Book Reviews of Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy

Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy
Under the Tuscan Sun At Home in Italy
Author: Frances Mayes
ISBN-13: 9780767916066
ISBN-10: 0767916069
Publication Date: 8/26/2003
Pages: 311
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 197

3.5 stars, based on 197 ratings
Publisher: Broadway
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

121 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 252 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I had mixed feelings about this book. Clearly, Frances Mayes is a talented writer. She has an amazing ability to portray her travel experiences with poetic narrative, a talent not all writers possess. As much as I enjoyed her writing style, however, I found myself skimming through much of this book, particularly where food was the main focus, perhaps due to the fact that I do not cook much. Her descriptions of the life and food of Tuscany did not make me yearn to cook, but it did make me hunger for Italian food and to visit the country someday. I did thoroughly enjoy reading of the restoration mishaps, as I have had some experience with do-it-yourself projects gone awry myself! If you enjoy books about travel and cooking, you may enjoy this book. I highly recommend the movie starring Diane Lane, loved it!
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 189 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This fascinating story gives you insight into Italy and its countryside, plus some excellent recipes from the area.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 5
This book was delightful to me. I am interested in history, gardening, cooking, and fixing old houses, and Frances Mayes weaves all these together in this story of her home in Tuscany. Almost like going on vacation.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 371 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I absolutely loved this book and have another copy on my keeper shelf! I think this is a must-read for anyone who loves travelogues or Italy. Just be warned...reading this book will make you hungry for food you can't find easily in this country!
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Lots of fun to read--you feel like you are in Italy!
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Helpful Score: 3
Reading this book will make you hungry for Tuscan cuisine, sleepy for a siesta, and a desire to go house hunting in Tuscan Italy. Live vicariously through Frances Mayes' journal.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book really pulls you right into the experiences of Frances Mayes and her journey spending summers in Italy restoring a 200 year villa located on 200 acres of land complete with olive trees, pear trees and everythign else that can be found under the sun. The book is written in such a way that you feel that you are right there with her. I happened to read it during the summertime and was inspired to FINALLY plant my own herb and vegetable garden. Recommended read!
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Helpful Score: 2
This is a very thoughtful and beautifully written book. Just be forewarned it is nothing like the movie.
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Helpful Score: 2
I loved reading this book. Europe has always been my future and nothing would be better than recreating a part of its past. plus, reading this it made me really hungry because she was cooking seeminly delightful treats all the time!
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Helpful Score: 2
Frances Nayes opens the door on a new world when she buys and renovates an abandoned villa in Tuscan. She takes the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. She also creates dozens of seasonal recipes in her kitchen and includes them in this book.
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Helpful Score: 2
Good book, good recipes.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 2
Interesting story, slow at times. Large focus on food-even had recipes! Very different from the movie, but still a great read!
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Helpful Score: 2
An interesting memoir, better than the movie
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 180 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book is so much better than the movie. It is a well-written story of Italy, remodeling a house and discovering Italian cooking and the beautiful country side and it's inhabitants.
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Helpful Score: 2
If a great, big helping of the warmth and beauty of Italy is what you crave, then dont skip on the satisfying treat of Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It is a delightfully alluring memoir about an American couple who revives an old farmhouse in Italy. Mayes serves generous descriptions of the splendor of Tuscany and blends it together with a remodeling undertaking, and the pleasure of simply delicious Italian meals. If you've seen the movie first, you may be slightly disappointed. While the book and the movie are mostly similar in the renovations and the culinary feasts, the greatest difference is that the authors journey is not a quest to find herself; she was already further along that road in the book. Frances Mayes buys the home with her husband and together they renovate the farmhouse while delving into a quiet, Italian existence. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
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Helpful Score: 2
Not at all like the movie... it is a true story though. The writer describes the landscape and life in Tuscany in a way that makes you feel you have been there yourself. There are some awesome recipes included throughout the book.
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Helpful Score: 2
This is the book that the Movie was loosely based on. It is more of a memoir of a womans time when she moves to Italy. If you crave stories about Italy you will love this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
An intense celebration of what Mayes calls the voluptuousness of Italian life'...appealing and very vivid..The book seems like the kind of thing you's tuck into a picnic basket on an August day...or better yet, keep handy on the bedside table in the depths of January.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great for traveling! Light read that is better than the movie. Made me yearn for Italy!
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Helpful Score: 1
The true account of Frances Mayes life in Tuscany. Her writings describe her life with such imagry that you almost feel like you are there with her. This is a true account, unlike the movie. I really enjoyed it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Mayes writes about her experiences buy and renovating a home in Tuscany. Beautiful writing, a few recipes, but little real sustance.
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Helpful Score: 1
movie meets recipe book. although if you liked the movie - there are few resemblances.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is the ex-pat wanna-be genre. Living abroad, cooking, eating and facing life in a different society. A Peter Mayle in Italy. It did make me want to go to Tuscany, though.
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Helpful Score: 1
very well written bio. story of summer travels in Tuscany. I did get a bit tired of descriptions of food and ruins.
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Helpful Score: 1
I reads this while in Italy and enjoyed every second of the read. It will inspire you to go see it yourself.
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Helpful Score: 1
I liked this book, but several of my friends did not. I didn't see the movie, but apparently it's NOTHING like the movie. It's basically a memoir of her time as she and her boyfriend buy a house in Tuscany. It provides a great description of Italian food and the countryside. It's got several recipes included and is sometimes sold in the travel section of book stores.
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Helpful Score: 1
Extremely enjoyable, esp. if you love Italy. Learn how they buy houses over there ... it's a kick!
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Helpful Score: 1
If you saw the movie, you still need to read the book, which is completely different. The book will make you want to chuck it all and move to Italy and live the charmed life (just make sure you have boatloads of money). Truly delightful, and will make you envious.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a very nice memoir of a couple who packs up and moves to Italy. It explains the culture and their experiences in fixing up a new home.
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Helpful Score: 1
If you love good (esp. Italian) food and have ever thought of living in Italy, this book is a must. Some of the author's favorite Italian recipes are included.

The author (who also has published cookbooks) and her husband buy an abandoned farmhouse in Tuscany and spend years making it - and Italy - home.
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Helpful Score: 1
Who doesn't enjoy immersing themselves in the countryside of Tuscany? Enjoyable read and easy to understand what attracted the author to this house and this area.
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful book. Reading it made me long to live in Tuscany. Very descriptive and well written.
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Helpful Score: 1
One of the best books I have ever read, this one will be on my "keeper" shelf! I could feel the heat, hear the voices, and taste the oh-so-perfect food that seems to be the fuel of the entire country...the currency of Italy lies in its food, and in its history, and when the two combine, there is nothing more delightful. If you have an interest in seeing the "real" Italy, not what you find in the tourist brochures, I highly recommend this book.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 1
Although I enjoyed the movie, I loved the book ..... THEY ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!! This book is about remodeling mishaps, language barriers, and amazing details about a beautiful country and it's people. F. Mayes' writings make you feel as if you've gone to Tuscany! This is a great read!
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed the book overall but mostly for the parts about renovating the house. After that was done, the book got a little slow for me but still enjoyed the end. This was nothing like the movie.
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Helpful Score: 1
Delightful book about the author's home remodeling stories & adventures in Italy. Her wonderful recipes are included!
There is a movie based on this book starring Diane Lane.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 1
ISBN 0767900383 - As a fan of lists, I'm always curious about books that make bestseller lists. I rarely read them, but I'm always curious. This was the case with Under the Tuscan Sun until a rather beat-up, unsellable copy fell into my hands. My curiosity, but little else, has been satisfied.

A recap of the plotline is usually the second paragraph for me. The trouble here is that this book doesn't actually have a plotline. The author and her boyfriend bought a house in Tuscany, living there during the summer and restore it and the land around it. Seriously, that's it: no actual point, no build up, not a character to root for (although there were moments I admit to rooting for the house to fall down on them, just to liven things up). So much for the recap!

Beautifully written, Under the Tuscan Sun isn't without redeeming qualities. Tuscany sounds like a bit of Heaven on Earth and Mayes, reputed to be a good cook, turns out to be a decent writer, at least so far as descriptive writing goes. A few short sections are even well-done humor. For that, the richness of language, the way you can nearly smell the food and hear the quiet of the countryside, for that, Mayes gets 5 stars. For boring me nearly to death, ZERO stars! An average of 3 stars seems a reasonable compromise. There are definitely readers for this type of book, I just happen to not be one of them. If you're looking for a relaxing read, this one certainly fits your needs; if you want a storyline, something more exciting than recipes, this book is a snore - if your blood flowed to the rhythm of this book, you'd be dead.

- AnnaLovesBooks
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Helpful Score: 1
I love to read this book during winter, and I often gift it during the holidays. The writing is so beautiful, you can feel the warmth of Italy sweeping from the pages. Loves it!
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Helpful Score: 1
It was very entertaining, and intersting to read. I think Women will appreciate the story better than men - but, who knows? Well written and descriptive; the reader is transported to Tuscany and all it's passions; food, love, the land, the scenery, the culture. Yummy.
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Helpful Score: 1
Very good book, great recipes! I watched the movie first, so if you've done the same, you may be a little disappointed, because the book is more in-depth into the author's experience in Italy than the dramatized version of her life shown in the movie. But I loved the movie, so I got the book!
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Helpful Score: 1
This book evoked a response from all 5 senses. Frances Mayes was able to transport me to her Tuscany. Though I have yet to visit Italy, the vivid images of this book are implanted in my mind's eye.
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Helpful Score: 1
The movie by the same name was based loosely on this book. It was interesting to see how the different facts came out in the movie in a slightly different slant. Also gave a wonderful picture of "another life".
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Helpful Score: 1
Nothing like the movie, no linear storyline but a lovely read for those interested in Italy.
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Helpful Score: 1
great book...watch the movie...
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Helpful Score: 1
Sights, sounds, and smells of Tuscany. Wonderful to read while you're there; a wonderful reminder.
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Helpful Score: 1
once again another book thats better than the movie.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book makes me feel like I am in Italy. It's beautiful.
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Helpful Score: 1
Very poorly written. Interesting story but hard to follow.
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Helpful Score: 1
Nice summer read.
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Helpful Score: 1
I adored this book. The author delights you with her descriptions of remodeling an ancient farmhouse and living part-time in Italy.

Through her, you will appreciate the simple joys of your own home.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 1
Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my all time favorite movies- I mean, who among us hasn't imagined making a huge change in their life that includes making the move to a beautiful place like Italy? I guess I was under the impression that this book was an expanded version of the movie. Well, its expanded, but it isn't that much like the movie. The book is a diary of the author's experiences in remodeling the house and becoming familiar with the Tuscan countryside around her. If you have seen the movie, you will recognize bits and pieces, but you find them totally not in the same context as the movie. For instance: the author is married so she isn't overseeing all the remodeling by herself. THAT made me sad as I had always seen the Frances of the movie, played by Diane Lane, as a bit of an inspiration- maybe I could also do it alone. Knowing she didn't really do it alone kind of takes the wind out of my sails leaving me feeling (once again) doubtful and incompetent.

Frances Mayes writes beautifully so the book is beautiful. But if you are a total romantic and a big fan of the movie, you may come away from the book feeling a little disappointed. Better to read it prior to seeing the movie.
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Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely loved this book! It was great reading before going to bed, a fantastic book to wind down with.
Before reading it I was under the impression it was a humor book. I didn't find it funny nor do I think it is supposed to be funny.
It is a wonderful memoir about the author falling in love with a place and finding a connection to a home, a summer home in Tuscany (she didn't have that same feeling of 'home' with her apartment in the city).
After reading the book I watched part of the movie but had to shut it off---the movie was nothing like the book with different story lines altogether and very different but not in a good way.

READ THIS BOOK!
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Helpful Score: 1
Read the book before you watch the movie or you will be extremely disappointed. After seeing the wonderful movie, I was excited to find out it was based on a book. The book and the movie are as different as night and day. The movie is fast paced, the book, a very slow read.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a wonderful and heartwarming book, though it is nothing more than the story of a couple who bought an old farmhouse in Tuscany, Italy, and renovated it to live in it for part of each year. Parts are funny, other parts give insight into Italians and Italian life, and there are some mouth-watering Tuscan recipes.
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Helpful Score: 1
Thoroughly absorbing for anyone in love with beautiful European locales and restoring romantic old houses and gardens. Occasionally Mayes lets her own sense of romance run away with her resulting in an overblown turn of phrase or a self-consciously twee sentence, but given her surrounding we forgive this as understandable.
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Helpful Score: 1
Through the use of wonderful and descriptive language Frances Mayes takes the reader along on a journey to beautiful Tuscany.
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Helpful Score: 1
A beautiful look at life in Tuscany from an American who moved there.
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Helpful Score: 1
When I first started reading this book, I was disappointed because it wasn't funny like "A Year in Provence" which has a similar theme. However, once I got over that, I began to appreciate this book and grew to love it. I was sorry when it was over. Lovely look at what it's like to pick up and move to Italy even though everyone thinks you're crazy. Don't think it's like the wretched movie. It's much better.
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Helpful Score: 1
Generally speaking I'm usually thrilled with reading the book a good movie was made out of, but this book had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MOVIE. Yes, the main character was a woman, yes she was in Tuscany, and yes she fixed a house, but that's about all the two had in common.

If you're a fan of stream-of-consciousness style writing, you'll love this: it's like being stuck in someone's head. Before you jump on the bandwagon, though, if you don't usually read that style, think about YOUR average daily thoughts.

Two stars only for the recipes.
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Helpful Score: 1
I LOVED the movie (with Diane Lane) - and although the movie did take some of the aspects of the book, the book is definitely NOT the movie. However, Frances' imagery is absolutely amazing - her descriptions transport you to Tuscany!
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This is a beautifully written memoir about living in Italy, renovating a home, cooking from fresh garden produce, and meeting unusual characters.
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I did not read this book straight through. It was a book to savor and digest. I read part of it, read another book, then came back to this one, read another book, and then finished this book. However, I loved the language and descriptions which the author used. Sometimes I felt truly transported to another place; as if I were revisiting a beloved country, though I've never been there. As a Southerner, Mayes' comparison of Tuscany to Georgia resonated as being true to me. A sense of place and home is a rare gift, and Mayes shares it well. I enjoyed her description of foods, but did not read the recipes and have no plans to try to cook any of them. But I'm sure an adventerous cook would have a lot of fun with the dishes in this book. A long, cozy read - to be savored like a fine glass of wine.
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Sunny and fun and very human.
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Wonderful memoir of author's adventures in restoring house in Tuscany. Great insight into the Italian way of life. Much better than the movie!
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Great recipies included in this book. Gives you a real feel for Italy!
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I personally found it annoying to read about someone else's travels in this Tuscan paradise. It was more about the country and the food than having a particular plot that sucked me in. It's like listening to your neighbors talk about their Italian vacation. Great, when do I get to go?
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Book was nicely written, but I grew bored of the long descriptions of food and cooking. Most interesting parts were when she wrote about Italy itself and the towns they traveled to.
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This book not only gives and accurate description of the Italian country side but has great recipes.
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I suppose I should have read the book before I watched the movie. I absolutely love the movie but I thought the book left a lot to be desired. I couldn't get through the entire book. I tried but quickly lost interested. I'm glad to see that so many people enjoyed it but for me; I'll stick with the movie.
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Most important - read the book on its own merits - it is nothing like the movie. Dig in and enjoy being transported to a world you can only imagine being able to afford... buying an old, dilapidated home in central Italy that you get to transform into a dream home to live in every summer. Her descriptions of the Italian villages, countryside and foods will leave you truly yearning to visit.
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I loved this book! It made me want to cook, and restore a house all at the same time! A great escape book!
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If you've seen the movie you have to read the book. It's even better.
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I guess I expected this book to be more of a story than it was. Having lived in Italy for 3 years as a service member, and learned to speak Italian, the descriptions of the people and the towns were pretty accurate. I don't think the decription of the attitude of the contractors was accurate though. I found Italians are a hard working, generous people who enjoy life with gusto. This book seems more bragging about how much money they have to spend than anything else and how many "famous" people they know. The recipies are wonderful, IF you love to cook. Overall, it was dissapointing and boring.
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How exciting would it be to get away from it all and go to Italy and buy an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside! A girl can always dream.
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This book, while lacking in a plot or real narrative thread, has beautiful descriptions of life in the Tuscan countryside. It made me want to pack up every thing and start my own new life.
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Didn't like this book. Was hoping for a book more like the movie. Good writer I just didn't like the storyline much.
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So I saw the title and thought, "what a great movie, I bet the book will be awesome." Needless to say, they were nothing alike, but I was pleasantly surprised, surprised to find that I would actually enjoy a book like this. I always wanted to go to Italy and this book just established that want even more. Loved it!!!
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Calming but very slow.
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It has always been my fantasy to buy a villa in Italy. This is a great book.
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I loved this book!
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I just could not get past the beginning.
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good clean book
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A great travel memoir set in Italy.
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This is NOT a cookbook. It is listed as one and that is the ONLY reason I ordered it as I hated the movie!
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This book was very boring to me...I didn't even make it halfway through. I actually enjoyed the movie more with its metaphors of rebirth and second chances; however, the book is nothing like the movie. Although it beautifully describes Italy and is wonderfully descriptive, it is not a book that held my attention. I need a story. I don't want to read pages and pages of descriptions.
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This is a great book, easy read. Better than the movie.
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Main character is a poet, travel writer and gourmet cook (there are some recipes in the book). She ends of buying a villa in Tuscany. Per USA Today - "This beautifully written memoir about taking chances, living in Italy, loving a house and, always, the pleasures of food, would make a perfect gift for a loved one. But it's so delicious, read it first yourself."
I have not read the book myself, but have seen the movie (loved it) that is based on it - "Under the Tuscan Sun", starring Diane Lane.
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Saw the movie, loved it.
Read the book, loved it even more!
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Different than the movie, but that fact does not take anything away from the book in it own right. A great summer read for those "beach days" coming up!
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"Armchair travel at its most enticing." - Booklist
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Different from the movie but still a great trip to Italy....
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Folks rave about this book. I couldn't get into it. Enjoy.
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Extremely enjoyable. Makes me want to pack up and move.
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Wonderful book about Italian people and Italy itself--as well as a few recipes
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A really good read!
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I was disappointed as I didn't realize that the movie was just a very loose, fictional adaptation of the book.
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I've been to Italy 5 times now. This book keeps me from buying property over there. But I do want to visit again and again...
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Loved the movie. Didn't like the book
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get book, like being on vacation
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Living and cooking in Italy. Filled with description and recipes.
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Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes has long been on my to read list. Unfortunately, though, I found it really challenging to stay engaged in this meandering memoir. Some paragraphs and phrases capture my attention because they capture a certain beauty. For the most part, though, the book reflects a stream of consciousness journal and travelogue, and I can only read so much of that.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016/12/under-tuscan-sun.html

Reviewed for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
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Recipes are included thoughout the book.
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I wanted to move to Italy after reading this book.
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Italian life in Tuscany
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It is warm and wonderful here.
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I enjoyed this book a lot. It really makes you feel that you are in Italy.
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New York Times Bestseller. Restoring a villa in Tuscany and discovering the deliciousness of Italian life. Recipes included
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dream a bit
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As others have noted, don't expect the movie. I liked the book better!
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A good book, but I liked the movie better.
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"Frances Mayes presents a sensual celebration of Tuscany with hypnotic descriptions of culinary bliss and everyday rituals on long days when she savors the sun. This is creative writing heaven! She is not only a best-selling author, widely published poet and gourmet cook; she is also a travel writer who can describe lands and culture in sensuous and evocative language.
Halfway into the book, I became heady with the desire to just run away to Tuscany. I want to write like her, I want to think like her, I am intoxicated by her creativity." amazon review
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Interesting read
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Great recipes!!
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A New York Times Notable Book of 1997 - #1 NY Times Bestseller
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 49 more book reviews
There are only a handful of books that I started and never finished, this was one of them. It's a great story, buying a house in Italy and restoring it. But I really don't care about what paint you chose that you talked about for 4 pages. And how you dug up some pots in the back yard that you have now restored. She talks about going to the market to buy fresh produce in every chapeter. We understand that the tomatos are the freshest you have ever seen. Whop-di-do.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 36 more book reviews
I loved the book and the movie.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 149 more book reviews
From the cover:
"Frances Mayes opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and renovates an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In sensous and evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. An accomplished cook and food writer, Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kidtchen and simple gard, all of which she includes in the book. A celectration of the extraordinary quality of life in Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast for all the senses."
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 27 more book reviews
GOING TO FRANCE, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on + 66 more book reviews
loved the movie, but didn't read the book, but am
sure it's just as good.
reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
I DIDN'T FINISH READING IT, BUT I HEARD IT WAS VERY GOOD