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20th Anniversary of Under the Tuscan Sun!

September 6th, 2016

Dear friends, Today is the publication day for a special new edition of Under the Tuscan Sun, with a new essay I wrote in celebration. How amazing for me that this memoir has endured and thrived for twenty years. You never know, of course, when you write a book what its fate will be. Sink out of sight, soar to the sun–who knows. This book just happened to find readers and to my surprise, I’ve been flying on its coat tails ever since. At last count the book is in 52 languages. That’s the biggest surprise of all. I thought if readers liked it, they would be more or less like me. As it appears in each language, people from that country make the trip to Cortona and I often meet them. What a gift this book has been in my life. I have traveled, met so many fantastic people and have loved all the letters and thoughtful gifts people have sent me. Today, I’m at home, trying to finish a novel, another launch into the unknown future!  I have beside me on the desk a copy of this new edition, with my house and its flowers tempting me to look at them. Bramasole! Heart’s needle, as compelling for me today as it was when I plunked down my life savings to have it. Twenty years! So long! Italy, by now, has given me many books and I’m grateful. My new book, too, is set in Italy. Please watch for it in the spring–Women in Sunlight. 

Thank you for reading my blog and for the comments which I enjoy so much. Fall is rushing toward us. Hope it’s lovely for all.

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61 Responses to “20th Anniversary of Under the Tuscan Sun!”

  1. Ana Maria Savoia da Veiga says:

    Frances , Sotto il sole della Toscana è uno dei miei libri preferiti . Ha aumentato la mia ammirazione per l’Italia e la bella Toscana . Dopo aver letto più volte fatto molti viaggi e ha incontrato molti dei luoghi descritti nel libro .
    Complimenti e grazie per avermi dato tanta gioia .

    Ana Maria Savoia da Veiga
    San Paolo, Brasile

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Ana Maria, Grazie mille, amica.

    • Frank says:

      Hi Frances. So good to hear that “Under The Tuscan Sun” has been republished. We are currently in Cortona, and will be staying with Ivan in a couple of weeks. Hope to help with your olive harvest, if the timing is right! Lol.

  2. NancyC says:

    A book I could read over and over and over again. Congratulations on 20 years, it really is an amazing book. This book made me fall in love with Italy and all things Italian!

  3. Sharon Byars says:

    Congratulations on 20 years of fame with “Under the Tuscan Sun”. I am one of your most faithful readers. I have read this book at least 6 times over those 20 years and it brings such a wonderful feeling of comfort immersing into the culture and food of this area. I now own your cookbook and my family loves the recipes I make from it. Bella Tuscany and Every Day in Tuscany were also wonderful. Like you, I also moved from California to North Carolina. Living in the South is a unique culture all its own and I love it . I live in Cary and hope , someday, to meet you in the little bookstore of Hillsborough. Wishing you much success on your new book.

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Sharon, I’m sure we will meet somewhere around this crazy triangle! Thanks for the note! Frances

  4. Cindy Mucci says:

    Hi Frances! So happy you’re blog is back – we missed you! Just assumed you were having the most wonderful summer in Tuscany – hope you will tell us all about it! So excited to hear that you have a new novel out in the Spring – I “excitedly” already put a reminder on my 2017 calendar – you never disappoint us – grazie! Have a glorious fall season in Italy – the colors and the light this time of year are breathtaking! Italia = Joy for all the senses, in every season!!!

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Cindy, many thanks. I’ll be back on the blog now. I had unsolvable problems with posting photos but I think it’s resolved now. Frances

  5. Ann Jones says:

    Dear Frances,

    You have been a true inspiration and joy to meet and talk with when my friend and I met you at Weymouth Center in Southern Pines last year. You and Robert were so kind to autograph our treasured pictures of your building permit which we took in Cortona as you continued your renovations at Bramasole!! We are once again traveling to Italy in April 2017 and will once again make our pilgrimage to Cortona and Bramasole. What a dream come true if we see you there! We are devoted fans. We anxiously await your new book. We have, and love them all!

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Ann, We so enjoyed the Weymouth Center and have been back to Souther Pines since for a wine event. Lovely town! thanks for writing, Frances

  6. Ann Jones says:

    Yep! We’re such great fans we published this twice!!

  7. Katherine says:

    I am so excited! A new book! Can you give us a little hint – is it fiction or travel or…?

  8. kendrick hocker says:

    Dear Frances,
    Thank you for the 20 years plus of reading pleasure. I have read all your books more than once, always getting more out of them after the second and third reading. Because my obsession with Italy and European travel, I tend to gravitate towards your travel memoirs, however, Under Magnolia really moved me. Having family of southern descent and your openess of your life there, I found myself comparing your narative to my mothers. It was a truly beautiful book. Congratulations on your 20 year legacy!
    PS. I am looking forward to your new book!

  9. Scott Kenney says:

    Dear Frances: In a few short weeks we will be back in Italy–and three weeks of our visit will be spent in Cortona, savoring the good life and the new/old friends we have there now. In many ways, my first read of “Under the Tuscan Sun” served as a reminder of the important stuff I wanted to emphasize in my life and I have been on a quest ever since to savor each day, visit places I’ve only dreamed about (including Venice–for the first time–in this upcoming trip, and spend time with those people who mean so much to me. I have to ask, though, can it really be 20 years?! Time is fleeting. We will be ‘home’ with Ivan and family and so I sincerely hope you will be in Cortona then, too, and that I’d be able to thank you in person! (On an earlier trip, we encountered your husband in the piazza–and Ivan had mentioned that a ‘professore’ from an Ivy League school was visiting, which was only partially true: mere administrator here and not a faculty member–and he was very gracious to the gray-haired stalker who came up to him out of the blue!) With best regards and thanks again: Scott

  10. Mary Stiaccini says:

    I am visiting Montecatini Terme with my Livorno born husband. Today we took a ride to Cortona and decided to look for your villa. We finally found it after a good 45 minutes driving around. We were not disappointed. Has it really been 20 years? I also saw the lemon trees that you talk about in your April post. I read your book and have seen the movie. I love both and I’m planning on reading your new book. Thank you for the pleasure you’ve given me. Keep writing. Sincerely , Mary

  11. victoria silva says:

    Frances…Your books are classics to me… I read them over and over…when my soul calls me too. Thank you so much! And Congrats on 20 years and going strong.

    Victoria

  12. Jackie Smith says:

    Some Facebook ‘silly’ came around the other day asking about a book that changed one’s life. When I think back on it, your “. . .Tuscan Sun” would be that book for me. It took a few years (and a few more of your books as encouragement) but we’ve finally purchased our “Stone House on the Hill” in Greece and have our olive grove (and our olive oil) and our citrus trees and our Grecian sun. . .and the life you inspired me to capture. You did inspire with that book and you kept the flame alive with the follow-up books. Sadly, we’ll likely never meet, but please know that you’ve been a part of my life for some time – a kindred soul whose writing inspired and encouraged. My life is better for having known you. Thank you, Frances.

  13. Michael Stambaugh says:

    Dear Frances,

    So happy to hear that you have two books in the making. Also, it is wonderful that your grandson created the new website for Bramasole Oil. How proud you and Ed must be!
    Sadly, I did not get to Italy this summer. We deviated by traveling to New York and reconnecting, followed by a crossing on the QM2, and then spending the rest of the time in England. However, we are planning to return next summer to Italy.
    On our end, we are also still deciding the avenues for retirement and where to look at real estate. Still unsure, but at least there still is ample time.
    School has been back in session for four weeks already, so the fun of reading and grading middle school papers along with the other demanding duties is off and running.
    I am looking forward to the cooler weather as autumn draws near. I hope all is well, and look forward to hearing more from you about the upcoming books and such.
    All the best.
    Michael

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Michael, where are you? Consider NC! If not Italy. Hope the school year goes well. Always so exciting the first return. Willie is enjoying Latin! So happy for that. All best, Frances

  14. Linda says:

    My husband just had a heart attack. Reread your book in the hospital for comfort. He is doing well now. Excited to read your new novel soon.

  15. Miranda Balster says:

    Dear Frances,

    Thank you for coming into my life. Your books have changed my way off living. Since I’ve read the first letter in Under the Tuscan sun I began to explore the Italian way of life. Now, severall years later I have visited Tuscany so many times, have seen so many places, enough to dream About one Every day. I’ ve Walked to Bramasole for the third time, but unfortunately again you where not there. So my husband and I went to Osteria del Teatro, to celebrate that we have to come back again if we want to meet you someday. That’s what I’ve learned from the Italians “Celebrate life”, thank you very much Frances for leading me to this joyfull living, even I’m back in Holland now. Looking forward to your new book, all the best, Miranda

  16. Michael Stambaugh says:

    Frances,
    We are beginning our fifth year here in Houston, TX. Partner works for Chevron. Prior to here we were in the SF Bay area for 10 years and before that, New York.

    Michael

  17. Amy says:

    Congratulations on twenty years! As I sit here in Georgia with Every Day in Tuscany open on my lap, I remember a few beautiful summer days spent in Cortona while touring with a UGA orchestra in the late 90s. Someday soon, I’ll find a way to introduce our ten year old to this remarkable part of the world, but for now, I will keep reading and driving my FIAT through Atlanta traffic while imagining I am traveling the hills and valleys of Tuscany. Thanks for the wonderful books!

    Amy

  18. Heidi Reyburn says:

    So good to see that you have returned to this blog! Happy Days! I almost gave up – then the other day I was delighted to see that you had returned to us via blog. We sure missed hearing about your adventures – in Cortona & NC – and other places! It is a joy for all of us to read your latest happenings, & very happy to see your wonderful articles in Victoria magazine each month. Enjoy each other (your special Ed), & those sunsets any place you happen to be …. Of course, looking forward to your new books in 2017! Congrats for the 20 yr. mark on my favorite book – Under The Tuscan Sun! You two have much to celebrate! Life, Love & Travel, Heidi

  19. Catharina says:

    Dear Frances,
    today I have been reading this blog. I live in Holland and have been enjoying your books so much. I admire the work and effort you have put in all that work and research. Some of your books I read over and over again, somtimes just only parts of it. Maybe it’s like some sort of a dream that everybody has: a time for themselves, a time to renewe, to not be afraid to try new challenges. I love Italy, the colours, the people..and I have only been in Rome, which I just loved. I am a painter, and how wonderful it would be to paint in a country where my name if often known in books, house and street names. Maybe I will be in Cortona, sometime in the future.
    In the meam time: I have again found your blog, after so many years of absence, and I am glad I can enjoy it again.
    I hope you and Ed are well and in good health.
    Best and warm regards. Catharina

  20. Lisa Foley says:

    Oh, how I’ve read your book — over and over again! First, to console myself after having to leave Tuscany after a week’s vacation. Later, to remind myself that doubt, anxiety and yearning are all part of fulfilling a life’s dream, which is what I did when I and my husband purchased acreage in Vermont. Just to have it, care for it and watch birds nesting in the tall grass from our tent on the hill.

    You just have to steel yourself and leap. Thanks for the nudge, Frances!

  21. Becky says:

    Dear Frances,
    Your books are an inspiration to seek change and enjoy the beauty around us. What a gift you have to bring your travel and friendship to us through your writing. We too look for a place to enjoy retirement; I have loved Italy and each new discovery we find; there is never enough time to see all there is to offer. Perhaps there is a place there for our retirement. We live in NC, so Italy may be an additional option.
    We have enjoyed Bramasole oil this year and look forward to the new delivery for 2016. Will you release your wine this fall? Any locations in NC?

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Ciao, Becky, Thanks for your note. The wines are in NC. I’m sure your local wine merchant can get them. Olive harvest is very soon–always exciting. Frances

  22. William Mash says:

    At age 83, it went to Italy, after three weeks I had to go home. Now I am about to be 86. My memories of Tuscany, keep me wishing to returne. Your book,
    “In Tuscany,” was a beautiful reminder of how to live! For 75 years I have been an artist, sculptor, designer, inventor and now an author. 50 years ago I created “The Second Renaissance,”as a foundation for creative thinkers. Your writing is so beautiful, it should be included into my foundations creative world! Thank you for your beautiful written creations, they are pure art!
    Respectfully,
    Bill Mash

  23. Luis Cruz says:

    Dear Frances
    Your book is beside my bed for some years, as you can say in my native language: ” no sítio onde todas as palavras são um sorriso e todas as virgulas um suspiro.” I’m sleeping in the Hotel S. Luca and tomorrow I’m climing to Bramasole. Would really like to meet you. I’m on my honey moon and this would be a great gift for me and my wife.

    Thank you! Best regards, Luís and Marisol.

  24. Marcia Maria Martins says:

    Querida Frances sou Brasileira, moro no sul do Brasil, numa ilha chamada Florianópolis, sou sua fã número 1, tenho 3 livros seus, BELLA TOSCANA, TODOS OS DIAS NA TOSCANA E UM ANO DE VIAGENS, pena que alguns livros seus não tem tradução para o português e não tem no Brasil para vender. Aguardo ansiosa seu novo livro e a nova edição de ‘SOB O SOL DA TOSCANA’. Abraços, Márcia

  25. Natalia says:

    Dear Frances,

    I must admit that my story with Under the Tuscan Sun started with the movie and not the book itself. However, since I fell in love with the movie (which is my favourite movie ever by the way) I couldn’t help but to explore more when it comes to your writing.
    Quite recently I had the massive pleasure of visiting Cortona myself. I only had an hour to run around the old town unfortunately. We were headed back up north afterwards. However, that little time I had to explore was the best time I had in a while.
    I have been going through some difficult times lately and when it seemed that there hasn’t been much hope left I got to enjoy the picturesque views and hospitality of the locals. Yeah I know it was only an hour but I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt so hopeful. I must have seemed like a mental case running around the piazza with your book stuck to my chest.
    I guess all I wanted to say is that I am so thankful for you being there. Even though I know we have never met and we probably never will you are a true inspiration to me. Whenever I read your book or watch the movie I get this very warm feeling in my heart.
    Anyway all I really need to say is thank you so much for being who you are and doing what you do.
    Lots of love,
    Natalia

  26. Lauren says:

    Dear Frances,

    Congratulations on 20 years of delighting readers! Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my favorites. When I was an au pair in Italy, I read your book when I felt homesick. Now I read your blog when I feel homesick for my native North Carolina and dip into UTTS as necessary for my bella Italia fix. As you know, you have clearly written something transcendental for so many of us, no matter where we come from. I, too, hope to happen upon you in the Hillsborough bookstore. I’ll be in those parts the first weekend of October 🙂 I’m trying to convince my husband that when he’s ready for retirement we give Italy a fair shake. Will you be selling signed copies of the 20th anniversary edition?

    grazie mille,
    Lauren

    • Frances Mayes says:

      Hi, Lauren, Purple Crow in Hillsborough has signed copies. If you want, I could stop by there and sign one to you. Italy deserves a fair shake!! Thanks, Frances

  27. Stephanie Honrado says:

    My dear Frances,

    Your words allowed me to dream again and BELIEVE!

    “Unthinkably, good things happen even late in the game.” These nine words peeled away at layers of doubt in me that, until then I never realized I hosted and nurtured all these years. Your words steered me off to another path filled with beautiful, hopeful light. Thank you!

    I have been visiting Tuscany every year these last three years but only visited our dear Cortona last June. It is indeed magical in its authenticity. I will be back in Cortona next Spring, and already, it is such a thrill. See you in the Piazza!

    Sincerely,
    Stephanie

  28. Marie Giaquinto says:

    Hello Frances,

    Your book, Under the Tuscan Sun, has been an inspiration to me and my daughters. I read your beautiful novel fifteen or more years ago. Your attention to detail and descriptions was to me like brush strokes on a blank canvas. I reach for your book a few times during each year so I can feel as if I returned home.

    Many times I thought maybe someday returning to Italy and visiting a small town in order to absorb the flavor of the countryside and the people. Well, now that I have approached my 76th year, and seriously putting together a “bucket list”, my children have checked this off. They are renting a villa for a week in Cortona. I can hardly believe that one of my few dreams has materialized! This is a link to the house we will be renting:

    https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p71084

    This is truly a dream come true; I can hardly wait until October 7th!! Perhaps we will be fortunate enough to see you at the market one day?

    With many thanks,
    Sincerely,
    Marie Giaquinto

  29. Mallory says:

    I was sitting outside, a beautiful late afternoon day in San Antonio, re-reading “Every day in Tuscany” when I thought, why not check the blog and see how things are going? I haven’t in month, and saw this note, 20 years since “Under the Tuscan Sun” was published. So, congratulations on the anniversary!

  30. RiccardoDeMedici says:

    Complimenti!!!!

    We are all pleased for your success!!! The stars are perfectly aligned to allow your talent to shine some more!!! Congratulations!!!

    We are looking forward to your new book! Italy creates a lovely backdrop for everything and gives access to some of the most wonderful traits for characters!

    I am waiting, but not holding my breath, as I really want to read it…

  31. John says:

    Hi Frances,
    Congratulations on the 20 years!, I have become totally obsessed in your many books that you have written about your adventures in Italy. Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany I have read and reread many times over, they are my go to books for summer reading. I am a proud owner of all of the books you have written about Italy including the cookbook which my daughter gave to me as a Christmas gift. My wife & I were lucky enough to visit Italy in ’09 and enjoyed a tour of Cortona with Gianni (local tour guide). Next up is to sample your olive oil, which we have just ordered and are excited to try! Say hi to Ed!

    Cheers from Canada,
    John

  32. Diana says:

    Hi Frances,
    I wanted to share a cute story with you. I have been a fan of your book Under The Tuscan Sun for quite some time, and I also saw the movie… It is one of my favorites! My husband and I got married a little over a month ago and when it came time to decide where we would get married, I knew it had to be in Italy. I had been there before, and from the beginning, it had my heart. As I started to look for the perfect place, I came across Villa Laura (Bramasole in the movie – I’m sure you know) and I could not believe my eyes… I just knew it was the perfect place! We stayed at the beautiful villa for a week and I was married there. It could not have been more perfect. Sixteen people in total and it was amazing. I am sorry that I am at a lack for better words to describe our stay and the wedding day, but how do you describe something so magical? Thank you for conjuring up a wedding that I would not have been able to imagine on my own… It was remarkable.

  33. Judi Slowly says:

    Ms. Mayes,
    I was introduced to you through the movie “Under The Tuscan Sun” and was so inspired by your story. I was going through my own divorce at the time, and watching the film, including with reading the book, and a lot of prayer helped me survive it. 12 year later – I’m going on my second trip to Italy in two weeks and Tuscany is on the itinerary! Thank you for sharing your story and for continuing to share your genius with so many.

  34. Richard says:

    Congratulations on the 20th Anniversary of your book, Frances. Your writing is truly a gift and has given me much pleasure over the years as I have read and re-read your books. I too am a passionate gardener and take heart from your courage to step into the unknown as I am embarking on a new career after working professionally as a gardener for over 20years! Thankyou and Congratulations:) Richard

  35. MARIO says:

    Hello Frances! It would be so cool if you could do a virtual tour of Bramasole as part of the 20th Edition of the book! We have never really seen much of the interior of your three-story “this is it” home. If not, we still love you and your work! Take care!
    Mario in San Diego, CA

  36. Lori says:

    I am on fall break in Gulf Shores and listening to Under Magnolia read in your wonderful Southern voice as I walk the beach. It’s the first book of yours I’ve picked up. I go back to reread an essay you wrote in a Victoria magazine that I have brought with me from Knoxville. I now hear it in now your voice. Next I am checking my home library for all of your books and reserve Under the Tuscan Sun. How have I missed reading you all these 20 years?

  37. Rose Jardín says:

    Dear Frances! God bless you and Ed! I am grateful to you! May all your wishes come true!

  38. John Battle says:

    For this past Father’s Day, I had requested a Hemingway book, but instead my literary daughter gave me, A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle. With my curiosity peaked, I bounded to the local bookstore and retrieved all of Mayle’s books, including, A Good Year. I own a copy of the movie, and enjoy it thoroughly. Yet, as Hollywood does, the movie version was so different. So my curiosity peaked again as to the difference between the novel, Under the Tuscan Sun, and the Hollywood version, which I also have a copy and frequently watch. As with Mayle’s books, I sipped my way through each page of Under the Tuscan Sun, with my favorite wine. And that lead me to the now finished reading of Under Magnolia. You leave Hemingway in the dust.

  39. Jana says:

    Buona sera, Frances!

    I have read “Under the Tuscan Sun” more than a dozen times. I especially like to read the part where you are in Florence at Christmas and the air is so cold the motorbikes can’t run and you can’t wait to crack open the chestnuts even though they will ruin your nails. I was in Italy one Christmas as a student and it brings back such vivid memories of one of the best, most memorable times of my life. Your writing is so amazing it is like I am right back in Florence, sipping on a cappucino in my senior year at LSU. I am so happy to hear that you have been working on another novel. I can’t wait for Spring to come! Congrats on your 20 year anniversary and I hope the next 20 are even better. Thank you for the temporary time travel of la dolce vita!

    Ciao!

  40. Ron Smith says:

    Dear Frances, Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of Under the Tuscan Sun. Approximately four years ago I wrote to tell you about the role your books played in my recovery from a massive stroke I had recently suffered. You were kind enough to reply. I included our brief correspondence in my new book, The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke, because it helped urge me back to my literary life. You might remember; your Every Day in Tuscany was the first book I read as I regained movement after weeks of paralysis and aphasia. I’m lucky, I now walk again with the assistance of a cane and I foresee a time when I’ll return to visit old and dear friends in Italy. Thank you for your generous spirit. I hope you are well. Ron

  41. June cherry says:

    Dear Frances : we have come to Italy to celebrate our 50 th wedding anniversary because like everyone else I longed to see the hilltop towns you made so real in your books. Thank you for sharing your life, your commitment to the land, the culture and the people with the world. We had seen all the grand sites like Venice, Rome, Pisa, Naples, Florence, but the country side is a whole new world of Italy that would never have been our destination with out your loving descriptions and the feelings of wanting to be there that you have evoked. We plan to get a glimpse of your house tomorrow, and when we return to the states the end of this month, I will reread and relive this time under the Tuscan sun. Thank you, thank you! “I can taste the purple ” because I was here for grape harvest. With much admiration. An avid reader: june cherry. Green valley. Arizona. Staying at Borgo il melone…it’s beautiful too.

  42. Haidy says:

    Hi Frances, my name is Haidy. I am from Egypt but I live in Kuwait. I saw the movie many years ago and I loved it a lot but I didn’t notice that it was a real story and taken from your memoir. Two days ago Idecided to re-watch it with a friend who came recently from Italy. She visited Florence and was impressed by Tuscany so I remembered the movie and we decided to watch it again. This time I was touched by some phrases which were said on the movie and I think they were quoted from your book, the next morning I made some search and I found out that it was written by you, so for now I want to read your book, and all the other books you wrote on Tuscany and I am really considering a trip to Italy next summer with my husband to visit Bramasole and Cortona. I wish to make a trip to the Italian country side and this was because of your book and the movie. Thank you for the Book, the movie, the inspiration.

  43. Debra says:

    Dear Frances, my best friend gave me your cookbook when we both were expats with big companies while living and husband’s working in Costa Rica. I liked it and little did I know how much your book will mean to me after my mother bought your movie 5 years later and I was divorced and she a widow! I realized it was the book my friend had given me back in Costa Rica but had become a blurr because of the times of my 3 year long divorce. Your movie has been so inspirational, funny, and heart warming that it has become truly my favorite movie. Thank you so much for sharing your talents, through your life, and experiences with others. Bravo! Debra

  44. Debra says:

    This was back in 2000….

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