20 Years at Bramasole

August 12th, 2010

This summer we celebrated–over and over and over–our 20th anniversary of owning Bramasole.


The major feasts were the weekend of July 9.  On Friday, we had a drinks party at Bramasole, followed by the most wonderful dinner ever at Il Falconiere.  On Saturday, we had a wine tasting of Cortona wines at Enoteca Molesini, then a dinner for out of town guests at La Loggetta, overlooking the piazza below. Then on Sunday, we had a festa at Fonte delle Foglie, our mountain house way out in a chestnut forest, for 75 friends.  Swimming, bocce, a guitarist, a charming young local accordian player (the son of our dear friend Gilda), a WHOLE porchetta, and a relay of pizzas.  Plus lots of wine flowing.  What was wonderful the whole weekend was how everyone enjoyed the other guests.  It was, in fact, a big love fest.  Ed and I were happy.  My daughter cried when we made toasts–she has been here twenty years, too.  My grandson took lots of photographs and it is great fun to see what caught his eye.  A bug on a stone, faces viewed from his height, and impressionist views of the garden.  Steven Rothfeld, the photographer I’ve worked with on so many projects, and currently am working with for The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, took the first shot shown below.  Our friend Dorothy Alfonso, who lives above Bramasole part time, took the rest, and Willie, our grandson took the garden photo.  We were thrilled to have many American friends come over—thank you!!–and we missed–terribly–our family members and friends who were not able to be there.  Here’s to the next twenty years among such friends!!


A toast at the door to Bramasole


Party at Bramasole before dinner

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The long table at Il Falconiere–Grazie Silvia e Riccardo!!

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Nightfall at Il Falconiere

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My friend Melva loaned me her collection of antique silver teapots and we cut hydrangeas from the garden at Bramasole

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The porchetta table, head now removed

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CIMG2632Willie’s shot of Bramasole’s front garden

For Ed and me, a glorious celebration–purely fun!  Usually after grand celebrations, we’re blasted. This time we were totally energized by all the joyous ions in the air.

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153 Responses to “20 Years at Bramasole”

  1. Debbie Feliciano says:

    Dear Frances Mayes.
    Two years ago I visualized my trip to Bramasole with my soulmate after watching Under the Tuscan Sun for the first time, 2 years later I am in Italy with him and getting ready to visit Cortona tomorrow morning!!! I wanted to let you know this movie was part of my excercise of finding a soulmate and at 50 Ive found my soulmate and we will be in Bramasole tomorrow… Wooohooooo!!!

    • Anna says:

      I feel the same way Debbie F does. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Italy! Ever since I saw “Under the Tuscan Sun”, I have had the desire to visit “Bramasole”! This movie has touched me so, that whenever I need a boost, I think of watching this movie. It takes me to a beautiful, peaceful, ethereal, lively realm. I’m with my soul mate, but he’s not keen on traveling much, especially out of the country. Maybe one day I can get him to go to Italy with me. If not, I can always travel with family or friends. This is one of my dreams I hope to make come true.

      P. S. I’m watching the movie right now.

  2. Claire Douglas says:

    This film is so special for my soul mate and I we have watched it many times and have now named our new house ‘Bramasole’. I did not realize you could visit the property.

    The music for the film is haunting and I feel transcended each time I hear it.
    Love Claire Douglas

  3. Irene Ayala says:

    Dear Frances:
    My family and I are visiting Cortona en 3 days ,and we are going to BRAMASOLE as part of many years wishing to do so, We have watched Under the Tuscan Sun several times, despite I haven’t found my soulmate yet I’m really happy to make real my dream! I By the Way I bought a cottage and named BRAMASOLE as well!…

  4. Jenni West says:

    Dear Frances and Ed,
    Your book has inspired me, I am learning to cook at 65 and the food is wonderful! But I’m also planting all the vegetables and herbs needed to do it properly….. have decided that olive trees are a bit long term tho, not sure I have enough faith in my longevity. Thank you for a joyous delicious read.

  5. Daphne says:

    I haven’t seen the movie that has so delighted those above who commented on it. I have enjoyed this lady’s books – her personality shines through and charms me. So too do the descriptions of life in Tuscany, of Bramasole and its garden and of Frances Mayes’ travels through Italy. I loved our time in Tuscany, in Florence and staying in a stone cottage further afield, driving through different areas to charming villages each day, the markets, the food and so much more. I had wished we could have lingered longer but 20 years! That’s really putting down roots. What a beautiful dual life – one half at home in the US and the other half at home in Italy. Wonderful.

  6. Minty Thompson says:

    Dear Frances and Ed,
    You both have touched my heart and inspired me in so many ways. Your love and commitment to each other as you travel through your life’s adventures together, has inspired my personal goals at 59 to find my own ED!
    You are so lucky to have found each other.
    I have read all your books, Frances and your warm, honest and highly “tasty” way of looking at life is also dear to my heart.
    I truly wish one day to meet you both and to visit your beautiful Bramasole.
    Congratulations to you both.

  7. Mona Rao says:

    Dear Frances,

    Fifteen years ago your book inspired me to dream and then realize my own Italian adventure. Hope to visit Bramasole, maybe in May. Running into you and Ed would be a treat:)

  8. Christine Castillon says:

    Hi Frances and Ed,

    I’m french living in Menton (south-east of France). of course I read France’s book and have seen the movie too. I’m expecting to visit Firenze, Tuscany and, of course, Cortona from the 9th May for a few days with my boy friend. Is that possible to visit “Bramasole” too? If yes, can I have informations for that? I have to specify that it will be the first time I will visit the Tuscany and that it will be for me a special event because I will make it with the father of my dead daughter, refound after 25 years of absence… Thank you in advance for your answer. Christine

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Christine, have a great trip. Bramasole is home, and so not open for touring! People walk by all the time, take a photo or sketch. All best, Frances

  9. Anne says:

    Wow! 20 years. I remember when your book was published and can’t believe so much time has gone by. Congrats!

    Also, I must say, I have never seen such a collection of handsome men! I think I have lived in San Francisco too long. Perhaps a trip to Tuscany is in order!


  10. June cherry says:

    Dear Frances: we are in Italy right now( Oct.31-Happy Halloween) to celebrate our 50th anniversary together, and I want to thank you for all your amazing books that have touched my heart and made me want to spend this special life moment in Italy in the areas you describe so warmly. I love your ommitment to the land, the people and the culture. Your style of cooking always strikes the right note with me since I ,too, think serving up a beautifully presented meal of fresh simple ingredients is a total act of love and caring. I have been to Cortona and was enchanted with all I saw because you described it so vividly. “I tasted the purple.” We are returning there tomorrow night from Agropoli, and we hope to find Bramasole so I can continue to vicariously share your life there. Happy 20th to you. With much admiration. June Cherry. Green Valley, Arizona

  11. Rose E Ramirez says:

    Dear Francis, I know you have a lot of followers and must be overwhelm with all the e-mails fans had send you. I always had some feelings with Italy, I leaved in Rochester, NY for many years and became very close with the Italian culture which is very similar to the Spanish, then I moved to Miami, Fl. When I saw the movie I told my husband before I die I want to go to Italy and my dream came through in 2011, of course I had to go to Cortona, we took the train from Florence and spend the day in Cortona, like the movie all of the sudden a storm with lightening we had to go inside an Art Store, we asked where Bramasole was we walked and couldn’t find it, we called a taxi and I asked the driver to take me there, under the rain I took pictures, I loved your place, he told me that the movie was not filmed in that location, since then I became in love with Cortona and been asking my husband to move there but he doesn’t want to, those pictures about the party are beautiful.

  12. Maria Almestar says:

    My english is horrible but i try write in english.
    When, I first saw, Under tuscan sun, I fell in love and made the promise to one day make this trip to the places where you found the friendship, the love and above all the peace that you needed. Today after almost 13 years, I will be able to do it and I am too excited, it would be incredible to meet you or just to see you, but it is almost impossible, what I will do is to take a bike and look for the Bramasole. Greetings from Peru with all my love

  13. Jerry Dingee says:

    My wife & I live in Hudson Valley, NY. We’ve been to Italy once and I was on a mission to find Bramasole, after reading the book. We’ll we found Bramasole with the help of a nice woman who was coming out of a nearby church. I did understand a little Italian. Frances’ mail was on the ground which I picked up and put in her mailbox by the stonewall. So with her book in hand, I climbed the steps and knocked on the huge front door looking for an autograph. (my wife thought I was nuts) Anyway, a gardener told me Frances wasn’t home. Damn! A great experience anyway.

  14. Tina Mayes Vinson says:

    Mrs. Mayes(I apologize as I do not know if our last name is still Mayes). As I do not go to the movie theater often, I have just seen the movie and I find myself wishing I had read the book first. Bramasole is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. It’s not often I see our spelling of the name ‘Mayes’ with an e. I am from Alabama and am a retired teacher. I am very moved by your story (myself having been divorced 14 years), and still looking for a true soulmate. I know God has one for me. Wish me luck and I look forward to reading more of your work. Salute!

  15. ratier monique says:

    Chère Madame, quel plaisir, quel bonheur, quel enchantement de vous lire; Après “saveurs vagabondes” qui m’a donné l’envie de visiter, et de manger, au Portugal, j’ai acheté “sous le soleil de Toscane”. Je ne suis pas déçue, même si je le commence.
    Donc, par curiosité, sur internet j’ai cherché Cortona et Bramasole. C’est le régal des yeux. Votre livre me transporte et me rend bizarrement heureuse.Merci de savoir si bien partager à travers une écriture vivante, délicate, ce que vous voyez et ressentez.
    C’est un pur bonheur. Bien cordialement. Monique Ratier

  16. Robbie says:

    Many thanks. I am speechless. That is something that I am not usually able to say about myself. I have traveled all over the world and have made some large cities feel like a second home. Paris, Prague and Seoul just to name a few; cities that have made large impacts on mind and my heart. But with regard to Tuscany as a whole I feel like I have made a home and set some roots. I visited Florence and knew I would be traveling all of Tuscany during the week and, oh my. We drove to Cortona and I was somewhat nervous. I was expecting a lot. I was overjoyed with pleasure though. I have never visited a much lovelier locale. I am still trying to soak in all that I saw and enjoyed. I loved every tiny detail. I realize that Cortona has been there for over 2 thousand years but I have a feeling that I left something of myself. I have left my soul. I have left my heart to a place that, thanks to you and your book, I will never forget. I am here to say thank you. I am here to say brava. Your book is the sole reason I went to Cortona and for that I am very, very grateful. You laid out a vision for me and that vision became reality. I didn’t visit Bramasole. I did not want to interrupt you in any way. But thanks to you, I will be going back to Curtun and this time I will stay on the hilltop.

    Thank you so very much.

  17. Janne Lyn says:

    I love your movie– your story! Your writing and sharing this website and photos of the beauty– THANK YOU SO MUCH! XOXO

  18. sue says:

    “Under the Tuscan Sun” is my comfort book. My “chicken soup” whenever I feel a bit under the weather. My “chocolate cake” when I feel sad and my “bowl of ice cream” when I just want to chill. I’ve read it again and again that I saw myself harvesting olives with you when the moon was right, going to the market for fresh produce, and only imagined the sensation of biting into luscious grapes warmed by the midday sun. And so I’ve fantasized of being there with my family too… even just through your book.
    Your love of family and passion for life leaps from the pages of your book and it inspires me and reminds me of what really matters in this world. Thank you Ms. Frances for sharing your life and bringing joy to mine.

  19. Sarah Fowler says:

    Frances, I am not sure of the year but U wasattended Julie Rowland’s wedding and met you I have been in love with Italy since and have seen movie Under the Tuscan Sun so many times and read your books I would love to visit Bramasole again Do you rent it Look forward to hearing from you

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Ciao, Sarah, Was it Laurie Rowland instead? In Cortona? She married my nephew, who sadly, sadly, just died. I met Julie at the funeral. We don’t rent Bramasole–it’s home! Thanks for reading my books. I loved the movie! Best, Frances


    Querida Señora Mayes, tengo sus dos libros desde 2004, y los he leído tres veces, estos libros son mi alegria particular, mi remanso de paz, el lujo de leer una historia maravillosa de amor infinito hacia una casa que siempre será recordada por los lectores, la explicación de las recetas, los quesos que yo no conocía y que ahora, ya hace años compro porque los descubrí en su libro, el amor a la toscana, que comparto plenamente, los colores,las salidas y puestas de sol, las montañas, el ambiente, la pareja perfecta, comprometida con Bramasole y con la vida que son Ed y Frances.
    Por todo ello, gracias, gracias por cómo me siento de feliz cada vez que vuelvo a releer, “Bajo el sol de Toscana” y “Bella Toscana”. Libros en los que encuentro la paz y la alegría de vivir fundida en la naturaleza.

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