A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance

Algonquin Books
17
Free sample

An American chef meets the love of her life among the beautiful canals and exquisite cuisine of Venice—“better than a romance novel, it’s the real thing” (New Orleans Times-Picayune).

Fernando first sees Marlena across the Piazza San Marco and falls in love from afar. When he sees her again in a Venice café a year later, he knows it’s fate. He knows little English; she, a divorced American chef traveling through Italy, speaks only food-based Italian. Marlena thought she was done with romantic love, incapable of intimacy. Yet within months of their first meeting, she quits her job, sells her house in St. Louis, kisses her two grown sons goodbye, and moves to Venice to marry “the stranger,” as she calls Fernando.

This deliciously satisfying memoir is filled with the foods and flavors of Italy and peppered with culinary observations and recipes. But the main course here is an enchanting true story about a woman who falls in love with both a man and a city, and finally finds the home she didn’t even know she was missing.

“An irresistible grown-up love story.” —USA Today
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About the author

An American chef and food and wine journalist, Marlena de Blasi has written five memoirs, a novel, and two books about the regional foods of Italy. She lives with her husband in the Umbrian hilltown of Orvieto. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages.

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3.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Jun 11, 2013
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Pages
258
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ISBN
9781616202750
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Love & Romance
Travel / Europe / Italy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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American chef and author of A Thousand Days in Venice moves to rural Tuscany, where she and her husband discover village secrets of food, life, and love.

Searching for the rhythms of country living, American chef Marlena de Blasi and her Venetian husband, Fernando, move to a barely renovated former stable in Tuscany. They dwell among two hundred villagers, ancient olive groves, and hot Etruscan springs. In this patch of earth where Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio collide, there is much to feed de Blasi’s two passions—food and love. In A Thousand Days in Tuscany, de Blasi brings us along as she and Fernando harvest grapes, gather chestnuts, forage for wild mushrooms, and climb trees in the cold of December to pick olives, one by one.

They befriend the mesmeric Barlozzo, a self-styled village chieftain whose stories lead de Blasi deeper into the soul of Tuscany. Together they visit sacred festivals and taste just-pressed olive oil, drizzled over roasted country bread. In a cauldron set over a wood fire, they braise beans in red wine, and a stew of wild boar simmers overnight in the ashes of their hearth. Barlozzo shares his knowledge of Italian farming traditions and ancient health potions, but he has secrets he doesn’t share, and one of them concerns the beautiful Floriana, whose illness teaches Marlena that happiness is truly a choice.

Like the pleasurable tastes and textures of a fine meal, A Thousand Days in Tuscany is as satisfying as it is enticing. The author’s own recipes are included.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“At villa Donnafugata, long ago is never very far away,” writes bestselling author Marlena de Blasi of the magnificent if somewhat ruined castle in the mountains of Sicily that she finds, accidentally, one summer while traveling with her husband, Fernando. There de Blasi is befriended by Tosca, the patroness of the villa, an elegant and beautiful woman-of-a-certain-age who recounts her lifelong love story with the last prince of Sicily descended from the French nobles of Anjou.

Sicily is a land of contrasts: grandeur and poverty, beauty and sufferance, illusion and candor. In a luminous and tantalizing voice, That Summer in Sicily re-creates Tosca’s life, from her impoverished childhood to her fairy-tale adoption and initiation into the glittering life of the prince’s palace, to the dawning and recognition of mutual love. But when Prince Leo attempts to better the lives of his peasants, his defiance of the local Mafia’s grim will to maintain the historical imbalance between the haves and the have-nots costs him dearly.

The present-day narrative finds Tosca sharing her considerable inherited wealth with a harmonious society composed of many of the women–now widowed–who once worked the prince’s land alongside their husbands. How the Sicilian widows go about their tasks, care for one another, and celebrate the rituals of a humble, well-lived life is the heart of this book.

Showcasing the same writerly gifts that made bestsellers of A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany, That Summer in Sicily, and de Blasi’ s marvelous storytelling, remind us that in order to live a rich life, one must embrace both life’s sorrow and its beauty. Here is an epic drama that takes readers from Sicily’s remote mountains to chaotic post-war Palermo, from the intricacies of forbidden love to the havoc wreaked by Sicily’s eternally bewildering culture.
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