more is there. The photographer is an artist, and the quality of his work belongs in a gallery. Mrs. Mayes must have known that many of her readers would want to own a book like this, and I feel as though it is my own personal trip to Tuscany to keep forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mayes, et al have really done it this time... June 8 2001
I fell in love with this book as soon as I took it out of the Amazon.com box it arrived in. It is beautifully made. I love all of the pictures Mayes has incorporated into her latest work of art. It was so great to actually see Bramasole and various individuals she always writes about. I had invisioned what Bramasole and all if the individuals looked like while reading Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, but now I feel enriched because I have an insider's view of them. As always, the recipies she includes are delicious, authentic, and easy to make. Giusi's Pasta al Ragu is almost identical to the recipe my family in Italy makes. If you make it top it with some Pecorino Romano, take a bite, close your eyes, and you will feel as though you are dining at a trattoria in Italy. I am holding my breath in anticipation of a 4th book in this series!
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1.0 out of 5 stars For Blindly Faithful Lovers Only Dec 8 2000
By A Customer
Frances Mayes adds "In Tuscany" as the third in her seemingly never-ending series about life in Bella Toscana-- following her hugely successful "Under A Tuscan Sun," its sequel "Bella Tuscany," and several calendars. Unfortunately this latest effort left this reader greatly disappointed, as the author fashions verbal portraits of standard aspects of Italian life (e.g. the cucina-- kitchen; piazza, etc.). This time around, she adds complementary photos-- but many are soft focus, artsy blurred images, rather than the stunning, breathtaking images found in many other books, such as "Most Beautiful Villages in Tuscany." Take a peek before you lay your money down. This book leaves much to be desired-- at least for me.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A major disapointment "In Tuscany". Nov. 28 2000
By A Customer
In contrast to the previous reviewers, I found this book one the larger disappointments of the past year. I anxiously awaited this title, after reading and rereading Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. The prose that I found endearing in full chapters becomes trite and overproduced in smaller chunklets. I further find that pages and pages of artfully blurry photographs add little to the book. As far as the recipes go, your money is better spent on a good Italian cookbook. This book adds little to the continuing story of life in Tuscany, and that is the reader's loss. Not recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete the Experience
A delicious feast for the eye and heart. If you have read the book, if you have travelled in Tuscany this book brings it all home visually.
Published on Oct. 7 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Photos Photos Photos
This is a necessary companion to Mayes' earlier books about the restoration of her home. This book is all about photos of Tuscany and the hill town (apparently Italy's oldest) of... Read more
Published on July 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I have all three books about living in Italy by Frances, and visited Italy 2 1/2 years ago. I feel as though she is seeing and experiencing through my eyes! Read more
Published on March 14 2002 by Heidi Lettieri
5.0 out of 5 stars Italy as I knew it
After having lived in Italy, I can say that this book catches the true essence of that country. The quietly beautiful photographs recall the Italian masters and the scenes portray... Read more
Published on June 25 2001 by Llewellyn C. Douglass
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Savor
This latest book from Frances Mayes is a book to savor just as one would savor a fine bottle of wine or a cool Autumn evening in front of a crackling fire with nothing in front of... Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2001 by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
I had been waiting eagerly for the next book in the Tuscany series and I am not disappointed. The format is certainly different than the other 2, but Mayes' love for and delight... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Photos
The photos in this book are really above average. However, the photos are about all that's in the book. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2000 by "nexttrump"
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Photos
The photos in this book are really above average. However, the photos are about all that's in the book. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2000 by "nexttrump"
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED IT!
Having been to Tuscany several times, I find myself longing to return while reading this book. I find it a quality read with great pictures and typically flowing Frances Mayes... Read more
Published on Dec 18 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully photographed book
This book has some beautiful photographs that really capture the essence of Italian life and the Italian people. The prose is captivating and charming. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2000 by Kimberly
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