Mayes, Frances "Under the Tuscan Sun" - 1996
I have read and enjoyed similar books written by people who left their (mostly European) home to settle in the South. Seldom have a I had the feeling that the person looked down on the people of their new home. This is the feeling I had here, I didn't like it at all and therefore didn't even finish it - and that happens very rarely.
I did enjoy the author's novel "Swan", though.
From the back cover:
"In this memoir of her buying, renovating and living in an abandoned villa in Tuscany, Frances Mayes reveals the sensual pleasure she found living in rural Italy and the generous spirit she brought with her. She revels in the sunlight and the colour, the long view of her valley, the warm homey architecture, the languor of the slow paced days, the vigor of working her garden and the intimacy of her dealings with the locals. Cooking, gardening, tiling and painting are never chores, but skills to be learned, arts to be practiced and above all to be enjoyed. At the same time Mayes brings a literary and intellectual mind to bear on the experience, adding depth to this account of her enticing rural idyll."