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.
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