“We know that love affairs—apart from pleasure, a swiftly beating heart, and occasional moments of pure exaltation—can also give us anxiety, depression, sometimes even rage,” writes Beatrice Monti della Corte in her new book, A Tower in Tuscany. “I have received all that from my house as well.... Ours is a love affair that started in 1967, when my husband, Grisha, and I saw it for the first time.”

Monti and her husband, Gregor “Grisha” von Rezzori, who died in 1998, went on to buy and refurbish Santa Maddalena, a dreamy villa in the hills above Florence, where they would welcome countless friends. That their guests happened to be the world’s finest writers—first Bruce Chatwin, Michael Ondaatje, Bernardo Bertolucci, then Zadie Smith, John Banville, Michael Cunningham (also the editor of this new volume)—was a happy coincidence until 2000, when the Santa Maddalena Foundation and writers’-fellowship program was officially established, in honor of von Rezzori’s death. More than 20 years on, Monti’s new volume pairs François Halard’s photographs of the villa with essays by those who have passed through it, including frequent visitors Ralph Fiennes and Edmund White. —Julia Vitale