An Italian Memoire by Frances Mayes
If you’ve seen the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, you’ll know that recently divorced, middle-aged Frances Mayes meets Marcello, a handsome Italian who takes her from a villa in Tuscany to Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. They eat with his family on the beach, drink homemade limoncello, and have a short-lived love affair. (I’ll leave it at that to avoid a spoiler!)
Under the Tuscan Sun
Having seen the movie many times–it’s one of my favorites–of course I had to make a pilgrimage to Cortona, where the main character, Frances, impulsively bought a villa and Positano where she traveled with Marcello.
While I explored Cortona, I understood why Frances left her dismal life behind to begin anew in this ancient Tuscan village. Isn’t it beautiful?!
The same was true of Positano. As I walked the beach and listened to the Tyrrhenian Sea roar, I imagined the scene where Frances and Marcello walked along together, flirting with the future.
Later, ascending the streets of Positano perched high upon the hills, I kept an eye on the balconies above for a handsome Italian man to call down to me…
No such luck, but I remained enchanted by my surroundings.I kept an eye on the balconies above for a handsome Italian man to call down to me... Click To Tweet
An avid literary fan, I decided to read the book that inspired the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun by (the real) Frances Mayes.
Under the Tuscan Sun, Book vs. Movie
It surprised me to discover how different the plot of the book was from the movie I so loved!
Once I got past that little disappointment, I embraced romantic descriptions of the Tuscan countryside and the story of Frances Mayes’ journey.
It is a love story of a different kind. Still, it’s easy to understand how Mayes’ descriptions of Tuscany, Italian culture, and some quirky characters inspired my favorite movie.
Mayes is a master at articulating the richness of the Italian countryside. While reading, you may even feel transported to Italy, as I did.
Did you read Under the Tuscan Sun? Let me know your thoughts on it as compared to the movie or to Tuscany in the comments below.
More great books by Frances Mayes: