Tuscany, you have captivated me, and I don’t wish to be free.

Standing in this spot was a dream come true.
Sharing this dream with my girls meant the world to me.

The tears started flowing standing beneath Frances Mayes’ house, Bramasole. I hoped she’d spy me from her window, invite me in and ask me to be her bosom friend.

Bramasole means to yearn for the sun. That should be my middle name.

Frances Mayes

She was the sole reason my family was sitting in a van, at the top of the hill, above the town of Cortona. Frances captured my heart with her book, Under the Tuscan Sun, and then the movie by the same name, sealed Tuscany in my heart forever.


Cortona is one the numerous hill towns dotting the rolling green fields of Tuscany, Italy. The original town existed before the founding of Rome. In existence for 3.000 years, it’s hard to fathom the history of this town as you hike up its steep, narrow streets.

My kids were afraid that I would arrive at the town square naked as I lagged behind them, slowly removing pieces of clothing as I trudged up the almost vertical road in the Tuscan heat. No need to fear, I arrived decently dressed in the essentials.

The center of town seen in the movie.

Tuscany and Cortona were my original European infatuations. My love for France bloomed only after I was completely smitten with Italy. As we drove to Cortona, I feared that my love for France would dwarf my affection for Tuscany, but Tuscany has a way of luring your heart to her subtle beauty and completely capturing you.

Kitties are what lures my girls’ hearts.
This store was a complete delight, not only because it carried the pottery I love for outdoor dining, but also because the owner spoke English and we chatted forever. Her husband then got us a special table for lunch.
The pasta at this restaurant was made down the hill by their cousin.

Cortona is located smack dab in the center of the Italian boot. Its architecture is a combination of Medieval and Renaissance styles. Frances Mayes’ home, Bramasole was originally built in 1504, but still stands proudly and beautifully. Its rose exterior and manicured gardens have been the inspiration for my own outdoor spaces.

Medieval alleys
The different doors fasinated me.

My Tuscan Dream

I confess, I’ve spent years pretending that my own patio was a patio in Cortona. My dinner parties were never complete unless I was playing music inspired by Tuscany or France. My dinnerware and serving platters had to complete the charade. I wanted to live at Bramasole, so for years I did my best to live my Tuscan dream in Indiana.

Our patio in Cortona was in a breezeway.

Dreams do come true and after years of pretending, I rented my own Tuscan farmhouse and drug my family halfway around the world to experience it with me. I was not disappointed, but I was also very pleased to realize that what I had created in my own back yard was also a dream come true.

Our farmhouse rental
I even loved the back view of our farmhouse.
The view from our house.

I’d love to go back to Tuscany and spend more time there and really experience it. I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I’ll always love Tuscany and continue to take the best of the world and add it to my everyday life.

Remember to enter to win a prize from my Europen travels.

Prize #1 – COOK BOOK

Since I fell in love with the food, the first item in this European prize is the yummy cookbook, How to Cook French Pastry – 50 Traditional French Recipes. I found this book in the giftshop at Versailles and I got two copies, one for me and one for you.

Prize #2 – Chocolate

Everyone loves chocolate so I was certain it should be one of the gifts. These 18 mini chocolate bars each have a photo of one of Paris’s iconic landmarks. This way you can enjoy your chocolate and dream of your trip to Paris.

Prize #3 – Macarons

Another well-known national treat are French Macarons. This box of three, will get you hooked and yearning for more.

Prize #4 – Tolberone Chocolate

We drove through Switzerland, the home of true chocolate. This next gift is a Toblerone bar, my husband’s favorite chocolate.

Prize # 5 – Provence Lavender Sachet

While in Provence, I snipped a bag full of lavender. I was going to make something with it but found sachets already waiting for one of you at the Bonnieux street market.  This bag of lavender is the aroma of Provence.

Prize #6 – Book

Finally, the book that started the dream, A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle. This is the book that alerted me to the absolute need to travel to Provence. This bestseller is the account of Peter who realizes his dream of buying a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in Provence. Once you read this book, a trip to Provence will appear on your bucket-list.


Here is how you can win one of these European gifts.

  1. You must be subscribed to my blog. SUBSCRIBE HERE!
  2. You must share this blog post on your social media.
  3. Once you’ve subscribed and shared this blog, comment on any blog post in November and December with “Done” and what gift you’d like to win first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

It’s that easy! Prizes will be randomly drawn. The first name drawn will get their first choice, the second person their first choice that is still available and so on.


You can enter multiple times BUT you must share this blog for each entry.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *