College professor and author Frances Mayes became a household name in the late 1990s for her fantastically successful memoir Under the Tuscan Sun, which relayed the tale of restoring Bramasole, a 16th-century villa in the charming Italian town of Cortona. With Mayes' success came a flood of foreign tourists to her beloved village, and plenty of the foot traffic landing on the doorstep of Bramasole. Mayes and her husband claim that the tourist presence wasn't the reason they purchased this second home in town, higher on the hillside. Known as Fonte delle Foglie, the Font of Leaves, the secluded stone pile was first built in the 13th century by "hermits who followed Saint Francis of Assisi." Mayes added a second structure to the 3.7-acre compound, which now has four bedrooms, a writing room, and ample entertaining space.
The couple currently split their time between the two Cortona villas and a house in North Carolina, but have apparently tired of maintaining two homes in the same small Italian town. Fonte delle Foglie is currently listed for an undisclosed price, likely to be more than $5.2M. Not a bad profit margin, considering the "mountain house" was purchased in 2002 for $140K and inspired another successful Mayes renovation memoir, Every Day in Tuscany. The high price shouldn't be terribly surprising to anyone who has rented the Bramasole stand-in featured in the panned film version of Under the Tuscan Sun. That villa goes for more than $3,800 per night in high season.
· Font of Leaves [TSI Cortona]
· Under Another Tuscan Sun [WSJ]
· Under the Tuscan Sun Villa Rents For Staggering Price Tag [Curbed National]
- Frances Mayes