Under the Tuscan Sun Movie House Tour: Tour Bramasole
After a wonderful day out playing in the sunshine and searching for a “steal-your-heart” tole chandelier, I came home and pulled out one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, for a little inspiration.
I remembered a scene with a lovely antique, tole chandelier. As I watched the movie, I realized this whole movie is really a huge “Before and After” and not just for the house. The main character, Frances, goes through a big metamorphosis as she renovates an Italian Villa she has just purchased.
Quick Synopsis of the Movie:
The movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, is based on a book by the same title. Here’s a picture of the author, Frances Mayes (on the left) and the actress who played her in the movie, Diane Lane. Frances Mayes, in real life, did buy a villa in Tuscany and renovated it. Of course they had to spice up the story a bit to turn it into a movie, so the movie is loosely based on the book.
In the movie Frances, is a writer from San Francisco (just like Frances Mayes.) She goes through a divorce that leaves her sad and in a state of shock. That part of the movie is fortunately very brief and they quickly move on to the good stuff.
We only get a few brief views of Frances’ home in San Francisco prior to her moving out after the divorce. It is tastefully and beautiful decorated.
After her divorce, Frances briefly moves into an efficiency apartment.
As you might imagine, she finds it very depressing and only stays there a few days before she decides to take advantage of an Italian get-a-way suggested by two close friends. Once she arrives in Italy, the real adventure begins. I love movies filled with wonderful, charming characters…add in a old house renovation and I’m in!
The scenery throughout the movie is just beautiful. Each time I watch this movie I want to go to Italy so badly, I ache. I literally ache. One day, I tell myself. One day. If I ever do go, this blog may become, Between Naps in Italy because I may not come back.
Of course, Frances goes on her Italian vacation with plans of returning to San Fran. But once she’s in Italy, life seems to conspire to keep her there. It starts when she’s in southern Tuscany walking around in a small town.
She comes across this notice about a villa named Bramasole that’s for sale in Cortona. Bramasole in Italian means, to “yearn for the sun,” a bit of foreshadowing, for sure.
Later in the day, Frances is riding along on a tour bus and a flock of sheep crossing the road brings the bus to a stop.
While waiting for the sheep to mosey on across, Frances glances out the window and sees this below. It’s the gate/wall of Bramasole and amazingly the bus has stopped directly in front of it. Frances feels this is truly a sign so she decides to leave the tour. She gets off the bus and the adventure begins. I bet you can see where this is going.
Here’s how the house looks when Frances first sees it. It is overgrown and neglected, but still very beautiful.
The house used in the filming of Under the Tuscan Sun is indeed a real villa, but it isn’t the actual villa bought by the author, Frances Mayes. The book and movie are about Bramasole, the villa Frances Mayes bought in Cortona. But the house used in the movie is actually another villa, Villa Laura.
Here’s a view of Villa Laura at the time the movie was filmed there.
And here’s the actual villa, Bramasole, that the author, Frances Mayes owns and wrote about in her book, Under the Tuscan Sun.
You can see photos of Villa Laura today at this site, HERE and you can even rent a room there if you are vacationing in the area.
Sadly, it doesn’t look very much like it did during the filming of the movie because it has gone through a complete renovation. I’m sure it needed it but it still makes me a little sad to know it’s all renovated. I’ll do a separate post sometime soon and show how Villa Laura looks today. In the meantime, here’s an exterior view of it today.
Back to the movie…here’s a view of the entry of Bramasole (really Villa Laura) in the movie.
Frances realizes if she buys this house it will need a lot of work.
Here’s the living room of “Bramasole” in the movie. Notice how the rooms are dreary and kind of dark. This is a metaphor for how Frances is feeling after her divorce. As the movie progresses, the rooms become brighter and more sun-filled.
Once Frances buys her villa, she sits down outside to contemplate what she has done!
Then she gets busy cleaning out around her new home. I love these big old green, glass bottles. They remind me of the bottles in THIS post about bottle trees.
There’s lots of cleaning to be done. Don’t you love the soft colors on the walls? I couldn’t resist including this pic with the old dress form. I ♥ those and have one in my guest room.
The furniture is left behind with the house and here’s Frances cleaning her lovely wrought-iron bed.
Another view of this bedroom in the movie.
Imagine only being able to heat by burning wood in heaters like this.
During the renovation process, Frances decides she wants to open up a wall between two small rooms, creating one large room. Her workmen get busy chiseling out a wider opening between the two rooms.
Things don’t go quite as planned and the wall literally falls down, but fortunately it works out in the end. This was one of the funnier parts of the movie.
Frances gets busy renovating a bathroom.
And here’s that tole chandelier I remembered.
At one point a snake crawls into the villa through a window and a big search takes place to find him. Here’s a little view of the kitchen in this old villa.
We get a view of the old plate rack here…
I wonder what that is behind Frances in this view. We can’t see it very well. Do you think it’s a pizza/bread-baking oven built into the wall? Or, maybe it’s just a fireplace.
Fortunately, this beautiful villa comes with some gorgeous pieces, too. This chandelier is totally drool-worthy.
A friend, Patti, played by Sandra Oh, comes to stay with Frances in Italy. Here’s a view of the guest room with its pretty wrought-iron bed! I would hate to paint over these walls. I guess that is centuries old dirt mixed in with that wonderful soft-blue paint.
Once the house renovations are underway, Frances carves herself out an office in one of the rooms. It’s time to get busy writing again. The desk is beautiful, isn’t it?
I love this scene from the movie…it may be my favorite of an interior room.
Another brief shot of Frances’ office
Here’s a bath in Bramasole (really Villa Laura.) Don’t you love the blue paint contrasting with the white tile?
This is a scene toward the end of the movie after the renovations are complete. Notice in this view there’s a beautiful chair to the left of Patti (Sandra Oh) and no coffee table.
Here the chair is gone and an ottoman is in it’s place. I liked the chair better, how about you? And there’s a rather strange looking coffee table in this view. Notice the beautiful mural in the dining room.
Originally for the movie they filmed a scene where the workers uncover this hidden mural that has supposedly been painted over. I’m not sure why but for some reason that scene was deleted from the final movie. Maybe the movie was just getting too long.
Here’s a little glimpse of the exterior. This older gentleman comes daily to leave flowers at this outdoor shrine. It’s a recurring scene/theme throughout the movie. Frances tries her best to get him to wave and be friendly. At the end of the movie, he finally tips his hat at her and she is elated. He was a hard nut to crack.
A wedding takes place at Bramasole in the movie and as you can see, Frances has gone through quite a transformation herself. Once Frances changes inside, her life begins to transform into the life she has wanted. Of course, there’s a romance or two in this movie…you’ll need to rent it for those juicy details.
If you’ve been to Italy, you’ll love seeing the vineyards, orchards, rolling hills, villas and the gorgeous scenery throughout this movie. If you’ve never been (like me) you may find yourself conspiring and plotting to go.
Frances Mayes has written several books and I think I have almost all of them. The ones I have are, Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, Bringing Tuscany Home and Swan.
The movie, Under the Tuscan Sun was actually filmed in a villa known as Villa Laura. You can tour Villa Laura in this post: The Real Villa in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun
Love movie house tours? You’ll find more of your faves here: Movie House Tours