“Under the Tuscan Sun:” The Real-Life Renovated Villa

by hookedonhouses on February 27, 2012

Who could forget the charming Italian villa called Bramasole that Diane Lane buys on a whim and fixes up in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun? I wrote a post about it a couple of years ago and discovered that it was filmed on location in Tuscany in a villa that they didn’t actually remodel for the shoot–they “just cleaned it up a little and filmed it in warmer, prettier light,” according to writer-director Audrey Wells.

The real restoration work on the real-life Bramasole began in 2006, four years after the movie was filmed here. Here’s how it looks today.

There are actually two buildings on the property.

This is the one Diane Lane’s Frances Mayes sees in the movie when she visits for the first time (for those of you who don’t know, it was based on a true story, but this is not her actual villa):

When she walks in, things are in pretty bad shape:

At the end of the movie, when the renovations are complete (supposedly, thanks to Movie Magic), it looks like this:

The real-life restoration work was much more extensive and involved more than just cleaning up. Here’s how it looks now:

You can rent the villa the next time you’re in Tuscany. According to Italian Villas, “Bramasole lies nestled on a hill just three minutes outside the ancient town walls of Cortona.”

The kitchen in the movie was much smaller:

According to the rental website, “Every bedroom on the property is unique with beautiful original features, hand woven Busatti fabrics and the highest quality bed linen. All bedrooms rooms have air conditioning, Wi-Fi, en-suite bathrooms and its own view of the surrounding countryside.”

A bedroom in the movie:

There’s plenty of room for everyone here, with 10 bedrooms and 10.5 baths.

Again, the bathroom in the movie was much more basic than they are now!

One of the updated baths:

The views from the villa are beautiful:

“There is always something to keep you entertained, whether it be a swim in the travertine pool, a soak in the Jacuzzi, a walk through the Medici parkland to visit the ducks on the lake, or a Bocce tournament with other guests.” Sounds like the perfect vacation to me!

For more photos and information about renting this movie location, visit Italian Villas.

Check out my original post about the movie with more pics and info here:

Under the Tuscan Sun movie Bramasol Diane Lane

Under the Tuscan Sun

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Luciane at Homebunch.com February 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

Oh, if I only had the money…. but we all can dream, right? :-)

This is really beautiful!

Have a wonderful day, Julia.

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Jane Barrett February 27, 2012 at 8:57 am

Wow – I love the renovation! LOVE the choice they made for the ceilings! I don’t remember if I saw that movie — better check it out again!


Gabbie February 27, 2012 at 8:58 am

Thanks for the update. I must say though that the book is way better than to movie. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Molly @thewaffler February 27, 2012 at 9:06 am

A swim in the travertine pool and a soak in the jacuzzi sound great, but that house is so gorgeous I could just wander around it all day. Okay, well maybe not all day, but it’s lovely.

Lisa~A Cottage To Me February 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

I love that movie! I just watched it again last week and was thinking “I wonder if Hooked on Houses has ever posted about this house. Glad you re-posted today! Thank you!

Black Eyed Susans Kitchen February 27, 2012 at 9:16 am


"Auntie" February 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

“You can rent the villa the next time you are in Tuscany.”

HO-HO! Aren’t you the *cheeky* one? -gigggles-


hookedonhouses February 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

Doesn’t everyone make regular jaunts to Tuscany? Ha! I’ve never been but would love to visit it someday. It looks so beautiful there! :-)

Karena February 27, 2012 at 9:42 am

Bramble is perfection. A gorgeous villa I would love to stay in.


Art by Karena

Lynn TheGREENCTRealtor.com February 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

The last 2 times we were in Cortona I kept asking my husband if we had time to go looking for Bramasole :) He has yet to oblige. Once we were there shortly after the book was released and it was in every shop window. The novelty of it seems to have worn off though because there were way fewer displaying it last visit.
Julia – you should make a trip there sometime. I can recommend a slightly smaller but perfect villa not far in Lucignano that is truly paradise found.

Judy February 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

Simply delicious!

Sarah @ housecrazy February 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

That’s neat to see the pics of the house where the movie was shot and what they did with the renovations. But it’s a shame that all of the hsitoric character of the home was gutted out. Frances Mayes real house in Tuscany (not the one shown in the movie) still retains a lot of the historic Tuscan charm.
check it out:

hookedonhouses February 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

Thanks, Sarah!

Beth February 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

Thank you for clarifying the difference between the movie house and the REAL Bramasole! When I read this post I immediately started googling to verify that one of my favorite writers hadn’t abandoned Cortona…I’m glad her rustic house is still loved and lived in there, though I sure wouldn’t mind renting this gorgeous “fake” Bramasole so I could pretent to be her neighbor. :)

homer April 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Thank you. I hate the remodel. It looks so contemporary, so neutral, so like it could be any new house anywhere in the world. Loved it in the movie before it was “fixed”.

betty in munich February 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

yay! you did the post! I feel a little bit famous today. I was so excited when I found this and sent it to you. Now let’s see if 10 of your readers rented it at the same time and split the daily 2,500€ charge….maybe more affordable? Even still expensive!

hookedonhouses February 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

Sounds like a good plan to me! Ha. Thanks again, Betty! :)

Lynn February 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

I am a little confused now. I love Francis Mays and I’ve read her books. From what i was understanding Bramasole was her personal residence. I had no idea you could rent it. Guess i should go finish reading Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life maybe she talks about it. Don’t get me wrong, I would be thrilled beyond belief to rent Bramasole!!! It would be a dream come true!

hookedonhouses February 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

Sorry for the confusion. This is the villa that they filmed the movie at. It was the movie version of Bramasole, not her personal one. I should have explained that better!

Frances Mayes February 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

The Under the Tuscan Sun movie house is called Villa Laura. It’s below Cortona.
Bramasole is still Bramasole and is our home.
Thanks for showing these photographs–Frances Mayes

hookedonhouses February 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Wow, thanks for stopping by and clearing that up! I didn’t know that the rental/movie house is called Villa Laura. So nice to hear from you! :)

Beth February 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

I love your blog and read it daily, but now that you have a comment from Frances Mayes I’m pretty sure you’ve moved into “true online literature” status. :)

Linda @ MyCraftyHomeLife February 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

I am in love. This is stunning. Hardly what it was portrayed to be. Wi-Fi, who knew.

krissie February 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I loved this post,thank you!
Wow it is such a beautiful place and it looks stunning with rose beds,the interior looks beautiful too,can only imagine what it would be like to stay there x

katy February 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I love watching movies for their architecture too :). This was a particularly good movie for it! Thanks for a the beautiful pics and good info- it takes me away on this cold Maine day.

@MustLoveBlogs February 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Ok, Julia, I’m officially impressed – the real Frances Mayes has dropped by. I’ve always wanted to visit Tuscany, even moreso now!

Wendy February 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Beautiful. But I love the more rustic movie version better. That movie was life changing for me.

Jake's a Girl February 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Drop the hubby! I’m in love with a house.
Oh! My, my, my!

Lynn February 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Oh my gosh!! My favorite author posted a message!! Frances you made my day!! Thank You for explaining the difference in the homes. I dream of visiting Italy.

Lucia February 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I just love all these beautiful homes – makes me want to move.

My sister, her husband and four children packed up their life in Canada and moved over to Tuscany – the house they live in looks almost identical to house and is only a few miles apart. she’s blogging on the experience and home schooling. notyoureverydaymary.blogspot.com

Kim February 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

What a gorgeous house! This would make such a perfect vacation home, I never would want to leave.

I don’t watch the award shows, but I always look forward to the red carpet galleries online.

chris February 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm

i’m half italian, grew up with off the boat and brooklynese family. never appreciated my italian heritage, can i say i was embarrassed, until i read ms. mayes book. like i’m in my late forties. now i adore italy and my heritage and hope some day to visit. great post and thanks ms. mayes (before i get hate responses, imagine jersey shore 40 years ago)

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints February 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm

This is one of all time favorite movies. Love the romance and adventure of starting all over…in Tuscany. The ladybug scene at the end always gets me. Thanks Julia for sharing. Who knows maybe my head will someday rest on one of those Italian pillows;)

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints February 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Holy cow girlie…she commented. How cool is that!

E. George February 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Hi Julia how wonderful for you ….. she made contact. Thank you for sharing all this beauty hope one day soon you will be the one taking the pictures. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney.

Wendy February 28, 2012 at 12:30 am

For all the harried moms (and dads) of toddlers out there, you need to know about this place: villapia.com

We found it last year, based on a friend’s recommendation. The pictures don’t do it justice. It’s a beautiful restored villa on the Tuscan/Umbrian border and it’s been made into a hotel for families with small children. Exclusively for families with little kids. It’s the most amazingly perfect place and the most relaxing possible trip for a family with little ones. And the food, which is included, is INCREDIBLE. We’re going back again this year (we travel to London every year to see my husband’s parents, so this is an add-on to keep me from pulling out my hair after 2 weeks in my MIL’s house). Dream of this one too, Mommies…

hookedonhouses February 28, 2012 at 8:08 am

Lovely! Thanks, Wendy.

jodi from new jersey February 28, 2012 at 6:33 am

What a way to start my Tuesday! Absolutely gorgeous– it’s going on my bucket list. I’m going over to Italian Villas now to see the price, just for fun. Hey, you never know.

Juju @ Tales of Whimsy.com February 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

I like it but I prefer the rustic charm it had in the movie.

Carolyn February 28, 2012 at 11:42 am

Wow. Drool-worthy. But what happened to those beautiful murals in the original dining room? Were they original or added for the movie? – I suppose that would make a difference. While the renovated crisp white is soothing, modern, and clean, I have to admit to loving the original patina of the walls in those Pompeiian colors. With a movie set, though, it’s hard to know exactly how much was original. I wonder if there are pictures of the house interior before the set designers got to work? Now I’m off to look at Frances’ real Bramasole. I do have an autographed copy of the book.

Heather February 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I have loved all of Frances Mayes’s books about her life in Tuscany and the movie stunk on so many levels. Hollywood couldn’t even get the house right! The real thing looks so much better.

Amy @ The Button Casa February 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Oh my! I loved the movie and didn’t think I could love the house more but I actually do. They did an amazing renovation, love it!

Diane Tuman March 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Hi Julia: The Hollywood Reporter just posted that the home is now for sale. Check it out: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/villa-under-the-tuscan-sun-sale-296457

Great job, by the way! Love your stuff (as you know). :)

hookedonhouses March 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Wow! I hadn’t seen that. Thanks, Diane!

Evelyn March 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Love the movie, love the house. What a dream vacation to rent it. Maybe someday when I win the lottery.

Joanna W. March 16, 2012 at 4:59 am

Beautiful villa, but the more I liked in the movie. She had a soul.
Many greetings from Poland:-)))

Sophie de Vries May 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi everyone, I’ve read all the posts and thought I would clarify a few things! I’m so glad most of you seem to like it so much, I hope you come and visit us sometime :) Thank you Julia for posting about us!

Most of what you saw in the movie was just a set, hardly any of it was real I’m afraid. The frescos on the walls were all false as was the tap, the red colour of the house and the fountain in the square in cortona… We have put a false tap in though just for fun :) We have renovated it extremely carefully over 5 years making sure all the original features are preserved and restored. Nothing was taken away and everything added is from reclamation yards in the area. All fabrics used are locally woven by Busatti of Anghiari, antiques from Arezzo and Cortona antique markets and travertine from the Florence area. The footprint of the house is exactly the same, what you didn’t see in the film was the farmhouse next door which is part of the property (see photos). As Francis says, her house is up the road Villa Laura was used as the set only. They are quite similar though with their balconies and similar build style!

You are all welcome to come and have a look anytime you are in Cortona! Please contact me and if there are no guests I would be very happy to show you around. Buona giornata a tutti! x

hookedonhouses May 14, 2012 at 9:01 am

So nice to hear from you, Sophie! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to explain more of these details for us. Your villa is beautiful!

june June 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Its probably just me .., but, I hate the after . The kitchen seems ok ,but the original had such soul. The renovation looks like all my rich friends renovations ,who walk around with architectural digest under their arms and their decorators on speed dial.
Im not saying its not a pleasant space or design but I feel its criminal to take a place with history and patina and turn it into antiseptic beige -could be anywhere- looks like a boutique hotel space….yuck.

Pat May 18, 2013 at 7:51 am

I’ve just come back to South Africa from Tuscany. Stunning how they manage to mix antiquity with modernity. I saw many, many abandoned houses which looked really quite livable. In South Africa, we make use of even the most delapidated housing. Over in Tuscany the scenery where a lot of these abandoned houses are situated, is breathtaking. Seems such a waste. I know there are reasons, just a pity. Funny though, how an abandoned Tuscan house manages to look romantic!

Kim Larosa May 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm

This villa is absolutely stunning!!!!!

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