Continuing Frances Mayes's account of her love affair with Italy, Bella Tuscany presents the author now truly at home there, meeting the challenges of learning a new language and touring regions outside Tuscany, including castle towns, fishing villages, and islands. With fresh adventures and updates on the characters introduced in Under the Tuscan Sun, Mayes also explores new themes in this wondrous corner of the world, delving into gardening, wine-making, and the experience of primavera - a season of renewed possibility. And Mayes reveals more simple pleasures from her Tuscan kitchen in a section devoted to recipes. In the sensuous, vivid prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany celebrates Mayes's deepening connection to the land and her flourishing friendships in a newfound haven of idyllic living.
Following up on her bestselling novel, Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes returns to her beloved villa in the small hill town of Cortona, Italy. Welcomed back like an old friend, she is soon puttering in the garden, and as Mayes devotees might expect, busy in the kitchen as well. As Mayes rediscovers her taste for la dolce vita, she embarks on a journey of cultural awakening and embraces a newfound romance with the Italian language and people. "I came to Italy expecting adventure," reads Mayes. "What I never anticipated is the absolute sweet joy of everyday life."
Mayes is as generous a cook as she is a writer, flavoring her story with tasty descriptions of local gustatory delights--many of which are included in a small recipe book. She also serves as narrator, and the beguiling simplicity of her voice makes listening as enjoyable as spending an afternoon with a well-traveled favorite aunt. (Running time: 9 hours, 6 cassettes) --George Laney