I have this ritual. Ever since I first read Bella Tuscany,Frances Mayes' first book on the sweet life in Tuscany, I make a point of going through it every year. It is absolutely my favorite book to ring in Spring.
In it, Ms. Mayes describes how she fell in love with and lovingly restored an old farm, Bramasole, in the village of Cortona, Italy.
All this, sprinkled with lovely accounts of life in rural Tuscany.
I just found out that a new book by Frances Mayes, Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life.
In it, her most recent Tuscan memoire, Mayes conducts readers through the gentle and sometimes violent and disruptive undulations of the seasons from winter to summer in her Tuscan home of Bramasole. Mayes and her husband, Ed, situated themselves even more firmly in Tuscany a few years ago when they discovered a falling-down stone cottage on a rugged slope and restored it as a second home. We follow Mayes as she forages for the prized amarini, cherries the size of five-caret rubies, which are bottled with alcohol and brought out in winter to spoon over polenta cake, pears, blackberries, asparagus, fennel flowers, and figs. We continue on our journey with her as she leads us in search of the great Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli from Cortona, where her new house lies. Mayes's affectionate and warm memoir vividly celebrates the lush abundance and charm of daily life in the Italian countryside.
Ms. Mayes' narrative embraces the season. This is something I find particularly appealing. It makes the book easy to navigate and digest, while it stimulates your energetic appetite for every season's delights. A must read.