Are you one of the many who fell in love with Frances Mayes’ Italian Villa in the 2003 movie Under The Tuscan Sun?
Or, perhaps you are like House Crazy Sarah and read the book first and was captivated with Mayes’ vivid descriptions of the 200-year old farmhouse she and her husband Ed bought and rehabbed from ruins.
Frances Mayes & husband Ed in real life:
It’s important to note that the movie version of the house is not the real Bramasole. The movie featured a place called Villa Laura, which was lovely in its own right, but not the actual house.
The real Bramasole that Frances Mayes wrote about in her gorgeous memoir Under the Tuscan Sun, is much larger than the movie version, and has more of a terraced yard as it it perched high on a hillside.
House Crazy Sarah recently finished re-reading the book and fell in love with the house all over again.
Bramasole looks mysteriously down on us, and we remember the first time we saw it, when I stepped through weeds taller than I, and said, jokingly, “This is it.”
House Crazy Sarah wanted to know what the inside of the real Bramsole looked like so she embarked on a quest to find the few precious photos available on the internet which showed the interior of the actual house the Mayes so lovingly restored.
After her original wave of fame, Frances published several more books, the proceeds of which allowed her to do another renovation of Bramasole in 2015.
These interior photos show what the house looks like now.
The books and bric-a-brack are lovely but what is it with the disembodied vintage doll parts?
Perhaps they were unearthed from the garden.
Below, we get a look at the dining room with the amazing wall fresco that was discovered during the first renovation:
If you look closely at the mural, you can see in the water reflection (bottom left) where one of the Italian contractors thought it would be funny to sign his name. Frances was, understandably, furious. Eventually she got over it and embraced the signature as part of the house’s history.
Here we get a peek in her famous kitchen:
Here’s a BEFORE picture of the kitchen prior to the 2015 renovation:
You can see that the kitchen was significantly upgraded, which makes sense because Frances Mayes is not only a fabulous writer, but a bonafide gourmet chef as well.
One of the most special parts of the kitchen is the glassed-in breakfast nook which allows spectacular views of the terrace and valley below.
There are several outdoor eating spaces at Bramasole, as Frances and her husband Ed entertain there often during the Tuscan summers.
Back inside, we get a look at Frances’s study where she has written several of her books:
House Crazy Sarah always loves to see where writers work, and what books they choose to have nearby as they write.
Frances’s study looks well-used and authentic, not staged or sterile.
And one more room to note: the cantina (below) where Frances stores her cookbooks and olive oil. This room was once a rabbit hutch!
Those of us lucky enough to come across such history and become caretakers for a while of an old house, know how such places become entwined in our very souls.
As Frances wrote:
This is it. I didn’t have the prescience to know that our lives were about to change profoundly and that we would become deeply married to this plot of land under the Medici fortress and the Etruscan wall.
The name Bramasole means to yearn for the sun.
What a perfect name for this centuries old sunbaked Italian farmhouse that still stands proudly on her hill above Cortona.