“Everyday in Tuscany”

May19

When I read Frances Mayes first story of Tuscany entitled Under the Tuscan Sun-I had to go.  Not to Tuscany per se but to the city of her weekend rendezvous-Positano.  And Positano was as perfect as she described it.  Shimmering light, fresh ocean breezes and amazing food!  And so it was that the Amalfi coast was the second stop of our Italian adventure this past fall.IMG_2779

Life has mellowed for Frances, she is a Grandma now and she and her husband are well-entrenched in Italian life.  With the exception of one long chapter where she travels the trail of her favourite Renaissance painter (I was bored and I even studied art history) -I loved every other word of the recounting of a  year in Frances’ rich life.

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The descriptions of six hour dinner parties at an outside table set for two dozen are enthralling.  She not only details the courses and menus but also provides the recipes!

In two paragraphs near the end of this book, she describes what I could never put my finger on about the essence of Italy: ” How do Italian friends naturally keep the jouissance they were born with?  I’ve noticed they don’t talk about priorities.  They work but don’t become slaves.  Always they have time to visit.  Early on I learned that in Italian, there is no word for stress; it’s a recent import: lo stress.  Just wasn’t a concept.  Now lo stress exists, but in rural Tuscany work and play are happily still balanced, giving the chance not to just enjoy but to revel in everyday life.  Especially the rituals of the table and the piazza.  …They are doing what they need to do by being.  People who own so much historical time must feel more comfortable inside time. I see: Time can be a river for floating.  Our friends drop in.  They call and propose spontaneous excursions.  They stay out late having dinner on Wednesday nights.  Italians relish the day. Carpe diem, they repeated for centuries that they don’t have to say it anymore.”IMG_2753

Kath’s quote: “And that is … how they are. So terribly physically all over one another. They pour themselves one over the other like so much melted butter over parsnips. They catch each other under the chin, with a tender caress of the hand, and they smile with sunny melting tenderness into each other’s face.” -D.H. Lawrence

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