Bella Tuscany

Version: Unabridged
Author: Frances Mayes
Narrator: Frances Mayes
Genres: Travel, Europe, Essays & Travelogues
Publisher: BDD Audio
Published In: April 1999
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

Happiness? The color of it must be spring green, impossible to describe until I see a just-hatched lizard sunning on a stone. That color, the glowing green lizard skin, repeats in every new leaf. The regenerative power of nature explodes in every weed, stalk, branch. Working in the mild sun, I feel the green fuse of my body, too. Surges of energy, kaleidoscopic sunlight through the leaves, the soft breeze that makes me want to say the word 'zephyr' - this mindless simplicity can be called happiness.

Having spent her summers in Tuscany for the past several years, Frances Mayes relished the opportunity to experience the pleasures of primavera , an Italian spring. A sabbatical from teaching in San Francisco allowed her to return to Cortona - and her beloved house, Bramasole - just as the first green appeared on the rocky hillsides.

Bella Tuscany, a companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, is her passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life. Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.

Reviews (10)

Slow but interesting

Written by Mp77 from Raleigh, NC on April 22nd, 2019

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Prosciutto has a different ring to it when a person when a REALLY southern (American) person with really deep south drawl says it. I did almost quit during the first cd. The concept (if i could afford it) to move to Italy buy a house that needs a little work and learn the culture as you work with the house. I was a little bummed how it ended. It kind of felt like i finally managed to stuggle through her drawl, and was interested to her about what she learned and cultural differences, and then she landed at Atlanta on the 6:07 pm flight, where she called a cab and went home. The End. Not exactly... but it was like a strange reading of someone's journal.

Bella Tuscany

Written by Anonymous from Los Angeles, CA on January 26th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 1/5

The reader, the author herself killed the book. What could have been an interesting book turned into a chore of listening. I would have dumped it after one chapter if I had another book waiting in the wings. The strong southern drawl of the author was completely distracting to the story line. Authors reading their own books for cd are usually the worst part of the listening experience. This book could have been saved by using a professional reader.

Disappointing

Written by Sarah T. on June 26th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 2/5

There's nothing bad about Frances Mayes' prose, but this catalogue of how she spends her days in Tuscany doesn't seem to have any forward movement: events happen, even momentous ones, but they don't lead anywhere. Peppered with literary quotes, the style of writing remains uniform. Combined with the narration, this has the unfortunate effect of making all the characters sound like the narrator, and the narrator sound like a tourist who, after several summers in Tuscany, still doesn't really speak the language. When she admitted near the end of the book that this is so, my disappointment was complete: this book isn't about the Italian life so much as the author's life in Italy.

Bella Tuscany

Written by Anonymous from Anaheim, CA on June 23rd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved it.....very escapist. I listen in my car and it allowed me to drift to Italy. Her southern accent didn't bother me in the least.

Bella Tuscany

Written by Lisa from Watertown, MA on September 29th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 2/5

The author should have probably picked someone else to read this book. Her voice was dull and uninteresting. This was an OK listen; too much un-important detail.

Bella Tuscany

Written by Rhonda from Houston, TX on September 9th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I was really disappointed in this book after reading Under the Tuscan Sun. It seems more like a list of food and plants than a novel. I didn't even finish listening to it. The people don't do anything, nothing happens. BORING!

Bella Tuscany

Written by John Hackler from Charlotte, NC on August 1st, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book is so stupid it's content is only aggravated by the narrator. This is an example of why authors should NEVER read books they have written. (1776 is an exception that proves my rule).

Reads more like a travel guide for Tuscany

Written by Liz from Redwood City, CA on May 27th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 2/5

...which I was not expecting. Although nicely written, I agree that someone else should have read this. The author's american southern accent just did not seem to fit with getting into the story in Tuscany.

Bella Tuscany

Written by Anonymous from Glendale, CA on March 8th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Disappointed in this selection which was surprising because I read Under the Tuscan Sun and enjoyed it thoroughly. Maybe I've had enough of hearing about Tuscany. I also think the author should have had someone else read the book for the recording.

Bella Tuscany

Written by Rebecca from Fredericksburg, TX on February 17th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I think I would have enjoyed this book if the author, who narrated her own book, had a better reading voice. The voice was so irritating that I sent it back after the first CD.

Author Details

Author Details

Mayes, Frances

"Frances Mayes is the author of three best-selling books about Italy. The number one New York Times best seller, Under the Tuscan Sun, remained on that list for over two years. It was followed by the memoir, Bella Tuscany, also an international best seller. These books are published in fourteen languages. In 2000, she published In Tuscany, a collaborative photo-text with Bob Krist and with her husband, the poet Edward Mayes. All three highly personal books are about taking chances, living in Italy, loving and renovating an old Italian villa, and the pleasures of food as well as the ""voluptuousness of Italian life.""

A widely published poet and essayist, Frances Mayes has written five books of poetry, most recently Ex Voto from Lost Roads Publishers. Her previous books of poetry are Sunday in Another Country, After Such Pleasures, The Arts of Fire, and Hours. She is also the author of The Discovery of Poetry, published by Harcourt.

Formerly Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing, Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing. Her first novel, Swan, was published in October 2002. Ms. Mayes is the editor for the 2002 Best American Travel Writing. She and her husband continue to divide their year between San Francisco and Cortona, Italy. The film version of Under the Tuscan Sun (Disney / Touchstone, Fall 2003), features actress Diane Lane."