Greetings Dear Friends! I’ve just returned from a day touring Herculaneum, one of the cities buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. I can’t wait to share the photos I took with you. I was so amazed to see how much they valued decorating and having a beautiful home and garden even back in 79 AD. I guess I thought they would be too busy coping with the daily needs of life (food, shelter, etc…) to worry about ornamentation or beauty in the home.
Some of the things that we learned were a bit shocking and things we would never do today (like recycling human urine and feces) but it’s really surprising how much we have in common with those who lived so long ago. They really did know how to enjoy the good life and took time for a bit of pampering at the local spa, something we could all use a bit more of in our daily, rushed lives.
Today I’m taking you under the Tuscan sun! Italy, as long as I can remember, has been a country I have wanted to see in person, but after seeing the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, I was more determined than ever to one day visit the Tuscany area.
En route to Cortona, I asked our Tour Director if we would have an opportunity to see Frances Mayes’s actual villa. When several other folks voiced an interest in finding it, our director told us he would call a taxi to take us to it.
And so he did! Can you tell I was just a little bit excited? 😉 If you follow BNOTP on Instagram, you saw this pic of me being silly. I’ve been posting quite a bit on Instagram since I can usually find WiFi in the restaurants when we stop for lunch and dinner. (Follow BNOTP on Instagram here: BNOTP on Instagram)
My first impressions upon seeing Bramasole, the home Frances Mayes and her hubby restored and she subsequently wrote about in her book, Under The Tuscan Sun, was how beautifully landscaped the whole front area is around the driveway. She writes rather humorously about the rebuilding of the “Great Wall” in the book and it was a delight to see it in person. The landscaping is truly beautiful.
The other thing I noticed right away was the soft peachy/rose/coral colors of the home. It’s so pretty with the green of the shutters.
I was reading the book, Under The Tuscan Sun, on the flight to Italy and I had just gotten to the part where they were being visited by the ironsmith (or whatever they are called) to determine if the old gate could be saved or if a new one would be needed. I’m not sure if they decided to keep the old one or go with a new one, but I’m thinking they may have kept the old one because (in the book) she wants the new gate (if one is to be built) to have a sun in the top center to go with the name, Bramasole. I don’t see a sun so maybe they refurbished the old gate. Anyone remember what they decided in the book? I’ll have to read on tonight to remember what they decided.
This was in the stone wall leading up the driveway. I guess that’s where they collect their mail each day. Can you imagine all the mail Frances must get!
I was so tickled to find the actual shrine the old man visits each day in the book and in the movie. Much of the movie is fanciful and not true to Frances Mayes own life, but many of the charming details and wonderful adventures in the movie were taken from her everyday life and experiences in those early days after they purchased the villa and began restoring it. The man visiting the shrine each day in the movie is an actual occurrence in the book so seeing the shrine in person was a treat!
If you would like to take a tour of this home as it was in the movie, you’ll find that tour here: Tour the Villa in Under the Tuscan Sun.
Here’s the view one would have looking out one of the windows on the front of the home.
You can see why Frances Mayes fell for this wonderful villa.
Thanks for coming along on this adventure! I’m looking forward to sharing more of it with you real soon.