Dreaming of Tuscany?

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under the tuscan sun

Dreaming of Tuscany, but cant quite get there?


If there is one place on earth that continues to lure me in my dreams its’ Tuscany.

It all started when I watched Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane and then watched it again and then again.

This year while retreating in Cairns I came across the book and like most things in my life, I didn’t “plan” to read it, it just jumped off the shelf at me.

Under the Tuscan Sun is a travel memoir written over 20 years ago which became an instant International Best Seller and then a movie.



Like many good books I’ve read, I enjoyed it so much more than the movie and then some. The author, Francis Mayes, a poet, a University Lecturer on Creative Writing and a food and travel writer, eloquently and sensually describes her adventures of restoring an old farmhouse she brought in Tuscany with her husband, Edward Mayes, also a poet.


I know you’re thinking her husband? Yip, thats right, she never went to Italy as a solo female traveller and brought the house on her own, nor fell in love with a gorgeous Italian as portrayed in the movie. It made the movie a good watch, but don’t let that Hollywood fairy tale put you off reading the book, because the book is in a league of its own.

Tuscany 1


Under The Tuscan Sun will resonate with the ‘Intuitive Traveller’ in you, the one who listens to her inner voice and chooses to follow it even though it makes no sense.


And as Frances Mayes says:


“My own decision came from a deep instinct. When I sprang from my comfortable university career into a new life in a foreign country, I took a big risk. Some of the best decisions we make come from that inner voice that says, “Why not?” That says, “Andiamo.” So much disappointment arises from what is desired but not chosen.”


Theres also something magical about restoring old farmhouses, planting gardens, cooking with vegetables picked straight from the land and buying wine from the local grower that touches me in a deep place. As a traveller I love going to local markets, buying fruit from honesty boxes at the end of long driveways and visiting organic co-ops for real food. Talking to locals for the best kept secrets and choosing natures free gifts over man made tourist spots all help me to stay connected and in touch with the community I’m visiting and the planet I so humbly call home.



Tuscany market


What makes this book such a great read is the Authors ability to describe a scene with such sensuality. I was transported in my mind, to the farmhouse, smell the pasta being cooked, taste the wine, touch the rose petals creeping over the ancient wall and I felt as though I was actually in Tuscany even when I have never been there before… this truly is a gift.


I mean, don’t get me wrong, Cairns is great. And Australia? An amazing country and if you can read a book while in Australia, which makes you feel as though you are in Italy then Hey, now thats an experience. Especially when the book only cost $2.00 from the local Salvation Army Opportunity Shop. Bargain.


This is beautiful book for the female traveller who is looking for a scrumptious read while on the road so keep your eye out for it. If Under the Tuscan Sun inspires you, leave a comment below, maybe Tuscany can be our next speciality retreat….


I’d like to leave you with a parting word from Frances Mayes:


“I always have loved the suitcase. In my bedroom, the luggage rack is permanently up. Home is that rented white-washed cottage in Crete where the bougainvillea blossoms blew into the hallway. That crazy stone house above Florence, where bats flew around the bed. That stern of a Turkish gulet where 10 of us slept on cushions under the stars. If not for writing, I would not have the chance to feel at home in the world. Before writing Under the Tuscan Sun, I could not have thought this: maybe home is as small as a suitcase”.






Written by Carla Ireton, founder of Byron Women’s Retreat and solo female traveller.


Byron Womens Retreat Byron Bay


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