Under the Tuscan Sun is the now classic travel book that launched an obsession with Italy and lyrical travel writing. The author, Frances Mayes, lovingly recounts her purchase and restoration, with her poet husband Ed, of a crumbling, yet beautiful house in Cortona, Italy. I read this book when it was first published back in the '90's, but I love Mayes' writing so much that I decided to read it again. There is no one like her when it comes to describing the mundane details of shopping in town, picking olives or hauling stones out of the garden. She makes everything sacred and has a true gift for finding beauty in everyday life. I can only take her way of living as an example for when I am feeling that my life has no beauty or mystery - she creates beauty and that is something I forget sometimes, that we can create our own miracles.
By the way, the film of the same name starring Diane Lane, although lovely, bears hardly any resemblance to the book.