The house of Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun
View from the ramparts of the town
View up a side street.
Slept in, then after a leisurely breakfast motored east past Siena on the Autostrade (keeping carefully to the right-hand lane) before embarking on the usual, hilarious, tangle of serpentine backroads to Cortona. No doubt the men are all asking why at this point. Well, it’s a beautiful hill-top village, with Etruscan roots, Roman and medieval blah, blah, blah. The real reason we made the pilgrimage is that the author of the best-selling book “Under the Tuscan Sun” (which both our wives had read), Frances Mayes lives there and wrote about the village in her books (Oprah recommended it, don’t you know!). The views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside from the summit are breathtaking.
Anyway, after the usual delicious lunch and reinforced by some local wine, we trekked what seemed like four Kms through all the rusticity, followed by some woods to the shrine the ladies were seeking. It appeared that Ms. Mayes was otherwise engaged and the gates did not spring open on our approach. Took a few perfunctory pictures of the large and lovely home, trekked back to village and immediately repaired to nearest bar.
Refreshed, and followed by a snarling herd of tail-gating Alfas and BMWs, we cruised slowly back to Il Merlo and savoured some more wine with Penne a la Pomodori Secchi and Grappa and cigars on the terrace. The nearly full moon wrote the end to a lovely day.