I'm reading Under the Tuscan Sun right now. This is my third start (maybe fourth) in the last 10 years or so. I enjoyed the movie so I bought the book when I saw it on the "buy 3, get one free" table at a bookstore.
I finally got to a point that I don't recall having read. This morning I learned that the fig flower resides inside the fruit and a certain kind of wasp burrows itself inside the fig to lay its eggs. If it doesn't succeed, that's okay, it has at least pollinated the flower. If larvae has been deposited, ooh-la-la! According to Wikipedia (yup, I had to learn more), a mature male mates with a female then proceeds to peck its way out of the fig so that all the females can escape. The male, now wingless and, no doubt, quite spent promptly dies. May he forever rest in joyful peace knowing that he did his job well.
Frances Mayes is the author of Under the Tuscan Sun. For those who never read the book or saw the movie, Mayes wrote about her experiences restoring a villa in Tuscany during her summer months off from teaching in San Francisco. So far, she has romanticized creating a vision from abandoned chaos; eating simple, but elegant, Italian fare outdoors; respecting old and abandoned trees still bearing delicious fruit; removing thick, gnarly tree roots from under stone walls; discovering old-time wells; and, yes, even hiding in bed as a thunderstorm lingers over her villa. I'm not even a third way through the book.
While I was reading about the figs and Mayes' discovery that some of the trees on her property produce the oh so expensive pine nuts, I glanced up now and then to the view of the backyard. Bright blue sky . . . new cedar (or is it redwood?) fence . . . the branches and leaves of the apple trees, lemon tree, avocado trees, and pink geraniums dancing with the light wind . . . the swaying of the chimes, Slinky, and other things hanging from the apple tree by the patio. . . . I'm living my own version of recreating a villa in Tuscany. Magnifico!
P.S. That's not my view from this morning. It's what I would see if I looked sideways as I stood in the view that I saw through the sliding door window this morning.