This afternoon David, Mari and I took a walk around the hill of Cortona. The walk is almost straight up from her parent’s home to the small road leading out the back gate to the old Etruscan City Wall. You come to a small cross roads with a few old homes and a cafe, turn left and an immediate right to follow the road on the back side of the hill (mountain to many of us). From here it is essentially all downhill back around the hill and into town, but a short way from the right turn is Francis Mayes’ BRAMASOLE.
Scott and Betty gave me the book years ago, it was in my reading pile until January when David asked if I would like to join them on their summer trip to Cortona. So, off to read UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, and what a great read. I took lots of notes, and from my paraphrasing I already told you that to write about something is to live it twice, but also I noted that “simplicity is liberating” and you should drive the roads “very pleasantly lost.” Sounds like the laid back “shunpiking” life I have worked myself into. BRAMASOLE, by the way, means “to yearn for.” I also watched the movie, sadly the story line was changed, and I strongly advise that you DO NOT watch the movie!
Frances mentioned how every day she would see an old man walking down the road and stop at the Roadside Votive Offering of Mary in her stone retaining wall and place flowers in offering to Mary. I had to see this.
The hillside of her property is behind and beneath the fortress at the top of the hill and the property is immaculately terraced and landscaped. Butterflies were attacking the lavender bushes (David commented usually not seen out of France). Walking down the road Mari found fresh figs, and many other fragrant herbs and the like.
Many have enjoyed the book as I have, and many lucky few have been able to traverse the road, so in case you can’t make it, I wanted to share this gorgeous spot with you.