I was very fortunate to visit Italy a couple of years ago for a month’s holiday and have so many fond memories of our time spent there. Part of our stay was spent in the Tuscany and Chianti region. The vineyards…it’s hill towns…Rhadda, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona, Panzano, Limole, Cortona were lovely and we visited them all!
One day while roaming the cobblestoned streets of Cortona, I came across the lovliest villa & took nearly 100 shots of it as it as I was just drawn to it’s architecture & stunning gardens!! Hedges of rosemary and lavenders framed these lovely grounds.
Come to find out I had fallen upon Villa Bramasole.. ( the real one) from the movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. It was fun to see how they used the area & sets for the movie and yet sub in the home itself. I met the caretaker the day I spent there who was a very pleasant man and quite knowledgable re: the history of this grand villa. Frances Mayes.. the American owner & writer had already left for the summer.. so I was a bit bummed not to have been able to meet her.. I was told she’s quite an extraordinary woman and fun to chat with.
Remember the famous balcony in the movie where Frances would watch this sweet old man come each morning to visit the stone shrine while paying his respects to someone he apparently loved very much and left fresh flowers?
In Italy, you will find many of these shrines either by the side of the road or nestled into the outer walls of their houses, dedicated to a loved one and always a special saint.. these little works of art can be found scattered around many of the hilltowns and countrysides for all to see. I wasn’t about to leave Bramasole without at least one shot of Frances Mayes shrine built into the side of her entryway stone walled gate to the villa.
It’s very easy to see how easily she fell in love with Cortona & the region.. it’s truly simply gorgeous. I was really pleased with my shots and thrilled to have gone off wandering that day.
And so as Easter approaches this weekend and in the recent wake of the tragic earthquake in L’Auila, Italy where deaths, a multitude of injuries and thousands left homeless, please remember these families in your prayers.
Have a safe and healthy Easter!